An Interesting Arrival

by Moongaze14

The Iron Pony

The Iron Pony

“Shucks, Rainbow!” Applejack swore in annoyance. “Ah can get you bein’ competitive, but havin’ an Iron Pony Competition just to see who gets to sleep on a cloud is kind of over the top, don’t ya think?”

“He’s the one who suggested it!” Rainbow Dash snapped defensively. “Besides, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a competition. No offense, Applejack, but I am hungry for new challengers.”

Statice watched the argument with amusement. Despite their raised volumes, the friendship between Applejack and Rainbow Dash was clearly evident. The farm mare had presented herself with a firm hoof shake. Statice rubbed at his throbbing hoof as he still kept looking at the farm pony. For a mare that had the strongest hind hooves in Equestria, her front hooves were still monstrously strong in comparison to the average pony.

“The competition is goin’ to begin in ten minutes, Aster,” Applejack trotted casually at Statice. “Big Macintosh and Ah are gonna do the preparations for the events. In the meantime, Ah suggest that you get to meet Pinkie Pie. She’s gonna be the commentator for the games.”

“Pinkie Pie?” Statice asked nervously. To Applejack, it was more of confusion for her yet to be introduced friend. For Statice, it was him being uncomfortable with the pink mare. There was something about that girl that told him that she was not a pony to be underestimated.

Oh, I"m gonna be meeting that mare more than enough times today. I'm sure of that.

“She is a pink earth pony with a puffy mane and tail that likes to smile and laugh all time,” Applejack shrugged her shoulders as she gave a simple description of one of her best friends to her new acquaintance. “She may act a little odd, but she’s fun to have around ya. Give her a try and you’ll end up likin’ her.”

I just hope so.

Statice frowned. To be honest, he found the pink mare to be creepy thanks to her ability to defy reality. He shuddered to think what would have happened if she were serious and had real intent to hurt him rather than being friends with him.

“Hi there!” Pinkie’s bubbly voice took Statice by surprise as he turned around and found Pinkie Pie grinning at him.

That was faster than I anticipated. Better try to play it natural.

“Pinkie Pie…?” Statice found himself asking the pink mare her name.

“That’s me,” Pinkie Pie jumped happily, making her trademark springing noise every time she hopped. “You must be Aster. Are you new in Ponyville? Because I know everypony in Ponyville and I never saw you here before, so that means that you must be new to this place. I can’t wait to throw you a party and introduce you to all of my best friends…”

Hope that's not the case. Too bad it won't stop you.

“Yes,” Statice responded quickly to prevent Pinkie from speaking even more. “I am new in Ponyville. I’m just here on a little visit, and then I have to come back home.”

“Aw,” Pinkie Pie seemed mildly depressed, only to perk back up after a few seconds. “Well, I better make up for your short stay here with a memorable welcome party. I gotta start thinking which ponies you should meet right away.”

“I’ll be happy to meet new ponies,” Statice replied, taking a few steps away from the mare. His attempts were unnoticed by Pinkie Pie, who cut the distance between them and gave him a hug.

“I knew that you and I were going to become friends, Aster!” she said happily as she squeezed him with all of her strength.

In spite of the constricting hug, Statice felt his face blush at the display of affection. Even after Pinkie Pie broke the embrace and bounced away, he still felt that flush on his cheeks. He decided to focus on the games now, which was an easy feat once Pinkie decided to make the announcement with a microphone.

“Attention, everypony!” Pinkie Pie announced over the microphone. “It is my pleasure to announce the return of the Iron Pony Competition, featuring another appearance of our previous champion, Rainbow Dash!”

Many ponies stomped their hooves at the mention of Rainbow Dash, particularly her best friends and Scootaloo, who had a flag with a poorly drawn, but still distinguishable image of Rainbow Dash.

“And on the other side, we got the new pony of Ponyville that is challenging our current champion!” Pinkie Pie announced dramatically. “Let’s give a welcome to our town to the challenger, Aster!”

