The hard knocks of the library door felt like a pile-driver boring its way into Twilight's skull. She had had little sleep since the incident with Connor several days ago and the early morning wake up call and lack of morning coffee didn't help matters. She groggily made here way down stairs as the knocking continued.
"I'm coming!" she yelled harshly, becoming increasingly irritated by the disturbance.
The knocking thankfully stopped by the time she reached the door. Opening it she was instantly shocked out of her drowsy state by who it was stood before her.
"Greetings Twilight Sparkle, apologies if I woke you at this early hour."
Twilight rubbed her eyes with her hooves, "It's OK, I was awake already. Do you want to come inside?"
"Thank you, but no," Luna smiled "I came here only to personally deliver a message from Connor."
The mention of his name immediately got her attention.
"You have?! How is he? Where is he?"
"All is explained in this letter young Twilight," Luna replied, levitating a scroll into view.
Twilight took the scroll in her magic and began to unfurl it hesitantly, fearful of what may be written.
"I shall leave you now Twilight, I have matters to discuss with my sister."
"Of course Princess, bye now."
Luna took to the sky and flew away before disappearing in a flash of light, leaving Twilight alone. She closed the door to the library and sat herself down on a large cushion and began reading the scroll.
First I'd just like to apologise for my behaviour the other day. It was way over the top and unfair (particularly to Rarity) considering you were only trying to have a little fun. I'm writing to you because I want to make up to you all, but I'll need your help to do it (and Rarity needs to be kept out of it). I'm currently in Las Pegasus with Spitfire. Could you come through and we'll talk about what I'm planning?
You can get Hotmail Spike to send your reply with his dragon fire to the portable messenger lighter Luna gave me. (In case you're wondering why Luna delivered it's because she came to see me in Las Pegasus and offered to deliver it).
Hopefully still your friend,
Twilight put down the scroll, slightly befuddled at Connor's words. They were ones to take things too far yet he felt he was at fault and needed to make amends, though she had no idea what he was planning.
Humans make no sense.
She got up and trotted over to her desk, taking out some parchment and a quill in the process. Sitting down she began writing a response, hoping that their friendship with Connor could be repaired.
I got your message. I'd love to come and see you (and Spitfire). Let me know where and when and I'll be there, I'll bring Spike also.
Always your friend,
She rolled up the scroll and trotted over to Spike.
"Hey Spike, can you send this to Connor?"
Spike took the scroll, "Sure."
He breathed green fire over the scroll and watched as the flames flicker away out of the window before turning worriedly back to Twilight.
"How is Connor?"
Twilight sighed and looked down dejectedly, "I'm not too sure Spike, he seems OK. He's currently in Las Pegasus."
"Yes, Spitfire's with him."
"Are you going to see him?"
"Yes and I'll bring you with me. I said I would in the letter."
This brought a smile to Spike's face. Connor is one of the few guy friends he has not to mention the only other being he's met that can speak Dovazhul. Something which brings himself and Connor great delight in tormenting Twilight.
"Should we tell Rarity?"
Twilight pondered the idea but wasn't entirely sure, "I don't know Spike. I have no idea how Connor will react when he sees her."
"Well, I think we should tell her, and bring her with us."
"But what if he gets angry again at just the sight of her?"
"Twilight, he won't get angry."
"How can you be sure?"
"I just have a feeling."
Twilight said nothing for a few seconds as she worried over the possible angry reaction of Connor, but also realised that Connor and Rarity would eventually see each other again regardless. So why delay the inevitable?
"OK Spike. I'll prepare our bags, you go and tell Rarity. We'll leave for Las Pegasus tonight if she comes."
Spike bolted away faster than Rainbow Dash to inform Rarity of the trip, prompting Twilight to giggle.
Rarity was slumped over the arm rest of her sofa when she heard knocking at the door. She grabbed a pillow and put it over her ears in an attempt to drown out the awful noise. Since Connor's outburst she hadn't left the boutique or even worked on any projects or commissions, and the remains of Connor's dress still remained in a tattered pile on the floor of her workshop. Her usually immaculate mane and tail were unkempt and her pristine white fur had lost it's radiance.
