The Young Prince
Chapter Fifteen: Leaving The Nest
Dusk's eighteenth birthday had come and gone. Although Dusk had enjoyed the his big day, and the party that came with it, his coming of age had left a curious empty feeling inside him. It took a while for him to understand what it meant, but he figured it out eventually, and came to a decision, one that he announced over dinner one night.
"Mom, dad, I've done a lot of thinking, and I've made a decision." He declared. "I'm going to leave Ponyville, and go travel Equestria."
"You're what?!" Twilight nearly choked on her food.
"Mind if we ask why, son?" Flash asked.
"Yeah." Starlight frowned. "Don't you like it here in Ponyville anymore?"
"Don't get me wrong." Dusk shook his head. "I love Ponyville. But I'm supposed to be a prince of Equestria, and I've seen so little of it. Aside from quick trips to Canterlot, Cloudsdale, and the Crystal Empire, I've spent pretty much my entire life here. It's a big country, and I want to see more of it."
"Well, if that's what you want, we won't stop you." Twilight sighed. "You're a grown stallion now, and you can make your own decisions. ...I just can't believe this day has already come. It seems like only yesterday you were a little foal, and now look at you, ready to go off on your own. I'm so proud of you, Dusk."
"So it's really okay with you?" Dusk asked.
"Of course it is." Flash smiled.
"Well it's not okay with me!" Starlight growled. "How could you even think of leaving us? Of leaving me?"
"I'm sorry, Starlight." Dusk told her. "It's just something I feel I have to do."
"Hmph!" Starlight huffed, turning her back on him.
Starlight refused to talk to Dusk for the rest of the night. The next day, he broke the news to Dazzle and the rest of his friends.
"Yer leaving?" Crab asked. "Jes' like that?"
"Not just like that." Dusk countered. "There's a lot of preparations I need to make first."
"It's gonna be weird not having you around, that's for sure." Thunder noted.
"Too bad we can't all go with you." Rainbow added.
"Somehow, I don't think our parents will go for that." Honeysuckle countered.
"How long do you think you'll be away?" Dazzle asked.
"Hard to say." Dusk shrugged. "It could be weeks, or even months."
"An' yer doing it why, exactly?" Crab asked.
"It's like this." Dusk explained. "I'm a prince, but I've spent most of my life here, in Ponyville. I need to start living up to my title, and good royalty knows their domain, and the ponies in it. That's why I'm doing this; So I can see this land my family holds sovereignty over, and get to know all the different ponies that live here."
"When you say it like that, it kinda makes sense." Honeysuckle smiled.
"Still, we're gonna miss ya, Dusky." Purple said sadly. "I can always count on you to laugh at my jokes."
"Or to give us a flying partner." Thunder added.
"Or help tend my flowers." Honeysuckle smiled.
"Or lend a hoof down at the farm." Crab interjected.
"And of course, be all-round handsome and wonderful." Dazzle finished, kissing Dusk on the cheek.
"Thanks, guys." Dusk smiled. "I'll miss all of you, too. But mark my words, I will be back, and that's a promise."
"Pinkie promise?" Purple smirked.
"Pinkie promise." Dusk chuckled.
Later that day, Dazzle visited the library, wanting to speak to Dusk in private.
"What's up, Dazz?" Dusk asked, halting the organising of his travelling provisions.
"I want to come with you." Dazzle stated.
"You do?" Dusk asked.
"Yes, I do" Dazzle nodded. "It shouldn't be too hard to convince my mother, as long as I play up the romance aspect..."
"But Dazz, what about your modelling career?" Dusk inquired. "You can't leave all that behind."
"I can model anytime." Dazzle shrugged. "As long as I'll be with you, it won't matter."
"Yes, it will." Dusk retorted. "I can't let you give all that up, just for me. I wouldn't be able to live with myself."
"Okay, then." Dazzle sighed. "I'll wait for you, you know."
"No, don't do that." Dusk shook his head. "I don't want you to pine away after me."
"Who said I'll be 'pining away'?" Dazzle snorted. "This isn't a cheesey romance novel! I'll still be getting on my life. But I will miss you."
"I'll miss you too, Dazz." Dusk smiled. "I'll think about you every day."
"Ditto." Dazzle purred.
The two shared a long, sweet kiss.
The next day, Dusk was gathering more provisions when he ran into Gold and Silver.
"What do you two want?" He asked.
"Word is, you're leaving this dump of a town." Gold sneered.
"So what if I am?" Dusk growled.