To Statice’s surprise, the crowd was cheering at him the same way that they cheered for Rainbow Dash. Even Scootaloo was giving him the same praise despite the fact that he was competing against the pony that she idolized and looked up to as a sister. In his stunned silence, he raised a hoof and timidly waved it at the audience. He got another round of cheering stomps in response.

What's with this reception? I haven't been part of this town for so long and yet I'm getting as much praise as one of the local heroes? How does that make sense?

“We will begin with the barrel running!” Pinkie Pie announced as some ponies placed barrels in front of Rainbow Dash and Statice. Both ponies stared at their improvised obstacles before Rainbow Dash took the lead.

“Watch how a pro does it, novice,” Rainbow Dash boasted playfully before she ran on the course. Statice was amazed at the speed on which she ran. Even when on hoof, she was still fast enough to leave a rainbow trail behind her. What made it better was that she maintained enough speed despite maneuvering across the barrels.

“Seventeen seconds!” Spike announced as Rainbow Dash crossed the finish line.

“I broke a new record!” Rainbow Dash performed a backflip. “Last time I got eighteen seconds!”

“It’s your turn now, Aster,” the baby dragon patted him on the shoulder.

Statice smiled at the baby dragon and rubbed his head affectionately. “Thanks, kid,” he told him nicely. “I’ll do my best.”

He jumped on his hooves and stretched his legs to limber himself up. Once he was prepared, Statice darted across the field. He nimbly dodged the barrels, not even touching them for a second. After evading the last barrel, he crossed the finish line.

“Eighteen seconds!” Spike announced. The crowd erupted in cheer at the time limit.

“The winner of the Barrel Weave is Rainbow Dash!” Pinkie Pie announced, turning Statice’s cheer into Rainbow Dash’s.

Statice growled at himself. He had lost to Rainbow Dash for a measly second. The prismatic mare was deeply enjoying her victory as she watched Fluttershy raise the score in her favor.

“Nice try,” Rainbow Dash smiled confidently at him. “I gotta say, you’re very quick in your hooves. Only Applejack gives me this much trouble in hoof races.”

“I still got more events to try,” Statice reminded her. The rainbow mare smiled at him before the next event came by.

“The Bucking Contest is about to begin!” Pinkie Pie announced as Statice and Rainbow Dash were taken to a modified high striker. It was like one of those carnival games with a hammer, except that on this one the ponies kicked the target with their hind legs rather than with a hammer.

“Let me show you a true athlete’s buck,” Rainbow Dash walked to the target. She turned around and bucked it with all of her strength. The puck instantly rose to the top and rang the bell. Rainbow Dash flew and held her fore hooves over her head in triumph.

“Let me try,” Statice told her as he walked into the target and repeated the process. Statice’s buck was strong enough to ring the bell. However, he noticed that the puck was slower in the ascending than when Rainbow Dash tried it.

“It appears that the Bucking Contest was a tie!” Pinkie Pie announced, earning stomping applauses from the ponies. Fluttershy raised the score for both competitors with a smile on her face.

Despite the tie, Statice frowned. His puck didn’t ascend with the same velocity as Rainbow Dash. It barely even rang the bell. Though he had technically tied with Rainbow Dash, he knew that her buck was stronger than his and that he had lost. He promised himself to do better in the next trials.

“I can’t believe that I’m doing this again,” Spike morosely commented as he was sitting on Statice’s back. Last time he did this event, he had a REALLY bad time with Rainbow Dash and Applejack. Now he was doing it once again with Rainbow Dash and a stallion that looked tough. Deciding to get over his predicament, Spike swallowed his bad mood and braced himself for his least favorite event.

“The Bronco Buck is about to begin!” Pinkie Pie bounced in anticipation.

When the bell rang, Statice took his time as he started bucking and throwing his hindquarters up and down in an attempt to throw Spike off him. The baby dragon screamed in fright as Statice acted more animalistic. He was neighing, snorting, and jumping wildly like a wild beast before he flung Spike away from him.

Once the event was over, Statice was panting and was met with a lot of disturbed stares. Perhaps his method of bucking had turned them against him.