The knocking grew louder and louder.
Spike's voice caught her attention.
But she wasn't interested in any visits from anyone.
Unless they were bring large tubs of ice cream.
"Rarity! I need to see you, it's about Connor!"
That caught her attention. At the mention of Connor's name her ears perked up. Though she would rather have been left alone, she decided just to get this over with and see what news Spike had on Connor. She tiredly got up and made her way to the door, unlocking it and opening to see Spike stood alone. His eyes went wide at the sight of Rarity.
"Hello Spike," she said wearily.
"Hey Rarity......are....you OK?"
Rarity smiled sweetly, "I'm fine Spike, I...look worse than I feel."
It was clear she was lying but Spike decided now wasn't the time for calling her out on it.
"We got a letter from Connor earlier."
"Oh....how is he?"
"He's OK. He's currently in Las Pegasus with Spitfire."
"That sounds nice, they made up did they?" she asked tiredly.
"Yeah. He also sent his apologies to you."
Rarity blinked several times in shock, "Oh....but why would he apologise to me? I'm the one who....took things to far."
"As far as he's concerned, he overreacted and wants to make things up to you."
"Make things up to me? But I was the one who upset him."
"I'm not sure but-"
Spike was abruptly cut off by a belch of green fire, signalling the arrival of another letter. Spike took the scroll and opened it.
Would you do me a favour and deliver a scroll I'll send after you read this to Rarity?
Looking forward to seeing you in Las Pegasus. I'll even take you out to a night club (just don't tell Twilight.)
A second after reading he belched again. Looking at the scroll he could see it was addressed to Rarity and handed it to her.
"Here, it's from Connor."
Rarity nervously took the scroll in her magic and began reading.
First I'd like to apologise for how I acted, it was completely over the top and unnecessary; I certainly didn't intend to upset you. I'm also sorry to hear about what you did to the dress. You work hard on all your projects and hearing that I caused you to destroy an expensive piece made me feel like crap. I actually didn't mind wearing it for a bit of fun (because I'm weird), it was more how everyone reacted when they saw me.
Also, I'd like to un-cancel my cancellation of the order I cancelled, Spitfire needs a dress for the GGG and you are the only pony that can make it.
Come to Las Pegasus and I'll make things up to you.
For the first time since the incident a smile formed on Rarity's lips.
"Thank you Spike, do you think you could write back to Connor for me? I have a few things to sort out."
"Sure thing. We're leaving for Las Pegasus tonight."
"That will be enough time for me, I'll see you then Spike."
"See you later Rarity."
Spike ran off back to the library to write a response to Connor on Rarity's behalf, while Rarity herself went back inside her boutique. She went upstairs to her work room and went over to the pile of rags that was Connor's dress and sighed tiredly.
"At least he's no longer angry," she said, before turning away to begin on another project.
"So Milkshake, anywhere you want to visit?" Connor asked Spitfire, while looking at tourist leaflets.
Spitfire looked at the leaflets, quickly finding one that peaked her interest.
"How about this one?" she asked, handing the leaflet over to Connor.
"Yeah, Bourneville are huge chocolate manufacturer that have been around for almost two centuries. Their chocolate is a huge favourite of Equestria."
"How did I not hear of them until now?"
"Too busy chasing my tail."
"What?" Spitfire repeated innocently.
"So, Bourneville World?"
"Yeah, it's on ground level just outside Las Pegasus; interested?"
"Definitely. It's yet another thing we have in common."
"In what way?"
"I my world, specifically my country, there is a company called Cadbury; a chocolate manufacturer. They were founded by John Cadbury in 1824, originally selling tea, coffee and drinking chocolate. They eventually moved onto different varieties of cocoa and later on began making chocolate confectioneries. In 1905, they introduced the Dairy Milk chocolate bar, which contained a higher proportion of milk within the recipe than compared to rival products."
"Sounds awesome. What's the company like now?"
