• Published 25th Jul 2012
  • 21,932 Views, 1,820 Comments

The Secret Life of Rarity - BronyWriter

Rarity has a deep dark secret that she cannot control but must hide from the world.

  • ...

Assertiveness, Cherries, and Tomatoes

"Thank you ever so much for that delightful lunch, Pinkie Pie," said Rarity as her and her bouncy pink friend walked through the Ponyville market. "It has been far too long since the two of us got together for lunch."

"No problem at all, Rarity!" chirped Pinkie Pie. "I love spending time with my bestest friends!"

Rarity gave Pinkie a big smile which Pinkie promptly returned and the two of them began looking around to see if here was anything that they needed at the market. "Let's see now," said Rarity to herself. "I need carrots, celery, apples, milk—"

"Ooh, Fluttershy!" said Pinkie.

"Yes, Fluttershy," repeated Rarity absentmindedly. "Fluttershy, eggs, cheese—"

"No, silly," Pinkie giggled. "Fluttershy is over at the asparagus stand!" Rarity looked to where Pinkie was pointing and sure enough, Fluttershy was standing by the asparagus stand next to a pair of snobby ponies who were giving her snide remarks.

"Would you mind moving back? You're in my personal space," said the first one in a voice that Rarity found immensely grating on her ears.

"But..." said Fluttershy meekly.

"Seriously, do you need your asparagus so badly? Get a life!" said the other one. Somehow her voice was even more annoying.

Fluttershy lowered her head and slunk backwards, not even noticing Pinkie and Rarity. "Oh, okay, there's no rush," said the dejected pegasus.

Rarity glared at the two ghastly ponies. She couldn't stand to see them treat Fluttershy like that! "Fluttershy!" she said, causing Fluttershy to stop backing up. "You mustn't let them treat you that way!"

"Oh, it's...it's really no big deal," mumbled Fluttershy.

"It's bigger than big, it's double-big!" exclaimed Pinkie. "You are a pony with a problem!"

"What problem?" asked Fluttershy. Pinkie and Rarity traded calculating looks and nods, prompting Pinkie Pie to move Fluttershy to face the asparagus stand. Before Fluttershy could react, Pinkie zipped past her so fast that she spun around and fell down to the ground in a dazed heap.

"Oh, go ahead Pinkie Pie, you first," said Fluttershy.

"Right there!" said Pinkie Pie as she tapped Fluttershy's forehead. "That's the problem!"

"You've got to stop being such a doormat!" lectured Rarity.

Fluttershy's eyes widened in terror. "A doormat?"

"A pushover, darling," said Rarity. "You've got to stand up for yourself! Promise us!"

"Okay," said Fluttershy with an almost irritating level of uncertainty. "I promise." Rarity rolled her eyes. Only Fluttershy could prove how much of a pushover she was by promising to not be a pushover. "Oh good!" said Fluttershy, noticing that there was still one asparagus bunch. However, before she could buy it herself, a geeky Earth Pony stallion walked by and quickly bought the last bunch. Fluttershy looked at the ground dejectedly. "Oh that's okay, I don't mind."

Rarity rolled her eyes. "Watch and learn," she instructed. She looked over at her target. This one would be easy. "Hold it right there, Mr. Small and Handsome!" she said as she walked up to the stallion.

"Who, me?" asked the stallion.

Oh Celestia, he was even more hideous this close up. She tried her best to sound seductive. "Well of course, you!" she replied. "Nopony ever called you handsome before?"

"Uh... that'd be a big no," the stallion deadpanned.

Gracious, it wasn't hard to see why. He was an abomination of nature. "Oh, well they should!" said Rarity. "How about flexing some of your muscles for me?" She lifted up his left foreleg to prompt him, which caused his bow-tie to begin spinning around rapidly. Stupid metaphors, she thought to herself.

The stallion gave her an annoying giggle and did his best to flex his muscles on his left foreleg. The strain that even this small action had on his muscles was immediately apparent and Rarity had to squint to see any change at all. However, years of her secret life meant that she was marvelous at faking emotions, so she gave an impressed gasp despite the fact that part of her wanted to vomit at this pitiful display.

"Oh my heavens!" she cried in fake excitement. "Do you think that a strong, handsome stallion such as yourself could give my friend the last asparagus?" she said as she used her magic to give him one bit and take the asparagus out of his saddlebag. He began babbling like the moron he was and Rarity secretly shot him a dirty look before turning her attention back to Fluttershy.

"See? That's not so hard is it?" she asked as she put the asparagus in Fluttershy's saddlebag.

"Um, I guess not," she said.

"Alright then," said Rarity, taking Fluttershy's list out of her saddlebag. "What else is on your list?"

"Let's see. I also need tomatoes," said Fluttershy.

"Then to the tomato stand we go!" said Pinkie.

The three friends walked over to the tomato stand and all three were glad to see that there were plenty of tomatoes left. They would not have the same problem that they had just had.

Fluttershy walked over to the stand and happily scooped three tomatoes into her bag before placing a bit on the counter. Rarity and Fluttershy both were happy to see that this particular tomato vendor was far more reasonable and didn't go out of her way to extort Fluttershy. Rarity was especially glad that she didn't have to kill her because without Scarlet Tomato around, Ponyville was struck with a tomato shortage for a few weeks. This new tomato vendor came about at just the right time to re-supply Ponyville with tomatoes.

