• Published 10th Dec 2013
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My Family and Other Equestrians - Blade Star

A HiE fic with a twist. Our protagonist is not alone. How does one approach being in Equestria, when their family is along for the ride?

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Chapter 37 - Paperazzi

The fashion show, as interesting as it was, did drag on for a fair while. Hoity Toity presided over things, announcing each line as it came. Rarity’s, whilst not the main event of the show, was nevertheless at the very least, one of the highlighted designs. Her winter themed designs looked far better than they had done when I had seen them in the shop. Of course, a great deal was added to the ensembles by the ambience of the display and the models themselves. Sweet Celestia, I’m starting to sound like I actually know what I’m on about.

With each set of designs, the designer was rewarded with a spotlight on their box. And this was one of the reasons Rarity had asked me to accompany her. When the spotlight turned to us, the ponies in attendance saw a highly successful mare, with a not too bad looking fellow accompanying her. In a city that is all but based on style over substance, I think I contributed to Rarity’s style rather well.

When the last ensemble had left the stage and the catwalk, there were of course the speeches to be made. This was more a social thing, mainly drawing from notable celebrities and other important figures in the fashion world. Rarity, for all her amazing skill and what I maintain to be deserved fame, was simply a designer. Only those who had effective dynasties in the fashion world were permitted to make speeches. Nevertheless, after getting over her brief case of butterflies and all the feigned embarrassment that accompanied the spotlight and applause, my companion for the evening seemed to have enjoyed herself immensely.

All that now remained was to exit through the red carpet, another apparently universal concept. We would make our way through the many reporters; get a few photographs taken by necessity and protocol, before catching a cab back to the hotel. Once we reached the cab, I could not foresee any problems. However, I have never been terribly good with crowds.

I guess you could put it down to spending a large portion of my life so far in the countryside. Sure, I had grown up not too far from a major city and had spent my early years in an urbanised town, but that was only until I was ten. I had started to notice it when I occasionally went back there with my father. The vast crowds made me feel uneasy, no matter where I looked, people were always walking at you, and you could never simply follow the crowd. I never had attacks or anything like that, but I could never feel comfortable in large groups. I was typically in a permanent state of unease.

This carried over into high school; I didn’t cope well with the huge numbers of kids. Consequently, I isolated myself, a foalish move in hindsight, and just tried to muddle through. Such behaviour caused me to catch the attention of the native bullies.

The trouble is, I need personal space, hence perhaps why I didn’t cope well with student accommodations either. On Sweet Apple Acres, I had my own large room to myself and if I so desired, I had literally acres of orchards and farmlands to wander in. I’m just no longer used to a busy, bustling city environment. I had a pretty good idea what taking Rarity down the red carpet, with hundreds of reporters, fans and, paparazzi photographers looking on, would do to me.

I have never frozen up in a situation like that, nor did I intend to. It would simply be a matter of breathing steadily, putting on a fake showbiz smile and walking her to the cab. Just put one hoof in front of the other as Fluttershy would put it. No matter what, I was not going to show Rarity, or myself up, certainly not before the media.

We both stood before the large double doors that exited the concert hall, outside the more important, or at least more famous of the guests were departing down the red carpet. Passing the menagerie of flashing cameras and incomprehensible shouted questions they boarded the Equestrian equivalent of a limousine. They were still carriages, just somewhat larger and more opulent. Most were pulled by four ponies due to the increased weight.

We stood with several of the other designers who had attended the show. For many of them, it was either their first or second time attending such an event. Rarity on the other hand had now attended the fashion show in Canterlot, in some capacity, no less than seven times. She certainly did stand out as a proverbial big fish in a small pond. Whilst the other mares, and occasional stallion, chatted excitedly about possibly meeting important figures in the fashion world as well as this event possibly being their ‘big break’, Rarity remained fairly quiet, looking on with a hint of nostalgia.

“Fond memories?” I asked her. Rarity turned to look at me still smiling with content.

“Just remembering what it was like when it was my turn, darling,” she replied. “It makes me realise how far I’ve come since I set up a small little shop in an out of the way town. Who knows, perhaps before long I will get my ‘big break’.”

“Would you really want that though?” I asked hesitantly. “Wouldn’t it mean having to expand your business and move here?” Rarity tittered and shook her head.

“Celestia, no, darling. My business has grown significantly since I originally began and I haven’t felt the need to disappear on you yet have I? No, it would mean more work, but I could never leave Ponyville and everypony. Besides, whilst I may enjoy occasionally visiting Canterlot, I don’t think I could ever adjust to the company here.”

