"According to Evertrot's 'many-worlds' interpretation of quantum mechanics, every time a choice is made a new set of realities emerge, each based on a different possible outcome of that choice. Thus all possible realities exist, all of which branch apart from each other. The great unicorn magician Starswirl the (Bearded/Wise) created a practical application of this theory by proving that each branching universe could be accessed through a unique magical frequency. Since (s)he published this proof, many of Equestria's brightest unicorns have dedicated their lives to creating a "map of the multiverse" by peering into alternate universes through specially modified scrying spells. Of course, due to the infinite and constantly changing nature of this task, only a few 'base' realities similar to the Equestria we know and love have been discovered.
More than 300 years after Starswirl created a means of observing alternate universes, Albert(a) Equistein designed spells that allowed communication and even travel between parallel universes. However, only a handful of unicorns in the history of Equestria besides the Princesses have the raw power needed to perform this spell unassisted, and all of them have a special talent for magic.
'Multiverse' spells are very complex in nature and heavily restricted at university. Very few books actually contain Equistein's theories regarding communication and travel between parallel universes, and even some of these theories are not common knowledge, such as the revolutionary 'e(friendship)=m(magic)c(elements of harmony)˛'. There are several reasons for this necessary censorship. Firstly, many of Equestria's brightest ponies have been lost after traveling to a branching universe and never managing to return. Secondly, most of the ponies with the ability to perform these enchantments either know, have no reason to know, or would presumably make things worse by their meddling."
-Thesis on the Dangers of Inter-Dimensional Travel, by Twilight Sparkle and Dusk Shine
Prince Blueblood was truly extraordinary with his trademarked smoulder, pedigree, and chiseled visage,. In fact, if he were anypony else, he would have been the most eligible bachelor in all of Canterlot, perhaps all of Equestria. Unfortunately, he wasn't anypony else; he was the royal Prince Blueblood. The same remarkable traits that made up his appearance and status were the undoing of his personality, manners, and everything else that makes up a gentlecolt. His fame and prestige caused all the niceness inside of him to shrivel up into a little black husk and blow away in the wind. That fact can be attested to by Rarity of Ponyville, not to mention every single member of Canterlot's nobility, especially the Princesses.
Every week Blueblood went about performing his token duties, inadvertently insulting everypony he met. At the end of each week, he stormed into whatever meeting Celestia happened to be in at the time and implored her to banish, imprison, or execute the massive list of almost everypony that he made contact with that week. On the other hoof, every month the princess received a lengthy petition to have him disowned and taught a lesson in humility from almost everypony he met that week.
If you asked anypony in Equestria who the most annoying, stuck up, conceited, and overall most irritating pony in existence they would undoubtedly answer with a resounding cry of 'Blueblood'. However, while this seems like the obvious response, they would be wrong. If you specified the single version of Equestria where our Blueblood is then you would be correct. However, if one dared to venture outside of the known universe in which Equestria exists, one might find another pony who has the same ego, pretentiousness, and grandiosity.
Princess Bluebelle was absolutely furious. Not only was she intruded upon, but her royal guard refused to do anything about it.
"Commander Spear," she addressed the pegasus mare who was in charge of her personal guard. "I order you to remove this colt and have him sent to the dungeons immediately." She waved a hoof in the general direction of the grey colt with a treble clef cutie-mark.
"Madam, that is the bass player that you heard about and demanded to have play for you in private," Spear pointed out.
"Ummm... then have him play. This is taking much too long," the Princess demanded.
"Sorry about this Octavian" whispered Spear "I have to deal with her every day."
"Fine. But you owe me. After you get out tonight meet me at Josephine's doughnut shop and we can all go and hit up that new bar"
"Are you sure? I don't think that you'll like the music that much. They did get a D-J who plays nothing but techno."
"I don't care about the music, as long as the drinks are on you."
"But I don't make enough!"
Octavia was chatting with Pony Joe when Commander Lance came in, still in full armor.