Fluttershy began walking away when the tomato vendor cleared her throat. "That'll be two bits, not one."

"Oh you have got to be kidding me," said Rarity under her breath. "What in Equestria is it with these tomato vendors?!"

After a brief exchange, Fluttershy placed another bit on the counter before trying to walk away. Pinkie Pie groaned and all of a sudden, she popped up in front of the tomato stand.

"What do you think you're doing?" she asked.

"Minding my own business, maybe you should try it!" retorted the tomato vendor.

"Two bits for tomatoes is outrageous!" said Pinkie, pulling the second bit away. "One bit is the right price!"

"I say its two bits!" said the vendor, pulling the bit back over to her.

Rarity had seen Pinkie Pie pull some outrageous stunts before, but this was a new one. She was arguing back and forth with the tomato vendor, each pulling the bit towards them when Pinkie did something outrageous - as Pinkie Pies such as Pinkie are apt to do - she started arguing for two bits. However, the tomato vendor actually started arguing for one bit and before the vendor knew what had happened, Pinkie agreed that Fluttershy should only pay one bit.

Only Pinkie Pie, thought Rarity. Only Pinkie Pie.

Pinkie rejoined the group and Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie all walked away, giggling at Pinkie's successful antics. "See, asserting yourself can be fun!"

"I guess you're right," said Fluttershy.

"So Fluttershy, do you feel like giving it a try?" asked Rarity.

"Um, okay," said Fluttershy. Rarity was about to remark that she was being a doormat by taking the path of least resistance by agreeing to what they were saying right away, but Fluttershy's eye caught the cherry stand at that moment and she zoomed over. To Rarity's surprise, tomato vendors weren't the only ponies who could be extortionists. He was charging ten bits for one cherry!

Fluttershy looked at Pinkie and Rarity helplessly and they both egged her on, desperately hoping that she had picked up on something that would help her. Fluttershy turned back to the cherry vendor.

"Oh, hey, Mr. Handsome, I know you want to do the right thing because you're handsome and...and strong and big, handsome, strong guys are always nice to everypony, right?" Rarity looked on nervously. It wasn't the worst first effort but unsurprisingly it didn't faze the cherry vendor.

"Ten bits for the cherry!" he said flatly.

Fluttershy looked back and Pinkie egged her on, hoping that she would get it this time. Fluttershy turned back to the vendor resolutely. "Ten bits for one cherry is outrageous!" she said sternly. A small hope ignited inside Rarity. It was a good start to be sure. "I insist on paying you... eleven bits!" Rarity's eyes widened as the small hope for Fluttershy was dragged down into a basement of its own and violently murdered.

The cherry vendor's unfazed look quickly shifted to one of utter bewilderment at the pegasus' offer. "Eleven bits?"

"Um... I mean... nine bits!" Rarity and Pinkie traded a confused look, hoping that Fluttershy would recover but they were both aware of the likelihood of that.

"Now wait a minute," said the vendor who seemed just as confused as the duo and was trying to figure out Fluttershy's train of thought.

"Okay, twelve bits, but that's my final offer!" Rarity felt like she couldn't watch but she couldn't look away from the horror that was unfolding before her. Pinkie had literally dug a hole in the ground and shoved her head into it. Rarity put what she hoped was a comforting hoof on her head but it might have been more to steady herself.

"I think you're confused," said the vendor.

"Twelve bits, take it or leave it!" said Fluttershy.

"Okay, okay, I'll take it."

Fluttershy reached into her bag to pull out the money but Rarity snapped out of her stupor just in time to pull Fluttershy and her money away from the stand.

"Don't give him your money!" said Pinkie. "One cherry is not worth twelve bits!"

"But... I was only doing what you did!" Fluttershy insisted.

Rarity released her grip on Fluttershy's tail and shook her head. "It was a valiant effort, but you should refuse to give him your business and just walk away."

"But I can't let Angel starve!" said Fluttershy. "He won't eat it unless I make it just right!" Ah, so that's what this was about: feeding that stupid, abusive bunny of hers. Good gracious, she was even more of a pushover today than Rarity thought. "I need that cherry no matter what it costs!"

Before Rarity and Pinkie could react, Fluttershy began flying over to the cherry stand where the vendor was giving her a smug smile.

"In that case, twenty bits!" he said.

Fluttershy screeched to a halt. "Twenty! But... I don't have that much."

"Then why are you wasting my time?" said the vendor. Rarity gave a small growl of anger and walked over to the stand, ready to give him a piece of her mind but before she could, a mare walked past the stand.

"I'll give ya two bits for that cherry," she said as she place two bits on the counter and took the cherry.

"Sold!" said the vendor. He smirked and turned his attention back to Fluttershy. "Eh, tough break kid. Next time don't be such a doormat."

Fluttershy's face fell as she turned around and walked away, looking absolutely heartbroken. Rarity and Pinkie Pie looked at each other helplessly before Rarity noticed the cherry vendor cleaning up for the day.

