A/N: This idea struck me at midnight last night. Four hours later (yes, that's 4am) it was finished. Confound these ponies! They drive me to write fanfics!
He'd arrived fashionably late as usual… well, maybe a little later than he'd hoped. But honestly, it was just another year of the Grand Galloping Gala. It's not like he was going to miss anything this year. His brother's presence was more than enough to stave off the crowd he was sure. Most of the nobles were too stuck on themselves to care anyway.
As he approached the main gate he caught the tail end of a group of ponies galloping full speed away from the castle courtyard. The sight puzzled him to be sure; it was almost as if they were in a panic. He shrugged, it was nothing he needed to concern himself with at the present, and frankly, if it was up to him, he would have rather not shown up to begin with. However, he had received an invitation from Princess Celestia herself and he would never dare to stand up a royal invitation from the princess, no matter how dull the occasion.
At the base of the stairs he was met by the family servant, Buttlebuck.
"Good evening sir," Buttlebuck said, relaxing a little as he recognized the elder of the twins before him.
"Hello, Buttlebuck," he said almost casually, "how is the Grand Galloping Gala this year?"
"To be honest, I'm not quite sure, sir. I've been standing out here waiting for you most of the time. I did hear quite a commotion just a few moments ago and bore witness to several ponies looking a bit distraught come racing from the ballroom. I haven't the slightest idea what happened, however."
"Sounds like it's been an interesting night." Victor said with a bit of a nod. "I hope so at least. I wasn't looking forward to just another boring party."
"I understand, sir."
"Ah, well, let's get this over with." Slowly he made his way up the stairs to the main ballroom, pausing only briefly upon noticing several large shards of glass on the stairwell. That's strange, he thought to himself, somepony should really clean that up before anypony gets hurt. Nevertheless he continued on, but as he approached the top of the stairs the doors to the ballroom burst open. Before he could react he suddenly found himself face to face with Princess Celestia herself.
"P—Princess!" he stammered, quickly bowing low. "It is so nice to see you again."
"And it is good to see you, Victor," the princess responded. Victor noticed that she seemed a mite distracted. "I do hope the night finds you well, but I'm afraid that my attention is needed elsewhere at the moment. If you will excuse me."
Victor promptly stepped aside and Buttlebuck followed suit. "Of course, your highness." Without any hesitation Celestia strode down the remaining stairs, turning in the direction he had noticed the other ponies headed earlier. He seemed a little puzzled that Celestia would abandon the Grand Galloping Gala so early in the evening, but such unexpected situations were normal for the royal princess, so he didn't let it bother him too much.
As they walked through the first set of doors they caught a strange sight; the two doorponies standing at either side of the inner doorway had completely lost themselves to mirth. Victor exchanged an inquisitive glance with Buttlebuck, only to receive a half-hearted shrug in return. As the pair didn't seem to notice their new guests, Victor chose to take a more direct route.
Both doorponies looked up. Upon recognizing the new occupants of the room they immediately snapped to attention. "Prince Blueblood, sir!"
"Just what is going on, you two?" Victor said, giving them both an inquisitive look, "What could possibly be so funny?"
The two doorponies exchanged a quick glance, and the prince noticed it took considerable effort on both their parts to restrain their laughter.
"It… you'd have to see it for yourself, your highness," one of them finally spoke up. "We couldn't possibly give the scene justice."
Victor sighed. "Very well, open the doors. Buttlebuck, if you please."
"Of course sir."
The doors creaked open and Buttlebuck entered the room, followed closely by his charge.
"Announcing his royal highness, Prince Blueblood, Vict—"
The sight that met their eyes stopped them both cold. The ballroom was in complete disarray. Several decorative pillars and a statue of Celestia lay crumbled on the floor, and wild animals ran everywhere, quickly disappearing when they could. Most of the ponies in the room merely stood dumbfounded, so stunned that they hadn't even noticed the prince enter.
