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Found 9 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....*
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