No, she could still give that nasty stallion a piece of her mind. She flashed an angry look in his direction and marched on over to him. Pinkie Pie followed behind closely.

"Just who do you think you are?" she yelled.

The vendor looked up confusedly but took a small step back when he saw Rarity and Pinkie Pie in front of his stand. "Uh... can I help you?"

Rarity slammed her hoof on the vendor's stall with enough force to dent the wood. "You can help me by giving me a cherry for my friend!"

The vendor flattened his ears and uneasily scratched the back of his neck. "Well uh... I don't really have any cherries right now, but if you..."

"How in Equestria could you do that to her?!" Rarity snarled. "Do you have any sense of morals or ethics at all?!"

"Well lady I have a business to..."

"Extortion is illegal!" Pinkie Pie chimed in. "What you did was super-duper wrong!"

"Well you see..."

"I don't want to hear it," said Rarity, venom dripping from every word. "What you just did to her was unjustifiable! Did you know that because she didn't get that cherry, she's going to get hit tonight?"

"H-hit?" asked the vendor, his resolve faltering under the glares of the two mares.

"Yes! Her bunny is going to hit her if she doesn't do everything that he says, and now she has to go home knowing that she's going to more or less be in a world of trouble and IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!" screeched Rarity. The vendor looked helplessly at Pinkie Pie, hoping maybe that she would be less mad or more reasonable than Rarity.

No such luck as Pinkie seemed just as mad with him as Rarity was. "You should be ashamed of yourself, picking on poor Fluttershy like that!"

"Whatever made you think that you could do that?!" asked Rarity.

The vendor glanced around the market, hoping that somepony would come to his rescue. "I... I..."

"WELL?!" said Rarity and Pinkie Pie together.

"I... well you see I..." The vendor looked around wildly. "We're closed!" He bolted away as if Cerberus itself was chasing him. Rarity and Pinkie Pie watched him go.

"That was super mean of him!" said Pinkie.

"Positively dreadful behavior," Rarity agreed with a nod.

"I don't think I'm wanna buy cherries from a meanie like him," said Pinkie. "And I'm gonna tell the Cakes to take their business elsewhere too!"

"I know he certainly won't be getting any of my business ever again!" said Rarity. In fact, he won't ever sell another cherry as long as he lives. I think I'll have a little fun with him and the tomato vendor tonight.

"Are you okay Rarity?" asked Pinkie.

Rarity snapped out of her thoughts. "Hmm? Oh, yes, I'm fine. I guess I was just lost in thought for a moment there."

"Well that's silly!" Pinkie giggled. "It's your mind, how can you get lost in there?"

"No, Pinkie, I... uh... never mind," said Rarity. There was no point explaining it. Pinkie seemed to have moved on.

"Hey, do you want to help me out today at Sugarcube Corner? The Cakes are taking a vacation this week and my Pinkie Sense is telling me that this is going to be a really busy day!"

"Well of course I'll help you, darling," said Rarity. "I just finished a large order of dresses and I need something to do right now."

"Well then let's go!" said Pinkie happily.

* * * *

The two of them reached Sugarcube Corner after a few minutes and Pinkie opened the door to the shop and the two walked in to get ready for the lunch rush.

While entering the shop, the duo noticed that somebody had slipped a leaflet of sorts onto the ground which Pinkie examined interestedly.

"The Incredible Iron Will turns doormats into dynamos," she said as she scanned the leaflet. Rarity walked over and read it over her shoulder. "Assertiveness seminar today, hedge maze center."

"Well, Fluttershy could certainly use something like that, couldn't she?" said Rarity.

"I hope she goes, actually," said Pinkie Pie. "Maybe a professional could really help her!"

"It is possible," said Rarity.

Pinkie Pie shrugged and tossed the flyer in the trash and walked behind the counter. "Okay, I'll make the goodies for right now and you can go behind the counter and take orders!"

"Of course," said Rarity as she took her spot behind the counter.

The next few hours were fairly hectic, as all of Ponyville seemed to be at Sugarcube Corner for their lunch breaks. Rarity frantically moved around trying to get orders filled and she sometimes even found herself in the kitchen when Pinkie needed some extra help bringing larger batches of sweets out of the oven. On occasion the two would even trade off as Rarity's magic meant that she was faster in things like getting supplies and organizing the sweets.

After a few hours, Rarity was in the basement getting a large amount of flour when she heard a voice that was distinctly Fluttershy's, but something was... different. She looked in the direction of her voice to see Fluttershy lividly staring down a pony that had apparently just cut in front of her in line.

"Now go to the back of the line where you belong!" the butter pegasus growled.

Rarity blinked and rubbed her eyes to make sure that this wasn't an illusion, that she wasn't just seeing things but she didn't seem to be. To her surprise, not only did the mare that had cut in front of Fluttershy move behind her, but every single pony in the line did so as well. Fluttershy smiled at her stunning success and moved up to the counter.

"Heeey, look at you!" said an impressed Pinkie Pie.

Rarity walked up next to Pinkie behind the counter, equally impressed. "Your attitude is so feisty! It's fabulous!"

