New Noses To Know

by Irrespective

Chapter 1: 1.- The New Arrival

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* * * *

“So, you finally made it. Welcome to the family, Apollo.”

Duke Garbanzo Bean smiled to the bundled newborn cradled in his foreleg, his steps slow and even so as not to disturb the new prince’s sleep. Or the sleeping royals in the corner of the nursery, either. The last twenty four hours had been a wild ride of emotional events, but now that his surprise grandson was here, Garbanzo was filled with a sublime joy that could only be compared to when he had held Baked Bean for the first time.

The proud grandfather groaned slightly as he eased into the plush rocking chair, and his mind drifted over what had happened as he began to gently rock. Of course, the little stinker in his care had to come early, so when word came to the Zuerst that Princess Celestia had given birth in a train car, there had been a mild panic and a semi-frantic rush to Canterlot, but thankfully, somepony had the foresight to send an air carriage and a pair of Wonderbolts to expedite the trip. By the time he and Lima had arrived, the new mother and her son had been checked out by Doctor Horsenpfeffer and given a clean bill of health, but both she and Baked Bean were exhausted, so the grandparents had offered to watch over him while they got some much-needed rest.

Lima, of course, had then absconded with her grandchild with a maniacal laugh, and she had clucked and fussed over him through last night and for most of the day. The only reason she relinquished control for short periods of time was for Apollo’s feedings, because Lima had neither the ability or the desire to nurse again.

It was fitting that Apollo was a colt, in a funny sort of way. Lima had insisted Baked would be a girl as well, so it made sense to Garbanzo that Baked would experience the same thing. But colt or filly didn’t really matter, in the end. What mattered was that Apollo was healthy and no worse off for coming early.

Then again, he probably had to come early. To the best of Garbanzo’s recollection, Baked had been half the size of Apollo, and with much less hair. Even Princess Celestia, the largest mare in all the land, only had so much space to incubate.

“Sweetie? Do you need me to take over for you?”

Garbanzo glanced up, and he wiggled slightly in the chair while sharing a kiss with his wife. “No way. It’s my turn now, and I’m not giving him up so easily.”

“Rats. Are you sure?” she whined with a small pout.

“I’m sure,” he said with a smirk.

“I know where you sleep, you know.” Dutchess Lima Bean stepped to the side of his chair. “How’s our little Bean doing?”

Garbanzo’s gaze went with hers to the small bundle he was cradling in his forehooves. “Sleeping at the moment. I changed his diaper already, so he should be good for a little while. Hopefully the new parents can get some sleep, too.”

Lima nodded. “They’re going to need it, especially if Apollo has a set of pipes like his father had.” Her hoof nudged the blanket away from her grandson’s face. “Oh, but look at him. He looks exactly like Baked, doesn’t he?”

The proud grandfather took a moment to study his grandson’s cherubic visage, and a contented grin came to his features. “If not for his eyes and the horn—and the size, of course—I’d swear I was holding Baked right now. It’s uncanny how similar they are.”

“He’ll be a lady killer too, just like his father and his grandfather.” Lima planted a kiss on Garbanzo’s cheek. “You do realize we’ll have to spoil him rotten, right?”

“Naturally, but that may prove to be a bit difficult, given who his mother is.”

Lima scoffed. “Please. She may bring the day and run the country, but there are limits for even Princess Celestia. All we have to do is say ‘yes’ when she says ‘no.’ Nothing to it.”

Garbanzo chuckled. “I’ll leave you to it, then. I know better than to interfere with your schemes. Our kitchen is going to smell of chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon buns from here on in.”

“Whoever heard of a grandma’s kitchen without them?” Lima said proudly.

“I do hope you will accept some assistance,” a rich velveteen voice interrupted, but both grandparents didn’t mind the intrusion. “I, for one, have retribution for my sister that is a thousand years overdue.”

“I suppose that all depends on what your retribution entails,” Garbanzo said with a smirk as Princess Luna entered the nursery and approached.

“Oh, I am sure you could both accurately guess my intents,” Luna said while fawning over the new foal. “But it is only fair I repay Celly for those naughty little ‘suggestions’ she gave to my Twilight Starbright all those years ago. This little one, however—” she paused to kiss Apollo’s forehead “—will forever have his aunt’s undying love and praise. The spoiling will last forever, and will most likely be doubled, too.”

“As it should be,” Lima added.