"Good heavens!" the prince exclaimed at the sight of the room. "What in Equestria happened here!" Behind him he heard the doorponies burst out into another fit of laughter, but before he could shake them down for more information another figure approached him.
"Brother, thank Celestia you're here!"
"V—Vain!" Victor stared incredulously. His younger twin brother stood before him, but he was hardly recognizable. A sizable bit of cake and frosting covered his face and mane. Seeing his normally exquisitely groomed brother in such a state of disorder was quite a shock to the elder prince.
"Oh, it was awful, Victor, simply awful. The Gala has been ruined!"
"Ruined by what?" Victor practically demanded to know. "Who in Equestria DID this!"
"It was the most unruly group of ponies I have ever seen!" Vain explained. "They treated the Gala as if it were some commoner's festival! And the most foul-mannered unicorn I had ever met started it! She was horrible, simply horribly, I tell you!"
A fresh bout of laughter met both their ears, and they were approached by a young blue pegasus in a dark blue flight suit with golden trim. "Don't listen to him, Victor. She had nothing to do with this. It was Vain here that made this mess."
"Soarin!" Vain exclaimed, "How dare you implicate me!"
Victor looked over the famed Wonderbolt member. His family had sponsored the Wonderbolts for years, and they had become very familiar with each of the members. Indeed in many cases Victor considered The Wonderbolts to be among his best friends, and they were often excused of their lack of propriety when dealing with the Bluebloods.
"Ok, Soarin, I know my brother has a tendency to stretch the truth. Tell me what's going on here."
"Victor, you should have seen it yourself," Soarin explained with a chuckle. "Your brother had the most gorgeous unicorn I've ever seen nipping at his fetlocks all night!"
"Really?" Victor asked, casting a sidelong glance at his younger twin.
"Oh, certainly she was easy on the eyes," Vain said dismissively, "but that was her sole redeeming quality, let me assure you."
Soarin let out a sharp laugh, "Ha! You need to go look in a mirror sometime, Vain. You wonder why you can't keep a girl around for more than a month? She just managed to figure out who you are faster than most of the bimbos you filly around with."
Vain glared at the young celebrity, "Soarin, I am warning you—!"
Victor cut him off, all too aware of his brother's personality, "Silence, Vain. Soarin, go ahead."
Soarin only seemed too eager to continue. "Well, she entered the ballroom early in the evening, and boy did she turn heads! Her coat was so white it was practically shining! I was even considering taking my chances myself when she seemed to catch sight of your brother. After that no one else in this party might as well have been here, a real pity if you ask me."
Victor shook his head, "She was in for a rude lesson, I assume."
Soarin broke into another fit of laughter, "You're telling me! He had her opening doors, paying for food; at one point he even had her use part of her dress—which was quite immaculate if I do say so myself, I mean, this dress had glass shoes!—Anyway, he used her coat to cover a puddle that he could have easily stepped over... or around."
"He WHAT?" Victor said, shooting a death glare at his younger brother, who could only cower under the gaze.
"Oh that's not the best part," Soarin continued, a large grin on his face. "Not ten minutes ago some lively earth pony tried to pick up this deadbeat party with some phat beats," Soarin rolled his eyes as he spoke, "you can imagine how well that went with this crowd. Anyway, she went for a stage dive only to knock over a cake tray, which sent the cake flying right towards your brother and his 'date'."
"Well, that explains the mess you're in at least, serves you right," Victor said to his brother, who only turned away sheepishly.
"Not quite," Soarin said almost giddily. This was, after all, the best part. "As soon as he saw the cake incoming, you won't believe what your brother did!"
Victor could only look at the young Wonderbolt with a slack-jawed expression of disbelief. "He didn't."
"He did!" Soarin confirmed the elder Blueblood's worst fears. "He practically threw her in the path of the cake!"