“I’m okay!” Spike reassured them as he walked into the scene dizzily.

The ponies snapped out of their stupor as they cheered for Statice, much to the stallion’s relief. Spike’s calm disappeared as Rainbow Dash placed him on her back and began her bronco buck technique by jumping like a jackhammer. The poor dragon was thrown away from her in record time.

The score now was 3 to 1 in Rainbow Dash’s favor. Statice growled at the prismatic pony from behind. He was not going to let her win that easily. He was gonna catch up to her no matter what.

The next competition was a lasso contest that ended with both competitors humiliating themselves and Spike. Rainbow Dash had once again tied herself up on a tree while Statice had tangled himself with Spike. The unicorn turned pegasus cursed silently as he would have done a much better job with his magic rather than attempting to use his mouth, hooves, and wings. Despite the mess that he made, Statice won the competition because he tied up the dragon…even if he tied himself up to him in the process.

Well, a victory is a victory.

The current score was now 3 to 2. It was still in Rainbow Dash's favor. The stallion growled, knowing that the next two events were importrant. The first one was going to even the score and the second one was going to put him back in the lead.

Gotta take it to the next level!

“It’s time to do some Ball Bouncing!” Pinkie proclaimed as she was walking on top of a giant ball and rolling it with all four hooves.

The event started with Statice and Rainbow Dash bouncing balls with their heads. It was an even match as both of them had no trouble with their balls. Rainbow Dash had lots of practice with ball bouncing back when she attempted to break the world record while Statice had done juggling and bouncing back on a mission where he had to disguise himself as a clown. After five minutes of doing nothing more than casually bounce their balls with their heads, Rainbow Dash decided to step up her game.

“Pass me another ball, Spike!” Rainbow Dash ordered at the baby dragon.

Spike saluted at her only to realize that there were no balls next to him. His panic lasted little as Pinkie Pie popped out of nowhere with a box of balls.

“Here you go, Spike!” Pinkie Pie gave him a ball. “I always keep a stock of balls all over Ponyville! You’ll never know when you need them!”

“Thanks, Pinkie Pie!” Spike smiled at her, partially grateful and partially disturbed at her odd habits. He then threw the ball at Rainbow Dash as fast as he could. The rainbow mare casually lifted a hind leg and caught the ball with her hoof, bouncing it and making it spin. All of the ponies cheered at her display of athletic skill, except for Statice, who wasn’t taking any of that.

“You’re not the only one with tricks!” Statice proclaimed as he stood on his hind legs and kept bouncing the ball with his head. “Pass me a ball, Spike!”

The dragon did as he was told and was surprised to see the stallion lift a hind leg to the side and bounce the ball with a rhythmic movement. The ponies were now cheering for Statice as he was easily holding his own against Rainbow Dash. He felt a little proud at his skill, feeling grateful to have developed some martial arts skills in Pandasia when he was young.

“Throw some more balls to me, Spike!” Rainbow Dash demanded as she stood with one foreleg and extended the other one to the side along with the hind leg that was not busy bouncing her second ball.

Spike did as he was told and the result was Rainbow Dash standing with one hoof while using the other three and her head to bounce four balls at the same time. The balls that Statice was balancing duplicated as he used both of his free forelegs to bounce two more balls. The crowd cheered at both dexterous ponies before the match was declared a draw.

“Nice moves there, Aster!” Rainbow Dash smiled smugly at Statice. “I gotta say that I didn’t expect you to keep up with me. But don’t get too full of yourself. The score is still 4 to 3 with me on the lead.”

“Not for long,” Statice promised as Rainbow Dash flew again.

The next events were pretty hard for Statice as they measured strength and Rainbow Dash’s strength was slightly higher than him. She tossed her hay bale farther on the track than Statice did. She got a narrow win against him at hoof wrestling. Her football kick sent her ball further into the distance than Statice's did. Although he redeemed himself by winning the next two events, Rainbow Dash was still on the lead with a score of 7 to 5.

The next event was an endurance match featuring a series of consecutive push-ups. Statice and Rainbow Dash were both doing fine in the event, reaching to the mark of ninety five push-ups.

