• Published 23rd Feb 2015
  • 2,102 Views, 102 Comments

The Flaws of Perfection - Calm Wind

Rarity is feeling the pressure of an upcoming fashion show. But she has the help of a perfect pony! Right? Our imperfections are what make us stronger. We will never be perfect, but we can try our hardest to be as close to perfect as we can.

  • ...

Chapter 1

(One Month after the events of That’s Not Quite How He Told It)
(Around the same time as the events of Caught Between a Rock and a Pie)

(For timeline info, please visit my homepage)

“Perfection!” Rarity said out loud as she gritted her teeth and worked the needle and thread with her magic. “Perfection, Rarity! We can’t have anything less!” she drilled herself as she kept her eyes locked on the fabric.

Perfection? It was something she always strove for in her work, but what she was currently working for demanded more than perfection. Yet it was proving quite difficult to obtain.

“Wait…” Rarity stopped, moving the needle away and picking up the silky, white fabric in her hooves. She examined the light blue thread she was working into it, taking a long look at the cross-hatching pattern. She put it down and bent her head backwards, shooting a small beam of magic across the room to her sketch pad. The pad floated over to her and set down beside the fabric.

Rarity glanced back and forth between the fabric and her sketch.

“UGH!” She slammed her sketch book down and tossed the fabric aside into a pile of failed designs… that was starting to reach quite high beside the sewing table. “Why did this look so good on paper?! It’s rubbish!” she tore the page right out of her sketchbook, crumpled it up, and tossed it towards an overflowing waste basket of similar crumpled pages.

She grumbled as she turned away from the table and walked through room while avoiding materials, rolls of fabric, and ponyquins both standing and tipped over. She reached a pair of large glass doors and threw them open, the rush of a cool, midafternoon breeze splashing against her face as she stepped out onto a balcony, removed and set her glasses on a small table beside the door, and flopped towards the balcony railing, hooking her arms over it as she lightly pressed her head to her arms.

“What’s wrong with me lately? Why does everything I make seem worthless?” she asked herself as she looked up. She stared out into the busy streets of Canterlot from the third story balcony. It was a beautiful view of the city, one that she would normally enjoy seeing, but right now it only reminded her of how much stress she was under. Not even the luxury of staying in the Equestria famous mansion of the great Fancy Pants was enough to calm her anxiety.

Since her success in the last show Fancy had gotten her into, he had given her the chance of a lifetime. A chance to enter new dresses in the annual Canterlot ‘Royal Wonder’ fashion show. Only the most legendary designers competed in this show.

Fancy invited her to stay in the comfort of his mansion for a month to prepare without distraction. He even offered to pay for all materials and needs so she could work without worry, but even with everything she needed, she felt like she was being crushed. Rarity had seen the kind of work submitted to this show in fashion magazines… and designs from this show had been known to be worn by Princess Celestia and Luna themselves!

She had to create something of unparalleled beauty, but could she match the skill and expertise of the most famous designers in Equestria? Rarity stepped away from the railing and looked at her glasses sitting on the glass table. As she stepped towards them she saw a faint reflection of herself in the glass.

She even looked stressed. Her shoulders were slumping, her eyes looked heavy, and her mane was a disaster… at least by her standards. This event was taking its toll on her. She always dreamed of competing in such an incredible show, but now that her moment had arrived, she felt incredibly unprepared. She felt tired… and weak. She had been provided with all the services she needed, but she had not been getting enough sleep, nor had she been eating enough. She was sure she had lost some weight, but for once it didn’t feel like a good thing.

She snatched up the glasses and replaced them over her eyes before taking a deep breath and walking back into her room.

“Stay strong Rarity, you mustn’t falter…” she stopped and looked about the room.

It was about three times the size of her room back at home in Ponyville. Large enough for her to separate it into living space and working space. It was well furnished and decorated with plenty of comfortable furniture, paintings, and other decorations. The bed was very large, enough for three ponies to fit on. However, all the ‘luxury’ of the room had slowly vanished over time as her work space seemed to slowly consume the whole room. Fabric, string, sewing tools… everything was everywhere.