"A shadow of it's former self. In 2010, Cadbury was bought out by a company called Kraft in a deal worth £11.5 billion, or 115 billion bits."
Spitfire's eyes boggled out of their sockets, "HOW MUCH?!"
"115 billion bits, in early 2010 they bought enough shares to be able to de-list them from the stock market."
"What happened the Cadbury after that?"
"The day after Kraft secured enough shares to ensure a takeover, Cadbury's Chairman, Chief Executive, and Chief Financial Officer all resigned. After the takeover was complete, Kraft then said they were closing the Sommerdale factory with the loss of 400 jobs."
"Why would they do that?"
"Because they wanted more money. That's the only reason Kraft took over Cadbury, they wanted more money. Then over the years they went and ruined the chocolate itself by changing the recipes, changing the shape of Dairy Milk from its original square shape to a dreadful curve shape. Kraft then brought out new Cadbury products by combining them with their other brands such as cheese crackers and cheese spread. I mean come on, chocolate and cheese spread!"
"I take it you don't like Kraft then?"
"Not at all, and it's not the first time they fucked up a British company. Another chocolate company called 'The Chocolate Works' eventually came under Kraft ownership and a few years before their takeover of Cadbury, shut the factory in York and moved production to their other sites in mainland Europe, causing the loss of more than 300 jobs."
"Kraft sound like a truly horrible company."
"They are. They're a prime example of corporate greed. Fucking bastards, the lot of them. They took a much loved and iconic British brand and absolutely destroyed it, all just to make a few extra bucks."
"American slang term for dollars, their currency. But I'm probably getting too emotional again and since Cadbury is a British company, it's only natural I'd have a biased view."
Spitfire chuckled, "Don't worry Sleepy Head, I understand why you love chocolate so much."
"So, shall we go to Bourneville World, my cheery little milkshake?"
Spitfire blushed and smiled happily, "Yeah, let's."
After a twenty minute flight the duo reached Bourneville World. A reasonably sized plot that encompassed a small factory and the visitor centre itself, recognisable by its iconic red colour. Landing just in front of the main entrance they ventured inside and went up to the main counter, the foyer surprisingly sparse of ponies.
The mare on duty spotted Connor and Spitfire approach and had to do a double take.
"Hey there," said Spitfire, "Just the two of us for the tour."
"Sure thing," the mare replied, "There's a tour due to start in fifteen minutes, there's already a group of ponies waiting."
"Very well, for the two of you it will cost 300 bits."
Spitfire paid the mare the correct change and the pair were handed their golden tickets.
Spitfire thanked the mare and she and Connor went over to where they were directed to wait for the tour to start. As they approached, like many times before, attracted the attention from ponies; particularly foals.
"It's the flying monkey!" shouted one of the fillies.
Flying monkey? Connor thought.
Almost immediately all the fillies and colts ran over, swarming at the feet and hooves of Connor and Spitfire, both of which put on brave faces.
"Hey there," Connor said.
"Hiya Mr Monkey!" yelled the same filly as before.
"He's not a monkey he's a hoo...hooo-" started another colt.
"Human," Connor said, "I'm a human."
"Ohhhh," chorused the foals.
"Sorry for calling you a monkey Mr Human," the filly said, her lower lip trembling.
"That's OK, I wasn't offended," replied Connor gently, ruffling the filly's mane.
The filly cheered up a little, a smile beaming on her face, and asked questions again.
"Are you and Miss Spitfire here for the tour?"
"We sure are. I take it you're all looking forward to it."
A cacophony of cheers erupted from the foals, unsurprising really; what foal wouldn't look forward to a trip around a chocolate factory?
After signing a few autographs and taking a few pictures with the foals, the tour was ready to start. Connor and Spitfire followed the foals and their parents into the first part of the tour.