“97!” Spike counted as he saw Rainbow Dash and Statice doing push-ups with the same rhythm they had as if they just started.

“98!” Spike counted as he saw them do their push up slower than before.

“99!” Spike counted as he saw them continue, albeit slower than ever.

“100!” Spike counted as Rainbow Dash and Statice completed it, only for the former to fall on the ground after finishing.

` “101!” Spike counted as Statice kept doing his push-ups, not appearing to be exhausted by his workout. He had done harsher trainings than this.

“Aster wins the push-ups!” Spike raised Statice’s hoof in victory. In spite of the celebration, Statice knew that he had to step up on his game in the next events if he was to catch up with Rainbow Dash.

His disadvantage got back to 2 wins behind as Rainbow Dash easily beat him at the long jump event. He had done lots of jumping during his escapades, but he was no speed runner and that put him at disadvantage against Rainbow Dash. Moments like this made him wish that he had turned himself into an earth pony instead of a pegasus.

Statice once again managed a recovery by beating Rainbow Dash at chick wrangling. Although it was disgusting to walk on mud, Statice had done it more than enough times to be able to walk on top of it with perfect balance. He quickly brought his chicks to the finish line while Rainbow Dash was busy trying to deal with the chicks that were pecking her head for getting them covered in mud.

“Stupid wing restrictions,” Rainbow Dash muttered under her breath as the score was changed to an advantage of 8 to 7. She was still in the lead, but she knew that there was a chance for her rival to catch up to her.

Easy there, Rainbow Dash. You can do it! You can win this!

The competition became more heated up between Statice and Rainbow Dash during the next six events. Statice won three games and Rainbow Dash won three as well, making their score 11 to 10 with Rainbow Dash still being in the lead.

“I’m going to have to settle with a tie,” Statice grumbled as he prepared himself for the Tug of War. “It’s not just about strength. It has a technical side. Try to use Rainbow Dash’s own strength against her.”

As he was done with his mantra, Statice walked in front of a mud hole and stepped in front of it. He picked up a rope that was lying across the hole with her teeth and nodded at Rainbow Dash, who had already picked up her end of the rope.

“And the Tug of War begins!” Spike announced with a microphone that Pinkie Pie gave him for this special occasion.

Both ponies pulled the rope as hard as they could. None of them were budging for a few seconds before Statice was slowly being pulled away.

“Strong,” Statice muttered as he felt the difference in strength between him and Rainbow Dash. He braced all four legs to keep some leverage and partially let go of the rope to save some of his strength. Rainbow Dash did not seem deterred as she kept pulling back, not noticing that her adversary was not moving.

“I got you now,” Statice smiled when he noticed Rainbow Dash getting tired. He bit down hard on his rope and tugged at it with all of his strength. The mare yelped as she felt herself being pulled towards the mud hole.

“No, you won’t!” Rainbow Dash spread her legs to brace herself and give him a better fight. She pulled harder than before, slowly yanking Statice towards her. Both rivals were reaching towards the mud hole just as Rainbow Dash got a second wind.

“I’m not losing to you!” Rainbow Dash promised as she pulled with all of her strength. The extra tug sent Statice face first into the mud, splashing it all over Spike and Rainbow Dash.

The public felt silent for a second before Spike wiped off the mud from his face and happily spoke through the microphone. “And the winner of the Tug of War is Rainbow Dash!”

Spike’s announcement was met by Pinkie Pie popping out of the mud, next to Statice and with a microphone on her hoof. “And with a score of 12 to 10, the Iron Pony is once again, Rainbow Dash!”

“That’s right!” Rainbow Dash flew into the air so fast that the mud fell off her face. She posed in triumph as two pegasi, one of them being Derpy, brought a rainbow flag and placed it behind her.

All of the ponies below cheered as Statice bitterly cleaned the mud from his face. Of all the ponies against which he could have lost to, why did he have to lose to her? Great athlete or not, he didn’t have the best opinion of her after all of their encounters.

