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Found 17 results

  1. He got off the train in Ponyville, carrying only his saddlebag. Many ponies continued giving him a few strange looks. Some were rude, but most were just curious. He had gotten used to it by now. Before he left, they had told him he might not be accepted at first, but given the chance, most ponies in Equestria are inviting and friendly. It was a good thing he was considered an expert at making friends by everyone he knew well. Were zebras really that rare? Zareb thought. He made his way towards Ponyville proper and out of the humble landscape, could see the star of the castle spearing into the sky. It towered over everything, including the town hall. Zareb looked at his paper instructions and made steps to what he presumed was Twilight's Castle. Would he see the Princess today? He hoped so, but he also knew that Equestria had changed in a good way, and many of the Princess' tasks forced her to Canterlot where Equestria was ruled from. Maybe one day he would visit there, too. He approached the castle from it's grassy front yard and looked up at it. "Ngome kubwa," he muttered to himself, basking in the glory that was the crystalline fortress. He saw what looked like the school in the corner of his eye, adorning it's famous waterfall collection. He wondered why he was asked to come here first. Outside the castle, there were no guards. So he walked up the steps at opened the big front door himself. He peeked inside. "Hello?"
  2. "Make way, make way!" Never let it be said that Prince Blueblood didn't have a flair for spectacle and making an entrance. His showiness was often only restrained by an aristocratic sense of dignity. Some occasions, however, were sufficiently large as to overwhelm any hesitation, and this, well... This occasion was as big as the Sphinx the Prince was currently riding on the back of through the cobbled streets of Canterlot. "Behold, Citizens, the great Marvel of the Southern Desert Lands!" The Sphinx's name was Niilavin, and Blue had encountered him while accompanying the Sultana of Saddle Arabia on an archaeological dig. Apparently, one of the old Pharaohs had enchanted the great desert cat, and subsequently petrified him upon his own death. By donning the amulet that had been used control Niil, Blueblood had broken the petrification spell, and become Niil's new master. As the giant cat hadn't yet adjusted to the new norms of civilization quite yet ("No, we don't eat our enemies, we befriend them! Bad boy."), it had been decided that the safest thing to do would be to keep the enchantment going, while the Prince took Niil back to Equestria, more or less to housebreak him. Blueblood being Blueblood, however, he couldn't help but use the opportunity to show off his status. So, taking a few souveniers home to dress himself similarly to a Pharoah of old, he now Paraded down the main streets and squares of Canterlot, showing of his new pet and his new bling to all and sundry. Faust only knew what the papers would make of this...
  3. Sand. Sand everywhere. For the third time since coming out to the dig site, Princess Bluebelle tried to discreetly cast a little spell to banish every bit of grit from the interior of her fashionable khaki clothes. Her self-cleaning magic, developed over the years as the neat-freak of a unicorn royal dealt with the unavoidable contacts with the dirt and dust of the real world, was usually quite effective, but she felt now that there was always at least one bucking grain that was lodged somewhere sensitive. Perhaps it was just a psychosomatic reaction to seeing the vast plains of sand outside the habitable areas of Saddle Arabia. Normally, the Princess would never venture outside of the beautiful gardens, lush fields, and picturesque streets of the horse Sultanate, but as one of Equestria's most prominent diplomatic ponies, her visits usually were spent in the personal company of royalty or major leaders, the Sultana in this case. And among the duties this Sultana took upon herself was the ceremonial dedication and tourings of the many archaeological digs delving into the history of her country. And that history was fascinating, of course, but Bluebelle still silently lamented the geography. Still, ever the premier diplomat, she did not let her good grace or smile falter as she accompanied the ruler. "I'm afraid I haven't read too deeply into the myths surrounding this dig; your country just has so many. Wasn't there something involving some kind of... sphinx, was it?" Bright, curious eyes; interested smile, and temporarily pristine coat gave all present the impression of the Equestrian tourist, of the more respectful and respectable kind, of course!
  4. If anyone asked, this was Prince Blueblood’s idea. How had no one thought of this before? It was perfectly brilliant, as far as he was concerned. Personal diplomacy, to him, always was the most efficient way of going about international relations, bypassing bureaucratic hurdles with a monarch’s prerogative. Of course, most monarchs were busy with their own country’s affairs most of the time, leaving little time to convene with their fellow crowned heads across the lands and seas. Which was where their technically-powerless relatives came in! After all, what was the point of being Royal if you couldn’t do something important once in a while? Build bonds of international friendship, sort out issues locked in legal intransigence, and party like only Princes could! All in all, not a bad way to spend a weekend. Certainly, Blueblood looked forward to the following few days with pleasure more than worry, which was more than could be said for many of his recent diplomatic ventures. After all, the Gallopagos was a pleasant place, and his beach house was spacious enough to comfortably host the siblings of the Empress of Long Guo and the Shogun, respectively. Blueblood blinked, pausing in the middle of having his mane brushed. Was there someone he was forgetting? He had a horrible feeling that he was; either an invitation he had sent out, or a notification that he had received. Who? He had a vague picture of something draconic… a dragon prince? Discord? Discord disguised as a dragon prince!? He shook his head decisively, and returned to his packing. Best to let his staff know to set up another bed, that was all. It’d be a bit snug, with four of them, but he was sure they could manage. After all, nothing could majorly go wrong, right…? From the instant he thought that, the Equestrian Prince knew he was going to be worried all the way over to the islands. Sighing, he returned to his business, wondering how the others were preparing to see him...
  5. It was always a bittersweet thing, coming back from a vacation. On the one hoof, to leave a wonderful place is always hard, but on the other hoof, to come home is always a welcome sensation. Of course, in Prince Blueblood's case, neither sensation was simply that. For one thing, the tropical paradise he and his marefriend had returned from turned out to actually be the new home of Queen Chrysalis and those changelings still loyal to her, making it a kind of 'love farm.' One that had admittedly been run in a totally benign manner (aside from interventions from Discord, another matter entirely), but still, a bit unsettling to find out, and a bit of a relief to leave. Coming home, though, meant having to put the manor back in order after the master's absence, always something filled with multiple small, annoying, but necessary bookkeeping and personnel tasks. This time, however, the normal swarm was led by a buzzing bee of abnormal size, one which the Prince had to keep under his bonnet until the cook returned from his own vacation. Or rather, if the letter he received was to be believed, her own vacation. Yes, there would definitely have to be a talk between the two of them...
  6. Winter would be horrible without Hearthswarming. In fact, without Hearthswarming, Winter would probably be eternal! It had been so long since the days of the Windigoes running wild that most ponies tended only to think of winter as a time to play in the snow, feast on stored food, and cuddle up with loved ones in a warm house. And, when that got old, they just got up and made winter go away. Just how amazing a triumph like that actually was could all too easily be taken for granted. And up until recently, Prince Blueblood had taken it for granted. Just one more day in the Canterlot social calendar, with associated duties: go to see (and be seen) at the Annual Play, attend all right parties, give just the right amount above the expected amount of bits to various charities, and the like. Recent years had changed that. And changed him. Not only was he striving to be a better pony than he had been, but he’d traveled wider, and gained new perspectives. In particular, his recent diplomatic trips to Whitescar had shown him just how much open doors, open hearths, and sticking together actually mattered, when one couldn’t simply wrap up winter. So, this year, Blueblood had decided to pull out all the stops. He’d take a page from the aristocrats of old, and hold a feast open to all comers, whatsoever their class, nationality, or species. A bold step, for a pony noted for their snobbishness, but certainly the right move if one wanted to improve their reputation after being so noted. Upon mentioning this plan to his marefriend and Honor Guard, Star Crusader, she suggested that Blueblood use her own family seat in Fet Loch to host this gathering, as the country setting would be slightly more appropriate to the old-fashioned celebration that he was planning. And thus, the Prince set off for the northern marches of Equestria… ~***~ “Is everything ready?” It was the seventh time today that Prince Blueblood had asked that question. And the answer was the same as it was the past six times: the cook was in the process of whipping up the feast, the Duchess’ manor was ready to receive any influx of guests, and the weather pegasi had the snow falling right on schedule for a white Hearthswarming. But… the guests weren’t here yet. Had he not sent out enough invitations? Had he not made them obvious enough? Public posters had seemed a little vulgar to him for this sort of thing, and it would have been folly to put them up in Canterlot if a diverse group was what he wanted. But surely, ads in the major papers would have been enough to get the word out. Maybe ponies just didn’t want to do this sort of thing anymore? All the old celebrations and rites, the Coverly dance, climbing the greasy pole, snapdragon and plum pudding… had Equestria left such things behind? *Or is it just me?* If the Prince had to be perfectly honest, that might be the reason he hadn’t seen guests yet. After all, perhaps being snowed into an isolated house with Blueblood, of all ponies, wasn’t their idea of a good time, especially for Hearthswarming. Or maybe he was just being paranoid. After all, the holidays had barely begun. Time enough for the guests to arrive for the festivities...
  7. In all the annals of Equestrian History, few dates are as significant as Hearthswarming Eve, for it is from there that the history of pony unity is said to begin. While this originally meant unity between the tribes, traditions later grew that would encourage unity between the classes, as well. For example, in literature and legend praises were sung of the lords and ladies who would throw open the doors of their great houses to all comers for feasting, song, and revelry! Sadly, with the decline of the aristocracy into a class of rich urban snobs, such great traditions seem to have fallen by the wayside. Regretting the passing of these old and better days, Prince Blueblood has decided (partly as a way to rehabilitate his own reputation) to revive the tradition of the Grand Hearthswarming Feast! With the assistance of the Duchess of Fet Loch, who will more or less play hostess to the comers, the halls of the great country house shall be bedecked with holly and thronged by ponies (and non-ponies) of all stripes and classes, to celebrate the great winter holiday. Such, at any rate, is the plan.... So, I basically got the idea after reading a bunch of 19th and early 20th stories centering around English Christmas traditions, and though it would be a good idea to start up a thread centered around them! Think of this as a sort of mini-semi-official-event, open to spin-off threads and the like. I just wanted to have something on the site about the holiday coming up. Hopefully, I'll have the OP up sometime around early December, ready for everypony who wants to get in on some winter festivities! I'd like to gauge interest here, as well as take suggestions for what sort of things people would like to see and do here.