Several hours later the tour had finished, which consisted of a history of Bourneville, the chocolate making process, a lecture on the different types of chocolate and their different uses. Connor and Spitfire had just finished browsing the shop and buying several bars and boxes of chocolate, one of which Connor bought was a 1KG slab of Milk Chocolate. The pair had also bought a few gifts for their friends and family, as well as the Princesses. For the Princesses Connor had bought large chocolate figurines in their shapes, which Connor decided to give each Princess their sisters' figurine.
Carrying reasonably heavy bags full of chocolate, Connor and Spitfire headed outside to make their way back to Las Pegasus.
"So Milkshake, ready to head back to the hotel?"
"Ready. You said Twilight was meeting us didn't you?"
"Yeah, in the hotel lobby at around 5pm along with Rarity and Spike."
"Will the others be there?"
"We should head back now anyway, give us plenty of time to get ready."
"Any place in particular you know of we could go for the night, food wise."
Spitfire stroked her chin in thought, "Hmmmm....there's a restaurant that specialises in oriental cuisine on the strip."
"What's it called?"
"The Oriental Cook House."
Connor looked at Spitfire with a raised eyebrow, "Seriously?"
Spitfire nodded, "Really, not imaginative I know."
"Still, is it any good?"
"Apparently, rated four stars by the Equestria Tourist Board."
"We'll go there then, if the others who come don't mind."
It was nearing 5pm and Connor and Spitfire were making their way to the hotel lobby. Spitfire had her mane down and wasn't wearing any clothes, whereas Connor had on black trousers, black shoes and no shirt; his bare chest once again visible to all. After getting back to the hotel and putting there chocolate haul in a safe space, they got another bath together and preened each others' wings; tidying them up for the night out.
As they approached the lobby, the duo saw Twilight, Spike and the rest of the gang. All of them looked nervous, especially Rarity; who was carrying a large suitcase with her. She had tidied up her mane and tail and freshened up her fur, though it was still obvious it lacked its usual radiance.
"Hey guys," said Connor nervously, "Er, how are you?"
They fidgeted around uncomfortably on their hooves, or feet in Spike's case.
"We're good," Rainbow replied, "Did a little cloud clearing after the storm."
Connor nodded nervously, "That's cool."
There was a few seconds more of awkward silence, everyone trying to avoid eye contact; particularly Rarity. Deciding to break the awkward situation, Connor approached Rarity and knelt down to her level. He gently placed a hand underneath her chin, causing her to look up slowly.
"Hello Connor," she said glumly, her face drooping.
"I'm pleased to see you here, all of you in fact."
"We're pleased to see you're OK too," she replied just as gloomily.
Realising words weren't going to do much, Connor instead tried a physical gesture. One he knew ponies loved. He gently wrapped his arms around her and pulled her in for a hug. Though surprised by the sudden gesture, Rarity didn't attempt to resist or block the move; instead she spoke.
"Why are you hugging me Connor?"
"You look like you desperately needed one."
"But why hug me, especially after what I did?"
"Because I over-reacted to what happened. There was little of no excuse for my over-the-top reaction."
"But you were right though, we took things too far.....I even hit you."
Connor didn't need reminding of that. For a seemingly delicate mare, Rarity can hit hard, just being reminded of that caused him to wince.
"It's all in the past, and we're still friends; I've forgiven you all so stop worrying."
"Really?" Rarity asked, pulling away form the hug and looking Connor square in the face.
"Really really," Connor replied.
Rarity smiled happily and launched herself at Connor, tears falling down her cheeks, "Thank you darling, it means so much to me that you forgive us."
Before Connor could reply, Pinkie launched herself into the air, "Group hug!"
No sooner had Pinkie joined in did the the others also. Somewhere beneath a pile of colourful and cuddly ponies, was Connor; identifiable only by his legs sticking out from the bottom of the pile. Ponies passing by seemed oblivious to the scene, as though nothing was happening. Spitfire watched on as her coltfriend was hugged to a slow cuddly death, stifling giggles with her hoof.
Mumbling could be heard from within the mountain of colourful ponies.
"Hey, I think Connor was trying to say something," Rainbow said, letting go and hovering in the air.
The other slowly got off revealing Pinkie's tail wrapped around Connor's face.
