I Treasure Your Love

by Hawker Hurricane


Chapter - 30 - ....Stays In Las Pegasus

Connor and the gang, sans Twilight and Spike, were strolling down the Las Pegasus strip, taking in the sights once more. Their destination was the arcades in the 'family friendly' area of the city, which to Connor, were more like seaside amusements such as in Bridlington and Scarborough. Not that he minded, seaside amusements were a source of great fun in his childhood and many good memories.

Though these amusements just didn't feel the same not being on a seafront.

Maybe it was the lack of seagulls?

They went into an arcade called Cumulonimbus. A multi-level cloud building containing games for all ages such as air hockey, bit pushers, slot machines, claw machines and a simulator like machine that allowed unicorns and earth ponies to experience what it would be like to be a pegasus. The simulator had a 'pre-programmed' course that the player had to complete in the fastest time possible.

The venture into the arcade though, was more a diversionary tactic to allow time for Twilight to go back to Ponyville and make the necessary arrangements for Connor. She would first go to Rarity's boutique to attempt to repair Connor's dress, then to the jewellers to have a golden laurel wreath made (if possible). Connor was planning the dinner for tonight but was prepared to postpone it if necessary. Twilight was able to use the excuse of being on an assignment from Celestia to avoid suspicion of where she went, at least as far as Rarity was concerned.

For the time being though the others were starting to enjoy themselves, Connor and Rainbow making a beeline for an air hockey table. The table was programmed to ten games per set, with the best of five sets being the winner.

"I'm gonna whoop your butt Connor!" Rainbow boasted confidently.

"Not before I kick your flank!"

MEANWHILE IN PONYVILLE

Twilight and Spike had just entered Rarity's boutique, having landed just moments ago in a hot air balloon along with Spike. They ventured upstairs and into Rarity's work room and began looking for the destroyed dress.

"Any idea where she could have put it?" asked Spike.

"My guess is somewhere where nopony would see it."

Twilight began looking through cupboards without much success, only finding bolts of untouched fabric and already made clothing. She moved on to the wardrobes and had just a s much success, before coming across a closet. Seeing no harm in looking, she opened the door and felt both pleasure and discomfort at the sight.

Twilight and the others heard Rarity tear it to pieces but seeing it first hoof really hit home how badly things went. She nonetheless picked the pieces up and brought them to the centre of the room, placing them back on the floor.

"Is that it?" asked Spike.

"It is, we're going to have our work cut out for us trying to repair this."

"Can't you just cast a spell and do it that way?"

"Maybe, but it will be a delicate process to do it correctly, otherwise there may be blemishes and other imperfections visible."

"Is there anything I can do to help?"

"If you could go to the jewellers and see of they have any gold laurel wreaths, and if not, see if Aurum Karat will produce one today," Twilight said to him, "I'll write out a letter explaining what I need. Do you have any scrolls and ink with you?"

"Right here," Spike replied, pulling said items out of hammerspace.

"Thanks Spike."

Twilight write the letter and levitated the scroll over to Spike, "Here you are. I've also included a sketch Connor made showing how he'd like it to look."

"Thanks Twilight, I'll go now and let you get to work."

"Thanks Spike, the sooner we sort this out, the less likely we'll be rushing around later."

Spike dashed off out of the library and headed towards the jewellers, running as fast as his short legs allowed. Reaching the jewellers, he went inside and was greeted by Karat Aurum himself, known to everyone as just 'Aurum'. An unsurprisingly gold unicorn with white mane and tail, and a cutie mark that simply showed a pyramid of six gold bars.

"Spike, wonderful to see you again, what brings you here? Not after eating my gems are you?"

Spike laughed nervously, "No, not today. But I am here on important business."

"Oh, what kind of important business?"

Spike held up the scroll and allowed Aurum to take it in his magic. Unfurling and reading it, Aurum's brow furrowed and he hummed uncertainly.

"I don't have in stock what Twilight and Connor ask for, and I'm uncertain if I could make it in time, even though I have enough gold in to make one."

"Would you be able to do it though?" Spike asked hopefully.

"I'll certainly give it a try," Aurum replied, "My apprentice can keep an eye on the shop floor."

"Great! How much do you think it will cost?"

"Well, for 24 karat gold, labour costs, VAT.....you're looking at around 12,000 bits."

Spike very nearly almost fainted.

"12,000 bits?"

Aurum nodded, "For what's described and the amount of gold I'd need to use, yes. I may be able to lower the price, but I would expect a favour in return from Connor, such as him endorsing my wares."

"I could ask him now if you like? I can write to him and use my dragon breath to send the letter."

"Of course, do you need any scrolls or ink?"

"No thanks, got some right here," Spike replied, pulling them out of hammerspace again.

Spike quickly wrote a letter and sent it away. He was only waiting a few seconds before he got a reply.

Hi Spike,

I'm fine with that, we can discuss details another day. My bank has a branch in Las Pegasus, so if he sends an invoice I can transfer the funds to his business account.

Connor.

NB: Can you keep me updated on yours and Twilight's progress? And if you can, can you try to find a gold brooch that would suit me?

Spike showed Aurum the scroll.

"Very well," he said, returning the scrolls to Spike, "I shall begin at once. Return to me at around 5pm and it should be ready. If you're friend is after a golden brooch there are some over on the far corner."

Spike looked to where Aurum was pointing, "There are a great many to choose from, if you need any assistance, just ask my apprentice."

"Great! I'll see you then."

Aurum went into his workshop at the back of the store, telling his apprentice to take the shop floor.