“And now Rainbow Dash gets the prize: the sleeping cloud for which she and Aster were fighting for in the first place!” Pinkie Pie floated in the air with some balloons wrapped around her barrel as more pegasi came in with the cloud that started this whole mess.

Rainbow Dash squealed in delight as she hugged the cloud. “Come to Mama!” she cried as she hugged and kissed it. Statice cringed in disgust at the display, watching as his opponent flew away with the cloud.

“DON’T FORGET THE WELCOME PARTY, RAINBOW DASH!” Pinkie Pie cried out in the microphone, sending sound waves that got everypony to cover their ears in pain, including Statice. He wasn’t sure if Rainbow Dash got the message and he didn’t care as long as she was out of the way.

“That’s some way to keep low profile,” Statice muttered at himself. While he prevented Rainbow Dash from finding out about him or suspecting about his identity, meeting her or any of the Elements of Harmony was not on his plan.

“Are you okay there, partner?” Applejack asked as she walked up towards him.

“I’m okay,” Statice lied, hoping that it was good enough to get her away from him. “I just don’t like to be covered in mud.”

The farmer didn’t seem convinced as she raised an eyebrow at him. “You don’t need to hide somethin' from me, Sugarcube. We’re all friends here.”

Statice cringed at Applejack’s perception. She was the Element of Honesty for a reason! Still, he got annoyed at her casually referring to him as a friend when they barely met each other. Friendships didn’t work that way. He was familiar with that.

“I guess I wanted that cloud,” Statice said as he sat down on his hind legs and started cleaning his chest a bit with a hoof. “Fortunately, I’m a graceful loser. I take my defeats maturely.”

It was true. Statice had learned the hard way that crying over not being the best never helped anypony become the best. The only times on which he was ever sore was if somepony beat him by a landslide…or if he didn’t like them, just like Rainbow Dash.

“If it makes ya feel any better, then Ah’ can say that you’re one heck of an athlete, Aster!” Applejack patted Statice on the back. “Not many ponies beside me can keep up with Rainbow Dash in an Iron Pony Competition. You were lucky that she didn’t use her wings to win most of the games. She beat me by a lot when that happened the first time we competed.”

If that had happened, Statice would have demanded a rematch and used his wings as well. Let it not be said that he doesn’t play with his rivals at the same level.

“Thanks, Applejack,” Statice thanked her as politely as possible. It wasn’t that sincere, but at least it was polite enough to be socially acceptable.

“You’re welcome,” Applejack proudly nodded her head. “Now let me present you mah friends while we’re at it.”

Statice’s eyes widened as she walked away from him and brought back with her the rest of the Elements of Harmony. Statice wanted to groan at being close to them, but he chose not to in order to keep his appearance.

I was gonna meet them anyway. Better meet them on Applejack's terms than Pinkie's.

“Ah believe that ya met Pinkie Pie, Aster,” Applejack pointed at Pinkie Pie, who was gleefully jumping on place, and was still making some sort of springing noise every time that her hooves hit the ground.

“I can’t believe how close you were!” Pinkie Pie ran in front of Statice and had her face close to his. “You were amazing! If you had just won the Tug of War, it would have been the first time there was a tie in the Iron Pony Competition. Ooh, maybe you and Rainbow Dash would have become Twin Iron Ponies as well!”

Statice mentally groaned. While he preferred to get a draw against his opponents to a loss because in that way he denied them victory over him, he was now more disappointed about the outcome since it denied him from doing something so…memorable, even if he had to share the honor with Rainbow Dash.

“Enough, Pinkie Pie,” Rarity spoke as she levitated the party pony in her blue aura. She walked gracefully towards him with half-lidded eyes. “Excuse our friend, Mr. Aster. She gets a little excited when meeting new ponies. My name is Rarity and it is a pleasure to meet such an athletic stallion as you.”

She batted her eyelashes at him and raised her hoof daintily. Statice gave an inner groan as he raised her hoof and gave it a kiss. He resisted the urge to spit and wipe his tongue just to keep appearances. The white unicorn giggled at the gesture before Pinkie Pie came back carrying Fluttershy above her head.