"Sorry Connor," she said and she unwrapped herself and her tail from around him.
"No problem. So, who's up for some oriental?"
The girls eye's lit up. Pinkie was excitedly trotting up and down on the spot, "Oooooooooooh! Sounds exciting!"
"That's if you're all OK with it."
The girls were all in agreement so the group began making their way out of the hotel lobby. Before they reached the doors however, Rarity called to Connor.
"Connor darling, I have a little something for you," she said, levitating a suitcase over to him.
Connor took the suitcase but before he could open it, Rarity called out to him.
"Why not open it in your room, we'll all wait down here for you."
Guessing what was in the suitcase was more clothes she wanted him try on and wear for the night, he nodded and headed off for his room.
"I won't be long," he said as he walked away.
A few minutes later he was in his room. He placed the suitcase on the bed and opened it up, becoming pleasantly surprised at the contents. Another flightsuit was inside, identical to his usual Wonderbolt flightsuit except the blue was replaced with red. Also included were a pair of golden yellow gloves and matching pair of shin-high boots.
He removed his trousers and shoes and took out the flightsuit, carefully putting it on so as to avoid damaging it. Like his Wonderbolt flightsuits, it fit perfectly and left little to the imagination. After putting on the gloves and zipping up the boots, he walked over to the full length mirror and admired himself once again.
"I kinda look like Super Ted," he said, remembering the TV show from his childhood.
After confirming he did indeed look awesome he headed back for the lobby, not wanting to keep his friends waiting any longer. With a spring in his step, he quickly left his room and went to the lobby, deciding at the last moment to take a short-cut.
"I wonder where Connor's got to, he usually doesn't take this long to get into a flightsuit," Spitfire commented, "Unless....he's admiring himself in a mirror again."
"Well who can blame him," Rainbow said, "I always admire myself in a mirror."
The girls just rolled her eyes, unamused at Dash's boasting.
"Do you think he'll be long?" asked Fluttershy.
Before any of the could answer, a strangely familiar winged-biped landed unceremoniously into a heap on the floor in front of them.
"Twatting gravity," he grumbled.
He stood up and dusted himself off, turning to the girls, "Hey, I didn't keep you long did I?"
No answer immediately came, instead just the sound of silence and open mouths.
"You lot will catch flies looking like that."
The girls quickly came back to their senses, Spitfire in particular was blushing.
"Looking good Sleepy Head, pity you landed like a rookie. It seems like you'll need further training on that procedure."
"It was deliberate," he replied, convincing no-one.
"Yeah, sure it was," Rainbow replied sarcastically, "Next you'll tell us you don't like wearing Wonderbolt flightsuits."
"I have no idea what you're talking about. Anyway, thanks Rarity, it's great," he replied, bending down to her and giving her another hug.
"No problem darling," Rarity replied, returning the hug with a warm smile.
"So," Spitfire said, "Shall we get going?"
"Yeah, I'm starving," replied Connor.
"Imagine my shock."
The ponies laughed and began making their way out of the hotel, before they did though, Connor called over to Twilight.
Connor knelt down to and began whispering in her ear.
"I want to make things up to Rarity but I need your help."
"What with?" she whispered back.
"If possible, I'd like you to repair the dress I wore, I heard Rarity destroyed it."
Twilight winced in discomfort,"Yeah, we heard her do it, though she doesn't know that. Why do you want me repair it though? I thought you didn't like it."
"It was being made to feel humiliated I didn't like, actually wearing it didn't bother me."
"What are you getting at Connor?"
"I'd like to invite Rarity to a private dinner in the penthouse......with me wearing the dress, as well as having my hair done up again and what not."
Twilight said nothing for a few seconds, instead letting Connor's words sink in. She looked at his face intently and even though his face was hard to read at times, she sensed he was being genuine and sincere.
"I'll help you Connor, but tell me what you want me to do."
"Tomorrow, preferably, would you be able to go to Rarity's boutique and repair the dress and return it here. It's so that I can put it in and get myself ready in time for Rarity's surprise dinner."
