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PrinceBlueblood

Changed from the Journey (Private, Dunder)

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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...

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Returning home was supposed to be a time of gracefully resuming one's work and responsibilities with a sense of rejuvenation. This time, Dunnie was eager to resume work as a cook of the royal house because her time on vacation left her more stressed than relaxed. She mostly was alone in her cabin, only coming out for "essentials" while dodging others.

 

Maybe going straight to such a public and romantic place so quickly was not a good idea. Surely, she thought, getting used to a life like this would be much easier at work where she was practically family with everypony else there. Or so she thought.

 

She unlocked the front door with her key and entered, only taking a few steps inside before glancing around. Same as normal. Her eyes rested on a guard for a moment, to whom she shyly looked away with her head lowered to trot in the opposite direction.

 

"YOU THERE!" She jumped as the thunderous voice behind her broke the silence. "How did you get in here?"

She spun around, "I, uh... Used my key?"

"I know all the ponies who have the house key, and I don't remember you." The guard squinted his eyes at the mare "Actually, you look familiar. You look like you could be one of their sisters or something."

"Well, I can go back to my room. I have pictures of me and Blue--" she cut herself off when remembering the nature of the pictures, but the guard was not having it. He shook his head.

"Sorry, but you aren't allowed in here." His voice carrying a slightly apologetic tone, "You can tell your brother that you're welcome to visit if you make an appointment.."

Now, Dunnie was getting frustrated, "You must be new. I actually outrank you since I am a member of Bluey's personal retinue. So please let me get to work. You're gonna love my hash browns and omelettes."

"You have 10 seconds to leave, or else I will force you out!" He raised his voice again, a drastic shift front the more comforting tone from before. He was frustrated too now, not liking the lip he received.

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Commotion downstairs.  Blueblood would bet bits to bagels that Dunder was involved somehow; there was something unnaturally quiet about the manor when the pegasus wasn't there.  Or maybe that was just an impression the Prince got when missing his friend; they'd gotten rather close during the past couple of years or so.  Sharing the same roof, among other things.

 

In any case, there would clearly be no peace in his house unless Blue restored it, and so he trotted downstairs post-haste to address the situation.  A mere glance upon skipping the last step and literally stumbling into the scene was enough to tell him everything.  "Ah, thank you sir, but you can stand down.  I can vouch for this mare."  He interjected hastily, picking himself up and dusting himself off.  Still seeing the guard look at him skeptically, he pointed out, "Er, you are aware of my... peculiar condition?"  He hoped so; there would be great trouble among the staff if they were all not aware that Princess Bluebelle was a thing. "Well, turns out our cook has it too."

 

"Oh?"  As the guard took a second to digest this information, a troubled look began to grow upon his face as he looked back and forth between Blueblood and Dunnie.  "It's not... catching, is it?"

 

Some puckish form of humor that couldn't help itself bubbled up in Blueblood; he could never tell where it came from, and it always seemed to get him into more trouble than it was worth.  Not that he resisted; Auntie Celestia could a surprisingly bad influence at times.  "Mmm, I couldn't tell you.  It's rather new to science, you see; but given that it already seems to have grown amidst the staff..."  The Prince let the thought hang in the air for a bit, as the troubled look on the guard evolved into outright alarm.

 

"Right, then, er, right.  Well, if it's all right then, I've got some patrolling to do.  By your leave your highness!"  It was amazing how fast a pony could move while still pretending not to run.  In one Manehattan second, Prince and cook were alone with each other.

 

"Welcome Home."  Blue sighed, gesturing Dunnie to follow.  Tea, yes, this conversation would go much better with some tea... "I see that Bevel's letter wasn't exaggerating."

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Had Blueblood not interrupted, the argument would likely ended with Dunnie getting hoisted up and tossed out to the front steps. But, as to be expected, Blueblood would not settle for anything short of a dramatic entrance, or rather, a tumble into the scene. "Blueblood!" Dunnie cried out, she pushed against the guard who was body blocking her with ease. To both of their relief, Blueblood got up and brushed himself off.

 

Another wave of relief washed over her as Blueblood vouched for her. She smiled at the prince and grinned devilishly at the guard, "You know, I got pretty close to you just now. You'd make a cute mare." She strutted alongside the guard, brushing her tail across his nose. It was amazing to see how quickly a pony can change attitude. As the guard fled, Dunnie stuck out her tongue and held her wing in front of her nose.

 

After all was said and done she looked over her shoulder at the stallion. Now finally able to get a good look at him, he looked different. How so, she could not say. "Thank you, Blueblood." At his lead to follow she did. "On my way back I got a gift for you, I've been hoping to try it out." With a wing she summoned a tightly bound sack from her bag, "It's coffee grown to have a very specific taste. Slightly acidic and mildly fruity, if you would like?"

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As he watched the guard run off, Prince Blueblood felt his satisfaction tinged with a slight suspicion that he was going to pay for his little indulgence later.  Whatever came of that, though, would have to wait; there was a more immediate issue still waiting for him.  "Well, you're welcome.  I can't leave my trusted staff, and friend, stuck in a bad situation like that.  Um, I did give you the key to the servant's entrance for a reason, though.  You don't have to deal with the guards so much if you don't come in by the front door."  It spoke to something of his state of mind that he genuinely couldn't remember if it was an oversight, a deliberate decision, or if Dunder found the offer insulting back when he took the job.

