A Canterlot Birth

It was night-time in Canterlot. Princess Cadance, alongside Princess Luna, trotted across Canterlot castle's ramparts. Cadance was in the final stages of pregnancy, her stomach swollen by the growing foal inside.

When Cadance and her husband Shining Armor announced Cadance's pregnancy to their friends and family, Cadance's sister-in-law Twilight Sparkle wasted no time in organising a baby shower. However, Pinkie Pie had taken the "shower" part literally, raining down the presents on a bemused Cadance's head. The mere memory was enough to make Cadance chuckle.

As their foal grew inside her, Shining had become increasingly concerned for his wife's wellbeing, to the point where he even started neglecting his duties as Captain of the Royal Guard. Though Cadance was flattered by Shining's protectiveness, she knew he couldn't put aside Canterlot's safety, even for her. Eventually, Cadance was able to convince Shining to return to his post by promising to remain in the company of other ponies while he was away, which was why, right now, she was joined by her aunt Luna. Unfortunately, Luna was all but insisting on staying as close to Cadance as possible, never giving her a second alone.

"I appreciate your concern, aunt Luna, but it really isn't necessary for you to watch over me like this." Cadance said gently. "I may be pregnant, but I'm certainly not helpless."

"Your being 'with foal' has nothing to do with my behaviour, dear niece." Luna smiled. "I simply wish to get to know you better. After all, we have spent precious little time together since my return, and even less since your marriage to Shining Armor."

"Oh, I see." Cadance muttered sheepishly. "Now I feel like an idiot."

"Think nothing of it, dear niece." Luna smiled. "Now, if I may ask: How are you doing?"

"Quite well, actually." Cadance grinned. "According to the doctor, the foal is perfectly healthy, and I should be giving birth any day no-OOOH!"

Cadance suddenly doubled over in pain.

"What is wrong, Cadance?" Luna asked worriedly.

"I think-AAAHH!" Cadance yelped. A moment later, warm liquid starting trickling down her hind legs. "I think my water just broke."

"The foal is coming?" Luna gasped. "Now?"

"YES!" Cadance howled in pain.

"You there!" Luna called to a pair of her personal Guards, using the 'Royal Canterlot Voice'. "Ready my chariot! And you!" She pointed to another. "Find Captain Armor and inform him that his wife is about to give birth!"

"Yes, Princess!" The Guard saluted.

With that, Luna turned back to Cadance, who could barely stand due to the pain.

"Worry not, Cadance." Luna said softly, dispensing with the Royal Canterlot Voice. "Everything's going to be fine. You will be in the best of hooves, I swear."

"I know." Cadance winced. "But can we please hurry?"

Conjuring up a cloud with her alicorn magic, Luna gently lifted Cadance onto it, and together, the Princesses slowly descended into the courtyard, where Luna's chariot awaited them.

"To Canterlot General Hospital!" Luna commanded the Guards as she and Cadance boarded. "As quickly as possible!"

Saluting their Princess, the Guards reared up on their hind legs, flapped their wings, and took off, pulling the chariot into the air with them.

Meanwhile, inside the castle, Shining Armor was serving as an attendant to Princess Celestia's trade talks with the Griffin nation's leader, Lord Grundel. The talks were suddenly interrupted by Luna's Guard bursting into the conference room.

"Captain Armor!" The Guard gasped breathlessly. "Your wife is in labour!"

"What?" Shining gasped. "Princess, I-"

"Of course, Shining Armor." Celestia nodded. "Lord Grundel, my niece is about to give birth. I must attend to her. I'm afraid our talks must be postponed for now."

"I understand completely." Grundel smiled. "Our talks can wait. There is nothing more important then seeing new hatchlings into this world."

"Thank you, your lordship." Celestia bowed gratefully, before leading Shining to her own chariot.

Shortly afterwards, Luna's chariot touched down outside the hospital. Conjuring up another cloud for Cadance to ride on, Luna gently manoeuvred it through the front doors.

"My niece is in labor." She told the shocked receptionist. "She needs a doctor, right now!"

"Right away, your majesty!" The receptionist nodded. Speaking into a megaphone (Which was connected to an intricate system of pipes that ran through the entire building), she declared. "Dr. Atrics, Dr. Petey Atrics, to the reception area, please! We have a royal labour emergency!" Turning back to Luna and Cadance, she said "Please, Princesses, take a seat."

Luna helped Cadance into a chair, lightly patting her hoof in an attempt to calm her. Thankfully, Dr. Atrics arrived quickly. With the help of Luna and some orderlies, he carried Cadance into the maternity ward.

"You're doing fine, Princess." Dr. Atrics said soothingly. "Just relax."

"Where's Shining?" Cadance groaned. "Where's my Shining Armor?"

"I'm sure he'll be here soon, Cadance." Luna reassured her.

In a textbook example of perfect timing, Shining Armor chose that moment to burst through the door, followed closely by Celestia.

"Cadance, I'm here!" He proclaimed, rushing to Cadance's side. "Are you okay?"

