"Hey Clever Clover, have you found a date for the royal wedding yet?"
"No, Morning Glory, not yet."
"Well, I am available that day."
"Why am I not surprised. It seems like everyone suddenly has an opening for Christmas Eve on their calendar. Of course, it won't be just one day. It'll probably take three days to get there and three back again, and they are expecting me to arrive the day before and who knows how long they'll expect me to stay."
"It doesn't sound like that bad a vacation."
"And it will be cold. I'll be staying in a big, old, stone castle... without any modern amenities."
"You know, for an optimist, you're being very negative about this."
"I'm sorry. I just don't look forward to making this decision. Just about every single mare in town has asked me if I need a date for the wedding, and I don't know who to choose. And the invitation didn't even mention a date. I don't know what they will be expecting at the castle."
"I'm sure they wouldn't mind. And you haven't spent that much time at the castle; you'd enjoy having at least one close friend to talk to while you're there."
"I guess. But I doubt we'd have much time to talk. Even though I'm not heir to the throne, I am a prince; and Raven thinks I've got some duty to fulfill, and he'll keep me busy with lectures and lessons on the history of the Isle Ponies and the role of the prince."
"Well, it seems like you've got enough on your mind right now. I'll leave you to think it over. See you later."
It was not long ago that Clever Clover had not even known that he was a prince; now it seemed everyone knew. Of course, that was his own fault for confiding in his friend, Tabby. But how did everyone find out about the wedding? The only person he had told was his new archaeology partner, Belle Star. She was not even a local and didn't know anyone outside of the archaeology crew she spent most of her time with since she arrived in Friendship Garden a week ago. He had hoped she could have kept the secret; he had to confide with someone. However, the word had gotten out; there was no time to dwell on it now, as he was going to be late for work after being delayed by Morning Glory.
Clever Clover's boss, Spade, was clearly upset by the purple pony's tardiness. "Nice of you to join us Clev'. Now get a move on and see if you can keep your partner from making a bigger mess of your unit."
"Just get to work!"
When he got to the unit he and Belle Star had been digging, the purple prince saw that one of the walls of the unit had collapsed into the pit. Belle Star looked up from cleaning the loose dirt from the cave-in out of the unit and greeted him in her usual cheerful manner. "Good morning! How are you doing Mr. Clever Clover?"
"I'm fine, Belle Star. How'r you?"
"Very good, thanks."
"So what's up with Spade? He seems grumpier than usual."
"Uh-hu. He is not happy today. Jack had some suggestions about the cause, but I don't remember exactly-"
"I can imagine what Jack would say. I don't have the time to worry about the boss' problems right now."
"Still nervous about the wedding?"
"Yeah. I don't even know the couple that are getting married."
"Why don't you just tell them that you can't make it?"
"I'd feel bad lying to them. Besides, Enchantment, Foxglove, and even Raven are kind of friends. I don't want to let them down."
"Hm, you do have a problem."
"Thanks for stating the obvious. By the way, you are the only one I actually told about the wedding, but you're the only one who hasn't asked to go with me. Why not?"
Belle Star blushed. "Oh, you're a prince going away to a big fancy castle, and I'm just plain old me."
"You're not plain; you're a very nice, very pretty, pony."
Suddenly Jack appeared from behind a pile of dirt. "Clev' and Belle Star sittin' in a tree!" Just as quickly, a clod of dirt hit the greasy pony right between the eyes. Clever Clover was blushing deep red. "Ah, I hit a nerve, eh?"
"Do you have business here, Jack, or are you just being a nuisance?"
"Mostly just being a nuisance, but I was going back to the lab to get some more forms and was wondering if you needed anything?"
"No, we're fine."
"Well then, I'll just leave you two to whatever you were up to." Jack dashed off as another clod of dirt just missed him.
"There are days I could do without that guy."
"I think he's silly."
"That's what I like about you, Belle; you're immune to jerks like Jack."
