This was the big night.
The night Connor had been dreading for weeks. The Grand Galloping Gala, Equestria's biggest night of the year, was just a couple of hours away. The event was supposed to celebrate the construction of Canterlot, but overtime just became nothing more than a stale, one-upmanship contest between the nobles. Commoners rarely got a look in and those that did were usually sneered at by the more snooty nobles. The Wonderbolts were an ever present sight at the event, usually performing a few tricks to officially start the night off.
He wasn't at all looking forward to it. For most of the day he'd been grumbling and moaning how much he didn't want to go, but was effectively forced to due to him a: being a Wonderbolt and b: a personal student of Princess Luna.
His attire did nothing to improve his mood.
"Connor, will you keep still!" Rarity scolded, "How can I make last minute adjustments if you won't stop fidgeting?"
"Do I really have to wear this?" he asked, motioning to a particular piece of clothing.
"Yes. What will ponies think if you don't?"
Connor sighed, knowing that fighting Rarity would be futile when it comes to fashion.
After a few more seconds, Rarity finally finished; much to Connor's relief.
"There we are darling, finished."
"You're welcome darling. I know you don't like dressing up but when ponies see you like this you'll be the talk of the Gala."
"I'd rather just sit at the sides and not be noticed.....or not even bother turning up at all."
Rarity gasped in fright, "Not turn up! But it's the Grand Galloping Gala!"
"And I'm telling you it will be really boring and not at all what you're expecting."
Rarity sighed tiredly, "Well we'll see tonight, won't we?"
Outside, the girls were also readying themselves. Pinkie doing so by excitedly bouncing up and down on a trampoline much to the annoyance of others.
"Ahh! I...can't...believe...the Grand...Galloping...Gala...is...tonight!"
"Pinkie! Please stop shouting, I'm trying to concentrate," Twilight said as, unsurprisingly, she had her muzzle in a book.
Rarity and Connor, seeing and hearing the commotion went outside. Rarity, upon seeing Pinkie's behaviour, trotted over to admonish her.
"Pinkie Pie! Stop that right now. It's time to prepare for the Gala and I refuse to let you put on your new dress when you're all sweaty."
Pinkie stopped bouncing, landing on the trampoline without bouncing back up and jumped off.
"What's Twilight doing?" Pinkie asked, trotting over.
"She's got an awesome magic spell she's been working on for the Gala," Spike replied.
"Where are the others? It's getting late," Rarity asked.
"Hold your horses, girl. We're here," Applejack said as she approached along with Rainbow and Fluttershy.
"Perfect! I'm ready," Twilight said happily as she closed her book and set it down on the ground.
"For what?" Rainbow asked.
"All right, Spike," Twilight said.
Spike stepped forward and placed a red apple on the ground.
"An apple! Are we having pie?" Pinkie asked excitedly.
"It's a wonderful day for pie," Connor mumbled to himself.
"Sssh! Watch," Spike said.
Everyone watched as Twilight fired some magic at the apple. Upon contact, the apple grew to several times its size into a carriage complete with doors, windows and steps. Twilight's friends cheered in joy at the impressive display.
"Thanks. But that's just the start. Fluttershy, did you bring your friends?"
Fluttershy stepped forward and lowered her head to the ground. Four mice popped out of her mane and ran out and onto the ground.
"Yes. Will they be safe, Twilight?"
"You have my word," Twilight replied before firing another magical bolt. This time at the mice.
The mice turned into horses, albeit with mouse like faces still.
"Ta da!" Twilight exclaimed, holding a hoof out in a showman like manner.
Her friends didn't look to convinced at the not-quite horses.
"Neat huh?" Twilight continued, "And don't worry. They'll be mice again at midnight."
A few seconds later, Opalescence walked out from behind a bush and upon spotting the mice-turned-horses, immediately ran towards them; jumping into the air and onto their flanks, digging her claws into them. The not-quite-horses screeched in pain and ran away with Twilight running after.
"Wait! Come back!"
Immediately giving up the chase, she returned to Connor and the girls, "Those horses were supposed to pull our carriage. How will we get to the Gala?"
"Whatever shall we do?" Rarity asked in an overly dramatic fashion, dead-panning at Twilight at the end.
