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[colour=#9966cc] [/colour]Lilac Briolette stared down over the crowd and felt tears welling in her light pink eyes. There were so many ponies, and not just crystal ponies! Earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns all milled about the crowd that filled the Trillion Ballet Company’s main hall, and Lilac could not be happier. It felt as though it had been an eternity since her last dance, and in many ways it truly was – seeing the energy and warmth of these ponies filled her with a joy she could hardly describe, especially knowing they had all attended the evening’s event due to love and appreciation for the art of ballet. Her art. She was even willing to bet that the number of ponies who were attending the after party was very close to the number of those who had seen the evening’s performance. It was overwhelming. The prima ballerina had experienced her first emotional fit when the performance had ended: with her chest heaving and muscles burning, she felt the tears gather, only to begin streaming the moment the audience rose from their seats and roared with a standing ovation. This was the very moment she lived for – the moment when all of her years of pushing herself and pushing, spending every day rehearsing ballet, came to life on stage to be met with applause tantamount to the fierce roaring she felt in her heart with every plié and passé, every sissone and pas de poisson! It only made her heart swell that much more that this was her company’s first performance since the Crystal Heart returned and the crystal ponies had awoken; she just knew the future would be bright!The prima ballerina did not think that her emotions would swarm her heart and threaten to spill down her checks (ruining her lovely powder job for the evening) again, but seeing all of these ponies gathered together in celebration of the Trillion Company, especially the ponies from outside the Crystal Empire – it was encouraging. Finally, one of the suited servers for the evening’s caterer let out a little ‘Ahem’ nearby and brought Lilac Briolette back to reality. Oh my! It seemed as though she was frozen at the top of the stairs that lead into the foyer, and she was beginning to gather some looks. She handled the minor awkward moment with great aplomb; without missing a beat, the slender mare lifted her head and beamed widely, blinking a few times to clear the tears from her eyes. Then, with the impeccable grace and fluidity that only a ballerina of her esteem could produce, she stepped down the stairs, the sheer golds and white of her long train flowing behind her like a stream. She wore a streamlined gown tonight, one that accentuated her dancer’s figure. The accessories were rather scarce – her usual pink gold necklace with matching shoes, plus a few pink gold and pearl pins that held her hair in an elaborate up-do, leaving a curled lock to hang behind her left ear. When she made it to the bottom of the stairs, she did a quick scan of her surroundings. The other dancers were already mingling, as were the director of Trillion and the conductor. Everypony else was a stranger! Lilac was just deciding who she should approach first when, all of a sudden, there was a blue-grey and terribly fetching presence already at her side. Hoity Toity! She had met him earlier in the week while the company was still preparing for their opening. The earth pony, though his eye for fashion was critical, was friendly in his own unique way, and he was appreciative of beauty to boot! The two had hit it off instantly when she had run into him, and he seemed very grateful for her tour around the Crystal Empire. “Hoity Toity,” she said smoothly, dipping her head in greeting, “How did you enjoy the night’s performance?”[colour=#9966cc] [/colour][colour=#6666CC] [/colour]How marvelous. How stunning. How absolutely enchanting! Hoity Toity was one of the first to rise to his hooves when the ballet had come to a close. La Bayamare! Who would have thought that one of his absolute favourite ballets (despite being very old, La Bayamare had a timeless, elegant story - not to mention choreography!) would be opening in the Crystal Empire the very week he decided to visit? The Fashion Authority Hoity Toity finally managed to take time away from Bouclé Boutique in order to visit the dazzling crystalline metropolis in the frigid reaches of the north. After all, it was his duty as one of Equestria’s top fashion minds to know anything and everything there was to know about pony fashion, and with the Crystal Empire now just a train ride away, he was obligated to visit the glittering paradise and learn everything he could about their fashions. So far, he was not disappointed. Crystal ponies had a keen eye for finery – elaborate hairstyles, intricate embroidery, sheer materials that reflected the translucent qualities of the ponies themselves – what impeccable taste! Hoity Toity – the Hoity Toity – was dazzled.He had met Lilac Briolette by chance and immediately approached her. A beautiful crystal mare with excellent style and poise – he knew that befriending her would only further his education in crystal fashions! And what a clever move that had been! He didn’t just learn about fashion, he learned all about the art of the Crystal Empire to finally learn of the Trillion Company’s opening night for their performance of La Bayamare. Hoity Toity was not disappointed by the performance. The costumes sparkled, the dancers were flawless, and Lilac Briolette herself was a sparkling gem. The sheer emotion she conveyed was supported brilliantly by her technique – truly a prima ballerina! She danced her role so well – the heartache, the tragedy, the drama of it all was brought to life by the crystal mare. Ah, La Bayamare! The story of two lovers separated by status, ultimately doomed to be separated forever. Such an intense story, such a spectacle! When he watched her make her graceful entrance (albeit a rather delayed one, which he suspected had something to do with those watery eyes of hers), Hoity Toity made sure he was the first to approach her. “Lilac my darling you were fabulous,” he replied, extending a hoof for her to shake. Hoity Toity, in celebration of his love for the Crystal Empire, was sporting his usual attire, though made from shimmering sheer fabrics tailored by a local artisan earlier in the week. “What an enchanting display of pure artistry. You should all be proud of the night’s performance. It was not a perfect show mind you – perfection is nigh impossible. But it was spectacular – I have no doubt it will bring nothing but success to your company.”[colour=#6666CC] [/colour][colour=#9966cc] [/colour]Lilac found herself a little overwhelmed once more. It stung a bit, hearing the performance had not been perfect (Lilac Briolette always aimed for perfection), but perhaps the fashionable Hoity Toity was correct and perfection was a little more difficult than she imagined it to be. Nonetheless, his compliments filled her with yet another wave of emotions, and with watering eyes she reached a shoed hoof towards his to shake. With a little smile, he stood back, though he didn’t look as though he was about to leave. Instead, it seemed as though he was clearing the way for the Prima Ballerina in case there were other ponies who wished to approach her and speak to her about the ballet!Anticipation began to mount once more for Lilac. Would she get to speak to more ponies from outside the Empire? Were the ballets very different there? What would she learn? Lilac looked about the massive, gilded foyer of the Trillion Company’s ballet house. Glittering Trillion, the stallion who inherited the ballet company, spared no expense for finery. The amethyst and lazuli building was bedecked in golden trimmings, with marble statues of dancing ponies and birds in flight tucked into every nook and cranny. Coloured lanterns made of crystal lit the interior and covered in with rainbow lights, creating a breathtaking and ethereal atmosphere that made a perfect partner for the fanciful nature of the ballet. Suited crystal mares and stallions darted about the place, balancing trays of Crystal Empire delicacies and sparkling wines made from crystal berries, and Lilac had to wonder which ponies lost in the grandeur of this celebration she would get to speak with next! There was no doubt: this was going to be the best night ever.[colour=#9966cc] [/colour]