Spike walked over to the glass cabinet and looked the the many different brooches. Some small, some large ones; some bland and others extravagant.

What would Connor like? Spike thought.

He continued looking until he came across one that looked particularly cool. Or at least Spike thought it did. The brooch was also 24 karat gold, and featured star shaped rubies encrusted into it, two large stars on each side, each 'orbited' by four smaller stars. The brooch would keep Connor's hair tied tightly in place, and would require his hair intertwined with it.

"May I help you sir?"

Spike turned around to see who he assumed to be Aurum's apprentice.

"Maybe. My friend is after a brooch and I think they may be interested in this one," Spike replied, pointing to the respective jewellery.

"Would you like a close look?"

"Yes please."

The apprentice unlocked the cabinet with his magic and removed the brooch, locking the cabinet door again. Looking closer at the brooch, he saw more easily the very high craftsmanship that went into making it. Spike had no idea of Connor would like it, but Connor wouldn't have asked him if he didn't trust his judgement.

"I'll take it!"

"Excellent, come with me to the counter and we'll sort things out."

Spike followed the stallion to the counter, who began wrapping the brooch in protective packaging and then placing it in a decorative mahogany box.

"Would you like to add it to your other item and have your friend transfer the funds?"

"Yeah please."

"Very well, the brooch will add 3,000 bits to the bill."

Spike almost fainted.

Maybe I should have asked for the price first.......I hope Connor won't be mad.

"I'll leave this behind the counter with a note for my master."

"Great, I'll be here later to collect it. See you then."

"See you then sir."

Spike left the store and ran back to tell Twilight of the situation. Upon returning and going upstairs, he saw Twilight had managed to 'fuse' some rags back together, but tell-tale signs of damage were still visible.

"Hey Twilight."

"Hey Spike, how did things go at Aurum's?"

Great, the wreath should be ready by 5pm."

"Wonderful, did he say how much it would cost?"

Spike began to feel uneasy again, the high cost making him feel light headed and nervous to tell Twilight.

"It errr......it will cost......t-twelve thousand bits, and that's just the wreath. The brooch I picked out cost another 3,000 bits."

"Seems reasonable," Twilight replied calmly.

That wasn't the response Spike was expecting, "Twilight?"

"Something wrong Spike?"

"The laurel wreath will cost 12,000 bits and the brooch 3,000......and you're not shocked by it?"

"No, not when you consider the weight and the cost of gold, and the labour costs and VAT. 15,000 bits seems a pretty reasonable deal."

"Can Connor even afford it?"

"Certainly, remember he got damages from those newspapers who made libellous stories about him? And then there's income from his job, sponsorship payments and royalties from merchandise featuring his likeness. And I doubt he would have asked you to pick out a broach if he didn't trust your judgement."

Spike felt a swell of pride in hearing Twilight mention Connor's trust in him. Connor was one of the few guy friends he had and valued it greatly.

"How much do you think Connor is worth?"

"I'm not sure, you'd have to ask him."

"Is there anything else?"

"Not now, though if you like you can go to the library and get a head start on re-organising."

"Sure thing Twi."


5pm was approaching and Spike was running his legs off trying to get to the shop before Aurum locked up for the day. Almost everypony in town had gone home after another days work, leaving Spike as one of the few outside. Fortunately, the weather was still calm and warm, with a soft orange glow gently lighting up the town.

He reached the shop with two minutes to spare and went inside. Already on the counter were two boxes, the small one Spike had already seen as it continued what would be Connor's new brooch. A larger, also a mahogany box, rested by its side.

"Come on in Spike," Aurum said, "I'll show you the wreath. I finished it only half an hour ago."

Aurum went behind the counter and unlocked the box. He opened the box with his magic and levitated the wreath into the air.

Spike stood opened mouthed at the piece. The spotless gold shone brightly and the gold leaves consisted of three leaves side by side, the middle pointing ahead, and the left and right leaves pointing left and right respectively. This set up continued from the back of the wreath all the way to the front, large to small respectively.

"That looks great! I'm sure Connor will love it!"

"I'm gratified to hear that," Aurum said putting the wreath back into the box.

He then levitated some papers into Spike's view, "These papers include the invoice, receipts and the account the funds need to be paid to."

Spike took the papers and kept a good hold of them, eager not to lose them.

"I'm closing up shop now, are you returning to Twilight?"

"Yeah, I haven't seen her since this morning; she had an important project at Rarity's to do so I left her to it."

"Want me to walk you there, I can carry these boxes for you?"

"That'll be great, thanks!"

A few minutes later, Aurum and Spike arrived at Rarity's boutique. Opening the door, the pair entered and went upstairs. They entered Rarity's work room and were both surprised to find Twilight asleep on a sofa in the most unladylike fashion.

"I'll leave you to your friend," Aurum said, placing the boxes down on the floor, "Goodbye Spike."

"Bye Aurum."

Spike watched Aurum leave and waited until he heard the door close before walking over to Twilight.

"Twilight?"

No response.

"Twilight!"

"Wuh What!" Twilight exclaimed as she bolted upright in shock. Calming herself down and looking around she saw her number one assistant.

"Oh Spike, it's only you."

"Yeah, errrrr....I got the wreath and broach from Aurum," Spike said, pointing towards the boxes.

"Oh great," Twilight replied, smiling in delight, "Well take them to Connor at once."

Twilight picked up the boxes in her magic and ran towards the door.

"WAIT!"