"Sorry I'm late. Blueblood had another hissy fit. Somepony said that he looked 'nice' today. As usual, he took that as an insult because the filly didn't embellish upon how absolutely stunning he was." Commander Lance rolled his eyes. "To think that I gave up a prestigious position in a cloud factory to join the army. Of course, I didn't know I would be in charge of babysitting this little snot."
"Little snot?" Octavia spoke up, "He's the biggest snot in the world. That was one of my better performances, I'll have you know, and he not only refused to let me play in his theater, but he threatened to break my double bass if I didn't leave halfway through because he disliked it. That stuck up, selfish, rude--"
Pony Joe interrupted her rant, "Well, no use sitting here all night. Let's go and visit that new bar you were talking about. I can't wait to catch up with you all. We haven't all been together like this since before the Gala!" With that the three of them left for the bar as they tried to avoid conversation about the pony who made all their lives miserable.
Octavian had consumed more whiskey and shots of straight salt than anypony in the bar had ever seen. That horrendous thumping, the music that "everypony likes nowadays," was giving him a massive headache, and he was not much for conversation above ordering drinks and cursing at the DJ. Not that the drinks actually helped his headache; it just got worse with each glass. Meanwhile, Spear, having removed her armor at the shop, boasted a rather shapely figure and kept having to brush off the colts while chatting with Josephine.
"...then the Prince himself came in and started chatting with Dusk and his friends," Josephine said. "I knew that Dusk was his student and all, but that was quite unexpected to say the least."
"Dusk and his friends?" Spear inquired. "They destroyed the Gala entirely. It was absolute chaos. But I do admire that other unicorn colt... Elusive was it? He showered Bluebelle with cake. I couldn't stop laughing. She was taking it out on everypony for weeks. In fact--"
She was cut short by Octavian who, finally succumbing to the alcohol, slurred, "I...I wanna nuther one," and promptly collapsed onto the floor. The two fillies who had gone with him looked at each other and rolled their eyes. This wouldn't be the first time he would wake up on one of their couches with a hangover.
While the captain of his bodyguard was having fun with his friends, Blueblood was sneaking around the castle. Usually, he would have insisted on a fanfare of trumpets to announce his arrival, but tonight he seemed to have upset his 'auntie.' He had noticed that she seemed upset when he had burst into the throne room during court. Trying to spare the peasant scum from upsetting her more, Blueblood had ordered them to leave. For some odd reason this made her even more upset. In retrospect, this was typical of his 'auntie,' always becoming aggravated at his attempts to help.
After listening to his report on how he wanted Octavia to be put in prison for a bad performance, she dismissed him. Celestia then locked herself in the room after he had left so she could have "a private meeting". Wondering why, Blueblood had made up his mind to find out what Celestia was scheming. Checking to make sure there was no one watching him, he decided to look around the courtroom. The only thing that was out of place was a mirror with a trace of magic around it that Blueblood had never noticed before. It was big enough to accommodate a pony the size of Princess Celestia.
Bluebelle cantered over to the mirror that, despite it being far too plain for her tastes, nevertheless stood out in the grand courtroom of Prince Solaris. She warily paced around it, making sure not to get too close. She reached out with her magic and probed at the remnants of the spell. To her surprise it was actually the same spell done a massive amount of times, more than anypony could have done, save the Royal Pony Brothers, and of those two only Solaris could have done it, given the banishment thing with his brother. Focusing all of her magic on the mirror, she thought back to her lessons that she took at Canterlot University (before her "untimely" and "unjust" expulsion). She fed magic into the archaic web of past spells, and the mirror started to shimmer. "Ah, a viewing spell," she thought. "I wonder what the prince was looking at?"
Suddenly the mirror flashed brightly, and she caught a glimpse of somepony that looked eerily like her. Then the mirror shattered, and she fell to her haunches, worn out from magical expenditure. She resolved to investigate further. All she needed was more power... and some way of explaining to Solaris why his mirror was broken.
