Rarity's boutique sat in complete disarray. Thread littered the floors, the sewing machine was jammed with fabric, and Opalescence was playing with one of the many balls of yarn scattered about. None of this mattered to Rarity of course. She was in her element, and nothing could stand in her path to creating the perfect dress.
“Primp! One more stitch over here... Oh! And another one there!” Rarity emitted a sound that was half giggle half cackle. “Aaaaand... the last cross over here... and--yes! Perfection!” Rarity exclaimed. Her newest creation was finally finished after hours of hard labor, and it was perfect. The seams blended perfectly into the red and black fabric to create a dress designed to stun while making the wearer seem incredibly slim. It was beautiful, ground breaking, and well outside the price range of anypony who happened to live in the ragtag town of Ponyville. Rarity sighed. Such was the fate of being a fashion designer in one of the most quaint towns in Equestria.
“We’re in singularity. It’s meant for us to be!” Sweetie Belle sang from her room. Rarity smiled as she wandered to a dresser on the far end of the boutique to put away her thread. She had sent Sweetie upstairs to have some peace and quiet, but the stubborn filly dug up her old record player instead, and was now happily singing along with every record Rarity owned. Rarity had initially wanted to quiet her rowdy sister, but was quickly reminded of the quality of Sweetie Belle’s voice. No matter what her sister told her to the contrary, Rarity, and most other ponies for that matter, recognized Sweetie’s talent as a singer. “Such a shame she doesn’t see what everypony else does,” Rarity thought, sliding the drawer shut. Rarity sighed happily as she basked in the nostalgia of Rainbow Wave’s greatest hit as sung by her amazing sister.
Much to Rarity’s dismay, the song eventually stopped as did the record it was on. Rarity began to walk toward the stairs to let Sweetie Belle know she was finished. She had paused to examine her creation one last time, when the door to the boutique bursted open.
“Hello, Miss Rarity!” announced Sapphire Shores as she graciously pranced into the boutique.
Rarity immediately spun to face her guest. “Sapphire Shores, the pony of pop!” Rarity gasped as she fell to the floor with a painful sounding thump.
“You know, I expect that on the first visit, but not the second,” Sapphire chuckled as she rushed over to Rarity’s aid. After a couple minutes of fumbling, Rarity managed to get a hold of herself.
“Why, Miss Sapphire, what brings you back to my humble boutique?” she asked, trying to keep her legs from shaking. Sapphire chuckled at her expense.
“I just got finished touring darling, and I wanted to thank you for the most fabulous stage-wear I’ve had the pleasure to wear!” Sapphire said. Rarity almost lost her footing again, but was steadied by Sapphire.
“Surely, you can’t be serious,” Rarity gasped. “You’ve worked with Smooth Silk, Crafty Cotton, Hoity Toity...”
Sapphire simply shook her head. “Listen here girl, and I’ll tell you a secret. All of those designers you mentioned are entirely overrated.” Rarity let out a gasp as she covered her mouth. “Now don’t take that the wrong way. They design some real snazzy clothes, but none of their designs had the comfort or pizzazz yours did.”
“Um, well... Tha--Thank you!” Rarity exclaimed in a state of complete disbelief.
“That’s the way girl!” Sapphire exclaimed, as she turned her attention over to a row of dresses. “Now, to be honest with you darling, there’s another reason why I’m here.”
“Yes?” Rarity replied as soon as Sapphire had finished, quickly galloping to her side.
“Whoa, whoa, darling! Calm yourself down,” Sapphire said, backing away slightly. “My manager’s arranged a bit of a welcome back party in Canterlot this weekend, and I need a dress that’s sure to wow!”
“Why of course!” Rarity exclaimed, galloping over to her inventory. “I have so many dresses that I’m sure we’ll be able to find the right one,” she continued, failing to notice that Sapphire was already transfixed on one dress in particular.
“This one’s perfect!” Sapphire exclaimed as she dashed to Rarity’s most recent creation. Rarity quickly turned to see Sapphire fawning over her new dress.
“Yes, I had just finished that dress before you arrived,” Rarity said as she galloped over to Sapphire’s aid.
“Girl, you really outdone yourself with this one,” Sapphire stated as she felt the fabric run over her hoof. “I’ll take it!”