“This is Fluttershy!” Pinkie Pie cheered as she placed the trembling pegasus in front of him. “She is a little shy, but she is a lot of fun once you get past that issue.”

“Hi,” Statice raised his hoof and offered it to Fluttershy, already knowing what kind of reply he was going to get from her.

“Hi,” she said in a very low and inaudible voice.

Statice felt a slight sense of frustration with the mare. She was capable of standing up to dragons and a cockatrice, used the Elements of Harmony to save Equestria from Nightmare Moon, Discord, and Lord Tirek, redeemed Discord himself, and yet she was afraid of an average stallion? Although frustrated with her behavior, he accepted it because of how cute she looked and how delicate her entire being was.

“My name is Aster,” Statice lied. If he messed up his disguise, she was going to get hurt and something told him that there were going to be SERIOUS repercussions if she was ever hurt.

“My name is Fluttershy,” she presented herself in her still inaudible voice.

“Your name is Fluttershy, right?” Statice smiled reassuringly. He felt ridiculous having to do this with a grown mare. Sure, he had actually done this with kids of different species, but it felt weird when Fluttershy was about the same age as him.

Rather than answering, Fluttershy gave loud whimpering noises that sounded like she was crying. The ponies frowned a little bit in sadness and pity while Statice’s frown, albeit similar, hid some awkwardness. He knew that she was sensitive, but he didn’t expect shyness of that magnitude. Dealing with Fluttershy was going to be like walking on a minefield.

“I think it is time that I present myself,” Twilight intruded as she gently levitated the cowering Fluttershy away from Statice. “My name is Twilight Sparkle. I am the princess in charge of Ponyville and I welcome you to our town.”

“Thanks, your Majesty,” Statice knelt in front of Twilight. The action got several reactions from the ponies around them. Rarity’s face showed approval, Pinkie Pie giggled at the gesture, Applejack was sort of accepting, Fluttershy was awed, and Twilight looked awkward.

“You don’t have to bow to me,” Twilight answered with discomfort.

“But you’re a princess,” Statice replied, trying to sound humble. “Shouldn’t I bow to royalty when I see it?”

Twilight was about to answer, only to be cut off by Rarity when the white unicorn shoved a hoof into her mouth. “Please excuse Twilight for her behavior, darling! She is new at being a princess of Equestria.”

Statice resisted the urge to roll his eyes at them. He was aware that Twilight was originally a unicorn, but he had to feign ignorance if he was to mingle among them.

“You forgot to present me!” Spike yelled as he came to Twilight’s side. The ponies looked at the baby dragon to see him crossing his arms and giving them an annoyed glare.

“Sorry,” Twilight apologized as she removed Rarity’s hoof from her mouth. “This is my number one assistant Spike.”

“You were awesome!” Spike cried out at Statice with admiration. “I can’t believe that you kept up with Rainbow Dash! Nopony but Applejack can keep up with her in an Iron Pony Competition!”

Statice smiled lightly at Spike. He remembered somepony very dear to him just by watching the baby dragon. He lifted a hoof and gently patted Spike’s scales.

“I can say that you’re awesome as well, Spike,” Statice smiled honestly at him. “It is very rare to see a dragon, much less talk with one. I’m surprised that you are not a celebrity.”

“Well, thanks,” Spike blushed at the compliment. The baby dragon felt honored at the stallion’s nice words. “As a matter of fact, I am a celebrity at the Crystal Empire, so if you ever come there, just ask for Spike.”

“I’ll do,” Statice promised, already knowing about how Spike had saved the Crystal Empire twice. “You’re a very mature, kid.”

“I’m a baby dragon,” Spike corrected him while smiling.

“I think that you’re too big, strong, and smart to be considered a baby,” Statice smiled teasingly at him. “Besides, how can I consider you a baby when you’re not wearing any diapers?”

The comment got the girls and Spike to laugh. Statice was shocked at their sudden reaction. He didn’t think that he made that big of a joke and yet they were laughing their lungs out.