  8. It didn't look good. No matter how Prince Blueblood looked at it, Baron Hardhoof's schematics smelled funny. Mixed metaphors aside, he knew perfectly well that the water and sewer infrastructure on that side of Canterlot was just not built to support residential housing of that density. And yet, had the council raised a single objection, or even so much as entertain the question? No, they even ignored the repeated letters that the Prince had sent to the Editor of the Canterlot Chronicle! Though, to be fair, the newspaper had only printed one. *If it looks like a slum, and smells like a slum...* Blueblood was vain, perhaps, and one could with justice cast aspersions on his intelligence. But buried under an over-inflated ego was a real sense of local patriotism, and a connection to a long political legacy. Not that the government of these days payed attention to Princes of the Platinum, hmph. And ponies wondered why some of their number turned to more direct means.... He could feel the weight of the Garnet in this pocket; the relic and key of his own superpower. But no, not yet. For what he planned to do, prep work would be needed. Investigation, either to unearth definitive proof of Hardhoof's nefariousness, or some clue to his vulnerabilities. Then he would be struck with the true Beauty of Canterlot! This was a beautiful city. There would be no ugliness growing like parasitic fungus upon it, not while Prince Blueblood, or Royal Platinum, had anything to say about it! Right now, the Prince awaited his summoned investigators. How many would come? Depends on how many would take his summons seriously...
  9. Scions of the Royal House of Blueblood had never been known for their patience, and as far as Princess Bluebelle was concerned, this whole thing had gone on long enough! All things considered, it was hard to impute her impatience as a vice. After all, when one has been born as a Prince, living contentedly as one for one's entire life, to suddenly be made a Princess by magical accident was a little disturbing, to say the least. Princess Twilight had been working on a reversal spell, but the unusual circumstances under which the transformation took place (involving a sneeze messing up a healing spell), made the research slow going. And in the meantime, several circumstances had been wearing down Bluebelle's ability to wait. First was the fact that the transformation was bizarrely inconsistent. While most of the time, she was a mare, from time to time she would revert back to her old body, which necessitated constant re-adjustment of everything from walking pace to wardrobes. It was quite trying. But perhaps even more disturbing was the fact that such reversals started out as very common, almost daily, but had slowly become more and more infrequent. This started to breed a worry in the Princess that if measures weren't taken soon, the transformation might turn out to be irreversible! Which would be terrible. *Gah! I need to focus! It's even starting to affect my mind now.* So it was, after a good few months of putting on a good show of taking her change calmly, Bluebelle took matters to rectify the situation into her own hooves. And, after an intensive few days of research (on the part of her secretary), she felt a solution might finally be within her grasp... ~***~ "We can't be lost, that's impossible!" Dressed impeccably in tailored khaki, Bluebelle frowned and fumed at the old map she was levitating in front of her. "I can find a small island in the trackless oceans! Surely one temple in one forest can't be hard to find..." The expedition to the Leota had not been hard to scrape together. She had royal funds, as well as an honor guard to serve as traveling companion and protector. But once she had let slip that she was going hunting for an ancient magical artifact, said to be held by an all-stallion tribe that once lived in the Leota, she unexpectedly found her party increased by one, a mare from EPIC. Not that she minded the extra protection, but she could not imagine what on earth any potential villains would want with a statuette that turned mares into stallions. Well, except smashing it to spite her. "Are either of you familiar with finding your way through forests? Because I think we've passed that tree before." She turned to her traveling companions, sizing them up for likelihoods. Star Crusader, Bluebelle's honor guard, had proved to be a resourceful mare in the past. It was this secure unflappability and readiness from the gigantic pegasus which had first caught the royal figure's admiration, even before Blueblood had seen what she looked like underneath the bulk of her armor. The help she had lately given her in dealing with her current situation only increased that admiration, and Blue had come to trust Star implicitly. The other mare, Rubble Rose, was more of a cipher. For one thing, she was neither talkative, nor silently expressive in much of any way. In addition to this strong, silent attitude was the fact that... it really didn't make a lot of sense for her to be here, as far as the Princess could see. EPIC surely had more members available that were better suited to wilderness adventures... unless they anticipated some difficulty in breaking into the temple. Then it would make sense to bring along an urban demolitionist. *Is there something else, though, that I'm not seeing? She had personally requested to come along as soon as she heard that we were going to an ancient temple....*
  10. Unless one is a total coward, or a total pacifist, holding one's own in a fight was an essential skill. As Prince Blueblood was resolved not to be the first, and lacked the mental and moral fortitude for the second, some training was in order. A lot of training, actually, in light of his recent 'diplomacy' in Whitescar. To this end, he'd asked a friend of his to help him brush up on the basics. He'd reserved the back gardens of Canterlot palace for the purpose, since the grass and flowers would provide a softer landing place than the floor of a gymnasium. He wondered, briefly, if it would be worthwhile to install a training room in the manor while he waited for Java to arrive... ~ And as if by queue, the stallion arrived. He'd announce his prescence if he could, but his jaws were currently occupied carrying a rather heavy duffle bag for his little tutoring session today. He was being lead by one of the castle guards whom held the typical aloof expression. Though this did lead the stallion into wondering about something. Did the prince just do this often enough that the guards paid no mind? Or had he reframed from alerting the guards of his activities to prevent a crowd. But then... his eyes turned to their destination, where he could see the Prince waiting... in a field of flowers. The stallion's brow quirked a bit at the unusual location. Sure... the flowers might be softer than a gym mat. But if the prince was so concerned about keeping up apperances... he should be glad that the stallion he invited was carrying something that doesn't say "This is a date and not training." ~ If the Prince was not caring about appearances, it was a sign of how nervous he was. Misconceptions were one thing, but pain was quite another. The prospect of pain was at this point more of a worry than the prospect of rumor circulation. What that said about Blueblood's courage was for a psychologist to analyze. "Ah, there you are Java. You may leave us, officer." He waved the guard away, probably not assisting his case. "Did you come with a lesson plan? I wasn't sure where you were planning to begin." ~ The stallion looked back to the guard who was leaving. He could of sworn he saw his expression cracking. Looks like the barracks will have some racy story telling happening tonight. The stallion shook his head some and then finally dropped the bag to the ground. "You... didn't think about this location did you? I kinda knew that stallion back when I was in the navy. So... in his eyes... a prince and a stallion - whom's barndoor is know to swing both ways - alone, behind the castle?" The stallion waited, giving the prince a flat stare. He waited for some signs of that sinking in before finally sitting down and giving a light nod. "But yeah, I came with a lesson plan. My sister and mother might end up killing you if I don't get you practicing some of the basics. These things I'm gonna show you are technically designed for earth ponies. But it applies just as well for the other two races." ~ Blueblood returned Java's flat stare with a blank one. It took a minute for the little hamster in the Prince's head to get the wheel up to speed, before realization dawned. "Eh, what? Oh. Oh!" The unicorn sighed, being a little too high-bred to actually face-hoof. However, it was too late now. He'd just have to deal with... whatever story was cooked up by the guard to explain this situation. Saying that he'd brought Java here just for 'sparring practice' would probably not help the situation in the slightest. "I didn't expect you to try to teach me magic. I'm actually half-decent at that part, it's the rest that I'm rubbish with." Vain as he was about his looks, Blue was honestly humble about his skills. At least, after his due humiliation at the hands of the Caribou King. And Sigrun, for that matter. Being swatted like a golf ball will knock the cockiness out of any pony. ~ The stallion lowered his head down, and bit down on a zipper, and pulled it down the length of the bag. He was only half listening, only because he actually expected to hear this exact thing the moment he stepped up to the palace gates. "Right right..." he hummed as he now bit down on a sack and gave it a light tug. There was a sound of shuffling as a few items spilled out of the bag in the wake of netted bag of tennis balls. "So... firstly I'd like to ask a few questions," he mumbled around the bag. He then set it down and pulled it open. Tennis balls were a really good training excercise when it came to teaching ponies how to move, and dodge. Raised reflexes, and in some cases taught ponies how to deflect oncoming punches if they were too scared. It was a win reguardless if done right or not. But... Java wasn't working with a boxer... or a fighter. No... he was working with the prince... so that required a lighter touch. "How good of a dancer are you?" ~ Blueblood blinked at the question. For a moment, he wondered if Java really had something like a date in mind. This was not a notion he wished to overly encourage. "Well... decent. It's one of the many things expected of a Prince." The tennis balls he saw emerging from the bag only served to deepen his confusion. "Look, I'll admit I haven't been to many dojos or whatnot, but... really, what in the name of Tartarus is all that, and what does it have to do with fighting? Or dancing? and what does dancing have to do with it anyway, I didn't ask you here to dance." ~ The stallion tossed it up in the air with a cheeky grin. "Well you don't have to get uncomfortable with the question, Blueblood. I think we established already that I don't exactly have any romantic interest in you. Annnd if I did, I think I'll be a red smear on the wall if Crusader found out." He paused at that. Then thought about it. Blueblood really was the mare's first date. Would she be furious? Maybe? "Er... actually I don't know about that... BUT POINT IS..." he quickly blurted out. He caught himself, gave out a light cough, and started again. "The point is... fighting is a lot like dancing. There are stances, your hoofsteps, your holds, your tosses, your ducks, your wances, et cetera. Your hoof and body movement are going to be incredibly important in later lessons and survival." "So... it's imperative that we get you started on this now. The fact that you can dance means I can actually skip ahead a bit. But I need to know how far." ~ Admittedly, yes, Java had said that, but one could never be sure. At least, Blueblood never was. Chalk it up to vanity and habit, but the Prince always subconsciously assumed that any expression of attraction in the past, even just a look, was something that had to be kept in mind for all future interactions. Living among the neuroses of the upper class had probably warped his judgment on that point, but that was probably why he'd been attracted to Star Crusader in the first place. Her stoic countenance was straightforward, rather than enigmatic, coy, or disingenuous. Although, that didn't provide him with any more knowledge than Java about how she would react when the inevitable rumors reached her. That would probably depend on how much she took after her mother. Yeesh, disturbing thought. The Prince banished it to the back of his mind, forcing himself to pay attention. He nodded along to the explanation. "That... that makes sense." He began to stretch his legs, loosening up in preparation. "So... the tennis balls?" ~ Java felt it absolutely unnecessary to bring this to the Prince as lightly as possible. He signed up for this, and he knew that he may end up with some bruises. The stallion raised one up and looked to the stallion with a deadpan serious expression. "I'm going to throw these at you." He waited for some time, before continuing. "Your goal is to keep as light on your hooves as possible, and try to dodge as many of these balls as you can. But... if you want to improve, you're gonna have to dodge them with as little movement as possible." ~ The deadpan delivery at least served to make the matter relatively clear. Even the Prince wasn't completely dense. "Oh, alright then. Seems simple enough." He'd handled tennis balls before, though he'd never actually played the game. Thus, he knew then as light spheres of fuzz, and not as whizzing projectiles ricocheting from the court. Hence, the relaxed expression as he prepared himself for the initial test. "You may begin when ready." ~ The stallion blinked, wondering if the Prince actually knew the difference in strength that a good number of earth ponies actually had over pegasus and unicorns. But... he seemed fairly confident enough. That said... the stallion decided to start it off on "easy" mode for now. He scooped up another ball into his wrist, now creating two possible