• Published 13th Feb 2013
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Pride and Prejudice and Ponies - arglefumph

Rarity reads her favorite romance novel, Pride and Prejudice, to her little sister Sweetie Belle.

  • ...

Chapter 4

The Bennet girls were known for being the most active mares in all of Ponyville. Not only were Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash the winners of the Running of the Leaves for the past six years, but all five sisters working together had set a few world records at the last year's Sisterhooves Social.

So it was somewhat odd that the five active girls chose to spend the next morning inside the room they shared together. A miniature platform had been set up in the middle of the room, and Fluttershy stood upon it, feeling very self-conscious.

"I'm jealous," Sweetie Belle said, as she combed Fluttershy's tail. "Your mane is so soft and straight! I wish mine was like that."

"There's nothing wrong with a curly mane," Rarity said. She held up two outfits. "Which one do you like more? Red or blue?"

"The blue one is my favorite," Fluttershy said. "But...um...do you think Mr. Macintosh will like it?"

"He likes you, Fluttershy," Rarity said. "I'm sure he'll be happy, no matter which outfit you wear."

"I just...I don't want to make any mistakes," Fluttershy said, her voice dropping to a whisper. "This is...really important to me..."

"I think you should run up to Mr. Macintosh and give him a humongous kiss on the lips!" Pinkie Pie said. "That way, you'll get all the awkwardness over and done with as soon as possible!"

Fluttershy blushed at the thought. "No, that's...I mean, it's..."

"You wanna kiss him, don't you?" Pinkie asked. "I've never kissed a stallion, except for those three times which don't count. You have to tell me what it's like!"

"Don't listen to Pinkie," Rainbow Dash said. "She's still a little filly."

"I'm almost eighteen!" Pinkie protested.

"The point is that you shouldn't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable," Rainbow Dash said. "If Mr. Macintosh gives you a hard time about anything, I'll sock him in the eyes."

"That's the problem," Fluttershy said. "I feel comfortable, and I feel uncomfortable, and...I don't know how to explain it, really."

"What do you mean?" Rarity asked, as she adjusted the the dress' collar around Fluttershy's neck. The yellow pegasus' hair had been tied back into a bun, so she couldn't hide behind her mane, like she sometimes did when she was nervous.

"It's just...well, you know I'm not so good at talking to other ponies," Fluttershy said. "But last night, when I was with Mr. Macintosh, it wasn't like that. He's so good-natured and easy to talk to! I really like him!"

"So what's the problem?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"That's the problem!" Fluttershy said. "I feel uncomfortable because he makes me feel comfortable! Does that make sense?"

"He's the first stallion you've ever liked, and things seem too good to be true," Rarity said. "It makes perfect sense that you're nervous."

"I still say there's nothing to worry about," Rainbow Dash said. "He's crazy about you, 'Shy. He'll like you, even if you manage to accidentally knock him into the lake."

"I still say kissing him wouldn't hurt your chances," Pinkie Pie said.

"Pinkie, aren't you supposed to be getting the food ready?" Rainbow Dash asked, exasperated.

"I got the picnic basket right here!" Pinkie said, holding it up.

"Perfect. So let's run through this one more time," Rainbow Dash said. "You remember what you're going to do, right?"

Fluttershy nodded. "I go to Sweet Apple Acres and ask Mr. Macintosh if he'd like to have lunch with me."

"Exactly. Let's try it out," Rainbow Dash said. She tried to imitate Big Macintosh's accent. "Whah hello thar, Miss Fluttaiysheei. Ah nevuh expected tuh see yo' hyear."

Sweetie Belle giggled. "That sounds nothing like him!" she said.

"Hush," Rarity said.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Macintosh," Fluttershy said, smiling a bit. "It's such a nice day that I thought I'd go out and have a picnic by the lake."

"Whai, thet sounds maihtee foine," Rainbow Dash said. "Hue are a rully smert pa-hony."

"Oh, dear, but I think I packed too much food," Fluttershy said. "There's no way I can eat all this by myself! Could you help me—this isn't going to work."

Rainbow Dash's face fell. "What? Why'd you stop?" she asked. "You were doing great!"

"No!" Fluttershy said. "It's so...obvious! He's going to be suspicious that I packed too much food by accident! He'll be mad that I'm lying and trying to trick him, and—"

"Calm down," Rarity said, putting a hoof on Fluttershy's side. "How do you want to do this, then?"

"I...I want to be honest," Fluttershy said. "I want to ask him to eat with me, but I can't because he might say no, and—oh! I don't think I can do this! I want to just stay here at home!"

"Nuh uh!" Sweetie Belle said. "I've been combing your mane for fifteen minutes! You're going to show it off!"

"No, no, no!" Fluttershy said, shaking her head violently. "I can't risk it! He's not going to like me, anyway! Nopony likes me!"

"We like you," Rarity said.

"Yeah, you're the best big sister ever!" Pinkie Pie said. "And we're all super-psyched that you're going to get some action today!"

"And even if things don't work out with Big Mac, we'll still love you," Rainbow Dash said.

