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[Ponyville - Carousel Boutique] A Dressmaker's Calling [FOLLOW-UP PHASE]

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Rarity hummed one of her favorite dressmaking songs just under her breath as she walked into the front show room of Carousel Boutique early one morning. She had nothing planned with her friends that day. No, that day was to be dedicated solely to her job. As much fun as Twilight and the other always were, Rarity was in need of many days like this that she could devote to the Boutique. Thanks to a fair amount of recent good press, orders just kept flying in after all. There was never any shortage of work to do! To be honest, it was a little daunting keeping track of it all.

It was lucky that Rarity genuinely loved her job. Nothing was more enjoyable and rewarding for her than seeing a dress come together and watching a customer leave with a smile on her face. She didn't always get the luxury of the latter now that a lot more orders were coming in from out of town, but the satisfaction of a job well done was still so rewarding, that even as the work piled up, Rarity couldn't be more delighted with it all. That said, recently, with all the expansion of her business, Rarity had at least entertained the notion of maybe hiring help at some point. Even if she genuinely adored every aspect of running the Boutique, that might not continue to be realistic.

She went over to the counter where she had her current dress orders. She glanced at the top order. It was for a couple dresses for a wealthy Stalliongrad business mare. Rarity was surprised to find her name was known that far away. Maybe it shouldn't have surprised her too much though. She had been invited to participate in the quickly approaching Ponywalk this year, after all. She smiled. She could still remember how it was when she first started and had only three or four regular customers, all Ponyville locals. She had really come far.

Speaking of locals, it hit Rarity then: she needed to open up the shop. Even if she had plenty of dresses to design already, it was important to always have the shop be open to whoever wanted to come in and either buy a dress off the rack or place an order. Sapphire Shores had been a casual unannounced walk in after all. That decided, she rushed to the door and unlocked it and stepped outside for a moment.

[colour=#663399]"Carousel Boutique, now open for business!" [/colour]she started out loud while smiling to herself, satisfied, before going back inside. She then went to her work bench and started to plan the Stalliongrad mare's dress while she waited to see who her first customer might be

New rules and procedure for thread, as of 24 September, 2012:

So, here's how this will work from now on. The thread will have two repeating phases, order and follow up. During the order phase, the thread will be completely open to whoever wants to drop by. There will be order slots for eight ponies. Once eight ponies have been served, the shop will close for the day and Rarity will spend then next two (in character) days making dresses. The follow up phase will then happen where any of the eight who placed orders may come back around to the shop to pick up their order and try it on if they so please. This part is elective for the customer. It's entirely up to you to follow through and engage on these scenes. If you do not, it will be assumed that your order was picked up without event. Once the follow ups scenes are through, the order phase will resume once more with eight more open slots.

Follow up scenes will be first come first serve. It's up to you to actually follow through on them; if you do not say anything, the thread will continue onward regardless and it will be assumed your pony picked up their order. For continuity sake, you will not get another chance to have a follow up if you miss your follow up phase. The point of this thread is to serve as many ponies as is possible; I do not want to make a habit of going backwards with it.

The strict turn order is also going to be a thing of the past. It'll now work much like riverhippo's 100 Country Kisses or Rosewind's Visions of Frosting and Terror. The pony at the front of the line who is currently being served by Rarity and Rarity herself will exchange posts. Ponies in the waiting area may meanwhile converse and interact with each other as they wait if they so choose. Any cast characters who want to stick around and interact with customers and Rarity for certain days or phases are entirely welcome to for so long as they please. So, Bramble and Magi, it's entirely up to you how long you want to keep Sweetie and Tom around for this, and if anyone else wants to have their cast character drop in just to hang out with Rarity as she works, that's fine. :)

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Valen had gotten settled into his new town- well, at least for a few months- well enough. He had accounted for culture shock even before he arrived, assuming that he would be floored and left scared. There were many stories about small country towns, and some of them were more akin to horror tales than any sort of factual information exchanges. Then again, his friends were all big fibbers and were probably just trying to scare him before he left to the small town. But still, culture shock was a real thing.

