// Story: A Knight's Tale
// Chapter: Chapter 5
// Author: lionel23
"Remind me again why we art here?" Prince Knight Light sounded uneasy and wary as he stepped into the lobby as the sound of a bell chiming marked his entrance.
"I really don't think this place is for me…" Angel Song's voice trailed the Prince's as she followed shortly in afterwards, her tone colored with befuddlement at definitely feeling out of her element.
"Because," Rarity began to explain again, "For important occasions like this, one has to look their best!"
"Yes, but I think I'm fine the way—" Angel Song began but found her words cut off abruptly.
"Wh-h-h-what?! No, no, no my dear! Simply no! You, of all ponies, need this way more than I do!" Rarity nudged Angel Song with a well-placed rump push, forcing her through the doorway.
"Is that… meant to be a backhanded compliment?" Angel Song narrowed her stern eyes at the fashionista and tried to ground her hooves into the floor but to no avail.
"Milady, I think what she means is that thou could look even better—" Prince Knight Light began to comment.
"Did you say something, Prince Knight Light?" Angel Song's stern gaze turned to stare down the princely pony at his poor choice of words.
Catching just a glimpse of the stare, he gave her a wide grin that stretched from ear to ear.
"My dear, calm your pretty little head. You both definitely need the full treatment. My treat!"
"But Lady Rarity, I couldn't possibly expect thou to pay—" Prince Knight Light said but at this point had expected himself to be interrupted yet again.
"Nonsense! My reward would be to merely see you both all gussied up!" Rarity cut off the Prince, and he began to suspect that nopony seemed to remember his status or station here, "Hello, anypony here?"
Two ponies zipped quickly across the floor and seemed to 'slide' to a halt, leaning to one side as if listening with bated breath for Rarity's next words. They each wore a white headband just above their foreheads and each sported colors that were inverted when compared with each other. While both ponies seemed the same – vivacious blue eyes adorned each of them – one bore a light blue coat and sparkling pink hair while her other twin exhibited the exact opposite.
"Ah, there you two are! The 'usual' please!" Rarity announced briefly and stood back on her hind legs to 'clop' her hooves together.
"Usual? Ah, wait! Rarity-y-y-y!" Angel Song protested as Aloe zipped quickly behind her and pushed her way into the heart of the spa.
"I think I'll just wait outside—" Prince Knight Light tried to say, but the pink spa pony shook her head and tapped his nose with her hoof.
"Simply not, Sir," Lotus said and gave his coat a good once-over before continuing, "A pony of your stature and standing simply cannot be left to be! Come, come!"
Prince Knight Light was mildly surprised as Lotus quickly got around behind him and pushed him shortly on the hooves of her other twin.
Rarity giggled and felt like a school filly once again. She always loved dressing up and making her friends look pretty, and it would be a crime against fashion if she let these two escape her grip now. Angel Song and Knight Light both shared the same perplexed looks as their eyes scanned their unfamiliar setting as they were pushed quickly through the building to receive… the 'treatment'.
* * *
"My, my!" Aloe looked at the Prince and shook her head disapprovingly, "This simply cannot do! Your coat is a mess!"
"Well, I have been traveling for a long time… baths art not exactly my highest priority-"
And like clock-work, he made a face as he was soon interrupted again – for the umpteenth time today. Were the ponies of Ponyville always so… unaware of their own impudent manners?
"We'll need to send you straight to the baths!" Aloe said as her sister Lotus nodded from the order, "Miss Rarity, Miss Angel Song; will you two please follow me?"
Lotus took the struggling Prince away and down the hall, with the only sound following after him being the slam of the door. And before Angel Song knew it herself, she was rushed quickly into a fluffy, cotton robe and gently set upon a massage table alongside Rarity. Pillows were pushed underneath both of their fore legs while a strong, large white pony sporting a golden mane began to rapidly pound away at Rarity's back.
"You know I've never done this before…" Angel Song stated slowly as Aloe stood up on her hind legs and began to gently knead her back.
A shiver ran down Angel Song's back and she let out a sigh as she seemed to melt to the spa pony's touch.
"Miss Angel, you are delicate but so tense! This simply cannot be!" Aloe remarked in astonishment, having read the white unicorn's mind and knowing exactly how to treat the sensitive unicorn, much like a certain shy Pegasus that frequents the spa just as Miss Rarity does.
Angel Song couldn't help but remain silent as she started to get the 'hang' of this whole spa thing and the massaging continued.
"We'll need to set you up with some appointments, at least weekly would be best for you," Aloe said as she was trying to up sale herself.
"Mmhmm," Angel Song agreed absentmindedly and closed her eyes to enjoy herself.