She looked around and quickly spotted two strong looking stallions, apparently not doing very much. With a flick of her mane, she walked over and with all her charm and beauty on show.
"Uh... ahem, excuse me."
The two stallions looked at her.
"Uh, would you boys mind pulling our carriage to the Gala?" she asked with all her grace and ladylike charm.
LATER THAT EVENING, JUST OUTSIDE THE CASTLE
Twilight, Spike and the girls were all stood outside Canterlot Castle, gazing up in awe at the buildings magnificence and majesty. Connor, travelled to Canterlot by train whilst the girls got changed. He didn't see any point in waiting around while the girls got changed and there wouldn't have been room in the carriage anyway.
The girls meanwhile, began walking towards the castle.
"I can't believe we're finally here!" Twilight exclaimed excitedly, "With all that we've imagined, the reality of this night is sure to make this...the Best Night Ever!"
At the Gala
At the Gala
At the Gala
In the garden
I'm going to see them all
All the creatures
I'll befriend them at the Gala
At the Gala
All the birdies
And the critters
They will love me big and small
We'll become good friends forever
Right here at the Gala!
All our dreams will come true
Right here at the Gala
At the Gala
At the Gala (It's amazing)
I will sell them (Better hurry)
All my appletastic treats (Yummy yummy)
Hungry ponies (They'll be snacking)
They will buy them (Bring your money)
Caramel apples, apple sweets (Gimme some)
And I'll earn a lot of money
for the Apple family!
All our dreams and our hopes from now until hereafter
All that we've been wishing for will happen at the Gala
At the Gala
At the Gala
All the royals
They will meet fair Rarity
They will see I'm just as regal at the Gala
At the Gala
I will find him
My Prince Charming
And how gallant he will be
He will treat me like a lady
Tonight at the Gala!
This is what we've waited for to have the best night ever
Each of us will live our dreams
Tonight at the Gala
At the Gala
I've been waitin'
To fly with those great ponies
The Wonderbolts, their daring tricks
Spinning 'round and having kicks
Perform for crowds of thousands
They'll shower us with diamonds
The Wonderbolts will see me right here at the Gala!
All we've longed for
All we've dreamed
Our happy ever after
Finally will all come true
Right here at the Grand Gala
At the Gala
I am here at the Grand Gala
For it is the best party
But the one thing it was missing was a pony named Pinkie
For I am the best at parties, all the ponies will agree
With me at the Grand Gala!
Happiness and laughter at the Gala
At the Gala
At the Gala (At the Gala)
With the Princess (With the Princess)
Is where I'm going to be (She will be)
We will talk all about magic and what I've learned and seen (She will see)
It is going to be so special
As she takes time just for me (This will be the best night ever!)
Into the Gala we must go
We're ready now, we're all aglow
Into the Gala, let's go in and have the best night ever
Into the Gala, now's the time
We're ready and we look divine!
Into the Gala
Meet new friends
Into the Gala
Sell some apples
Into the Gala
Find my Prince
Prove I'm great
As a Wonderbolt is
Into the Gala
Into the Gala
And we'll have the best night ever!
At the Gala!
"What the fuck fucking hell did I just see?"
Connor really didn't understand ponies at times.
The Ball Room was thriving with activity, ponies were coming and going, ponies were congregating in groups and blocking room to move; Connor had a hard time keeping balance as he attempting to make his way through without tripping up over them and falling on his backside, or a pony for that matter. Eventually though, he made his way through and walked towards his friend.
"Good evening Connor, are you enjoying yourself tonight?"
Connor dead-panned, "I can barely contain my excitement."
Luna giggled a little, "Cheer up Connor. I feel as though tonight's Gala will be anything but dull."
"What makes you say that?"
"Just a feeling," she replied with a shrug of her shoulders, "On another matter, are you looking for your marefriend?"
"She's getting changed at the moment. She and the others put on a good show though."
"Indeed. I was very impressed with the manoeuvres they pulled off tonight."
"While you're here, have you found out what Celestia's gift to me will be?"
Luna sighed and looked down to the floor, "I have tried indefatigably to find out but alas, I have not been able to. I have no more an idea than what she has planned than anypony else. Only my sister knows what she has planned."
Not what Connor wanted to hear, but he knew he could count on Luna for support if he needed it when all was revealed.
