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PrinceBlueblood

A Princely Convention (ATTN: Dark Core, Pyro, Discord)

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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...

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A get together for Princes hmm? Certainly not the strangest reason for a pseudo political get together that Hēi Lián had ever heard of, but it was certainly up there. Still though, the heart was in the right place. From a political standpoint this could easily make relations between Long Guo, Neighpon, and Equestria stronger than they already were. From a none diplomatic standpoint? Free vacation to the Gallopocus Islands! And really who could say no to a trip to such a beautiful destination? Lián hadn't the chance to really meet Prince Blueblood during his first trip to Canterlot back during the Grand Galloping Gala. The qilin had heard...mixed reviews to say the least. But all signs seemed to point towards the Equestrian Prince being generally 'alright'. Lián would have to see for himself after all!


With his bags packed and loaded aboard the ship everything seemed to be in order! Clothes, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste. He felt like he was going down a check list a mother would make for their child when visiting a friend's house for the week. But it was better to have than need. Alongside his own belongings were two neatly wrapped bottles. Gifts as thanks for Blueblood's generosity. He was fairly certain it'd make a fine general gift as well once it was chilled and all of the guests were settled in. Speaking of settled in, he did hope that Sī Jīn didn't feel too put out that she couldn't attend. Not that it would stop her from watching somewhere in the shadows the whole time, he was sure. But that was fine, he just hoped she wouldn't be bored and would enjoy her own mini-vacation while doing her ninja thing.


The trip to the Islands was long but peaceful, the only 'trouble' faced along the way was a light rainstorm about halfway there. But the ship docked without any incident and the Prince took a pleased inhale of the tropical air as he stepped onto the docks. Beside him his bags floated on small clouds, breath magic at its finest, albeit most mundane. The qilin glanced around at the scenery, it seemed he may have been the first to arrive. That or the last and everyone else had already met somewhere perhaps?

 

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Ishi smiled to himself as he stood on the deck of the ship carrying him towards this meeting of the princes. He was excited for this, it had been much too long since he had last seen Lian, and he looked forward to meeting Equestria's Prince Blueblood. 

 

Too bad his guard couldn't attend, she could use a vacation like this. At least he was able to placate her some by bringing Shibō, the golem sitting on the deck next to him. 

 

The trip in and of itself was uneventful, which was a good thing, and it soon docked safely at the island. It seemed there was already another ship here, from Long Guo if he wasn't mistaken. Disembarking, his luggage was carried by his breath magic and by Shibō, though the dog could only due one or two as they were now. 

 

"Lian! It has been much too long. How are things going over there?" Ishi asked as he approached the other Kirin with a smile. "I trust your sister is doing well?"

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A confounding convention collectively covered with crowned princes, and soon to be one uncrowned prince who was looking to gain his own colors, was quite an event indeed. To miss such a parade of pampered, pompous patricians was, to say the least, dismaying. Ungainly as it seemed to invite the providential ruler of chaos and all its preceding peculiarities there he stood: confounded as to what the diplomatic heir of her sun-marked heiny had to win in such a game. They were not -- close, per say, but it was not to say he did not lend the perfectly coiffed colt of savoir-faire a divine reprieve from the stresses of monotony and the ailments of the ruling  class, not limited to constipation and inflammation of madness.

 

Though measured by its Arcadian style the Gallopocus Islands had been tainted by the leisurely nature of ponies who take advantage of a naturally warm climate. Here they needn't sit concerned over complexities like weather management or seasonal balances. Here it was always summer and ready to grow! What was important was -- was -- well why were they gathering? The obtained memorandum that meekly mused on the meeting of managing missionaries of Harmony from around the globe. Princes, as they were. Hardly in place beside the matriarchal madams who ruled much of the world, within reasonable context, so it seemed queer the younger sirs gathered here. Perhaps in secret to usurp power and position?! Though Blueblood hardly seemed the type. He was a might content under his aunt's rule and her methodologies that kept him fed and the country in peace.

 

Arriving on the backs of sea turtles, well one sea turtle appropriately named Bill, the draconequus stepped off his aquatic vessel dressed in a loud, floral patterned shirt, a straw hat and sandals that seemed more fit the local tourists than a prince. Though given he was the one that lorded over chaos it was more or less to be expected. Lowering his shades he pulled his luggage from the turtle and tipped him by placing a bucket of fresh kelp on his back. With that the sea bound reptile sunk back into the sea, content with it's nutritious reward.