projectiles. He gave the pair a squeeze to hold them in place as he reared back. A second later, his body lurched forward, hurling the two balls at the same time at the awaiting stallion. But perhaps now would be a good time to annotate what easy mode is. Easy mode details the rate at which balls were thrown... and not speed. So... that being said... Java might have accidentally sent two balls hurling at the Prince... as hard as he could... as fast as he could throw them ~ Until a sufficient time of training shall have passed to trump one's inborn instincts, or to put it more bluntly, until a pony conquers his bad habits, he defaults to them. Thus, instead of dodging, Blueblood immediately threw up his hooves to guard his face, trying to deflect the balls with magic at the same time. Since his eyes were covered, this did not go well. "Ow..." He waved his left forearm; the impact stung. "Ah... let's try that again, shall we? I didn't think they'd be that fast." ~ The stallion gave an understanding nod, and waited for the stallion to get himself situated. "Alright... here's a bit of advice. Do not focus on the ball all the way. Focus on how my hooves are moving the moment I let go of the ball. Then how it moves for just a second. Don't follow it. It's path won't change much after that." ~ "Right.... watch the hooves, not the balls. Got it." Nodding at the sage advice, he readied himself once again. This time, it worked a bit better. He didn't flinch automatically, though he only dodged one. "Mph.... didn't think they'd leave a mark." ~ The stallion sent another set out after waiting for the prince to ready up. "Relax... you'll get the hang of it soon enough. And then we can move faster. Now... get your feet moving. You don't have to stay in the same position." ~ They say the third time's the charm. In any case, the third time, Blueblood didn't get hit. Granted, the way in which he dove head-first to dodge was probably not the most efficient use of his energy, but his alertness was high, at least. "Ptuh!" He spat out he bit of dirt that got into his mouth. "Well, that's a bit better, I suppose." ~ The stallion blinked as he watched the prince eat that dirt. This... might take longer than he had initially expected. But, at least the prince is showing signs of improvement. That is always a benefit. "Er... right. I'm gonna ask you to stay on your hooves. The last place you want to be in any sort of fight in close range... is on the ground. Good way to give your opponent domination over you." ~ "Oh... er, right." The image of a certain caribou jarl standing over him, sword in hand, was more than enough to drive home the wisdom of sensei's words into Blueblood's head. He got to his hooves with alacrity, brushing them down with a bit of vigor. "Well, at least I'm starting to see why it's all gone wrong for me before. Don't know why my parents neglected to give me lessons." ~ The stallion tossed a tennis ball up in the air, and caught it with the opposite hoof as he reguarded the stallion for a moment. "Well... Equestria is mostly at peace. So... the need for learning how to fight is slim I'd imagine." He then thought for a moment, "Really, I think only Luna and Celestia knows how to brawl when it comes to the royal family." He then tossed the tennis ball to the prince. "Here, I think it might help to see another do it." he hummed as he kicked the rest of the sack towards the stallion. "Just throw the balls at any rate you want, then watch how I react. But, I want you to really watch how I move my hooves and where my eyes are looking. ~ Blueblood could not remember himself the last time he'd seen either of his Aunties 'brawl.' True, they'd fought, with magic, but that didn't seem to count. Especially since Celestia had still ended up captured by invading changelings. Twice. The Prince set his game face; he wasn't going to be subject to such a fate if he could help it. Not again. He picked up a few tennis balls out of the sack, picking up one with his hoof and two with his magic. "Alright, let's see how you handle this, then!" Java might have known that Blue had played cricket back in the day. He was not so good at the bat, but had been a decent bowler back in the day. The windup was elaborate, but the force with which he threw the tennis ball was justification for the odd run and hopping start. The other two followed after, somewhat irregularly. This would not be an easy pattern to dodge... ~ The stallion set his hooves in motion. His body bouncing on just the toes a bit lightly, never quite leaving the ground but almost like he was raising and lowering himself just by the toes alone. Java kept his eyes on the prince as he threw the first round of pitches. The first one caused the stallion's eyes to fidget when he noticed how quickly it left his focus, and entered his peripheral vision. Now, Java was actually surprised by the first pitch he had seen come from the buck. He had never really pictured him to be the star bowler for a cricket team. But... well this as proof enough. The next two... seemed a bit sloppier... but intentional. The stallion's body shifted to the right, just as his body dropped for it's next bounce. And just as his body rose up, the shift in the angle caused him to slide off to the side. His hooves all moved at the same time, hardly falling behind one another. It almost looked like he was just scating across the ground as he drew his hooves back under him. The first ball, whos impact would have been the right side of his body, now tore through the air in a curve passing his left cheek. On his next drop, the stallion skipped a beat when it came to rising back up. This time the next balls flew over his head and back. ~ Blueblood had to admit, he was impressed. He'd never seen a batter move like that before. Well, except for Willow Proudhoof when he knocked one of his leg bowls for six, but even Willow only had to deal with one ball at a time. "Ah... I think I see it now. It really is like dancing. More like a rapid tango than a waltz." ~ The stallion rose back up, moving a hoof to rub his left eye. That... came a little close to actually beaning him right in the eye socket. Yeesh. "That's right. But... push come to shove. If canes don't work for you, try pelting the poor sod with rocks." He grunted. Before moving his hoof a in a gesture to recollect the tennis balls. ~ "I'll keep that in mind." Indeed, given how much a hollow ball could sting, a solid rock would be quite the weapon. Of course, so would pretty much anything that came to hoof. "I've known wine bottles to work pretty well, too. I'm more likely to have them to hoof, given the sort of places I'm usually seen at." The Prince began to ready himself again, trying to get a feel for how Java had kept so light on his toes. He closed his eyes, trying to imagine music. A strain from some long-ago ball traveled through his brain; humming it under his breath, Blueblood felt his limbs loosen and free themselves. "There, now let's try this again..."
  11. Part 1: Where Blueblood Buys a Broach There was something in the very nature of Jewelry that implies something more solid than any other gift. It was unambiguous and conspicuous in its meaning, at least insofar as affection was concerned. Hence, to see Prince Blueblood in this particular part of the Canterlot shopping district was cause for the rumor mill to grind. He didn't seem to be particularly directed, in fact, currently he looked a little lost, looking in the shop windows... ~ Fleur was humming, she had cast some nice pieces, which were cooling, set in a few beauitful purple stones in a necklace, and was now sweeping the floor a bit, seeing the lost looking Prince in the window, she chuckled, moving to tap at the glass gently to get his attention. "Monsjourrrr You will have a better look einside zhe stoore~" ~ The Prince started, like a dozing bird that had his cage tapped. "Bah! Oh, um, Good day, Fleur. What are doing- do you work here?" Blueblood was first made familiar with the mare from her modeling career, but he'd heard that she'd chucked it to go back to an earlier job. Was this it? ~ "Oui Come on in ief you are looking for something! You cannot see zhem proper in zhe window~" She chuckled, going back to sweeping, she always thought the Prince rather cute ~ He paused to consider the point, but only for a moment. It was quite clear that he was going to get nowhere just staring into windows. The shop, of course, had the little bell that announced customers. "So..." He wasn't quite sure where to begin, as Fleur was something like an acquaintance. He was unused to knowing shop-ponies personally. "Well, I'm looking for something, though I don't know what, really, you know?" ~ "Oui! Eis it for you? Or for a accquaintance? Or perhaps" She smirked, batting her eyelashes softly "A mare you 'are 'oping to woe?" She teased, though knew what a flirt the other was. ~ Blueblood may have had a reputation for a flirt, though in truth there was some slight exaggeration in it. And he certainly received flirting with less aplomb than he was said to give it on at least one memorable occasion... Here, at least, he only gave a slight smile and cleared his throat. "Well... its not for me." ~ "Well Vhat does zhis other being like? Colors? Shapes?" She asked, moving to be behind the display cases, all glittering with a wide variety of jewelery ~ Blueblood looked over the Jewelry with the look of a complete amateur, to whom it all seems the same at first. "Well... It's hard to say. They, well, she... I've never seen her in anything... ornamental." ~ "So you would like somezhing a bit more subtle?" Her horn glew, and all the flashy, ornate pieces had their lids closed to not distract. ~ "Hm, Probably, though I don't know if it's possible to be both large and subtle, when it comes to Jewelry." Blueblood remarked, eyeing over the pieces. "She isn't what you would call a 'petite' mare; statuesque is the word I would use." ~ "So you want somezhing to accent her features? Perhaps a necklace?" ~ Yes... That would probably work." The Prince seemed still not quite sure, but Fleur could tell that he was now thinking more constructively. "I'm afraid I can only give you her basic colors, I don't know what sort of thing she wears when off duty. She's a... pale sky, whitish blue in the coat, reddish blonde mane." ~ ""HnN Well what are some of her FAVORITE colors? FOr instance, I am of a pale champagne color, and with light pink, but I do so adore a good red gemstone..." ~ Now came the hard questions. Blueblood's lips pursed as he tried to remember some, any clue, that would help him here. "Well... you see, I've not ever seen her off duty, so I've not really had a chance to see her preferences. I'm not even sure if she has any, especially." ~ "Zhen I suggest you get a tad more information before buying something so personal" SHe chuckled "Zhough maybe something small to test zhe waters? Like a Broach?" ~ The Prince let out a huff of air at that. "Well, that's no easy task, you know, with a bodyguard like mine! There's never point when I'm around her that she's not on duty, which makes sense, I suppose, but it makes it hard to bring up these sorts of things." Blueblood paused, realizing he may have raised his voice just a tad. "Sorry, but yes, I suppose a broach would be best to start." ~ She raised a brow at the raised tone of voice "Zhere is no need to shout at me mousiour.." She muttered, opening a few boxes of broaches, getting one that had a beautifully shaped sun, with a stone that seemed to EMIT light.. "It would go with her uniform.." ~ "I know, it's just..." He trailed off, then shrugged at Fleur. "I have no idea what I'm doing, really." The Prince had less doubt upon seeing the proffered broach, however. "My word, that IS impressive. She'd look marvelous in this... how, how does it do that? ~ "Eit is a special kind of stone, a Diamond Dog sold eit to me recently, it absorbs light and then reflects it out ward, it's simple and magical, perfect for a mare I do zhink" ~ "I should say so!" He pictured it in his mind, the light from the stone reflecting and making Star's armor shine with it's light. "You know, I believe I shall buy this. Thank you!" ~ She giggled "But ofcourse" Already wrapping it up to look like a lovely gift. ~ Purchases among the upper class were rarely a matter of cash payment. Merchants usually billed the noble House for their commission, and to be fair to the nobs, they rarely defaulted on their commitment. Taking the package gently with his own magic, Blueblood gave a little bow. "Until next time, then. Will you be at the Gala this year? I'm leaving Canterlot pretty often these days, and that's the next major thing I'll be in town for." ~ She chuckled "I will try my 'ardest to attend , If you are zhere I shall try even 'arder to " She winked at him, she was fond of the prince, she was sure they could be dear friends if given the chance. ~ "That is very good to hear. I look forward to seeing you there. And perhaps I shall be able to introduce you to Star." Blueblood was smiling. It was very much possible that they could be friends. ~ "I would love to! Oooh you could tell her as an extension of zhe gift you have reserved zhe entire jewelry store just for her browsing pleasure?" ~ Pursing his lips, the Prince had to think if Star was the sort of mare to enjoy browsing the store. "I... shall, yes. Will you be there to guide, though? I think she would appreciate somepony to talk with about this." ~ "Of course! Why else would I offer eit?" She flipped her mane a little bit "I'll help learn her tastes, to make sure you will know for sure~" ~ Blueblood smiled at that. An ally! Navigating the roads of actual affection was a new challenge for the Prince, and having somepony help in figuring out how best to shower gifts upon his favored mare was, in its way, a relief. "Very well then. Until next time, Au revoir." And with a bow, he made his exit. ~ "Au Revoir!" She called after him, making a note to her boss with a request for a day to reserve the shop, this should be the start of something wonderful! It was about time BlueBlood got a true relationship, one based on affection at that! She was proud of him!