Twilight stopped in her tracks and turned around, "What's the matter Spike? Why are you yelling?"

"Aren't you forgetting something?" he asked, fearful she fell asleep before finishing repairs.

"Forgetting something?"

"Connor's dress?"

"Oh yeah," Twilight replied joyfully, "Over here."

Spike followed Twilight who walked over to a changing screen. She used her magic to levitate the screen out of the way and revealed the fully repaired dress Rarity had destroyed. Every piece of fabric had been fused back together and all pieces back to their original place with no signs of damage at all, it was as if the dress was never destroyed in the first place.

"Wow! Nicely done Twilight, how did you do it?"

"Thanks Spike. As for how I did it, I just used a combination of different spells; too complicated to explain."

"I'll take your word for it, so, shall we get going?"

"Absolutely, we don't want to keep Connor waiting."

"What do you think he's doing now?"

"I'm not sure, but we should send him a letter and let him know we're on our way."


Connor was sat in his hotel room having read the letter from Spike and Twilight. According to the letter, Twilight had managed to repair the dress and Spike had managed to get the brooch and laurel wreath. He was deeply sceptical Twilight would have been able to repair the dress but it seemed he had been proved wrong.

Twilight and Spike were on their way back to Las Pegasus, a journey that would give Connor enough time to get changed and get his hair sorted out. Fortunately, the hotel had an on-site mane stylist who agreed to style Connor's hair, he too knowing a hair lengthening spell; but not wanting to work on Connor's hair until he saw the dress and brooch.

Whilst he was waiting in his room; the other girls sans Spitfire, were getting pampered in the hotel spa, Rainbow included. All part of a plot to keep Rarity distracted while Connor made the dinner arrangements.

One of the services the hotel provided was setting up private dinners in guest's rooms, at no extra charge. The dinner would be for Connor and Rarity only, the other girls agreeing to assist Connor in apologising to Rarity for the over-the-top letter he wrote.

But for now, he decided in getting a bath with Spitfire's assistance, followed by a wing preening.

"Ready Stiff Wings?"

"Sure am Sugar Sprinkles," he replied, picking up Spitfire and carrying her like a foal into the bathroom.

"Whaaahh!" Spitfire screamed as Connor cradled her in his arms close to his chest, "Put me down Stiff Wings! That's an order!"

"Oh shush yourself my little pony."

Entering the bathroom he put her back on the floor, only to notice her scowl.

"What's wrong Milkshake?"

"There will be consequences for that little stunt."

"Why? Don't want anyone knowing that you're really just a little cutie?" he asked teasingly.

"I'm not a little cutie," Spitfire pouted.

Connor stifled a laugh, "Keep telling yourself that Milkshake."

He gave her a gentle pat on the head and turned back towards the bath. He removed his flightsuit and boots and handed them to Spitfire, who took them back into the penthouse lounge. She returned to find Connor had already started running a bath, and he was sat on the floor with his back against the bathtub.

"Does even running a bath tire you out?"

"Yeah, it's an extraneous activity that takes its toll on my energy."

Spitfire flew over a plopped herself down on Connor's lap, her hind legs straddling his waist and forelegs wrapped around his neck.

"Too tired for a quick one?" she asked sultry.

Connor, his cheeks beet red, only mumbled incoherent utterances. Spitfire giggled, "Damn you're cute when you get all flustered."

Spitfire moved in to kiss Connor on his lips, an act Connor caught on and responded on kind, putting his hands gently around the back of her head and pulling himself closer to her.


"Stop fidgeting!"

"I'm not fidgeting," Connor replied.

Spitfire was busy trying to tidy up Connor's wings in an effort to make them look presentable for his dinner with Rarity later, a task made all the more difficult by Connor's twitchy wings.

"Connor, if you don't keep your wing still I'll end up pulling out a primary."

"I'm trying to keep them still!"

"Look, I know you apprehensive about your dinner with Rarity but you need to calm down," Spitfire replied, "It's no good turning up with missing feathers."

"I know, and I'm trying to keep calm but-"

Connor was cut off when he felt Spitfire's hoof massaging the base of his wings. The slow kneading movements were successful in calming Connor's jitteriness. Spitfire did this for several seconds all around the base of his wings.

"Better?" asked Spitfire.

"Yeah, thanks."

"No problem, now hold on while I finish preening you."

A few minutes later, a calmer Connor finished having his wings preened. Twilight and Spike arrived during his preening, Connor pleasantly surprised that Twilight had managed to actually repair the dress. Though not as pleasantly surprised when he saw the combined cost of the wreath and broach. He nonetheless thanked Spike for picking out a good choice and promised to take him out one night as a thank you.

Wearing just a pair of trousers and shoes, he began heading down to ground level to the hotel hairdresser, Spitfire going on ahead to make sure they didn't run into Rarity. They didn't and managed to make it to the hairdresser's without incident, Twilight bringing the dress along too; Spike dutifully carrying the boxes containing the necklace, wrist bannds, wreath and broach.

Upon entering the hairdresser, a pink-furred, white maned unicorn immediately approached; he had extravagant mane style and attire that would attract the attention of anypony around along with a white scarf wrapped around his neck.

"Hey there handsome," the stylist said warmly, hugging Connor.

"Hey, you must be the stylist," Connor replied, blushing slightly from the affection.

"Indeed I am sweetums, the name's Bobby Dazzler, now; what can I do to that mop of yours?"

"Well-"

"Do you want to see the dress he'll be wearing first?" asked Spitfire.

"I'd love to!"