 

The next remarks from hi- her mouth, however, were of some comfort.  Still a commensurate connoisseur of consumables.  "I shall definitely want some of that later, thank you."  As the pair made their way to the tea-room, the Prince had a chance to look over his cook's new body.  Curly hair, curvy body, and dexterous wings; all in all, just the sort of mare he enjoyed looking at.  Far from pleasing him, however, this left him troubled.  There was a growing worry that he was exercising some undue influence; perhaps it was catching...

 

He shook his head.  Best not to let such thoughts linger.  "Tea should be ready in a few minutes."  It might make the upcoming conversation easier if he took advantage of his own switch trigger.  Two mares could talk more candidly, surely?  But, of course, he couldn't let an awkward silence sit.  Taking a deep breath, he decided ultimately to skip the small talk.  It wouldn't be enjoyable sharing the space with an unresolved elephant in the room, after all.  "I won't ask how, Bevel explained it in her letter.  I just want to know... is this an experiment I might have happened to inspire, or has there been something going on that you never told me about?"

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It was true that Dunnie was given the servant's door key. A small iron mortise key complete which betrayed the beauty of the rest of the house, while simultaneously reflecting the state of the servants of Canterlot as a whole. Rugged and worn, and ugly because it doesn't need to be pretty. She looked over at him, "I leave it in the room. In case my keys get stolen for a break-in, the front door is a lot more well guarded than the servant's door." A little bit of paranoia never hurt anypony. The safety of everypony else in the house was still a part of her responsibilities. She threw her head up to stand straight, "Anyway, I'm more useful than half of the 'dignitaries' that waltz through the front door. All they do is eat the food, drink the wine, and complain behind your back." A tad bit defensive of Blueblood, herself.

 

Later...? Did he not like the gift? Rather than remember that the switch trigger was tea, her brain shifted immediately to overthinking the refusal. With her loss in thought, she didn't notice herself getting checked out by the prince.

 

Dunnie appreciated the skipping of small talk and getting down to it. After listening to the prince, her eyes lit up, "Oh, you think you had something to do with this? I mean, it's true I was a little less shy of the idea because I knew that you had done it as well. However, Bevel came up with the idea herself and simply asked me to be her guinnea pig." She sat down on the floor next to the table, "What I did not expect was to enjoy this form so much, and have such complicated feelings for it." She propped her head up on the table using her hoof, "Please, lots of sugar in my tea as usual."

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Honestly, Blueblood couldn't blame Dund- Dunnie for her paranoia, but he did have to comment about her usefulness.  "Exactly.  All of the staff here are more useful than most of my visitors, which is why they get a special door with no possibility of harassment."  A servant's entrance was a sign of respect, not demeaning!  Or so Bluey told himself, somewhat oblivious to his underthought remark causing overthought distress.  His mind was all on the conversation ahead, trying to figure out this new situation with his friend.

 

"So..."  He said, as he took a position by the tea-table, "This was simply an experiment for you that brought unexpected results then?  I have to say, I rather thought so, given the fact that I hadn't seen any indications in you before that you thought of yourself as anything but a stallion, or were uncomfortable with that."  At least, so the Prince hoped, else he hadn't been as perceptive, or as trusted, as he felt a friend should be.

 

"Ah, thank you."  He nodded to the maid who brought in the pot of tea, and levitated three sugar cubes into Dunnie's cup.  He took his own with a little lemon, taking a savoring sip of the steamy beverage.  With a sigh, he felt his body shift into that of Princess Bluebelle, giving his mane and tail just the slightest shake to set the golden locks comfortably around her body.  The maid was used to the sight enough now to not even blink.  "Am I understanding you right?"

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All she could do was roll her eyes at his, as usual, disconnected comment. Sometimes he could be insufferable, but who didn't have their quirks? Anyway, that just made his usual behavior, acting kind and charming, even more enjoyable.

 

At the other end of the table, Dunnie adjusted her hoof so that it was holding her head up by her jaw, her head turned slightly away from the tea and and the princess. She saw Bluebelle's transformation out of the corner of her eye, hardly getting drawn in at all. She had seen the transformation process a dozen times in the mirror and with Bevel herself. Not only that, but Bluebelle's transformations were common knowledge around the house. At this point, it was probably in the job description for all staff.

 

"Yes, you are understanding me right." Still, she did not make direct eyecontact with Bluebelle while reaching down with a wing to pick up the tea cup. She blew some steam off the top before quietly taking a sip. Dunnie appeared apprehensive to talk about herself, especially her feelings. "If I ever did feel uncomfortable about being a stallion I just repressed it and never told anypony. So much so that turning into a mare didn't even seem that attractive of an offer." She sat up, suddenly taking on a less reclusive demeanor. "Ah well, what's in the past is in the past, right?" She picked up the teacup again and knocked the whole glass back, "Eugh." She shivered, "That was a bad idea."