“Well it looks like I'm not the only one invited.” Good. It wouldn't be much of a part otherwise. Or, convention, he supposed. “None of you seem at all dressed up.” Perhaps Spike's definition was off. Not a one was dressed like a superhero and he certainly wasn't as the advice at paw was to never gear up your first time. “ I'm guessing it's your first time too?” he leaned over to look over the Neighponese prince to whisper, likely pressing discomfort into the unfamiliar individual.

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Upon arrival, Blueblood would respond like an opening flower to the greeting of the tropical sun.  What a place!  Why didn't he come here more often?  The whole atmosphere waged friendly war against anxiety, routing it without a blow.  By the time he got to his guest house, he was whistling, and by the time his guests arrived, he felt ready to face anything, content in the knowledge that whatever came could only add to the loveliness and pleasure of this visit.

 

The first guest was certainly no refutation of his assumption.  "Aloha, Prince Lian!  We have had far too little time to get acquainted in the past."  He trotted forward, wide-brimmed straw hat his only accessory and shield against the sun.  "I trust your trip was not too exhausting?  Oh, and is that-"  He just caught a glimpse of Ishi coming up behind the Long Guo Prince, and so he bowed to the Shogun's brother in turn.  "Konichiwa!  And a good day to your dog as well!  Glad to see you've all arrived safely."

 

Well, for a certain value of all.  Blueblood was never fated to have normal or undisturbed get-togethers, and so should probably stop counting on them.  For, lo, coming upon the backs of great turtles, the harbinger of chaos had arrived.  A little non-plussed at the unexpected guest he certainly didn't remember inviting, the Prince could only muster.  "Well, I don't come to a place like this to get into evening dress every night."  He looked to his other guests, to see if they had any better inkling of what was to happen, or if they were as surprised as he was.

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When your tired appearance starts giving your husband flashbacks of King Sombra's return, you know it's time for a break.

 

Trying to wean baby Flurry Heart off nighttime feedings proved a harder task for Princess Cadence than she anticipated. She insisted on being able to do this alone without robbing Shining Armor of much needed sleep, but once sleep deprivation started affecting the Crystal Princess during the day, the stallion insisted his wife take a short vacation. Naturally, Cadence dismissed such concerns before embarrassing herself during an important state banquet. After being assured by the Crystal Ponies that they'd be fine while she took time off, Cadence finally agreed to a solo trip to someplace relaxing while Shining held the fort.

 

And what better place to relax in solitude than the secluded Gallopagos villa of Cousin Blueblood? Why, she hadn't gone on vacation there since her adolescent days, so that'd be a blast from the past! When prompted by mail, Blueblood indicated that there was a room available for Cadence, so what was she waiting?

 

The pink princess traveled light, bringing only a single suitcase. She dressed appropriately for the occasion: a colorful Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses. The walk down the beach to the ole' beach house was indeed a trip down memory lane; those bygone days where the alicorn filly built Canterlot Castle in the sand with Auntie Celestia's able assistance (it had been such a magnificent structure too before Cousin Blueblood carelessly blundered about and plowed into it). Cadence was so busy reminiscing that she almost didn't recognize she had made it to the front door!

 

So it was that the ringing of the front door bell signaled the arrival of a new royal guest.....

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Ahh, and as if on que there was Ishi! It had been quite a while since he last got to see him, or the Shogun for that matter. Lián made a mental not to try and rectify that as soon as he was able! The Prince smiled and waved as his friend approached. "Too long indeed, Ishi! It's wonderful to see you. Things are going about as well as one could reasonably expect. Yue's trying her hardest, as per usual. I try to keep her reminded not to over do herself, but ahh. You know how she is. How fairs your brother?" Before he could recieve an answer however, the arrival of another guest gave the qilin a small measure of surprise!