Connor turned around and saw his sister approaching, along with her new business partner.
"Hey Cara, hey Theo."
After meeting in Las Pegasus, and a very extensive laughing fit from Cara after she saw him see her see him in a dress, Connor introduced Cara to Theo and explained the situation to her. After a very lengthy explanation and life story form Theo, he and Cara began discussing business. Cara agreed to take Theo on and asked him to produce his signature chocolate pieces as a sort of trial to see how things went. The first few days were extremely successful and soon there was more demand for more of Theo's chocolate, especially when his loyal customers from before spread the word of his comeback.
What made things all the more sweeter, was the fact that Theo and Cara had a first date arranged a few days after the Gala.
"So," Connor started, "How are things?"
"Things are great," Cara replied, "Theo's got his confidence and drive for making chocolate back, and I've just bought my first store outside Cloudsdale!"
"That's great!" Connor replied happily, "Where's the new store going to be?"
"Vanhoover. It's a fairly small property in the Downtown district."
"Downtown Vanhoover?" Connor replied slightly concerned, "That's quite expensive."
"It is, but it's a hugely popular area. I'm certain the venture will be more than worth it."
"Well let me know when it's ready, I'd like to see it."
"I will do. "
"Great, now if you'll excuse me; I'm off to find my marefriend."
"Have fun!" Cara replied, giving Connor a hug.
"I will do. See you later Theo, Luna."
"See you later/Until later Connor," Theo and Luna replied in unison.
A few minutes later, Connor was inside Canterlot Castle's Wonderbolt barracks, looking for Spitfire. The only ponies he found however, were her squad mates; all of them still in their flightsuits.
How Connor envied them.
"Hey Soarin," Connor said.
"Hey Connor, are you looking for Spitfire?"
"Yeah, is she here?"
"No, she just left."
"Any idea where exactly?"
"I think she said she was off to look in the garden."
"OK, I'll head over there now. Great show by the way."
"Thanks. Speaking of the show, haven't you ever considered being part of the stunt team?"
Connor laughed and shook his head, "No, I wouldn't be any good. I'm not a natural flyer and whenever I try to pull any stunt off I usually start falling out of the sky and fall flat on my arse."
"You're not that bad Connor," Soarin replied.
"Of course he isn't," Fleetfoot added, "He just gets too distracted thinking of the Captain."
Connor blushed while the Wonderbolts laughed amongst themselves.
"I am not distracted by Spitfire when I fly, I'm just not built for flying."
"Says a guy with wings," Misty Fly replied.
"I'm going to look for Spitfire," Connor said, not wanting to embarrass himself further, "See you all later."
"Bye Connor," Misty Fly yelled, "Have fun with your little Milkshake!"
Connor quickly reached the garden and began looking for his marefriend. As he stood head and shoulder above everypony it made it easier to see where she was and soon enough he found her; sitting on a cushion beneath a large oak tree. She was sat with her back to him but even from that angle Connor was beginning to feel a little hot under the collar.
Spitfire was wearing the dress that Connor had commissioned Rarity to make. It was dark orange with lighter orange and yellow highlights; and the dress flared at the edges and bottom mimicking a flickering flame. Her mane was let down and hung loosely at the sides and behind, and the tiara Connor gave to her from weeks ago, laid upon her head. Finishing things off were dark orange sapphire shoes with 'straps' that went half way up her legs that perfectly complemented the dress, and Spitfire's fiery body and personality.
Connor approached slowly from behind, his heart pounding in excitement as he got closer. He had seen the dress after Rarity had made it, but this was the first time he'd seen Spitfire wearing it.
She turned around.
Connor immediately felt butterflies in his stomach at seeing Spitfire in the dress, in all her radiant glory.
"Hey," she replied.
"You look beautiful, Rarity's truly outdone herself again."
Spitfire blushed at the compliment, "Thank you, the suit you're wearing really.....suits you."
Connor snorted, "In that case, you seem to dress to impress."
Spitfire started laughing, "Oh my, that was awful!"
"What's wrong with my terrible jokes?"
"They're worse than your cooking."
Connor scoffed, "My cooking's not THAT bad."
"Face it Stiff Wings, if it wasn't for ME doing the cooking, you'd starve to death," she said, jabbing him in the chest with a hoof.
