Twilight Sparkle was learning that life in Ponyville was different than Life in Canterlot. The morning after she had finished moving in she was surprised to find she had overslept. Normally Shining Armor would send one of the guards by on the pretense of needing some book, in reality it was his way of getting his little sister out of bed. Apart from needing to change sleeping habits, Twilight was having trouble adjusting to the fact that she had to do her own shopping now. Back in the castle food was never an issue, one simply asked a servant or wandered down to the kitchen when you got hungry and there would always be something cooking.
Thankfully Spike seemed to take kindly to the idea of cooking for the two of them, one of the first items he bought for himself was an apron. Although, the only aprons in his size were more deigned with fillies in mind, hence the pink fabric and white lace trim. Still you make due with what you have, and for a new cook Spike was doing pretty well.
With the tedium of chores taken care of Twilight could now dedicate her time to something enjoyable, re-shelving the entire library. Such a task is a great way not only to take inventory and see what you have, but also to have everything right where you want it. Which in Twilight's case meant organizing by subject matter, she was deep in the involved process when a knock on the door stopped her train of thought.
"Hmm who could that be knocking at my door?" The wooden door swung wide to reveal Lotus Blossom standing at the door.
"Good morning to you Twilight, how does the day treat you?" Lotus said in her own speech pattern.
"Things are going pretty good today. I've just started re shelving the library, would you like to join me? I've found it to be quite therapeutic," said Twilight.
"Unfortunately i will have to decline-" putting a hoof behind her head in a bashful way Lotus continued. "-Actually i came here to ask if you could lend me Spike for a couple of hours today?"
Twilight thought on it, "Well i don't think i need him for anything specific, you'll need to ask him yourself of course. What did you have in mind?"
"Unfortunate thing happened, and the water heater died on us, to make matters worse we have a fully booked day ahead of us and they wont be able to repair the contraption till tomorrow." Explained Lotus.
Twilight nodded in acknowledgement, "I see, you need him to be you're water heater for today, well as long as he gets plenty of breaks and is properly supervised i don't see why not. Spike! Get down here, we have company!" Twilight shouted upstairs.
Bounding down the steps carved into the tree's interior Spike rushed to the call. "I'm here already geez, oh hello Lotus."
"Oh hai Spike, I've just been going over it with Twilight and she said it was alright," said Lotus.
"Eh, what?" Spike said not comprehending what was said.
"She means she has a job for you, if your interested," Twilight clarified.
"Oh OK, what kind of job is it?" asked Spike.
"I am in great need of your special talent, and i would not ask you to do work for nothing. I could repay you with one of these if you please-" She held aloft a sparkling red ruby, "-i have heard you are quite partial to gemstones."
Peering at the lustrous stone Spike was lost in it, smacking his lips he lusted after the tasty morsel. "Ohh, where have you been all my life? Can- can i have it?"
"But of course," she said as she hoofed over the gemstone. "Now if you'll come with me we can- *Crunch*Munch*Omm*Nom*Nom*" Lotus' dialogue was drowned out by the sounds of Spike devouring the jewel. "Oh, oh dear is that healthy?"
"You could say Spike has a cast iron stomach, if he felt like it he could digest bedrock. That was one of the first things we observed after he hatched, instinctively eating materials that are inedible to us ponies, though he seems to prefer gems for some reason." said Twilight.
"Itsh becash there so tasty!" Spike said with his mouth full. "You really ought to try one sometime, maybe an amethyst? Or even better sun stones! You'd love them, so sweet and they have that earthy volcanic taste to them, wanna try?"
"He, no, i'm afraid my diet would not allow for rocks. It is very strict," Lotus said trying to spurn the little dragons offer politely.
"Eh suit yourself, it just means more for m- *Mmph*" He was interrupted by a familiar rising sensation from his stomach.
Twilight immediately had him over her shoulder, patting him on the back to burp him. "Come on, let it out." A bright flash of green flame later and the object in transit reformed into a scroll of parchment bearing the royal seal. "Well what's it say? Go on read it,"
Reading aloud in the voice he reserved for royal letters Spike began. "Here ye, here ye. Bla bla bla, something something, Grand Galloping-"
"Spike read the whole letter, if you please," Twilight cautioned.
"Fine," he said with a roll of the eyes. "Her grand royal highness, Princess Celestia of Equestria, is pleased to announce the Grand Galloping Gala to be held in the magnificent capitol city of Canterlot. And to cordially extends an invitation to Twilight Sparkle plus one guest." He finished his voice over and looked up, both Twilight and Lotus were excitedly hopping about, cheering the same phrase.
"Oh yeah, Grand Galloping Gala!"
"Twilight please tell me you will let me come with you! I've wanted to go to for so long," said Lotus.
"Really? I would think big events like that wouldn't be your type of thing," said Twilight.
"I've never been to a fancy party before, but from the way my clients from the upper crust describe it, i can just imagine it. All the exotic foods, the high society conversations. For once i'd love to see how the other half live," said Lotus.
"I haven't gotten to go to the Gala before either," said Twilight.
"Is that so? I would have expected you've been to all the big parties, being Princess Celestia's student and all," said Lotus.
"For some reason she always had some assignment for me to do at the time," Twilight thought about the previous years galas. The first year she was sent off to retrieve findings from an archaeological dig, her second year she had been assigned the task of navigating the hedge maze by her wit alone. "At least they were fun assignments."