Connor scowled at a mischievously grinning Spitfire while Twilight removed the dust cover off the dress. Bobby Dazzler's eyes lit up like the stars when he saw the dress, captivated by its radiance and beauty.

"Oh my gosh, it's beautiful!" he squeed, "I must ask who made it!"

"A friend of mine, Rarity," Connor replied, "She has a boutique in Ponyville if your ever interested."

"I might just pay a visit, and drag my coltfriend with me."

"Coltfriend?"

"Yeah, he's colt-cuddler; I swing both ways."

"Cool. I assume colt-cuddler is a term for homosexual here?"

"Yes," Bobby replied, before his face turning sour, "That....doesn't bother you does it?"

"Not at all, I hope your happy together."

Bobby's cheery demeanour returned, a bright smile on his face again, "That's great, it means a lot to hear that! Now come on, your mane won't style itself."


Sometime later, Bobby had finished.

"Magnifico!" he exclaimed, jubilantly dancing up and down on the spot, "You look splendid darling!"

Connor looked at himself in the mirror. Bobby had lengthened his hair using a spell, interweaving between and through the broach's clasps and tying his hair tightly into a bun; but leaving a few strands to fall loosely to the right hand side. The golden laurel wreath too had been set in place, strands of his hair being put through holes in the headband and pulled upwards as part of the bun.

"I suppose I do," Connor conceded, still surprised that he was able to pull off such a look despite being male.

"Now why don't we get you into that lovely dress of yours," Bobby added.

Despite wanting to do this, Connor still felt a little nervous about it. Whereas before he was at least in the privacy if Rarity's boutique, here he would be seen in public, and run the risk of seeing his picture in the paper. Nonetheless, he stood up and walked over to where Twilight was keeping the dress. Twilight, Spitfire and Spike were all waiting with it, having watched Connor's hairstyle take form.

"Looking good Connor," Spitfire said, "The wreath suits you well, as does the broach."

"I suppose it does," he replied before turning to Spike, "You made a good choice goraan gein."

Spike swelled with pride and smiled brightly, "Glad I could help zuwuth gein."

"Come on Connor," Twilight said, "Less talking Dovahzul, more getting dressed."

"Yes ma'am."

Within minutes, Connor was indeed dressed and was putting on the thick gold wrist bands and necklace, clasping them firmly in place. His footwear was specially designed to both suit the dress and not look 'wrong' on Connor; his shoes being reminiscent of the Oxford style.

Looking at himself in a mirror, he placed his hands on his hips and shook his head in disbelief.

"Is something wrong, Connor?" asked Bobby.

"No nothing's wrong, I'm just surprised at how well I pull this look off."

"Why wouldn't you be able to pull it off?"

"Well where I'm from, most guys don't look good in dresses, at all."

Connor twisted his hips from left to right and back again, repeating the motion over and over, causing the dress beneath his waist to swish around in the same motion.

"Enjoying yourself?"

Connor turned to his snickering marefriend, "Very much so, Milkshake."

"So, shall we get going? It won't be long now before Rarity arrives," Twilight asked.

"Sure."

Connor, Spitfire, Twilight and Spike walked out of the salon and into the foyer, Connor attracting a few looks. Their whispering amongst themselves began to make him feel self-conscious that they were saying less-than-nice things about him, causing him to unconsciously begin clasping and squeezing his hands.

"Connor," Spitfire said, steadying his hands with her hooves, "Connor calm down, everything's going to be fine."

"Yeah.......yeah, it will; just a little jittery from...."

Connor didn't need to finish the sentence for Spitfire to know what he was referring to.

"You'll be fine Connor," Spitfire said, giving him a reassuring nuzzle on his cheek, "Rarity will truly appreciate what you're doing."

I hope so, Connor though, doubtfully.


SEVERAL MINUTES LATER

Just outside the penthouse door, an excited Rarity knocked on the door. Like Connor, she too had dressed up for the night. She was wearing a bright blue dress that glittered and sparkled like the stars, complete with matching hoof shoes and a silver tiara encrusted with sapphires.

The door opened, revealing Spitfire.

"Hey Rarity, Connor's waiting for you," she said as she walked out, "Go on in."

"Thank you Spitfire."

Spitfire walked away, leaving Rarity to enter the penthouse. She closed the door behind her and walked forward into the lounge area. The room's lamps were lit giving a cosy feel, but Connor was nowhere to be seen; she couldn't even see him over in the dining area. Looking around further, she noticed the sliding door onto the balcony was open. She walked over to the balcony and gasped in shock at the scene.

Set up on the balcony was a table and two chairs, fully set up for dinner for two, complete with a wine bucket and ice. She walked slowly over to examine the set up more closely when she heard someone behind her.

"Hey Rarity."

Rarity jumped in fright at the sudden voice but quickly composed herself and turned around.

Her jaw hit the floor at what she saw.

There was Connor in the dress she made. The same dress she destroyed.

"What do you think Rarity?" Connor asked, spreading his arms out, "Twilight did a good job repairing it."

Rarity's mouth flopped up and down for a few seconds as her brain tried to process what she was seeing.

"C-C-C-Connor?"

"Yes Rarity?"

"W-hat are y-you wearing?"

"The dress you made."

"B-but I thought you hated it?"

"No, it was just how everyone reacted that I didn't like."

Rarity winced in discomfort, "Oh, y-yes...that, we were a bit-"

"Rarity," Connor interrupted, walking over to her, "It's in the past. I wanted to have this private dinner with you as an apology for how I reacted. That letter was too over the top, you didn't deserve to be spoken to like that, even in writing."