“Ok--Okay,” Rarity stammered. For a dress she had expected to have to keep in stock for some time, it certainly sold fast. “You aren’t going to need seven are you?” she asked somewhat serious.
Sapphire giggled. “No, not this time, but something tells me if I even drop your name wearing this, you’ll be receiving some orders very soon,” she said with a wink.
A smile exploded onto Rarity’s face as she lifted the dress off its mannequin. “Today can’t get any better,” she thought as she trotted merrily to her cash register, dress in tow.
“You know that I’ll do anything you want too!” Sweetie belted from upstairs. Both Rarity and Sapphire stopped in their tracks.
“Is that my new single?” asked Sapphire.
“Why yes it is,” Rarity said as her eyes quickly darted to the stairs. “My sister must have dug it up. If you want, I can ask her to stop.”
“No, no. Let’s let her keep going,” Sapphire said with a smile. “Actually, if you can take me to her...”
Rarity was by the staircase by the time Sapphire had stopped talking. “Right this way, Miss Shores,” Rarity stated, beckoning the pop diva to follow her. Before she knew it, the pair had their ears pressed to Sweetie’s bedroom door. Slowly and quietly, Sapphire pushed the door open, allowing Sweetie’s singing to be heard clearly.
“Oh, I can’t seem to let you go,” finished Sweetie Belle as the track slowly died down. She had begun to take off the record when she was interrupted by Sapphire.
“Woowee, those are some nice pipes you got there kid! Reminds me a little of myself when I was your age,” Sapphire said. Sweetie Belle swung around quickly.
“Oh hi, Rarity!” she said as she bounced to her older sister. “Who’s your friend?”
Rarity shot a panicked look at her guest, but was relieved to find Sapphire letting out a small chuckle.
“You know who sings that song right there?” Sapphire asked.
“Not really,” Sweetie responded. “I sorta just pulled the records with lyrics printed on the sleeves,” she said as she held up the records cover.
“Well girl, come on over, and I’ll tell you a little secret about who sings that song,” Sapphire said, motioning for the filly to come closer. Sweetie quickly darted over, and presented her ear to Sapphire. Covering her mouth with her hoof, Sapphire whispered into the filly’s ear. A grin shot up Sweetie’s face like a rocket.
“Really?!” she squeaked.
“That’s right! Sapphire Shores is here, in the flesh,” Sapphire sang, sporting a similar grin to Sweetie’s. “And girl, let me tell you, I haven’t heard someone do such a good cover since I did one for Shiny Stars. You’ve got some real talent, and I think, with my help, you could be the next big hit in Equestria!”
Rarity collapsed on the floor for the second time that afternoon, her tongue hanging out of her mouth. Sapphire looked with a frown as Rarity twitched on the floor. Sweetie, meanwhile, looked at Sapphire perplexed. Sapphire turned her attention back over to Sweetie
“I want you to make these,” Sapphire said, holding up one of the records strewn across the floor.
“Really?!” Sweetie squealed as she bounced up into the air.
“Whoa, whoa, calm down girl. Let’s help your sister up first, and then we’ll talk.”
After reviving Rarity, the three made their way over to the kitchen table, and started to negotiate Sweetie moving to Canterlot.
“Now I can’t speak for our parents, but I can say that they probably won’t have any objections to Sweetie Belle moving to Canterlot for a few months as long as they can visit whenever they please,” Rarity said.
“Of course,” Sapphire replied. “Def Equestrian is very much a family oriented business, and nopony will have any qualms about family visits. We even offer penthouses for families to use while visiting, so your parents can even stay in Canterlot at any time.”
“What about Scootaloo and Apple Bloom?” Sweetie Belle asked, sporting a concerned frown.
“They can stay as well. Furthermore, I’m going to try to set up recording times so that you can visit friends as often as possible,” Sapphire replied. “Sweetie, this is a big step. If you feel uncomfortable about any of this feel free to say so. If I can’t find a plan that works for you, I don’t want there to be a plan at all. Do you have any questions?”
“Just one,” Sweetie said, gaze piercing into Sapphires eyes. “Is there really a dessert bar?!” she exclaimed.
“Right in the lounge.”
“I’m all for it!”