The food was different, the way of speech was different, the way they interacted...it was too loose and free. He constantly was caught off-guard by how they blurted out whatever was on their mind to their friends, who seemed to be every pony they ever met. They constantly seemed to stop and chat and deviated from their schedules. Physical labor also seemed to be the order of the day and while that was something one could find anywhere, it was something Valen hadn't truly expected to be involved in all that often.

He wasn't very good at any part of farm work. He didn't have the physical ability nor skills required. Applebloom trotted past him with buckets of apples while he had to take his time, dropping apples and picking them up as he went along. He couldn't buck; what took Applejack one kick took him almost half an hour, and even then, that was only a handful of apples. Big Mac couldn't help him try to pull the plow, and Granny Smith couldn't teach him any of her recipes. He was all around hopeless, though he tried his darnedest.

So when he had a day off, an honest one when this portion of the harvest was done, he most assuredly took it. He had little time to truly explore the town due to the sheer timing of his arrival and work schedule. This was a shame, a true shame! He had never been here and found what little he had seen a little unnerving. There was a lack of class, pizazz, a sense of style and focus. The town had plenty of charm and a certain sense of peace that had an allure, but his sense of Manehattan fashion was being driven to the dust in this farming community.

"Carousel Boutique, now open for business!"

He heard the word Boutique, face swiveling in place as his ears perked up. Boutique? Ah, it exists in such a town?! Amazing! Curiosity overtook him and he turned to the business and trotted with a rather simple smile on his face. He had always loved these places. Depending on where you went, you could get a nice spa massage, get fitted for clothes(with Valen's parents usually looking biting their lips with small amounts of trepidation), get a well-done makeover, generally a whole lot of extremely fashionable happenings. It usually cost a pretty penny, but it was worth it. Colts like him had a tough time expressing themselves; boutiques were the rare places where they found no trouble in expression.

He entered the Boutique, eyes studying his surroundings as if a hungry cat at a milk bowl.

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Rarity didn't have to wait long for a customer to appear. Evidently somepony had heard her open the shop. She hadn't really expected that, but it was nice. Maybe this was a rush order? Some client needed a dress immediately and had been waiting patiently for the shop to open, perhaps? Rarity wasn't sure what to expect as she watched the door open and a pony step through.

Rarity was more than a little disappointed when it proved to be a young colt who wandered in. In her experience, children simply didn't have the bits for designer clothes. And as she mainly designed dresses and other mare's clothes, it seemed even less likely this colt was a legitimate customer. Still, she was hopeful. Maybe there was a reason this colt was here. Maybe he was after a gift for his mother or another relative, or perhaps some little fillyfriend? She'd just have to find out.

She forced a smile as she stepped toward the pale orange coated earth pony colt. "Welcome to Carousel Boutique, the finest dress shop in all of Ponyville!" she started with enthusiasm "Is there something I might be able to help you with, by chance, darling?"

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The mare who introduced herself surely could not have been from this place. She simply bled elegance and luxury and was stunning herself to boot. He had rarely been overwhelmed so subtly by somepony, as if she was made to put one's head askew. He instantly looked down and pawed at the ground in shyness, blushing slightly. His eyes scanned the shop's side for a few seconds, more than a little afraid to say anything. It was like an oasis in the storm of country life, and while he had nothing against that lifestyle, silk and satin held more charm when comfortable.

Than he remembered he was from Manehattan, and he was made of sterner stuff than this. He looked back at the owner of the shop and gave a short bow with his head.

"Oh, please forgive me, madame. I am new and i had thought that I wouldn't find a shop like this here, it reminds me of Manehattan's fashion district." He said humbly, being as polite as he could, manners accounting for large portions of one's self-confidence and the image that was sent out. His eyes gave a smile and he walked pensively in, and finally took into account the actual clothing.