Princess Celestia woke with a start. Something was wrong. Somehow somepony had shattered one of her spells, and if it was the spell she suspected, things could get messy quickly. Wishing to discover what exactly had happened, she created a small mirror with her magic out of nothing (all in a day's work for a goddess). She cast a short range scrying spell and focused on the throne room. The princess almost dropped the mirror in surprise at what she saw, because there, standing next to the shattered remains of her custom made, full sized mirror was Blueblood. She watched as he summoned a maid to clean up the pieces of glass scattered about the floor. Blueblood paced about the courtroom nervously muttering to himself as he tried to think of words to talk himself out of his predicament. Setting the mirror aside, so as to continue monitoring him, Celestia analyzed the spell that he had broken. A slow smile spread across her face as she looked at the results. It was time that she payed somepony a call, a very special somepony.
Celestia got up and cast a spell to prevent anypony from hearing the conversation she was about to have. Satisfied with her work she walked over to the full body mirror she kept next to her vanity. After smoothing out her long, flowing mane and ruffled feathers one last time she lowered her horn and cast the very same spell detected earlier by her nephew. the mirror shimmeredand gradually replaced her image with another.
"Ladies first," said the larger alicorn with a flaming red mane and tail.
"Thank you Solly," Celestia said as she stepped through the mirror, "I take it that you are also aware of the escapades of our respective relations in the throne room. What do you suggest we do about it?"
"Well they have most certainly crossed the line, but most of the suggested punishments are much too harsh. Although I do have a few ideas." Solaris mused.
After a short discussion filled with fits of laughter from both sides a plan had been made.
'Well, well, well.' Celestia thought to herself, getting to work on her part of the plan, 'This should be fun.'
Solaris looked into the mirror that was focused on following Bluebelle. In the few minutes that he had been busy, Bluebelle had managed to talk her way into the university and was in a heated argument with a professor, presumably trying to get her to help examine the properties of the spell on the mirror. The professor, Mesmera, was, as expected when asked so abruptly and rudely, refusing. However, while the ruler of Equestria would normally respect the professor's decision to refuse her services to such an unreasonable request, Solaris got out a pen and a piece of paper and took a note:
"Dear Madam Professor,
It has come to my attention that the young Princess Bluebelle is attempting to convince you to disobey my orders to not aid her in feats of magic. I give you express permission to go back on that order in this occasion. Please do as she asks for now. I will let you know when she oversteps her bounds.
His Most Royal Majesty of Equestria, Regent of the Sun,
With a glimmer of magic the scroll disappeared from in front of the prince and landed in front of Mesmera.
"No." said Professor Cantrip.
"PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!" Blueblood whined, stamping his hooves in desperation.
"I SAID N-" Cantrip was cut off as a scroll popped into existence in front in front of him. Scowling with distaste, he ripped it open and read it. His eyes widened, and doing a double take, he read it again. Putting on a creepy smile and using the most ridiculously sugary and sarcastic voice he could muster, the professor said, "Okay, my dear prince, your undisputed logic and overpowering charisma have won me over. However may I be of service to your Majesty?"
"Finally you see the light!" Blueblood exclaimed, puffing up his chest. "Here, I have something to show you."
Blueblood reached into his ornate saddlebag made from the finest pressed leather and pulled out a piece of the shattered mirror. He levitated it over to the professor who eyed it curiously. Professor Cantrip performed several spells on the fragment, causing it to glow many different colors: pink, green, mauve, and rainbow, before finally returning to its original reflective state. Taking a deep breath, Cantrip told Blueblood, "There is not a single significant trace of magic in this fragment. It has not been altered, enhanced, or cursed chemically, physically, or magically. It is nothing but an ordinary shard of an ordinary mirror." He paused for a bit in irritation. "Is there anything else I can do for you, your majesty?"
