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A Teacher With No Class

by Kavonde

Chapter 1: A Teacher with No Class


Cheerilee's classroom buzzed with excitement. A week ago, she'd informed her little ponies that they'd be getting a special guest—royalty, even!—in their classroom to teach them all about how Equestria's government worked. There'd been much speculation as to who'd be coming; most of the students guessed it would be Princess Celestia, while others clamored for Princess Luna or even Cadance. Cheerilee herself didn't know; she'd just been asked to clear her schedule for the day so that the visitor would have plenty of time to speak.

Truth be told, she was almost as excited as her class. She hadn't met any of the princesses personally, despite seeing Princess Celestia a few times. To hear Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle tell it, they'd all but adopted the Princess of the Sun as a favorite aunt. They'd even been flower fillies for Princess Cadance's wedding! She'd caught herself leaning forward as eagerly as her students as the three foals described their adventures among royalty, having to almost physically force herself to bring the conversations to a close so they could get back to schoolwork.

And now, any minute, their special guest would finally be arriving. Cheerilee fought back a tiny squeak of excitement.

The students gasped as clarion trumpets split the air. Outside, there was the solid thump of a sky carriage's wheels hitting solid earth. Cheerilee and her class all stood and faced towards the door, eager to see who their visitor would be.

The trumpets continued.

And continued.

And continued.

Finally, the door opened. The foals took in a collective breath in preparation for a cheer, but stopped short when not a princess but a simple royal guard poked his head in. "Um, sorry. It'll be just a moment. We're having a bit of difficulty."

"Auntie Celestia said you were the best flyers in her guard!" came a petulant male voice. "And yet... Look, you incompetent fool, look at my tunic! You made me spill my drink!"

"Um... who's that?" Scootaloo asked, turning to the white unicorn next to her.

"I dunno," Sweetie Belle replied. She glanced over at her neighbor, a yellow earth pony with a red mane and a big, pink bow.

"Sure don't sound like Princess Celestia," Apple Bloom observed.

"Class," Cheerilee interrupted with a gentle warning in her voice. The three foals fell silent.

"This ensemble cost more than your annual salary, you buffoon!" the mystery stallion raged on. "I should have you fired! Or transferred to Fillydelphia! When Auntie Celestia hears about this... "

Somepony coughed. "Uh, Your Highness, the class... ?"

"Oh, yes, them. Fine, fine, it's not as if a bunch of peasant children are going to be put off by stained clothing. They don't even seem to wear clothing here. Nearly savages, the lot of them. "

"I dunno about you," Scootaloo muttered to her friends, "but I'm kinda already not liking this guy."

"Kinda?" Apple Bloom asked dryly.

A pink pony with a silver tiara in her hair hissed at them to be quiet. "Don't you know who that is?"

Before anypony could respond, the door burst open with another fanfare of trumpets. A red carpet rolled out, all the way to the front of the class. Two pegasi in royal guard armor led the way in and took up positions on either side of the room. Finally, a white unicorn stallion with his golden mane expertly tousled and clad in an extravagant outfit halfway between a rennaisance faire costume and a military uniform cantered in, his nose so high in the air that it almost scraped the ceiling. He marched to the front of the class, never actually deigning to look at the students or their teacher, and cleared his throat.

"Young citizens of Equestria!" he called in a booming voice. "I... am Prince Blueblood!"

He paused, looking over his audience as he let that sink in.

Scootaloo raised her hoof. "Who?"

"Um, hello," Diamond Tiara sneered. "Why, only the most handsome and... available... bachelor in Equestria!"

She shot the prince a flirty look. He only met her gaze for a second, then looked away in obvious and extreme discomfort.

"Oh, yeah!" Sweetie Belle piped up. "My sister went out with him once, at the Grand Galloping Gala! She said he was a really, really, really big jerk, and that he had his head shoved clear up his... "

Cheerilee cleared her throat. "Class, say hello to our guest, Prince Blueblood."

"Hi, Prince Blueblood," the foals said in unison.

This mollified him a bit; he'd been heavily considering making a break for his carriage. Now that a degree of respect for his personage had been established, he returned to his usual confident demeanor. "Good morning, class. I have come here today to speak to you about the inner workings of the Equestrian government. Though Auntie Ce... Princess Celestia is generally considered the monarch of our land, she shares power equally with her sister, Princess Luna, and divides many of the day-to-day responsibilities of governing among her trusted advisers and servants.