"Oh like I can't just get myself a bowl of Rice Krispies."
"You barely can. Just the other day, you opened a new box and they exploded all over the kitchen."
"That was an explosive decompression! It wasn't my fault."
"No, but you should have seen the look on your face though," Spitfire replied, snickering in delight.
"I certainly saw yours. I still don't see what's funny about getting Rice Krispies blasted in my face."
Spitfire giggled a little more, standing on her hind legs and giving Connor a nuzzle, "It just is."
Connor returned the gesture and the pair began walking back through the garden towards the Ball Room.
"I saw the other 'Bolts earlier, they seemed in fine spirits."
"They usually are after a good performance."
"Where did you say your next performance was?"
"Fillydelphia in a couple of weeks."
"Cool. I might come myself if I can, depends on how much coursework Luna gives me."
"From what I hear you're quite the model student, a goody four hooves."
"Goody four hooves? On Earth it's goody two shoes, but yeah; I'm not too bad I suppose. I'm no genius and I won't get a First Class degree, but I do do the best I can."
"No pony can ask for more."
A few minutes later, they entered the ballroom. The room was far more crowded than before, most likely due to Celestia being on the room. Connor and Spitfire walked over, Celestia's guards keeping everypony at bay, and immediately struck up conversation. Being a friend of the Princess had its advantages.
"Good evening Connor, Spitfire; how are you both this evening?"
"Absolutely fantastic," Connor replied ironically, "The Gala's really exciting, I can't imagine anything more enjoyable."
"Connor!" Spitfire scolded.
She looked to Celestia, expecting a telling off for such disrespectful behaviour; but was surprised to see Celestia laughing.
"Oh my little human, you're the first being in many centuries to say the gala is boring."
"I'm sure some of your subjects agree but are under the impression that you'd banish them if they said so."
"Unfortunately, I believe you are correct. But, if you'll excuse me; I have to make an announcement."
Celestia walked away towards a raised platform, next to her were some items draped in a cloth.
Probably the gifts Celestia has for me, Connor thought.
Celestia tapped a teaspoon against a glass, the sound echoing throughout the room immediately getting everyone's attention.
"Mares and Gentlecolts, welcome to the Grand Galloping Gala. My sister and I are delighted you could attend this evening, were we once again celebrate the founding of this great city."
There was a smattering of hooves being tapped against the floor, the pony equivalent of a clap.
"Now, before we go much further; I would first like to invite Connor Wakefield up here."
Oh hell no! Connor thought.
Realising everypony looking at him, and Celestia waiting, he knew he had no choice but to go up. Walking up towards the platform, he could feel the eyes of everypony boring into him. There were still many nobles who couldn't stand the sight of him and resented he was n excellent favour with their Princess.
Connor went up the steps and stood next to Celestia, and waited for her to continue.
"Connor, as many ponies know, you were taken from Equestria before you were even born. A victim of a mystery we have still yet to solve. Though you were born in another world and grew up an entirely different species, you have adapted extremely well to a world vastly different from the one you knew. You have gained so much since your arrival, and have become very popular amongst the foals......in one instance, a young colt's tenth birthday party was saved from being cancelled."
Celestia turned around and walked over to the table with the covered gifts.
"As such, I wish to convey my personal thank you for what you have achieved on your short time in Equestria, and for helping my sister adapt to modern Equestrian society."
Celestia removed the covers with her magic, revealing the gifts. She levitated out what looked like a wicker basket full of food.
"Connor, your first gift I present is this hamper. This one contains jams, cheeses, biscuits amongst other things, including a cake."
"What kind of cake?" asked Connor.
"A fruit cake."
Connor looked at Celestia, her creepily sweet smile told him this was most likely a prank on her part. Or revenge for when he said she only needed to buy her own Jammie Dodgers. Either way, it was cruel.
"Thank you," he replied diplomatically.
"You're welcome Connor, now; onto the next gift."
She levitated away another cover, this time revealing luxury toiletries; shampoos, lotions, creams and so on. So luxurious in fact that only the elite of the elite can afford them.
The next gift was a hamper containing a half-dozen bottles of 500 year old wine from the Las Pegasus vineyards.
She then came to the last gift. This one noticeably larger than the rest.
"Last but by no means least, I present to you, your final gift from me."