"Looks like that monster's workshop really paid off!" said Pinkie. Rarity briefly wondered just how Pinkie knew that Fluttershy was at the workshop but she settled on 'it's Pinkie Pie'.

"Iron Will's not a monster, he's a Minotaur," Fluttershy corrected, "and a true inspiration! His techniques really work!"

"Well, they've certainly made a difference in how you carry yourself," said Rarity. "You truly are a whole new Fluttershy!"

"Yes, I am," said Fluttershy. "And New Fluttershy feels pretty stoked about New Fluttershy."

'Well Old Pinkie Pie feels really proud of New Fluttershy," said Pinkie. "Proud as pink punch!" Pinkie zipped under the counter and returned with a bowl of pink punch which she placed on the counter. "Want some?" she asked before breaking out into hysterical giggles.

Rarity was about to join in the laughter, but Fluttershy seemed less than amused, and her face twisted into an uncharacteristic snarl. "You laugh at me, I wrath at you!" she growled before she shoved the bowl onto Pinkie's head, soaking the pink pony from head to hooves.

Rarity stared at Fluttershy with her mouth open in shock. Fluttershy turned around and flew away.

"Bye girls!" she said happily.

"Did she just... pour punch on your head?" asked a bemused Rarity.

Pinkie took the bowl off of her head and placed it on the counter. "Uh... yeah I think she did," said Pinkie.

"Do you think something's wrong?" asked Rarity. "Why would she do something like that?"

"I don't know," said Pinkie Pie, shaking her head. "Maybe we'd better go out and talk to her about it."

"I think you're right," said Rarity and the two trotted out of the shop.

What they saw only made them more shocked.

Fluttershy had called for a taxi and within seconds one stopped for her. However, a rather rude stallion immediately jumped into the taxi, stealing it from Fluttershy.

Fluttershy's face darkened and rage contorted her features. "Oh no you don't!" she snarled. "You cut in line, I'll take what's mine."

At that moment, Fluttershy literally tackled the stallion and began beating him up before she shoved him out of the taxi.

"Nopony pushes New Fluttershy around. NOPONY!" screeched Fluttershy. The taxi driver immediately ran off, taking an angry Fluttershy with him.

"Old Pinkie Pie is not so sure that New Fluttershy is such a good idea after all," said Pinkie Pie nervously.

"Old Rarity agrees," said Rarity.

"What are we gonna do?" asked Pinkie Pie. "Will she just get even angrier if we confront her about this?"

"I don't know, darling," said Rarity. "But in all honesty I don't see any other options. We can't just let her keep acting like she is!"

Pinkie looked uncertainly at the retreating taxi. "Maybe, but I really care about Fluttershy and I want to see her get through this!"

"Then we are agreed," said Rarity. "We go bite the bullet and talk to Fluttershy about her behavior."

"Okay... let's go," said Pinkie with a nod.

* * * *

Rarity and Pinkie Pie walked over the hill towards Fluttershy's house to see that her attitude had gotten far worse. She was talking to somepony that seemed to be a tourist of some sort. They were both looking at a postcard that had been dropped in a puddle. Based on Fluttershy's reaction, she seemed to blame the tourist.

"You make me lose, I blow my fuse!" she said angrily. She then grabbed the tourist's camera in her mouth and used it to swing the tourist around in the air and throw him as far as she could.

Rarity and Pinkie Pie looked at each other, the feeling of unease that they had been feeling ever since 'New Fluttershy' had shown up at Sugarcube Corner increasing.

"Fluttershy," said Rarity. "What are you doing? That's no way to behave!"

"Didn't you see how he treated New Fluttershy?" asked Fluttershy, turning to the duo. "And he thought New Fluttershy was a pushover!"

"No, sweetie, he didn't," said Rarity, doing her best to calm Fluttershy down. "We saw the whole thing. We think you've taken your assertiveness training a little too far."

Whatever mood Rarity had hoped to put Fluttershy in with this, she failed completely as Fluttershy seemed more irate than ever. "What?! You just want New Fluttershy to be a doormat like Old Fluttershy!" yelled the angry yellow pegasus. "Well Old Fluttershy is gone!"

"New Fluttershy? Old Fluttershy?" said Pinkie confusedly.

"What happened to Nice Fluttershy?" asked Rarity, hoping to appeal to to whatever decent side was left. "We want that Fluttershy back!" No dice as Fluttershy seemed even angrier.

"No! You want Wimp Fluttershy," she spat as she angrily circled them. "You want Pushover Fluttershy, you want Do-Anything-To-Her-And-She-Won't-Complain Fluttershy!"

"Too many Fluttershys to keep track of!" said Pinkie. "Make it stop!"

Fluttershy tapped Pinkie's head and a malicious grin spread over her face. "Things getting to complicated for your simple little brain, Pinkie Pie?" teased Fluttershy as she pushed Pinkie Pie back into Rarity's forelegs.

Oh, now she had crossed a line. Rarity was really beginning to lose her patience with Fluttershy. "Now stop right there!" she said. "Let's not let things dissolve into petty insults!"

Fluttershy turned her nasty attention towards Rarity now. "Why not? I thought petty was what you were all about, Rarity, with your petty concerns about fashion!"