Connor knelt down closer to Rarity's eye level and extended his hand, "So allow me to make it up to you by treating you to a private dinner."

Rarity smiled softly and extended her hoof. Connor gently took her hoof and kissed the top of it, prompting Rarity to giggle.

"Do you accept my offer, my lady?"

"I do darling."

Connor stood back up to his full height and extended his arm in the direction of the dinner table, "Shall we?"

He lead her over to the table and pulled out the chair for her.

"Thank you darling, you're such a gentlecolt," she said as she say down.

Connor pushed the chair in before going to sit himself down opposite Rarity, being careful to not tear the dress when doing so.

"I must say Connor, after what happened I wouldn't have thought you'd be dressed like you are."

"Neither did I, but after hearing you destroyed the dress...I felt bad, especially after the work you put into making it."

"How did Twilight fix it? I can't see a single blemish on it!"

"I did ask, something I regret."

"How so?"

"She gave a very wordy answer that made everything even more complicated to understand."

Rarity giggled, "That does sound like Twilight."

Connor grabbed the menu that was already in place in front of him and began looking through, Rarity doing the same. Neither took long to decide their starters, both picking Prawn salads; and for a drink they settled on a sixty year old bottle of red wine from valleys outside Las Pagasus.

Connor, pressing took a small bell on the table and shook it gently; the bell being enchanted so that waiters would arrive momentarily.

"So Connor, what do you think of Las Pegasus?"

"It's a very interesting place, reminds me a lot about Las Vegas; a very similar city on Earth also complete with a lot of neon lights, hotels and casinos."

"Is it popular also?"

"Very, especially so at night when you have the added bonus of children being banned from entering the strip."

"Do you not like children?" Rarity asked, slightly shocked.

"It's not that, it's just there are times when it's nice to enjoy a night out without screaming children running around."

"I suppose so.....like now for instance?"

"Exactly, just a peaceful, relaxing dinner with a good friend."

Just then they both heard a knock at the door. Connor got up and began to walk over, "I won't be long, it'll probably be the waiter."

"Take your time darling."

Rarity watched on as Connor walked away, still a little shocked at the dress he was wearing was repaired so well; but considering Twilight was behind it, it did at least make sense. Though she was also in a little shock he was actually wearing the dress, she expected him to be wearing a suit of sorts, she couldn't have been more delighted that Connor considered the incident to be in the past.

She wasn't waiting long before Connor returned.

"Starter's have been ordered, they'll only be a few minutes," he said as he sat down.

"Splendid darling," she replied, before taking note of his golden laurel wreath, "I must say Connor, I love the wreath."

"I had a feeling you would, I had it made today actually."

"I assume Twilight and Spike had something to do with it?"

"Spike, he went to Karat Aurum and commissioned him to make it. Spike also picked out the broach I'm wearing too."

Connor moved his head to the side allowing Rarity a better view of the broach.

"It looks magnificent!"

"I take it you like it then?" he asked.

"I love it, it suits you perfectly! I love what you've done with your mane as well."

"I got it done just before dinner in the hotel, a stallion stylist by the name of Bobby Dazzler."

"Well he's done a splendid job of it, I may pay him a visit myself."

"He used the same hair lengthening spell you used to be able to tie my hair up like it is, then threaded my hair through small holes in the wreath headband to keep it in place."

"It looks like he did something similar with the broach."

"He did, mostly to keep my hair in place."

Rarity and Connor both looked out towards the the city, the balcony giving a fantastic view of the strip; lit up in all it's neon glory.

"We've got a good view up here," Connor stated.

"Indeed. Views like these make me slightly jealous of Pegasi at times, having the freedom to take to the skies whenever you so please."

"You could levitate yourself, couldn't you?"

"It wouldn't be the same."

"No I suppose not."

The pair spent a few more minutes just looking out at the view, enjoying the peace and quiet. A peace and quiet that was interrupted by a knock at the door. Connor got up once more and went to answer it, a unicorn waiter with a trolley waited outside.

"Your starter meals sir," the waiter said.

"Thanks, could you bring them over the table on the balcony?"

"Certainly sir."

The waiter followed Connor onto the balcony, pushing the trolley along with his magic. Connor sat himself down as the waiter put their prawn salads in front of them, reasonably sized portions, even by human sizes. The waiter then opened a small door and took out the bottle of wine Connor and Rarity ordered. He placed two wine glasses on the table and uncorked the bottle, a resounding 'pop' emanating from the bottle neck when doing so.

"Would you like me to pour each of you a glass?"

Rarity and Connor looked to one another and nodded.

"Yes please," Connor replied.

The waiter poured each of them a glass before placing the bottle on the table.

"When you are ready to order your main courses, please don't hesitate to buzz."

"Will do, thank you," Connor said.

The waiter bowed his head to both Connor and Rarity before leaving.

"Well, shall we start?" Connor asked, "It'd be a shame if we let this go to waste."

"If this is anything like the breakfast this morning then we're in for a good dinner."


The starter was indeed good and the pair quickly moved on to ordering their main courses. Rarity having Prawn and Chorizo linguine, and Connor having a roast beef joint with roast potatoes and vegetables. The pair chatted a little more while they waited for their meal, mostly about Rarity's time in Ponyville before Twilight arrived.

"Connor darling, have you thought about what you'll be wearing for the Grand Galloping Gala?"

"I thought I'd just turn up in my Wonderbolt flightsuit."