Celestia levitated away the covers, revealing the gift.
Everypony stood open mouthed at the gift.
"I had it commissioned myself. It was my hope you would wear it, should you wish to attend to the opening night performance of Swan Lake by the Royal Canterlot Ballet, with myself in a few weeks time at the Royal Opera House."
Connor hated ballet.
But to refuse Celestia, here and now, would be considered an insult by the nobles and many ponies. It could even have the knock-on effects of jeopardising current and future sponsorship deals for the Wonderbolts.
He had to accept.
Celestia had played the game well.
Then, with her age and experience it came as little surprise to Connor that she was the better chess player.
"Do you accept my invitation, Connor?"
As soon as Connor said it, he saw a very brief sparkle in Celestia's eyes.
She's pranking me. Just you wait Celestia, I will employ the services of Luna and get you back for this.
"Wonderful!" Celestia beamed before turning to her guards, "Please take Connor's gifts to his quarters here in the castle."
The guards nodded and took the gifts away. Connor watching on nervously.
"Now," Celestia continued, "Let's all enjoy the Gala everypony!"
Everypony went back to their business whilst Connor remained standing in front of Celestia, not looking at all amused.
"Yes, my little human?"
"Where did you get my measurements from?"
"That's for me to know, and you never to find out," She replied, raising a hoof to Connor's nose, "Boop!"
She giggled and trotted away, leaving Connor with Spitfire. He watched on as she trotted away, bemused as a child like antics. If he didn't already know her age and someone told him how old she was, he wouldn't believe them. Celestia was just too silly at times.
"What the hell just happened?" asked Connor.
Spitfire shrugged her shoulders, "You got yourself a date with a princess."
"Technically it will be an official engagement with the crown."
"Semantics. Now, why don't we enjoy the evening?"
"Sure. You go on ahead though, I just need to go and get something."
"OK, I'll wait for you in the garden. Don't be too long."
A short while later, Connor was in his quarters collecting the item in question, a polished onyx box with gold fittings. His heart pounding fiercely and with shaking hands, he took a deep breath and picked it up.
This is going to be the best night ever.....or the worst.
Realising it was now or never, he walked out of the room, eyeing the outfit Celestia had made for him.
"Pity it didn't come with the wrist blades."
Walking into the garden, with the onyx box held behind him, he walked around, keeping a look out for a familiar fiery mane. Walking past the rose garden, he saw a balcony overlooking Equestria; if you looked close enough, you could just make out the lights of Cloudsdale in the distance.
Walking steadily, but nervously, towards Spitfire; he once again felt butterflies in his stomach as he saw her. In the dress she was wearing, the setting she was in and the way her mane was loose made him feel like he was falling in love with her all over again.
He carried on walking and stopped just behind her, a gentle breeze blowing through the air.
Spitfire turned around, a beaming smile forming on her face at seeing Connor, "Hello again Sleepy Head. Beautiful night huh?"
"Sure is, not a beautiful as you though," Connor replied, kissing her on the forehead.
"Shush you," Spitfire playfully chided, jabbing him with a hoof, "Flattery won't get you out of washing the dishes."
"It was worth a try," Connor replied, kneeling down to her eye level.
The pair stared longingly into each others eyes for several seconds, Connor's heart beating harder the entire time. Never in his life had he ever felt so nervous about anything. If things didn't go as Connor hoped, things would become very awkward and this place and time would always linger on his mind, forever shaming him.
Or so he felt.
"What's behind your back?" asked Spitfire, noting one of Connor's arms was behind him.
"Spitfire, ever since I woke up in that hospital bed and saw you at the foot of it; I took a liking to you. Over the following days and weeks you helped me feel at home in Equestria, even making me a Wonderbolt and getting me a job."
Connor, on one knee, took Spitfire's left foreleg; holding it gently.
"Spitfire, over the months I've been here, you've made me feel special in a way no-one else ever has. You're clever, funny, witty, talented....and a better cook than me. When we began dating, I felt happier than I ever had previously, not a day goes past where I'm not overjoyed we're together."
He moved his arm in front of him, revealing the onyx box.
"I love you Spitfire. And what I'd like to know is...."
He opened to box, and looked straight into Spitfire's sparkling eyes.
"Will you marry me?"