"Most of these smaller divisions of government are organized into departments, or 'bureaus' in the parlance. You are likely familiar with some of them, such as the Weather Bureau, which oversees the weather in Equestria on a macro scale and is further divided into smaller, more local groups with authority over a smaller area. These run from volunteer co-ops, such as the one here in... Pony... town... to larger, more organized groups such as the Weather Union in Fillydelphia. Um, yes, young filly?"

Apple Bloom lowered her hoof. "Whaddya mean 'parlance'?"

"And 'macro,' " added Scootaloo.

"And 'co-ops,' " chimed Sweetie Belle.

Blueblood covered his face with a hoof. "Of course. Peasants. I'm speaking over your heads. How can I put this in words you will understand? I don't speak commoner."

Diamond Tiara coughed daintily. "Don't worry, Your Highness, those of us who matter know what you're talking about."

"We do?" asked her neighbor, a bespectacled silver pony. Tiara shot her a withering look.

"Yes, well," the prince continued. "There are over a dozen such bureaus in Canterlot, with interests ranging from trade to military matters. Anypony who... "

Sweetie Belle's hoof shot up, but she didn't wait to be acknowledged. "What do you do?"

Blueblood looked a bit surprised at being interrupted. "Why, I am a prince of the realm."

"So," asked Apple Bloom, "what's a prince of the realm do?"

"Um. Well. A prince's royal duties are quite varied... "

"D'ya'll serve in the military?"

"Uh, no, though traditionally... "

Scootaloo interrupted. "Do you visit other species?"

"Well, generally that's... "

Sweetie Belle's hoof waggled in the air. "Do you run a big bank?"

"No, the government doesn't actually... "

"D'ya'll run the magic school?"

"No, Auntie Celes... "

"Do you fight in the arena?"

"What? We don't even..."

"Ooh, do you run a big bank?"

"I... didn't you already... "

"D'ya sniff out changelin' spies?!"

"What? No, that's rather... "

"Do you fight dragons?!"

"I should say not!"

"Do you run a big ba... "

"My little ponies!" Cheerilee's melodic voice cut through the noise like a silk machete. "Please, let Prince Blueblood speak."

The girls immediately quieted down. Blueblood looked between them and their teacher, mouth working wordlessly. Finally, he shook his head and tried to regain his composure. "Well. Yes. I am glad to see you finally demonstrating the respect my title deserves."

"Perhaps you would like to tell the class exactly what you do do," Cheerilee urged.

"Um. Well. I, uh. I... "

Blueblood's brow began to bead with sweat.

"That is... you see... I... "

The students leaned forward eagerly.

"I... embody... the, um... the spirit... of Equestria?"

The foals, particularly the three that had been giving him so much trouble, looked skeptical.

"Yes, um... you see, I attend official functions that Aunties Celestia or Luna are too busy to be at. Um, the ones that Princess Cadance doesn't volunteer for, anyway."

"That sounds fascinating," Diamond Tiara purred without a hint of irony.

"Yes, and... um. I... well, I did visit the Chieftan of the Whitewing Griffon Tribe recently."

"Ooh!" cried Scootaloo. "Did you hafta hoof-wrestle him to establish dominance?"

"Um... no, I... presented him with a basket of pastries."

The students looked crestfallen.

"And, um... brokered a trade agreement... for snow."

Apple Bloom quirked an eyebrow. "Don't the pegasi make their own snow?"

"Yes," Blueblood replied levelly. "Moving on! The Trade Bureau... "

She wasn't going to be distracted that easily. "Well, then why'n the hay did Celestia send ya there?"

"Language," Cheerilee warned gently.

"Um... well." Blueblood rubbed the back of his neck. "I... inadvertently contributed to a bit of an embarrassment at last year's Grand Galloping Gala, and... "

Sweetie Belle's hoof shot up again. "Ooh, so it was to teach you manners after you were such a big, stupid jerk to Rarity?"

"How was I supposed to know she was one of the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony?!" the prince snarled. He caught himself abruptly and snapped a blank expression onto his face. "Um. Yes."

Scootaloo raised her hoof. "You don't even know who the Bearers are?"

"Well, I do now. Auntie Celestia made very sure of it."

"Ain't that the sorta thing a prince should know?" asked Apple Bloom.

"Yes, yes, I was very busy... "

It was Sweetie Belle's turn to raise her hoof. "Doing what?"

"Attending to... things."

"Like what?"