Oh she had done it now. Rarity now knew what it was like to be betrayed by a good friend. How could Fluttershy say that to her?

Pinkie jumped up to her defense. "Hey, leave her alone! Fashion is her passion!"

Fluttershy still wasn't calming down. "And what are you passionate about?" Fluttershy retorted. "Birthday cake? Party hats?" Rarity's eyes filled with tears. Would she have to...? But Fluttershy wasn't done. "I can't believe that the two most frivolous ponies in Ponyville are trying to tell New Fluttershy how to live her life, when they are throwing their lives away on pointless pursuits that nopony else gives a flying feather about!"

It was all Rarity and Pinkie could do to hold back the tears. Rarity's mind was racing as she heard the nasty things that Fluttershy was saying and she felt pain and betrayal in her very soul. Would she have to go into Rarity's basement? She didn't want that but how could she let this Fluttershy continue to treat all of Ponyville like this?

"It looks like Nasty Fluttershy is here to stay!" whimpered Pinkie.

"I cannot believe what that monster Iron Will has done to you!" cried Rarity.

The two decided that they couldn't stand to be around Nasty Fluttershy anymore and they both turned around and ran away, crying their eyes out. Rarity heard Fluttershy yell something, but Rarity tuned it out. She didn't want to hear anything that Fluttershy had to say to her ever again!

Pinkie and Rarity both ran until they found themselves back at Sugarcube Corner. Pinkie led Rarity up to her room and once they were inside, their crying began in earnest once more. They hugged each other and sobbed into each other's shoulders.

"Rarity, why would she say things like that?" asked Pinkie Pie helplessly.

"I... I don't know," said Rarity. "She just... I don't even know."

"What are we gonna do?" asked Pinkie as she pulled out of the hug and wiped her eyes. "That's not Fluttershy in there. How can we find the real Fluttershy?"

Rarity sighed and wiped her eyes too. "I don't know," she said. "I... I think I just want to go home right now. I need to organize my thoughts."

Pinkie Pie nodded, her ears drooped. "I'll see you later, then."

Rarity slowly made the trek back to her house, dejection and betrayal weighing her down every step of the way. She opened the door to her house and wasted no time in getting down into her basement. She walked over to her workbench and popped it open, examining her gleaming collection of knives.

"Can I really kill Fluttershy?" Rarity clicked her tongue and shook her head. "You're being foolish, Rarity. This will all be resolved somehow."

Rarity slowly reached into her workbench and pulled out her steak knife. "But what if it didn't, Rarity? That Fluttershy is not a Fluttershy that I wanted to be around. As a matter of fact, that Fluttershy is a Fluttershy that I don't want around anypony. Any other pony would certainly be in my basement before the day ended."


Rarity held the knife up to the light and ran her hoof down the flat of the blade. "How in Equestria could I kill Fluttershy?"

Fluttershy weakly tried to struggle out of the straps holding her down as Rarity removed her second wing with her meat cleaver.

"Rarity, why?!" Fluttershy wailed.

Rarity's eyes filled with tears as she ripped the wing off. "I'm going to ask myself that question for the rest of my life, Fluttershy." Rarity held the wing in her hoof and stared down at it, her tears dripping onto the feathers. "I don't know why you felt the need to act that way around us. We were only trying to help you!"

"I just made a mistake!" Fluttershy sobbed. "I was trying to me more assertive like you said!"

"I didn't tell you to be a jerk!" Rarity tossed the wing aside and slammed her hoof on the table. "I didn't tell you to go around being nasty to everypony!"

Fluttershy began crying in earnest now as Rarity put her meat cleaver down. "I didn't want to be afraid anymore." Fluttershy squeezed her eyes shut and turned her head away from Rarity. "I didn't want to feel that I wasn't in control, that my life was dictated by how other ponies decided to treat me. I'm sorry it got out of hoof, Rarity. I'm sorry!"

Rarity had to turn her head away and took a few deep breaths to prepare herself for the soul crushing agony that she was about to submit one of her best friends to. She sighed and picked up her butcher knife "So am I, darling." She brought the knife close to Fluttershy's left foreleg and gently placed the tip on the fur. "So am I."

Rarity snapped out of her thoughts and immediately threw the knife back into the workbench and slammed it closed. She bolted back upstairs and retreated into her room where she threw herself on her bed and began sobbing. How in Equestria could those thoughts even begin to cross her mind? What kind of sick maniac was she that she would think about killing Fluttershy like that after one bad conversation? She wasn't fit to live, she wasn't fit to have Fluttershy call her a friend, she wasn't fit to try to help Fluttershy through this, and she should just stay in her room until this got resolved.

However, there came a knock on the door and Rarity got up to go answer.

To her surprise, Pinkie Pie was on the other side of the door, looking far more determined than she had earlier that day. "We have to go talk to Fluttershy."

"But Pinkie, you saw how she treated us last time! Are you sure that it will work?"

"No," she said with a shake of her head. "No, I'm not. But I feel that we have to try again! We have to fight for our friendship with Fluttershy! If Discord couldn't tear us apart, I don't see how Iron Will can!"