"Why the dress though? You could just have the dinner."
"Because she put a lot of effort into making it and I just blew up essentially over nothing about it. When she walks into the penthouse and sees a small table set up ready for dinner on the balcony, I'll walk into view and when she sees me in the dress she made, happy to put that incident behind us-"
Twilight raised a hoof, motioning for Connor to stop talking, "I hear you Connor, and I will help you; but what if she's thrown away the rags or I can't repair it?"
"You're a clever mare Twilight, I'm sure you'll think of something."
The two hugged before walking off to catch up with their friends.
"So," Twilight started, "You actually like wearing dresses?"
A beet red Connor nodded meekly, "It was surprisingly enjoyable."
"I'm sure if you asked Rarity she'd make you an entire wardrobe of dresses."
"I was going to."
"Huh?" Twilight said, looking at Connor completely perplexed.
"I even thought about wearing a dress to the Grand Galloping Gala."
"When did you think of this?"
"Last night. In my world I never would do it, but here in Equestria where everyone is more tolerant, I thought I can just wear them and not feel ashamed about it."
"Why would you feel ashamed about it?"
"Where I'm from, guys don't usually wear dresses. Lots of reasons. Also while I remember, are you any good with hairstyling?"
"The other day Rarity used a mane lengthening spell and tied my hair up into a bun and fastened it into place using a broach."
"You also wore a necklace and bracelets, do you want them as well?"
Connor nodded, "I'm sure Rarity won't mind if we borrow them without permission."
"What about a tiara?"
"No, a tiara's going too far."
"Going too far? Connor you'll be wearing a dress, have your mane long and tied into a bun, wearing a gold necklace and bracelets......how is wearing a tiara going to make things any different?"
"Point made...........this is possibly the most unusual conversation I've ever had."
"So you'll wear a tiara?"
Connor sighed in defeat, "Fine, in for a penny. I'll see if I can use the one Celestia gave me that I gave to Spitfire."
"No need, I'll arrange something."
"Connor," Twilight interrupted holding up a hoof, "I'll see to it you have a tiara, no need to borrow Spitfire's."
Connor stroked his chin in thought for a few seconds, "How about a laurel wreath made from gold?"
Twilight's eyes lit up, "Connor that's a great idea! If you like I can go to the jewellers in Ponyville and have him create one."
"Sure, tell him to put it on credit and I'll pay it off when I get back."
"Sure thing Connor."
They soon caught up with the others, Spitfire flying into the air and piggybacking on Connor. Her hind legs rested on his shoulders and her forelegs wrapped around his forehead, with her barrel on his head.
"Comfortable?" asked Connor.
"Yes I am thank you."
The group made their way to The Curry House, attracting the attention of several ponies on the way. They finally arrived at The Oriental Cook House, a simple red brick building with red mahogany window frames and doors. The group went inside and waited at the inner doorway to be seen to.
They weren't waiting long before they were at the front of the line.
The waiter almost had to do a double take when he saw the Elements of Harmony, Spike, Spitfire and Connor in front of him.
"Hello," he managed to vocalise with professionalism, "Welcome to The Oriental Cook House, how many of you will be eating here tonight?"
"There's nine of us," replied Connor.
"You're in luck, there's a table available. If you'd like to follow me."
The group followed the waiter to a large table with a leather backed bench along the wall, and five chairs opposite. Everyone sat themselves down, Connor sat down on the bench, flanked by Twilight and Spitfire.
"Would you like to order drinks now?" asked the waiter.
Everyone ordered a drink, all but Spike having an alcoholic beverage. While the waiter went to get the drinks, everyone looked at the menu. Connor noted a lot were every similar to Chinese style dishes, a lot of duck, chicken, king prawns and seafood options. Looking through the options, Connor decided on Honey Rust Duck, and Spitfire decided on a Stir Fried King Prawn with Mixed Vegetables, both of them choosing a side dish of prawn crackers.
The other girls and Spike chose from vegetable and seafood dishes.