"Um... "

"Yeah," Apple Bloom added, "we never saw ya around Ponyville. Princess Celestia came by a few times, like for the Runnin' of the Leaves, and even Princess Luna made it for Nightmare Night! How come we've never seen you here?"

"I... "

"Well, obviously," Diamond Tiara interrupted, "he didn't want to be surrounded by ignorant, classless ponies like the three of you. I can't say I blame him."

"Yeah," added Silver Spoon, not wanting to be left out.

"Oh, that's why?" Apple Bloom spat back. " 'Cause he's a stuck-up snob like the two of you?"

"Girls," Cheerilee warned.

"Snob? Snob?!" Tiara nearly shrieked. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that a common mud pony like you wouldn't know the difference between... "

"Mud pony?!" Apple Bloom shouted. Her friends grabbed her forelegs, though they didn't look like they were going to put any particular effort into holding her back.

"A common mud pony from a family of common mud ponies!"

"Girls!" called Cheerilee.

"I don't see no horns on you! No wings, neither! How d'you get off callin' my family... "

"We are earth ponies. You Apples are no better than... "

"Don't you go insultin' my family! Don't you say it!"

"Oh, what are you going to do... "

"GIRLS!" shouted Cheerilee, The arguing foals came to a sudden stop. Silence descended on the room. All eyes turned to their beloved teacher, who absolutely blazed with cold, implacable fury.

"Apple Bloom, Diamond Tiara, come with me. Prince Blueblood, I apologize for the disruption. Please feel free to continue."

Their heads bowed in shame, the two fillies followed their teacher out of the schoolhouse. The students watched them go until the door shut behind them. Then, slowly, all eyes turned to Blueblood.

"Um," he said.

The students stared at him.

He stared back.

Finally, a purple unicorn with a yellow mane tentatively raised her hoof.

The prince nodded at her. "Yes?"

"Do you like muffins?"

Blueblood looked at her blankly for a long moment. "I... don't eat commoner food."

The foal stared at him silently, and then a tear appeared in the corner of her eye and trickled down her cheek. Her lips pursed and began to tremble. The prince cast about desperately for help, but his royal guards were staring stoically forward. With great, heaving sobs, the little foal burst into tears.

"What is she doing?!" Blueblood cried. "Make her stop! Somepony make her stop!"

Scootaloo rolled her eyes. "She's crying, dude."

"Well, make her stop!"

"You're the only adult here," another of the students observed, a pudgy little colt with a gray coat. "I think that's your job."

"But, but I don't know how!"

"You could try apologizing," Sweetie Belle suggested.

"For what?!"

"For hurting her feelings."

"How did I do that?!"

"You said you didn't like muffins."

"Why would that hurt her feelings?!"

Scootaloo shrugged. "Dinky's mom's... kinda weird."

"She really likes muffins," Sweetie Belle added with a nod.

"That makes little or no sense!"

The volume of Dinky's sobbing went up another several decibels. With a desperate whine, Blueblood approached her, lowering his head to look her in the eye.

"I apologize for insulting... muffins."

The sobbing stopped, and one of Dinky's eyes opened. "Really?"

"Yes. I am sure they are quite palatable to you commoners."

Dinky stared at him for another moment, sucked in a breath, and then resumed bawling with twice the gusto. The prince reeled back and tripped over Silver Spoon's desk, knocking it over and launching the surprised filly into the air. He spun, lost his hoofing, and hit the ground. Silver Spoon landed beside him. A moment later, so did her glasses, accompanied by the quiet tink of a breaking lens.

She stared at them in horror. Tears begin to well up in the corners of her eyes.

"No!" Blueblood begged. "Don't cry! Please! I'm sorry!"

Silver Spoon held up her broken spectacles. "I can't see without these!"

"I'll pay for a new pair!"

"My dad has to order special lenses! That'll take weeks! What am I going to do until then?!"

"Squint!"

Silver Spoon stared at the prince. And then her lip began to tremble.

"Oh, no."

Tears started streaming down her cheeks. "I can't do anything without these! I, I can't read, I can't play hoofball, and, and, and Diamond Tiara will make fun of me, and..."

She let out a low, moaning sob. It actually made a rather impressive alto counterpoint to Dinky's ongoing wails.

"Not you, too! Stop! By my power as a Prince of Equestria, I order you to stop!"

Silver Spoon showed a marked lack of respect for his authority.

Blueblood covered his eyes and sank back to the floor. "This is why I never leave the castle anymore... "

"Hey, are you gonna start crying, too?" Scootaloo asked him.