Rarity sighed and nodded. "You are right, of course." She wiped the tears away from her eyes with a hoof. "Very well. Let's go talk to Fluttershy."

The two walked in silence towards Fluttershy's cottage. In truth, Rarity didn't even know what to say to Fluttershy when they saw her next, but Pinkie was right; something needed to be done.

As they approached the cottage, Rarity and Pinkie Pie were surprised to see how dead everything looked. There were no leaves on the trees, the sky was overcast and no animals were around. To complete the depressing ensemble, all of Fluttershy's windows and doors were boarded up. "Has Fluttershy moved or something?" Rarity muttered

Rarity cautiously approached the door and knocked, hoping that Fluttershy was in there. She cleared her throat, still trying to think of something good to say if Fluttershy was in the house. "Fluttershy, darling, are you in there?"

"It's Pinkie Pie and Rarity!" added Pinkie Pie.

"Go away!" said Fluttershy from inside the house. Her voice was heavy with sorrow and regret. "Go away before Nasty Fluttershy strikes again!"

Rarity was heartbroken to see Fluttershy talk like this but at least it meant that she was switching back to the Fluttershy she loved. "Oh sweetie, we all said things that we regret."

Pinkie Pie frowned. "We did?" she said loudly, prompting Rarity to shove a hoof in her mouth to stop her from saying anything foolish.

It was too late as Fluttershy had heard her. "Pinkie's right. I'm the only one to blame! But don't worry; I'm never coming out of my house again! Everypony will be a lot safer with me and my mean mouth locked away!"

Rarity didn't know what to say. She wanted to say something to make Fluttershy feel better, to make her problems go away but she didn't have any eloquent speech to achieve that goal. "Sweetie, Pinkie Pie doesn't blame you and neither do I! You just received some bad advice from that Iron Will character."

"Yeah," said Pinkie Pie. "He's the one who made you act all super-duper nasty!" Rarity glared at her and hit her shoulder, trying to get her to exercise some tact. Pinkie caught on and changed her track. "What I mean is, there are other ways to assert yourself besides yelling at everypony."

"You can stand up for yourself without being unpleasant about it," agreed Rarity.

"Uh... I'm not sure I can," said Fluttershy sadly. "I'm too far gone. Whenever I try to assert myself, I become a monster!"

"Oh sweetie, you're not a monster," said Rarity.

"No, said Pinkie Pie, "but he is." Rarity turned to see that Pinkie Pie was pointing towards a gigantic Minotaur who was standing on top of a grey goat. Rarity and Pinkie Pie walked up to him, each knowing that he had to be Iron Will.

Iron Will stepped off of the goat and looked just beyond Rarity and Pinkie. "Iron Will's my name, training ponies is my game!" he said as he gave a thumbs up to nothing. Rarity and Pinkie looked to see where he was looking but they didn't see anypony there. They shrugged it off and Rarity began working to get Iron Will away from Fluttershy.

"What a darling little catchphrase," she said sweetly.

"Your friend loved Iron Will's catchphrases!" he said, putting them both in headlocks. "Word on the street is that she doesn't take no guff from nopony. So, Iron Will is here to collect Iron Will's fee!"

Pinkie looked desperately at Rarity. "Fluttershy is in no shape to deal with that creep!"

Rarity took the hint and rushed up to Iron Will. "I'm sure that a big, brave, powerful, and rich monster - I mean, minotaur - like you doesn't need that money right away. You can afford to come back later."

"Are you kidding? Fluttershy is overdue as it is." The duo reached the door and Iron Will picked Rarity up by the horn and dropped her into a bush. "Iron Will collects now!"

Rarity popped her head out of the bush and spat out a few leaves. She spotted Pinkie Pie going up to Iron Will. "Do something!"

Pinkie Pie did do something. Rarity watched once more as Pinkie Pie used her confusion techniques to make Iron Will promise that he wouldn't come back until the next day to get Fluttershy's money. Seriously, how does she do that?

However, before Iron Will could leave, Fluttershy sneezed from inside her house. Rarity's heart sank as Iron Will heard it and tossed Pinkie aside as she tried to stop Iron Will. He ripped the boards off of Fluttershy's door before quietly knocking, causing Fluttershy to exit her home. Iron Will began insisting that Fluttershy pay him immediately before Fluttershy said something that Rarity thought assured her imminent destruction.

"Um... no," she said. Rarity's jaw dropped and Pinkie Pie fainted. Even Iron Will's goats seemed a little unsettled. In spite of Iron Will's threats, Fluttershy actually managed to keep her cool.

"As I recall, during your workshop you promised one hundred percent guaranteed or you pay nothing. Well, I'm not satisfied!"

Iron Will looked just as shocked as Rarity felt. "What do you mean you're not satisfied!? Everypony has always been satisfied!"

"Well, I guess I'm the first then," said Fluttershy. "But since I'm not satisfied, I refuse to pay. It’s as simple as that."

Rarity had to push Pinkie's mouth closed but in all honesty, her jaw was about to hit the ground too.

Iron Will and his goats huddled up before the minotaur tried to cut a deal with Fluttershy, but she was having none of it.
"I'm sorry, but no means no!"