"Are you sure? I mean, I know it's normal for Wonderbolts to do so but you could always turn up in something more.....fancy."

"You mean like the dress I'm wearing?"

"Maybe, or I could still make you that suit you requested."

"Sure, so long as look something like I'm not too fussed."

The pair heard the door open along with rattling of a trolley. Coming into view was the same waiter from before; he walked up to the table and, opening the doors to the trolley's compartments, took out their respective meals and placed them in front of Rarity and Connor.

"Here you are sir, ma'am."

"Thank you, it smells and looks great," Connor replied.

"You're welcome sir, enjoy your meals."

The stallion left, taking the trolley with him.

"Have you ever been to the Gala before?"

"No, this will be a first time. Have you ever been to something like it on Earth?"

"I've been to some of my dad's military do's in the past."

"What were they like?"

"Boring in the extreme. Every time I had to put up with military types all asking me when I'm going to join, and why I didn't want to when I said I wasn't interested."

"Er, why....didn't you want to join?"

"A life in the armed forces just wasn't something I could see myself doing."

"What did you do for a job then?"

"I looked and applied in many places, but was always rejected."

"Why? Surely some places would have given you the chance?"

Connor shook his head, "I couldn't even get a job flipping burgers in McDonalds."

"Is that bad?"

"Well, put it this way; the prospect of working in McDonalds is usually used as a threat to those who don't concentrate at school. In other words, those without much of a future."

"But you have a future ahead of you. You're very smart and got good grades at school; so why couldn't you get a job?"

Connor didn't immediately answer, his reluctance though was picked up by Rarity.

"Connor, are you OK? We don't have to talk about this if you don't want to."

Connor shook his head, "Don't worry, I'm fine. It's probably just my wild imagination."

"What do you mean?"

"When I look back on things, and knowing what I know now; I can't help but feel as though something was put in place to stop me from getting a job."

Rarity raised her eyebrows sceptically, "Connor, I'm not accusing you of lying but don't you think that's a little.....far-fetched?"

"Maybe, but rejected from every place I applied for, my dad giving me money each week so I wouldn't have to sign on, and him seemingly OK with it? It all just seems a little suspicious."

"What about your sisters?"

"All had jobs in supermarkets, but me? If I didn't end up in Equestria I'd still be wasting away, never to start a career."

"Do you think your dad had something to do with it?"

Connor reluctantly nodded.

"Have you ever confronted him about it?"

"No. I only have suspicions, no evidence. Besides, he usually brushes people away when he's confronted by those he considers subordinate to him. There's times when I felt he saw me as nothing more than an erk."

"An erk?"

"RAF slang for Aircraftman, the lowest rank in the Royal Air Force."

"Did you not get along with your father?"

"We weren't close, but we didn't not get along. But let's not get bogged down with what my dad may or may not have done, let's just enjoy our meals.....before they go cold."


Connor and Rarity had finished their dinner, having each finished of with dessert and another bottle of wine. Though both thoroughly enjoyed the evening, Rarity became concerned after Connor's revelations about his suspicions regarding his father. She began to wonder if that contributed to his angry outburst the other day. She knew that if her father, or anyone for that matter, actively tried to prevent her from starting a career or just get a job for that matter; she would be livid with them. She could certainly understand his frustration and anger about it.

Connor was now escorting Rarity back to her room on the 28th floor, taking the lift down.

The lift door opened and the pair stepped out into the corridor, making a right turn towards Rarity's room.

"So, did you enjoy the evening?" asked Connor.

"I most certainly did, thank you Connor."

The two didn't have to walk far until they reached Rarity's room.

"So this is where we say goodnight," Connor said as they came to a stop.

"Indeed, it's been a lovely evening Connor; thank you."

"You're welcome Rarity."

Rarity opened the door, "Goodnight Connor."

"Night Rarity."

She went inside and closed the door behind her, leaving Connor alone in the corridor. Feeling a tired, he yawned and stretched his arms out; relieving a bit if tension. He headed back to the lift and went inside, his destination being one of the hotel bars where Spitfire awaited him. He soon reached the ground floor and made his way over, attracting a few stares over his attire.

He went inside and immediately began looking for his fiery maned marefriend. It didn't take too long and he soon found her sat at a table next to a window along with Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. He walked over and was greeted with a hug from Spitfire.

"Hey Milkshake, miss me?"

"Yeah, loads. I was completely lost without you."

"Yeah I love you too," he replied, giving her a kiss on the cheek.

She sat back down and was joined by Connor, sitting beside her.

"Hey girls."

"Hey Connor," Fluttershy and Rainbow answered in unison.

"So, what have you girls been up to?"

"Oh we've just been hanging around here," Rainbow replied, "Drinking and eating."

"Sounds good, have anything good?"

"Just the most awesome smoked haddock ever!"

"The beef steak I had was brilliant. What did you two have?"

"I just had vegetable soup," Fluttershy replied.

"I had chicken curry."

"Sound like we all had a good time tonight," Connor said, "Any of you still thirsty? I feel like another drink."

The girls all eagerly agreed and after looking through the wine menu, the four quickly decided on a bottle of dry white. Connor was volunteered by the others to be the one to go and get it, and after a few minutes returned with a large bottle and four glasses on a golden tray. Connor set the tray down and put the glasses in front of everyone, followed by the wine bottle being put in the centre of the table.

"Thank you waitress," Spitfire said.

"You're welcome."

Connor went off to return the tray, returning quickly and sitting down. Spitfire had already made a start in uncorking the bottle and soon poured everyone a glass.

