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The Dance Hall - The Bar


brianblackberry

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Martini Paradise was surprised when she received the letter from the local peagsus mail pony informing her that the Grand Galloping Gala committee wished to once again hire her to help run the bar in the Dance Hall in the Canterlot Castle. Sure, when she did this last year, it was rather boring, with most of her customers being the hoity toity types from the upper-crust of Canterlot's social scene who tended to talk down to her. The fact she was required to wear a maid like outfit certainly didn't matters, but the excellent amount of bits she earned made the hassle all worth while! Enough in fact to help make sure her daughter, Sunrise Beach, could get a steady education at last. This year would even be better, as the gala was publicly open to ponies of all stripes in celebration of Twilight Sparkle's ascendancy. Martini has never met the new princess, but the fact she wanted to Gala to be so open could only make a good impression.

Martini arrived early that day, as she wanted to make sure everything was stocked properly beforehand; given the Gala's open door policy this year she expected quite a crowd. This is what she loved about her passion, meeting and conversing with ponies of all stripes of life, all while serving them the tastiest of drinks made with her own theatrical flair. Instead of the standard outfit all the workers of the Gala had to normally wear, Martini instead sported a pair of foamy purple fake wings, making her an "alicorn" in celebration of the new princess. The other staff also wore either fake horns or wings, sometimes both, depends what was needed for their "transformation". It was all in good fun, especially given it wasn't even required.

Her horn glowed a soft green as she pulled her yellow and green mane back into a cute pony tail, Martini looked out as ponies slowly filed towards the dance floor, surely some of them will want a drink from a pony who is a good listener.

And a good conversationalist.

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Serendipity gave a small sigh. So this was the famous Grand Galloping Gala, Canterlot's biggest party? Having never gone to the event before, she had been quite curious when she heard it was open invite this year. She had figure it'd be worth a trip east, but here in the moment, it seemed a little underwhelming. She was pretty confident she could find a better party any given night in Las Pegasus. The only things that made it particularly unique were the castle setting and the pony princess meet and greet, and as it were Seren only had a passing interest in architecture and was far too jaded to bother getting worked up over royalty.

So instead the lavender mare had opted to try and enjoy the dance hall scene at least until she quickly got bored of the vapid dance music and throngs of ponies moving to it. For her money, it just wasn't intimate enough. She considered scoping out the ballroom instead, but it was all too easy for her to get bored of entertaining stuffed shirts and in her tight, slinky short black dress she was probably under dressed for it anyway. Ultimately she found herself trotting up to the bar for a drink... which to be fair, was probably where she'd have ended up regardless.

She respected bartenders. Really, the profession wasn't very far from her own. It was their job to keep the part going, keep the guests both entertained and controlled. Plus, of course, they, you know, gave you drinks. Helping matters, the barmare at this particular bar was a quite pretty young unicorn mare, dressed in a very flattering maid costume with fake wings attached. That was always important. A smile on her face, Serendipity slunk down onto an empty stool right in front of the mare.

Raising her designer shades to her forehead, the croupier shot the cute barmare a smile. "Hey there," she said. "I think I'd like one of whatever it is you make best~."
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Not too terribly far away from the Dance Hall bar, one red earth pony stallion was briskly closing in. Despite being a curator of some repute, Dr. Spin Tale in years past never made attempts to obtain tickets to the annual Grand Galloping Gala. While perhaps he could have used that formal occasion as a way to fish for museum patrons, the stallion reasoned in the end that attendees didn’t want to be bothered by visitation requests at a social gathering. Plus without much care for social activities to begin with, Spin never saw a compelling need to go.

This time around, nopony needed to go through any hurdles to attend the Grand Galloping Gala so they could all meet Equestria’s newest princess in person. Spin Tale figured he’d show up this time, despite the fact he already met Princess Twilight on one prior occasion… a bizarre occasion, at that. Not one to bother with fanciness, Dr. Tale like always settled for a black bow tie to wear, thinking it would be good enough for the purposes of chatting it up with anypony he recognized.

As the grouch suspected though, Spin Tale couldn’t find any of his associates at the Gala when he arrived. Dr. Tale theorized that either they couldn’t show up or were instead buried in the crowd somewhere. Furthermore, nopony had made any attempt to socialize with the curator... although Spin's standoffish demeanor in all likelihood have played the major role in that. Not wishing to leave so soon however, the red stallion opted to waste some time over at the bar. At the very least, he’d get a good drink or two from this occasion before heading home and preparing for the business of tomorrow.

Sitting two stools away from a lavender sunglasses-wearing pegasus, Spin Tale masked his grumpiness as he kindly asked of the costumed bartender; “I’d like a glass of red wine, please.” Again, nothing too fancy would be needed to suit Spin's needs.....

