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Will Friendship Be Enough? · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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If You Can Even Call it a Friendship
“This betrayal!” Blueblood burst into the small weapons room catching the other white unicorn completely unawares, not expecting to be attacked in his own quarters. The exhaustively polished helmet fell from his hooves with a loud clatter. Both stallions eyed each other as the ringing of the helmet hitting the floor faded, yet it was a few moments longer before either spoke. “I shall not stand for it!”

“Blueblood? What are you-”

“That is PRINCE Blueblood to you.” The blond stallion lifted his head with a huff, staring down his nose at Shining with an expression riding somewhere between disgust and hurt. “After everything I have done for you. Why, Introduced you to Cadence! Taught you all that I know,”

“The best back alleys to use to dodge news ponies that latch on your latest sex scandal?”

“Introduced you to all of the most important and influential ponies in Canterlot!”

“The bean counters of the Canterlot elite, oh I’m so flattered that you allowed me the opportunity to bask in their presence.” Shining’s eyes rolled drastically in a way that almost seemed out of character for him, if only Blueblood were aware of how often Shining Armor did that when his back was turned.

“And then you, despite all of that, go behind my back to curry favor with the princess by going on some wretched pest control job that is so far beneath your station that it's laughable!”

“The only thing worth laughing about right now is your temper-tantrum Blueblood. And by the way how did you even get in here?”

“A gentlecolt never gives away his secrets.” the prince announced with a self assured flick of his tail. “In fact there are many things about princehood you know nothing about.”

“Breaking and entering?”

“Ahem!” Blueblood cleared his throat trying to override that last statement. “None of that is important right now. I am here because I want, nay, demand to know why you would go behind my back like this.”

“I haven’t gone behind your back, dude.” Blueblood sneered, he hated being called a “dude”. Shining sighed, finally lifting the helmet off the cobbled floor to sit it back on the meticulously organized shelf that it came from, his face expressing deep thought.

“But why you? And why would you personally do this kind of thing yourself? You are going to become a prince soon and I don’t find romping in the dark sewers to be all that ...acceptable to one of your potential future status.”

“Because Blueblood,” Shining looked like he was almost ashamed to say what he said next, and Blueblood dearly wished he had been more ashamed.

“I’m doing what a prince is supposed to do.”

“Say that again?”

“The princess asked you to look into this district’s basic sewer maintenance issues. Why, I don’t know. Apparently this was a small issue four months ago, and now it is a bigger issue.” Shining turned to inspect a set of chest plates. “Cases of ponies getting sick because of the water are popping up and Celestia is tired of waiting for you to take action, so she came to me instead. And if I may be so bold my prince,” Shining dipped his head ever so slightly. Mockingly. “I think she is trying to teach you a lesson.”

A beat of silence passed between them. Then another, and another, as Blueblood’s pearly white face steadily turned red.

“You ingrate!” Blueblood forgot to yell from his diaphragm, not enough air, he choked halfway through and had to take a moment to breath. He let out a whinny of disgust. “ You, a mere up start guard, think you are better than me? A better royal than I? Hah! You’ve only been engaged for a month. While I’ve been a Blueblood my whole life. My family goes back centuries since the days of Equestria’s founding!”

“You know that kind of thing doesn’t matter a hill of beans to me and I can’t even figure out why Celestia puts up with a pony as bureaucratic and irresponsible as you!”

Blueblood gasped long and slow. Had he just been kicked in the stomach? No of course not. But it felt like it, if his stomach was his ego.

“If you’re so insecure then go talk to Celestia about it. Or you can sulk in one of your airships but don’t come here to distract me, Blueblood. I don’t pity you. It’s your fault she asked me to handle this, and if you don’t like it then too bad.” The white unicorn stallion stamped his hoof in finality. “Now get out.”

The prince nearly swooned. “Don’t bother showing me the door, I shall see my way out.” Blueblood’s magic wrapped his body before he left Shining’s apartment. Leaping dramatically from the balcony into a clump of soft leaf bushes. He couldn’t find the door through the flood of tears which blinded him. For just a moment he glanced up to see if Shining Armor watched him go over...he hadn’t. Damn him then! Hastily Blueblood changed his identity to that of a completely unassuming stallion, nowhere near as stately and handsome as his true self. A thought of disguising himself as a slender and well put mare came and went. To see that walking from the apartment of the newly engaged prince-to-be would certainly turn some heads and spark some whispers, but he wasn’t angry enough to cause that kind of upswell. And yes Shining Armor should be grateful for that.