"So," Connor started, "What does everyone think of Las Pegasus?"

"It's awesome!" Rainbow replied, "All the booze, all the gambling, what's not to like?"

"I like all the bright lights," Fluttershy added, "It makes the city so pretty on a night."

"What about you Milkshake?"

"Looks almost as pretty as you."

Spitfire and the others couldn't help but start snickering. Connor though, this time took it in good humour.

"Well if you like it so much I'll wear it more often."

"Excellent! I'll commission Rarity to make you an entire wardrobe of dresses."

Connor started going a faint shade of white, "I was just joking."

Spitfire looked square into Connor's eyes with a dead serious expression, "I wasn't."

Connor took a rather large gulp of wine, sincerely hoping that Spitfire was indeed....just joking.


An hour later the four of them walked out of the bar and back into the hotel foyer.

"Well it's getting late, we're going to head back," Rainbow said.

"Sure thing, see you both tomorrow," Connor replied.

Rainbow flew off while Fluttershy gave Connor and Spitfire a quick hug, before she too flew off. When they were out of sight, Connor turned to Spitfire.

"So, shall we head back up then?"

"Yeah, I'm starting to get tired."

As the pair started to head back, Connor's Pegasus level hearing allowed him to overhear the conversation at the front desk.

"I'm sorry sir but your card has been declined," the receptionist said.

"How can that be? I'm nowhere near my limit on it."

Interested, he turned over to look.

His eyes went wide at the sight.

"Something wrong Connor?"

"The chocolate brown pegasus stallion over there," he said, pointing to him, "I've seen him before."

"When?"

"The other day before we met your parents, just after we got back from having dinner with Vulcan and Cara. He was exiting the throne room looking deeply upset if his drooping tail and ears were anything to go by."

"I don't remember."

"You were asleep.....I carried you up to bed."

Spitfire blushed, "Well......what did he want?"

"I don't know, but there is one way to find out."

Before Spitfire could ask how, Connor began walking over to the front desk; the conversation between the stallion and receptionist becoming louder and louder.

"But I'm telling you the card IS valid!"

"I'm sorry sir but it's been rejected by the system."

The stallion sighed heavily, "Damn that bitch!"

"Excuse me," Connor said, "Is there a problem?"

The stallion turned to Connor, "Nothing you need to concern yourself with, so why don't you.......wait a minute, I saw you the other day in the castle."

"I remember, you didn't look so good."

The stallion's face turned into a snarl, "Well of course I didn't! My bitch of a now ex-wife took everything I had in the divorce! Her rich parents saw to it that I was left with nothing!"

The stallion began stomping up to Connor, "Everything I worked hard to acquire was taken from me! MY house! MY business! MY savings! She took everything I had and left me with nothing!"

Connor, not unnerved by the stallion's outburst, continued, "Is that why you went to Celestia? To see if you could get anything back?"

The stallion calmed himself a little, breathing in through his nose and exhaling through the mouth, "Yes, but the matter was out of her hooves. Legally she couldn't do anything."

"Where have you been staying?"

"I used what little change I had on me to stay in a hostel. I've just tried to use my credit card but as it....or was a joint account my ex has probably cut off my access. I would have stayed at the hostel but they only accepted coins, but given what's just happened I'd still be out on the street."

"Do you not have any friends you can stay with?"

"If I did do you think I'd be here?" the stallion snarled.

Connor flinched sightly at the outburst; the stallion though, was quick to apologise.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap at you. But to answer your question, no. I have no friends, not really."

Connor walked over to the front desk, "Can you put him up in a room for the night, put it on my account."

The stallion's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets, "WHAT?!"

"I'm paying to put you up for the night, then we'll see what we can do to help you."

The stallion's mouth flopped up and down in disbelief. Surely this couldn't be happening. He continued to watch as Connor signed a form and was handed a key. Connor walked over to the stallion and handed him it, completely lost for words.

"I, I don't know how to ever thank you."

"Don't worry about it, what's your name by the way?"

"Theo Cacao, chocolatier," he said, extending a hoof.

"Connor Wakefield, General Manager of the Wonderbolts and student of Princess Luna."

"I know, I've read all about you in the papers. You seem to have done well for yourself."

"It seems that way, but I don't feel as though I deserve all of it. I'd rather earn what I get, it's why I agreed to become Luna's student so I could gain the necessary skills and qualifications to do my job."

"I can respect that, but everything I worked so hard to achieve has been taken from me. In the divorce, my bitch of an ex-wife was given full ownership of the business I started!"

"How did she get it?"

"She claimed that she was the one who ran the books and managed everypony. It's all lies. She contributed nothing to the business, she only took from it; but because her parents are rich they were able to afford more barristers to plead her case. I stood no chance, I had limited funds and was only able to acquire the services of a barrister who'd only just been called to the bar. He did the best he could, I don't blame him for what happened."

"What's become of your business now your ex-wife owns it?"

"It's not even been a month and already she's ran it into the ground. My chocolate suppliers refused to continue supplying cocoa beans to her, and the few staff I employed all left in protest over her takeover. The replacement staff she employed had no passion for chocolate and had no knowledge on how to make it, sculpt it, sell it....."

Theo paused for a moment to catch his breath and calm his emotions, "Sorry if it sounds like I'm rambling on, it's just that I studied and worked hard to make that store into what it was, then my ex-wife runs it into the ground less than a month after taking over."

"Surely some good came out of it?" Connor suggested.