"As okay as one can be when they're giving birth." Cadance winced.

"Here, hold my hoof." Shining offered.

Cadance wrapped her hoof around Shining's so tightly, it felt to him like it was in a vice.

"Remember to go... with... the pain!" Shining said through gritted teeth.

After what seemed like an eternity of pain and discomfort (on both sides), the experience finally came to an end. One last cry of pain from Cadance was followed by the wailing of a newborn.

"Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Armor." Dr. Atrics smiled. "It's a colt!"

Shining and Cadance sighed in relief. The foal was wrapped in swaddling cloth and handed to the new parents. He was an alicorn, just like his mother, though he had his father's pure white coat. A shock of purple mane stuck up on his head.

"He's beautiful." Cadance cooed.

"He's perfect." Shining sighed.

Celestia and Luna smiled at each other, overjoyed at the new addition to their royal family.

A few hours later, the foal had been placed in a cot alongside the other newborns. Shining and Cadance looked at him though the observation window.

"What shall we call him, dear?" Shining asked his wife.

"How about 'Anthem'?" Cadance murmured.

"'Anthem'?" Shining repeated. "Why do you want to call him that?"

"Because every time I look at him, my heart bursts into song." Cadance beamed.

"Mine too." Shining agreed. "So, it's settled. His name is Anthem."

"Our little Anthem." Cadance embraced her husband.

After a couple of days, the new family returned to their home. By then, word had reached Twilight of the birth, and she and her friends had taken the first train to Canterlot, arriving at the Armors' doorstep the morning after.

Anthem's eyes, exact replicas of his mother's, darted around, taking in the strange new ponies as his father carried him into the room.

"Say 'hello' to your aunt Twily, son." Shining whispered as he gave Twilight the colt to hold.

"Wow." Twilight smiled, holding Anthem in her forelegs. "I'm really an auntie. Hi there, my little nephew."

Anthem gazed blankly at Twilight for a moment. His mouth then opened into a gummy smile as he hugged her muzzle.

"I think he likes you." Cadance grinned.

Smiling deeply, Twilight showed Anthem to each of her friends in turn.

"Ohhh, isn't he just the cutest little Prince?" Rarity tickled him under the chin. "He's going to break hearts, you just wait and see!"

"Most darlin' li'l critter Ah evah did see." Applejack agreed.

"He's such a little sweetie." Fluttershy whispered, giving him a small yet warm hug.

"Just look at those wings." Rainbow Dash pointed out. "He's gonna be one heck of a flyer some day, mark my words!"

"Hi, little Anthem!" Pinkie Pie squeed. Repeatedly covering her eyes and revealing them, she squealed "Peekaboo! Peekaboo!"

Anthem started giggling. In response, Pinkie snatched up the foal and blew a raspberry on his tummy, making him giggle even more.

The last to greet Anthem was Spike, Twilight's baby dragon assistant.

"Hey there, little guy." Spike held up the little foal. "I'm Spi-YOW!"

The introduction was cut off by Anthem tugging on one of Spike's head spines. Once he realised the spine could not be removed, Anthem released it, causing it to snap back painfully.

"Ow!" Spike winced.

Anthem smiled his gummy little smile again.

"Real funny, kid." Spike said sullenly. "Anyway, like I said, I'm Spike. Pleased to meet you."

Taking one of Anthem's hooves in his claw, Spike lightly shook it, to the foal's bemusement. Anthem then hugged Spike's chest, leaving behind a trail of drool afterwards.

"Nice." Spike groaned.

After a fun-filled day with the new arrival, the time had come for Twilight and her friends to head back home.

"Thank you all for coming." Cadance smiled.

"Our pleasure" Twilight smiled back. "If you ever need anything, just ask."

"Like a new blanket, woven from the finest silk Ponyville has to offer." Rarity offered.

"Or sum apple juice." Applejack added.

"Or a flight instructor." Rainbow grinned.

"Or a babysitter." Fluttershy smiled nervously.

"Or two!" Pinkie yelped, quickly putting her hoof around Fluttershy's neck.

"We'll keep that in mind." Shining chuckled.

"Bye, Anthem!" Twilight bid her nephew farewell with a kiss on the nose. "Auntie Twily will be back real soon, yes she will!"

Anthem gurgled happily.

The family waved their visitors goodbye, Anthem mimicking his parent's actions without truly knowing what they were for.

That night, Shining and Cadance gazed at their son as he lay in his crib, blissfully asleep, quietly sucking on his hoof.

"I still can't believe we could make something so beautiful." Cadance whispered.

"Me neither." Shining whispered back. "And yet, here he is."

"We should let him sleep." Cadance smiled. "He's had a big day."

"Right as always, my love." Shining nuzzled his beloved. "Good night, my son."

"We love you, our little Prince." Cadance added.

The proud parents departed from the nursery. Anthem slept on, his slumber blissful and undisturbed.

The End.

(My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all associated characters are the property of Lauren Faust and Hasbro)