Victor's horror quickly turned to absolute rage. He turned to his brother fully, speaking in a very low voice that he only used in the most serious of circumstances. "Vain… you and I are going to have words…"
"Oh, she took care of that," Soarin interrupted. "I mean, at that point she just snapped! I've never seen a filly tell your brother off like that! It was awesome! She threw that cake right in his face!"
Another thought crossed the elder Blueblood's mind, "Where is the poor mare now? I must apologize to her at once!"
Soarin shrugged, "Beats me. She hightailed it outta here shortly thereafter, she's probably long gone by now."
"Ahem, sir, if I may," Buttlebuck interceded, "As I was waiting for you outside I do recall overhearing something about a glass slipper being left on the exterior staircase. Would you like me to investigate?"
"Immediately!" Victor said without hesitation, "It might at least give us some clues on how to find her… but first," Victor held his hoof out towards his manservant, "a camera, if you will."
Instantly a camera appeared from beneath Buttlebuck's uniform. Victor snatched it from him and taking careful, but precise aim, snapped a quick picture of his cake covered brother before handing the camera back to his horseservant.
"Make sure that one gets magnified and framed. I want it in the throne room by noon tomorrow, now go find that slipper."
"Of course sir," Buttlebuck said, promptly making his exit.
"Brother, you can't be serious!" Vain whined.
"If half of what Soarin has said happened here tonight is true, I should be parading you as you are in front of all of CANTERLOT!" Victor towered over his younger brother now, the very epitome of indignation. "Now go home and get cleaned up. We will finish this discussion tomorrow!"
Vain grumbled a few choice words under his breath, but slowly made his way out the doors. Victor turned back to Soarin, who was watching the whole spectacle with quiet amusement.
"You, at least, seem to be enjoying yourself."
Soarin smirked, "It's been an entertaining evening, not to mention it started out with the best apple pie I've ever eaten."
At the sound of that Victor's mouth began to water slightly, "Ah, Apple Pie… I haven't had one in ages. Upper-class cuisine is so mundane sometimes."
"They had several out there, you should pick one up," Soarin encouraged him, "It was heavenly! I'd eat another if I wasn't so full. It was kinda sad, though. No one else would even look at the cart. I swear these people don't know what they're missing." Soarin shook his head, "Your brother even took a bite out of a truffle and spat it on the floor. That guy is so picky sometimes!"
Victor was a bit incredulous, "You mean they actually got him to buy one?"
"Well, not exactly," Soarin explained. "It seems the unicorn that was at your brother's fetlocks all night knew the filly behind the counter. She was quite a looker herself, too."
"Well, if they knew each other, then maybe we can use that to track down the unicorn—"
Their conversation was interrupted when a newly returned Buttlebuck moved to stand beside his master, "Begging your highness' pardon," the horseservant said, "but it would appear that the aforementioned glass slipper is now the glass shards, sir." Buttlebuck held out a handkerchief containing several broken pieces of glass, some of which could have resembled parts of what had once been a shoe.
"Well, there goes that idea," Victor said, "but that's ok. Buttlebuck, go find a cart selling a variety of apple treats with a…" he turned to Soarin, "What did she look like?"
"Orange filly, blond mane," Soarin said without missing a beat, "wearing a Stetson hat and some gussied up cowpony threads."
Victor turned back to Buttlebuck, "Ask her if she knows a white unicorn—"
"Violet mane," Soarin threw in.
"…with a violet mane," Victor finished. "Also, buy me an apple pie for home. In fact, while you're at it, get a few things for the colts," Victor paused for a moment and reconsidered, "You know what, to hay with it. Buy the whole cart, take it to the entourage. I'm sure the guys could use a good treat after tonight."
With a quick nod, Buttlebuck again exited the room and as he left, the doors on the other side of the ballroom suddenly burst open.
"Fillies and Gentlecolts," a dark gray pony in a tuxedo announced to the crowd, "We apologize for the unprecedented events that have transpired tonight. While we attempt to clean up the main ballroom, we have made some arrangements with the castle guards. The remainder of the Grand Galloping Gala will take place in the castle garden, so if you would please follow me..."