“Who am I kidding?” Rarity groaned as she looked down, a wave of frustration suddenly overtaking her. “RGH!” She thrust a hoof out and punched one of the ponyquins that was standing beside her bed. It fell over, knocking over another one beside it. They both crashed to the floor noisily, causing Rarity to jump slightly.

She quickly felt barbaric for letting her anger get the better of her and used her magic to grab the first ponyquin, setting it up right before looking at the second. She was about to grab the second when—

“Dear me! What was that noise?” a female voice entered the room.

Rarity froze in place for a moment before looking up at the door to her room. Fancy Pants’ as of recently married wife, the famous model Fleur De Lis, stood in her doorway. She looked towards Rarity with concern.

“Oh,” Rarity grinned sheepishly as she set the second ponyquin back up. “Sorry to worry you, I knocked it over by accident,” an explanation that was as fake as her smile. Fleur seemed to accept the explanation, looking around at the room in a state of disarray. Rarity bit her lip, afraid that the room was in an appalling state, but again, it seemed to only cause concern to Fleur. Especially when she looked at Rarity herself.

“It looks like you’ve been really working hard,” she commented as she smiled and nodded to Rarity. “Please don’t forget that the mansion is open to you. If you wish for a relaxing bath or massage, we can arrange it,” she offered politely.

Both of those things sounded great to Rarity. Possibly at the same time would be even better. But Rarity couldn’t shake the pressure of the incoming show no matter how much pleasure she gave in to.

“That is awfully generous of you, but I’m afraid I have much to do still,” Rarity declined. Fleur didn’t seem entirely convinced, but Rarity was her guest, so she didn’t demand anything.

“The offer is open should you wish. Good luck with your work,” she said before leaving and shutting the door softly behind her.

Rarity instantly slumped to the floor and groaned.

What was she even doing?

The Flaws of Perfection
By: Calm Wind
Chapter 1:

Perfection, perfection, perfection, perfection!

The word played over and over in Rarity’s head. She couldn’t stop it and she didn’t want it to stop. That was the mindset she needed as she worked. Nothing less could be accepted for the approaching show. She had to work the sewing machine with purpose! She had to match colors like a star! She had to blow away all the competition with the best designs ever!

But could she really do it?

“OW!” Rarity yelped as accidentally poked herself in the arm with a needle she was poking through some fabric. “Ah! Ee!” she dropped the fabric, needle and thread on the table while shaking her hoof out and blowing on the spot she pricked. “Ohhh… oh, blast…” she mumbled as she examined the spot. A small stain of red appeared on her fur around it. She groaned as she looked for something to press to the little wound, setting for a tissue that she used her magic to hold and pressed to the little wound.

It was always such a hassle for her if she ever got a small cut or bruise. Her fur was pure white, so even a tiny bit of blood would cause an ugly stain, and bruises would show right through. It was something that kept her from any roughhousing activities, especially anything Applejack or Rainbow Dash would get involved in. Her image was everything to her and a cut or bruise, at least in her eyes, made her look disgusting.

To make the situation worse, a knock came from the door. Rarity squeaked, looking down at the tissue and seeing a tiny splotch of blood that was no bigger than a bread crumb. But even that was much too much. She quickly grabbed three more tissues from the box and used her magic to wrap them firmly around her arm, hoping that they would blend in with her fur.

“Come in!” she called towards the door with false cheer, internally screaming over the fact that her mane was a mess and that she looked incredibly stressed.

The door opened and Rarity stiffened as Fancy Pants himself stood in the doorway. Rarity forced herself to remain calm and tried not to think about the fact that the room in HIS house was a complete mess.

“Good evening, Miss Rarity!” he greeted her before looking around the room. “My, somepony has been busy!”

“Oh, I apologize for the mess…” Rarity faked a few laughs while looking away.

“Nonsense, my dear. I only hope I supplied enough materials for you to work your magic!” he chuckled as he stepped in. A vote of confidence from Fancy was usually a cure all, but Rarity found it hard to feel relaxed in any sense of the word.

Now that Fancy was in the light of the room, Rarity got a better look at him. For starters, she had no idea he was already back from work. She was surprised how fast the day had gone. But it looked like she wasn’t the only one who had had a long day. While he seemed to be handling it much more gracefully than her, he too looked a bit tired, possibly exhausted. Knowing how much responsibility he had and the name and business he carried, it didn’t surprise her. It was just strange to see him a little… ragged?