“The nerve of that brainless rubber ball kicker.” Blueblood huffed as he trotted through the cobbled streets of Canterlot, one of the rarest of occasions, he didn’t care who saw him leaving the castle barracks in such a foul mood. “His brain is made of rubber more like!”

The reason for Blueblood’s new little storm of outrage was nothing new. Shining Armor, the darling many, including Celestia, and his own circle of compatriots, had been called to the task of revealing the source of a small case of water poisoning . Nopony had died but now faucets were leaking a pink gunk that stank to Luna’s stars and if ingested, would likely land someone in the hospital. Shining, goody four hooves that he was, jumped to the task with relish despite the fact that such a task was well below his station and calling. The fool.

In truth, although he’d never admit it, Celestia had gone to him first to solve the problem. The memory made him scowl. It had been such a tiny insignificant problem, now here he was, exposed as an encompetent fool, suffering the whispers and laughs that were sure to come at his expense.

“She expected me, Blueblood, to wander around blindly in the slough of the underdark? Preposterous! I have so many other important tasks to worry about. I am not some sewage manager, phtw!” When the prince rightfully refused, she didn’t even hesitate to ask Shining Armor and of course that potato brained bumpkin agreed.

“As much as I hate to acknowledge it, he is a prince like me. Or going to be at least. Trying to show me up are you?” Blueblood magically brought something that looked like a large pamphlet out of his satchel. An item he nicked from Shining Armor’s personal reading shelf while he was distracted. It was easy to see, Shining didn’t keep his books nearly as organized as his weapons and chest plates.

“Ah yes, if he isn’t talking about battle tactics or the ethics of combat, or his little sister, then it was his precious dime a dozen comic books. His favorite series featuring an absolutely barbaric sort called Barestallion the Doomseeker. In the past when circumstance forced the two stallions together, normally over some sort of business, Shining Armor would entertain himself by regaling the latest issue he had read to any pony who was nearby, unfortunately that tended to be Blueblood. But he recalled many times, Shining stated the events in the comics were based on “true events”. Or at least the fighting tactics displayed therein were true and some still practiced by the guard. Truth be told Blueblood found that hard to believe yet the guard captain was the captain for a reason. He was good at what he did. Perhaps there was some truth to this silly colt book. Eyebrows creased, he flipped through the leafy paper in concentration.

“Now what would this beastly Barestallion fellow do in a situation like this?”

It took about an hour for Blueblood to acquire the appropriate amount of strawberry jello, five barrels of it, and another thirty getting it to the sewer entrance, grumbling and chortling the whole way.

“That narrow minded brown nosing crusader thinks he can be a better prince does he? Well I’ll show him. I’ll show him using his own tactics!” The tunnel below was dark and daunting, and dirty. Blueblood blanched, wishing he had brought proper hoofwear.

“No,” he said resolutely. “This is no time to back down. If Celestia wants a prince to handle this lowly job of pest control then I shall be the only prince she needs!”

“Great Celestia! What is that thing?!”

The tunnel he traveled bottomed out into a storm water reservoir, currently empty of water but what took its place...the barrels of jello nearly slipped out of his magic as he observed the view before him.

“None of our spells are working!” A royal guard shouted, avoiding a swipe from a tentacle, a tentacle attached to what could only be described as a giant round-ish pink flan looking creature with giant orbish green eyes and a gawking blue beak lined with massive white teeth. The guard prepared another spell, he didn’t notice another oozing appendage coming from behind.

“Oh how ghastly!” Blueblood shouted out loud. His cries echoed across the hollow chamber, grabbing the attention of Shining Armor and the royal guards with him.

“Blueblood? What the hay are you doing he-urgh!” Caught off guard, Shining Armor was flung against the wall as the monster shrieked in rage.

‘I should run.’ The thought flashed through Blueblood’s mind like a siren but to his credit, he managed to suppress it. If things got worse he was clear of the gastly pink monster’s range and could run back through the tunnels, but not now! He would not let that upstart glorified guard pony have the praise of his beloved auntie if he had anything to say about it. And of course it would be very poor form to leave them here to perish.

