Rarity sat in front of the 'What If' machine, eyes sparkling in anticipation. There where so many questions, but which one to ask?
“Would you hurry up already?” Rainbow Dash's annoyed voice broke her from her reverie.
“Don't rush me! I have to come up with the perfect question.”
“Oh please, we all know you're gonna ask it something about fashion or-”
“That's it!” Rarity cut her off. Stepping up to the phonograph horn she said, “As a fashion designer whose clientele spend most of their time naked, I have to wonder: What if ponies wore clothing all the time?”
“Lame.” Rainbow said in a stage whisper to Pinkie Pie. Rarity chose to ignore this comment, instead turning to view the flickering projection screen as the machine whirred to life.
It was a lovely spring day, and Rarity was preparing herself to go on a picnic with her friends. Today she decided to wear her newest design: a silken ballgown of sky blue, trimmed with indigo lace. She was quite the sight (as usual), and was sure to receive not only compliments but new customers as well. With one last look in the mirror she picked up the basket containing her share of the picnic goods and left the boutique.
Her friends planned to meet at the fountain in town square before walking to the park together, as usual she was (fashionably) early. The next to show up were Rainbow Dash and Applejack, the one floating above the other. Dash snickered and AJ let out a wolf whistle before saying, “Shoot Rare, Ah didn't know this here picnic was a formal occasion.”
Rarity lifted her head in haughty mock-insult. “A lady doesn't need an excuse to dress her best, something you have never attempted I'm sure.”
The unicorn looked at her farmer friends attire: a pair of well-aged denim jeans and a red flannel shirt. Rainbow Dash's outfit was even less impressive: a pair of sweatpants and a white 'husband beater' shirt. Frankly she looked like she had just gotten out of bed and decided not to change, as Rarity thought about this, it seemed it was likely the case. It wasn't long until the rest of her friends showed up. Pinkie was wearing... pink. It was also frilly, but mostly it was pink. Fluttershy was in a yellow turtleneck sweater that was a size to big for her. She was managing to do a very convincing impression of the sweaters namesake, retreating into the collar whenever a stranger walked by. Twilight wore a plain white button down shirt, neatly tucked into a pair of practical black slacks. The ensemble could be summed up in two words: business casual.
After exchanging greetings and checking to make sure they had everything, they prepared to leave for the park. Before they could get moving though, Twilight turned, “You look beautiful today Rarity, but wouldn't you rather change into something more comfortable? We're only going to the park.”
“Nonsense darling, you know comfort is a priority in each of my designs.” The fashionista answered confidently, moving ahead of the group.
“Are you sure? Were going to be sitting on a picnic blanket, I don't want your gown getting dirty.”
Twilight seemed almost insistent, she was also giving her an odd look. Rarity chose to ignore these peculiarities, simply answering, “Quite sure. If I hadn't wanted to wear this today, I wouldn't have put it on this morning.” And with that they were off.
The picnic was enjoyable, as usual. They ate a simple but delicious lunch, talked about the latest gossip, or just sat and joked as good friends do. It wasn't until a lull in the conversation that Rarity noticed something odd: ponies were staring at her. She was used to attracting attention of course, she was often considered one of (if not the) most beautiful mares in Ponyville. But the attention was different today, it wasn't admiring glances, but stares of bafflement. She even caught her friends taking quick looks at her like she was doing something strange. Finally she couldn't take it any more and confronted the other mares.
“Why are you looking at me like that!” She demanded without warning.
The others were surprised by this outburst, finally Twilight said, “Like what Rarity?”
She tried to sound innocent, but the purple scholar's flattened ears and slight blush gave her away. Rarity turned to the rest of her friends who each wore a guilty expression, except for Fluttershy who was trying to burrow deeper into her mock-turtleshell.
“Why have you all been looking at me like I'm crazy?” She asked again.
After a quick glance at the others Twilight spoke again, “Well, it's because you're wearing that dress.”
“What's wrong with my dress?”
“It's not the dress itself, it's the fact that you're wearing it. I could understand wearing it to the Gala, or other high class events, but we're on a picnic for crying out loud!”
“But this is the type of thing I always wear!” Another round of confused stares. This was to much for Rarity, she got up and started passing back and forth across the blanket. Finally she turned away from her friends and said, “I don't understand why you're acting like this! I'm a designer, I produce only the finest goods, I never dress in anything less than fabulous!”
At that moment a strong gust of wind raced over the field, blowing the ponies manes. It also blew up Rarity's dress. She heard five gasps behind her and when she turned around she saw wide eyes, open mouths, red cheeks, and flared wings. “What?” She questioned.
Rainbow Dash was the first to recover, falling onto her back laughing. Fluttershy quickly ran to Rarity's side, embarrassment for her friend outweighing her own, “Oh Rarity, you poor thing! Don't worry, nopony else was in the park so no one else saw.”
“What in the world are you talking about? And why are Dash and Pinkie laughing?”
“Oh, uh, well, uh... eep,” Fluttershy struggled with the answer, but fortunately Dash finished for her.
“You're not wearing any underwear!” The rainbowed pegasus exclaimed collapsing into another fit of giggles.
“Underwear?” The unicorn said groggily. Suddenly she wasn't feeling to well. No, she felt fine, it was the world that didn't feel right. The mare swayed a little bit and had a lost expression on her face.