The prince was at a loss for words. "But... but I was certain that I saw something that wasn't my reflection through the mirror! There was this... beautiful mare on the other side, staring back at me with the same curiosity my gorgeous eyes had at that moment. She was a white unicorn with a bow-tie, blond hair and the most regal demeanor. She was... like out of a dream..." Blueblood stared into empty space as the professor proceeded towards the now empty mirror frame.
"You fool!" shouted the professor. "Clearly--" His words were interrupted by a sudden sweeping of his legs, which caused him to fall flat on his face. Getting up slowly, he saw an enraged Prince Blueblood staring at him with anger he had only seen from Celestia at her worst moments.
"Do NOT call me a fool," the prince ordered. "You are to address me as 'your Majesty' or 'your royal highness' or 'prince,' but to call me such a condescending and vulgar word is grounds to have your tongue removed from your mouth. Have I made myself clear?"
Having never seen this enraged side of Blueblood before, the professor was forced to comply. "Clearly," Cantrip continued after clearing his throat, "most magical mirrors are not enchanted through the glass itself. Since mirrors are so fragile, the glass is not an ideal host for any spell of significant magnitude. The frame is usually what is enchanted in so called 'magic mirrors.' The frame then transfers its spell to whatever piece of glass is inside it at the time."
Blueblood stepped closer to the frame of the mirror, observing its gold leaf inlay and ornately carved woodwork. The frame appeared as rays of the sun emanating from the reflection that it once showed when it still contained glass. Now, the frame stood mounted on a stone wall, and the only thing staring back at Blueblood was the gray granite rock of the castle. He turned back to the professor and smiled. "Now tell me more about this enchanted frame..."
At that moment, however, a unicorn servant burst into the room, flanked by two pegasus guards. She took a scroll from her saddlebags, unrolled it, cleared her throat, and said, "The Great Regent of the Sun, Princess Celestia would see you in her private quarters immediately, Prince Blueblood."
"Bluebelle, I am ashamed of you," Solaris sighed, "What should I do with you? Your blatant disregard for... for everything has gone too far! I have received far to many complaints about you, but now you even have broken my own personal property. That mirror was given to me over one thousand years ago by the Queen of the Dragons, from her own personal hoard no less. It was an irreplaceable treasure, and a new facsimile will take about a month to come in. The cost to the royal estate will put even more pressure on the budget in these hard economic times. This is all coming out of your weekly allowance from the treasury."
While Solaris was glaring at Bluebelle, who was cowering and trembling in the corner of the study, on the inside he was laughing. While he did feel guilty about telling her this, he felt that Bluebelle deserved at least some threatening verbal abuse, even if it was all lies. That mirror had been destroyed at least three hundred times in the past thousand years. In fact, the queen herself had broken it on the very day it was given to him. There was no expense to the treasury; Solaris would just conjure a new mirror in its place as he had done many times before.
The Alicorn stallion turned and announced, "And in order to teach you a lesson in humility you will be living in the same quarters as your bodyguard. You will do as she says. Pretend that the two of you are... switching places."
"Y-yes s-sir. M-may I ask how long this will last? Sir?" Bluebelle spoke up.
"For as long as it takes, my dear. Yes, as long as it takes..." Solaris said with an almost menacingly evil grin.
Prince Solaris then dismissed Princess Bluebelle, and he wrote down some instructions for Commander Spear, which he promptly turned into smoke and sent magically. Getting prepared to set up a rift to talk to Celestia, he cast a spell on a small hoof mirror. When he was about to release the magic, he stiffened in surprise, and the spell shattered. If he wasn't mistaken, somepony not too far outside the castle had just let out a pitiful shriek of "Noooooooooooo!"
"Noooooooooooo!" shrieked Lance, as he collapsed on the ground and flailed around the moment after he read the letter from Celestia. In response to this outburst, Octavia lifted her head from the pillow in which it had been buried and flopped off of the couch.
