In a room full of decorum, Mirror couldn’t seem to find his.
It wasn’t as though he didn’t know what to do in this sort of situation, oh no! As the elder son of Lord Phantom Sparkle, Mirror had been taught from an early age the proper way to act in this and a million other situations. True, Mirror hadn’t always paid as much attention as he could have – once he’d discovered his special talent, he’d often left his boring tutors talking to a replica as lifeless as they were — but some of it had stuck, enough that he knew that he really shouldn’t be shuffling his hooves in the throne room of Canterlot Palace.
It wasn’t like the blue unicorn could use one of his illusions to get out of this, either; he was in the presence of Her Grand Royal Highness, Princess Celestia, and her eyes would not be fooled by his simple tricks, not when the crescent moon mirrored within itself on his flank practically gave away his special magical talent to her. The throne room was deserted save for the Princess, himself, and four of the Royal Guard, two standing before the dais and two to the sides of the grand doors that sealed the entrance to the throne room. Mirror stood before the dais himself; his father, were he here, would be permitted on the first level, but nopony save for the Princess herself was permitted to ascend to the top without her permission. The grand alicorn sat upon the throne, smiling that one smile of hers, the one that the nobility had come to learn meant that she was inordinately pleased with herself at the moment.
Mirror shuffled his hooves again unconsciously before he cringed and caught himself… too late, it seemed, as a gentle chuckle issued forth from behind him. “Feeling nervous, Lord Sparkle?” the Princess asked, both amusement and concern present in her voice.
“Uh, well, yes, Your Highness, I must confess I am,” Mirror said as he turned away from the doors; it would not do to speak to Princess Celestia without facing her directly. The question he had kept asking himself shot through his mind once again, and he found himself blurting it out before he could stop himself. “Might I ask Your Highness… why me? I have no experience with diplomacy, and little experience in your court in general. Are you certain you didn’t want my father instead?”
“Are you questioning me?” Celestia asked with a raised eyebrow, and Mirror started making a mental list for everything he needed to pack for when he was sent to the Frozen North for opening his fool mouth… but the Princess simply smiled. “Good. I do wish more ponies would do that. As for your lack of experience in diplomacy, Lord Sparkle, how are we ever to remedy that without you taking part in it?” Celestia suddenly looked up at the door. “Eyes forward, my little pony. I believe our guest has arrived.”
Mirror turned back to the door just as it opened up, letting in a strange flickering orange glow along with a prim and proper unicorn. The unicorn unfurled a scroll with his magic and began to announce, in a loud, clear voice, “Presenting the Ambassador of the Free Land of Searia, Star Blaze, Countess of the Blazing Mountain, in all her glory!”
The unicorn stepped aside after his pronouncement, and Mirror’s eyes turned to the open doorway, only to see the source of the flickering firelight: a pony. Her white coat was cast in yellow and orange hues by her mane and tail, which consisted entirely of brilliant flames, trailing behind her as she strode proudly into the room. Mirror noted the delicate horn protruding from Star Blaze’s head, as well as the three purple stars that adorned her flank, before he realized that perhaps he shouldn’t scrutinize an ambassador quite so thoroughly if he wanted Equestria’s relationship with Searia to remain friendly.
Star Blaze strode to about ten paces before the dais of Princess Celestia, and bowed low to the soverign. As she did so, the flames that made up mane and tail began to die down, transforming into hairs of purple and white. She rose and smirked at the princess. “Your Highness, I apologize for the theatrics, but Searian tradition demands we present ourselves in our fullest.”
Princess Celestia nodded. “Quite understandable, Lady Blaze; I have seen your ponies’ affinity for flame many a time, though I think you made quite the impression on young Lord Sparkle here.”
It was only after Celestia said that that Mirror realized that his jaw was hanging open, and he hastily closed it. “Um…”
Celestia chuckled once again. “Let us get introductions out of the way, shall we? Lade Star Blaze, this is Lord Mirror Sparkle, eldest son of Lord Phantom Sparkle, Duke of the Unicorn Range. He shall be your liaison and guide during your time in Canterlot. I trust you two will get along… marvellously.”
“A-A pleasure, my lady,” Mirror managed to get out, earning him a smile from Star Blaze, and as Celestia and the ambassador got down to the business at hoof, he couldn’t help but look forward to spending more time with the Searian mare.
Norse Pony’s comments: Oh yeah, I’m digging this worldbuilding. I want to know more about the fire-ponies. I wonder if they’re all unicorns, or if there are fire-pegasi too. If I’m recalling correctly, that’s Twilight’s father’s cutie mark, which suggests that Blaze is Twilight’s mother. If so, her mother’s fire-pony heritage certainly explains Twilight’s ability to burst into flame when sufficiently provoked, which is an amusing detail that I like a lot.