It was haute couture; fitted, made by hand, made and tailored for a specific customer. And it was of such quality. He couldn't piece it together in a coherent fashion, but this was easily top of the line.

"Oh my, this...it reminds me of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture. Are you sure you aren't from Canterlot or Manehattan?!" He asked excitedly, studying the fine dresses swiftly. The fabric was sublime, the stitching flawless, the styling both extravegent when it needed to be and subtle where the body's boldness was best left to fend for itself. With few exceptions, the work was flawless, and his eyes told the tale.

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Rarity's eyes widened. Okay, well this was a surprise. The colt did belong there! He came from Manehatten wealth. His youth belied what was clearly a keen eye for fashion too! Rarity was nothing but impressed.

"Oh, you do flatter me, dear. But alas, no, I come from humble Ponyville stock," she said, flipping her mane back and shaking her head. "I do like to think I have a keen understanding of the highest of fashion that could rival the best Canterlot or Manehattan has to offer, however. You'll find I have the reputation to prove it."

She smiled and nodded. "So what brings an upper crust Manehattanite youth like you to a quaint town like Ponyville?" she asked, curious.

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"I am here on a...vacation, of sorts. My name is Valen Orange and I am staying with my cousin, Applejack, for the duration- do you know her? Very kind, though her line of work makes my bones weary. As for you- Your designs speak for themselves, madame. Your reputation doesn't need to be questioned, Miss...?" He asked, poking his snout out from a dress and approaching her to offer her his hand in a polite hoofshake, smile wide and endearing. It was hard being this proper for too long, though. Made him feel like plastic.

He could tell from what little he had seen that there was definitely something very familiar about her work, though he could only match it with a few prêt-à-porter designs he had seen in some select shops in Manehattan. Alas, he had failed to bring any of them along, otherwise he would have ran home and brought them back to compare.

"Your mane is lovely, by the way." He complimented her, always having a sincere love for curls. Try as he might, whenever he curled his, they always fought back.

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"Aha!" Rarity started, it all having come together. Applejack had told her just the other day about a young cousin staying with her. She also remembered Applejack telling her once about her relatives in Manehattan. It made perfect sense.

"Why darling, Applejack is only one of my very dearest friends," Rarity said, shaking her head. "It's Rarity by the way. It truly is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

She smiled at the compliments, deeply flattered. "Why thank you, dear," she said with a slight nod.

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"Rarity..." he muttered, going over all the names he had accumulated over his short lifetime of following fashion. It rung a bell...

"Rarities...by Rarity? Aha! So it IS you! Why, I own some of your old line, though as you know the large boutiques tried to make your designs for all ages. The result was stitching that was not up to par with what I see here, though your abilities still shone through." He said, trotting over towards many of the dresses on the racks. All boutiques had to have prêt-à-porter designs in order to make a daily profit, but what he was really looking at was styling. That could be improved upon when it was being hand-stitched in true haute couture, but the base designs were always the jumping off points for someone's quality.

"I'm happy to hear you and Applejack are close. She mentioned a dress-maker friend of hers, though we were too busy 'bucking' apples and I couldn't catch the name, Miss Rarity." He said somewhat loudly due to the distance, and the fact he was now somewhat comically pawing through the dresses.

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"Ah, I remember designing that line. That was a lot of fun, though left me uneasy. It's hard for me not to have a hoof in every stage of the production, you see," Rarity said with a steady nod. "But when fine clothing stores in Manehatten have interest in selling my designs, I can hardly refuse..."

She laughed both at how the colt was going through her dressed and how he spoke of his cousin. She couldn't really picture this sort of colt out there bucking apples with Applejack and her family. He just seemed terribly out of place with that.

"Indeed. I owe a lot to your cousin. That pony has taught me many valuable lessons... and just generally been a good friend," Rarity said with a warm smile.

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He continued looking through the dresses, his head popping out from one as he gave her a smile.