  12. It was probably nothing. That was what Prince Blueblood had tried to tell himself when he'd heard about Princess Twilight's new student. After all, she gave lessons regularly when her schedule allowed, right? Community engagement, and all that. Surely, this was just a matter of remedial studies... Except, when Princesses took students, those students tended to matter in higher echelons of society. And, in his position, the Prince could not ignore new developments in that sphere. Hence, a trip to Ponyville. It didn't take him long to find the cottage where this... Novaburst was staying. Apparently, like Blue had suspected, he was one of several students Twilight had taken. Well, best just drop by to make sure everything was all right... And so, this morning, Prince Blueblood knocked upon his door. ~ The door opened and Blueblood could see all sorts of blueprints strewn across the floor, and stapled to the walls of the building. In addition he could see several cups of coffee (empty) on the floor. Prince Blueblood could also see Nova Burst was working on something, a mechanical device of some sort that had thin metal rods, and propeller like blades, and was attached to a saddle of sorts. "Hello Prince Blueblood. What brings you to my humble abode?" With that, Nova Burst knelt a little. The Horn Surges were decreasing in frequency, but Nova Burst knew he'd have to exert will power to keep them under control still. ~ Ugh, what a mess. Blueblood had known, and even befriended ponies with mechanical aptitudes, but none that let their workspace overtake their living space like a fast-growing mold. He tried to keep his face from being too clear in its distaste; bad form when one was a guest. And Nova did bow, at least. Most ponies didn't when he walked into a room, so point there for him. "Hello, well, I just sort of heard about you. Got curious. I like to keep on top of whoever's making attachments to the Royal Circle, don't you know." ~ "Well, given my situation was Dangerous to other ponies I had no choice but to seek out the help of the Princess of Friendship who is also a NATURAL when it comes to magic." Nova Burst sighed. Using a spell he quickly blasted all the coffee cups and levitated them into a trash can, and removed the blueprint paper from the floors, and walls before sighing. "All she's mainly been doing is helping me learn to control my magic which prevents barely controllable surges of magic that if left unchecked could hurt somepony." ~ Nova's outburst, both of voice and magic, caused Blueblood to back-step. Perhaps he should have called ahead. Yes, mental note, when visiting unstable magicians, give warning. "Oh, er, right then." Remedial stuff, as suspected. Still, it would look pretty dumb if he left now. "So, ah, besides that... what do you do?" ~ "Well, look at this..." Nova Burst gently levitated the saddle that had the propellers and thin metal rods. "This is a device I'm working on that could benefit Earth Pony, or Unicorns as they wouldn't need to continually cast cloud walking, or flight spells on themselves. I haven't yet figured out a way to power this device, but it should give the Earth Ponies and Unicorns a bit of aerial capability. It's not as good as the wings of a Pegasi, nor as stable. But it's a step in the right direction, I guess..." said Nova Burst. "During most of my time I invent mechanical devices." ~ Blueblood was... not a pony very interested in flight. He had a bad head for heights, and thus rarely had a need for cloud walking spells. And if he needed them, they weren't hard to get. Inventing in general, though, he had a vague interest in. He knew ponies in the field, and such. "Power devices, eh? Well, I suppose that's where you'll have to focus next. Should make the rest of your work easier..." He cautiously stepped closer to the workbench, looking for something in the blueprints that actually made sense to him. "Ever done any nautical devices?" ~ Nova Burst smiled. "Yes, but the blueprint is around here... somewhere." The entirety of the house was a disorganized and almost chaotic mess of blueprints, and living supplies. It would take an army of maids to clean it up well enough for a normal pony to find stuff because of the sheer amount of clutter. The work bench did have a blueprint for a nautical device, a sort of metal detector that could work under water but that was modified so it could detect not metal, but magical energy. "An idea I worked on, if I ever wanted to go explore under water and look for any magical items in the future. It can detect magical energy." ~ Blueblood shuddered to think what his head maid, a somewhat older mare with absolutely no nonsense about her, would do upon seeing this. Nova would be hag-ridden up and down the walls for allowing his dwelling to get into such a state, and after the phalanx had swept up his resistance, an occupying force would be left to bully him into cleanliness in perpetuity. Best not think about that. Instead, he turned his thoughts to the metal-detector device. "Oh? Interesting... I don't have any submarines, though. Always a little nervous about ships that sink on purpose. And those that fly, for that matter." ~ Nova Burst smiled, but noticed Blueblood shudder a little. "So Prince Blueblood, why did you shudder just now? I'm sorry my place is a mess. I've been busy trying to make friends, invent, learn to control my magic. I've been so busy I've not had time to clean up properly. Had I known you were coming I would have cleaned up the place properly and made it look more presentable. " There were strange glyphs of magical energy on the walls, and those would likely interest the Prince. "Do you know what those glyphs are?" ~ "Oh, I was just... thinking, about something." It would be hard for Blueblood to explain his imaginative ramblings to Nova; they were nowhere near that level of friend. "No, I don't know much about glyphs, actually. I suppose you're going to tell me?" ~ "Well, basically what they do is warn me the moment my horn decides it's time to unleash an uncontrollable burst of magic, so I can warn everypony to get clear if they're inside my house." A precaution Nova Burst had made after researching methods of alerting himself to the magical energy surges. This was a way he could warn other ponies, and prevent them from getting hurt until he could stop the Bucking Surges once and for all. With time and effort eventually he wouldn't need the Glyphs. They were a better solution than his horn cover. The Glyphs began to glow brightly as the conversation had distracted Nova Burst from controlling his magic as much as he should. A blast of energy shot out at Blueblood. Should it hit, it would change the color of all the hair Blueblood had to a mix of violet and gold, something that would be easy to undo. "WATCH OUT!" screamed Nova Burst, as the spell fired. ~ "Oh? Oh..." Blueblood began to inspect them a little more closely now. Warnings of magical accidents... he'd experienced a few in his time. Having an in-built warning system might prove very useful. "So, are they general application, or do they just work for yo-" Wait, why was that one glowing? POP! "YI!" He felt the burst of magical energy hit him, with a tingling sting, filling his coat and mane with static electricity. "Ah... ah... how... what?" He reached up a hoof to pat down his unruly mane, and received a static shock. "Ow! Uh... do you have a mirror about?" ~ Nova Burst sighed and nodded before levitating a large mirror over to Blueblood so that he could look at the mirror, and see what the damage had been. Hopefully it wasn't too extensive. The surges were a problem Nova Burst needed to solve, and he needed to solve now. Sure his lessons with the Princess of Friendship were helping, but they weren't enough apparently. He'd need to find a way other than the Horn Cover to force his magic into submission to his own will which was that it WOULD NOT surge. "Prince Blueblood. I'm so sorry. I'll accept whatever punishment you see fit for this.... mishap." If Blueblood looked he could see his mane and coat were now a mix of violet and gold. ~ The Prince sucked in his breath through his teeth at first sight. A shocking sight it was, at first, anyway. In an attempt to relax and calm down, he brought a small brush out of his pocket, and worked on his mane. There, no more dandelion on his head. Now, let's get a look. "Well... not the worst I've seen. Not by a long-shot, actually. At least I'm still the same gender." ~ "I'm sorry Prince Blueblood. I try my best to get those surges under control. Controlling them as you know can be rather difficult... at best..." said Nova Burst. "I did whip up a device that for a time helped, but in the long run actually made the surges worse. Is there any way I can make it up to you?" asked Nova Burst, lowering his head in shame at what he had done. ~ The Prince gave a deep sigh. Three or four years ago, he would have been livid, calling for an extended stay in the dungeon, and all that. But, after all that had happened to him, he at least got a little perspective. "No, I don't suppose you could have helped it. Unless you can program those glyphs to give more of a lead time." He shook his head. "Can you get my old colors back, or am I going to have to wait?" ~ Nova Burst looked at him. "I can try, Prince Blueblood. But it may sting a little..." Nova Burst then materialized a book on how to counter bursts of magical energy for the inept Unicorn and fired a spell from his horn directly at Blueblood. But the glyphs on the wall glowed even more brilliantly. For the spell had surged and gone wrong. Instead of it's intended purpose it would now cause all of his mane to fall out. Reprogramming the Glyphs to give an earlier warning would be a wise idea. "WATCH OUT PRINCE BLUEBLOOD. AVOID THAT BEAM!" ~ Blueblood stood still, and closed his eyes as Nova readied the counter-spell. Thus it was that he missed the glowing of the glyphs, and the yell coming suddenly only served to paralyze him. "Eh, what? OWWWW!" That was not a mere sting, it felt as if his scalp was on fire! "Augh... nngh, I... don't think..." He looked down. Down at a puddle of golden hair. Slowly, his pupils began to shrink, as his head rose to meet his gaze in the mirror. Bald. And purple. He hardly even recognized his reflection. "Ah... Ah... " Heavy breathing. His mane was a prize of his, lovingly conditioned and shampooed daily. This... this was a step too far! ~ Nova Burst knelt until his face was touching the floor in front of Blueblood. "I'm sorry Prince. I can't control my magical surges. It's why I train with Princess Twilight, to get the things under control. I'm learning some remedial magic, in hopes it may be enough to prevent what happened to you from happening to everypony I go around. Most of the time I can exert enough will power to keep any of my magic from coming out. But any time I use magic for prolonged periods, it seems to make the surges...act up. Especially as I'm not anywhere near fully trained in my magical abilities. So Prince Blueblood, I humbly await whatever punishment you see fit." Nova Burst then held still, awaiting whatever punishment the Prince saw fit to mete out for his hair falling out, and the spell going HORRIBLY wrong. ~ "Gai- gk, grk... grk... GAH!" All the inbuilt rage and frustration had blocked up in his throat like a deviled egg stuck in a carburetor. "YOU. WILL. FIX. THIS!" Blueblood was yelling, screaming, really, with the pitches he