“Excellent! I’ll be back Monday with the paperwork. We’ll discuss the technical stuff then. Be sure to have your parents here, and we’ll start making the most beautiful music in Equestria!” Sapphire said, singing the the last part. She grabbed her new dress, and began making her way toward the door. “In the meantime, I can think of two fillies who would like to know why their best friend is moving to Canterlot,” Sapphire said, winking at Sweetie Belle.
“Oh yeah!” she said, turning toward the door of the boutique. I’m going to Apple Bloom’s,” she managed to yell before leaving the premises. Sapphire shrugged as she picked up her dress and began walking to the exit.
“Miss Shores,”Rarity stammered, “I want to say thank you, for everything.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about darling. I didn’t do anything, except offer a recording contract,” she said with a smile. “I’ll see you Monday,” she added as she pushed open the door. “Oh and Rarity.”
“Thanks for the dress.”
The streets of Canterlot were filled to capacity. Ponies shoved by each other in some desperate gamble to get to the stores faster. In the midst of all the chaos, Rarity, Sweetie Belle, and Sapphire Shores struggled to get to the recording studio.
“Again?!” Sweetie Belle whined as Sapphire stopped to sign yet another autograph. “Its been almost an hour!”
“Sweetie Belle, it has only been twenty minutes since we left the train,” Rarity said, wincing as she tried desperately to keep her parade of dresses from touching the ground. “And just how do you think I feel?!” Rarity complained.
“I told you; just use the post service!” Sweetie Belle groaned while Rarity deftly pulled her dresses out of the way of a passerby.
“And I told you Sweetie Belle; I don’t use Ponyville Post. The day my beautiful dresses are stuffed in a box is the day I lose my sanity. Besides, the last time I tried to send a letter to Canterlot it ended up somewhere between Hoofington and Las Pegasus!” Rarity shouted as she narrowly avoided another passerby.
“Well maybe if you didn’t write so funny, stuff like that wouldn’t happen,” Sweetie Belle retorted, a smirk decorating her face.
“Cursive is a perfectly legitimate way to--” Rarity retorted before being interrupted by Sapphire.
“Girls, come on. We only have another block to go,” she giggled, handing back the quill to the pegasus. He thanked her as he flew off, a couple of his feathers coming loose as he did so.
“Feathers!” Rarity gasped. “Horrid, disgusting, molting, feathers!” she screamed as a multitude of feathers landed on one of her precious dresses. She quickly pulled a single lint brush out of her bags, and, before Sweetie Belle could comprehend what was happening, Rarity was vigorously swiping away at the feather.
“Come on girls,” Sapphire sang as she got behind Rarity and began to push. Sweetie happily followed suit. Rarity, meanwhile, continued to brush her dress, mumbling incoherently to herself as she was pushed through the crowded streets of Canterlot.
Eventually, the three managed to make it to their destination. Def Equestrian was a truly massive building. The lobby was a posh mishmash of modern furniture with ambient lighting complementing the decor perfectly. Couches for dozens of ponies aligned either side of the lobby and a large circular desk designed to handle an onslaught of ponies sat in the middle. And manning this gigantic desk was a single intern who was currently taking a snooze. In fact, the lobby was almost barren, save for a few interns shuffling about.
“UGH!” screamed Rarity as she threw the lint brush aside. “It’s no use!” she cried as she collapsed to the floor, sobbing loudly. Sapphire rolled her eyes.
Sapphire sighed. “Girl, I know many actors and not one of them could play your part if their salaries depended on it. Tell you what, I’ll get an intern to deliver the dresses, and I’ll have that one dry cleaned before it’s delivered. Sound good?”
Rarity immediately sprung to her feet. “Thank you!” she exclaimed.
“No problem,” Sapphire said as her gaze fell upon an intern lounging on a nearby sofa . “You! Get over here and help the lady with her dresses!”
The intern quickly ran over to the group, picking up Rarity’s dresses. The poor earth pony nearly collapsed as the dresses were put on her back, but she managed to stumble off.
“Now where was I? Oh right, Welcome to Def Equestrian; The largest publishing house in Equestria!” Sapphire sang at the top of her lungs. Her message fell mostly on deaf ears however, as it rang through the nearly empty lobby. The few interns that were around to hear turned to see what the commotion was about before returning to whatever they were working on.
