• Published 19th Feb 2012
  • 32,312 Views, 315 Comments

When the Man Comes Around - GentlemanJ



As Ponyville prepares for arriving royal marshals, a new traveler quietly slips into town.

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Chapter 4

Chapter 4

With Fluttershy happily chatting away, it was a surprisingly short time before they found themselves in front of a large, white building with multitudes of elegant dresses displayed behind gleaming windows. The traveler knew nothing about clothes – seriously, absolutely nothing – and yet even he could see that these were very high quality garments. They almost seemed to exhude elegance.

“You’re sure this won’t be a bother?” the traveler asked as he eyeed the building uncertainly. He’d never been inside a store like this, and the thought of asking its proprietor for a mend on his worn shirt just didn’t make sense.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Fluttershy assured him, for once sounding more confident than he did. “Now let’s go inside and get you fixed up.”

The tinkling of a small bell accompanied the pair as they entered. The traveler was quite taken aback: if anything, the inside was even nicer than the out, and that was saying something. All manners of fashionable ensembles glittered under the light. From ladies’ gowns and dresses to men’s coats and jackets, the store held a dizzying variety of clothing in every style, color, and cut imaginable.

“Isn’t it nice?” Fluttershy giggled. “Rarity just makes the best dresses ever.” The traveler stopped midstep and gave her a funny look.

“You’re saying,” he began slowly, “that Miss Rarity made… all of these?”

“Of course,” Fluttershy answered, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. “It is her store after all.” The young man simply let out a low whistle of awe.

As they made their way into the store, the traveler staring in wonder that one person could come up with so many different designs, a melodious voice called out from somewhere in the back.

“Hello, is someone there?”

Out from behind a mannequin in a stunning evening gown came an even more stunning young lady. From her perfectly curled violet hair to the simple, yet stylish white blouse, black skirt combo, she was quite possibly the prettiest girl the traveler had ever seen, and he’d been around and seen a few.

“Fluttershy, darling!” Rarity called out warmly as she embraced her quiet friend. “I wasn’t expecting to see you till this afternoon. What brings you here?”

“Hello, Rarity,” Fluttershy replied with a happy, little smile. “I was wondering if you could, that is, if you’re not busy, do me a tiny little favor and fix this nice man’s shirt.” Rarity looked up from the hug and noticed the young man in her store. And then she gasped.

“Goodness gracious, what happened to you?!”

“Slight run in with Miss Rainbow Dash,” he replied apologetically. Not sure why, but he felt that with Rarity, it was probably best to be sorry about the state of his clothes.

The young seamstress tutted in disapproval.

“Oh, that Rainbow Dash. I do wish she’d settle down a little.” Reaching into her pocket, Rarity pulled out a pair of glasses and after putting them on, began to carefully scrutinize the traveler’s appearance. From this close, the traveler could faintly catch the sweet scent of lavender coming from her hair.

“Of course, there’s nothing wrong with her hobby of flying,” she continued, wrinkling her nose as she pinched the sleeve of his coat, “but I do wish she’d be a little more careful. After all, what if she had a serious accident? She might even end up with a scratch on her face. Of course, she might not care, but a girl’s face is her life, you know.”

After making a full circle around the traveler, Rarity crossed her arms and pursed her lips in thought, only to end up shaking her head.

“No no no, this simply will not do,” she clucked in disapproval. “I’m sorry dear, but you’re just going to have to take it off.”

Well that was certainly unexpected.

“Take… what off?” he asked, almost certain that he had misheard. He hadn’t.

“Why, your clothes of course,” Rarity said as if she were merely stating the obvious. “You don’t expect me to mend an ensemble while you’re still wearing it, do you?”

“Mend?” the traveler asked, confused. “I just need a tear fixed.” He pointed the sleeve. Rarity dismissed it with an airy wave.

“Oh please, that’s just a simple patch job,” came her offhanded reply. “The rest of you, however, will clearly take some real work, and I’d best get started now if we want to make it in time for the party.” With that, she deftly spun the traveler around and stripped off his jacket as easily as if she were peeling an orange.

“My goodness, and that shirt!” she gasped in horror. “Honestly, where did you find that thing?”

“… A store?” the traveler replied. He knew he’d bought it someplace, but how the hay was he supposed to remember where?

“Just any old store?” Rarity asked, sounding downright scandalized. “Darling, have you even seen the way it looks on you? It’s not doing you any favors. Trust me.”