As we talked, we both picked up on a few of the conversations going on around us. To sum up the many conversations, a great deal of backstabbing was going on, with more than a few ponies being thrown under the bus by their supposed friends.

“Ah see what you mean, Rarity,” I said after listening for a while.

Just then, the large double doors again opened out for us to take our leave. In the place of the limos, a number of cabs were lined up along the street. Each one was pre-arranged by the event organisers to take us back to our various hotels. Each designer would head down the red carpet with their ‘plus one’, have a few shots taken by the photographers, answer a couple of questions and then head off. At least, that was the plan.

As soon as the pair of us stepped through those doors our senses came under a fantastic assault. Dozens of shouted questions made it impossible to talk; I could barely hear my own thoughts, never mind another pony’s speech. Our eyes were constantly flash blinded as a variety of camera bulbs went off again and again. It was like having flashbang grenades go off in your face. And to top it all off, the many lights that illuminated the area cooked us as we walked. In short, it was like walking through an assault by Special Forces.

I quickly found that Rarity had latched herself onto my foreleg as we began. I was just as glad as her that there were two of us. I certainly couldn’t have coped walking through this nonsense on my own. I thanked my lucky stars that it was a straight shot to the rickshaw waiting for us at the far end, I was pretty much almost blinded, and of course I couldn’t do anything to compensate, lest I look like an absolute foal.

I tried to focus as did Rarity I guess, and pressed on. I could make out the occasional shouted question from somepony in the assembled press. Though why they should ask any questions when it was impossible for anypony to be heard, never mind understood, was beyond me.

My own slight fear of crowds reared its ugly head as we walked too. The way in which we effectively had to walk down a thin tunnel of space, surrounded on all side by leaches in equine bodies didn’t do much for my constitution. Nevertheless, I did my best to force it down and ignore the sweat building on my forehead. As far as I could tell, I don’t think anypony thought anything was amiss.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, we reached the waiting carriage. Rarity now turned around, as did I, to address the assembled reporters and take questions. They came thick and fast, though at least they remained on topic and tasteful, so I guess they aren’t as bad as the Western press on Earth. This line of thought lasted right up until this one pony got right up in my face, literally hovering in front of me.

“Smile for the camera!” He semi shouted as he proceeded to flash blind us.

The offending pony was a pegasus of a fairly slight build, with a light blue coat, slightly darker than RD’s and a frankly ridiculous dark green mane. He’d got so much gel in it that it was probably more gel than actual hair. His whole personality just said scumbag. I was beginning to suspect that Equestria did have paparazzi. This was quickly confirmed when he began to ask questions.

For want of a better word, the horseapples that came out of this bugger’s mouth were sufficient to make an entire Cornish harbour blush in embarrassment. They certainly had nothing to do with fashion. Hay, an alarming number pertained to Rarity’s personal life, stuff that you just don’t ask somepony, particularly a lady. I didn’t think, I just acted.

The foul mouthed pegasus went flying down the red carpet, though not through the use of his wings. Plus, I’d like to bet that he’ll have a black eye when he wakes up tomorrow. Rarity had frozen up, her face a picture of shock and outrage, since he began with the obscene questions, so she didn’t put up much of a fight when I manhandled her into the carriage, while shaking my left hoof to get the feeling back.

The pegasus however, in spite of my fairly solid blow, got back up and again attempted to pester us. Luckily this time, a couple of the Royal Guard, who were providing security for the event quickly seized him. He had no press badge on him as all the others did, so I guessed that his presence here wasn’t entirely approved.

“Thank you, gentlecolts,” I called over the now increased cacophony of noise. “Much obliged.” The two guards waved their own thanks in return and hauled the paparazzi away from my view. I then hoped in the carriage myself and instructed the driver to take us back to the Equestrian Imperial, offering an extra ten bits if he got us there in ten minutes. I’d rather not be in a rickshaw when Rarity came to her senses.

Rarity remained in her state, semi-dazed for the whole trip back. I suppose the dual shock of that insulting little Pegasus and then my punching him squarely on the jaw would be a little overwhelming. Especially as it all happened in front of several dozen reporters and photographers.

Our carriage continued on its way through the now darker streets of Canterlot, the roadway only lit by a few street lamps here and there. Away from the hustle and bustle of fashion and show business the night was allowed to prevail with the moon casting its usual soft glow onto the great city.