"Did you mean what you said before Jack showed up?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
As the archaeologist ponies sat to eat lunch, Clever Clover was uncomfortably aware of whispering and sniggering among the others, no doubt as the result of Jack's teasing. Belle Star did not seem to notice at all. Suddenly Clever Clover felt a tap on his shoulder. "Hu?"
"Clever Clover, uh, hi."
"Oh, Bright Bramley, its you. What brings you out to the dig today?"
"I'm just fascinated by what you do here. The history... the thrill of discovery... it's so exciting."
"Well, I was wondering if you could give me a tour of the site and explain what you've discovered so far?"
Clever Clover sighed. "Is there any particular reason you asked me? I mean, Spade's in charge and knows more of the details than I do."
"You've always seemed like such a nice guy-"
"Does this have anything to do with that invitation I got?"
"Oh, why would you say that?"
"Before I got the invitation, you had a crush on Jack, didn't you?" Clever Clover said this more to shift the crew's attention away from himself and Belle Star than to discourage Bright Bramley's pursuits. Jack acted shocked, even though it was well known that Bright Bramley had once said that he was cute.
Spade stood up. "Eh, Clev', just give her a tour and let the rest of us to get back to work. C'mon guys, lunch is over."
As the gathering broke up, Belle Star looked confused. "Uh, Mr. Clever Clover, since we're partners do you want me to help you with the tour, or should I go back to the unit?"
"Oh, whatever you want."
Belle Star ended up accompanying Clever Clover and Bright Bramley on the tour and asked more questions than the guest. Clever Clover was glad to see the end of the day. After Bright Bramley had left and the site was closed down, the purple pony trudged off toward home. Belle Star called out after him. "Mr. Clever Clover, are you going to be at the pizza parlor tonight?"
"Not tonight. I need to be alone for a while."
"Oh, are you sure? Maybe the two of us could go somewhere else together."
"Thanks for the offer, but I'm just not in the mood for company. Sorry." He knew Belle Star was only being friendly; but since word of the invitation had gotten out, he had gotten his fill of friendly.
* * *
Clever Clover made it home without much bother; however, he did run into Dainty Dove. She began rambling on about how romantic it would be to attend a royal wedding, but she soon lost her train of thought and wandered off. When he got home he was greeted by his Vulpix, a five-tailed, fire-breathing fox Pokemon.
"Eh, Pixie, how was your day?"
"Well my day was no picnic. But now it's over."
"Sure, I'll get your food right away; but I'll have to wash up before I can play."
As Clever Clover filled his Pokemon's bowl, the telephone rang. "I wonder who that could be. "Allo allo. Clever Clover speaking."
"Hey CC, it's Berry Bright."
"Oh, Hi Berry. What's up?"
"I'm just callin' to see how you're doing. I guess all this hubbub about the wedding has got you pretty stressed out."
"Yeah, I'm not used to this kind of attention. I can't wait to get it over with."
"Well, maybe if you just made up your mind and picked someone, the rest would leave you alone."
"Uh, hey, that just might work! But is still leaves me with the problem of picking someone."
"Hm, you could just choose someone at random and find an excuse to back out later."
"That would be rude."
"Yeah. You could tell everyone that you're going with me. I'd understand if you backed out."
"Thanks for the offer but-I'll have to think on it for a while."
"I understand; well, talk to you later."
"Yeah, good bye."
After washing up and fixing a light supper, Clever Clover sat in his living room tossing a tennis ball for Pixie to fetch.
"What do you think, Pixie?"
"Today Morning Glory, Bright Bramley, Dainty Dove, and Berry Bright all asked to be my date. Ivy is always reminding me how big an impression I'd make being seen with someone as glamourous as her, and Silver Rain just assumes that I'll choose her. I have to select someone so the others will leave me alone, but I just can't"
"Yeah, you're right. I've made up my mind; I know who it's going to be.