As the rest of the guests filed out of the room, Strummerpick was beside himself with disappointment. Actually, he was beside his fellow musicians, but they were all rather upset at the moment.
"I don't believe it!" Strummerpick cried, kicking the debris that had moments ago been his means of earning a living. "That harp cost me three months pay!"
"Do you have any idea what it's going to take for me to replace my cello!" his fellow musician whined.
"Pianos don't grow on trees, either!"
As the pillars had come crashing down the band had been forced to abandon their instruments in exchange for their lives. They were now debating whether or not that had been the best choice to make. As far as they were concerned, the point was now moot; their lives were over anyway.
They surveyed the wreckage with a mixture of disbelief and anger, unsure what to do now. Lost in their thoughts they missed the approach of a courtyard chamberlain.
"Would it be possible for the band to continue tonight?" the chamberlain inquired.
"Continue?" Strummerpick asked rather incredulously, ripping a piece of what was once a tuba from the wreckage, "Do you think we can play this! Does it look like we can continue!"
The chamberlain pony bowed low, "Begging your pardon sirs, madams, I have been assured that all damage done to your instruments will be covered by the castle coffers, and that I am to retain your services tonight by any means necessary."
That news certainly caught their attention.
"Well…" Strummerpick hesitated, looking over each of his fellow musicians, "I guess none of us are injured, but we can't really play without our instruments."
"But what about the backups in the carriage?"
"Yeah, I've still got the drumset in the back."
"I've got my bass."
"I'm sure the synth would work."
"Whoa whoa whoa," Strummerpick said, "I don't know if those are appropriate for this kind of a shindig, guys. This is upperclass remember?"
That gave them all pause. It was true, after all. Most nobility didn't care much for the quick beats of conventional music, and preferred the slower, more leisurely classic pieces. But then their thoughts drifted towards a particular pony they'd had a run in with earlier; a bright pink pony that had more bounce in her hair alone than the music they had played all night. It had been a rather refreshing break in the scene for all of them.
Oh sure, at first she was a little annoying, but she had just been so full of energy that they couldn't help but get a little carried away. They even plucked along as she sang the pony pokey. No one else had seemed terribly impressed though.
It was a dang shame, really.
Stummerpick looked up, only to see soft smiles on each of his fellow musician's faces. He knew they were all thinking the same thing.
"Aw, to hay with it," he said. "I haven't studied instruments all my life so I could play background music. Let's show these ponies what we play at a real party. Windbeat, go get your drums!"
"Boss!" she said excitedly.
Meanwhile, Prince Victor Blueblood was getting the full story on just how the ballroom had ended up in such a state.
"Your brother was so afraid to get cake in his mane that he backpedaled into the statue," Soarin said excitedly, "Knocked it right off its pedestal! It was hilarious!"
"Soarin! There you are!"
Both stallions turned to see a young mare enter the room, her bright orange hair in shocking contrast to the deep blue jumpsuit that matched Soarin's perfectly.
"We've all moved outside, Soarin—Oh, hey Victor, when did you get here?"
"Hello, there, Spitfire." Victor said in greeting. "I seem to have arrived shortly after… well," he gestured to the mess that used to be the ballroom, "this happened."
"Ah, I can understand why I missed it."
"Yes, well, Soarin here was just giving me the details. Seems my brother has caused quite a stir tonight."
"He wasn't the only one," Spitfire reassured the elder prince. "Anyway, Soren, I've been looking for Rainbow Dash. You haven't seen her, have you?"
Soarin seemed to take a moment to think. "Rainbow Dash, Rainbow Dash…. Oh!" His eyes lit up in recognition, "She was the pegasus that won the Young Fliers Competition a few months back, right? She was here?"
Spitfire popped him lightly on the back of the head with her forehoof, "Yes, she was here, you dolt. She's the one that saved your pie, remember?"
