This was it, the start to the greatest moment in Rarity's life. Soon, she was going to meet the Prince Blueblood. It would be the start of an amazing courtship that shall be the envy of so many eligible mares. Before long, she would be married and be able to live in the lap of luxury as a princess. She would never have to work again. She still would of course. Dresses were her special talent and Rarity did so enjoy creating her wonderful garments. In fact, they would probably become quite a valuable collectible some. Just imagine how many ponies would love to say that they own a dress made by a princess.
Rarity followed close to Rainbow as they made their way through the halls. She kept close, barely able to contain her excitement. Had she known where it was, Rarity would have moved ahead of the others and made her way to Blueblood's quarters on her own. As it was, she was following Rainbow Burst while the others moved along at a more casual pace behind them.
"Alright," Rainbow said as she came to a stop. "Here it is. Prince Blueblood's rooms."
Smiling wider, Rarity turned to approached the door, then stopped. She looked at the plaque placed on it, her eyes going wide as she read it.
"Oh, my," she whispered, staring. The others soon joined her.
"Huh," said Twilight. "Well that's an odd place to have a patch of blue fur."
"That's... not what it means, sugar cube," Applejack responded.
"It doesn't?" Twilight looked from the sign, to Applejack, then back to the sign again. "So what does it mean?"
There was a moment of silence as Rarity, Rainbow Burst, Applejack, Shining Armor, and Flowershy all tried to find something else to look at, preferably in the direction opposite of Twilight Comet. Pinkie Pie however, moved closer. Leaning in closer, she began to whisper into Twilight's ear. As Pinkie spoke, Twilight's eyes grew wide as her cheeks turned a bright pink.
"Oh," Twilight said after Pinkie had pulled away. "Why would somepony write that on a door?"
"That's not important right now," Rainbow Burst said. She then turned to Rarity. "What is important is that is what you said you wanted. He should be in there waiting for you now. Just go ahead and knock. We should be down in the ballroom when you finish.... Unless it goes really bad and we haven't finished showing Flowershy to the garden yet..."
"Oh, pshaw," Rarity said with a wave of her hoof. "I am more than certain that the prince and I shall get along simply wonderfully. After all, we are both sophisticated and intelligent ponies. Why, I believe that we shall more than likely be together all night chatting and getting to know each other."
As Rarity made her way toward the door, Rainbow Burst and Shining Armor glanced at each other but said nothing. The group moved away, leaving Rarity alone. Lifting her hoof, she gave a firm, but dainty knock.
"Enter," a sophisticated male voice called out. An excited grin spread across Rarity's lips before she pushed it aside, trying to seem calm and collected. She pushed the door open and, raising her nose in the air, stepped inside.
Standing inside was a unicorn stallion with a white coat and long, blond mane. He was dressed in a black lapel and white dress bib, topped with a blue bow tie. His icy blue eyes turned to look at Rarity, and she felt her heart catch in her throat. He was even more handsome than she had imagined. Broad shouldered, well muscled, pristine coat. If she did not see it herself, she would not believe it.
"Ah, how wonderful," Prince Blueblood said. "I was hoping that you would make it."
"You were?" Rarity asked. Her entire body was tense and buzzing with excitement. The prince had been anxiously waiting. For her. There was only one thing that could possibly make this moment any better.
"Yes," Blueblood stated. "It seems I am expected to entertain an associate of Rainbow Burst, and I may require some assistance to get out of the matter."
That was most assuredly not it.
"I beg your pardon?" said Rarity. Her mind was reeling at what he had said. Did he think that she was an employee of the castle or something?
"It seems that the mare has always wished to meet me," Blueblood explained, "and really, who can blame her? I mean look at me." He turned to a mirror and did just that. "Still, there is no way a pony who would willingly associate with that mare would have anything in common with one such as myself, especially some commoner from a little backwater town barely known to exist."
Rarity's jaw clenched as she narrowed her eyes. He did not just call her a "commoner," or Ponyville "backwater." It was a small town with a bit of rustic charm, but it most certainly not "backwater." What's more, he seemed to have a very low opinion of Rainbow Burst. While true that Rarity did not get along well with the unicorn, she did consider Rainbow to be her friend. The very fact that Rainbow had put all this together showed just how good a friend she was.
"Now, I have to be very careful," Blueblood continued. "I must be certain to be on my best behavior and excessively charming. After all, if I do well on this, I will no longer have to worry about the immature filly pulling her pranks on me. However, I do not wish to spend a moment more than necessary with this 'friend.'"
He moved closer to Rarity, leaning in close. Rarity's jaw continued to clench, her hooves pressing down hard into the floor. A part of her was tempted to resort to violence, even if it was unladylike. Either give him a good, swift punch in the nose, or to just headbutt him and see how he reacts. Another part of her wanted to tell him off. After all no one -- not even a prince -- should be allowed to talk about her or her friends in such a manner. Still another part wanted to correct him and try to salvage things. Perhaps if they got to know each other, he would see the errors of his judgement in both her and Rainbow. It might even be an amusing story to tell their children someday. A final part of Rarity wanted to wait and see what he was planning.