was vocally hitting. He was in Nova's face, not really listening to explanations, nor caring. "UNDO. THIS." He pointed at his own head, face a a rictus of fury. ~ Noticing the anger of Prince Blueblood, and his screams and yelling Nova Burst got frightened. Scaring Nova Burst was a bad idea on so many levels. For one thing, Nova Burst was a Unicorn. For two, he possessed high levels of magical energy. And for three, he barely had any control over said levels of magical energy. This caused another surge. This surge however was not like the others. It was not a mild spell, but a blast of energy. A blast of energy that would hit Blueblood with power akin to that of a Tazer, and give him a real shocking situation. ~ "AAAIIYYIIIEEEE!" And that was a scream, no if, ands, or buts about it. A very mare-ish scream, too; practically filly-like. Still, given that he was point-blank to a burst of magical force, it probably wouldn't cost Blueblood his stallion card. "Ah... ah..." He lay in a heap upon the floor, but not for long. Very shakily, he got to his hooves, rambling angry nonsense. "ArgleflarglerackenhshmakenBUCKINGAAAAUHGG!" ~ As he rambled angry nonsense, Nova Burst took a deep breath and started to count to 100. Once he had calmed down enough, he rose and looked at Prince Blueblood. "Prince Blueblood your honor. I respectfully believe it would be in our best interests if we were to seek out a Unicorn, or someone who could help regrow your hair and return your color to normal, who was not ME. For with my lack of control over my own magical ability... you might get tazed again, or your tail could fall out, or your coat. So please, allow me to help you find someone who can better resolve our current dilemma." ~ "Oh, Oh?!?" He was still barely coherent. "Oh. That's. RIGHT! You. Have. Done. E-bucking-NOUGH today!!" The Prince slammed a still-shaking hoof onto the workbench, making this jump and slide about. "You. Will. Go." Blueblood was biting off every word, struggling to put a sentence together. "I. Am. Not. Going out. Looking, Like this." ~ Nova Burst's emotions were like the ocean, shifting constantly. As he looked at Blueblood he felt sorry for the Prince. The prince had experienced the surges at one of their worst. Of course yelling at Nova Burst had made him lose control of his magical energy, and taze him. "I am truly and sincerely sorry My Prince. I will go around Ponyville, and look for a solution to your hygiene issues, so that we can have them resolved. " ~ The Prince's teeth were clenched, his body shaking with his own efforts to keep under control. Not that blueblood's outbursts were as dangerous as magical ones. Unless, of course, they happened next to a pony like Novaburst. Still, one had to keep polite. "You. Go. Do. That. Thank. You." Most grudging offering of gratitude in Equine history.
  13. All of Dunder's daily duties were completed, the kitchen was cleaned and all the food was cooked. Enough food to feed an army. At least, an army of workers that kept the wheels of the house turning. Now was Dunder's time to do whatever he wanted and he wanted to feel like a guard again. Out back he strung up a sack filled with cotton on a tree, a good analogue to test accuracy with his rapier. Currently he was taking his stance, thrusting with the sword, and recovering from each strike. ~ Blueblood, too, was headed out to the back. The autumn was passing through, soon to herald Hearth's Warming, and with it a planned visit to Fet Loch. As this visit was going to involve a planned match between him and the Duchess Star Breezer for the right to officially court her daughter Star Crusader... he was taking every opportunity to practice. This led him to the same training ground Dunder was in. He nodded at his cook, seeing him there, while brining out his own weapon. It was a dueling cane, essentially a slim rod of strong metal encased in ebony. He gripped it in his hoof, warming up with a few practice strikes of his own before speaking. "Out here regularly?" ~ Dunder was too absorbed in combat to catch sight of the approaching stallion. Each strike had to be precision, and each strike brought a bigger hole in the center of the target, and moe cotten strewn on the dirt. When Blueblood spoke, Dunder jumped. Normally he would have pointed the sword at Blueblood, but the voice of the stallion Dunder recognized in an instant. "Yes, yes." Dunder said, "Are you out here ever? I've never seen you use that cane." He said, the brown eyes tracking the path of the metal rod as it was swung, "I thought it was just for show." ~ "Hm, we seem to miss each other, then. You're usually cooking at the times I regularly practice." The Prince did a flurry of five strikes at the dummy, before planting the end of the cane in the ground and leaning on it. "And yes, I've been taking lessons from Star. I haven't been able to practice on any pony else though." He began to eye the rapier speculatively as Dunder held it. "I wonder... have you got time for a match before dinner?" ~ Dunder's eyes kept on the cane as it was planted to the ground, but when the stallion offered a match, Dunder grinned. "I've always got time for a duel." He said and brought his eyes to lock with Blueblood's for a second. Excited, Dunder's wings flared out, and he did a loop to land by the tree, pulling out two masks and a cap to make the rapier point dull. With a wing, Dunder tossed Blueblood one of the masks, "Wuldn't want to punch out your teeth!" Dunder commented, putting on his own mask and securing the cap on the rapier tip. "How hard do you want me to go, by the way?" ~ Blueblood smiled as Dunder looked into his eyes. It was good to have a friend willing to spar on short notice like this. Of course, there was the complicating factor of the fact that they were technically Master/Servant, but it was hard for Blueblood to feel that way, even when giving him orders. He caught the mask in his magic, fixing it on as he replied, in a somewhat serious tone. "I'm prepping for a match with Star Breezer. If I'm not good enough yet, I need to know now, and not later." ~ "Alright. I'll fight you like how I would fight Star Breezer." The mention of her name, it sent a shiver down Dunder's spine. "Of course, I'll try not to break any bones. Don't worry about me, act as if you were trying to kill me." Dunder took his stance on his hindlegs, one hoof behind the other, his torsofacing away from Blueblood. Rapier point trained on Blueblood's face, and free hoof right under the pony's chin. "En garde." ~ Blueblood took his own stance, gripping the cane slightly above the pommel, to balance out strike leverage with security of grip. Getting disarmed wasn't going to be a fun experience, but he wasn't sure he could win a fight of endurance yet either. When he struck, it would have to be hard. He kept on all three hooves, ready to move. Rapiers thrusted rather than slashed, so that would affect his footwork. Right, here we go... "En Garde." The first movements were fast, an opening thrust, a quick sidestep to the right, cane held ready to parry the next thrust. ~ Dunder was sizing up Blueblood. The thrust was good, enough to make Dunder catch the foible of the cane between the blade and the cup of the rapier, knocking the thrust off course. And with the step, Dunder stepped forward and to the left to stay lined up with his opponent. He was silent as he worked, pulling the cup hilt of the rapier to the middle of the cane, and dropping the point to make a thust for the thigh of Blueblood. ~ Blueblood reared to avoid the downward thrust, coming down to deliver a powerful strike at Dunder's withers, with another coming from the backswing. A potentially damaging move, but it did cut his mobility down to almost nothing for the duration, which could leave an opening to the quick and clever... ~ The cane point dropping and the pony rearing back was enough to telegraph to Dunder that Blueblood was countering. The point strike missed, but a quick trasnition from his hoof from low to high allowed the pegasus to protect his withers from the brunt of the strike. And the backswing was a terrible idea. To punish Blueblood, Dunder dropped his sword, and used his wings to get chest-to-chest with the royal pone. with one hoof blocking the unicorn's tied up forelegs, and his free hoof going for a punch at the ribs ~ There was no dodging this one. Blueblood had made an amateur mistake, and got socked on the ribs for it. A little late, he realized neither had put on pads, so he took the full, lung-emptying brunt of the blow. But he wasn't done. Being a unicorn, he was able to shift the grip of his cane from his hoof to his magic, ramming the pommel into the side of Dunder's head, trying to break out and retreat. ~ All the pommel strike do was make Dunder mad, mad enough to step his hindleg behind Blueblood's and grip the unicorn's barrel, twisting and falling to bring the two down, Dunder on top. But from there, Dunder tapped out on Blueblood and stood up, "Remember, don't ever put your body between your weapon and the enemy's weapon. And a good idea when closing distances is to grab and push the horn of the opponent, it's usually enough to counter a magic strike." Dunder trotted back to retreive his rapier ~ And the whole affair ended just as any pony would expect it to, with the amateur being quickly dispatched by the professional. Which, Blueblood supposed, was probably a good thing. Dunder had been hired partially upon the strength of his combat abilities, so it would be a troubling sign if he could be defeated by the pony he was supposed to guard. The thought, however, brought little consolation through the immediate pain and humiliation of being thrown and pinned. Still, the Prince got up quickly enough after, and the mask meant he didn't even have to spin dirt. "First point to you, I suppose." And second, third, and fourth according to the technical rules, but who was counting? ~ Dunder grinned behind his mask as Blueblood counted off the point. "Here, I'll make it a tad more interesting." He said while trotting back to his bag, he laid the rapier back in it's scabbard and pulled out his buckler, with a golden inlay depicting the sun. "I'll use only my buckler, you can use whatever weapon you wish. I only have a rapier, longsword, and parrying dagger, though." ~ Oh, boy. Was this a handicap? Or did Dunder know fiendish weapon tricks that could turn a buckler into a deadly offensive force? Heck, he probably did, but would he use them? Probably, actually. "I'll stick with what I've got." Blueblood said, eying the pegasus warily. "Have more practice with it than bladed weapons." ~ "You should attach a point to it. That way it becomes more effective of a weapon." Dunder said and held the buckler in his right forehoof, facing it towards blueblood as he assumed the same stance as before. "En Garde, when you are." ~ "It's a tool of self-defense. I'm not trying to kill any pony with it." Blueblood readied himself again, this time in a posture with a lower center of gravity. He wasn't being thrown again this time. "Besides, the point is not to make it look like a weapon." Practical education would be best for demonstrating what a heavy blunt object was worth in a physical contest, but first the Prince had to score a hit. "En Garde." His tactics were more cautious this time, feeling out how Dunder would use the buckler with a feint to the left, before a strike to his right leg. ~ The buckler stayed facing the cane. The feint