"Ahh, Discord! What a pleasant surprise. Yes, it indeed is my first time to the Gallopocus Islands. Even only having just set hoof on the shores, it already impresses me with its beauty." he said, gazing around at the tropical destination. There were beautiful beaches in Long Guo, but when one sees them often enough, others gain that much more beauty. It wasn't long after Discord's arrival that another voice came with greeting. Ahh, the host himself! "Heheh, aloha, Prince Blueblood. The trip was wonderfully relaxing, thank you! I'm sure we'll have a good deal of time to get acquainted during our stay." Lián gave a little bow of his own in return and a slight shrug at his questioning glance. He had simply assumed Discord invited. Though Discord inviting himself seemed like a thing he would do. Never the less, he was a welcome addition in this Prince's book. "What say we make our way to your beach home before we dive into too many pleasantries? I brought a gift and they are much better cold!"

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Ishi smiled as he listened to Lian’s response, nodding in mutual understanding of how Yue tended to be. Good thing Ryu had Sandā, he felt his brother would’ve ended up much like Yue otherwise. Probably worse, considering they already shared some similarities in their bad traits. 

 

Ah, but that was a thought for another time as a third guest arrived, and on the back of a large turtle, no less! The strange creature certainly had his attention. 

 

“Ah, so you are the Discord I read about? Pleased to meet you, I am Ishi Masayoshi, prince of Neighpon. This would be my first time here as well, yes.” He smiled back, not really worried about Discord’s proximity at the moment. His attention next turned to their host as Blueblood showed up and greeted them, the Neighponese prince returning the bow in kind. 

 

“Hello to you too, Prince Blueblood, I look forward to getting to know you.” He smiled, looking over at Shibō as the golem got his attention. “Ah, right. This is Shibō, my companion and protector.”

 

”Yes, perhaps we should head for the beach house, let everyone get settled in.” Ishi nodded in agreement to Lian’s suggestion, looking to Blueblood to lead the way. 

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The draconequus was certainly prepared for fun. He always had an ear for it. He pulled the invitation out of his ear and held it between is paw’s thumb and index. “Now you aren't going to tell me.l, as a prince, I wasn't on the list. Clearly this was no error and the prince I'd as inclusive as his auntie when it comes to parties~!” He cooed before making the paper vanish in a flash.

 

With a greeting from the two, younger heirs of leadership the spirit let out a laugh. He was quite famous and glad his more endearing qualities had come to the forefront of events! Blue was more than familiar. Afterall it had been at his aunt's urging the spirit be given a second chance to learn about ponies and their -- friendship. Being invited to parties was just another level of that! He flashed from Ishi’s side and reformed from the snaking husk of a fallen palm which looked to try and constrict young Lian! And so the creeping chimera would take his whole form and wrap the Longma in a big hug if he could before spinning him around and dipping him like a flamenco expert. He even had a rose in his muzzle and a sombrero on his head.

 

“Oh we can have a dance and other such fun without any mares telling us what to do!” Little did he know one currently near and by of the confines of the beachhouse. “Perhaps a rousing game of cricket?” He teleported back and held out a small cage with what looked to be a lucky cricket he would pass to the Longma prince.

 

The spirit was a flame with the possibilities Blue had in store. But this new prince! A face he has never seen and they seemed more willing to accept him at face value. ...good. he clasped his paws together, having since removed that bright shirt in lieu for a lei garland around his neck to better fit the appetite of the island scape. Floating around he would settle next to Blue, dangling upside-down. In his paw and claw a try appeared, upside up, with a cake on it.


“I bought a pineapple upside-down cake for the occasion.” Of course he gave it to Blue, upside-down and there it managed to just -- exist outside of gravity.

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Prince Blueblood knew by now that he would have to watch his head around Discord, given the way the Prince of Chaos would noodle his noodly self into all sorts of situations, and then convince you that it was all your idea and fault all along!  Nonetheless, he couldn't say for certain that Psmith hadn't happened to invite him along with the others, not having the written guest list with him.  Furthermore, with the other two Princes being so non-chalant and accepting of Discord's presence, Blueblood felt unable to really voice an objection.

 

"Very well, we'd best get along then.  There'll be an icebox in the beach house where you can chill those bottles, Lian."  Nodding to the Long Guo Prince, he smiled again at the little golem, before leading the way over the sandy path.  The soft feel of the warm sand beneath his hooves was therapeutic, and he felt able even to close his eyes to take in the sensation even more, having walked this path enough times to memorize it.

 

"Cricket on the beach?"  He chuckled.  "I could set up a wicket, but it would just be batting and bowling practice, as we don't have a full 11 team, let alone 22 for a game- hm?"  He blinked and stopped short just as Discord presented him with his patented upside-down cake.  He couldn't stop his hoof from touching it, which immediately dispelled the magic, sending the whole culinary confectionery tumbling right down upon his head!