"I'm giving it serious consideration," he sighed. "How does anypony deal with you little psychopaths?"

Dinky let out a bellowing, mournful cry.

"Oh, just shut up already!"

"You're really bad at being a teacher," Sweetie Belle noted.

"I know," Blueblood grumbled.

"No, seriously," added Scootaloo. "I mean, I've seen a lot of adults get annoyed with us, but you're the first pony I've ever seen curled up on the floor, yelling at foals to shut up."

"Yeah... it's kind of making it hard to respect you."

The prince felt his teeth grinding. "I. Know."

"You couldn't even get an apology right. That's pretty sad."

"Yeah, Rarity said you were a big jerk, but I thought that was because you were really stuck up, not because you're just really bad at dealing with other ponies."

"I KNOW!" he roared.

The two fillies looked at eachother in surprise, then back to the prince.

"I'm bad at teaching! I'm bad at everything! Okay?! You don't need to remind me! I'm well aware of how pathetic I am! My cutie mark should have been a vacuum cleaner, because all I do is... " The end of his sentence was cut off by a mournful duet from Dinky and Silver Spoon.

"Nopony likes me! Hay, nopony can even tolerate me longer than a few minutes! And it's my fault! I'm a snob! A boor! I drive away anypony who tries to get close, because I have nothing to offer the world and I'm terrified they'll find out! So I canter around with my nose in the air, but the truth is, I'm an empty, hollow shell of a stallion, nothing but a waste of oxygen that could be going to somepony worth a darn!"

Dimly, he realized that this was inappropriate. Extremely inappropriate. But now that the dam had burst, there was nothing he could do to stop the flood. "I mean, can you imagine what it's like to go through life knowing that you mean absolutely nothing? You live down here in your simple little homes with your simple little lives, and you're surrounded by ponies who aren't really any better or worse than you. I was raised by a goddess. I have no illusions about my self worth. I'm a petty, shallow, intrinsically flawed little twit who doesn't deserve an ounce of happiness. And you know what? If the rest of you knew what Auntie Celestia was like, had seen how kind and generous and loving and infinitely patient she is even when nopony's watching, you'd see how worthless you are, too."

He sighed. "I used to at least contribute. I'd volunteer for things, go out of my way to make her life just a little bit easier. But now, she doesn't need me at all. Not for anything worthwhile. Not with Princess Luna back, and Cadance becoming the most popular pony in Equestria since her marriage to Shining Imbecile. So now I'm here, standing in this stupid little classroom in this stupid little village in front of a bunch of stupid little foals, not because I actually care about shaping your fragile little minds, but simply because I was bored and desperate to, just for a little while, pretend that I actually mattered to somepony. And guess what happened? Even you saw that I'm just a bad joke. I might as well just walk into the Everfree Forest and be done with it."

He took several deep breaths. He hadn't realized how much he had wanted to say those words... how much he had needed to. Honestly, for the first time in a long time, he felt good.

And then he noticed that the class had fallen silent. All of the students, even Dinky and Silver Spoon, were staring at him with wide eyes. Even his guards were looking at him in shock.

He raised his head slightly and waited for their laughter.

Nopony said anything.

The silence dragged on.

"You're not that bad."

Blueblood looked up in surprise. The words came from the little orange pegasus, the worst of his tormentors. "... What?"

"Yeah, sure," Sweetie Belle added. "You're really smart, and I really like your mane."

"You just need to learn how to get along with ponies."

"And find something worthwhile to do!"

"And stop calling ponies 'commoners.' "

"And maybe apologize to Rarity, so she can make you a better outfit."

Both fillies nodded at that.

Blueblood looked down at his ensemble. "What's wrong with this? It's the traditional fieldwear for Canterlot royalty."

Sweetie Belle crooked her head. "Well... it's a bit... "

"Lame," Scootaloo finished. They nodded again.

The prince wanted to get offended, but couldn't muster the energy. "I see."

The room fell into an awkward silence. Blueblood scuffed a hoof on the floorboards, not making eye contact with anypony.

And then, Dinky got up from her desk and trotted over to him. He watched her with morbid curiosity.

"Want a muffin?" she asked.

Blueblood stared at her. Then he nodded.

Dinky's face split into a wide grin, and she returned from her desk a moment later with a mildly-squished raspberry muffin. The prince accepted it graciously, levitating it to his mouth and taking a small, polite bite. His eyes went wide in surprise, and the muffin quickly disappeared.