“Why is it so empty here?” Sweetie asked politely.
“Very good question, Sweetie Belle. It is touring season at the moment, and much of our staff is currently on the road with our artists,” Sapphire said as she motioned for Rarity and Sweetie Belle to follow her.
“Touring season?” asked Sweetie Belle as she followed Sapphire past the front desk. Sapphire paused briefly to slam her hoof down next to the drowsy intern, causing her to awaken in a most violent fashion. Sapphire turned, and continued down the lobby.
“Touring season is a period where a lot of our artists are out and about. A lot of us released albums a couple months back, and now that the singles have charted, they are out performing all across Equestria. They’ll meet up back here at the annual Canterlot Music Festival in a few months,” Sapphire clarified as she lead Sweetie Belle and Rarity into a long hallway with golden records adorning the walls.
“A music festival! How delightful! I simply must get tickets,” Rarity said as she glanced at a number of golden records decorating the walls.
“Trust me, I’ll be sure to get you front row passes. As for Sweetie Belle, I hope you’ll be ready to perform by then. In fact, I want you to be the opening act for Def Equestrian,” Sapphire said as she made a turn into another long hallway.
“Really?!” Sweetie Belle exclaimed.
“Why, of course darling,” Sapphire said, shooting the excited filly a grin. “You’ll only be performing two songs at most. One will have to be a cover, but with your talents, girl, you’ll be the star of the show,” she continued. “Thats far in the future anyways. For now, let’s see if we can’t find any interesting characters on this boring little tour.”
“And here is the world famous Def Equestrian breakroom!” Sapphire announced as Sweetie Belle approached a large, wooden set of double doors. Rarity had left to look at Sweetie’s lodgings a while back, but Sweetie didn’t care. She was too excited about the mountain of desserts waiting behind the double doors to care about what her sister was doing.
“Are you ready?” Sapphire asked.
“Yes!” Sweetie squeaked in reply. Sapphire complied.
The first thing Sweetie noticed about the break room was the white unicorn cowering behind a stack of tables on one end of the room.
“Look out!” Sapphire shouted as a cup whizzed past Sweetie Belle. Sweetie quickly turned to see a gray earth pony with a large stack of coffee cups
“You disgust me!” Octavia shouted, attempting to throw another cup at the mare cowering behind the tables across the break area.
“Girls, I thought I told you that this isn’t an acceptable use of disposable coffee cups!” Sapphire yelled.
“Tell her that,” said Vinyl Scratch as she poked her head out from behind the table. Octavia wasted no time as she aligned another shot. Within a second, a cup bounced off of Vinyl’s head. “Ow,” she whined, despite the fact that the paper cup couldn’t do any damage to anything larger than a fly.
Sapphire sighed. “Sweetie, this is Vinyl Scratch, our main DJ, and that’s Octavia, one of our classical musicians.”
“Pleased to meet you,” she said.
“Likewise,” said Vinyl as she poked her head out again. Another cup found its mark, skewered on the unicorn’s horn. Sweetie giggled while Vinyl ducked back behind cover.
“What’s this about anyways?” asked Sapphire, as she shifted her glare between Octavia and Vinyl Scratch.
“She disgraced my beautiful music with her terrible soundboard,” Octavia said as she tossed another cup at Vinyl Scratch.
“Disgraced?!” Vinyl laughed as the cup bounced harmlessly off the table. “I took your boring cello and pumped it up!” she exclaimed, punctuating her statement with a hoof pump.
“You took my music and destroyed it,” Octavia retorted. “ You slathered it with drum beats and bass drops until any resemblance of classy, respectable music was torn away!” Octavia yelled as she launched two more cups at Vinyl’s table fort. One bounced harmlessly off the table, but the other found its mark as Vinyl got up to snicker.
“Ladies, please, let’s try to act civilized!” Sapphire yelled as she ran into no-pony land. “Tell you what, Octavia I’ll listen to the sample. If it’s really that bad then Vinyl won’t use it. Sound fair?” Sapphire asked as Sweetie Belle continued to giggle at the war unfolding before her.
“Fine by me!” Octavia shouted as she abandoned her ammunition and headed for the center of the room.