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Tankena walked into the Ballroom, wearing a gown she made herself. The green Earth mare, having used her metal shaping abilities, wore a dress that was a combination of strong fabric and slim metallic strips. The dress dragged the floor and often made clanking noises when she moved. Spotting other ponies at the bar, the brash Stalliongradian mare immediately jumped to claim the empty barstool between Spin Tale and Serendipity.

"Good evening, comrades! Isn't Grand Gala a real hoot-ski!" she shouted as she turned to the barmaid. "I hope you have plenty of Stalliongradian Apple Vodka to serve, because I will be plenty thirsty tonight!"

As she waited for an answer from Martini Paradise, Tankena decided to strike up conversation.

"Forgive my lack of manners, dear comrades. I am Tankena, but friends call me Tank Mare, and I come all the way from Stalliongrad! Very cold there! I love to create things, like dress I am wearing! I hope that I can find Rarity tonight, perhaps she can sell my dress in her shop, yes?"

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Customers! Well in the sense that they came to have a drink. Like in every Gala, the drinks were a courtesy of the royalty, however that didn't mean one couldn't accept tips and that was how Martini Paradise usually made ends meet.

Her first customer was a gray-lavender pegasus with a navy blue mane who simply radiated confidence in her walk, something any pony would kind attractive. Without even mentioning her own name, the pegasus asked for whatever Martini's best drink was. "My specialty is the Paradise Martini, but you seem like you would like the variant..." With that, her horn glowed, and a bottle of Manegelan Gin - a very pricy and rare sort of gin that had a blue tint to it. She rarely got the opportunity to use this gin for this drink, but it would add the perfect touch to it! It floated around her head, the liquid spilling out into mid-air and forming a halo around her temples, while several ice cubes floated up out of their dish and circled the other way, sluicing through the floating blue halo. As the bottle of gin settled back on the shelf, a bottle of blue curacao lifted up instead, adding its own bright blue color to the stream, mixing with the blue gin and adding its citrus flavor to the dry booze. For the final ingredient, Martini popped open a small can of pomegranate nectar, adding that sweet and fruity flavor into the mix, and tinting it till the blue stream was a vibrant bright purple, with the ice cubes still sluicing through, chilling it rapidly. As soon as both bottles and the can were settled back in place, a martini glass lifted itself down from its shelf and settled onto the bar atop the bar napkin, and the stream separated itself from the ice cubes and poured its way into the glass with barely a ripple when it was done. Martini decorated the drink with a maraschino cherry and set it down before the mare. "One Passion Paradise Martini, with cherry, just for you, miss."

If the first customer beamed confidence, the next customer, a light orange earth stallion, broadcasted gruff aloofness. Still a customer was a customer and deserved to be treated as if they were special, as long as they didn't get out of line. He asked for something simple, red wine, and for wine, 'flashy' was not the point. Wine was to be treated with respect. She put on a more sombre smile as she approached the stallion, and nodded, fetching out one of several bottles of wine she had set aside for just such an occasion, her magic wrapping the stem of the bottle in a chilled, wet towel to keep the wine chilled during the slow pouring. "A 10-year Gaja Maresco, sir, provided from the Princess's own stock. A very good year, with a nearby grass fire having given a smokey flavor to the grapes before they were ever processed, a fortunate accident that later attempts to recreate have never quite been able to match." She solemnly popped the cork from the bottle as a wine glass lowered itself down, and put the barest splash into the glass for him to sample and give his approval upon before she poured any more.

The third customer, and the first to actually introduce themselves, was a bombastic green earth pony with a slight Stalliongrad accent. Martini smiled broadly, "no worries hon, we have plenty of that, they made sure just about everything was stocked for this event!" Stalliongradian Apple Vodka, Martini loved making that drink - it was so flashy and entertaining, and fun for her. A shot of vodka, on the other hoof, was about as un-complex as you could make it. Didn't mean she couldn't be showy during it, though. She kicked a box she'd secreted behind the bar, giving the impression that she'd just kicked the shelf of bottles, and with a nudge of her magic made a bottle fall from the shelf - Stallionaya Apple Vodka, straight from Stalliongrad. She caught it on her rear hoof, kicked it up over her head, and caught it on her forehoof, setting it to spinning with a slight flick of said hoof. She gave a wink and a grin to the tough-looking mare, her other forehoof grabbing up a shot glass and sliding it across the bar, stopping it by bringing down the spinning bottle so that the mouth of the bottle clinked on the glass, stopping both the spin and the slide at the same time. Pale green vodka splashed out one, two, three glugs, and then she tossed it up into the air, caught the bottle on the tip of her horn, and tossed her mane, sending the bottle flying through the air and - with a faint and subtle touch of magic to make sure it hit the right spot - slid it right back into its slot on the shelf, all without looking.

Of course that same mare from the north inquired about somepony who Martini could only assume was a fashion designer about her.. Unique attire. "I am afraid I don't know who Rarity is hon, she someone famous who is attending here?"