"No means no, huh?" Iron Will frowned and stepped onto one of his goats. "Nopony's ever said that to me before. Huh... I gotta remember that. That's a good catchphrase for my new workshop!"

With that, Iron Will and his goats walked away, leaving Fluttershy alone for good. Pinkie and Rarity rushed over to her and pulled her into a hug.

"You were amazing Fluttershy, you totally stood up to that monster!" said Pinkie Pie.

"In fact you didn't change at all!" said Rarity. "You were the same old Fluttershy all we've always loved."

"The one we've missed," Pinkie agreed.

"Don't worry," said Fluttershy with a smile. "Old Fluttershy is back for good. I'm sorry I took the whole 'assertiveness' thing too far. Friends?"

"Friends!" said Pinkie Pie and Rarity together as they pulled Fluttershy into another hug, laughing as they did.

* * * *

"How in Equestria does one go about killing a minotaur?"

That was the big problem that Rarity found herself facing right now. In fact, she almost felt like she would be biting off more than she could chew with her next round of victims. So far she had Iron Will, his goats, the cherry vendor, those rude ponies at the asparagus stand, and the tomato vendor. That was eight victims right there.

She groaned and rubbed her head. This was going to be difficult. However, now that she thought about it, she didn't even know where Iron Will would be going.

She banged her head on the wall, hoping desperately that she could find Iron Will soon.

Wait a tick.

Rarity's head popped up and a sly smile crossed her face. "Who says that you need to kill them all at once, Rarity? Why can't I simply divide and conquer?: Rarity chuckled quietly. "Or kill, I suppose."

She may not be able to find Iron Will, but there were two other ponies that she had on her list that she knew exactly where they were. It was just a matter of getting them into her basement. Once she did, they would suffer for the way that they treated Fluttershy. Oh yes, they will suffer.

* * * *

Rarity smiled at the unconscious forms of the two market vendors that were currently spread out on her basement floor. She had hoped that they would wake up by now, but it was no big problem as they would surely wake up soon and then the real fun would begin.

Overall the actual kidnappings could have gone a little better as Rarity had to inject the cherry vendor with two needles - something she found out the hard way - and she also had to wait for an hour while the family of the tomato vendor went home before she made her move, and even when she did she found that the vendor locked her door at night, so she actually had to pick the lock, something that she hadn't had to do in years. Still, the two of them were here now, and that was all that mattered.

She had decided to do something new this time: she would only kill one of them. Oh sure, both would die that night, but she would only end one of them herself. Her table had been put to the side, leaving a large empty space in the middle of the room, which was where the two ponies now lay unconscious. Rarity grinned when she thought of what was in store for them.

After a few more minutes of waiting, Rarity saw that the two of them were waking up. As usual, they both woke up and gave startled yelps when they saw their surroundings but they thankfully didn't scream. Rarity cleared her throat and the two looked over at her, their eyes wide with fear.

"Glad to see that the two of you are awake," she said with a pleasant smile.

The tomato vendor flinched back and flattened her ears. "What's going on?"

"Oh I'll get to that in just a moment," she said. "First, I feel that proper introductions are in order. My name is Rarity. I own this fine establishment where I design dresses and moonlight as a serial killer. What are your names?"

The two looked at each other, neither answering Rarity. "Is this some kind of prank?" the cherry vendor asked.

Rarity groaned and facehooved. "No, it isn't, and that wasn't a rhetorical question. What are your names?"

"Uh, I'm Cherry Bomb," said the cherry vendor.

"I'm Sweet Tomato," said the tomato vendor.

"Excellent!" said Rarity. "Now that introductions are out of the way, let's get down to business. Do you know why you are here?"

The two shook their heads.

Rarity groaned and facehooved again. Ponies could be so slow sometimes. "Think back to when you saw me last! What were you doing?"

Cherry Bomb's eyes widened when the realization of who Rarity was entered his mind. "You... you were with that pink pony, yelling at me for—"

"For extorting my dear friend Fluttershy and overall being a jerk to her. Yes that's right."

Cherry Bomb frowned and leaned back a few inches."Is that why I'm here?"

Rarity rolled her eyes. "Well duh. Can you think of any other times you pissed me off?"

Sweet Tomato whimpered and flattened her ears. "Is that why I'm here too?"

Rarity smiled at her. "Once again, right on the dot!"

"Oh no, this is all a huge misunderstanding then!" said Sweet Tomato, a look of relief washing over her face. "I wasn't extorting Fluttershy; I had legitimately raised my prices! You see, my rent is due and I need the extra money to—"

"Yes that's nice, darling," Rarity interrupted with a wave of her hoof.

"No, please! You need to understand that I was only—"

"I can assure you that I've heard it all before," said Rarity, idly examining her hooves. "You really don't need to keep going."

"I wasn't—"

Rarity shot her a dirty look and she instantly levitated a knife over towards her. "If you try to give me any more excuses for your vile behavior I will cut your throat right here and now which I know you don't want me to do!" Sweet Tomato shut her mouth tightly and backed away slightly. "Now then, I'm only going to say this once so you had better pay attention." The two looked at her fearfully, hoping that she would let them go. "I am going to let only one of you go. The other one will die right here in this basement."

