Ivory Keys slowly opened his eyes to the sound of birds chirping in the distance.
Last night he had played at one of the biggest concert’s of his career, at the Canterlot Symphony Hall in front of a Royal audience.
As he stretched and got out of bed, he heard a a nock at his front door; It was the Mailmare with an envelope for him embellished with the Royal Canterlot seal that he had recently become familiar with.
He walked into the kitchen, the letter still grasped between his teeth, he turned on the coffee maker, and sat down opening the letter with both curiosity, and mild anticipation.
He pulled the letter out, and unfolded it, beginning to read the parchment as he waited for his morning Caffeine fix to be ready.
“Dear MR. Ivory Keys,
I am writing to you on behalf of Her Majesty, Princess Celestia to thank you formally for performing at the Canterlot Symphony Hall On the 23rd February 2016.
I have also been instructed to inform you that you are invited to a Royal Banquet on the 29th of February at Canterlot Palace 06:00pm sharp, you are allowed to bring one trusted friend, family member or colleague to accompany you.
Ivory paused for a moment, then he smiled to himself;
“Well, you’ve finally done it,” he said out loud “your officially in the big leagues!” He said happily, standing up to pour himself a cup of coffee, “yep, I’m finally there.”
Once he had finished his coffee, he continued his day normally, only reflecting on the news of the morning to an old friend named Octavia that he happened to run into on the street, which made him think; Who was he going to bring along to the Banquet with him? which did make him stop to think for a long time.
You see, Ivory was a very solitary pony, even as a colt he spent most of his time alone practicing his music rather than socialising with other pony’s, and this still hadn’t changed with time.
Ivory knew this, but always thought that it improved his performance as he had no pony to bother him, and during concerts by just concentrating on his music until the end, he had the same effect.
But now he thought to himself that this might not have been the smartest choice, and then a surge of horror struck him and all of a sudden he started to panic, and then ran home as fast as his legs would carry him, slamming the door behind.
“I’ve not only got to bring an actual friend,” he said as he looked at himself in the mirror hanging on the wall in the hallway “but I have to socialise… with Royalty!”
He paced the floor panicking for a moment, and then stopped to take dome deep breaths
“I have 5 days,” he thought; “I can do this…”
Then he started to come up with a plan, and when he did, things seemed like they were going to be somewhat easier.
He had a friend of sorts, one he’d worked with a few times in the past and had gotten along very well with, and if Noteworthy was available…
“But…” He thought “Noteworthy isn’t as well known as I am, even though he is just as good as me, I don’t know what the Royal’s would think…” he sighed “but he is the closest friend I have, and I have no other choice!” he said (still to himself), making up his mind.
He grabbed the phone, (hoping he could remember Noteworthy’s number) and called him, praying that he would be available.
After 5 minutes of talking to Noteworthy, Ivory put down the phone, walked to his bedroom and flopped backwards onto his bed breathing a sigh of relief, feeling like an elephant that had been standing on his back had just been abducted by aliens.
He chuckled at this thought before looking at his clock to see that he had wasted his whole day doing this!
Knowing that he now only had 4 days to prepare, he pulled the covers over himself, and let sleep take him, but not before he found himself run a hoof over the empty space in his king-sized bed, and found himself longing for some pony else to be lying next to him.
This is something that he had never thought about before, but now he realised; he was lonely.
The next morning, Ivory made a list of things that needed to be done that day, he often found that this helped him keep an organised schedule.
1. Buy a new suit (2,000 bits maximum budget)
2. Go to the barbers shop for a trim
3. Arrange a visit from the piano tuners
4. Go to the music shop for new arrivals, and find out about the new Trans-acoustic/hybrid piano’s from YAMAHOOF
5. Go to the book shop to see if their is anything on “how to be sociable” and maybe something on how to behave with royalty, or similar.
After making sure that was all, Ivory put the list and and over 2,000 bits in his saddlebag and made his way into town.
After arriving at the taylor’s for a new suit, he remembered that he hadn’t had breakfast yet, so added “6. pick up a muffin from the bakery on the way to the barbers”
which he did After paying 1,800 bits for a made-to-order suit.
Next, he made an appointment with the piano tuners for the 27th, and then (feeling a lot more cheerful at this point) trotted down the street for the music shop where he purchased 3 new music books, and then asked about the new YAMAHOOF piano’s;
“For a top of the range Trans Acoustic Grand,” Said the sales Klerk with the usual heir of endless persuasion “you’d be looking at around 28,000 bits-“ the Klerk was cut off by Ivory; “ffff…fortissimo that’s a lot!” but Ivory’s attitude changed once he actually played the instrument.
“However,” Said the sales Klerk once ivory had finished trying the piano out, “If you are on a tighter budget, there is an upright model for 10,000 bits, but if you really want a grand we have an ex display model for 20,000 bits, and for 15,000 bits you could get a baby grand. So in other words, there is a variety of instruments for a variety of budgets.”
“I’ll think about it thanks” said Ivory, then he walked out of the store and said quietly to himself “If all goes well at this banquet then I’m treating myself to the 28,000 bit one”, and he walked down the street to the bookstore, now hoping more than ever, that things would go well at his royal invitation.