"Whatsagoin' on? Uhnnggg... my head," she complained holding her hooves to her skull. "Dear Celestia, my head... it HURTS. That's da LAST time I'll drink, never EVAH again. How much...?"
"Seventeen shots of whiskey and five shots of salt," replied Pony Joe, "before I lost count, that is. Oh, and for the record, you also said something about 'dat flank' in regards to the DJ; she seemed to like you. Would you like me to continue?"
Octavia blushed and shook her head, clearing her thoughts enough to speak relatively clearly. "I'd rather not know. So... what's wrong with Lance? I... I think he's, uh, he's doin' the hyper...hyper...hyperventasomethin."
Octavia half-walked half-lurched her way over to the now frozen figure of the always stoic Commander Lance and, failing to grasp the letter, allowed Pony Joe to pick it up, and he read it aloud.
I send this to inform you that due to his recent and long term behavior, Prince Blueblood will be living with you until further notice. This is so that hopefully he will learn about the plights of the average citizen of Equestria. I hope he does not prove to be too much of a burden. I will be sending him over this afternoon. I hope you can teach him something that nopony else could.
Her Most Royal Majesty of Equestria, Regent of the Sun,
P.S. I will try to repay you for this favor. I don't have much of choice right now."
Octavia and Pony Joe looked at each other.
"On shecond thought, mehbe I'll have s'more of what I had last night."
"Not a bad idea."
Prince Solaris and Professor Mesmera were walking along a few yards in front of a grumbling and irritated Princess Bluebelle. Bluebelle was trying, unsuccessfully, to mutter under her breath, but since she lacked the graces of subtlety, every word she said was overheard by the prince and professor. Mesmera gave Solaris a pleading glance and, after a nod from the prince, smiled as she magically shut the mouth of the vociferous princess. After futilely fumbling with the zipper that had appeared over her mouth, Bluebelle glared at the professor and prince before continuing to walk in silence.
They soon left the royal district of Canterlot and entered the main residential areas. Coming by an apartment complex, Solaris stopped, inclined his head toward his niece, and motioned her towards the door. Bluebelle, wise enough not to expect Solaris to open the door for her, slowly approached the door and gave it a pitifully soft tap.
Undoing the zipper Solaris chided her, "You'll have to do better than that, you know."
"But... but I..."
"Don't you 'but I' me young lady. Just knock on the door."
She knocked slowly and deliberately, as if it took all her strength to accomplish the task. There was a shout of "Coming!" and within a minute the door opened to reveal Commander Spear. From Bluebelle there came a sullen and dejected "Hello."
"Good afternoon to you too," Spear replied half-sarcastically. She ushered the Prince and Professor in, followed by Bluebelle. "I'm sorry that this might not be what you royals are used to, and I didn't have much time to prepare, but this is my home."
"Well, if it is good enough for the captain of my niece's guard then it is good enough for her," Solaris said, giving Bluebelle a sharp look. He noticed Octavian and Josephine, "Oh! You have visitors! Please introduce us."
"Umm... well this is Josephine and this is Octavian."
"Ah, miss Josephine," Solaris said. "I remember all of those times when I had to pick up Dusk after he spent all night studying. And unless you have changed the recipe since the Gala, your doughnuts are still the best Equestria has ever had."
"Why thank you, sir," answered Josephine, blushing slightly at such a compliment from the ruler of Equestria.
"No, thank you, for always having a place for Dusk," Solaris replied. "And are you the same Octavian who performed at the Gala? I am sorry that I couldn't make it to your performance. How would you like a few prime slots at the Royal Theater? I have always wanted to hear you perform. It is the least I could do. And I believe, Bluebelle, an apology..."
Bluebelle interjected, "Well I dare say there is, after that horrendous..." She stopped mid-sentence after Solaris shot her another stare that really made her worry she would really be sent to the moon this time. "Oh, um... sorry."
"I didn't catch that."
Spear facehoofed. This was going to be a looooooong ordeal.