to the left would have been disasterous, but a step back with the leg proved enough to void the strike completely. "Try not to drop your weapon too much while going for the legs." Dunder said, keeping his eyes on the unicorn. "If you want to know why, do it again." ~ Now was a decision point; learn a lesson in defeat, or try trickery for a chance at a sneaky victory. There was a slight pause as Blue thought this through, but he chose the lesson now, and victory later. Besides, whatever move Dunder used against him was a move he would then know, right? So, the Prince did it again ~ Dunder brought both of his hindlegs together to void the attack, and at the same moment, he threw the buckler right at Blueblood's mask, the shield colliding with the horn and the skull. Normally Dunder would have stopped there, but Star Brrezer was no pushover. In the temporary daze of Blueblood, the pegasus grabbed the cane weilding foreleg and the cane. "When you lower your body to make a low stike, it exposes your head more. If I had a sword, and a will to gurt you, I'd have broken your horn off." ~ "I... had a sort of feeling, you know..." Blueblood muttered through the pain and stars in his vision, "That you were going to do something like that... I'll take the lesson to heart, thank you." He wasn't quite so quick to call for a round two this time. Two points out of three was surely good enough for a before-dinner match, right? And showing up to the table with visible injuries would do no pony any good... ~ Dunder took off his mask, looking genuinely concerned, "Are you okay? I tried not to throw it that hard." On the side of Dunder's head, red liquid was creasing down the sid of his head, probably from the earlier pommel strike. ~ Blueblood winced under his mask at the blood, though the sight revealed under his own as he removed it was hardly prettier. His right eye was blackened from the impact to the eye socket that he'd taken, and the skin around the base of his horn was raw and bleeding itself. "I... think we both hit a little harder than is usual for a spar." ~ Drunder grinned, "Well, this is why we wear masks, am I right?" Dunder said and grinned, trotting back over to his sword bag and putting everything inside. "Sometimes you get hit. If it's a self defense situation, they might not be so easy on you. If it's any consolation, I made you your favorite food for dinner." [what is Blueblood's favorite dish?] ~ (Stuffed mushrooms and strawberry salad) "Mm, and also why more sensible ponies wear helmets, I suppose." The ringing in his ears hadn't yet gone away as he put away the mask and cane. "And thank you, by the way; I can certainly say I've worked up an appetite!" As the smell of the mushrooms wafted out of the kitchen and to the pair of ponies, Blueblood smiled. He'd certainly made the right decision in hiring Dunder as the household cook, but that brought with it another question. "Dunder... I have to ask. Are you happy in your position?" ~ The question seemed out of left field, but Dunder didn't think about it. "Well, yeah. You let me do all my food stuff and hardly tell me what to do more than what you want to have for breakfast." He stood up after tieing the bag closed. "And everyone teels me that my food tastes good. Also I get to cook whatever I want. Which taco night is coming up, by the way." Dunder said, tapping his hoof on the chin, "And telling mares I am a prince's head chef is pretty sweet." ~ "Hm." It was true, that the Prince had a rather lazies-faire attitude towards his servants, once they were hired. They largely trained themselves, handing down the skills amongst themselves from generation to generation. It was a whole different culture below stairs, one that recruited outside of those familiar with it about as often as the nobility took in commoners. And yet... here was Dunder. "I ask, because the last thing I imagined you finding attractive was the prospect of being a rich pony's servant." ~ Dunder suddenly stopped burying into his sword bag, then turned around to look at Blueblood. "Don't call me a servant again. I'm here because ponies need to eat, and should eat good food. Regardless of their upbringing." Dunder said, and began to get back into his bag, pulling out a dark green glass bottle and some bandages. ~ Right. So, apparently, Dunder dealt with matters in his situation incompatible with his character by ignoring them. He didn't like to be thought of as a servant, so he asked no pony to call him that. It didn't change the fact that his life was pretty much dedicated to the service of others, and a particular other at that, on a permanent basis. "Is that anti-septic?" The Prince asked, changing the subject while gesturing at the bottle. "I could use some when you're done." ~ "And It's not like I don't want my friend looking down on me. A friend who I want to work for because living alone in Cloudsdale non-stop working drives a pony a little crazy." Dunder started to shiver, rubing his hoof against the side of his head, smearing the red liquid on the side of his face. "Here, you can use it." Dunder said and tossed the glass bottle to the pony. ~ Ah, there it was! Blueblood smiled as he thought he finally got at the real reason, though it stretched into a grimace as the sting of the rubbing alcohol hit his broken skin. "That I can understand, I suppose. And you are a part of the house now, as much as any pony else. I know you've had... trouble, filling your own." The Prince wasn't sure if he ought to have said that, but... it was something he'd observed in his friend. Not that they'd really talked about it seriously, just in passing. ~ Dunder wasn't sure to be upset or not. Hiding it until later was probably the best option. So he just smiled at Blueblood, "Yes. And thank you. I do my work." He said, lowering his head. "Don't get any in your eye. You should also pat it down with something incase you want to cover up the bruise." Dunder said. ~ Subject broached... no explosion yet. Truth be told, this was something the Prince wanted to discuss eventually, but his own aversion to uncomfortable conversations held him back. Taking a kerchief from his pocket, he dabbed the wound, keeping his eyes shut. "There. The table's open for you, as usual. Unless you prefer the company of the common pony in the kitchen, a lot of the maids do." And Celestia knew, he'd never known Dunder to resist the charms of pretty ponies... ~ "Why can't we eat with you in the main dining hall? Are you just going to eat alone?" Dunder asked. Truth that Dunder didn't want to say, but he wanted things to change around the house. It'd have to be slow though, knowing how stubborn the unicorn could be. ~ "...Not everypony likes to eat with the m- well, me." Blueblood admitted, shrugging. "Besides, the big table isn't brought out except for guests; the house-maid and butler sometimes eat with me, along with a few of the honor guards." ~ "Why don't we all eat together? Like, if you don't want to then it's your call, but I don't see why not. We all live in the same house after all." ~ "Well..." He tried to picture exactly how many servants there actually were in the whole manor. The thought of hosting that many, who would either behave stiffly and awkwardly, or else descent into loud chattering... the prospect overwhelmed him, and Dunder could see that in his eyes. "Uh... perhaps later. Though I would like to talk to you over dinner." ~ Dunder could tell Blueblood wasn't open to the idea, so he shook his head, "Well, it's up to you. I prefer not to be alone constantly. I will eat with you. As long as there is wine involved." Dunder said, "I made sure that there was a portion of the budget cut out specifically for drinks." ~ Large changes should be taken a little bit at a time. It probably wouldn't have surprised any pony that Blueblood's philosophy tended towards the conservative in life, and to a certain extent in politics. Hence his relative unwillingness to discuss it over dinner. Though that might be less awkward than what he has planned... "Wine? Of course, old chap. Always have wine with dinner." It was good tradition and good sense, as far as he was concerned, although his grandfather's trick of downing 3 bottles of champagne in a sitting was unlikely to be repeated ~ "Good. If you don't mind, I'm going to go get my food, put my stuff away. I'll meet you in the dining hall." With that, Dunder spun around and trotted off. He wasn't sure why Blueblood invited Dunder to dinner. And in about 10 minutes, Dunder trotted into the dining hall. On one wing was a bowl of something steaming, and delicious smelling. On the other wing was a carrying-case filled with jugs of the deep red liquid. ~ Blueblood nodded, and took himself off to clean off the rest of the blood (and put a little something over his eye to cover the bruise and blackening). His salad and mushrooms were waiting for him at the dining table; courses would be served together this evening. He took his seat, waiting for Dunder. Seeing him, he nodded approvingly. "Properly decanted. Not that I should have ever doubted you." ~ "Yeah, I brought plenty." Dunder said as he took the seat next to Blueblood. If there was no seat there, he'd make one. The pegasus set down his food, chilli beans with sour cream and cheese. Next to that he slid the jugs of wine. "So, what did you want to talk to me about?" Dunder asked, politely waiting for Blueblood to commence the beginning of dinner. ~ Blueblood poured out a glass of wine for the both of them. They'd probably be needing it by the end of the night. "Well, a few things." He took a sip of his wine, trying to figure out how to best approach the matter. "You remember when I came to visit you, as Bluebelle, back in Cloudsdale, right?" ~ At first, Dunder was just going to take a sip of the wine. But after hearing what Blueblood brought up, Dunder downed the rest of his glass and moved on to pouring himself another. "Oh, how could I forget?" Dunder said, letting out a weak chuckle as he filled his glass with more wine. ~ "Right... not our proudest moment." Nor, perhaps, was starting the conversation out on this hoof. Blueblood decided to drain his own glass, to keep the keel even, before he continued. "See, here's the thing. You've always been on call, you know, for whenever I needed you to help keep my neck out of trouble, you know? But thinking over it, I mean, I realized then that you've been through a lot that I never offered any help to you for. And... that's not fair to a friend, really." ~ *Just one more drink.