“I must admit, my nephew’s birth has given me quite the eclectic collection of feelings,” Luna's dark eyes filled with awe and reverence, and a very possessive look crossed her face. “I had feared, for a time, that his birth would fill me with remorse for what I have lost, but instead, I find a delightful infusion of happiness and pride. I see him, and I can see nothing but the bright and glorious future that now lies before him. With my sister for a mother and your son as a father, Pollie is sure to be one of the greats in Equestria. With some help from his aunt, of course.”

“Of course,” Lima agreed.

“How are the other Beans doing? Are they behaving themselves?” Garbanzo asked.

“Most admirably, yes,” said Luna. “Trixie is tending to their needs, and I am sure they will overrun the kitchen in short order for dinner. I believe Flageolet mentioned something about staying for a month, at the least.”

“That sounds about right. Thanks for letting them crash here in the palace.”

Luna let out a good-natured scoff. “‘Tis no trouble. Lentil suggested turning the evening into a sleepover to the younger cousins, so they will stay up until dawn anyway. There is no shortage of helpers for Apollo, and we may need to draw lots to determine who has the next turn with him.”

“Just make sure you leave Trixie out of the selection process,” Trixie added from the doorway. “Trixie is a secretary, not a foalsitter.”

“Oh, come now, Miss Lulamoon,” Luna said with a smile. “After helping my sister in childbirth, I should think foalsitting would be easy.”

“Not for all the bits in the treasury,” Trixie firmly insisted as she entered. “Trixie and children do not get along. At all. Besides, Trixie is busy enough with her duties as is. Are Their Highnesses still asleep?”

“For the moment, yes.” Luna pointed to the corner where Bean and Celestia had collapsed in a large, intermingled heap of exhausted parent. “I suppose you could wake them, but I would advise against doing so unless the matter is urgent.”

“Oh.” Trixie glanced to her clipboard, up to Celestia, then back again. “Well, maybe this is something you can deal with, Princess Luna. Sparkle just sent a letter saying she needs to talk to Celestia about something that just happened in Ponyville. It looks like somepony named Starlight Glimmer returned? The name is unknown to Trixie, but perhaps you know who she is.”

“Starlight?” Luna let out a small note of surprise. “I do know of her, though we have not met. I am surprised you do not recall the name; she was the one who was stealing cutie marks and forcing ponies to be equal in all things.”

“Oh, that’s who that is?” Trixie replied. “Trixie heard a little bit about her from Miss Wysteria, but not anything in the last few months.”

“Starlight Glimmer has been on the run, so to speak. I wonder why she has reappeared now, and what has happened.” Luna tapped her chin in thought for a moment. “I suppose there is only one way to know for sure. Miss Trixie, please send a reply to Twilight Sparkle and inform her that I will be arriving within the hour to discuss the matter. Do not trouble yourself with preparing a carriage; I will take care of that. Should I not return by nightfall, inform my sister of these things and tell her I will raise the moon from Ponyville.”

Trixie nodded, her quill springing to life in her magic. “Right away, Your Highness.”

“Forgive my sudden departure, Duke and Duchess Bean,” Luna went on. “Even now, duty calls.”

“We totally understand, Your Highness,” Garbanzo replied. “Especially for something like a cutie mark thief. I’m sure we’ll still be here when you get back.”

“Until tonight, then.” Luna dipped her head, kissed Apollo’s forehead, and then left with a hum of glee.

Lima drew in a long breath while the Princess departed, and she gave a worried look to Trixie. “I didn’t know it was possible to steal cutie marks! What a dreadful thought.”

“As Trixie recalls, Starlight only stole the cutie marks from Sparkle and her friends,” Trixie replied. “In a way, that is. The other ponies were enticed to give up their marks with flattery and lies. I don’t remember how they got them back, but it was Sparkle who restored them, the show-off.”

“Oh?” One of Lima’s eyebrows slid upward. “And this from the mare who used an ancient amulet to boost her magic, just so she could get some revenge?”

“You heard about that?” Trixie squeaked, but then she coughed and straightened her secretarial collar. “Trixie refuses to discuss that little ‘incident.’ That was a younger and much stupider Trixie. This Trixie has moved beyond such petty grievances. Even if Sparkle did deserve it.” Trixie huffed, her horn flaring with magic to send the letter.

“Sure,” Garbanzo said with a roll of his eyes.

“Well, I, for one, thought the whole thing was hilarious!” another voice cut in, and with a flash, Discord floated into the room. “Of course, I didn’t get to actually see any of it, since I was still paying off my debt to society at the time, but I wish I had! The look that must have been on your face when you found out how Twilight bested you!”