“But–”

“Now, now, not another word,” she interrupted before hustling him back behind a silk screen. “You take that off and hand it here. Oh, and send over your slacks as well. Those could use a good sprucing up as well.” A few moments later, the shirt appeared at the top of the screen. The pants however, remained unseen.

“Really, darling,” the pretty young lady sighed as hands settled on her hips, “do I have to come back there and fetch them myself?” A few scrambling moments later, and the pants appeared as well. Simply rolling her eyes, Rarity turned to her flush-faced friend and mouthed the word 'men' as an amused smile played on her lips.

Just then, the front door crashed open, and Rainbow Dash tumbled in, a two-handed death grip on the traveler’s bags.

“Rainbow Dash, what on earth are you doing?” Rarity called out.

“Hey there, Rarity. Hey Flutters,” the colorful flyer panted from where she lay sprawled out on the ground. “I got his stuff here. I don’t know what he’s got here, but it’s like carrying a ton of bricks. Seriously.” Finally standing up, the little lady looked around only to realize that the traveler was nowhere to be seen.

“Hey, I don’t see him anywhere. Where’s he at?”

“He’s back there,” Fluttershy said, pointing at the screen and making a conspicuously careful effort not to look anywhere in that direction.

“Well what’s he doing back there?” Rainbow Dash asked, scratching her head in confusion. Flitting over to the silk screen, she called out, “Hey buddy, I got–”

“Ahem. Rainbow Dash?” the violet-haired seamstress called out with warning in her voice.

“What?”

Rarity simply held up the contents of her hand: a shirt and a pair of pants. Tomboy that she was, Rainbow Dash just stared at them. A moment passed. And then it clicked.

“Oh. Oh!” she said, finally realizing the implications. When she did, the young athlete’s whole face turned a bright shade of cherry red. “Er, well then… I’ll just, leave your stuff here; don’t wanna crowd you or anything, right? So… I’m just gonna be… um… yeahgottagoseeyabye!” And with that, Rainbow Dash rushed out the door so quickly that she left a rainbow-colored streak in her wake.

"My word,” Rarity tutted. “Fluttershy, would you be a dear and go after her? Who knows what kind of mess she’ll get into flying around like that.” Giving Rarity a grateful smile, the pink-cheeked girl dashed off after her friend, not quite so quick, but with impressive alacrity nonetheless.

“Well, now that that’s out of the way, I can finally get to work,” the stylish young lady said with a satisfied nod.

“Miss Rarity,” the traveler called from behind the screen, “There’s no need for all the trouble.”

“Don’t worry darling, it’s no trouble at all,” she called back to him. “All I need to do are make some readjustments to the stitching, cast a few stain removal spells and perhaps one or two resizing charms on the more troublesome areas, and make some general repairs all around.”

“And… that’s not trouble?”

Rarity’s laugh was like the tinkling of silver wind chimes in a spring breeze.

“Oh please, you make it sound like it’s going to be hard.”

Even trapped behind the screen as he was, curiosity overcame the traveler. And so, peeking very carefully around the edge of the silk panel, he watched as Rarity began her work.

It really was quite a spectacular feat. Removing a small wand from a band at her wrist, Rarity flicked it a few times and made the room come to life. Scissors, spools of thread, needles, bottles of fabric cleaners, and so much more began flying to the table where she stood. In a furious whirlwind, all these things began to go to work – a snip here, a mend there, a dab at one spot, just a bit of magic in another – and all at a pace that would have put ten normal seamstresses to shame. All the while, Rarity stood in the eye of the hurricane, humming away happily as she worked with the poise of absolute ease.

In a few short minutes, it was done, and Rarity brought the clothes over and hung them over the top of the screen.

“There, that should do it,” she said as she slung the heavy leather jacket over as well. “Now, be a dear and put those on so we can take a look at you.”

Redressing himself, the traveler stepped out from behind the screen. Rarity paused as she eyed him up and down, scrutinizing him on every last detail.

“… Much better,” the young lady finally declared with a very approving smile. “Oh yes, Rarity, you are a talent. Now keep in mind,” she continued, looking up to address the young man before her, “there’s only so much I could do – the quality of the fabric being really only so-so and all – but I think you’ll see that with a little cleaning and some minor tailoring, the whole ensemble just comes together.”

And she was right. At a glance, not much had changed about his clothes. They were still the same shirt and pant, still the same dark leather jacket. But now, they all seemed much… nicer. The travel stains had disappeared, and the fabrics were once again soft and supple. The frayed edges on the ends were gone, and everything seemed to follow the contours of his body: from his broad shoulders to the taper of his lean waist, everything seemed to fit like they'd been made just for him. In a way, he guessed they had.