"So, we're glad you've finally wised up." Silver smirked. "It took you eighteen years, but you finally figured out when to leave this dump behind. We'd do the same if mom and dad didn't want us to run the family business."
"That's not why I'm leaving." Dusk snorted. "I'm going to go and learn about Equestria, first hoof. And I'm coming back, as a matter of fact."
"Pity." Gold sniffed. "You're the only pony around here who's on our level. It'll be boring around here without you to mess with."
"Good." Dusk spat. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have supplies to get."
The day before his planned departure, Dusk had made one more errand, and returned. As he opened the door, he found the place completely dark. Suddenly, the lights flickered on, and a horde of ponies, his friends and their families among them, yelled "Surprise!" The library was covered in streamers, and a large cake with the words "Good luck, Dusk!" sat on a table.
"What's all this?" Dusk gasped.
"Your going-away party, silly!" Pinkie Pie cheered.
"Oh, right." Dusk chuckled.
Everypony Dusk knew was there. Even Gold and Silver were in attendance, joined by their parents, Platinum Watch and Ruby Necklace. Platinum was an alabaster-coated stallion with a silvery mane and a watch Cutie Mark. Ruby had a bright red coat and a golden mane, with a necklace Cutie Mark. The disgruntled looks on Gold and Silver's faces implied they had been forced to attend by their parents, who positively venerated Twilight and Flash, and would do anything to get on their good sides.
"Everypony's here." Dusk smiled.
"Not quite everypony." Twilight sighed.
"Starlight's up in her room." Flash noted. "She wouldn't come down when I called her."
"I guess she's still mad at me for leaving." Dusk mused. "Can't say I blame her..."
The party began, with Dusk being given farewell gifts and words of encouragement from all his well-wishers. About halfway through, Starlight came dashing down the stairs.
"Hey, squirt." Dusk said, relieved. "I was worried you weren't going to join us."
"Yeah, I'm sorry about losing it like that." Starlight admitted. "I just didn't want to lose the best big brother ever."
"You'll never lose me, Starlight." Dusk smiled. "No matter how far away I am, I'll always be right here."
Dusk tapped Starlight's chest with his hoof.
"Thanks, Dusk." Starlight beamed. "I, er... got you something too."
Starlight opened her wing. As the worn plush object dropped to the floor, she caught it with her magic, and levitated it over to Dusk.
"Fuzzy?" Dusk gaped at the stuffed manticore.
"The first gift you ever gave me." Starlight reminisced. "And now, I want you to take it with you. A little something to remember me by."
"I... don't know what to say." Dusk smiled. "Thanks, Star."
"No, thank you." Starlight countered.
"For what?" Dusk asked.
"For everything." Starlight hugged him. "For always being there for me, and looking out for me all these years."
"That's just what big brothers do." Dusk hugged her back.
"Awww!" The crowd cooed.
"Now, how about some cake?" Dusk asked. "I saved you some."
"What'd I say?" Starlight chuckled. "Always looking out for me."
The party went on well into the night. Dusk, exhausted, fell asleep the second he laid on his bed. The next morning, he gathered all his supplies together, carrying most of them in a backpack. His friends and family were waiting outside to see him off.
"Good luck, my little prince." Twilight hugged him. "And be safe."
"You do us proud, kiddo." Flash smiled. "Be the best prince you can be."
"Bye, Dusk." Starlight said tearfully. "Come back soon."
"Gonna miss ya, pardner." Crab told him.
"Enjoy your trip." Honeysuckle sniffed.
"You show all those other ponies how awesome you are!" Thunder cheered.
"And how awesome Ponyville is!" Rainbow added.
"Bring back some good jokes!" Purple chuckled.
Dazzle stepped forward.
"Look, Dazz..." Dusk started.
Dazzle placed a hoof on his mouth.
"I've got some news for you." She smiled. "I've just accepted a modelling contract, over in Manehattan. When you find yourself in the neighbourhood, feel free to stop by."
"Oh, you can bet on that." Dusk chuckled. "I miss you already, Dazz."
"How about one for the road?" Dazzle puckered up.
"With pleasure." Dusk kissed her.
"Okay, now you're startin' to get sappy." Rainbow groaned.
"Goodbye, everypony." Dusk waved. "I'll miss you all. But I'll be back sooner then you think. Ponyville's still my home, after all!"
Dusk's friends and family waved and cheered as he started trotting away. He waved back for as long as he could. It was with a heavy heart that Dusk left Ponyville's limits, but that soon gave way to excitement over what he would soon discover, out in the land of Equestria. He would see more of this land, and come back a more learned and experienced prince.
(My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and all associated characters are the property of Hasbro.)