“Oh, great,” Trixie grumbled. “Why are you here, Discord?”

“What? Am I not allowed to drop in and see the spawn of my favorite chaos creator?” he asked with a hurt look. “Really, Miss Trixie. I thought we’d worked past our differences by now.”

“You actually want to see the little messmaker?” Trixie asked.

“Of course! Bean has nearly talked one of my wings off about how excited he was to be a father at our tea dates, even though he thought he was having a daughter. This kid is causing all sorts of wondrous chaos right from the beginning! The little spud is sure to be a fountain of fun. He just needs a little encouragement and training, that’s all. I do hope Celestia added those chaos theory classes I mentioned to his schedule.”

“Chaos theory?” Lima asked.

“Oh, don’t worry, my little Babooshka.” Discord donned a pair of bifocals and slipped into a tweed jacket with patches on the elbows. “I always ensure the well-being of my students, first and foremost. All of my lectures will be supervised, and the experiments will be carried out in a controlled environment. Besides, Celestia would rip my horns off if I let anything happen… to…”

The draconequus trailed off as he took a good look at Apollo, who whimpered a bit and wiggled before settling back down. A deeply contemplative look came over him, and for what was probably the first time in his existence, it seemed like Discord had nothing to say.

“Would you like to hold him?” Garbanzo asked.

“I’ve never held a newborn before,” Discord whispered. “I don’t want to break him.”

“You won’t break him. Just mind his head, and don’t make any sudden movements.” Garbanzo stood, reared up, and held out Apollo. “Here. Tuck his head into the crook of your arm, just… there. Just like that. Keep your paw under him for support, and you’re good to go.”

“I never realized foals were so small,” Discord said, his magic conjuring up a rocking chair that was more to his size and floating a few feet in the air.

“Small? That kid is huge!” Trixie countered with an uncomfortable swallow and the rub of one hoof across her tummy, as if she was reliving the birth all over again.

“Good thing Celestia carried him then,” Garbanzo quipped.

“They get smaller than this?” Discord asked, his chair wheezing like an asthmatic duck with each rock from side to side.

“Usually, yes,” Lima replied. “But then, most mothers are nowhere near the size of Celestia, so it makes sense.”

“So, when mares… y’know. Conceive,” Discord said with a cough. “She… huh. Her foal would be even smaller.”

Trixie chortled with a wicked grin. “I didn’t know you were planning on starting a family, Discord.”

“Me? What? No!” The rocking chair disappeared, and Apollo was passed back to Garbanzo quickly but with care. “I’m not planning on anything of the sort! Fluttershy and I are just good friends. Where did you get such a crazy idea?”

“I didn’t say anything about Fluttershy,” Trixie dryly replied with a bob of her eyebrows.

“I was merely speaking in a hypothetical sense, of course. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some very important… um, things! Yes. Things to take care of. Tootle-oo!”

And with that, Discord was gone. Trixie chortled more as Garbanzo settled into his chair again, and Lima simply shook her head. “He’ll come around, eventually.”

“Forgive Trixie for being a naysayer, but Discord becoming a father is just as likely as me becoming a mother,” Trixie replied. “It’ll never happen.”

“Never say never,” Lima replied in a knowing tone.

“Anyway, Trixie has some other tasks to complete,” Trixie went on. “I’ll leave you with the little bundle of joy. I’m sure he’ll be a delightful ball of screeching headache inducer soon enough.”


“Let Trixie know if you need anything,” Trixie went on. “Or, better yet, tell one of the guards. Trixie is doing both my job and Miss Wysteria’s, so I have twice the amount of work to get done. The less demands, the better.”

“I think we’ll be fine, but if not, we’ll just catch Sergeant Clover Leaf. Thank you, Miss Trixie.”

With a nod, Trixie left, and Lima chuckled. “So, who hasn’t wandered in yet? Cadence and Shining Armor? The Element Bearers? Prince Blueblood?”

“Wasn’t he off with the yaks?” Garbanzo asked. “I thought that’s what Baked said. Something about reestablishing an embassy or something. I can’t keep track of everything he tells us, to be honest. I don’t know how he keeps it all straight.”

“Celestia, of course.”

Garbanzo rolled his eyes. “Right. Of course.”

“If I may, Your Graces,” Sergeant Clover Leaf interjected, “but may I note that His Highness actually manages to keep things organized quite well without his wife’s help.”

“Ah, we forgot about the guards,” Lima said. “How’d you even sneak in here, anyway?”