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Spin Tale perked an ear up as the bartender described how some grass fire gave this wine a smokey flavor… or something. The museum curator didn’t actually pay all that much attention to what the unicorn with the fake wings said; as far as he was concerned, wine was wine. If Spin had been anywhere else other than the Gala, he’d probably have just resorted to his usual standby grape juice for a drink.

At any rate, Dr. Tale took his wine glass to give the Gaja Maresco a sample first. Sipping it, the earth pony moved the drink around his mouth as got a taste of this red wine. True to the bartender’s description, the wine did indeed taste like it had laid next to a charcoal barbecue at one point. Spin supposed this drink was… unique, at least. Not the best thing he ever tasted in his life, but it was something worth drinking a little bit more. “This’ll do,” Spin told the bartender, signaling with a nod to have her fill his glass with the Gaja Maresco.

While Spin Tale waited for the bartender, he heard another earth pony sat down in the empty space between him and the lavender pegasus. By heard, Spin meant hearing the clanking sound of the green mare’s metallic dress. The red stallion gave this Tank Mare a brief look before focusing back on the bartender; making the assumption that he hadn’t been directly addressed, Spin felt no compulsion to pay close attention to or initiate chatter with the Stalliongrad pony... not yet anyway.....

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"My specialty is the Paradise Martini, but you seem like you would like the variant..."

Serendipity smiled at the tone of the response. She could definitely say she liked how this mare carried herself. She had the air of a real professional, confidence in her art. When she started to actually make the drink, Serendipity found it difficult to look away. This barmare knew how to put on a show, using her unicorn magic to add just the right amount of flash as she made the drink. Watching it was quite exciting, and made more so by the ingredients--Manegelan Gin especially was a real treat. When the drink was set before her, it actually took some effort to keep her cool with how eager she was to taste it.

"One Passion Paradise Martini, with cherry, just for you, miss."

The lavender mare gave a small chuckle at the name. Passion Paradise? Now that sounded fun!

She smiled at the pretty bartender as she spoke, "Oh my. I like a mare who knows how to entertain, and that was quite the show," She looked down at the drink in front of her. "Martinis always have been a real favorite of mine too," she said, bringing the drink to her lips.

Serendipity was expecting the drink to be good; it was a professionally mixed martini made with Manegelan Gin after all. She was a little shocked at just how good it was though. It was just a well balanced, well made drink better than she could get any of the high end clubs back home. All the same, she did her best to drink it slowly and savor the taste, looking around the bar as she did.

A couple other customers had appeared at the bar. One was a stiff seeming earth pony stallion who ordered a glass of wine. The other was a kinda cute punky looking mare who spoke loudly in a fairly thick Stalliongradian accent and ordered Stalliongrad Apple Vodka. Both were of some interest; the stallion seemed like the straight-laced, serious type who might be some fun to tease while the mare seemed unique and she could only assume knew how to have a good time.

Seren watched with interest as the two were served their drinks. A glass of Gaja Maresco for the stallion--good stuff again; this bartender really did have excellent taste. She served it with the elegance and restraint a good wine required too. When it came to the mare's vodka however, the barmare was back to flash and spectacle as she prepared the perfect shot.

"Mmm... I think I understand the name. You can really taste the passion..." she said with a giggle as she put her martini down on the bar.

"A fine taste for drinks and quite the consummate entertainer as well," she said, smirking. "You could be a star at any of the clubs and casinos back home in Las Pegasus."

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Tankena applauded with her hooves at the way Martini Paradise was mixing drinks. The clapping caused her metallic dress to clang loudly in the process.

"You have much talent, comrade!" Tankena neighed. "I am liking this that you do! May I have more Apple Vodka?"

The green mare noticed that neither of the ponies next to her responded to her at all. Tankena couldn't tell if they were just shy or they were ignoring her on purpose. Wanting to think positive, she chose the former and decided to engage them in conversation.

"So, how are both of you enjoying Gala so far? I think the music is too slow. Needs some ballalaika music like back home in Stalliongrad! We have wild parties there! I told you my name, could I ask for yours as well?"

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An open door Grand Galloping Gala. Dunder should have been more surprised, but he didn't keep up on the royal festivities in Canterlot. Therefor, he probably wouldn't have come if his griffoness friend Zelda hadn't have dragged him along, claiming the pegasus needed to "Get out of the house more." At first, he wasn't sure, but upon the promise of free food and drinks, along with spending time with his favorite griffoness. So he grabbed some of his festive attire for a royal festivity. He pulled on a white shirt almost buttoned to the top, and pulled on his light pink suit. Excited for the food, drinks, meeting new ponies and maybe even the princesses again...except Dunder wasn't too fond of seeing again Luna after their history.

Alongside Zelda, he trotted towards the bar. "Here we are! The bar! A few drinks and then I'm going to go dance." Dunder said, noticing that there were a surprisingly low amount of ponies exploiting the free drink policy. A lavender mare with black mane in a tight black dress, he couldn't see her cutie mark but he probably shouldn't ask to see her flank. Then stallion with a...sword on his flank? Oh that could be interesting. A green mare who wore a dress that looked like it could sponge a cannonball or two. And finally, the bartender, who Dunder could only guess had some kind of bar-tending cutie mark on her pink body.