 

*Splat!*  "Eugh...."  And, just when he thought that this all-too-familiar embarrassment in front of his peers couldn't get any worse...  "I hear a bell.  Is someone at the door ahead of us?  I can't see!  Aaggh...."

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Hmmm; somepony should have answered the door by- wait! There were voices coming down the path Princess Cadence just used to get here!

 

.....

 

.........

 

Welp, there was Prince Blueblood... with unexpected company that Cadence's cousin failed to let her know about beforehoof. Not that the Crystal Princess shunned friendship of course, but she had kinda planned for well... anything but this beach party Blueblood was apparently cooking up.

 

Alongside the Prince was Discord; up to his usual gravity defying tricks as usual. There was also a qilin whom Cadence recognized as Prince Hēi Lián of Long Guo. The other qilin Cady didn't recognize; probably a Neighponese dignitary of some sort if that small canine golem beside him was any indication.

 

This all begged the question of why they were all here. Why didn't Blueblood ever bother to warn Cadence that he was conducting diplomatic business?

 

*sigh* Typical, really.....

 

Once Cadence vented her annoyance at her cousin's forgetfulness with a sigh (the others were too far away to see her do it), she purged any lingering trace of negativity from her system and summoned a pleasant A-grade smile. "Blueblood!!!" the alicorn over-eagerly waved hello; "So nice to see you again! And it looks like you brought some surprise guests as well..."

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Oh? Discord was a Prince? Well that certainly was news to Lián! Though news that altogether wasn't that surprising to tell the truth. Though he did wonder if her was the literal prince of a part of a nation, or if he simply meant Prince of Chaos? Or both for that matter. If the former though, where were his holdings? The qilin bet that they were just as delightfully...eclectic, as the draconequus himself. Speaking of the draconequus himself? Where had he gone? He was by Ishi's side for a moment and-A small airy squeak came unbidden as Lián was suddenly snatched up into a hug! Oh, there he was. The prince chuckled as he was spun and dipped expertly, taking it quite in stride. After all, he did enjoy a dancer or two. "Humorous and charming! You make a fine friend indeed, Discord." Lián said with a smile as he bowed, gently taking the offered cage. "Xièxiè, I will do my best to take care of them!" Ahhh crickets are wonderful, such delightful noises on warm nights.

 

As the group walked along the beach path, Discord eventually presented Blueblood with a precariously floating cake...which was immediately poked and dropped upon the poor royal's head as the magic faltered. Lián couldn't help but to laugh softly. "Well, let us all be thankful it wasn't hot fudge, ah?" with a grin he stepped over and carefully removed a chunk of the cake from around Blueblood's eyes. Both so the stallion could see...and so that Lián could have a chunk of cake! Nom. "It's quite good too." Amidst the silliness, a voice ahead by the beach house came. Oh? Well this was unexpected. More so than the arrival of Discord he might argue. "Ah! Hello, Princess Cadence. It's been quite some time, I'm sorry that we hadn't the time at the gala! What brings you here this wonderful day?"

 

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Well, this truly was still a collection of princes, it seemed! Wonderful! Not that Ishi would have chased Discord off otherwise, he was more than willing to let others join in this merriment regardless of any royal connections. After all, his own claim to princehood was a bit questionable, or at least he thought so. Sure, he was part of the ruling family, but a Shogun was not quite the same as an empress or a princess. Not that he was going to complain, he enjoyed his position.

 

Those thoughts were soon pushed out of his mind though, as a series of antics from Discord drove him from quiet snickering at Lian’s new dance partner to straight-up laughing as Blueblood was covered in cake. This certainly was turning out to be an enjoyable time. 

 

“Oh, Princess Cadence? It is a pleasure to meet you.” He smiled, giving a friendly bow to her. “I am Ishi Masayoshi, brother to Shogun Ryuichi.” Another addition to their ranks it would seem. Well, the more the merrier, as they said. 