"Well, that is true. When Manehattan calls, you better answer or else you may not get where you want to go. My mother and father always tell me that, but still, I find business to be so boring. But then again, they compute numbers and attend social functions to discuss the numbers they just put together, you make dresses. I very much prefer your way of going about it, honestly." He said before diving back down. The dresses were much larger than the small pony, though swimming through them was a lot more fun than apple bucking.

"Aha!" He squeaked before falling out of the pile. He straightened himself out before he walked up to Rarity.

"So, Miss Rarity, let's see if you can make me something." He said with a rather devilishly excited grin, tail sweeping up behind him.

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"I'd speak with a little more respect for what your parents do," Rarity said in a low voice. "This is a business too after all. Running the Boutique here is far more than just making the product. Selling, advertising, gathering supplies, receiving feedback, adjusting to feedback, attending events... there's really so much that goes into it beyond just making the dresses. If I didn't throw myself completely into every aspect of the business, I dare say I wouldn't have a fraction of the success I see now."

She smiled at the colt's request for an outfit. "I could certainly try. I don't design a lot of clothing for colts." She gave a short shake of her head. "No, actually I don't believe I've ever designed an outfit for a colt-- The closest I've done is probably a male baby dragon."

"But I'm not about to let that stop me. Tell me what you have in mind, and I'll see if inspiration hits!" she started in an excited voice.

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"It isn't that I don't respect business, Miss Rarity. I just find business details sooooooooooooooooooooooooo boring. You make your dresses, advertise them, and are connected to them. My parents don't farm oranges, they tell other ponies to do so. But I do understand your message, Miss Rarity." He said, dropping the point. He understood her view, but all his parents did was sit in meetings, count numbers, and tell other people how awesome they were. Important? yes, but it was dying due to lack of creative influence.

Then his mind raced to the real issue at hand. He gave it some thought as he touched his hoof to his chin. There were many choices in the world of fashion, so many excellent fabrics to choose from. Trailing his hand across the floor, eyes swift behind closed lids. Then he clapped his hooves together in excitement and started cantering about gaily.

"Ooooh, you know what would be quite fetching? Honey gold satin, in spring casual fashion, something like what Sapphire Shores wore at the red carpet recently." He said, strutting proudly as the mental image of himself in something so fine flowed forth from his mind, stopping just before Rarity.

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"A lot of it doesn't have anything to do with the dresses themselves though..." Rarity said with a short laugh. "I suppose, It's probably not something that can be fully appreciated until you do own your own business." She sighed, but kept smiling. Valen was still young. She could remember herself at that age. Her focus had been pretty singular. She hadn't known a fraction about all of went into running a successful dress shop, she had just wanted to make pretty dresses. She probably wasn't going to get anywhere by telling this colt he should respect what his parents do more either.

She'd instead just focus on the outfit the colt wanted. She could sort of picture something roughly matching his description that would look good on him. The inspiration was starting to hit her.

"I see..." Rarity started with an enthusiastic shake of her head. "Yes! I can see it now, darling. You would look just fabulous!"

She picked up some gold fabric and draped it over the colt's back, seeing how it looked against his coat. She nodded, it all starting to come together in her mind.

"I'll have to take your measurements to start with," she said with a steady nod. "Then I can begin sketching out the design. Then..." Rarity made the mistake to glance over at the stack of custom orders she already had stacked up on her workbench.

"When do you think you want it by?" she asked, steadily, hoping he gave her a reasonable amount of time.

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He closed his eyes in ecstacy, satin always doing the trick when he first felt it. It was such luxury and feel, a nice, smooth, almost weighless against him. That was one thing he loved about unicorns; they didn't need to actually get up and push something against you in order to get it on, meaning all you felt was the fabric in all of its glory. It made a sizable difference.

"I'll have to take your measurements to start with, then I can begin sketching out the design. Then..."