"That's really good!" he exclaimed, crumbs falling through his open mouth.

Just then, the door opened and in walked Cheerilee, followed by two very downcast fillies. The teacher immediately spotted Silver Spoon's broken glasses, the overturned desk, and Dinky. She frowned. "Is... everything okay?"

"Uh, yes. Well in hoof."

She looked around the room skeptically. "Are you sure?"

To Blueblood's immense relief, the students all nodded.

"Uh-huh... Dinky, why are you out of your seat?"

"It's quite alright," Blueblood assured her. "The young filly was just offering me a bite to eat."

"Dinky, what have I told you about keeping muffins in your desk?"

"Sorry, Miss Cheerilee," the unicorn said quietly as she took her seat.

Cheerilee watched her, still looking doubtful. "I apologize for having to leave the room, Your Highness."

"I assure you, it was no trouble at all."

"I'm glad to hear it." She shot a withering gaze around the room, and the students shrank into their seats. "Pardon the interruption, Your Highness. Please, continue."

Blueblood smiled at her, then turned back to the class. "Very well. As I was saying, the Bureau of Trade..."


Blueblood and Cheerilee stood at the front of the class as the students filed out. The prince had managed to discuss many of the finer points of Equestrian government, and had even sparked an interesting discussion about civil rights for mules and donkeys. No surprise, the obnoxious trio of ponies at the front of the class had been the ones debating with the most zeal and volume, but he'd actually found himself coming to enjoy their enthusiasm and extreme lack of decorum.

Now, as the last of them trotted out, he was alone with their teacher. He turned to her with a small, tired smile. "You're very good with them."

She laughed. "I'm usually a little less strict, but sometimes helping your students grow means putting the fear of Celestia in them."

"Yes, well... I'm rather amazed at how much respect you command. It reminds me rather a lot of Aunt, uh, Princess Celestia."

Cheerilee smiled. "Well, thank you, Your Highness. You know, you did pretty well yourself. You certainly held their interest."

"Ah, well," he chuckled. "I found the experience surprisingly... illuminating."

"You know... " she said after a moment's hesitation, "I'm... really glad that you're not as, um... "

"Snobbish? Arrogant? Irritating?"

"I was going to say 'abrasive,' but... well, anyway, I'm glad Rarity got a bad read on you. You're a good pony, Your Highness."

He snorted. "No, I'm a snobbish, arrogant, irritating and abrasive one. Among other things. But I think your students have inspired me to start changing that."

"You're thinking of becoming a teacher?"

Blueblood recoiled. "Oh, Celestia, no!"

Cheerilee grinned. She touched him on the shoulder and turned away.

Blueblood froze. Somehow, that simple gesture had stirred the aching emptiness in his heart. Nopony had touched him, even just in passing, since that crown-chasing twit at the Gala. Frankly, he hadn't much wanted them to. But here was this pretty, down-to-earth mare, just sharing with him a moment of genuine humor and kindness...

He started speaking without really realizing it.

"Miss Cheerilee?"

"Yes?"

"Ah, I hope this isn't too forward, but if you hadn't any plans for the evening, would you, perhaps... "

Somepony coughed. Blueblood looked up to see a large, red stallion with an unkempt orange mane standing at the door. He offered the prince a genial smile, which broadened when he turned to Cheerilee.

"Macintosh!" she beamed. "Please, come in. Prince Blueblood, this is Macintosh of the Apple family. Macintosh, Prince Blueblood."

"Howdy," he rumbled, extending a hoof. Blueblood eyed it warily, instinctively recoiling from getting dirt on himself... but, after a moment, he took the other pony's hoof and shook it.

"A pleasure to meet you. So, you're a farmer?"

"Eeyup,"

Blueblood stared at him.

"... Of apples?"

"Eeyup."

"What breeds?" he asked, trying to provoke an actual response.

"All kinds."

A farmer who didn't like to talk about his crops. Fantastic. This was quickly becoming awkward. Blueblood glanced over at Cheerilee, who was still merrily stuffing papers and books into her saddlebags while humming what sounded like Bon Poni's "Livin' on a Prayer." He looked back at Macintosh, who was regarding him with a placid, unreadable expression.

Ah. That was what was going on. The farmer was trying to intimidate him.

It was working.

"Was that your, ah, daughter in the class today? With the pink bow?"

"Nope. Sister."

"Rather outspoken, that one."

"Eeyup."

"Your parents must be very proud."

Macintosh said nothing. Blueblood took that as a sign to stop talking.