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Discord was beside himself with laughter. In fact, he was! As he leaned forward, doubled over by his mirth, another him supported his weight, also leaning to the side, slapping his knee. The pair of tittering spirits had double the time as the cake covered Blue in a delightfully sweet syrup. Upside-down cake was always messy, but in the case that the cake was unable to remain upside-down: twas when it became its most sloppy! It was not until the sound of Cadence’s oblivious voice did the spirit have a most monumental idea. His ears pricked up as the two draconequui looked to one another. This muzzles pull back in a sharp-toothed grin, the most predatory of gazes.

 

Oh dear.

 

The spirits stood tall and grasped paw in paw as they shook on their wordless and shady deal. The surrounding fellows did not have to wonder long before the left noodle stood to the side, allowing the right to walk down into his extended, noodle shaped shadow. The draconequus made a set of exaggerated motions and zipped the shadow up before snatching it from the ground. He snapped the dark, cloth-like void fabric in the air until it was a perfectly round object. Laying it against the ground it took the shape of a hole that seemed to go down for eternity. He pulled back his feathers and fur like little sleeves before kneeling down to reach into the empty space with his claw.

 

His dramatic display seemed to go on forever, but Cadence would have not taken but a step after calling to Blue before the manic monarch of cajoling chaos pulled a shapely shadow from the fathomless depths of the void! Also known as Manehatten! Dropped with an audible clip clap: steel shodden hooves would step into the light like a beast emerging from Tartarus itself. A cloak of red swallowed the coal-black pelt as emerald eyes blinked rapidly to view its surroundings beyond the silken, black curtain of mane which seemed more like a billowing raincloud that swallowed clear skies during an impending storm.

 

But the storm was here.

 

Of shadows and monsters the prince of chaos has summoned a wight of unprecedented measure. Heads above the average build of a unicorn, this crowned Lord of Lusus Naturae was a harborer of rekindled vision and strength. No longer did he wish to become monster, but embraced by his promise to honor the one who had seen so much for him, the one whom he let down like no other. All aside the shock and confusion of marching through the darkness into an unfamiliar light had the expected result of the king stepping, blinking into the sun as if he was reborn. Or just sunblind.

 

Obsequious to chaos as Discord seemed he took a step toward creating a harmonious balance that could only be predicted by the most stalwart of diviners and purveyors of fortune. Because it was O Fortuna herself who allowed such a meeting. What better way to steel one's resolve than to face those which you hast, in the past presented yourself as the enemy? For what? Crystals? Power?

 

….love?

 

Discord slithered back after his act of prestidigitation and did to peel a ring of pineapple from Blue to munch on it. He sucked his tooth and chuckled. “It's sweeter on you Blue.” Disregarding entirely the fact he had… “Oh I hope you don't mind,” the spirit pardoned. “I brought a plus one.”

 

A plus one?! Pulled from the depths of a nightmare, at the brink of a breaking point this slippery serpent who stupendously scorned the self-determination secured by Sombra… for what? A joke?! He wanted to boil over, feel enraged yet … he could not. That two-timing, troublous, tyrant of tricks had done him a favor. He had no qualms with the beguiling serpent's interference. He had, himself, not had the displeasure of being center stange of the god-foal’s display of overpowered antics and games. It made him considerably less wary of the prince of fools.

 

“Am I… intruding?” The king requested of the host only to blink those glittering gem eyes. “What is this?” He looked around at the gathering. Amongst the princess the king was feeling a bit… superior. It was through no intention to hate or be arrogant but something about this seemed…

 

Like some sort of princely convention. Quite a number of youthful faces in once place and a sense of nobility. He would have continued to think so until Cadence came into view and the Good-King Sombra stood still.

 

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Cadence!?

 

Cadence.  Of all the ponies that could have seen Blueblood in his humiliation... why was she here!?  Blueblood hadn't invited her to the conference... had he?  The unicorn suddenly became worried; after all, he hadn't handled the invitations himself, exactly, as the actual writing of things were what secretaries were for!  But surely Psmith wouldn't have scheduled her visit for the same days of the conference-

 

The ironic smile of an aristocratic troublemaker was summoned to Blueblood's mind's eye, and he had to admit that this sort of thing was the sort of thing Wordsworth Psmith might do. Who needed a god of chaos when one's secretary had a sense of humor?  With a bit of a nervous laugh, he felt a chunk of cake and frosting be removed from his eyes.  "Well, er, this was all sort of a surprise..."  It sounded feeble, even to him.