"Now," Blueblood said in a low tone, "if my time entertaining this mare were to be unexpectedly interrupted with an urgent matter that required my immediate attention, surely I could not be blamed for such now can I?"
"Surely," Rarity answered.
"Precisely. As such, here is what shall happen: you will go and wait in the servant area. While making an excuse or having the mare distracted, I shall use the bell-pull. When I do such, you shall come in and say that there is an urgent matter that shall require my immediate attention. I shall then make my apologies and escort her out, after which point she and I shall part ways. She will have enjoyed the night of her life, I will be free of her presence, and no longer shall I have to worry about some foalish prank being pulled on me. Plus, I shall reward you for your aid with an extra bit. Thus, everypony wins.
"However, it is of the utmost importance that this secret remains between us. If you were to tell any of the other servants, the truth may very well get back to Rainbow Burst. While she won't be able to prove anything, the very rumor of it would be sufficient enough an excuse for Rainbow to break her part of the deal. Therefore you must not say a word on the matter to another living creature. For if you do, I shall see to it that you are fired, and unable to work in Canterlot ever again. Understood."
A threat? He was willing to threaten the employees of the castle with their jobs? Simply to keep a secret of something that he actually did? This was atrocious. Had she not heard it herself, she would never have believed it.
Straightening up, Rarity took a deep breath and slowly let it out through her nose.
"I assure you," she said in her coldest, most professional voice, "that so long as I serve here in the castle, I shall say nothing to the others of what you have intended." Technically it was the truth.
"Wonderful," Blueblood proclaimed with a smile. He started moving toward the door. "Now, must make certain that absolutely everything is as perfect as possible for when Rainbow arrives with her associate." His horn glowed as he opened the door. "You must head to the servant's area as soon as possible, and be ready for my call." With that, he pushed Rarity out of the room, and slammed the door shut behind her.
Rarity turned and glared at the door. She was livid, outraged, furious even. He had been nothing like she had imagined. They had not even managed to get to the part that was intended to be the actual date. She should do something. Perhaps later, she could speak with Rainbow of what happened, and help come up with some form of retaliation.
Another idea came to mind as she caught sight of one of the actual employees of the castle. A unicorn mare in a maid's uniform stood at one of the far ends. Her horn glowed as she used her magic to ignite the light set there.
With a smile, Rarity made her way toward the maid.
"Excuse me," she said. "I was wondering if you could help me."
"I can certainly try, ma'am," the maid replied. "What is it that you need?"
"If you would be so kind as to follow me, I shall show you." With that she turned and walked back toward the door to Prince Blueblood's room. Stopping in front of it, she motioned with her hoof to keep quiet.
"Now, miss..." Rarity paused. "I'm sorry. I didn't think to ask your name."
"Quick Wick, ma'am," she answered. "Most simply call me Wick."
"Very well," Rarity said with a nod. "My name is Rarity. Nice to meet you." She smiled and shook hooves. "Now, Wick, I happen to notice that this door was mislabeled, and was wondering if you could help me in correcting it."
"As much as I would like to," Wick stated, "I'm afraid I can't at this time." She looked over her shoulder. "The guards should be coming through on their patrol any moment."
"Ah," Rarity sighed. "I understand. No reason to get you into trouble." She gave the other mare a gentle pat on the shoulder.
"If I may ask," said Wick, "what exactly did you want to write for your...'correction?'"
"Well first I was going to have you cross out 'Blue,'" Rarity explained. "Then I was going to have you add l-e-s and s after 'balls.'"
"So it would say..." Wick burst into laughter instead of finishing the statement. "I may just have to share that with the others. I'm certain one or two will get a kick out of it."
The sound of laughter and idea of amusement from others made Rarity feel a little better. She was still disappointed in how her evening had gone. The upside was that it seemed she may have made a new friend, even if temporarily.
"Well it was lovely to meet you," Rarity said. "My friends and I are having a party in the ballroom. Perhaps when you are finished with your duties, you would like to join us."
Wick's eyes went wide as she let out a small gasp.
"Oh. Oh my. That sounds lovely. But... wouldn't want to intrude."
"No intrusion," Rarity assured her with a smile. "It is simply a small group of us and none would mind another. In point of fact, I know for certain that at least one other would absolutely insist on it."
"Well..." Wick said slowly, "if you're sure it's no trouble."
"Very well. Then I will try to do my best to join you and your friends."
"Wonderful," Rarity said with a grin. "Then I shall be on my way. I do hope to see you soon." She then turned and left, heading down the hallway.