Streaks of sunshine broke through prevalent cloud coverage over the Everfree Forest. Even in late Spring, the forest was all but perpetually covered by clouds. The forest floor existed in a nearly constant state of night time, which was just perfect for the ponies of Luneria; the Village of Night Ponies. Set deep in the Everfree Forest on the junction of the Everfree River, Princess Luna’s pet project of a town rarely had a light level outside of the dichotomous “Night and Shade.” The river trickled gently through Luneria, its glassy surface just still enough to provide an ideal skipping surface for the mare sitting at its banks, throwing stones.
Moxi’s glasses slid down her muzzle slightly, but she ignored them, instead using her hoof to scoop up new stone and toss it out over the water. “Who needs prom anyway,” she muttered unconvincingly to herself, trying to ignore the blush she could feel creeping onto her face and to push away the mistiness forming in her vision.
As Moxi sat, stewing at the bank of the river, another pegasus flying overhead caught sight of her, goggles over her eyes to deter wind shear, Voltage was using one hoof to hold a brown paper package against her chest and the other to keep a black top hat with a green band pinned to her head so it wouldn’t tumble down into the river below. A spark of recognition shot through the electric blue pegasus as she saw Moxi curled up on the ground below her and she immediately went into a dive, alighting on the ground beside the white coated mare.
“Hey Mox,” she said, shooting her a toothy grin before pulling the goggles away from her scarlet eyes and offering Moxi a hoof.
Moxi was taken by surprise and quickly turned away, wiping at her eyes with a forehoof before looking back and returning the hoof bump. “Oh hey, Volty, what’s up?” she said, steadying her voice and standing up before noticing Volty’s hat “and what’s with the hat?”
“You like it?” Volty smirked, pretending not to have noticed the puffiness around Moxi’s eyes, “I just bought it, along with the rest of my outfit for prom!”
Moxi felt a dagger of ice go through her heart and winced, “So I take it you’ve got a date then?”
“Nnnnope,” Voltage said, elongating the ‘n’ sound and beaming at Moxi, “I’m going stag.” She paused to think for a moment. “Stag-ette?” she tried, “Filly? …Solo, I’m going solo. What about you, Mox? You got all your stuff ready?”
Moxi shook her head, eyeing Volty with considerable respect, “No, I don’t have anypony to go with, so I don’t even have a dress.”
Volty’s jaw dropped comically. “You’re kidding me,” she said in an exasperated tone, “you don’t have a date? And adorable little filly like you couldn’t get somepony to go with you!?”
Moxi blushed at the compliment but shook her head. “No, I asked Candy Apple and Tree Roots this morning, they both turned me down,” she said, shrugging, “I’ve had a colt or two ask me, but… well… you know…”
Voltage chuckled, she obviously knew Moxi was never one to accept the advances of a buck. “What about Dreamcatcher?” She suggested, but at the glaring look from Moxi she put up her hooves defensively, “I don’t mean as a romantic date, but it seems like the idea of going with a friend would have occurred to you.”
“Even if that was an option,” Moxi sighed, “Dreamcatcher’s going with Snowdrift.”
“Really?” Voltage was taken aback, “Our little bachelor pony has a date? Well, good on him. Well then, what’re you gonna do? Go it solo?”
“I’m not going, Volty,” Moxi shook her head, looking back at the river.
“Well we can’t have that,” Volty wrapped a hoof around her, Moxi was sure to keep her flank a safe distance from Volty’s tail, she’d learned their first day together on weather patrol that the crackling electric tail wasn’t just for show, “I guess you’ll just have to settle for me, then. Sorry, Mox.”
Moxi’s entire face went red and she buried her muzzle in her scarf, as Volty took to the air. “Better get on finding a dress,” she called before flying off, “it’s bad luck to see each other before prom, or something, so I’ll see you at the train station in two days! You’d better be there, I’m counting on you!”