The group gave the waiter their orders once he returned with the drinks.
While they were waiting, they began discussing the upcoming Grand Galloping Gala, Equestria's largest and grandest social event and only a month away.
"It's going to be so awesome!" Rainbow exclaimed excitedly.
"It's going to be the best night ever!" Pinkie added, even more excitedly.
"Indeed darling, socialising with Equestria's most famous and well-connected nobles could do wonders for my boutique."
"We'll be performing as usual," added Spitfire, "We start practising the routine next week."
"I bet it'll be really dreary and boring."
"Boring!" Twilight screeched, "You think the Grand Galloping Gala will be boring?!"
Connor nodded, "I've been to social events like it. I'm telling you they're extremely boring."
"What kind of events?" asked Spitfire.
"Usually military ones where I had to go with my dad. With him being a senior officer in the RAF there were many times he was required to attend events, along with his family."
"When was the last one you went to?"
"It would have been when I was around 23. Even though I didn't have to, I owed my dad a favour after he helped me out picking me up from the airport."
"Airport?" asked Spitfire, "You were on holiday?"
"I went on an 8 night cruise in the Mediterranean. I flew out to Barcelona, boarded the liner there. The itinerary included visits to Marseilles, Nice, Florence, Rome and Naples, before finishing the cruise back in Barcelona. Due to a delay with my flight back I didn't get back to England until 11pm, so just before I boarded my delayed flight I phoned my dad and asked if he could pick me up."
"So you went to his RAF event to return a favour?" asked Spitfire.
"Seems reasonable enough."
"What was the cruise like?" asked Rarity.
"It was really good, the ship I went on was called the Oasis of the Seas. An Oasis class cruise liner owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International, they're the biggest cruise ships sailing at around 1200ft long. Do you want to see a picture?"
The girls all nodded eagerly.
"Pinkie, could you get my phone for me please?"
"Sure thing," she replied.
She reached up into her mane with a hoof and within a couple of seconds pulled out Connor's phone, an iPhone 6SPlus in gold.
"Here you are Connor," she said as she hoofed over it to him.
Connor swiped through the screens until he came to the relevant photos. He turned the phone around and showed everypony, all of the going slack jawed at the sight.
"You weren't kidding," Twilight said, "That's huge!"
"It's not even the biggest ship there is."
Connor nodded, "Royal Caribbean are building more Oasis class ships, the Allure of the Seas and the Harmony of the Seas. A fourth called Symphony of the Seas is due to have its keel laid down in October 2015, a few months from now."
"I wonder how much they cost?" Rainbow wondered aloud.
"An Oasis class vessel costs around 14 billion bits."
All of the girls went a lighter shade of their respective fur colours, Spike's scales made it impossible to determine if he felt the same way.
"And that's just the Oasis class, Royal Caribbean have around 25 ships in their fleet with about another six on order, around 200 billion bits in assets."
The girl's fur went an even lighter shade.
"Anyway," Connor continued, "We were talking about the GGG."
"Yes," Twilight replied, her fur back to its usual lavender shade, "The Grand Galloping Gala celebrates the foundation of Canterlot, it's the one event everypony dreams of going to, and to be able to go is considered a great privilege and honour."
"Don't misunderstand Twilight, I'll go; it's just that I don't think I'll enjoy it."
"Don't worry Sleepy Head, there'll be something for you to do."
"Indeed there will," Twilight said, "Especially as Princess Celestia invited you as her personal guest."
"How did you know?"
"She told me in a letter, along with telling me how much she's looking forward to giving you your gift."
"How did you know about that? She only told me about this gift yesterday?"
"I sent her a letter this morning and got one back."
"Oh, well I guess I'll be with her then."
"Don't worry Connor, you'll have a great time," Twilight said sympathetically, patting his lap with a hoof.
Connor felt a foreboding sense of dread course through him.
MEANWHILE IN CANTERLOT CASTLE
Celestia danced up and down on the spot, giddiness overpowering her as she looked at the sketches. She couldn't wait until the night of the Grand Galloping Gala when she could finally reveal her gift to him.