As the day wore on, they both did Rarity's 'usual': a relaxing mud bath followed by a facial, then a pony-pedicure, and finally a nice and hot sauna. Rarity lay across from Angel Song as they both wore the spa's signature cotton robes while Aloe poured a large ladle of water over the hot stones in the wooden-walled room.
"Angel, Angel; my dear, sweet Angel," Rarity said as she scooted up alongside Angel Song and spoke in a hushed whisper, "Aren't you glad that you came here now? We ladies simply MUST look fabulous for those knights we are entertaining! It is our responsibility… no, our duty to look our best for them! As responsible, well-meaning ladies, of course."
"Of course…" Angel Song reluctantly agreed with her hostess as the steam felt so refreshing against her coat, "Though this is a lot of fuss when we have better things to—"
"You can cut the act now, darling. He isn't here," Rarity said coolly as eyes narrowed on the Canterlot unicorn.
"Act?" Angel Song reacted incredulous to the remark.
"Angel, one doesn't stay in the business of show business without learning a thing or two on being a good actor. And oh you are so good. But frankly, my dear, you needn't keep up the act when nopony else is here."
"I really don't know what you are talking about," Angel Song unconsciously relaxed away from Rarity and against the wall, taking a deep breath as she tried to resume enjoying the sauna experience.
"Oh, then I guess you wouldn't mind if I swept that Prince off his royal hooves then?" Rarity said in an aside.
"Now just you wait!" Angel Song sprung up on all fours, glowering at Rarity.
"Is that jealousy I sense, hmm?" Rarity gave her a smart-alecky face at the outburst Angel just made.
"That is…" Angel Song bit her tongue and sank back down into her previous position, "What I meant to say was, the Prince is on official business and as a faithful and loyal servant to Princess Luna, it is my responsibility – and mine alone – to make sure he arrives in Canterlot so the Princess can hear his petition, that is all."
"Really?" Rarity didn't quite believe her, her acting skills might have fooled Twilight or her other friends, but nopony who was anypony could slip one thing by her.
"So you don't care at all for dressing up and getting pretty for him, hm? That was one of the reasons why I invited you, because I thought it would do you some good. But if you really don't see the fuss in all this, the door is right there, my dear."
Angel Song frowned and paused, looking towards the door.
"Or is it maybe you just are smitten with the first handsome pony, hm? Would you feel this way if you happened upon another gorgeous stallion?"
"No! I'm not like that," Angel Song protested and crossed her legs in front of herself.
"Just be honest with yourself Angel, my dear," Rarity continued in a motherly type of tone, "Don't worry, nothing you say will leave this room, I promise. But if you feel this really is all but a chore, I don't mean to impose and I am certainly not going to compel you to stay. The door is right there if you wish to leave. But the Prince, he's a stallion, and stallions need to be… ah, told in the kindest, gentlest terms what is in their best interests. Don't you think so, darling?"
A long silence followed as Angel Song looked over the fashionista pony. Looking at the unicorn with the wavy purple mane; she couldn't help but feel that for once she was grateful to the unicorn for arranging this whole… experience.
"The usual, then…?" she finally conceded, smiling weakly as she tried to mimic Rarity's upper society delivery.
Rarity giggled and mentally was bouncing on all four hooves while she squealed with delight.
"Now that's a good sport! Let's get fabulous!" Rarity declared.
More time passed for the two unicorns, though due to her low tolerance and delicate stamina – being that it was her first time – Angel Song was the first to leave the sauna. She stepped out the door, leaving Rarity with Aloe to continue to soak up and enjoy the steam bath.
"Phew, I don't know how that unicorn does it—" Angel began to say to herself except she soon found herself faceplanting into a black body.
She tumbled to the floor with her towel landing over her head, sputtering from surprise and trying to focus her spinning, dazed eyes. She pulled off the towel to see what had become of the pony she had bumped into. What she experienced next was unexpected, as she could feel her chest tightening up the more she looked at him.
A dashing stallion sat cross-legged and dizzy before her. His coat was nicely combed and smooth and a bit wavy, with white socks to match his strong legs. The end of his nose was as white as snow while in the middle of his forehead and between his eyes was a white diamond. His oil-slick mane and tail cascaded in deep, dark straight strands over his body.
"Oh, excuse me, Sir!" Angel Song realized her position after a momentarily lapse in awareness and rose to her hooves, offering an outstretched hoof to the fallen stallion.
"That… is quite… all right," the stallion seemed to blush and acted really shyly.
He took her hoof regardless, his face looking away from her as he rose.