With that, she was gone, leaving Moxi with her face burning hotter than she would have imagined possible. “Did… did Voltage just ask me out?” Moxi said, dumbstruck. After a long pause, she jerked her head up in terror and rushed off into town. Oh horseapples! She thought, I gotta buy a dress!
Steam flooded the platform of the Luneria train station and Voltage found herself caught in the midst of an opaque cloud of white. She tugged at the collar of her suit, a tailed vest of black and green pinstripes with a green ruff over a white collared shirt with black slacks. Ponies bustled around her, most of those boarding the train to Canterlot dressed in similarly extravagant clothing, clearly en route to the prom just as she was, but where was her date?
“Where are you, Moxi?” she asked, turning to the nearby station clock, the train was just minutes from departure and she’d seen neither hide nor hair of the filly since she’d asked her to go to prom. Was something holding her up? Or had she just decided to decline Volty’s offer?
She felt her heart sink into a tub of ice water even as her face began to burn in embarrassment. “Volty?” she heard a voice call from behind her, and she turned to see Dreamcatcher, dressed in simple Navapony finery accented with a dream catcher bolo tie, boarding the train, “What are you waiting for? The train’s gonna leave! Get on board!”
“Yeah,” she muttered, giving the doorway to the village one last glance before starting a slow trot to the train car, “I guess I’m not waiting for anypony…”
She stepped up onto the passenger car just as the train jerked to life beneath her hooves. A fresh plume of steam and they were off, the engine chugging its way into the path cut for train tracks into the Everfree Forest.
Just before the train could turn the corner and disappear into the forest, a pegasus pony flew into the station and rocketed toward the passenger car which Voltage and Dreamcatcher sat. Moxi flew alongside the train long enough for them to open the door and let her aboard. She slumped into the nearest seat, panting and clasping her wings tightly against the ruffled fabric of… of one of the most adorable dresses Voltage had ever seen!
“Mox,” she said, looking the filly up and down in stunned approval, “I know I told you to find a dress, but this is…” She searched for the right words.
Moxi looked up at her, eyeing the dress, a simple design of silver and violet with a layering effect over her flank, complete with a silver clasp at the neckline in the shape of her biohazard cutie mark. Volty had never seen Moxi’s neck before, this being the first time she’d ever seen the mare without her patchwork scarf, it was slender and decorated with a violet choker with a larger version of the biohazard clasp as a pendent. Her ears were decorated with a matching pair of earrings, each one comprised of an upper clasp and lower clasp, connected by a silver chain and dangling yet another pair of the emerald and silver biohazard symbols. She’d polished her glasses to a mirror sheen and her hair was styled for once, not sticking up in random directions, but laid off in one with a slight curl, tapering off just at the tip of her chin.
“Is it ugly?” She asked, turning worried eyes to meet Volty’s, “I don’t know much about fashion…” Her face went pink and Volty beamed at her, wrapping the mare in a tight hug. “You look beautiful,” she said, leaning back to look the dress over once more, “absolutely perfect!”
“I gotta say,” Dreamcatcher spoke up from behind Volty, “your tailor does good work. Even you look good in that dress, Mox.” The inky black alicorn standing beside Dreamcatcher, and clad in a flowing dress the color and style of a summer night sky, stomped hard enough on the tan earth pony’s hoof that he recoiled and fell flat on his back.
“How was the trip, Catch?” Moxi said to the sprawled pony before turning to his date, “Thanks, Snowy, wouldn’t want to wrinkle the dress kicking your date’s flank before we’ve even arrived at Canterlot.”
“Oh it was my pleasure, Moxi,” she replied, chuckling and helping a laughing Dreamcatcher back to his hooves.
Moxi turned to look out the window, watching the trees of the Everfree Forest whip past as the sun began its descent to make way for the night. The passenger car bustled around them, everypony so excited to reach Canterlot and begin what they all knew was going to be the best night ever!