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Bluebelle could sense the apprehensiveness of her friend, like an abscess in back molar.  She knew there would be much pain if she poked at it, but couldn't help herself, all the same.  "Mmm... I always get a little nervous when ponies mention the word 'repression' to me.  Probably from my first days in my transformation, when Twilight was going on and on about things... I wasn't sure if I was a pawn in her narrative, or just a guinea pig in her laboratory!  I just wanted to be myself, whoever that was.  Frankly, I don't think she was any help.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't regret this,"  She gestured down her pristine coat and alluring figure, "But honestly, I would have been quite happy if I never knew it.  It's just, after living for a bit as a mare... it became a part of me, regardless of any lack of desire before for such a thing."

 

So much, then, for the past.  Having turned her character around in the last several years in any case, Bluebelle was quite willing to accept change, and even champion the cause and possibility of transformation.  Which left, naturally, the future.  She giggled, a bit, seeing Dunnie chug the hot tea.  "Oh dear, you still have something of a stallion's manners."  Said the one who had those of a mare, even when he was a stallion.  "Well!  So how do you plan on going forward, then?  Is this going to be a constant for you, or do you see yourself as more fluid, like me?"

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Dunnie covered her mouth to stifle a giggle, "At least in Bevel's lab I know I am just a guinea pig. Though, she actually cares about my well-being, so I cannot complain." She shrugged. It was true, Bevel always treated her well. Even when it seemed like Bevel or Gearbox disregarded the well-being of Dunder or Dunnie's, it only seemed that way and was never actually the truth. "Anyway, she is the one to thank for my current form. If anything I am in her debt now."

"I don't think it is any one gender's manners. It's just who I am, I like to drink my beverages quickly."
She said, "Anyway, I always see royalty taking the tiniest sips and eating the smallest forkfuls." She shrugged, leaving Bluebelle to make what she would of that.

 

The next question, however, made her tense up a hair. What now? Be like this for the rest of her life? Only sometimes? Maybe never again? As much thought as she put into it, there were more questions than answers. However, the questions were always pertaining to others while she knew exactly what she wanted.

"I want to stay this way as often as possible." She said, her voice becoming a tad quieter, "If I could I would relive my whole life this way, but obviously that won't happen. So I just have to make do."

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It was something, at least, that Dunnie had a more understanding patron... wizard?  Was that the right word for Bevel?  Well, a technomancer, certainly.  That was a branch of magic, surely.  The mental rabbit trail wasn't worth comment, and Bluebelle simply smiled.  "Send her my gratitude on that account."

 

As for the royalty comment, well, Blueblood and Dunder had started going back and forth so long ago over the issue that Princess Bluebelle could now take it in stride.  "Don't forget just what sort of ponies made our standards of royalty for the past 1,000 years.  In any case, it's no secret that certain of my ingrained habits have always been called effimate, even back when I was nothing if not the sculpted perfection of masculine form!"  She grinned and sipped her tea, though Dunnie's next remark rather tempered her jibes.

 

"So..."  She began, and paused.  "So, you don't feel yourself fully in alignment yet?  Your past still lingers as a part of you."  There wasn't much she could say to that; the Princess had gotten around that issue by making herself both genders, and both thoroughly.  It wasn't a solution she felt could be recommended generally, though admittedly Dunnie's own situation was the first she could claim actually compared with her own, at least in terms of the magical circumstances surrounding it.  At least, in how the spell allowed for voluntary switching.  "One can't discard it entirely of course, and ideally you could have it work in your favor.  But, I can't speak to your own inner life, I suppose, only draw parallels from mine."

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She smiled and leaned back, "I'll be sure to send her your gratitude. Though that might motivate her to become even more ambitious... Not that this would be a bad thing, necessarily."

 

She chuckled, "Hmmm..." She grinned, "'Perfect masculine form', eh?" She echoed, her grin keeping up, "Maybe you are enjoying and supporting my change so that my own masculine form doesn't shadow yours any longer." She said, stifling a second chuckle.

Though, now that the jesting was over, her expression softened to a more reflective one. "Well, of course my past still lingers. Who's past doesn't linger? Except maybe if somepony has amnesia or something." She turned to look away, taking a deep inhale. "Of course I am not trying to discard my whole life, I just want to continue it in the way that I want to and be happy with myself." She said, looking back to Bluebelle to meet her gaze, "Isn't that what we all want?"

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Bluebelle chuckled at the joke; it could fairly be said that Dunnie now stood poised to shadow her feminine form.  In truth, though, Blue's source of attractiveness had always been connected to his refinement, and while one could say many complimentary things about Dunder/Dunnie, they were most certainly not refined.  Which was honestly one of the reasons the Princess liked her so much...

 

Joking over, Bluebelle had to nod at her friend's question.  "Yes... but it is not always easy to figure out how one is able to do that.  We rely so much on the ponies around us, and we don't always know ourselves as well as we think.  You and I being cases in point, as far as that's concerned.  If I didn't have so understanding and helpful a marefriend..."  She sighed, but was smiling.

 

"Have you let the rest of the old gang know yet?"

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