He nodded along until she trailed off, eyes opening and tracking hers for a moment as they pierced through the room towards her workbench, which was more than active, dresses-to-be stacked in an almost comical fashion.

"When do you think you want it by?"

He nodded along with the unspoken thought process.

"Well, you seem to have a lot of orders to complete and I am here in Ponyville for a while. I wouldn't want to bother you, Miss Rarity, so how about three days?" He asked politely, while slowly cantering towards her measuring pedestal. It was truth, he would hate to be a bother when the entire scenario was based on his casual stroll through her shop. He knew how frazzled these designers could be and how delicate their personalities were. No reason to be the cause of a nervous breakdown.

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Rarity, nodded. "That's more than manageable. I promise I'll have something just darling for you in three days time!" She started, giving several nods.

"Now then, for those measurements," started. Using her magic, she got a measure and started to use it to determine every piece of information she needed. She recorded it all for later, using a pen and paper. When done she nodded several more times.

"Excellent! I think this will be just fantastic. Perfectly suited to a young colt of such fine tastes as you," she said, already pleased with herself. There was no way the youth wouldn't be pleased.

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He allowed Rarity to take all the measurements she needed, somewhat used to it due to his time in boutiques such as this one in Manehattan. The biggest difference is he felt no feeling as if the designer was being rushed or looked at as just another customer. He never held it against them- after all, he was just another customer to them- but rarity had a much more personable approach. Her kind words and uplifting attitude certainly made the time fly by, and her confidence was infectious. After she was done with the measurements, he stepped off the pedestal and walked towards the door of the shop.

"I am sure that it will be fantastic, Miss Rarity. If you need longer or you need to order more fabric, I would be more than happy to pay for the materials. Thank you for your time, Miss Rarity." He said with a customary bow and left the shop, trotting about town gaily when he spotted a ball being tossed somewhere and instinctively chased it.

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"Oh, no, darling, I'm a professional. I'll have this done by the deadline and not a second later!" she said, smiling at the colt's cheery and polite attitude. "And do believe that the price will be more than fair!"

"I do look forward to seeing you again," she said as the boy thanked her and gave a little bow. She smiled brightly as the colt then left the shop.

With that, she turned to her workbench. She felt inspired. She might even be able to finish up a dress order or two by the time the next walk in customer stopped by.

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Hookline hoped the Boutique could fix his problem. The name sounded extremely fancy, and he wasn't sure if they could help with such a trivial matter. Well, trivial to most at least. He happened to be visiting Ponyville, wanting to meet some of the marine life. Technically there wasn't much, but rivers and lakes still have aquatic creatures swimming about. It was fun and Hookline got to study a few fish he had never seen before, but at the expense of his yellow vest. His beloved vest had pockets to hold the various bait he used when fishing, and now one of those pockets were torn; the pocket ripped earlier as Hookline swam by a jagged rock. Another vest could be purchased, but it wouldn't hold the same sentimental value as the one he was currently wearing.

The fisherpony walked into the Boutique, pausing for a moment as he stared at all the dresses. Was this place only for mares? Hookline hoped not, because this would be extremely embarrassing if it was. He spotted a mare in the shop, presumably at work. "Um, hello? I'm sorry if I'm interrupting, please take your time."

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Rarity looked up to see another customer wander into her shop. She studied him closely. He was an earth pony stallion who didn't look to have a very keen sense of fashion, wearing some strange black suit and yellow vest. He didn't look like her usual clientele. No. Not at all. Still, she wasn't going to turn away any potential business.

"Oh, nonsense, darling. Tending to my customers is the most important part of my job. There is nothing you could be interrupting," Rarity said with a shake of her head. She smiled at him and nodded. "Now then. What might I help you with today? Looking for a dazzling replacement for that drab vest you're wearing, perhaps?"