“Fear not fellow stallions, and guardians of Equestria. I come with the solution to slay this savage behemoth!” A flash of magic and two of the barrels flew across the room, smashing straight into the flan beast’s open beak. The monster’s beak clamped down on instinct, sending splinters of wood and jello globs in every direction, raining down on the ponies below.

“Is that jello?” One of the guards wiped away a giant mass of jello and monster drool from his face. Blueblood was already back on his feet, spitting out the gross mixture of monster slime and fruity flavored gelatin. “I think I’m going to be sick…”

“Hmm let’s see here…” Blueblood flipped through the comic again. “It doesn’t specifically show him using all of the barrels.”

“Get out of here you moron!” Shining shouted up at him from below right as a tentacle encircled his middle, yanking him into the air.

“I know this is a stressful situation but there is no need for insults.” Blueblood cooed, his vinere of confidence holding valiantly. The monster roared again, preparing to drop the captain into his mouth. “Observe as I save your life! Hya!” With a flick of his horn another barrel rocketed forth, hitting another bullseye, the imagined target at the back of the monster’s throat. It gurgled, then it squealed, jiggling and jerking in place as the tentacles rolled and writhed, flailing Shining back and forth, and pummeling the other two guards still on the ground.

“Whatever you’re doing just stop it! You’re making it worse!”

“Nonsense!” The fourth barrel launched but it missed the beak and sailed into the eye. “Whoops! It moved a twitch, not to worry I have one more barrel!” Blueblood was beginning to sweat, the flan monster screamed, reeling back, it threw Shining Armor at Blueblood with deadly force.

“Great Scottsdale!” Was the only thing Blueblood could say before his self preservation instincts took control, phasing a shield around himself just as Shining Armor collided with a protection shield of his own. In a freakish occurrence, their shields interlocked, suspending the captain in midair the two magics clashed and crackled, seeming to want to cancel the other out.

“Blueblood you need to run, it’s dangerous here! You’re going to get yourself killed!”

“Oh are you trying to pretend you are some kind of hero? A savior? Even now?” Teeth grit. The magic spheres crackled dangerously, not properly fused the spells could break down at any moment and that would be more of a problem than the giant pony eating flan.

“This monster is an adult Purin, magic can’t penetrate it it just slides off.”

“Hah, and that’s exactly why I brought these barrels of jello good sir.”

“Wh-,” Shining’s eyes lit up with understanding as he noticed the fat round barrel, the only one left, with a sweet oozing orange dessert spilling over the rim. “Jello… sugar! That’s it!” Both ponies saw the flan, still large and imposing but suddenly less than it used to be. Less anger, less ferocity, less mass.

“Of course!” Shining grinned. “It’s body can’t stand the sugar and it’s starting to melt.” Like salt to a slug. Shining, still floating inside the buoyant magic of his bubble shield reached out for the barrel. “Give me that.” He didn’t wait for Blueblood to reply before he plucked it up in a separate stream of magic. Blueblood scrambled backwards as his shield vaporized, Shining had used it as a springboard, like a torpedo back into the reservoir, barrel raised high.

“Open wide!” Shining threw the barrel with the skill and power of a hoofball pro and the exploded sweet contents were absorbed into the Purin’s insides. The flan was just solid enough for Shining’s bubble shield to bounce away, he landed in the reservoir, rescuing the two other guards before leaping back onto the platform with Blueblood. All together they watched transfixed as the Purin writhed. A putrid belch erupted from its mouth and then with little to no fanfare the thing collapsed in on itself like a souffle taken from the oven too early. Its groans and whines fizzled to nothing, leaving just the ambient silence. Without speaking the two guards walked off. Miserable and covered in slime but thankful the ordeal was finished.

“Clever and resourceful was I not?” said Blueblood. “Lucky you I came prepared.”

Shining snorted. “You do realize if you’d have handled this issue months ago this didn’t need to happen, right?”

Blueblood’s ears went flat. “I do see how I might have erred but I see little reason to dwell on the past now. What’s done is done! I’ll make a report to Celestia about this and will make sure to put in a good word for you.”

Shining seemed to deflate just like the flan, a long breathy sigh before he turned towards the exit not looking back while he spoke. “You are the most insufferable pony I’ve ever met. But thanks I guess. Now let's get back before this crap burns my fur off or something.” Trying to be a good influence wasn't working. Or was it? Blueblood had come prepared...maybe he would talk about it with the princess later. For now, Shining Armor wanted nothing more than to kick a boxing dummy to smithereens before the day was over.