“I hope that you make jokes like that at your Welcome to Ponyville party at Twilight’s castle, Aster!” Pinkie Pie smiled as she hugged Statice and then went on hopping away from Sweet Apple Acres. “If you don’t know where it is, go to the sparkly castle, okay?”

“The party is in an hour, so Spike and I will see you there, Aster,” Twilight smiled at Statice before levitating Spike onto her back.

“I hope we can talk more at the castle, Aster!” Spike waved at Statice as Twilight carried him out of the farm.

“Ah got some chores to do,” Applejack said as she looked at Statice and Rarity. “You can help if ya don’t have anythin’ else to do.”

“Sorry, I have to take a bath,” Statice immediately excused himself. “I can’t just show up at my welcome party with mud on my gut.”

“You’re right about that, darling,” Rarity got close to him and batted her eyelashes at him. “If you want, I can take you to my boutique and arrange a makeover for your party. I can even make you a special outfit for the celebration.”

Statice looked awkward at the offer while Applejack rolled her eyes. The farm pony shrugged her shoulders and just went to do her chores, leaving the stallion to deal with the fashionista.

“I guess I can go to your boutique,” Statice reluctantly agreed. “But I’ll just take a bath. I don’t think that you need to make a suit for me. I don’t tend to wear clothes.”

“Oh, give it a try, darling,” Rarity pouted at him and once again repeated her batted eyelashes move with him. He sighed at the gesture and resigned himself.

“Lead the way, Miss Rarity,” Statice grudgingly told her. He didn’t want to familiarize himself with Rarity or the rest of the Elements of Harmony, but he had to keep them complacent. Given Rarity’s fixation with being a lady, he accurately guessed that being called Miss Rarity was going to be to her liking.

“Such a gentlecolt,” Rarity tittered at the name he gave her. She then went on and on to talk about the clothing options that she was going to make. It was mainly which fabric she was going to use, which color matched with his coat, and so on. As Rarity spoke, she started walking away from Statice.

The disguised stallion looked at every side to make sure that nopony was seeing him. Once he was sure that he and Rarity were alone, he took the chance to spit on the side of the road. His mouth tasted like hoof polish and dirt. He didn’t understand why Rarity loved the hoof kiss gesture. She could give herself a hooficure to keep her hooves clean and shiny, that didn’t change the fact that immediately afterwards they were going to touch the dirty floor. Seriously, why did she have to signal him to do that? He didn’t even know where her nasty hooves had been!

He kept walking and looking cordial. Although his mouth still had a lousy aftertaste, at least it was more bearable than before. As he walked around Ponyville, everypony around him gave him friendly smiles and curt nods. Some of them even went as far as complimenting him on his performance. He felt weird to receive such praise. It was rare to get it at its purest form when he was a bounty hunter. It felt kind of nice…to just do something and have everypony cheer for him rather than criticize him.

They reached to Carousel Boutique in a few minutes. Statice was surprised at the architecture, admiring the combination of blue, purple, and yellow colors, as well as the elegant shape of the building.

“Amazing,” Statice muttered in awe. Granted, he had seen many buildings, but most of them were not very clean from nice company and others were pretty much in bad condition after lots of time and decay. As much as he hated to admit it, Rarity had talent as a decorator.

“Wait until you see it from the inside, darling,” Rarity smiled at him before she opened the door with her magic.

Statice entered into the building and admired the commodities. The inside was just as eye-appealing at the outside, except that it was more personalized for work. There were mirrors and platforms for modeling and there were many mannequins that were dressed in beautiful garments.

“Welcome to Carousel Boutique, where everything is chic, unique, and magnifique!” Rarity posed triumphantly as she gave her boutique’s trademark greeting.

Statice didn’t know why but he found himself speaking. “I think that I would like a makeover for my party. Can you do it in less than an hour?”

“Of course,” Rarity smiled as she levitated her beauty tools and prepared for work. “The bathroom is on the second floor. You can take a bath there and then I’ll wait for you down here in five minutes.”

“Thanks,” Statice walked up the stairs and prepared himself for what was probably going to be his first party in like…ever.