To be fair, the word ragged could describe Fancy Pants, even if he only had one strand of hair out of place. His suit was hanging a little loosely on him, and looked a little wrinkled. His mane was a little frazzled, perhaps just a strand of hair or two, and the look in his eyes suggested it had been a rough day, but even when he looked physically taxed, he still stood upright, was a gentlestallion, and didn’t waiver from being the pony who he was. Rarity envied him for such a skill. Keeping poise under pressure was definitely not one of her strong suits.

“My word! Are you bleeding?” he looked down as he stepped towards her. Rarity flinched and looked down to see that two things were unforeseen. One… the layered tissues did not hide the fact that she was bleeding for long. Two… just how hard did she stab herself with the needle?!

“Oh…” Rarity tried to act like nothing was wrong. “I had a little accident a few moments before you arrived, just a little prick with a needle, don’t worry,” she tried to play it off, not wanting to trouble Fancy.

“Absolutely not!” He quickly retorted as he turned and looked outside. “Fresh Cut!” Fancy called to a butler passing by. “Could you please fetch me some disinfectant and a bandage?”

“Right away, sir,” the butler trotted off and Fancy stepped back into the room.

“We’ll get that little prick all cleaned and covered,” Fancy nodded to her with a smile.

“Um… thank you,” Rarity blushed in embarrassment. She felt so clumsy. Fancy had way too much confidence in her. He spent so much effort and resources to help her out and all she did was bumble around and feel inadequate. Sometimes she wondered why he tried. She was just a small town designer with dreams that were way too big for her head.

“It seems that we’ve both sailed on some rough waters today,” he suddenly spoke up. Rarity flinched, convinced for a moment that he had read her mind, but in reality he was just speaking from what he saw around them. “Rarity, why don’t you join my wife and me for dinner tonight in the grand dining room?” he offered her… again.

Rarity had been taking her meals in her room since she arrived. Fancy was honoring her desire to work as much as possible and not be disturbed. In fact, this was the first time he had asked her in a few weeks, becoming aware of what she wished. This invitation however, was not just out of the blue. Rarity was certain he could see and tell how stressed she was. He was very perceptive after all.

As much as she wanted to keep working, after turning down two very luxurious sounding pleasures earlier, she simply could not find it in herself to turn down a third. That, and if Fancy finally broke the silence, he probably knew what she needed more than she did. It was hard to disagree with one of his intelligence and sense.

“I would be happy too,” Rarity nodded with a weak smile. “Oh, should I wear something nice?” Rarity asked, not quite sure how things worked for them. Fancy chuckled and shook his head.

“Oh no, Miss Rarity. Au natural, in fact, I insist. Home is one of the few places I can shed this unbearable suit of mine,” he joked while glancing at the black suit he was never seen without. Rarity found herself laughing a little with him.

“But I insist I fix my mane at least,” she added as the two shared a little humor.

Maybe a little relaxation would help. Piling on the stress when one was already stressed wasn’t a good idea. Even if it was just for one dinner, she needed to get away from her work. She had yet to see much of the mansion anyway besides the path from the front door to her room and the short walk to the washroom one door down. There had been a desire in the back of her mind since she arrived to discover more of the lifestyle of the richest pony in Equestria.

Now if only she could force the competition out of her thoughts for an hour or so she could thoroughly enjoy herself tonight.

To say that Rarity was in awe of Fancy’s dining room would be an understatement. She was almost certain not even Celestia dined in such a luxurious room.

It was in the very center of the mansion on the bottom floor, accessible from every other room on the first floor in some way or another. It extended at least thirty yards long and twenty yards wide with a high ceiling that extended up past the second floor. One could even see the second floor from below, a large balcony that extended the length of all four walls so that one could walk around the three large chandeliers that hung down from the ceiling. The room was painted primarily red, but there were many artistic designs in yellow, orange and green that adorned the walls. Multiple paintings and tapestries hung high up on the walls and in the corners of the room were armor stands that donned sets of royal guard armor from different centuries, all polished and finished to the point where one could see their reflection in them.