“Trade secret, ma’am,” she said with a perfectly straight face. “We get a bonus in our paychecks for every successful stealth approach, however.”

“That does not surprise me in the slightest,” said Garbanzo.

“I was sent by Chef Sugar Beet to ask what you would like for your evening meal,” Sergeant Clover went on. “If your family doesn’t run her out of the kitchen again, of course.”

“Oh, she doesn’t have to bother with us,” Lima said. “I’ll head down and get something whipped up for Garby and myself.”

“Very well, ma’am.” Clover Leaf dipped her head. “I’ll go check on the other Beans and see if they will make their own meals as well.”

“Just something light for me, dear,” Garbanzo said as the two mares began to leave. “A small sandwich, maybe.”

Lima blew her husband a kiss. “I know just the thing. Be right back.”

Garbanzo watched Lima’s fabulous rear while she left before turning his attention back to his grandson. “Yup, no doubt about it. Being born into this family makes you one lucky Bean, indeed.”

* * * *

Princess Luna fought to keep her face impassive as she marched towards the main hangar of the palace. To be sure, the business with Starlight Glimmer was serious—though she did not yet know what the business even was—and she needed to arrive with the proper airs and gravitas, so the cutie-mark stealing pony would know, without a doubt, that she would be held completely and totally responsible for her actions. Should Luna’s joy over Apollo come to light, then Miss Glimmer might take the sight for a sign of weakness, and make the ensuing conversation and actions all the more difficult.

It wasn’t going to be easy. Luna was a firm believer in love at first sight, and little Apollo had already stolen her heart. The adorable little colt was going to get her into a lot of trouble, she just knew it. As soon as he figured out how to weaponize his pout, Luna’s ability to tell him ‘no’ would be at an end.

A pleased smile escaped for a few seconds with just the thought. She had forgotten how much life newborns gave to the world, but she was going to relish the sensations for as long as they lasted.

“Your Highness!”

“Oh!” Luna turned to the unexpected but not unwelcome interruption. “Corporal Larkspur! What a pleasant surprise. I did not think you were on duty yet.”

“I’m working overtime today, ma’am,” Larkspur replied with a slightly sheepish grin. “Trying to get a little bit saved up for Hearth’s Warming.”

“I see. How are your little ones doing?” she asked with a happy note.

“Tumbleweed managed to sprain her fetlock and bruise some ribs doing something called ‘parkour’ yesterday. Seems some friends told her about it at school, and she just had to try it. Marigold is still working on her model train collection, and Constance is… well, let’s just say we’re working through things together, and she seems to be a lot happier now. She still doesn’t say much, but I can tell she’s coming to terms with Patience’s passing. I am too, in a way.”

“Good. It is pleasing to know that the therapy sessions are bearing fruit for you.”

“Thank you for suggesting it, ma’am,” he replied. “Anyway, your carriage is prepped and ready to go. Lieutenant Spear Point wants me to accompany you, so we can leave whenever you are ready.”

Luna nodded. “Your company is greatly appreciated, Corporal. Come, let us be on our way. I am sure Twilight Sparkle wants my prompt attention to this matter.”

Larkspur nodded and motioned with a hoof. “Right this way, ma’am.”

* * * *

“Chrissy?” Sergeant Hokey Pokey paused to kick his front door shut, and he slung his overstuffed saddlebags off his back.

“Ah, finally!” Queen Chrysalis, Queen of All Changelings and Don’t You Forget It, was quick to snatch away the sergeant’s bags and even faster to start rummaging through them. “What took you so long?”

“Y’know, it’s not all that easy to find crossword puzzles that you haven’t done yet,” he quipped while she dumped the contents of his bags onto the floor. “Nearly impossible, in fact.”

The buggy queen looked up at him with puppy dog eyes and a small pout. “You mean you didn’t get me any crossword puzzles?”

“I didn’t say that,” he said with a devious smirk. From under one wing, he produced a new book, and Chrysalis squealed in delight.

“Ah, Pokey! I knew you wouldn't disappoint me. If I could only get my little minions to be as faithful as you.” She snatched up the crosswords in her magic, cackled while she flipped through the pages, and then gave her Pokey a sultry look over her pince-nez glasses. “You always know how to treat a mare right.”

“Considering the whine fest that'll happen as the alternative, it’s a small price to pay,” he shot back, and he began to pick up what Chrysalis had scattered across the floor. “I don’t suppose you’re going to help me put this stuff away, are you?”