“Rainbow, Pinkie, stop that right now!” Twilight Sparkle put on her 'alpha mare' voice, and the offending ponies sat up looking guilty. “Good, now it's obvious to me that Rarity isn't feeling to well right now, she may be sick. I'm gonna walk her home, while the rest of you clean up.”
Without another word the purple unicorn led her friend back to town, steadying her with a shoulder. Applejack turned towards her pink and blue friends with a hard gaze, “Ya'll should know better 'n that, laughin' at a friends misfortune.”
“We're sorry.” the scolded ponies said in unison.
After a few moments of silence Dash raised her head and said with a grin, “It was funny though, wasn't it?”
AJ's scowl turned into a matching grin, “Buck yeah!”
Back at the boutique Rarity felt exhausted. What a strange day it had been. Twilight was still with her, saying something about overworking or some-such. She did hear the word 'relax' and decided to do just that.
“Thank you so much for your help Twilight dear. I think I will try to make myself a bit more comfortable.” That said, she lit up her horn and magicked off her dress, neatly folding it and placing it on a sewing table. Turning back to her friend she found the other mare once again in a state of blush. “Twilight darling, what's the matter?”
Realizing she had been staring, the scholar closed her eyes and turned her head. “Geez Rarity, I know were both mares and all, but don't you think this is a little inappropriate?”
Rarity's only response was a blank stare (Twilight knew this because she peeked).
“You know. Being naked.” The purple pony hinted.
“Oh. Yes. Right, right.” Rarity answered in that strange, far-away voice she'd adopted today.
The designer forgot about her embarrassed friend for the moment, instead taking a look around her boutique for the first time that day. Something seemed strange about it. There were racks and racks of clothing that just didn't seem to belong. T-shirts and skinny jeans, rows of tacky saddles and sweatshirts. They had always been there, but it just felt wrong. And then she saw it. An entire case dedicated to them. Rows upon rows of socks. Bitter hatred turned to helpless nausea as she glared at the evil little hoof covers. This couldn't be, it wasn't right, there shouldn't be socks! The world around her turned dark as she swooned and fainted.
Her head hurt. Her head hurt, and she felt sick, and her dreams had been full of socks. Rarity opened her eyes and found that she was in bed. Someone had put her into her bathrobe, and the covers were pulled up all the way to her neck. She looked around and noticed her friends. She didn't notice the worried looks they held, nor the relief that washed over them when she stirred. She only saw their casual clothing.
“Oh, thank goodness you're awake!”
“Ya had us worried there sugar cube.”
“Sorry for laughing earlier, guess you really are sick.”
“Is it still a no for my underpants party idea?”
“After you passed out I brought you upstairs and put you in bed, then I sent a message for the girls to come straight over.”
“No.” Growled Rarity.
“What was that sugar cube?”
“It's okay Rarity, everything will be fine.”
“NO MORE!” Rarity jumped out of bed and tossed off her robe.
“No more sweatpants!” She grabbed Rainbow Dash in her magic and tore off her clothes.
“No more jeans!” Her blue glow surrounded a struggling Applejack, but the farm pony's work clothes were no match for the unicorn's fashion-magic.
“No more frumpy sweaters!” She lifted up Fluttershy and shook her from her woolen fortress.
“I like where this is going!” Pinkie Pie said, wriggling out of her own clothes.
Lastly, looking at Twilight she screamed, “No more business casual!” Her magic lit the room, and all that could be heard was the sound of shirt buttons hitting the walls.
“And ABSOLUTELY NO MORE SO...”
The door to her bedroom slammed open and standing there was a regal alicorn with dark coat and starry mane. She wore a beautiful gown of midnight blue, and a round silver brooch clasped at her neck. The only thing that was out of place were the pink and green stripped socks on each hoof. Rearing up the Moon Princess said, “Behold Ponyville friends! I hath discovered these most wonderful cloth tubes which fit upon the hoof!”
For the first time since entering, Princess Luna looked at the scene before her. Slowly she returned to all fours, wings stiff at her sides. For a minute she just stared, then cautiously she backed out of the room, closing the door with her magic. Luna did not relax until she was outside of the boutique, only then did she say to herself, “It would appear that all the rumors are true then.” She paused for a moment then mused, “It seems I owe Celly 50 bits.”
The machine clicked then went quiet. The embarrassment in the room was so intense that even the awkward silence had to get up and leave. The ponies couldn't quite understand their feelings, they saw each other naked every day, it was completely normal. But somehow, seeing their clothes get torn off on the projection screen made their nudity seem, naughty.
Rarity was the first to recover, “Well, that was certainly... interesting.”
“I'll say!” Chimed in Pinkie Pie.
“There are rumors about us?” Whispered Fluttershy.
“So Ah take it yer not gonna start carrying casual wear at yer shop?” Applejack jibed good-naturedly.
“Not on your life darling.” Rarity smiled, calming down after seeing her on-screen meltdown.
“Why are ponies spreading rumors about us?”
“So what's the deal with you and socks anyway?” Dash asked.
Rarity squeezed her eyes shut and shuttered, “I don't want to talk about it.”
“What kind of rumors are they saying?”