He didn't say anything as he approached, just eyeing an empty seat, but also planning ahead some chatting and took the seat next to the stallion with the sword and book on his flank. He took the seat, leaning on the counter with his forehooves. He adjusted his shirt and turned to look at Zelda, "So, impressions so far? How are you liking this whole Grand Galloping Gala thing? I like it, dancing, drinks, food. All free! By taxpayer money!" He said with a big smile to Zelda.

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"Not so bad.", a black furred griffon wearing a modest, but stylish dress wandered into the bar with a brown coated stallion at her side, "I really wish I was at last years. Heard Celestia's Champions really tore up the place! Saw a few of them while I was waiting for you, so I wonder if they're gonna try topping their historical visit with some more destruction, or just lay low this time around.", as they got closer to the bar, she noticed a few ponies in the room she knew. "And you bet we're going dancing after we put a few drinks into our stomachs. I got moves that will knock the fuzz off your flank, Mister Blusty! Oh yes, we're getting get to Voordrinken!", something caught her attention, "Woah! Hey Blusty, do me a solid and get me an Shandy and save me a seat. There's a pony over there I need to talk to for a second." She was surprised to see Doctor Spin Tale sitting near the bar. She felt a little bad for him as it appeared he did not have a date. She always considered him to be somewhat handsome, even a little on the 'adorkable' side, and there had to be a few mares that would be suitable for him. Even eggheads needed the smooches! The blacksmith also made a mental note to set him up with somepony before next Hearts & Hooves' Day. Maybe that would take off some of the extra 'grump' he had been showing lately.

As she carefully crossed through the line of ponies, she could not help but be impressed by Tankena and her choice of clothing. "Wow.", she stopped and studied the mare's dress, "That is incredible! Why didn't I come up with that? Here I am, one of Canterlot's finest blacksmiths and I'm prancing around in a J.C. Pony's special and you make this art and well..It's so pretty.", she paused to wipe her eyes with one of her sleeves before adding, "I do apologize for interrupting you and your friends here, but I gotta say, that's a freaking awesome dress you got on! Next year, I'm gonna kick your dress's butt and maybe make and wear plate-mail with a skirt..Or maybe a chainmail bikini..Would that work?", she tapped the bottom of her beak, "Maybe..", as she eyes scanned the bar, she noticed two empty seats near the ponies, "Hey Dunders!", she called out, "Get your cute rump over here er...Oh. You're already here.", she smirked at she noticed the brown stallion had already found a seat, and was sitting next to her old friend Spin Tale, who she gave a friendly nod to.

"Hey Doc."

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Things were going well for the most part, everypony seemed happy, that is except the sullen earth stallion. Martini didn't think he was properly appreciating the subtle flavors of the drink, but he at least liked it enough that she hadn't uncorked the bottle for no cause, perhaps after a few drinks his mood would lighten. She solemnly topped off his glass with a content smile and a courtly nod. The other earth pony who had introduced herself was more appreciative and just as thirsty. Martini went back to her regular flash and show as she prepared a second shot of vodka for the green mare with similar theatrics, setting it down next to the first. "How many are you lookin' for, darlin', or should I leave the bottle?"

The most flattering compliments came though from the extroverted pegasus. "Well hon, it has to be my specialty given the name is so close to my own, Martini Pardaise, at your service!" The barmare gave a playful wink, it certainly didn't hurt to innocently flirt with the customers. "I have never been to Las Pegasus myself, I always wanted to visit but never could, just traveled to wherever work was immediately available." Martini felt a little embarrassed talking about herself, it is was supposed to be about the customers after all. "How about you? I never got to catch your name miss."

Before Martini could say anything else, two more guests came up to the bar. One was a rather large pegasus stallion, the other who Martini could swear was his date, was a black feathered griffon, a scene that indeed surprised her. Martini never expected to see a griffin in the Gala, let alone in Canterlot, and certainly not as a date for a pony, it was truly a refreshing surprise. As the two newest patrons sat down, Martini walked up behind the bar with a smile, her fake foamy wings bouncing as she moved, "greetings and welcome to the Gala, my name is Martini Paradise; if you want anything at all please let me know!"

They may not really pay attention to her, but that is perfectly fine, this is all for the customers and as long as they had a good time, that is all that counted, besides the lavender peagsus' gregarious nature already made things more that interesting so far that night.

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He was in a hurry, but tired his best not to appear so. Maximilian Rockefilly Jr cantered towards the bar, his eyes focused on the crowd around him as he moved. Normally he approached these events calmly, but certain recent events made him take more precautions. Journalists, opponents, ponies asking for money, he wanted to avoid them all.