"Well, I was allowed to keep the chocolate production tools I used to start with. But without any money to start up again, they're effectively useless. I can't even afford to produce a single bar of chocolate now, never mind open a new store."

Cogs and gears were already spinning and turning in Connor's mind.

Theo is single and a chocolatier.

Cara is single and a fudge maker.

A recipe for success?

Clapping his hands together in delight, he gestured towards the lift to the hotel rooms.

"Come, my new friend; let's talk things chocolate."

Theo's bottom lip started trembling, "Friend? You consider me a friend?"

"Sure, you seem like a nice guy; and you could do with a friend right now."

As Connor had gotten used to during his time in Equestria, a pony's touchy feely nature came through again. Theo flew gently into the air and gave Connor a hug, "Thank you, you've no idea how much this means to me."

Connor returned the hug, "You're welcome."

The pair let go of each other and started to walk towards the lifts, Spitfire following along having watched on quietly the entire time.

"Do you want to go on ahead a minute, I just want to talk to my marefriend; We're staying in the penthouse."

"Sure, I'll wait for you outside."

Theo went on ahead, leaving Connor with Spitfire. Once he was out of earshot, Connor bent down to Spitfire's level.

"Are you up for some fast, night time flying?"

"Why?" she queried.

"Could you go and get Cara and bring her here?"

"Sure, I'm assuming you're thinking of trying to get her to help him out?"

"If I can."

"Well Cara's reasonable and looking to expand her business, this could be an ideal opportunity. Her and Theo combining their skills, any idea where she'll be right now?"

"She might be in her apartment above the shop, if not she might be at Vulcan's."

"I'll head over there now, but if she gets angry for the late night call I'm putting the blame on to you."

Connor laughed, "Well it sort of is my fault. Anyway, see you later."

"See you later."

Spitfire flew off towards Cloudsdale while Connor made his way back to the penthouse. Within a couple of minutes he was back and, as he said hewould be, Theo was waiting outside.

"Hey there," Connor said, "Waiting for someone?"

"Only a strange biped that looks disturbingly good in a dress."

"Jealous?"

Theo scoffed, "As if! But hey, I don't really care. If you want to wear a dress go ahead, it's not harming anypony."

Connor walked over to the door and unlocked it, "Come on in, I've some beer in the fridge; want one?"

"Absolutely, a nice refreshing can of cold beer sounds so good right now."

Theo followed Connor inside and closed the door behind him. He walked into the penthouse lounge, gawking in awe at the Wonderbolt style d├ęcor and nearly walking into a table.

"Nice room. I dare not think how much it costs."

"It's not cheap but thanks to a payout from a libellous 'news story', I've been able to treat myself and my marefriend."

"Still your marefriend? Have you ever thought of popping the question?"

Connor began to play with his fingers and rub the back if his neck, "It's not really crossed my mind."

Theo scoffed, "Of course it hasn't, that's why you're blushing."

Connor's blush got redder, "I'm going to get the beer now."


SOME TIME LATER, APPROX 12AM.

Spitfire and Cara were in the lift on their way up to the penthouse, both eager to rest from their exhausting late night flight. Cara was surprised by the visit from Spitfire, and even more so when Spitfire explained the reason. Or what Spitfire thought was Connor's reason.

She was more than eager to listen to possible business ventures, but for now she was too tired and only wanted to retire to her bed. Or a bed.

"Do you know if Connor will be awake?" asked Cara.

"Possibly, usually goes to sleep around 1AM."

Spitfire opened the door and stood aside to let Cara in.

"Thanks," she said as she walked past.

"You're welcome."

Spitfire went in and locked the door behind her. She headed for the lounge area and was drawn to the bewildered look on Cara's face. She followed where her vision was directed and Spitfire too, was slightly taken back in surprise.

Connor was sat on the end seat of the sofa, albeit asleep, still in his dress and jewellery. He was slumped slightly to his right hand side with his right arm hanging down the side.

Cara suffered a brain freeze as she tried to process what she was seeing.

"No need to adjust your vision Cara," Spitfire giggled, "You really are seeing Connor in a dress."

Cara turned her head slowly to Spitfire, "Why is my big little baby brother wearing a dress?"

"It's a long story," Spitfire said with a small amount of sadness.

"Did....did something happen?"

Spitfire nodded, "Yeah, but can we talk about it in the morning? I'm a little tired."

"Sure," Cara replied, before turning to her brother, "Is there a blanket or anything to cover him, keep him warm?"

"I'll find one, there's sure to be one in here."

Spitfire went off to find a blanket while Cara went back focussing her attention on her brother. Looking at his attire she couldn't help but quietly giggle at thinking all the fun and mischief they could have had together.....had things turned out differently.

Spitfire quickly returned and draped a blanket over Connor.

"There's another bedroom across from ours, come on I'll show you."

Cara nodded and after one more quick look at Connor, followed Spitfire to the other bedroom.

"Breakfast is going to be a most interesting experience," Cara said as she pulled the bed covers back, "Do you think you could not mention me to him? It's just that I want to see the look on his face when he sees me see him."

A mischievous grin formed on Spitfire's face.


MEANWHILE ON EARTH

Alexander stood frozen in the driveway, absolutely and completely stunned into silence.

One of his cars, a Range Rover L405 in midnight blue, had disappeared from his driveway. Theft was out of the question considering that Alexander, his wife and daughters were under 24/7 protection. Neither his wife or daughters had left, as they were unable to, and no-one from the air base had taken it. How it disappeared completely eluded him.

Absolutely no trace of foul play.











Just like Connor's disappearance.