 

At least Lian was keeping his head, making for a much more charming greeting.  Apparently, the qilin thought the cake good too... the Prince darted his tongue out, and found him correct.  "Would you like some?"  He made the offer to all present, but extended his hoof to Ishi first.

 

Of course, it wouldn't be a visit of Discord without the host totally losing control of the situation, and what happened next Blueblood couldn't have planned any contigency for in the least.  Frankly, he gaped at the summoning of Sombra, a bit of pineapple dripping from his horn to land perfectly upon the white Prince's tongue.  Not that he had objections to Sombra in the abstract; not having personally suffered at the umbrum's hooves, and having had to rehabilitate his own reputation, he rather sympathized than otherwise with the dark pony's plight.  But... 

He shot a quick gaze to Cadence again.  Timing, timing, baaad timing.  Disaster loomed, the only thing to do was interrupt it.  "Well!  Er, glad to see a new arrival!  That's the last bunk filled too; we'll have a full house!  Jolly good.  Now, I'd show you to your rooms, but I need to take a bath now.  The hot and cold bathing pools are outdoors, you know; island springs and the like.  Communal, too, so if the long journey's gotten to you, it'll get the dust off."  There, hopefully the prospect would divide ponies, and Cadence could use the excuse to do what Sombra wouldn't, avoiding a collision.  

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So that other qilin turned out to be Ishi Masayoshi; Shogun Ryuichi's brother. Princess Cadence heard of this stallion before, so thankfully there was no need to inquire about his duties. Meanwhile, Prince Lián asked that one million bit question that Cadence assumed was on her cousin's mind. "Well you see," the alicorn focused her gaze on Prince Blueblood; "I sort of, you know, fell asleep in the middle of an important banquet, what with the baby and all. So everypony asked me to take some time off, so then I wrote Blueblood here asking if I would be able to stay here and relax a few days, and I hope there's still a room-"

 

Cadence's concerned rambling was interrupted by an act of Discord, who used this occasion to... summon a plus one? The Crystal Princess was left startled when after a moment, she recognized this new unicorn for who he was: King Sombra. Of course, the former lord of monsters had since reformed, but time was still needed to heal the lingering sense of awkwardness between the two rulers.

 

...That, and a good long bath.

 

Well, at least Cadence needn't worry about whether she still had a room. "Yeaaaah," she tugged at her Hawaiian shirt; "I think I need one of those too..... anyway, it is nice to see you all here. An unexpected pleasure, but pleasurable none the less! Heh heh... I should get going now." With a parting hoof wave, the alicorn mare followed Blueblood to join him at the baths. One dip in a pool and some deep calming breaths, and Cadence should be all good to go.....

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Oooh now things were certainly getting interesting. Princess Cadence's presence here was an unexpected turn of events to be sure, but as she said it was an unexpected pleasure. She certainly earned her vacation here too by the sound of it. Lián pondered on just how difficult raising a child must be. And the Princess' was an alicorn as well, was it not? Normal foals were already hoovesful, one with that kind of power must be a nightmare to take care of at times. But if Lián had a bead on Cadence's personality, it was one she cherished...But even Saints need rest now and again.


Speaking of rest, it was about time for the group to continue on to the house, he hoped. As much as he loved mingling with everypony, the Prince was sure they all were eager to slip into the shade and take a load off for a little while. Before that could happen though, and before Cadence could even finish a sentence, it seemed the Discord had some mischief to manage! Admittedly, Lián knew little about Discord or his magic, save for what he had learned during his short stay in Equestria. He seemed the prankster type, always willing to push the envelope as long as he could, yet all and all as harmless as a kitten. Sure he was a kitten with reality bending powers, but he was still mostly harmless.


This new arrival that the draconequus conjured however was unknown to him however. He was a handsome and well dressed unicorn to be sure, one that Cadence at the very least seemed familiar with. A past lover, perhaps? No, no, too early to draw conclusions. The qilin smiled and dipped his head to the regal looking pony. "Oh I'm certain you're not intruding at all. Hello! It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, I am Prince Hēi Lián of Long Guo. It seems that Discord decided that you could use a vacation too." he said with an amused chuckle, what a whimsical creature the noodle was.