"Do you… come here often?" she giggled and teased him, fluttering her eyelashes like one of the spa ponies she had observed doing quite often in the company of Miss Rarity when they addressed her for her 'usual'.
"Not really… Oh… umm… I really got to…go…" the black stallion stuttered as he looked bashfully down at the ground and tried to sneak by Angel Song while hugging the wall.
"Oh there you are! Trying to run off now, are we? Back you go!" Lotus called from down the end of the hallway and was in mere seconds after saying that right on the flanks of the black stallion.
She gently grabbed the stallion by the shoulders, turned him around, and began marching him back from the direction he came.
"Excuse us, Miss Angel. This big, bashful boy is a lot more passive than he looks, so don't mind him," the blue spa pony winked and had already whisked away that handsome horse.
Angel Song was left standing awe-struck in the hallway alone as she started to take deep breaths to calm herself. Why was she getting flustered over males all of a sudden? Was what Rarity said right? Did she only care about any hunky or handsome pony that crossed her path? She started to feel dejected and let her towel fall from her head to the floor.
"First the Prince, and now that hot stallion?" she said to herself and paused, blinking in surprise, "Did I just use the word… hot?"
The unicorn's face grew flushed and she seemed to shrink into herself, rubbing her hooves nervously and shyly together now that she was alone in the hallway – at least that is what she thought.
"Hot you say, darling?" Rarity spoke as she stepped out of the sauna as the spa pony behind her parted ways with her, "I guess for your complexion, it might have been a little much for you."
Angel Song blinked her eyes in confusion for a moment, before realizing what Rarity was talking about.
"Oh, yes! I just needed to get a little cool air, that's all," she chuckled nervously and straightened herself out, pretending to fan herself with her hoof.
"Come along, Miss Angel!" the spa pony called out from them in the opposite direction that her twin had taken the black stallion.
"Go ahead, my dear. I'll catch up," Rarity told the unicorn, "I'm just going to go see how our Prince is holding up. Now run along, dear."
The snow-white unicorn nodded and trotted slowly after Aloe the Spa Pony. Once she was out of sight, Rarity began walking down the hall where Lotus should be: entertaining the Prince.
"Tis quite all right, I don't need a brushing again! Please?" half-shouted a voice from the door at the end of the hall.
Rarity chuckled to herself and pushed the door wide-open with a single hoof. As she entered the room, she saw a very handsome but fretting princely pony quickly slipping his helmet on over his caparison coat. Lotus, the other of the Spa ponies, was behind him and brushing his magnificent tail.
His sterling black coat was cleaned and neatly combed, as well as his grand tail. His hooves seemed to shine keenly from a good polishing and his attire looked as if it had received a thorough cleaning and washing.
"Thou really don't have–"
"Hush, your tail is simply luxurious!" Lotus spoke with her familiar accent and hushed the stallion.
"My, my, my; somepony looks magnificent if I dare say," Rarity quipped as she made her presence known to the two occupants in the room.
"Lady Rarity," Prince Knight Light looked over and smiled in partial relief, "Is this trial almost over yet? Nothing in my knightly training has prepared me for… well, this!"
Rarity approached him and looked behind him to give Lotus a nod. She stopped brushing his tail and Rarity began to circle the Prince like a hungry shark in the ocean, eyeing every facet and angle of the handsome stallion.
"Shush," Rarity politely barked back at him, silencing him as if she were a dominatrix.
She was in the zone, her eyes looking for any perceivable flaw or out-of-place detail that could ruin his image. He was being groomed by her best ponies, and he had to look the part. Oh yes, he had to look good for the part he was to play in her magnificent plan. But that was another reason why she loved doing business at the Ponyville Spa – the ponies that ran it had never once let her down or allowed her to leave the establishment with any blemish or impurity. This time –Rarity noted – they had done it again! This time with the Prince.
"Yes, yes… you look dashing. Perfect, just as I envisioned!" Rarity gave her approval, much to Lotus's delight, "And yes, Prince Knight Light. The 'ordeal' is finally over."
"Thank goodness!" the Prince sighed in relief but then began looking around, "Is Lady Angel Song not with thou?"
"We ladies are not yet done. Why don't you head back and kill some time with Twilight? She had mentioned there might be a book that would interest you until we ladies get back. So go run along now, dear, and be a good little stallion, will you?"
"Of course… I shall catch thou at Twilight's humble home then," Prince Knight Light nodded his thanks and bid the two ponies farewell, leaving Rarity alone with Lotus.
"Now then," she motioned for Lotus into the hallway, "We have less than half a day to create a masterpiece with our last unicorn. Let's get to business then!"
"Of course, Miss Rarity!" Lotus gave her best smile to her favorite customer.