"Connor is going to love this!" she said cheerfully before dancing out of the room, "But for now, there is cake in this castle that needs my divine attention."
"Something wrong Connor?" asked Spitfire.
"Just a feeling karma's going to get me."
All the girls and Spike looked at each other confused, no idea what he was talking about.
"Anyway," he continued, "Our food shouldn't be too much longer now."
After a few more minutes, their food did indeed arrive. Their mostly empty table was now full with steaming hot food, Connor's Honey Roasted Duck being the largest of them all. Side orders of prawn crackers littered the table, dotted in between everyone's main dishes.
Connor roasted duck was reasonably sized and could easily satisfy the appetite of a Minotaur, never mind a human. His honey roast duck was accompanied by a helping of stir fried oriental greens and a side dish of white rice, and a pint of smooth ale finished things off nicely.
"This is simply divine," Rarity joyfully announced. Her meal being Zhajiangmian.
"What can I expect at the GGG?" asked Connor.
"Well," replied Spitfire, "Mostly it's just socialising with the rich and famous of Equestria, but there's also a buffet, a VIP section, the Palace Gardens, an orchestra and of course......us Wonderbolts will be performing. Whilst we're talking about the gala, have you decided what you'll be wearing? You can wear a Wonderbolt flight suit if you want."
"He's going to-"
Twilight was cut off by a nudge from Connor, "What Twilight was going to say was I was going to talk to Rarity about a suit."
Twilight looked confused as she went over the conversation from earlier with Connor, but noting the look of his face and connecting the dots; she realised what he was doing.
"You wish for me to make you a suit?" asked Rarity.
"If that's OK, but there's no rush. We can talk about it at a later date."
"Of course darling, for now let's just enjoy our dinner."
About twenty minutes later, everyone had finished their meals and were making their way out of the restaurant, having paid the bill. Connor footed the bill, all 1200 bits of it, much to the appreciation and gratitude of the girls and Spike.
Back outside again, the sun had set and the Las Pegasus was lit up in all its neon glory.
"Looks good on a night," commented Connor.
"Night time in Las Pegasus is when the adults come out to play."
"Rainbow Dash!" Rarity scolded, "I will not have such lewd jokes spoken in front of Spike!"
Rainbow continued snickering prompting Rarity to huff indignantly.
"Well, what are we doing now?" asked Connor.
"Well it's getting late and I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm tired," Twilight replied, "I'm going to see if there's a hotel with rooms available."
"There should be some where we're staying," Connor replied, "Why not start there?"
"Sure, it's as good as place as any."
A short while later, they arrived back at the hotel. After a short discussion with the hotel receptionists, Twilight had secured three rooms for the herself, Spike and the others, albeit spread on different floors. Twilight and Spike had a room on the 39th floor, Rarity, Applejack and Pinkie had a room on the 28th floor whilst Rainbow and Fluttershy had a room on the 56th floor. Connor and Spitfire's penthouse was on the 69th floor.
Again, all of it paid for by Connor. Spike and the girls would only be staying a couple of nights though.
After bidding each other a good night, everyone made their ways to their respective rooms to settle in for the night.
Entering their penthouse, Spitfire and Connor immediately locked the door and made their way to the bedroom. Removing his flightsuit and placing it on the chest of drawers, he turned back to the bed; Spitfire already making herself comfortable.
"Jump in Sleepy Head."
Connor didn't need telling again. He walked up to the bed and got under the covers, immediately snuggling up to Spitfire.
"We had a good time tonight," Spitfire said.
"Yeah, glad we could put everything behind us."
The was a few moments of silence before Spitfire spoke again.
"I really am sorry for how I acted Connor, I shouldn't have laughed at you like that."
"I know you are, and I accept your apology. And I'm sorry for how I reacted, that letter was savage."
"Maybe, but let's not go down that avenue again, let's just enjoy the moment."
Spitfire smiled warmly, "Yeah, let's."