"Ohmygosh you mean that was her! Why didn't you say something! I've been wanting to ask her about that Sonic Rainboom for forever!" Soarin pointed at Spitfire accusingly, "You guys totally hogged her after the fliers competition, I never got a chance to talk to her! Wait…" he seemed to make a connection in his head as he spoke, "Wasn't she the one that tried to catch the statue?"
"I… I don't know." Spitfire admitted. "I kinda lost track of her when the party started. I was waiting for a good moment for everything to die down so I could speak to her properly, but then all this crazy crap started happening and she just disappeared."
"Wait a minute," Victor interjected, "She tried to catch the statue? As it fell?"
"It was the craziest thing," Soarin explained. "The statue started to topple and she just appeared out of nowhere and caught it, didn't even give the rest of us time to react. I've never seen a pony with low-altitude flying ability like that! If I had then maybe I…" Soarin paused for a moment, looking a little shamefaced, "Maybe I could have recovered in time to help her before she lost control."
Victor was impressed nonetheless, "You mean, she held up that statue, by herself?"
Soarin nodded, "For a second or two, then she lost balance, and well… that's what toppled the pillars."
"I see… I am really going to have to talk to my brother when I get home."
"Ah don't be so hard on the kid," Spitfire put in, only all too aware of the younger Blueblood's nature. "He couldn't have had any idea what he was getting himself into with that unicorn. Probably just caught him off guard."
Victor shook his head, "No, I'm afraid I'm not hard enough on him. He's got to learn that he can't keep treating the mares like that, I only wish I could find out who that unicorn was and apologize."
"Wait a minute," Spitfire said, suddenly looking very thoughtful, "I think I've seen that unicorn before… wasn't she at the Young Flier's Comp—"
Before she could finish her thought the doors to the garden opened again, and an elderly dirt-brown earth pony burst through, laughing until his sides hurt.
"What the…" Victor said at the commotion, eyeing the newcomer. "Hoedown? What in Equestria has gotten into you?"
Hoedown stopped laughing just long enough to look up and recognize who it was, "Oh, hey there, Prince Blueblood, sir. Don't mind me, I'ma just enjoying myself at the critters' expense there." He nodded his muzzle back towards the garden from whence he came. "I've never seen a filly attack 'em with such tenacity."
"Attack them?" Victor was alarmed; all animals of the royal garden were under the protection of the royal family.
"Ah, not lit'rally, Prince." Hoedown assured him. "They's just playin' the best game of hide and seek they've had in months. They love playin' it. I keep tellin' 'em to slow down and explain th' rules, but they just get so excited. Once someone starts chasin' 'em they can't help themselves. They even broke into the ballroom ta hide." Hoedown broke into another fit of laughter, "Theys spent the last half-hour hidin' they didn't even realize she'd done left, and now theys mad cuz they didn't get ta meet 'er proper." The old groundskeeper shook his head as he made his way across the room towards the facilities on the other side, "Come to think of it, I don't believe she was quite enjoyin' 'erself. Crazy critters."
Victor's left eyebrow raised a notch, "After hearing all this I'm actually upset I didn't make it on time."
"Yeah, you missed quite a bit there, Vic."
Their attention was drawn towards the main doors as they opened. Buttlebuck walked in, looking a little downtrodden.
"Forgive the interruption, Master Blueblood, but I'm afraid I was unable to locate the cart of apple treats, or the filly in question. We've searched everywhere, but she appears to be gone."
Victor grumbled, "Well, horse apples."
"Sir!" Buttlebuck interjected, "Such language is unbecoming of the royal family!"
"Oh, calm down, Buttlebuck." Victor waved him off, "I'm upset. That was my last link to finding that unicorn that my brother so callously insulted. She could be anywhere by now." As an afterthought he added, "Not to mention now I cannot have my pie."