The table itself was nearly as long as the room, set up with fine silver plates and utensils, each accompanied by a wine glass turned upside down, awaiting any who may sit. There were many flower arrangements fixated in the middle of the table. More flowers than Rarity had ever seen in her life, and some she didn’t even recognize. Between each flower arrangement was a four pronged candelabra with long white candles, all of which were lit despite only one end of the table being used. Presentation was everything after all.

With the chandeliers dimmed and the glow of the candles setting the mood, Rarity dined with Fancy and Fleur on the far end of the table. Fancy sat at the head of the table with Fleur to his right and Rarity to his left. The spaces in front of them had been cleared, the chef apparently taking it upon himself to arrange the food for them and have it brought out fresh and ready to eat as soon as it was placed before them.

Rarity barely had time to make all the observations before their meal was brought out to them on a cloth covered cart by one of the many unicorn butlers walking around the dining room.

“What has Golden Ladle cooked up for us tonight?” Fancy asked as the butler brought the cart to a halt. There were three covered, silver plates. The butler took the covers off of each one, grabbing all three in his magic. The plates hovered down in front of Rarity and Fleur first, before the final one being placed in front of Fancy. An assortment of greens, a small collection of fruit, what looked to be well-cooked fish. The butler gave a bow.

“Tonight, Golden has prepared an assortment of alfalfa and kale sweetened with a dab of honey dressing, a fresh batch of kiwi, grapes, and strawberries, and grilled swordfish, lightly salted and given a dash of lemon juice.”

“Swordfish!” Fancy’s eyes brightened. “My, Golden IS treating us tonight. Thank you, and please give him my compliments ahead of time,” Fancy nodded to the butler. The butler returned the nod before pushing the cart away.

Rarity had been treated to the fine cuisine since she arrived, but had barely paid close attention to it… at times not even finishing it under stress. However, this was far and away the most exquisite dish she had been treated to yet. Fancy coming to invite her to dinner on the same night… it couldn’t be coincidence, could it? He did just express surprise at the dish, but he was crafty like that.

She decided not to think about it, because she too hungry and too stressed out to overthink things. That and the food was tantalizing. She picked up her fork and knife in her magic, eager to try the swordfish immediately, having never had such a treat before. She cut a small piece, and took a bite, the flavor exploding onto her taste buds. She never knew a fish could have so much flavor. It was enhanced by the lemon and the salt, but it had its own kick together with its interesting texture and toughness.

This was exactly what she needed. She wasn’t going to be free of her work weighing her down, but this was a nice distraction. As usual Fancy knew what was best for her before she even considered it.

“Mmmm… this is truly delicious,” Fancy commented as another butler came by, pouring each of them a modest glass of Griffonese red wine. Rarity was glad they were only served a little. After her last encounter with wine while with Fancy she was sure to be a bit more aware of how much she drank.

“So…” Fleur began. Rarity looked up, but saw Fleur was addressing Fancy. “You said you had quite a day. Anything interesting happen?” she asked. Rarity looked back down and started work on her salad as Fancy answered.

“Indeed, my dear. I met with an old friend of my Father’s,” Fancy explained. “Profit Turner, do you know of him?”

“Can’t say I do…” Fleur tipped her head as she helped herself to some kiwi. Fancy smiled.

“He was one of my father’s most trusted business partners. Since my father’s passing, he has been reluctant to put his faith in me, but I finally managed to convince him today. Believe me, he doesn’t trust many when it comes to his bits, but he’s giving me a chance. In three weeks, we are meeting with some of his previous customers at the Grand City Hall Finance Conference. He’s already given me the resources to draw them into a new deal, I just have to deliver.”

“That sounds like quite a task,” Fleur said with worry. Fancy nodded.

“A little, but they are all ponies who knew my father, and I’m convinced I can reel them in. I just have to make a few investments and contracts over the next few weeks and I’ll have all I need. I’m afraid I won’t be getting much sleep for a while, but it will be worth it,” Fancy assured her.

Rarity lost track of what was being said fairly quickly. It was a lot of business talk that she didn’t even begin to understand. Fleur didn’t seem the type to follow it either, but Rarity could understand why she was asking. Fancy was her husband after all, and it was probably a release for him for someone dear to show interest in his work as opposed to a business partner or potential client.