“Same here,” Vinyl said as she meet her nemesis in the center of the room holding out a hoof. Octavia meet Vinyl halfway, and the two began to shake hooves.
“See, isn’t this better than throwing cups at each other?” asked Sapphire with a smile.
“Sure,” said Vinyl. “My song gets recorded, and I don’t have to dodge any coffee cups,” she finished with an impish grin crawling up her face. Octavia reviled in anger.
“You deplorable beast,” she yelled. “Your shameful excuse for a beat shall never have the chance to disgust anypony else’s ears.”
Sapphire rolled her eyes as the two mares started their argument back up. “Something tells me we won’t be getting anything more interesting out of these two. Let’s go,” Sapphire said, beckoning Sweetie to follow her. She closed the door behind Sweetie Belle as the screams and insults grew louder.
“So that was the break room,” Sapphire said as a loud clamor emanated from the room. “Lets see if we can catch anypony recording.”
“Aren’t you going to stop them?” Sweetie asked.
“Stop them from what?”
“From hurting each other!” Sweetie cried as another crash emanated from the break room.
“Oh please,” Sapphire said as she turned to back to the door. Quietly, Sapphire pushed open the door revealing two mares furiously making out with each other.
“You’re disgusting,” Octavia moaned before her lips were pressed shut by Vinyl.
Sapphire giggled. “Get a room you two.” Vinyl shooed Sapphire away as she gently closed the door to the break room shut. She quickly pulled out a key and locked the door with a soft click.
“Don’t want anypony walking in on them do we?” she said with a grin.
“Do they always act like that?” Sweetie asked.
“Are you kidding? They do this every day! It was a wonder they didn’t start dating sooner,” Sapphire said as she began to walk down the hallway. “So, about seeing a recording...”
“I never get tired of coming here,” Sapphire said as she pushed open another wooden door. Inside was a magically run computer and a small room with a mic, separated by a piece of soundproof glass. Inside the mic room, a single earth pony rapped as the computer played a beat in the background. In comparison to the the fine wood of the studio, the red coat and orange mane of the rapper made sure Sweetie’s attention was solely on him.
“And the producers wouldn’t let his music pass. So he told the producers, you can kiss my--”
“Let’s stop it right there, Rhymes,” Sapphire said through the mic. “We’ve got kids in here.”
“Sapphire!” Rhythmic exclaimed as he darted out the sound booth. “How was touring, and who’s the kid?”
“As bad as it always is,” Sapphire said as she embrach Rhythmic in a hug. “This is Sweetie Belle. She’ll be opening for us at the Canterlot Music Festival.”
“Sweet,” he said breaking the hug. “Name’s Rhythmic Rhymes. Pleased to meet you,” he said extending a hoof out. Sweetie hoof bumped Rhythmic in return, causing Rhythmic to burst out laughing. “Dang! Girl’s got swag, I’ll tell you what!” he laughed as he shook his hoof jokingly. Sweetie let out a small giggle.
“Good to see you two are getting along. Rhymes is our main man for rap, and while he doesn’t sell well compared to any YMCMG act, he’s at least twenty times as good.
Rhythmic’s smile was wiped off his face in an instant. “No no no girl. You got it all wrong. It’s at least eighty times better,” he said as he began to burst out laughing.
“I’ll be sure to keep that in mind,” Sapphire chuckled. “Anyways, I best not keep you from recording.”
“Alright, but first,”Rhythmic Rhymes said as he trotted over to a pair of saddlebags lying haphazardly in a corner. “Can’t have any friend of mine rolling without some bling,” he said as her pulled out a small bracelet and tossed it at Sweetie Belle. She caught it with ease and dropped it onto her hoof.
“What’d I tell you Sapphire? Girls got some swag!” he chuckled as he strolled back into the recording booth. “Nice to meet you Sweetie Belle. Keep on keepin on and you’ll fit in just fine here.”
“Okay, well have fun, Rhythmic,” Sapphire said as she ushered Sweetie to follow her out of the recording studio.
Posters of the same stallion’s face covered the next door Sapphire stopped at, creating a gaudy collage that would cause Rarity to have a heart attack if she ever laid eyes on it.