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Hookline gave a sigh of relief as the mare reassured him. She certainly seemed nice enough, especially since she was taking time away from whatever else she had been working on just moments ago. The word 'drab' kind of dampened his spirits, however, and forced him to look down at his own clothing with concern. Was there something wrong with it, aside from the pocket? "Even though these are just work clothes, I'd rather not replace it. My pocket ripped and I'm no good at fixing clothes." Hookline pointed to the pocket with his hoof, showing where the bottom of it had literally been torn off.

"I'm not sure how busy you are, but can you do anything about the pocket Miss...?" And this is why Hookline preferred to let others do the talking. Meeting someone so classy for the first time, and he hadn't even properly introduced himself or asked for her name. "I'm sorry, I should've introduced myself sooner. The name's Hookline."

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"A pleasure," Rarity said with a nod the customer. "And it's Rarity, darling. Ponyville's premier dressmaker!"

She stepped close to Hookline and looked closer at the vest. All he wanted was for a pocket to be fixed on this terribly ordinary thing? How mundane. It seemed quite beneath Rarity's skill and creativity. She'd have much rather taken that vest and studded it with some beautiful gemstones to make it really shine. She hated the thought or returning something to the customer that she herself didn't find aesthetically appealing.

That said, the customer was always right. Unlike when Twilight or one of her close friends came in with something just hideous, it wasn't her place to correct him. She didn't know this pony, so saying anything bad about his fashion sense would just be bad for the boutique's reputation.

"Oh... just a pocket...?" she said, trying to hide her lack of enthusiasm. "That's easy enough. I can have it fixed in just a moment. You needn't wait long at all."

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Premier dressmaker? Hookline thought about the title for a moment and look down at his vest again. It was a bit tattered, but replacing it was out of the question. It was still perfectly usable and served its purpose whenever he went out fishing. She didn't seem too keen on the trivial job he had assigned her, which was exactly what he was afraid of. Wasting time on fixing his pocket could probably be used to make some sort of magnificent design. Hookline frowned for a moment, thinking about what to do. If Rarity was going to fix the pocket, he figured he might as well put in an order more suited to her talents.

"I'm sorry, Rarity. I'm just a simple fisherpony, so these are my work clothes." Hookline felt a bit out of place as he said this, wishing he had more of a sense of style. After all, what use for fashion does a fisherpony need? Fashion...class... Then, it dawned on him and Hookline knew exactly what Rarity could do for him. "Actually...maybe there's something else you could help me with? I'm planning on visiting the royal palace soon, but I don't think going in a yellow vest and waterproof suit would be a good idea..."

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Rarity's ears perked up at the words "royal palace". Suddenly, her enthusiasm was restored. She smiled at the fisherpony.

"Is that so, darling?" she started with a nod, enthusiastically examining the stallion from various angles, already picturing him in a fine suit. "Well, for a royal visit, you'll certainly need to look your very best!"

"I deal mainly with mares, so I don't have an extensive number of stallion's suits for you to choose from," she said, stepping toward a small corner of the shop that did have some suits already on the rack. "But maybe one of these might catch your eye..."

"Failing that," She started with even more excitement. "It would be my upmost pleasure to design something custom, specially with you in mind. I dare say I could make even the Canterlot elite stare at you with envy as you stride into the palace." She gave a steady nod. "Of course that option will cost more, and it will require days to complete."

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Sweetie Belle was so excited. This was the perfect way to spend more time with Rarity! Her big sister had been talking about how busy she was, with sooooo many fashions, and she was happy about it, but with work being so difficult, Rarity wasn't able to spend as much time as she'd like with Sweetie Belle. Well, not to worry, Sweetie Belle had the answer! Rarity needed a shop assistant, and Sweetie Belle could be that assistant! Now to convince Rarity of that...

She'd slipped into a cute little vest, and had gotten a nice little notebook and yellow pencil to tuck into the pocket. She'd tied her mane back into a nice little ponytail, to look more professional, and she'd even borrowed an older pair of Rarity's glasses, though they were a bit big and kept slipping on her muzzle, and they made everything look funny.

