The Equestrian Eating Emporium

by Zealous Shift

White Form and Black Horizons

Rarity slowly strolled through the darkened halls, humming lowly to herself. Light from her horn danced along the dimmed streamers and through the empty corridors. During daylight hours it was so crowded in the Emporium she could barely even move around, so it was quite the calming experience to know that she had the whole Emporium to herself at night. Granted, the scenery would become rather drab after walking through the halls so many times, the lack of natural lighting being quite bothersome as well, but she made do. She never quite understood why they were not allowed to go outside - from what the children described to her, the human world was so big. So many foods to eat, places to explore, things to learn. Rarity briefly considered that Twilight’s quest to experience such things was what got her injured in the first place, instigating the ban.

Continuing onwards she waved hello to Applejack, who in turn waved back from the end of the hall. The two of them had a habit of running into each other at night, spawned from their near obsessive need to pace through the area. While Rarity did long for the privacy that the darkness would give her, she always felt better knowing the Applejack was somewhere close by. Around the Emporium, things had a habit of going bump in the night.

Noticing yet another camera, Rarity immediately turned back around. The nerve of some ponies… people… thinking that they could just pop in and get a sneak peek at them whenever they wanted. Locking the doors and dimming the lights was never enough, they had to keep a security detail breathing down their necks every other minute. While she was a great lover of attention, a self-admitted flaw, Rarity was never comfortable with the idea of being watched without warning, especially so if she was asleep.

Trying to dismiss such thoughts Rarity began to walk towards the Arts and Crafts Boutique. Thinking about the security put in place to monitor them had always set off her temper, as unladylike as it was. The guards, when she spoke to them, seemed nice enough, but she knew first hoof that they didn’t always stay that way.

Entering her personal room, The Boutique, Rarity felt a sense of serenity overcoming her. Although she didn’t get as much attention as Pinkie Pie or Rainbow Dash, there were always groups of children coming to visit her. So long as they were happy, so was she.

Paintings, drawings and posters adorned the room like room like wallpaper, while stains of glitter and glue were stuck into the carpet. Ironically enough, the majority of the messes weren’t even made by the children. Human mothers were quite uptight about messes, as she had come to observe, and had often helped her clean up when the children ran off to eat. The majority of stains, glitter-ridden carpets and permanent marker drawings were from the Cutie Mark Crusaders playing with whatever was left.

Shaking her head, Rarity adopted a small smile at the thought of the three rambunctious fillies. If it wasn’t running around the playpen and ball pit, it was working on another ‘art’ project. She briefly wondered if they were resting in the basement or if they had tried sneaking out through the air ducts again. Hopefully Spike would keep them in line long enough for her to walk back to the basement and check up on them. Funny how the one place they should have put a camera was the one where a camera was absent.

As though mere thought was cause for summons, Rarity became distracted by an all too familiar beeping sound. The Boutique Camera had sprung to life, staring intently at her. Temper boiling, the thought of smashing the infernal device had crept into her mind. Out of all the rooms to place such a thing, why hers? The windows were hardly big enough to fit a child in through, let alone a full sized human. All of the entrances were linked to the main hallways, so it wasn’t as though it were a safety concern. What moronic reason could there have possibly been to put a camera in her room if not to spite her?

Slowly pacing towards the camera, she smirked as it strained to look down. Almost standing right under it she threw a glue-soaked towel over the lens, covering it completely. Rarity almost thought the sound of the beeping as frantic, if such an emotion could be expressed through a camera, as it shook from side to side and up and down. Perhaps her sister’s shenanigans weren’t as bad as she had first thought if they could get a towel stuck on the cameras. While she would have taken immensely greater pleasure in smashing it, a small part of her still remembered that the devices, regardless of how annoying, cost a good deal of money to Mr. Trotter.

Her anger slowly cooling down, Rarity moved off to the side of the room to look at some more of the pictures. Although not expertly drawn, she considered each one to be beautiful in their own regard. The emotion put into them had always helped her deal with the relatively confined spaces of the Emporium. Even if she couldn’t leave, Rarity knew that the children cared for her and her friends very much. Turning around to the sound of hoofsteps, she was surprised to see the face of her particularly reclusive friend.

“Twilight, darling, whatever are you doing up at such an hour?”

“I thought it was time for me to get moving again,” Twilight Sparkle returned sheepishly, “I’ve been cooped up in there for far too long.”

“Indeed you have,” Rarity nodded, moving closer to her friend, “but if you’re still not comfortable out here, we’ll all understand if you want another day to yourself.”

“No, no,” Twilight shook her head, “I’m alright. I’m more than ready to get to work again. Anyways,” she shuffled slightly, trying quite hard to transfer into a different topic, “is there anything new going on in the Emporium?”

“Well, we have a new ‘guard’ working with us.”

“Another? How many times are they going to replace that one position?”

“We’ve gone through four since your… incident… I have no idea why they keep hiring them. I haven’t even seen the last three, but supposedly new ones just keep popping up. The newer ones are even worse at their jobs than the last ones…”

Twilight nodded in agreement. Although human children were always a pleasure to have around, their adults were particularly bothersome at the most inopportune times. The guards that worked at the Emporium were known amongst the staff as being notoriously lazy. While their failures allowed them to move about more freely, their incompetence left most of the work, and blame, towards Rarity, Twilight and Applejack. If anything, they were more in control and responsible than any guard.

“I know how annoying they can be,” Twilight replied, draping a wing over her angered friend, “The camera in the Library has been going on and off for the past two hours.”

“-How rude!-“

“But I wouldn’t be too concerned about them. If you’d like, I could go and talk to the new one later.”

“I’d appreciate that greatly, Twilight.”

“Alright, I’d really love to chat, but there are a couple things that I need to do before the Emporium opens and I really should be getting to them. Repairs to make, things to do, the usual.”

“I’ll be sure to check up on you then,” Rarity chuckled as Twilight moved back towards the door, “I wouldn’t want you to run yourself ragged again.”

As the two said their final goodbyes to each other, Rarity was left alone in the darkness. The small light from her horn, still partially illuminating the room, flickered as she turned back towards the camera. A beaming grin wormed its way onto her face as an idea sprang to life inside her mind.