A knock on the tree door paused the conversation, behind door number one this time was Cloudchaser, several books on star charts were sticking out of her saddlebag. "Hey Twilight, hello Lotus. I just came by to return the books i borrowed, they were about to go overdue," said Cloudchaser.
"Thank you, but if you're not done reading them yet i can check them out to you again. Besides it seems not many other ponies are in a big rush to get their hoofs on 'Everything you ever wanted to know about constellations but were afraid to ask'" said Twilight.
"Cool! Say you all seem in a good mood, whats going on?" asked Cloudchaser.
"*BRAP* Twilight just got tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala," Spike said as he caught the two loose golden foil tickets, floating down.
"THE Grand Galloping Gala?! Oh my gosh Twilight you have to take me with you!" Cloudchaser said with enthusiasm.
"You want to go too?" asked Twilight.
"Heck yeah! When i heard it's being held in Canterlot this year i knew i had to go. It's been a personal goal of mine to one day see the observatory built by Star Swirl the Bearded, to think after a thousand years the telescope he built is still one of the most powerful known to pony kind, it gives me shivers thinking about it," said Cloudchaser. "Unfortunately all the tickets were sold out by the time i found out."
"Oh, i was hoping we could go together Twilight. But if you'd rather go with Cloudchaser i understand," said Lotus.
"Had you guys already been working on plans? Sorry that was presumptuous of me, i don't want to impose so whatever you pick is fine with me," said Cloudchaser.
"Uh girls i uh, need to use the bathroom! Yeah," Twilight said nervously.
Her friends look at her puzzled, "This is your house Twilight, you are not in need of our permission to leave," said Lotus.
"Thanks," said Twilight as she galloped to the bathroom, slamming the door behind her. She sat down on the floor and buried her face in her hoofs. "Urgh! What do i do? I don't want to upset either of my friends, and they both have good reasons to want to go to the Gala." Inspiration struck Twilight, "I know, i'll ask Berry. She's been around for a long time, i bet she's had to deal with a situation like this before."
Twilight turned the handle and was about to exit when she saw her two friends at the entrance caring on in conversation. "Oh dear, i don't think i can properly face them until i have an answer for them." Ducking back inside the bathroom she felt trapped, no windows for her to crawl out of, it appeared she would have to use unconventional means to escape. First she tuned on the sink to mask the sound of the spell she was going to use, a teleportation spell was something she still hadn't mastered the use of.
With absolute concentration she visualized the outside of Berry's home and began channeling her power into her horn, just before departure however a knock on the door was followed by Spike's voice, "Twilight? You okay in there?"
The short lapse in focus was enough to send Twilight off course several blocks, she found herself re-materializing inside Sugar Cube Corner, much to the shock of the patrons who's food she was standing in. "Do you mind were trying to have breakfast here!" said one of the angry diners.
"Sorry, spell mishap. Let me buy you something to replace that," Twilight apologized.
"Hey Twilight! Over here!" said a familiar voice from across the bakery. The voice belonged to Derpy who was sitting at a corner table happily munching on a poppy seed muffin. Seeing her cross eyed friend Twilight hopped off the table and made her way to sit across from her.
"Good morning Derpy, enjoying your breakfast?" asked Twilight.
"You betcha, nothing starts your day off better than a fresh muffin." Derpy said with a smile. "Say, how did you get in here? All i saw was suddenly you were landing in those folks food, you aren't learning to fly, are you?"
Twilight put a hoof to her chin, "Hmm, i don't know if flight could be achieved through magic, i'll have to look into that at some point. But to answer your question, i was trying to teleport to Berry's house but i missed the mark,"
"Wow you mean you can de-materialize and then re-materialize in a different spot! Your just like the TAR-" Derpy caught herself, "Oop, sorry he said not to talk about that." Lifting up her muffin she took another bite, underneath was a rectangular golden foil ticket identical to the two tickets Spike had produced this morning.
"You have a ticket to the Gala?" Twilight said in disbelief.
Derpy let out a disgruntled sigh, "Yeah, if that's what you want to call it. I call it a one way ticket to an evening of boredom with my mom."
"You don't like your mom?" asked Twilight.
"It's not that, but every time she brings me or Dinky along with her to a big party like this she never spends any time doing stuff we want to do, she just ends up schmoozing with the other unicorn nobles. Most of the time me and Dinky end up so bored we have our dad take us home early," said Derpy.
"Well i know how that feels," Twilight said remembering the long dull social functions with visiting dignitaries, how she wished she had known how to teleport back then. "I actually have a problem with tickets to the Gala myself. Both Cloudchaser and Lotus both want to go with me but i only have a plus one."
"Eh, i would just give you mine, but it's already signed. She should have just left them blank, it makes things so much smoother in case something comes up." complained Derpy.
"It's fine i'll figure something out, besides i was going to ask Berry what to do as well, i figure she would know what to do," said Twilight. "Speaking of, i'd better be on my way." She rose from her seat and searched for something on her person. "Oh no, i think i left my coin purse back at the library."
"Don't worry I've got this covered," Turning to the counter she barked out an order. "One chocolate chip muffin Mrs. Cake! It's hard to stay angry when you have muffin lovin' in your tummy." said Derpy, forking over the bits to pay for the replacement meal.
"Thanks Derpy! I'll see you later OK." Twilight said as she exited the bakery, walking off to Berry's home.