“Nope.” She waved a dismissive hoof at him and moved to a pod that looked like a changeling queen sized cushion in the middle of the front room. “You know I don’t do that kind of stuff. What’s for dinner?”

“I dunno. Haven’t figured that out yet,” he said.

“Well, hurry up. I’m famished.”

Pokey laughed a little as he moved his purchases into the kitchen, and for a brief moment, he wondered why he put up with this fussy and demanding mare. She was so self-centered and arrogant, so conceited and snooty. Anypony else would have thrown her back in the dungeons a long time ago, where she really belonged anyway. This was the changeling who had foalnapped Princess Cadence, brainwashed both Shining Armor and Baked Bean, and humiliated him by pretending to be a unicorn mare just to gather intelligence on Canterlot’s defenses.

But underneath all of the bluster and bravado, there was a surprisingly tender and thoughtful mare who just didn’t know how to express her feelings. She grumbled and whined whenever he was late in getting home, for one example, but over time, it had lost the annoyed and angry edge and instead was filled with concern, like she really did worry that something had happened to him.

It was a bit curious, but even her short conversation with him moments ago was evidence of how their relationship had evolved. Chrysalis would rather be caught dead than outright say ‘thank you,’ but in her own buggy way, she had said as much to him when she had wished her minions had his loyalty. It was those tiny moments—fleeting, yes, but becoming more frequent with time—that he found his own affections deeping for her. Their relationship would forever be one of snark and one-upmanship, but somehow, he could feel the small sparks of love—true love, and that freely given—flaring to life within that outwardly cold and black chitin.

Maybe, just maybe, this changeling could change.

It was with that thought that Pokey pulled out a long, thin bottle filled with an amber colored liquid. Chrysalis, despite her protests to the contrary, did enjoy a good surprise every now and then, and this was a surprise she was sure to enjoy.

“Hey!” she shouted in. “What’s a nine letter word for ‘occurs in turn?’”

“Alternate,” he shouted back while pulling the stopper out of the bottle.

“Ha! Of course!” Chrysalis chortled.

Hokey Pokey slowly returned to his front room, sat down next to his unexpected roommate, and poured a healthy dollop of the amber liquid into his hooves. Chrysalis sniffed the air while he rubbed the concoction in his hooves, but her eyes stayed glued to the book in front of her.

“What is that smell?” she asked. “It smells like almonds, and… what are you…”

Chrysalis trailed off and began to buzz with delight as Pokey rubbed the solution into the chitin between her wings. “Oh, it’s just a little something I found at the market. Never you mind,” he casually said.

“If you’re putting wax on me I’m going to pluck all of the feathers out of your wings one by one,” she murmured in a not-threatening-in-the-slightest voice.

“I’m in luck, then. It’s just massage oil. It’ll wash right off,” he replied.

“Oh, I don’t know.” Chrysalis buzzed more and dipped her head so he could work on her shoulders and neck. “As I recall, you thought shiny Chrissy was rather attractive. I think you have some ulterior motives going on here.”

“And what if I do?” he asked in a sly tone. “What are you going to do about it?”

Chrysalis let out a long, luxurious sigh. “Absolutely nothing.”

“That’s what I thought you would say,” he replied smugly, his hooves moving back down to work around her wings. The thin, translucent membranes seemed to have less holes in them, oddly enough, the edges less ragged and torn. They almost looked like proper wings, something like a dragonfly’s, perhaps, with a smooth blend of rainbow coloring still in them from the all-purpose dye that Captain Armor had slid into her pod while she was molting.

And, though it may have just been a trick of the light, he thought he saw just a hint of a sparkle in them, somehow. It was a bit odd, but the look was actually both cute and attractive, and he secretly hoped that the effect would deepen.

“Pokey?” Chrysalis whispered. “Something wrong?”


“Then quit gawking at my flanks and get back to the massage. Mama wants more.”

Pokey shook his head and laughed. “You always do.”

* * * *

Princess Celestia Bean, Sol Invicta and Ruler of Equestria, woke with a small snort and a slight groan. When she had first discovered that she was pregnant nearly a year ago, she had thought that giving birth would be a trying, but yet ultimately simple process. Modern medicine had advanced to heights that would be simply inconceivable when she was young, yet somehow, she had gone through the same undulled and ultimate pain that her sister had endured over a thousand years ago.

Though it was not ironic, Celestia couldn’t help but think it was, in its own way. With another groan, she slowly turned her head, and a small hum of delight came when she found her beloved husband right where she’d left him last night.