Thankfully, the bar could offer a fine vantage point. He could keep an eye on the room, drink some (probably watered down) drinks, and just take a breather. Of course, he didn't expect to run into Martini again. The two met first at a previous gala, and Max had even requested her for a nation wide fashion event. Despite all this, he failed to even think that she could be the mare running the bar.

His white tux stood out in the crowd, a baby blue vest contained underneath. As he rested a foreleg on the bar, his blonde mane tussled slightly as he looked over his shoulder. Still gazing at the crowd, Max spoke loudly to ensure that his order would be heard.

"One perfect Manehattan, up, chill the glass too. And don't bother with garnish or a twist!"

Normally he'd try to be a little more cordial, but with his focus on the crowd, he simply didn't know who was behind the counter.

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"Da! I will take bottle, thank you very much," Tankena said in response to Martini's question as she took the bottle of Apple Vodka and poured herself another glass. "Here is something for your trouble,"

Tankena placed several bits into the barmaid's tip jar. Still hearing no response from the ponies at either side of her. the green Stalliongradian mare was beginning to despair until she heard the kind words of a griffon who had walked over to the bar.

"You are very kind, thank you comrade!" Tankena neighed as her face brightened. "It was challenge welding dress together, but it was easier than other things I have built with metal. My name's Tankena and I hail from Stalliongrad! My parents and I are metalsmiths dat make weapons and tools, useful things like that! I have many griffon friends back home, are you from near Stalliongrad, comrade?"

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The Gala was always a place that Brazil had made great pains to attend if he could...whilst not exactly one to smooze with the higher elites, he liked to aim a little lower and see just what kind of informative nuggets about treasures and artifacts he could from ponies on the floors that the more normal slices of life would be seen, where ponies more his stature would chew the breeze and exchange hoofshakes not based on their social standing, but because of a mutual desire to be here and have the best time they could - whilst the esteemed explorer was naturally here on his business extraction venture, he was also here to just enjoy the social times out and mingle with the crowds throughout the gala.

There were all manner of ponies right here, even at the bar section - a colorful display of all walks of life from all aspects and paths of it's many routes...some of them familiar to Brazil, others not really ringing any bells in the mental black book of those with whom he had either run into, conducted business, or...well, perhaps not so successfully established close ties to.

However, here he was...making his way towards the bar that Martini Paradise was currently serving drinks to her many patrons, of which he joined their ranks as he watches for a moment and puts on a small air of indifference for the moment, ignoring the fact that one familiar face had also made his appearance. Hopefully, things between them wouldn't escalate, but he knew that eventually something might just crop up if the boundries were crossed, but Brazil was currently distanced enough away to ensure that even if his position was known, said pony would likely dismiss his presence for the time being...at least Brazil hoped as much, this was Martini's night and any problems he and the other stallion had should be left for another time.

Still, now was the time for him to make his order - otherwise he was just some quiet face at a bar, and Brazil wasn't here to just let things quietly slip into the night.

" Miss Paradise! " he flags her down with a hoof, his coy grin ever present on his muzzle. " I'll have the usual Cinnamon Whiskey - on the rocks, if you don't mind... " A small bag of bits is promptly placed on the bartable and he draws out the amount he believes was what he'd need, before going on and adding a little extra to the pile to setup for his next move. " And get a l'il something for yourself later, you''ll have earnt it! "

Perhaps not exactly the smoothest move he'd ever made, but when it came to Martini...well, Brazil wasn't about to turn down an opportunity!

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"Well hon, it has to be my specialty given the name is so close to my own, Martini Pardaise, at your service!"

Seren smiled. Martini Paradise? What a name that was. Certainly sounded like a fun place to be. It definitely suited the fair barmare well. The pegasus giggled softly and sipped at her martini some more as the mare continued to talk.

"I have never been to Las Pegasus myself, I always wanted to visit but never could, just traveled to wherever work was immediately available.How about you? I never got to catch your name miss."

The pegasus giggled some more at the question. "Oh? Do I have your curiousity?" she said sweetly.

"It's Serendipity, love. Seren, if you wanna be cute," she answered giggling. "I deal cards at the High Stakes Resort in Las Pegasus. If you ever do make it out that way, look me up. I could show you a legendary good time."

Seren downed the rest of the martini and smiled. "Another Passion Paradise, if you will, Martini," she said.

The lavendar mare was becoming increasingly focused on the bartender, but it was about then that she noticed how popular the bar was becoming. In addition to the two that were there before, another pair showed up--a fairly handsome pegasus stallion and a rather cute griffoness and then yet another stallion, this one looking like one of the wealthy gents from the ballroom. All of them seemed fairly interesting, but none could wrest her attention away from the lovely Martini Paradise.That was, until yet another stallion approached the bar.