Small tears formed in Fluttershy's eyes. "You four are the best...I'm so happy...and scared..." she mumbled.

The Bennet girls soon found themselves in a group hug, with Fluttershy at the center. "Don't worry," Rarity said. "Nothing is going to ruin your big moment with Mr. Macintosh."

That was when Mrs. Bennet entered the room. "Girls, why are you all cooped up in—AAAAAA!"

"Mother, are you okay?" Fluttershy asked, concerned.

Mrs. Bennet grabbed her chest and gasped loudly. "Fluttershy! You're all dressed up! You—you're going to become Mrs. Fluttershy Apple Bennet Bingley!"

"...I spoke too soon," Rarity said.

Fifteen minutes later, Mrs. Bennet was marching all over the sitting room, lecturing Fluttershy on how to win Mr. Macintosh's heart. Mr. Bennet, who was sitting in his usual chair, tried to protect Fluttershy from his wife's onslaught, while the other girls looked on.

"I knew you two were destined to be together," Mrs. Bennet said. "The fact that you want to go see him is living proof of that."

"And the fact that you're interfering is proof that everything will go horribly wrong," Mr. Bennet said. "Why not leave the girls alone? I think asking Mr. Macintosh to a picnic is more than good enough."

"Good enough!" Mrs. Bennet said. "Don't be foolish! You don't trap a husband with a napkin; you trap him with a net!"

Mr. Bennet sighed. "Please tell me that you're not planning on foal-napping Mr. Macintosh and locking him in the basement until he agrees to marry Fluttershy," he said. "I'd really hate to get the police involved."

Mrs. Bennet honestly considered that plan for a moment, before dismissing it. "No," she said. "I'm saying that Fluttershy shouldn't bring Mr. Macintosh a small picnic lunch. She should bring him a large dinner!"

By this point, Fluttershy had curled herself up into a ball, and she wished she had the ability to disappear. "Um...that's too much," she mumbled.

Mr. Bennet nodded at his eldest daughter encouragingly. "Yes, I think a picnic lunch is the superior plan," he said. "She and Mr. Macintosh will have a much better time, if they are alone."

"Besides," Rainbow Dash said. "The weather team scheduled rain for tonight. The only time Fluttershy can visit Sweet Apple Acres is during the day."

"That's exactly my point," Mrs. Bennet said. "If Mr. Macintosh is half the gentlecolt I think he is, he won't let Fluttershy go home in the rain. He'll let her spend the night at Sweet Apple Acres with him!"

Fluttershy moaned. "I can't stay overnight with a stallion!" she said. "What will everypony say?"

"And another thing," Mrs. Bennet said. "That dress is far too loose-fitting. We need to get you into a full-body corset, immediately. Losing a few inches will work wonders."

"Fluttershy isn't fat!" Rainbow Dash said hotly.

"Yeah, compared to me, she's got the most healthy diet ever!" Pinkie Pie said.

Fluttershy brought a hoof to her left wing and rubbed it, worriedly. "Tight clothing hurts my wings," she said. "And I like the outfit Rarity made..."

"Wings? What do you need your wings for?" Mrs. Bennet asked. "Mr. Macintosh is an Earth pony, so you need to look like an Earth pony to get his attention! Strap those wings to your sides!"

"I think it's better for Mr. Macintosh to like Fluttershy for who she is, not who she pretends to be," Rainbow Dash said.

"Ridiculous!" Mrs. Bennet said. "Do you think I was honest with suitors, when I was being courted? Why, to this day, my husband still doesn't know my real age!"

"My dear wife," Mr. Bennet said. "You can't hide the truth from me. I know for a fact that you're forty-five—"

"THIRTY-TWO!" Mrs. Bennet yelled.

"Um, I'm twenty-two," Fluttershy said.

"No, if Mr. Macintosh asks, you're nineteen," Mrs. Bennet said. "And do stop questioning me about this. As the only married woman in this household, I can assure you that my stallion-catching tricks never fail."

So it was that Fluttershy left for Sweet Apple Acres, ten minutes before the scheduled rainstorm. Her family wished her well as she left the house. Rarity frowned as she saw that Fluttershy was walking a bit awkwardly in the tight clothes her mother made her wear.

An hour later, there was a knock on the front door of the Carousel Boutique. It was Derpy Hooves, the faithful town messenger.

"Message from Sweet Apple Acres, for the Bennet Family!" Derpy said, saluting.

"Ah, Miss Hooves," Mr. Bennet said. "We've been expecting you. Is Fluttershy going to spend the night at Sweet Apple Acres?"

"Yes, sir, Mr. Bennet," Derpy said.

"See?" Mrs. Bennet said. "I told you my plan would work."

"They said she's staying there because of...um...what was it?" Derpy asked. She scratched her head. "New...knew...pneumonia! That's it! She's staying there because she got pneumonia!"

"What?" Mrs. Bennet screeched.

"Yeah, I saw her, and she's too sick to walk," Derpy said. "Who decided to let her go outside in the middle of a rainstorm?"

Everypony glared at Mrs. Bennet, who chuckled weakly. "Oops."