 

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Well, it seemed like everypony here could really use a vacation.  Of course, if things kept going they way they were going, Prince Blueblood felt that he would soon need a vacation from this vacation!  Ugh, bad thoughts, banish the bad thoughts which stuck to his brain like frosting to his hide.  A bath would cure all that, give him time to collect himself.  The hot springs were calling his name, he could feel the pore-cleansing steam already.

 

"Alright then, come along.  I think you'll be impressed by the onsen, Ichi, and I believe you quite enjoy such things as well, Lian?  I think everyone will get along much more smoothly after a nice soak."  Might take more than hot water to put it all under the bridge as far as Cadence and Sombra were concerned, but anything that would lubricate the stuck gears of that reconciliation had to be a good idea!

 

The springs themselves were tucked away behind a rock formation, shielding it from the beach house and providing a secluded area for guests to bathe.  Some clever landscaping had gone into making the pools look all natural, even though some work had to be put in to keep the hot and cold baths separate.  The Prince wasted no time, easing himself into the hot pool, letting the stress and pastry slough off him with a sigh.  That's better, just a half-minute with his eyes closed in the water, and he'd be ready to face the world yet again...

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Well... things seemed to be getting a tad tense around here. Ishi didn’t really recognize the newcomer, though the kirin decided to look him over as he idly munched on the cake offered to him by Blueblood. As long as there was no trouble, he supposed there was no need to be rude. 

 

“Greetings, Sir. I am Ishi Masayoshi, prince of Neighpon.” He bowed slightly to the dark unicorn, smiling slightly before following Blueblood towards the baths and entering the warm one with him. Letting out a satisfied sigh, he relaxed against the wall of the bath, closing his eyes a bit. 

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Discord had his ways. He had his plots and he, certainly, had his games. He really reached into his hat for this one. Why he had yanked the former King of Monsters from hiding was a questionable move. Floating just above the touch of ground the draconequus slid about against the will of gravity like a piece of ticker tape stuck to a cat's tail. His body flowed effortlessly like the focused flow of water, though his movements simultaneously erratic. His red pupils focused on Lián with amusement.

 

Appearing behind the qilin prince he held out his forelimbs to shrug dismissively. “Everypony could use a little love in their life, wouldn't you agree?” He’d regard the qilin prince. Though no truer sentiment for Discord such comments were oft not swallowed easily with a spoonful of sugar.

 

There was always something key behind his quips and passing banter.

 

Blue was out on edge, but that would be where he was to be held along with the princess of love. If all went according to plan, and he knew it never did… he'd see some interesting results either way. His ears pricked up at the mention of an onsen, the male spinning about and appearing beside Ishi. Around his neck hung a towel while around the chimeric serpent’s brow he wore a shampoo visor. He was all set for the aquatic excursion! Grasping his paw and claw over the hanging ends of the towel a bathing caddy manifested beside him with all the noodly, bathing essentials, which included a rubber duck.

 

It seemed a different aquatic avian since before the last!night “Oh look at my new Duck Bluey Blue!” Discord hurried after the stressed stallion.

 

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The prince of chaos was quick to settle in the water, his rubber assistant floating around with a tray of snacks atop its head. When Discord was prepared for bathing: he was prepared for it. Sombra, on the other hoof, was leagues out of comfortable territory. What with being hauled across dimensions to his current location he was particularly passive despite the potential for panic. His head turned to Prince Masayoshi. S brow would slowly arch as the large, ash black stallion took in the greeting. Despite his downgrade from conqueror to Equestrian lore: the Crystal citizen was no worse for the wear and never lost that edge he claimed in his forced monarchy.

 

Placing his right hoof forward the large unicorn stallion bowed his head politely. Politics. “Sombra.” He'd offer. “Citizen of the Crystal Empire.” Former dictator, current and reluctantly accepted, reformee.

 

Though he continued to search for her… to repair the damage of his escapades: twas no easy task regaining the trust if the Empire. Not that it had ever trusted him.l, mind you. The deep seeded love his Empress had given him was shunned in lieu for the pain and suffering that slowly shattered him. The thoughts gave him no measure of peace. Instead the guilt drove him to repay all that she had afforded him. In many ways Cadence reminded him of her. But she was still a young and foolish empress under the guidance of the Equestrian princesses. They too had always been close to the Empress so, in that, she was fortunate. His ears folded back as he cocked his head.