" Miss Paradise! I'll have the usual Cinnamon Whiskey - on the rocks, if you don't mind... And get a l'il something for yourself later, you''ll have earnt it"

Serendipity wasn't sure what to make of this one. She supposed he was okay to look at, but the brazen means of his approach made her peg him as some kind of scoundrel. He knew the barmare. Perhaps he was some lowlife creep who hang off of her, stalking her every move and she was just too sweet to shut him down. Maybe she was just disappointed that, after such a fine introduction there was suddenly this obstacle in the way. Either way, it was certainly rubbing her the wrong way.

"Sweetened words and a flash of bits--as if that's all it took to sway a mare's heart," Serendipity said though a lengthy sigh. "Stallions can be so silly."

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Once the bartender filled Spin Tale’s wine glass, the red stallion heard a familiar voice admiring the armored dress wore by the mare sitting besides him. It was the first familiar voice Dr. Tale had heard all night, and he animatedly twisted his head around to confirm that it came from the griffoness named Zelda, one of his regular patrons. Among other things, the curator knew of Zelda’s contract work repairing and maintaining Royal Guard armor. More closely related to Spin’s academic work however was Zelda’s sculptures, for the griffoness had relied on the reference resources available at the Canterlot Army Historical Museum for plenty a piece of art.

For the first time this evening, Dr. Tale’s face brightened up as he waved Zelda on over; “Ah Zelda, glad you’re here! I take it you’ve been enjoying the Gala so far?” Regardless of how little Spin had been appreciating the event so far, he did not feel it proper to let anybody he associated with know of it; just because the stallion had little time for a social life didn’t mean he needed to be a party-pooper either.....

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The light lavender pegasus was really refreshing to talk to, she was so amorous and not one bit coy about it either. Martini gave a enticing smile of her own, “why yes, yes I am curious, Miss... Seren.” She was playing it pretty informal, somehow though it felt like the way to go. “Sounds like a fun career; I’m sure you get to meet and schmooze with all type of interesting folks! Isn’t it grand?”

As she poured the pegasus mare another passion into her glass with enthusiasm, Martini leaned in quite close, “someday I’ll make it up there and look you up, who knows we may even end up working together, closely, at that same casino! Sure that place has all sorts of interesting tales attached to it.”

As much as Martini enjoyed chatting, and some may say, flirting with the gregarious Serendipity, she noticed the bar was starting to fill up with even more customers. One of the newcomers was instantly recognizable, a white unicorn of well renown and wealth, and a good looker to boot! At first Martini was sure he would recognize her but he ordered his drink without even glancing her way. I suppose for a pony of his stature, this was normal, so she figure she would play along without as much as a peep, for now.

As for the actual Manehattan Max ordered, Martini decided to use a proper mixer for this, funneling a good amount of a very fine whiskey and some small, equal dashes of sweet vermouth and dry vermouth into the cocktail shaker of ice, then putting the lid on and swirling it slowly. She loved adding to it - she never felt a drink was *complete* without a little extra something ... but the drink isn't complete until the customer is satisfied with it, and she poured it out into a broad-rimmed glass with a gold stem and slid it over to the stallion.

She was about to say something sarcastic but cute to Maximillian when who of all ponies should walk in but the one and only Mr. Brazil Nut himself! “Well, well, well, mister Brazil Nut, long time, no see! One cinnamon whiskey, coming right up… hon.” Martini playfully lounged over the bar as she took down the bottle of flavored whiskey, cinnamon sticks actually floating in the bottle. Her magic scooped up a tumbler full of ice and set it down on a bar napkin in front of Brazil. She lifted up the bottle between them and poured the dark liquid into the glass as she kept her eyes focused on the stallion the entire time with half-lidded, flirtatious expression of challenging amusement.

Martini’s enjoyment of the moment only grew when she heard Saren’s critique of Brazil’s less than smooth attempts at captivation and gave an even larger mischievous smile, “indeed Saren, indeed, especially with so many other handsome stallions…” Martini winked once again in the lavender peagsus’ direction, “and beautiful mares around”.

There is a way into her heart for the dashing Mr. Nut, he just has to work for and earn his passage and she was going to enjoy every second of it.

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For a few moments more, Max’s gaze avoided the bar and it’s patrons. However, he couldn't turn his head fast enough upon hearing the barmare’s voice.

”Miss Paradise? Darling!”

He leaned over the counter to offer his hoof.

”A thousand pardons! I was so distracted with the simply awful press... no excuses though, I should have known they would bring you in for the gala. You’re skills are legendary! Though, I do lobby on your behalf from time to time.”

]Max offered a coy wink before laughing again. The bellow ended quickly, as another pony approached the bar. The Rockefilly was far less enthused to see this stallion. Whatever joy Max shared with the bar poofed away as Brazil Nut took a seat.

Please, Brazil, for once, have some tact. I’m not here to be bullied or to argue with you...

If he shared a pleasant past with Miss Paradise (What with the reccomendations, great drinks, and tips shared between them), he had the complete opposite with that darned Brazil Nut! Trying to take the edge off, he took a sip of his drink. With a content sigh, he faced the pretty mare behind the bar.