Finally, Cheerilee returned, a pair of saddlebags stuffed with worksheets and lesson plans across her back. "Ready, Macintosh?"

"Eeyup."

The teacher turned to Blueblood. "Your Highness, I'm glad you had a good time visiting today. Please, if you ever feel like dropping in, just let me know! We'd love to have you back."

"Of course."

"Oh, was there something you wanted to ask me?"

Blueblood cast a nervous look at Macintosh and shook his head. "No, no, nothing to trouble yourself over. Have a good evening, Miss Cheerilee, Mr. Apple."

She returned his smile and moved to the door. Macintosh let her get several feet ahead, and then slowly, ponderously turned back to the prince.

He sighed inwardly. And now that his marefriend is out of earshot, this is the part where the overgrown hick threatens to flatten me for asking her out.

The farmer regarded him silently for a moment. And then, to Blueblood's surprise, he flashed an easy grin. "Don't worry, buddy. You'll find a filly. Yer alright."

The prince stared after him in shock.

Macintosh caught up to Cheerilee with just a few steps, and the couple set off down the road at a casual pace. The mare quickly began regaling her stallion with the day's events, and it wasn't long before the two were sharing a happy, genuine laugh. Blueblood watched them go with a growing, if wan, smile.

"Ready to depart, Your Highness?" one of his guards asked.

"Yes, I... suppose I am," he answered. "Captain, I apologize for my outburst earlier. You and your team did an excellent job transporting me here, and the spilled drink was my own fault for ignoring basic physics."

"Thank you, Your Highness." He stood next to the prince for a moment, watching Cheerilee and Macintosh trot away. "Good folks, here in Ponyville."

"Yes. I really don't belong here."

He glanced at the guard, who was staring at him as if unsure whether or not he'd just heard a joke. Blueblood gave him a self-deprecating smirk. "Captain, on that note, I've a favor to ask of you... "


A few minutes later, they were airborne. Prince Blueblood watched Ponyville shrink away through the carriage windows, still clearly able to see Cheerilee and her stallion together as they walked towards the town. They made a rather lovely couple, he thought. Good for them.

His thoughts drifted to another mare, one he'd practically grown up with. They had taken no few walks together... but they had never looked at eachother the way Cheerilee and Macintosh did. They had never walked so closely, their tails brushing, their shoulders rubbing ever so gently... and they never would. He had lost his chance... no, that wasn't true. He had never taken his chance. He'd always known he was unworthy of her, and he'd never tried to convince himself otherwise.

Unlike that idiot she married.

Was it any wonder he was such a mess? Raised by one goddess, and in love with another?

And that thought was sufficiently depressing to bring him to the matter at hoof. It was time for him to change course. To do the right thing, for himself, for Auntie Celestia... for Equestria.

He turned to the carriage's writing desk, levitated his quill, and composed a letter.

Dear Auntie Celestia,

To nopony's greater surprise than my own, I have learned a valuable lesson today. I had expected to waste the day trying to explain the inner workings of Equestria's government to a bunch of ignorant schoolfoals. Instead, I was forced to admit something that I had not wanted to face.

I am a bad pony.

I am vain. I am lazy. I lack any real ambition or drive. I lack basic social graces, not because I am incapable of interacting with other ponies, but because I am wracked by fear that they will discover my many inadequacies. I contribute nothing to the world, instead existing only to leech sustenance from it, and any aid I may have given you previously has been rendered moot by the ascension of dear Cadance and her... valiant husband.

Frankly, I serve no useful purpose in this world. You do not need me, and I have little reason to return to your side.

For this reason, I am leaving Equestria, possibly for good. I hope you do not miss me overmuch, though why you would eludes me. I do not know if I will return. If I should, I hope that I will be a better pony, one worthy of the title I hold and of the endless support you have given me.

Thank you for your eternal love and patience, Aunt Celestia.

Your Devoted Nephew,

Prince Blueblood.

"We're here, sir."

Blueblood's magic rolled the scroll closed, and he sealed it with a wax imprint of his horn. The landing had been perfectly smooth this time, despite the rougher terrain. The prince stepped out of the carriage and surveyed his destination.

"Are you sure about this, Your Highness?" the guard captain asked.

"I am."

The pegasus silently followed the prince's gaze, then nodded and issued a stiff salute. "Good luck, sir. Be safe."

"Thank you, captain."

Without another word and without looking back, Prince Blueblood entered the Everfree Forest.

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