 

A natural pride radiated from the dark king. It was bordered by the arrogance of s power he would no longer touch, had he not the need. “We should not keep our host waiting.” However reluctant a host to his displeasing presence Prince Blueblood was. “Tell me…” he turned to march to the onsen, curiosity twisted by the presence of the chimeric prince of chaos. “This is no ruse spurred by the machinations of a god-foal, are they?” His words were hushed as to not around the suspicion of the noodly noble.

 

But was he even a threat these days? He seemed a petulant foal who had to get his way now matter the cost. The only difference, Sombra could see, was he was on the princesses’ leash. Discord, the figure in question, held out a pink shampoo visor for Blue to try on. It seemed, despite the cake troubles the spirit looked to make amends with peculiar gifts of fancy.

 

The visor in question was often used at onsens in Neighpon! He picked up a few delightful toys while visiting. Particularly the mochi cakes that the rubber duck floated by on the platter upon his head.

 

Quack!

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Ahh yes, now that sounded like a wonderful idea. Onsen had been gaining popularity over in Long Guo for a while now. And the few times that Lián had the chance to visit one turned out to be just what was needed after a long stressful day...or week. When Discord appeared behind him, Lián turned to face the draconequus with a smile. "Right you are, my friend!" whether Discord's words held another meaning behind them or not, the Prince certainly agreed at surface value. The qilin was unaware of just what sort of things that Sombra had done, but if Discord trusted him that was good enough for him.
 

The trip to the onsen was quiet. Well, quieter. Things were never truly quiet with Discord around! Not that this was a bad thing really, but one could feel the film of awkwardness still hanging in the air, even as everypony settled into the warm water and steam of the onsen. The Prince made sure to leave the cricket's cage by the door. Wouldn't want the poor things to overheat! The quite hung in the air, even as Discord honked his rubber duckie. The heat of the spring would surely melt the ice sooner or later, but there was no harm in breaking it early. "Sombra, you said you're from the Crystal Empire yes? I've yet to have the pleasure of being able to visit. Is it as beautiful as travelers seem to suggest?" Sure, Lián could have fielded that question to Princess Cadence, but it didn't take a god of chaos to see that the unicorn felt awkward and out of place. Nor did it take much for Lián to know that, while Discord probably savoured those awkward feelings, that there was a method to his madness. Perhaps Sombra and Discord were kindred spirits. Maybe what both of them really needed was someone willing to be their friends.

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More by custom than anything else, the onsen was segregated by gender.  Cadence had apparently chosen to stick by that custom, which was admittedly no bad thing, as far as Blueblood was concerned.  There was a certain type of camaraderie that could be especially fostered between stallions, and it was this that he had especially hoped to cultivate between all the Princes (and one king) present at this resort.  Perhaps even a closer friendship than that, but one thing at a time...

 

After a half-minute of soaking, Bluey's eyes were ready to open once again to take in and face the world.  The world chose to appear to him in the form of a bright yellow rubber duck.  The Prince considered it with all the seriousness he gave to a new vintage presented him for tasting, or a cummerbund prepared for a formal dinner.  A minute's considered judgment was sufficient to render the verdict: "A most excellent specimen of its kind, Discord.  I congratulate you upon your find."  It was a mark of a good diplomat that he could say such things with a straight face.

 

Another such mark was the ability to foster amity and communication between two or more third parties at a conference or negotiating table.  Sombra represented Blue's most challenging opposite number to date, but he considered himself grateful that Ishi and Lian alike were willing to engage.  That would make this whole thing so much easier.  Smiling at each of the eastern Princes, he donned the offered cap, a necessity for the protection of his golden locks.  He let the mochi cakes pass by, as a host should let the guests take their treats first.  He knew it would remind Ishi of home, though he wasn't sure if Long Guo had similar treats.

 

Well, why not ask?  "I trust you've had these delightful little things before, Lian.  Are they common in your country's cuisine?  I'll admit, most restaurateurs in Equestria are a little vague about the differences between Neighponese and Long Guo foods, unless they happen to be immigrants from either country."  Food was a good icebreaker, universally.  Both eating and talking about eating were popular across all cultures, and the subject could often be relied upon to stimulate a conversation of interest.  Not to mention, the offering of food as a gesture was fraught with meaning in a good way, a solid sign of welcome.  Levitating one of the mochi cakes in his magic, Blueblood presented it to Sombra.  "Do try them!  Quite unique in taste and texture."

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