“Personally, I’d love to skip this door, but you’re going to meet him soon anyways, so there’s no point in avoiding it,” Sapphire said as she pressed the door open.
The booth itself wasn’t too different from the one Rhythmic Rhymes occupied, but the decor matched that of the door. In the booth, a stallion a little older then Sweetie was singing a song. His coat was a pitch perfect shade of yellow with a long brown mane complementing it perfectly. To the untrained eye, the stallion may have seemed naturally handsome, but Sweetie Belle had watched her sister groom herself enough times to know dyed hair when she saw it, and this stallion in particular had used a lot of dye to get his coat and mane to match that well.
“...I’d never let you... UGH!” the young stallion screamed as the door opened. “I thought I said I wasn’t supposed to be disturbed! What do I have to to do to get it through you imbeciles head that I need silence to produce gold!”
Sapphire shook her head. “Sweetie this is Veritable Vocals; the most successful artist we have; thirteen number one singles in the past four years, and undoubtedly the best artist we have signed in the past decade,” she said in the most canned voice she could manage. “Veritable, this is Sweetie Belle, our newest artist.
“Oh, I’m quite sorry Sapphire. I’m pleased to meet you, Sweetie,” Veritable said with a smile that sent small shivers down Sweetie’s back. “I do apologize for my, dreadful behavior.”
“It’s okay,” Sweetie Belle said as she tried to ignore Veritable’s smile. “I hope we can be friends,” she said as she held out her hoof.
“Friends? Thats so adorable,” he said, ignoring Sweetie’s offer for a hoofshake. “Where do you find them Sapphire? Anyways, I’m almost finished with the new single, and I’m confident that it will wow everyone when I open at the Canterlot Music Festival.”
Sapphire groaned in response. “Gah, I completely forgot!” she exclaimed. Veritable’s smile was wiped away in an instant, bringing much needed relief to Sweetie Belle.
“You didn’t! You did not just give this runt my spot at the Canterlot Music Festival!” he yelled
“I’m sure we can work something out. I’ll talk to the record exec--” Sapphire retorted before getting interrupted by a deluge of screams.
“I don’t want a damn compromise! I’m going to be opening, not this little,” He screamed before inhaling deeply. “Sapphire, I suggest you take the kid and leave. We’ll talk about this later,”
Sapphire shook her head, but complied. She grabbed Sweetie Belle by the hoof and began to walk the her out of the recording booth. Sweetie took one last look at Veritable, noting his face was positively red as she left.
“There you two are,” said Rarity as Sapphire turned the corner. “So how was it?”
“It was fun,” Sweetie said, Veritables red face still etched in her mind. “I met a lot of cool ponies. I even got a...bracelet,” Sweetie said as she attempted to show Rarity Rhythmic’s gift, only to find it wasn’t there.
“Aww, it must have fallen off someplace. Don’t worry, I’ll get it on my way back,” said Sapphire. “Anyways, I have to talk to your sister about something in private, so can you stay here a minute?” she asked as she ushered Rarity over to a nearby chair.
Sweetie waited. And waited. And waited. Concluding Sapphire and Rarity wouldn’t be done with their conversation anytime soon, Sweetie got up and began to look for her missing bracelet. It didn’t take her long to find herself in front of the gaudily decorated door of Veritable Vocals’ recording booth. Taking a deep breath, Sweetie quietly nudged open the door and snuck inside.
“You’re sure they don’t expect anything yet?” asked a large black stallion. Sweetie quickly realised she wasn’t supposed to be hearing the conversation. Her first reaction was to turn tail, but curiosity and intrusion were a tradition in her family and she was no exception
Veritable chuckled. “They still think I’m some kind of pampered short-tempered simpleton, but no, I don’t think they know I’m jumping ship.”
The black pony laughed. “And you say they’re letting a filly open for them? Oh that’s rich!” Sweetie felt her face get hot as she gritted her teeth.
“I know, right? I mean, it’s almost as if Sapphire wants Def to go bankrupt,” Veritable said between chuckles.
“So we can trust you to sign over?” the black stallion asked as he stuck his hoof out.
“Ponydor for life,” Veritable proclaimed as he slammed his hoof down into the stallion’s. Neither noticed that the booth’s door had slid shut with a quiet click.