"Well," Spitfire said, thinking it was time to bring this conversation to a close, "I should get back to the festivities. You should come too Soarin. Most of the regulars beat feet when all hay broke loose, so it's just the little folk and the first-timers left… they weren't quite sure what to do so they stuck around until things picked up again. We should probably get in there, they are our greatest fans, after all, and I still want to see if I can find Rainbow Dash."
"Yeah, ok, Spitfire, I'll be right in. You coming Vic?"
Victor shrugged, "Sure, it should be an interesting experience after everything else that apparently happened tonight."
As they breached the doors to the garden Victor was met with a sight quite unlike any he had ever seen at any previous Grand Galloping Gala. The band was playing a lively tune that had some real kick to it, and the ponies were dancing heartily. It was a startling contrast to what was he had expected. The food had been moved outside and everywhere he could see the ponies dancing, mingling, and generally just having a party of a time.
With a sigh he nudged his friend, "You go on ahead, Soarin, your team is waiting."
"Alright, big guy. It's been good to see you again."
"You too, Soarin."
As the final Wonderbolt member moved to join the rest of his crew, Victor gave a great sigh. He'd been more than disappointed that he would be unable to find the mysterious unicorn that Soarin described. If she was half as beautiful as he'd said she was…
Victor sighed again. It wasn't just the beauty he was after. She'd put up with his brother for a good two hours it seemed. That made her an extremely patient and generous filly. At the same time, she'd been able to recognize when enough was enough, and she apparently had some bite to her. Many long nights Victor had spent wondering if such a mare even existed, and now that he knew she did, he had missed his chance. He might never find her again.
One last great sigh escaped his muzzle. "If only I had arrived on time tonight," he mused to himself. "It might have just turned out to be the best night ever."
A/N: Aah, the irony! Anyway, a quick what-could-have-been one shot. Lemme know what you think! And remember, this was all written in the dead of night, so any grammar, spelling or awkward sentence help is appreciated.
Now, below you will find my entry into EquestriaDaily's 300 word submission event. I didn't feel it needed it's own submission, so I thought I'd just tack it on the end of this one. The criteria for the event was the following:
It must star 'The Great and Powerful' Trixie OR begin with the sentence, 'No pony could remember a time when it had rained so hard.' The submission had to be about 300 words or less. I tend to get wordy with my writing, so I took a different approach. Thanks for reading, and if you feel so inclined, please drop a review!
No pony could remember a time when it had rained so hard.
"No!" The shout cut rudely into my thoughts.
"What do you mean, 'no'?" I shot back, "I'm going for dramatic effect; it's a dramatic setting!"
"You can't start a story set in Equestria like that," the blue pony before me bewailed. "We control the weather! It makes no sense."
"So the pegasi had an off day! Not everypony is as perfect as you are." Sarcasm seethed through my voice.
She put on a hurt look, all for show of course. "Oh, please, don't start that again. I said I was sorry."
"Look," I knew arguing right now was pointless, "the criterion clearly states the story has to start with that sentence—!"
"—OR star The Great and Powerful Trixie," she finished.
"So what do you want me to do? Write you a biography!"
"Maybe you should!"
"Fine! I'll tell the world the unvarnished TRUTH!"
"Now now…" she cooed hurriedly, trying to placate me whilst levitating the pen out of my hands, "let's not be hasty here. I'm certain we can come to an… understanding. Most of them believe I don't exist. Just make something up… and make it flattering!"
"Cause we all remember how that worked out last time."
The look she shot me told me that I was dangerously close to overstepping my boundaries.
"Fine, FINE!" I conceded, throwing my hands up in frustration, "but you have to leave the room, I can't work like this!"
"Oh, alright… but I get to read it before you submit it."
"Fine." Yeah right, like that was going to happen. To hay with the consequences.
I mulled over a few ideas after she left, then checked the criteria again.
'No pony could remember a time when it had rained so hard'... 300 word limit... seriously, how am I supposed to work with this!