* Dunder thought, finishing off his second glass. "Sure you've offered me help. I mean, you gave me jobs that paid well and I did them. I got a share, that led to more work in the royal realm, you know?" Truly, Dunder prided himself on not needing much help himself. ~ "That's... not quite what I mean..." The Prince sighed, before biting into his salad. Dunder wasn't going to meet him half-way for this one, and truth be told, Blueblood couldn't blame him. "Because, you know... that's a business relationship. Any pony could have given you a lucrative contract! A friend's who you turn to for personal business." Another drink of wine. "You were there... for when I was learning how to not be a jerk. That couldn't have been easy." ~ "You're right. When you first hired me, you were a royal pain whose reputation preceded him and it was very difficult to work with you. I'd have probably punched your teeth out if Fire wasn't there to calm me down." Dunder said it how it was. "But I stuck around, because I liked pushing your buttons, then slowly grew to like you as a friend." Dunder went to diving into his food, silently pulling mouthfulls of the beans and tomato and hay mixture into his mouth. ~ Ooh, Blueblood could remember that almost-punch. Fire had not calmed Dunder as much as physically restrained him. At least, that's how the Prince remembered it after two glasses of red wine. "Glad to hear..." Another bite of salad. "Here's the thing, though... I know, back in Cloudsdale, I shouldn't have looked at all that. I know. But... I can't un-see it, you know what I'm saying?" ~ Dunder kept digging into his beans, picking up his pace. "What are you saying? You saw what you saw, and I know what you saw. You know what you did was wrong." Dunder said, his words slow and deliberate. ~ "I saw..." Blueblood opened his mouth, and then closed it. How could he go farther than this? Obviously, Dunder didn't want to talk about the things he kept secret, that was why he kept them secret! "Well, you're right. But it just occurred to me, that I'm probably the only one you could talk to now about any of that stuff without giving it away. More than it is, I mean." He was aware of how lame that finished, and so began inroads into a third glass, along with the mushrooms. ~ Before Blueblood could snatch up more wine, Dunder grabbed one of the jugs and began to drink from it directly. "Oh yeah? Sure, talk about my secrets, everything is on the fffff---" Dunder cut himself off, "Everything is on the table now." His words were getting more and more jaded. ~ The Prince now had a creeping sensation that he had wandered into a conversational minefield, and was now so far in that going back held just as much a risk of an explosion as going forward. "I've... you understand, I've gone through much of my life ignoring the pain of others. Well, that's not on, and you've helped to show me that. I can't just... leave it alone when I see it now. It keeps me up at night, wondering just what I can do." ~ Dunder felt some empathy when Blueblood mentioned staying up at night haunted by thoughts, but the pegasus didn't show it. "Ey. Don't worry about me, I'm good." Dunder's voice went calm and he even smiled at Blueblood. "What is it you want to talk about? Helping me? Why do you need to help me?" Dunder's voice was just beginning to get slurred. ~ "You're... part of the House." Blueblood's own voice wasn't slurred, but it was obvious by the care he put into not being slurred that he was drunk. "I'm... responsible for those in my House. Legally, I mean. If you're sued, the lawyer's on me. Part of... the contract. Law, y'see, the one you signed when you joined on. I have responsibilities... to my own..." ~ Dunder started to bust up laughing, the fit carrying on for a few seconds, and ended with Dunder burying his face in his hoof. "Is that what this is about? Some sort of legal concern? I'm not going to sue you, I'm not going to get sued. You just need to calm down." Dunder went back to eating from his bowl, which was started to get empty by now. ~ Uh... Well, that was something of an explosion, but caused by a squirrel that had suddenly run onto the minefield. "No, no, I mean... not legal... just... well, I just care for you, alright? And I feel responsible, now that you're part of the house, is all." There. He'd said what he had to say, and it would very likely have turned out fine if his drunk mind didn't let his mouth go on to say, "And I'll admit to being curious if that list at the end was what I thought it was." ~ Dunder was surprised. "You care about me? I never thought I would hear you say that." Dunder chuckled again, holding off on wine for a moment. "And you feel responsible? I can assure you, I'm not a lost kitten." The pegasus said and wiped a hoof across his snout. "And that list at the end of the journal? What do you think it is about?" ~ Blueblood nodded. "Strange as it may sound." He chuckled himself, hoping the humor of the situation would help it go smoother. "That's not a list of the ponies you slept with?" ~ Dunder busted up laughing again, this time even longer. The pegasus grabbed the wine, still chuckling, and poured the liquid onto his hoof, until it dripped down his foreleg, matting his coat. "Red hoofed." ~ Blueblood wasn't quite drunk enough to take his friend spilling wine over himself in stride. He looked at Dunder oddly, though he refrained from comment on the gesture. "Quite the list, then." ~ Dunder stared at his hoof, flexing his hoof and watching the trapped wine squeeze out of his coat. "Yeeeeeeah. Is that what's bothering you?" "I've always thought... promiscuity a dangerous thing." Blueblood resisted the urge to pontificate, and that was no easy task while under the influence. He could be a chatty drunk. "Particularly when it leads to some of the places it must have been. I mean, Duchess Star Breezer? that's not safe, man." ~ "Yeah, go through your whole life scared of everything. Are you just mad because it's Crusader's mom? I have hardly even gotten a hug out of Crusader." It was a reasonable concern, as much as Blueblood found Dunder unattractive. ~ "Not... mad, just..." He'd noticed, and remembered, that the list included Java and Star Breezer, but not Crusader. If he had to put it into words, it was just... weird. "I mean, I'm sort of friends with you, Duchess, and Java. Kind of weird to find out this sort of thing was going on without me knowing about it. What signs did I miss?" ~ "It's not that big of a deal. Java, his mom, and his dad are all giant pervs. It started with Java and just moved on the more I became friends with Java." dunder legitimately saw nothing swrong with the whole situation, and didn't understand Blueblood's concern. ~ Blueblood sat back, almost stunned at this level of casualness. "Should I have seen this coming?" From the angle of his head, he was talking to the ceiling, rather than Dunder. "Really, should I have? Does it matter? Well, I should think so! I know them well enough myself, do they do this to everypony, or is it just you who takes it so easily?" His head fell back down to look at Dunder. "Enjoy yourself, did you?" ~ Dunder leaned back in his seat, taken aback by the outburst of Blueblood. "It's just something that happened. From what I gathered, it's not a common thing that happens. I mean, Star Breezer is crazy, but she isn't going to make you do anything you don't want to do." Dunder started to feel more self concious. "Now I'm second guessing if I liked it." ~ Not a common thing... well, that made sense. Canterlot society was pretty quick to fix the label of pervert on the Duchess (though it rarely said so without circumlocution), but if it was as easy as all that to get into her bed... well, there would have been much worse labels being thrown around, sans verbal screening. "I guess... It's just... is that how you really want to live your life? With these things just coming and going like that?" ~ Dunder shook his head, "there's nothing better for me." He let the words hang for a moment, then downed some more wine from the jug. "I already have a plan laid out, so don't you worry." ~ Did he really mean that? Blueblood himself was in no position to judge whether this was a case of in vino veritas, or just the drink talking, but taking it all together with what he'd observed about his friend... that was probably what Dunder really felt in his heart of hearts. And for Blueblood, who really felt himself to be on the verge of something better... it was a little heartbreaking to think he'd be leaving a friend behind. "What happened to you, that made you think you were the unsolvable problem? I mean, in terms of sheer superficial hopelessness, I had you beat any day of the week!" The wine had loosened the Prince's own tongue, it seemed. His humility was becoming quite uncharacteristic. "There's a lot going right in my life right now because other ponies didn't take my opinion of myself at face value; and you were one of them! It's only fair that I ressy-reci- ahem re-ci-pro-cate." Words were becoming harder now. Was that, what, the fourth glass now? ~ Such was the way of wine. Everything became hazy and distant. Dunder's mind was only able to make out some shapes and forms from his memories. Why did he think himself the unsolvable problem? there was wine, after all. the pegasus finished his first jug and moved onto his second, having to supress another chuckle while Blueblood struggled with his enunciation. "You knoooooooow. I didn't take you at face value, that just lets you know that you should trust me. Maybe it's true that some ponies can't feel right unless they got a lot going for them. I think I am one of those ponies." ~ "Well... well, you've got me going for you." Blueblood nodded sagely at this observation, repeating it to allow it's wisdom to roll over his tongue once more. "You've got me going for you, and that's a lot. Anything that you've been willing to do for me, well, all you have to do is ask, old chap, and I'll do it and... and more. What is a Prince, if not generous to his friends?" ~ "Uhhhhh... A prince that isn't nice to his friends is a butt. so I guess you aren't a butt...anymore." Dunder looked a little confused, "And why would you be nice to me like this? There's no reason for you to do this, other than you being my friend." ~ It was the Prince's turn to look confused. "So... I need another reason?" His brows furrowed in the effort of drunken thought. Said effort eventually proved too much, which prompted a snort and the draining of his glass. "Pah, well, I don't know. I just want to, is all. I'm a happy pony, and I don't like thinking that others aren't as happy as I am." The Prince took a long, contemplative look at the jug, before shaking his head decisively. Enough for him. "Explain this... plan of yours, to me." ~ Dunder was having some trouble rememboring. "What plan? I have a bunch of plans. Not all of them you can be involved in, though." Dunder said, he was begining to look in the later stages of tipsiness, almost getting to where the wine would overcome him. ~ Yes... they were just about getting to the point where rational conversation was nearing impossibility. Soon, the butler would circulate the brandy and cart them off to bed. But before that... "Well, if you've got schemes to cure your loneliness... hic let a friend vet 'em first." ~ Dunder shook his head, swaying side to side as if he was weighted down, "Sorry, but I'd have to do that one alone. And telling somepony doesn't let me do that alone, right?" ~ Blueblood felt deflated, but at least he could rest his conscience in the fact that he tried. "Alright. Just... keep me updated on how it turns out, alright? And don't do anything stupid." ~ Dunder began to chuckle, "Noooooo promises." He said, a big smile on his face ~ Well, that was about all he could expect. Blueblood turned away from his friend, to stare at a snifter of brown, aromatic liquid that had somehow gotten there on the table. Brandy, of course. Right. He lifted the glass, in a silent toast to Dunder, and then slowly drained it. "I think... dinner is over... goodnight." The Prince was visibly swaying, trying to get down from the chair ~ The pegasus didn't have a chance to drink his brandy. Dunder shot up to his hooves, grabing Blueblood with a wing, helping the unicorn get down from his chair. "How about I take you to your room?" ~ 'Sloshed' was a pretty good word to describe the Prince's state, given how it felt as if a tidal sea were going up and down in his skull. It wasn't a bad sensation, except that it gave him sea legs on land, for some reason. "Lead the way! I feel almost up to running... but I don't think so... no, bad idea. No running in the halls." ~ While Blueblood was catching his footing, Dunder was casually flying overhead. "No running? You never said anything about flying.