She walked into the shop through the back door, and readied herself for the last bit... she took a deep breath, reached out her muzzle, and caaaaaarefully took a measuring tape from Rarity's supplies... she tensed up, waiting... but ... nothing happened! She brightened up happily and slung the measuring tape around her shoulders, then trotted merrily out into the main room.

There she was! And with a customer! With energy in her step, Sweetie Belle pranced across the room happily to come up next to Rarity, just barely stopping herself before she ran into her big sister. These glasses made it so hard to figure out where everything was! She wondered why a fashionista was supposed to wear them. She took a deep breath, stood up as straight as she could, and tried to look professional. "Oh, yes," she said primly. "There won't be a stallion there who wouldn't wish he was in your suit jacket!"

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Speaking of the Canterlot elite, though not necessarily sweet, a certain pony was making his way towards the Boutique, grumbling about what walking on common gravel pavements. "I swear, why those idiot guardsponies couldn't find a closer place to land I don't know! I may end up chipping a hoof, and then where will it all end!"

Prince Blueblood saw several ponies in passing, who nodded cheerfully to him, but made no attempt to show him any deference or due respect. But then what could you expect in this rustic backwater? It might even be possible that they didn't know who he was. Ah well, noblesse oblige, he would endure having to act as if he were a common pony, in order to accomplish his goal. The part of him he endlessly trampled into submission wanted to had in a different direction, where the Everfree beckoned, but he he did not deviate from his path.

This whole mess was Hoity Toity's fault really. he had required something extra special for the upcoming launch of the Lord Pooflehoof's new air-yacht, Belepheron. Of course, Blueblood had gone to the most exclusive fashion boutique in Canterlot. However, he'd been unable to find anything suitable. He'd even spent hours critiquing modifications and revisions to a bespoke suit, providing Hoity Toity with his valuable time and advice. He'd even delayed a grooming appointment, it was that critical.

However, Hoity Toity had finally decided he could not provide the perfect outfit. A dissapointment, but what could you expect? Some people whispered that he occasionally sold stallion-ware (say it quietly), off-the-rack! However, he knew of a designer out here in Ponyville of all places who he claimed might be able to service the noble stallion. At first Blueblood had not believed him, but then he'd been shown some of this Rarity's past work, mare-ware, but it showed a certain flair, and a lot of gems. In fact some of it seemed familiar, but then, Hoity Toity had said he sold a lot of them to the elite of Canterlot, so he'dprobably seen it at some function or other.

So here he was, looking up at a shop that looked more like a layer cake crossed with a merry-go-round. Some-pony had gotten loose with a fret--saw and done terrible damage before they'd been contained. There seemed to be no vestibule, no waiting room, no secretary. No need to make an appointment. How... informal. Just walk in off the street. Well, at least it _was_ off the street. He gingerly opened the door and went inside. There were ponyquins, a main floor that clearly doubled as a workshop, rather infra-dig, and a unicorn mare with a younger one assisting her, showing some-pony a rack of stalion-wa.... wa... wa... wait a minute!

That Unicorn mare, the one with the purple hair, it was her! The crazy cake spraying filly from the Gala! The lunatic who'd fought him every step of the way as he'd tried patiently to demonstrate the correct way to escort somerone of his status, then verbally assaulted him, before messing up his perfect appearance with common cake. She was friends with that other one with the accent and the apple fixation and the pink one...! He started to glance around panicked, double checking every nook and cranny for ninja ponies with croissant shuriken, or a gateaux gun covering the entance, or even a deadfall of doughnuts dusted with demerera... even if he survived, think of all that sugar in his hair, think of his diet!

He started to back up, wanting to avoid catching her eye, or getting his pelt pelted with any more catapulted confections, but the door had closed behind him and he thumped into it with his rump, making a noise loud enough to attract any-ponies attention. Schooling his features from a terrified grimace to his usual 'nobler than thou' mask, he stood tall and awaited his fate.

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