• Published 1st Aug 2012
  • 1,474 Views, 28 Comments

The 'Mane' Problem - RazorSharpFang



Rarity has an ... issue with her shampoo... which has an issue with her. Panic ensues.

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The head of the issue

//-----------------------------------------------------------
// The Mane Problem
// Chapter 1: The head of the issue.
// Author: RazorSharpFang
//------------------------------------------------------------

It was a cool afternoon in the late autumn. The clouds, few in number, flew lazily across the sky, pushed by the gentle wind. The wind caressed the auburn leaves of the trees, dislodging a single leaf. The leaf flew off in the wind, completely taken by the wind’s vibrancy. The leaf continued in its path until it hit a window. The window belonged to a certain boutique, where a white-furred mare was having a shower.

“Hmm hmm...” hummed the mare as she let the warm water flow down her figure. She loved the cleansing feel of the shower, the way it cleaned her, removing impurities... it felt like bliss to let it work its magic. She leaned her head into the spray, letting the water soak her mane, slowly drooping into the flow of the water down her neck. “Ah” Sighed the mare as she levitated the bottle of shampoo to her hoof, squeezing it of its contents. The bottle breathed a channel of air out where the mare was expecting shampoo.

“Hmm?” She shook the bottle, and squeezed it again. A small dribble came from the end. It wasn’t near enough to clean her mane. Her face gave a frown, and she put down the bottle, looking around for a suitable substitute. She came across her sister’s shampoo, ‘Mane 'n' Tail: Filly’s Full Shampoo’ it read. “Surely it couldn’t hurt if I used it once... just once...” She thought to herself as she squeezed a dollop onto her hoof, mixing it with her own shampoo, silently reminding herself to buy some more of hers. Layering the shampoo into her mane, she continued with her shower, loving the feeling as she massaged the shampoo into her mane.

Finishing her shower, she stepped out of the recess, her pristine mane, coat and tail glistening in the afternoon sun creeping through the window. Grabbing a towel off the bathroom counter, she dried herself off, leaving her mane to last; she wrapped her mane in the towel, and exited the bathroom. “Sweetie Belle!” She called out to her younger sister, “I’m done with my shower!” A white unicorn filly with a pink and violet coloured mane walked in from the other room. A scowl on her face, she did not look pleased.

“Rarity, do your showers have to be that long? You use up all the hot water!” She took a deep sniff of air through her snout. Her eyes widened with surprise, her scowl disappearing “And... is that my shampoo? Why you would use my shampoo?” She stared at Rarity in shock. ‘Rarity used MY shampoo?! Why would she ever? She has her own... and she totally freaked out when I used hers...’ Sweetie thought to herself as she tried to process the new information.

“Well...” Rarity began, dragging her hoof across the ground. “I ran out of my shampoo, and needed to use some, sorry Sweetie.” She looked up at Sweetie Belle who was far more shocked than annoyed.

“I... don’t mind, but... isn’t your shampoo, like, special?” Sweetie walked up to Rarity, an inquisitive look on her face. “You got really mad when I used yours...”

“Yes, my shampoo is ‘special’ in that it’s expensive and hard to get.” Rarity walked over to door to her room “Your shampoo, however turns out to be the least expensive brand in the market.” She levitated her empty bottle of shampoo out of the bathroom and into the rubbish bin, where it landed with a thud. “Thanks for understanding Sweetie, and you may want to have your shower now, or you won’t make it in time for dinner.” A smile crept across her face as she said the last line.

“Oh, right, Shower!” Sweetie said quickly, as she ducked into the bathroom, closing the door behind her. Rarity giggled slightly at her reaction, entering her room, decorated pristinely, every aspect of it to her liking. Grinning, she got her diary out of her hiding place, unlocking it with her magic, and levitated a quill and pot of ink to her desk. She unwrapped the towel, which was holding her mane together in a bundle, letting it fall out, glistening slightly with cleanliness. Shaking her head slightly, droplets of water sprinkled all around, sparkling in the afternoon sun. She then looked in the mirror.
“Wahaha!” Rarity yelled, jumping back in pure shock. What she saw horrified her. Her normally full-volume back-length mane has short. It spiked up and out, no longer flowing with grace, but jutting out in defiance. Her legs started shaking below her as she continued to take in the view. Quivering, she turned her side to the mirror to get a good look at her tail, which, like her mane, was short and spiky. Rarity’s lips trembled as she reached up to touch it. Prodding it, her hair resisted her, and was stubbornly keeping its shape, as if it had been gelled in place. Her hoof fell back to the floor as her breathing increased in rate, nearing hyperventilation, and then it happened.

“No! My mane! My beautiful, beautiful mane! No! No, no, no, no!” She leant down to the ground, tears forming in her eyes. “Of all the worst possible things that could happen, this is The. Worst. Possible. Thing! No!” She screamed the last word of that sentence, collapsing onto the ground, bursting into tears, not even bothering to summon that couch she was used to crying on; it would bring her no comfort, nothing could compensate this, nothing. Her mane was everything to her; it represented her desire to be noticed, to stand out among the crowd. It represented her cleanliness, her high standards of hygiene. It represented her social aspirations, her desire to fit in with the higher ups of society, and it had left her, left her in a state of hysterics.