“So devoted,” she whispered before giving his nose a kiss and wrapping her wing a little tighter around him. Bean had stayed up all night so Celestia could sleep and recover—even though his mother had repeatedly shooed him away with assurances that she could handle Apollo and his needs—and the Princess of the Day was grateful beyond words once more for the yellow stallion who had booped his way into her life.

But by her sun she was sore! Her back was still killing her, her abdomen was tight and tender to the touch, and her nether—

“Ow!” She couldn’t hold back the yelp as a needle of pain hit her. Doctor Horsenpfeffer had told her it could take upwards of a week before she’d feel well enough to resume her normal activities, but if these aches continued as they were now, her healing was going to take a lot longer than that.

“Celly?” Bean whispered, his eyes fluttering open as he yawned. “What’s wrong?”

“Just another spasm,” she whispered back with a grimace. “Nothing to worry about.”

“You sure?” he asked, the concern heavy in his words.

“Yes. I just need a little more rest. Where is Apollo?”

Bean picked his head up, looked around, and then pointed with a small laugh. “Looks like he’s sleeping with Grandpa over there.”

Celestia giggled at the sight of Garbanzo Bean, his head tilted back against the rocking chair. “That looks rather uncomfortable. Should we take Apollo back?”

“Nah, he’ll be okay,” Bean replied. “I’m sure he wants as much time as he can get with his grandson, even if he is asleep for most of it.”

“I’m sure your cousins will be along soon enough for their turn as well,” Celestia said with a yawn. “Such a wonderful family.”

“I guess we’d better enjoy it while we can,” said Bean. “They’ll have to head home soon enough, and then we’ll be on our own.”

“That does not concern me in the slightest. I have you, and you have me. Together, we will conquer parenthood and raise a fine young stallion.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Bean said with a kiss.

* * * *

Prince Blueblood drew in a long breath, his gaze firmly on the verdant scenery that was rushing past him as he looked out the window of the train. So much had happened over the last year, both in Yakyakistan and in Canterlot, and he was eager to meet with his colleagues in the capital and to catch up on everything that had transpired. Dealing with the Yaks was, by default, an arduous task filled with screaming, shouting, and enough yak smashing for several lifetimes, but Blueblood was not to be beaten so easily. It had taken time, patience, and earplugs at times, but bit by bit, the noble had made headway with the temperamental Prince Rutherford and his ruling councils.

Of course, he hadn’t been expecting assistance from Pink Pony, as Pinkie Pie was known to the Yaks. The bubbly and slightly out of touch with reality party planner had been instrumental in having Blueblood accepted in Yakyakistan again after the Changeling Scare incident, and it was her Pinkie Promise that had allowed Blueblood to hammer out the details of a cooperation and open borders treaty with Rutherford. With that now in place, it was time to return to Canterlot and begin the process of establishing a formal embassy.

Truth be told, Blueblood had been looking forward to this moment for quite some time, and not just because it would validate his work. He had grown to love the lands and the culture of Yakyakistan, but there truly was no place like home, and it felt good to see the familiar Equestrian countryside once more. It would be nice to again consort with ponies face-to-face, to enjoy the exquisiteness of the palace, and to be in his own domicile with his own trappings around him.

“Pony Blueblood!” A burly yak marched up to him and glared. “Yak no like train. Trip too long! Yak want to know when we get to pony city.”

“We should be arriving in under an hour, Ambassador Horwitz,” Blueblood replied with a calm tone and a disarming smile. “I understand your frustration with the length of the journey, but I assure you the inconvenience will be well worth your time.”

“Pony Blueblood likes big words,” Horwitz replied, his eyes rolling in annoyance. “Should save them for special occasion. Use small words to talk to yak.”

“I would argue that this is a special occasion,” Blueblood countered. “With the opening of an embassy in Canterlot, Yaks and Ponies will be able to collaborate in friendship like never before. Both of our kingdoms will be greatly benefited by our upcoming actions.”

“Yaks want pony friends. Does Pony Blueblood really believe that ponies will want yak friends?”

“I will do everything in my power to make it so,” Blueblood replied. “Though, I must say it is a shame that your granddaughter could not accompany us. I do hope she will be able to come soon.”

Horwitz nodded. “Yona good yak, but still young. Needs to grow more. Maybe Yona can come visit.”

Blueblood nodded and smiled deeper. “That would be delightful, Ambassador. I’m sure she’ll find Equestria to be a most hospitable place, just as you will.”

* * * *

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