”Fantastic, but of course! That’s why I insisted you work at the fashion show!”

Of course, he had another proposition for her, but it would come later.

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Dunder took the seat, going to sit next to the doctor, but instead his Griffoness partner took that as an invitation to sit there. He just shrugged and sat next to her, turning his body to face her and to face this Dr Spin who she apparently knew. But from where, and knowing Zelda... Since she knew his name and remembered his face it was a good sign.

But, Dunder still smiled, tapping Zelda's shoulder once to get her attention. "Oh man, that's a challenge I hope you know. I'll be able to blast the feathers off your bird-brain head with the moves I got." He teased, tapping her beak softly with a hoof. "Maybe we can get in some formal dances too, the ones where you need to move in a pattern and maybe get matched up with strangers! They do that, right? Rich ponies are weird..." He said, scratching his head. "Just you want, I need some matter that has a variable shape but a definite volume." He said, standing up, waving a hoof, "Waitress, please!" He called over the attractive mare behind the counter with a big smile on his face, "I would have some root-beer. With ice and in the biggest cup you have, please" He requested as politely as he could.

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“Nah, I’m from Rockwington, it’s a bit away from your home. Excuse me for a second.”, the griffon glanced over at the barkeep and snatched some bits from a hidden pouch she wore under her sash, “Just vodka. Maybe throw a little lemon in it.”, she made sure the mare’s tip-jar was given more company and thanked her once her glass was hoofed over. Once the glass was in her hands, she held in up towards Tankena in a proper toast, "Pey Dadna!", she waited for the pony to hold up her glass and offer her own toast. Once that was taken care of, she took care of her drink. "One of my teachers, a rather scruffy old pain in the hinder was from Stalliongrad. He was half-deaf, his fur was molting like there was no tomorrow and his front right hoof shook something like terrible when he was sober, but the guy was an true master. Taught me how to forge and he taught me how to drink.", she paused as she took another sip from her glass, "If he saw me drinking from a glass like his, he'd probably throw a fit, but I need to be all fancy like for this gala-thing..And Dunder!", she overheard her stallion as he asked for..

"Root-Beer? Seriously?", she couldn't help but smirk at her friend, "You don't get to 'blast' anything of mine or refer to my 'bird-brain' if you're going to be sipping sarsaparilla! I'm pretty sure Wind Walker and her little pony-pals are drinking that at the kitty table.", she quickly signaled Martini Paradise for another glass of the same thing she was having, this time for the brown coated Pegasus pony, "Come on Blusty! You need to pony up and have a real drink with us. A nice bit of Vodka in honor of my new friend here!"

For the first time this evening, Dr. Tale’s face brightened up as he waved Zelda on over; “Ah Zelda, glad you’re here! I take it you’ve been enjoying the Gala so far?” Regardless of how little Spin had been appreciating the event so far, he did not feel it proper to let anybody he associated with know of it; just because the stallion had little time for a social life didn’t mean he needed to be a party-pooper either.....

"Dunder and I just got here and things have been nice.", she smiled at her old friend as he sipped away at his glass, "It's nice to see you out and socializing.", she studied his glass for a moment before adding, "I might have to try out a glass of what you're drinking before I hit the dance floor with ol' Dunder here."

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Derecho wandered in to the dance hall, looking around him in amazement. The griffon had never been to Canterlot before, and certainly never to something as formal as the Grand Galloping Gala. He was wearing a high collared mandarin jacket in royal blue silk jacquard with gold piping that his mother had sent to him from Stalliongrad. He thought it looked rather good on him, and vowed to have his brother Lyosha paint a portrait of him wearing it.

Scanning the crowds, he saw another griffon in attendance, hanging out at the bar with some other ponies. He clacked his beak with happiness, smoothed his feathers again in a self-conscious manner, and wandered over. She was talking with a lovely green mare in a spectacular metal dress. As he got closer, he heard a familiar accent.

"Please to be excusing me miss, but are you from Stalliongrad? I to am from there, although I am living in Cloudsdale now. I am Derecho, of Chenya." The leopard spotted griffon bowed low to the green mare, and stood up. Turning towards the barmare, he requested two talons of vodka, neat. "Za zdorovje!"

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The Mayor had been to more than her fair share of Galas in the past, though for the sae of her aging bones thankfully they were in the more distant past. They were not at all similar to this year's extravaganza, stuffy affairs polluted by stuffy ponies. She got her tickets the only way a working pony could- she did darn good jobs and impressed the right people, an she found it no surprise that a gala invite was followed quickly by a new job offer in a new city. This time however the sheer mass of ponies made it so she couldn't even begin to stand out and besides, at her age the only ponies she could impress upon for a new job were senior advisers at elderly living homes. Not what she wanted to do with her twilight years in any case, so the stress of trying to impress with dress at the Gala was off of her It made the whole event far more relaxing than it had any right to be.