Finally, we pulled up at the Equestrian Imperial. Checking the clock above the main entrance, I saw that the driver had indeed been prompt in getting us back here. Thus I gave him the extra ten Bits on top of the fare as I promised. Opening the carriage door on Rarity’s side, I helped her down to the street. Then, taking her by the foreleg, I led her inside the hotel.

The incident on the red carpet had by no means completely ruined Rarity’s view of the show, and I doubted it would have much, if any, impact on the reception tomorrow. However, the whole business had thrown the mare off somewhat, even on her previous visits, I could not recall her being hassled in such a way. After a brief wait, we headed into the elevator which would take us up to our room. It was at this point, that Rarity once again became lucid.

“That just happened, didn’t it?” she said. Her speech was half a statement and half a question.

“Yep,” I replied, not really sure of what I was going to say. Given her reaction to my earlier transgressions though, I was certain how Rarity would react. Or at least I thought I was.

I was prepared for her to begin yelling at me for ruining her evening, for behaving in such an uncouth manner, and doing it all in front of some of the most important ponies in the world of fashion. None of this came though. Instead, I suddenly found the fashionista embracing me in a hug. Now I was confused.

“Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, darling!” she said as she continued to embrace me.

“Err, Rarity?” Just when you think you’ve got a dame figured out, they go and throw a curve ball.

“I can’t thank you enough for saving me back there!” she went on. Eventually, she stopped hugging me and looked me in the eye.

“Aren’t you mad at me for all that though?” I asked stupidly. A moment later my brain chimed in with the advice to shut up and accept the thanks. Nevertheless, I went on. “Ah thought, you’d be ticked at such ‘uncouth behaviour’. Ah mean, all those ponies saw what ah did to that feller.”

“No, Blade Star, that was no petty bar brawl, you were defending me from that vile urchin. If anything, all those ponies will see you as quite the upstanding gentlecolt. Though I must say, I didn’t expect you to send him so far backward.” She then proceeded to titter behind her hoof. I was off the hook, and possibly forgiven for my earlier misdemeanour at the restaurant.

With that, the elevator chimed and the doors slid open silently. We walked out into the hallway and quickly found our room. Retrieving the key from her saddlebags, Rarity opened the door and headed inside, with me following. Closing the door behind me with my magic, I saw Rarity was already lying down on her bed, clearly tired from the events of the evening.

“Well, Blade Star, you sure know how to show a mare a good time. I’m certainly looking forward to the reception tomorrow.” She said as she looked up at the ceiling. I laughed quietly in response, not entirely sure if she was being sincere or not.

“What time is that reception at anyway?” I asked as I removed my waistcoat. “Ah thought ah might do a couple things in the city tomorrow. Strong Shield suggested Ah drop by the Officers Club while ah’m here. And maybe you could do a bit around the shops.”

“The reception should be around five I’d say,” Rarity replied, thinking. “And I certainly could use the chance to get some shopping done, pick up a few materials for a few ponies. So, yes, I don’t see why we cannot do that.” She nodded to herself before getting up off the bed again. “Right, I had better change out of this, darling. Back in a minute.” And with that, she headed into the bathroom to change.

I was again sitting out on the room’s balcony enjoying the night sky. I’d been there since Rarity had gone to change out of her dress. As far as I knew, she was now in her bed, snoring peacefully, with her sleep aid over her eyes.

The events of the evening had caught up with me after she had dropped off and I just felt drained at this point. Busy crowds always did that to me, requiring me to relax for a while before trying to get some sleep. I was currently sitting on one of the deck chairs looking out over the city and the beautiful sky, a glass in my magic. It had been a long day, and I figured that I’d earned it. On the table next to me sat the bottle of Appleoosian Whiskey I’d taken from the minibar and where my current drink came from. I may not drink much with others, but I occasionally had a couple glasses to myself. Still, I knew my limits and wasn’t about to pour a third, plus the ice was melting anyway.

Tomorrow would be busy enough with the reception, so I resolved to simply take it easy at the Officers Club for a few hours. Assuming Strong Shield could get me in that was. That would leave me prepared for the irritation that was called social interaction. On the other hand, I would be a pretty poor Brony if I did not accept the fundamental teaching of MLP; friendship was magic after all. Draining my glass, I replaced the top on the bottle and got up, quickly bidding Luna a goodnight before heading inside.

Author's Note:

Proofread by Sidetrack.

The next chapter will be another interlude focusing on Blade Star's father.

As ever, comment below with your views thought and opinions.

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