“Ah yes. Very well then!” In prince Blueblood’s mind the world was slowly realigning itself in his favor just as it should be. Noting the messy spattered leavings smeared down the in the reservoir he shrugged passively. He’d have to hire some ponies to clean that up.

"Wait a second. You don't read comics." Shining stopped and slowly turned around, cautiously eyeing his "savior". What you just did, where did you learn about Purin's aversion to sugar?"

Blueblood's face stiffened and his eyes grew wide, giving everything away before he even spoke. "Oh! Well. You see I just happened to remember something you said once before when-"

"You were reading something, and what is that by your hoof." Shining already knew, and Blueblood already knew that he knew. The comic's cover was covered in filth, the pages inside beyond ruined, but the guard captain could still make out the signature of the author who had signed the cover for him back when he was a colt.
For the merest of moments Shining blamed himself. He had been in the middle of organizing his reading materials and had simply forgotten that one. He was no Twilight. But then his eyes locked onto Blueblood who was trying his best to appear pathetic, and a sudden calmness entered Shining as his horn burned from a new fireball spell he wanted to try. His smile was almost pleasant.

"You should run."
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#1 · 1
Learning to Review, so please be patient with me.

I don’t think the assault of a high-ranking official will do well for Shining’s Reputation

Credit where it is due. Bravo! You got your characters on point. So much so that I can picture Blueblood and Shining Armor. Pompous versus the bold! Plus them fighting a flan monster at the very end was a good way to keep me engaged. I thought maybe they could be a duo (although tense and reluctant from both parties), but the soiling of an autographed comic book probably squelched that option.

So, minor things to pick at. Not necessarily things you have to change, but some things that tripped me up while reading:

First, the beginning really confused me. But, not to worry. Beginnings always leave me disoriented. I just have to wait until later in the story to get my bearings. My suggestion, however, is to have some rooting in place (In my view, setting and characters). Yes, dialogue is necessary to explain the problem/plot, but take time to describe setting on the fly while the action pulls you along.

Secondly, Dialogue tags. Not having dialogue tags can be effective in some cases. In this case though, please give a hint towards which tag belongs to who. I was able to make out which strand of dialogue belongs to who, although a little bit shakily.

Third, How come Blueblood brought the comic book into the sewers with him? I understand he is using it as a point of reference to see what happens next. I guess it has to do with my preconceived notion that reading the comic book is something he would want to do in private (not wanting to be caught out in the open with it). However, I would think, by implication, that he brought it into the sewers for the sole reason of final assurance that he could spit in Shining’s face just in case things went awry… but that is just an idea. Besides, this idea wouldn’t work for the sole reason that the soiled comic book in the end seemed to be a honest mistake.

I’m not sure if this viewpoint matches others, so take it with a grain of salt. Most of this is written from first impressions, so most chances I’m missing something.

Thanks for writing!
#2 · 2
I used to collect comics myself, and have a great many of them signed by one Archie's premier inkers at the time. I would absolutely acquit Shining on any charges related to whatever he does next for Blueblood's grievous offenses and crimes against collectibles.

Renowned PINO (Prince in name only) Blueblood deigning to finally get his hooves dirty after getting a stern talking to by a real pony (Prince on Nopony's naughY list; I don't know I'm bad at jokes). It's a bit too much of a happy coincidence that the monster in the sewer was exactly the type in the comic that Blueblood filched. All the pieces are in place for that comic being out specifically because Shiny was looking up tips for what he suspected was down there—negating the luck aspect entirely—which is what I was expecting when there was so much detail on how they were accurate in terms of combat and tactics. That's a minor nitpick, but a real lost opportunity to leverage some in-story logic.

I dig the "period piece" nature of this story. It's ye olden times, in terms of seasons! I love those times. Shiny's getting hitched, but he's still got a job to do, made worse by ponies who think they're too good for the tasks assigned. Perfect use of the time and characters. Blueblood's a little more restrained here than I'm used to seeing, not immediately going out of his way to ruin Shining Armor's life with scandal. Seeing him with a bit of sense is a nice change of pace.

Not much to add beyond that. Solid in-your-own-backyard adventure. Trademark copyright industry secret patent pending genre title.