The one thing that never changed however was the thirst that dancing and gallavating about caused, and this time the gala was replete with many grand choices to sate a mare's thirst. You had the common waiter-borne drinks that floated around the gala like traps in the desert but for her money and time she felt little need to drink them. After all, she could get a nice glass of water or something a wee bit heavier at home! No, if she was going to get a superior drink or even a glass of the bubbly, she'd make sure she did so with professionals at the forefront. This time the gala had multiple choices, from outside vendors who crowded around and the castle staff and their experiences but for the Mayor the choice was surprisingly simplified. She danced her little heart away and gossiped with friends old and new while in the dance hall and there was one clearly superior option that existed.

The Mayor sauntered on over to the bar, taking a few deep breaths as her frame started to feel the adrenaline fade. She had danced the dance of her people but her people were simply not very good dancers.

"Ah, ah, I see you're, ah, ah, well-stocked! I'll take some hard sour Apple cider, topped with lemon and with some...ah...just let me catch my...ah...breath..."

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Tankena was delighted that she was now in the company of griffons. She smiled as she returned Zelda's apple vodka toast, "To long life and happiness, Comrade! So, you work a forge also? That is wonderful! Your teacher sounds like strong willed male, like my father. Mother is strong willed too, she was the one who got me started in metalwork. You should come to Stalliongrad sometime. Many griffons live there and many of them are my friends."

Tankena then turned to Derecho. "Good to meet you, Comrade Derecho of Chenya! I am Tankena, but friends call me Tank Mare. I see you drink vodka too! That is one thing I like about all griffons, their taste in fine drink! Derecho, have you met this lady griffon? Forgive me, comrade, I did not get your name."

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"Dunder and I just got here and things have been nice. It's nice to see you out and socializing. I might have to try out a glass of what you're drinking before I hit the dance floor with ol' Dunder here."

A small wince slightly formed on Spin Tale’s features as he took a drink, being reminded how he never bothered finding time to get out of the museum. That sign of discomfort disappeared though as the stallion described his drink to Zelda; “It’s a 10 year Gaja Maresco; some accidental grass fire gave this red wine a smoky flavor to it. And apparently, nopony has figured out yet how to reproduce the results. Heh, funny how things work sometimes.”

After taking another sip from his glass, Dr. Tale craned his neck forward to get a good look at Zelda’s other companion, a gray pegasus stallion with a sword and frying pan for a cutie mark. Once he felt like the pegasus could see him, the earth pony eagerly moved in as best he could in front of his griffoness acquaintance for the introduction; “Ah, you must be Zelda’s friend, Dunder. I’m Doctor Spin Tale, president and curator-in-chief of the Canterlot Army Historical Society.” Getting into his groove finally, Spin stretched out a foreleg in front of Zelda so that Dunder could shake it.....

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“why yes, yes I am curious, Miss... Seren.Sounds like a fun career; I’m sure you get to meet and schmooze with all type of interesting folks! Isn’t it grand? someday I’ll make it up there and look you up, who knows we may even end up working together, closely, at that same casino! Sure that place has all sorts of interesting tales attached to it.”

Serendipity smirked and giggled. This mare was definitely a lot of fun.

"Indeed. I'd say it's probably a pretty similar deal to what you do. Meeting new ponies, chatting with them, keeping them entertained and taking their bits. It's definitely a fun job," she said, nodding.

"And yes, the casino definitely has stories--I've been around it my entire life. I'm no ordinary dealer there after all, I also happen to be the owner's daughter," she continued, giggling some more. "Which means, of course, if you ever do decide your serious about wanting a job there, I could try and pull some strings."

Seren took a moment to sip on her second martini as the sweeter Martini spoke to the stallion who had approached her and made his whiskey. From the playful way she addressed him, there didn't seem to be any animosity or displeasure in seeing him. She supposed that meant it was unlikely he was come kind of weird stalker.

“indeed Saren, indeed, especially with so many other handsome stallions…and beautiful mares around”.

The pegasus grinned and laughed, happy to see the bartender flirting back with her so flagrantly. She had to wonder if in part it wasn't just to tease this stallion indirectly somehow though. It was hard to say, even for her, a mare who excelled at reading others. Regardless, she wasn't going to resist an opportunity to flirt back.

"Oh yes. There's definitely no shortage of pretty mares here from where I'm sitting," she playfully said, looking right at Martini, narrowing her eyes slightly.

Unfortunately, though the flirting was getting fun, Serendipity had a lot to contend to. There wasn't just the whiskey stallion, but this other one who had ordered a Manehattan. Evidently, he was familiar with her as well and eager to shower her with compliments. Granted, it was possible this mare just was that good. That had some clout to it, actually. She was tending the bar here at the Grand Galloping Gala after all. As more customers--a griffon from Stalliongrad and a somewhat dignified seeming older mare--came up to the bar, Serendipity only became increasingly interested to see how Martini would serve them all.

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