“Rarity! I’m done with my shower!” Chimed a voice from the nearby room. Rarity didn’t bother acknowledging her presence, entirely consumed with sobbing on the floor of the room, creating a pool of water. “Rarity? Are you ok? You sound like you’re crying.” Sweetie Belle entered Rarity’s room and her mouth fell open in shock. Rarity turned her head towards her, her face drenched in tears that were still falling off her head, leaving dots of wetness onto the floor, her eyes red with sadness, and her cheeks puffy from all the crying. Her lips trembled as she looked towards Sweetie.

“What happened to your mane?!” Sweetie finally got the words out. “It’s... all spiky and short!” A multitude of ideas running through her mind, she blurted out the most sensible sounding one. “You cut your mane? And tail?” Rarity shook her head slowly, her mane not flowing as she used to, causing another sob.

“It...” *sob* “Was like this when I untied it...” Her eyes filled with tears again, as she looked at Sweetie Belle with pleading eyes. “What could have happened?” Her voice was cracking, her sorrow-induced exhaustion showing. Sweetie Belle was not much of a thinker, but applied logic anyway. ‘If it was normal before she had her shower, normal during her shower, but then weird afterwards, what could have caused her mane to go weird...?’ Sweetie Belle gasped as the answer popped into her head.

“The shampoo!” She yelled, jumping in place. “It had to be the shampoo!” Rarity stared at Sweetie Belle, not quite registering what she was saying. “You used my shampoo right? Did you do anything else with it, anything unusual?” Sweetie Belle was a little hyperactive with the adrenaline of her newly found realization, looking at Rarity with eyes wide.

“I...” *sniff* “did mix our shampoos before using them...” Rarity trailed off, still clearly upset, but had run out of tears to shed, and was slowly recovering. She gave a big sigh as Sweetie Belle left to examine the shampoo. Taking Rarity’s out of the rubbish bin, she turned it over and began reading it. ‘Apply to the hair wet, massaging into the skull... Keep away from eyes and sensitive areas of the fur... Warning: do not mix with shampoos or cleaners based on sodium lauryl sulfate.’ As educated as she was, Sweetie Belle had no idea what that was.

“Soda, what-now?” Sweetie said aloud, trying to make sense of it, which totally didn’t help. Taking her shampoo out of the shower recess, she began reading the ingredients, looking for soda-something. ‘Ingredients: Purified water, sodium lauryl sulfate...’ “Soda!” Yelled Sweetie Belle rushing over to where Rarity was, still on the floor in despair. “My shampoo has soda in it! That’s what caused your mane to go weird! Your shampoo says not to mix it with stuff that has soda in it!” Sweetie Belle beamed a large grin, expecting Rarity to jump up at the sound of her voice. Her expectations were hardly met, with Rarity barely budging.

“So what?” She spoke slowly, her expression jaded and her voice cracking from her crying “Just because we know how it happened does mean it can be undone…” She lifted a hoof to her short hair, brushing it gently. “Longer hair can be cut short, but short hair… cannot.” Her voice lowered at her last word, her tone indicating her spirits, which was as low as ever. Sweetie Belle paused, trying to think of a way around that.

“We’d need magic to do something like that…” Sweetie Belle said under her breath. “Magic…?” She said a little louder. “Magic!” She exclaimed, as an idea fully formed in her head. “Rarity! All we need is a little magic to fix your hair! Twilight’s got plenty! I’m sure she has a mane-growth spell!” Sweetie Belle’s eyes beamed brightly as she pushed her head into Rarity’s personal space.

“I… suppose that could work…” Rarity trailed off, getting to her hooves and walking towards the half-open window, where she stopped and looked out. “But it’s still daylight… I can’t go out, looking like this!” She looked in the mirror again, her appearance drawing new tears in her eyes.

“Sure you can!” Sweetie Belle answered. “Just wear one of your big dresses and one of your giant hats, you have plenty of those, I’m sure nopony will notice. You should go now, before Twilight closes the library for the day.” Sweetie nudged Rarity in the direction of her wardrobe. “C’mon!”

“Ok, ok, I’ll do it, just, let me change, ok?” Rarity half-pleaded offering little resistance to Sweetie’s nudges and was pushed across the room.

“Fine. But don’t take too long.” Sweetie begrudged, as she left the room, and Rarity so she can change.

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“Rarity? Are you done yet? It’s been twenty minutes now!” Sweetie raged, pounding on the door with both front hooves. “Come on!!” Sweetie Belle leaned her head on the door, which, to her surprise, opened. There, stood Rarity, clothed in a gown, coloured a light green, laced with white lace. The gown covered her mane fully; it started just before the mane, and covered her entire neck area. The gown also extended far beyond the flank, obscuring any view of her tail. Sweetie looked up. “Whoa.”

“What do you think, can you see my tail? What about my mane?” Rarity stammered, obviously nervous about being in the public eye soon. Rarity began walking in circles, trying to get a good view of herself. Sweetie Belle gave a smile as she glanced upwards at Rarity.

“You look great. Nopony will notice anything.” Sweetie Belle motioned towards the front door of the boutique. “You should get going, it’ll take a while for Twilight to find a solve.”

“A solve?” Rarity queried, arching her eyebrow. “Really?”

“Ugh. You know what I mean, just go. I’ll make my own dinner.” Sweetie Belle walked towards the kitchen, with Rarity fighting off a twitch. ‘Sweetie Belle… cooking…’ She thought, walking over towards the front door, and building up courage silently.

“Ok, I’m going now, see you later, Sweetie Belle, I want the boutique standing when I return!” Rarity declared loudly, to which Sweetie Belle acknowledged with a simple ‘Ok’. Rarity took a deep breath, opened the door and stepped outside, into the sunlight.

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