"Which one are you going to let go?" Cherry Bomb asked.

Rarity smiled sweetly and spun the knife in the air. "Well, that's actually entirely up to you."

"It is?" asked Sweet Tomato. The vendor's eyes held the first traces of tears and her whole body began shaking.

"Yes, it is," said Rarity. "You see, I'm not going to kill either one of you if you two play along."

"What do you mean?" asked Cherry Bomb.

"I'm not going to kill you..." Rarity grinned and pointed her knife at both of her victims in turn. "One of you is going to kill the other."

The jaws of the two ponies simultaneously hit the floor and their eyes widened to the point where they overtook their heads. "Lady, you are completely out of your mind," Cherry Bomb deadpanned.

Rarity scoffed and rolled her eyes once more. "Well of course I am! But really, how much does that help you in this situation? One of you is still going to have to kill the other if one of you wants to make it out of here alive."

"And if we refuse?" said Sweet Tomato.

"I kill you both," she said. She levitated her hunting knife over to the middle of the room and held it aloft. She gave the two a large smile before she dropped it on the ground between the two of them. "So, get to it!"

The two looked at each other, then back to Rarity with determined looks. "No," said Cherry Bomb.

Rarity raised an eyebrow and cocked her head. "No? Why, whatever do you mean?"

Sweet Tomato glared at Rarity. "We're not gonna be contestants in this sick game of yours!"

"But don't you want to live?"

"Of course I do!" said Cherry Bomb. "But not everypony is like you!"

"I'd rather die than live with the knowledge that I had actually caused another innocent pony physical harm on purpose!"

"Well... uh..." Rarity frowned. "Hmm." She had to admit, this turn of events was unexpected. They were supposed to be ripping each other to pieces, not refusing to hurt each other. She needed to think up a new plan for the two of them and fast.

"So, I guess you'll just have to kill us," said Sweet Tomato.

"Or," said Cherry Bomb. "We could use numbers to our advantage."

Rarity cocked her head. "Beg pardon?"

Cherry Bomb and Sweet Tomato stood up and Cherry Bomb grabbed the knife. They began slowly advancing towards Rarity with a determined look in their eye.

"Oh dear," said Rarity quietly to herself. This was definitely not going how she had planned it. She held her knife in front of her, hoping that her experience would win the day for her.

"If you just let us go right now, we promise we won't tell anypony," said Sweet Tomato. Cherry Bomb nodded in agreement.

"Well I..." Rarity's words were caught in her throat as what they said actually registered with her. "I'm sorry, what was that?"

"We'll just be on our way and we can get on with our lives as if this never happened!" said Cherry Bomb. "All you gotta do is move aside."

Rarity sighed and lowered her knife. "Well, if you really promise, then I suppose—" Before either victim could react, she lunged forward with her knife, driving it deep into Cherry Bomb's throat. He dropped the knife and fell to the ground. Sweet Tomato screamed and Rarity turned around and kicked her in the face as hard as she could. Sweet Tomato was flung back and she hit the wall.

Rarity turned around to see Sweet Tomato clutching her right foreleg. Rarity suspected that she had broken it when she hit the wall if the crunching sound was anything to go by. Rarity smiled at her as she pulled the knife out of Cherry Bomb's throat.

"You know, darling, one of the first things you learn as a serial killer is that you really shouldn't hesitate to go straight for the kill when you feel that the situation is getting outside of your control." Sweet Tomato's sobs began echoing throughout the basement. "Why, you could be running out of my basement right now, free as a bird with no ill physical effects. Instead you hesitated and here you are covered in blood with a broken foreleg."

"Please, just let me go!" Sweet Tomato begged.

Rarity looked at her blankly for a few moments before clearing her throat. "You know that I really hate it when ponies say that to me, right? It would be like me coming up to your stand every day for fifteen years and saying 'can I buy some apricots?' You know that no matter how much you ask it's not going to happen!"

Sweet Tomato slowly began trying to crawl towards the basement door, her foreleg dragging uselessly at her side but her fool's hope forced her to continue, wishing that Rarity would let her out.

"Now this has been an interesting experience darling, but I'm afraid that I have other matters to attend to, so..."

With that, she grabbed her tray and began beating Sweet Tomato to death with it. She snarled as each blow landed on her skull or the foreleg that she had uselessly put up in an attempt to block the blows. Rarity kicked the second foreleg out of the way and with one final blow, she felt Sweet Tomato's head cave in, killing her.

Rarity dropped the tray and gave an angry grunt. This had all been far more rushed than she had wanted it to be. She had wanted to see the two violently kill each other and they had refused! Still, she would have ripped the winner to shreds anyway.

Rarity sighed and waited for the powerful feeling to surge through her; for the feeling of omnipotence that always came after a kill to flow through her veins, but this time it didn't come. This time she only stared down at the bodies of Cherry Bomb and Sweet Tomato and felt... nothing. After a few seconds Rarity clicked her tongue and shrugged. Maybe she was just tired after everything that had happened with Fluttershy. After picking up her tray and putting her knife back on it, she cleaned herself up and walked back up to the main floor. She closed the basement door behind her and slowly trudged up to her bedroom. It was time for a nap.

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