~" Dunder's forehooves behind his head, his hindlegs crossed as if lounging on an invisible couch. ~ "Hm..." A few steps later, and blueblood felt that he had found a pace that would not end with him tumbling face-first into a piece of furniture. "you... should be good, if... you're not too fasht." The Prince had by now given up the fight against slurs and stumbles, his only thought was to make it upstairs intact. "Needsh... I needsh to shtop drinkin sho muchsh. Heh.. yer a.. bad influenchsh" ~ "I am the worst influence!" Dunder laughed, his reckless flying seemed not to bother the stallion as he glided along, above and in front of the unicorn. "Are you s-sure I don't buurp have to c-carry your butt?" ~ "Shtop goin back and forth... you're confushing me." Blueblood set his face in a determined expression, and braced himself against an end table. "I... shpeshifically forbid you to carry my butt." And with this firm resolve, he set off... and managed to actually get to the staircase without incident. Attempting to actually get up the stairs, however, was a much more laborious process... ~ "I'm not going back and forth, ya fookin' ingot." Dunder said while doing just that, unaware of his own constantly changing flight path. In his mind he was just having fun. When Dunder reached the stairs, he bumped his head into it. "Oh, frig who put a staircase here? This wasn;'t here last time I cheched." The pegasus turned to face it, "But it's a nice staircase." He said while gliding his hoof over it, "So cool and relaxing~" Dunder said as he pressed his cheek to it ~ Blueblood was hardly finding the staircase relaxing. "Frustrating" would be a better word. If those bloody steps would just stay steady for five minutes...! Gripping the railing, he raised himself upon his hind hooves and began a sort of shuffling climb. "Hah, take that..." He muttered. One step at a time, he ascended, passing Dunder on the way. Or rather, he would have passed him had the Prince not stepped on the pegasus' wing, tripped, and sent them both tumbling back down. "Oww...." ~ Dunder was enjoying snuggling the staircase when something fell on his wing, the ensuing pain and panic sent him tumbling down the staircase with what felt like a large sack of potatoes. The two taking turns on which step they hit. At the bottom, in the pony pile, Dunder groaned loudly, his eyes going derp. "Cherry chimmy...changa...." The pegasus's head was swimming, and his stomach was churning, "That was one hlepphh of a flail. Please get off of me, potato-pone." ~ The storm of pain and confusion inside Blueblood's mind took a while to settle, much like a disturbed snow globe. When it finally snowed out, it left the conviction that trying again was not worth the effort. Also, lying on top of something warm and soft meant that it was safe to fall asleep. "Ah... don't thinksh sho. Nnniiight..." ~ Meanwhile Dunder was getting crushed by the weight of the pone, but in his inebriated state the pegasus didn't do much else other than breath laboreously on account of the extra stallion's weight. When Blueblood wished Dunder goodnight, Dunder only grunted out his displeasure, "Guuh." Was all he said before passing out too. [blueblood's gonna get spooned] ~ [Wonder what Star Crusader would say if she found them there.] And so, the two of them slept at the foot of the stairs. The maids consulted briefly on whether they should disentangle the Master of the house and send him to bed, but on further consideration, they concluded that one uncomfortable night would discourage heavy imbibing on his part for the future. [Makes a suitably comedic ending, I think]
  14. Drills could only prepare guards for so much. Repeated marches across a green, weapon strikes against an immobile dummy, and spit-polishing armor meant nothing unless they could integrate their skills, together with their comrades, to address a situation. What was more, these situations could come on at any time, practically without warning. Given the... recent performances of the guards of Canterlot during previous crises, Prince Blueblood was not convinced that their current training regimen prepared them sufficiently for such situations. Well, he certainly wasn't going to stand for that in his honor guard! Hence, the little exercise he'd come up with for today... "Guards!" He called them to review in his back garden. There were currently only two of them, Captain Star Crusader, an absolute titan of a mare, and Arcus, a recent assignment whose mettle Blueblood hoped to see demonstrated. "There will be an extra drill today. A test, almost a practice game, if you will." He held a dueling cane in one hoof, stalking back and forth as he addressed them, aping the style of a commander talking to his troops. "I have contacted a certain specialist to test our perimeter and personal security measures. For the sake of the exercise I will not give a name, or expected tactics. They will be trying, on their own initiative, to breach your watch and... inflict certain things upon my person." He frowned a little at that. It sounded wrong, but he honestly didn't know what was being planned on the other end. "The exercise begins now. I wish you good luck hunting. That is all." He nodded at them both, signaling them to return to normal patrols. Or at least, their practiced patrols given a heightened security threat. To be perfectly honest, Blueblood wasn't exactly certain how confident of their success he ought to be. He'd be the last stallion in the world to denigrate Star Crusader's performance, and Arcus had come highly recommended... But the "red team" was no slouch either. After all, one didn't become an Element of Harmony and "fastest mare in Equestria" for nothing. *I hope she was kidding about that green dye...*
  15. Edit: Thread is open! http://www.canterlot.com/topic/21737-to-serve-a-princeess-open-see-ooc/ I've been thinking; I would really like to flesh out Prince Blueblood's household with something more than mere NPC servants. He already has an honor guard, but there are plenty of other positions available, from clerk to cook! During this thread, Blueblood will still be dealing with being Bluebelle. Hence, the traditional form application letter from the household was sent out: The household of Prince Princess Bluebelle is in need of trained, qualified staff to compliment itself over these coming months. Positions have opened up and will be open to all able-bodied (and spirited) creatures, as long as they are capable and willing to serve Princess Bluebelle. The following application must be completed and will be reviewed by the Royal Guard, so please answer truthfully in full: What position do you plan to occupy? In what way is your service exceptional? Any previous records of similar work? ​ In retrospect, some judicious proofreading and editing might not have been a bad idea...
  16. Why, hello there! Always good to see a commoner take interest; it's been so hard to find anypony showing the proper respect these days. You already know who I am, of course, but for the sake of upholding the social pleasantries, allow me to introduce myself. I am Prince Blueblood the LVI, direct descendent of Princess Platinum, nephew to the Royal Sisters, etc. I've got dozens of other titles, naturally, but I've been told not to elaborate upon them unless asked. No doubt you have seen me around the Canterlot Social Scene. Admittedly, it can be something of a bore, but I like to think that when I grace a occasion or Gala- Oh. Right. About that... Well, if I'm being perfectly frank, a Prince has certain expectations of the deference due to him! The only thing was, so do most mares. The end results of a certain collision of such with a now-famous fashionista... are well known enough by now for me not to detail. Alright, I admit, my behavior on that occasion skirted social acceptability. By which I mean it hardly touched the right side of the boundary at all. But put yourself in my position! What exactly am I supposed to think of a mare who comes out of nowhere, without introduction, attempting to initiate a romance? It hardly indicates respectable intentions. In any case, due to Auntly decree I'm to try and avoid these sorts of misunderstandings in the future. And I am trying, really! Our newest Princess informs me that finding a few friends is the best way of going about this business, and I suppose she ought to know. I intend to follow her advice; I may be considered dense, but I know a jolly good wheeze when I see it. What? What are you looking at me like that for? A stallion can dream, can't he? Major Character Developments: Well, this happened. It's the last time I sneeze while Princess Twilight is casting a healing spell on me. I'll admit, it could have turned out worse. At least this won't go on forever... right? Profile: It has come to my attention that a fellow of good taste and breeding has taken it upon himself to represent me. How delightful!
  17. Prince Blueblood was three pints deep in the party, and sinking fast. He wasn't usually the type to get drunk in public; he usually just nursed one drink throughout the night and shot superior looks at the more soused ponies. After being caught up in the recent invasion of the Crystal Empire by Viking Caribou, however, he'd sought fortification of his tissues in Stalliongrad stout, which had set off a sequence of events that had led to him getting entangled in a cross-cultural diplomatic incident, and challenging a caribou jarl to single combat; surprisingly, not in that order. One would have thought that quite enough for one evening. But, the night was young, and his Royal Highness was just getting started. The incident, while somewhat embarrassing, had the quite unusual effect of causing the unicorn to think for a full half-hour on serious subjects. *Whitescar is poor. Viking raids were made to not have to be poor anymore. If Whitescar wasn't poor, we wouldn't have been raided. I can't fight off a raid, so I can't do anything there. But if I could make them less poor, they'd be less barbaric...* But how could that be done? The Prince had money, but he wasn't the best at using it for any particular purpose. However, here at the party were two mares he knew to be as wealthy as himself, and more used to wielding money and influence as weapons. They'd been caught up in the recent attacks, too. Perhaps... perhaps they could come up with something... Thus, here he was, leaning against a balcony rail, empty glass beside him. Blueblood had sent word via the waiters that he wanted to see Miss Frostlace and Miss Snowfall at their earliest convenience, on a matter concerning the prevention of further atrocities. He was feeling a little unsteady on his hooves when they approached, but he managed to keep a fixed smile on his face. "Ah, there... you are!" An exaggerated clarity of speech is the first sign of the non-sober, and given that he sounded like he was giving a recitation at an elocution class... "I suppose you are wondering... why I called you here tonight."
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