Rarity continued to enjoy the dinner, but the pleasure of the situation was much shorter lived than she hoped. Perhaps it was a mix of her not having any more delicious swordfish and the small bit of wine that she drank, but she found her frustration returning. Nearly everything else said was tuned out because she couldn’t shake the thought that she was going right back to her busy room after to look upon how much she hadn’t accomplished.

Fancy and Fleur simply kept conversing. Rarity didn’t notice, but they were purposely leaving her be, probably to let her enjoy her dinner without interruption. She appreciated that, but again… the dresses… her work… the stress was pushing her to demand for more wine, but she didn’t want to repeat her mistake in Ponyville.

With dinner finished and the plates being cleared. Fleur got up from her seat and leaned over to Fancy.

“I’ll go prepare the bath for us,” she smiled, planting a small kiss on his cheek.

“Thank you, my dear. I’ll be along shortly,” he replied as she smiled and left.

Bath… Rarity now wished she had accepted the offer earlier. Just dinner was not enough pleasure to relieve her stress… not that anything would at this point.

“So, Miss Rarity…” Fancy suddenly spoke to her. It took Rarity two seconds to realize he had spoken.

“Oh! Sorry, enjoying the luxury, haha…” she replied awkwardly, mentally slapping herself with every syllable uttered.

“Quite alright,” Fancy chuckled before nodding. “Did you enjoy the dinner?” he asked.

“Yes, quite much. I scarcely get to dine like this,” she replied instantly, not wanting to appear as out of it as she actually was. Fancy accepted her answer before moving on.

“Tell me, how goes the work on your dresses? By your room I can tell you have been quite the busy bee,” he asked casually.

Unfortunately there was nothing casual about the question to Rarity. Fancy was asking out of courtesy, he was not at fault, but it stabbed her right in the chest, only reminding her of her lack of progress and confidence. Rarity really didn’t want to discuss with the pony who had faith in her about how his faith may have been misplaced.

“Oh! It’s… going wonderfully!” she instantly lied. “The materials you’ve supplied have been most adequate. The designs are coming along… nicely! And I think I’ll have my full line up in…” Rarity felt like a glass shattered in the middle of her brain.

Was she insane? Why was she lying to Fancy? The one pony who was likely to give her the benefit of the doubt? The pony who believed in her? The pony who was smiling at her from his spot at the table, eager to hear her and help her out in any way he could?


“Ugh…” Rarity slumped in her seat. Fancy leaned over as Rarity’s head nearly disappeared behind one of the flower arrangements.

“Miss Rarity, are you alright?” he asked.

“No… I’m not. Fancy, I’m far from okay,” she admitted.

“Dear me, what is the matter?” he asked as Rarity slowly sat back up in her seat and stuffed her face into her hooves.

“That was a lie. It’s terrible Fancy. It’s going horribly. Nothing I draw up seems to be coming out the way I want it. The few dresses I’ve completed so far don’t look up to the challenge of this competition. I don’t know what’s wrong with me! I feel like I’ve completely lost my edge!” she whined while letting her head lean back.

Fancy was surprised to say the least. Rarity could tell because he had nothing to say right from the get go. He cleared his throat and looked at her with concern.

“That’s not true Rarity. The competition is harsh, yes, but you have to believe in yourself,” he replied.

Something… was wrong.

Believe in herself? BELIEVE IN HERSELF?!

That’s really all he had to say? Rarity found the statement to be very inappropriate. Then again, Fancy was so perfect in many ways… making big bits and never being challenged by what stood in his way. He didn’t understand. Before Rarity could think twice, she found herself retorting.

“Not everypony is like you!” she snapped at him.

Rarity gasped, her eyes widened, and she threw her hooves over her mouth. Fancy had pulled away from her and was blinking in surprise.

“I…I beg your pardon?” he asked, confused.

Rarity wanted to die. She had never said anything so stupid before in her life to a more significant pony in her career and her life. She didn’t know what came over her, or what to do to fix the inexcusable remark.

“I… I…” she pushed away from the table and quickly stood up. “I need to get back to my work, excuse me!” she turned and galloped out towards the door to the front hall, bumping into one of the butlers before promptly exiting.

Fancy just sat and stared at the door, not quite sure what had just happened.

---To Be Continued---