“Now, let’s have a look at that hat,” Rarity smiled as she plucked it off his head before the traveler had a chance to protest. With a quick wave of her want, the dust was whisked away and the stains faded to nothingness. “Most people tend to forget,” she explained as she applied some lotion to the leather and magicked it in, “but accessories are essential to the outfit.”

“I’ll… keep that in mind.”

Once finished, the young lady reached up to place the hat back on his head. However, she paused just before she did. She hadn’t noticed it before, but under the hat, the traveler had a head of long and very straight jet black hair.

“You could also use a trim,” Rarity commented as gave him a contemplative look, “something to brighten up your appearance, as it were. And of course, there’s no need for these bangs, either,” she said, reaching to brush them aside. “Why–”

And she stopped. As she pushed his hair aside, their eyes unexpectedly met, her large sapphire blues staring right into his distant gunmetal grays.

“Oh my,” she murmured, the hat completely forgotten in her hand. The traveler used this opportunity to quickly take it and put it back on, breaking the eye contact rather abruptly.

“Problem?” the traveler asked, adjusting the hat to make sure it sat low over his face. He didn’t much like people looking at him too closely.

“No, not a problem,” Rarity replied as she gave herself a little shake. “You have very striking eyes, you know, almost like moonstone. I did think that brown would be fine since it matches your complexion, but now I’m thinking something in a navy blue or possibly the charcoal grey variety. It would certainly do more to bring out those eyes of yours.”

“Miss Rarity, there’s no need–”

“Oh, I know that, darling,” she laughed with an airy wave of her hand. “Call it what you will, but whenever I see quality material, I do so love to see it properly displayed.” It took a moment before the traveler realized the material in question was him. “Ooh, if only the royal marshals would get here. Then I would really have something to work with.”

“Marshals are quality material?” the traveler asked.

“Oh my, yes. Why, heroes of that stature must certainly cut a gallant figure, and that is truly rare. After all, if you need a certain shape, then any mannequin will do quite nicely. But men like the marshals must have a certain… air about them. Do you understand what I mean?”

“I guess,” the traveler replied, although he really didn’t.

“Yes, it’s quite true,” Rarity continued. “Anyone can just wear clothes, but to bring out true style, the person has to have a certain… je ne sais quoi about them. Maybe it comes from seeing the world and facing dangers every day, but whatever it is, I believe the marshals have it. After all, who better to bring my outfits to life than genuine heroes?”

“Can they even wear nice clothes?” the traveler asked. “They're on the road an awful lot.”

“But of course!” she replied, aghast. “Just because you’re galloping across the country doesn’t mean you can’t look good doing it.” The simple logic of that statement made it impossible for the traveler to respond.

In the meantime, as Rarity began putting away her things, her eyes alighted on the wall clock and she gasped.

“Oh my goodness,” the young lady breathed, eyes widening in alarm. “Look at the time: I was supposed to be helping out with decorations fifteen minutes ago!” Quickly gathering a bag full of supplies together, she turned to look regretfully at the traveler.

“It really is a shame I couldn’t do a little touch up on your hair,” she sighed. “It simply isn’t right to hide your eyes behind those forelocks, you know.” As she said this, the violet-haired girl let out a vexed little cry. “Oh, you will stay around and let me finish the job won’t you? Please tell me you will.”

“I… have business to take care of,” the traveler said evasively.

“Oh. Well in that case, perhaps I could help you finish and free up your schedule. What exactly is it that you need to do?” Rarity asked with a smile. It seemed like anything for the sake of fashion was acceptable to this one.

“Need to find Miss Twilight,” the traveler said as he shouldered up his bags. “Make a delivery.”

“Twilight?” Rarity said thoughtfully as she finished gathering her things. “Well, most of the organizing should be done, so she’s probably back at the library. It’s not far, but the traffic on the streets today might make it hard for you to get there. Hmm…” Suddenly, Rarity gasped.

Idea!” Running over to one of her mannequins, she removed a simple yellow dress with white lace and deftly folded it before dropping it into the bag. “I needed to drop off Twilight’s dress by this afternoon anyhow, so why don’t I take you over there myself?”

“I’d appreciate that,” the traveler replied with a grateful tip of his hat.

“Excellent. Come along then.” Walking by the traveler, Rarity smoothly dropped her bag to his open hand as she headed to the door.

“Er…what?” the young man asked as he looked at the bag in hand, almost unsure of how it got there. To this, the young beauty simply turned around and gave him an innocent, little smile.

“What, you don’t expect a lady to carry that by herself, do you?”

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