• Published 8th Mar 2013
  • 7,102 Views, 712 Comments

I'm Afraid of Changeling (and other short stories) - Cold in Gardez



Short sketches about being human. Except, you know, with ponies.

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Pantone Perfect

“Mmm, I swear, these massages are the best.”

Twilight Sparkle was inclined to agree with Rarity’s observation. They were laid out on a set of thin mats in the steamy recesses of the Lotus Luxury Spa, with one each of the Lotus sisters perched upon their hindquarters, vigorously running their hooves up and down the muscles beneath them. Twilight couldn't help the quiet moan that escaped her as Aloe found a particularly tight knot in her back and ground at it remorselessly until it surrendered and melted away.

Yeah, that was good.

“And these oils!” Rarity continued. “Just look at how they make my coat shine! We’ll be the talk of all the stallions, no doubt.”

“Uh huh.” It was the most Twilight could say. Aloe’s hooves pressed down on her hips with enough force to actually lift the masseuse’s weight. She can probably do CPR really well.

“It’s especially important for girls with light coats to keep them oiled. Imperfections show up just a tiny bit more easily. Oh, sometimes I wish I had a nice, dark coat like yours, Twilight!” She laughed. “Ha! No, really, I don’t.”

Twilight’s ear flicked in irritation. Only the obscene pleasure of the massage kept her from retorting.

“Still, it’s the price beautiful mares must pay, I suppose,” Rarity said. Prattled, actually. Yes, this was prattling. “Especially with a pure white coat. Oh, it’s hard sometimes, but so worth it!”

That was enough, Twilight decided. “Well, almost pure white,” she said. Softly. Almost inaudibly. Rarity shouldn’t have been able to hear her over the sound of her own voice. And yet...

“I’m sorry, dear?” Rarity’s voice had an edge to it. She had turned her head to cast an arched eyebrow in Twilight’s direction.

In for a penny, in for a pound. “Almost pure white,” Twilight repeated. “I mean, your coat’s not really pure white. Almost, though.”

“Dear, I assure you, my coat is absolutely, unadulteratedly pure white.”

“Almost.”

“Almost!? Darling, Twilight, you know I love you, but I know my colors. It’s white. Pure white.”

“Rarity, it’s fine. The color doesn’t matter. And anyway, anypony can see it’s really more like dove white. Fluttershy?”

“Meep!” Fluttershy tried to hide behind her bangs as their gazes suddenly swiveled toward her. Her wings were splayed out to her side, still drying while she waited her turn for a massage. “Um, I think your coat is beautiful, Rarity.”

“See, Twilight?” Rarity smirked. “She thinks it’s white.”

“She didn’t say it was white, she said it was beautiful,” Twilight countered. “Fluttershy, what color would you say Rarity’s coat is?”

Silence. Fluttershy’s eyes darted back and forth between them.

“Well?” Rarity said. She tossed her mane to the side. “Come on, Fluttershy. Just say it’s white.”

“Almost white.” Twilight shot her a frown.

“White!”

Off white.”

Rarity huffed. “Off white? Why, I never! You take that back!”

“Uh, Miss Rarity...” Lotus sounded nervous. “Perhaps you should just enjoy ze massage, and continue zis—”

“It’s the truth!” Twilight shouted. “Fluttershy, tell her!”

“Umm—”

“She will do no such thing!” Rarity pushed herself up onto her front legs, nearly dislodging Lotus. “Fluttershy, please inform Twilight Sparkle that my coat is the purest, whitest coat you have ever seen!”

Silence. Even the spa ponies turned to stare at the quivering pegasus.

“Well, um...” She swallowed. “It’s a very pretty white, Rarity. But it has just a little, um, you know, grey in—”

Rarity’s scandalized gasp silenced her. Twilight felt a grin stretching across her face.

Sweet victory.

“Don’t worry, Rarity,” she said, all smiles and friendship now. “Your coat is one of the whitest I’ve ever seen. Why, the only pony with a more pure, whiter coat is Princess Celestia herself!”

Rarity spluttered. “You... what? No! I’ll have you know, Miss Sparkle, that Princess Celestia’s coat is more like beige! It has pink in it!”

“What? No. You’re being silly, Rarity. Calm down and enjoy the massage.” That last part seemed unlikely, as the spa ponies had dismounted the mats and were edging closer to the doors.

“I will not! You will apologize and admit that my coat is white, whiter even than the Princess’s—”

No. No she didn’t. Twilight stood. “You shut your whore mouth before I shut it for you!”

“Eeep!”

“I will end you, Sparkle!”

“Ha! You and what off-white army?”

The next few seconds were a blur for Twilight. Rarity’s horn glowed, and then suddenly Twilight was in the mud bath, her hooves flailing for purchase upon the slippery sides of the pool. Across the room, Rarity smirked.

“Okay, okay.” Twilight took a deep breath, let it out, and stood from the mud. “It’s on.”

* * *

“So we’re not allowed to go back for how long this time?”

“Two months,” Rarity said. “It would’ve been three, but I offered to pay for that table you broke.”

“That’s very kind of you, Rarity.”

“Well, you know, generosity and all. How’s your leg?”

“Eh, fine. It might be a bit sore tomorrow.” Indeed, she was already limping as they walked away from the police station. “How many times is this, now?”

“Oh, who keeps track of such things?” Rarity said. “Anyway, I know this lovely spa in Canterlot. Same time next week?”

“You bet. Fluttershy?” Twilight paused. “Hey... where’d Fluttershy go?”

They paused and turned. Fluttershy was nowhere to be found.

* * *

Back at the spa, Fluttershy let out a quiet, happy sigh. Alone, at last. Except for the two spa ponies pressing their hooves into her back. Her wings fluttered as Aloe ground her hooves into the thick muscles between her shoulder blades, and Lotus went to work on her hips.

Friendship was a wonderful thing, she reflected. It could conquer any differences, and put to rest any disputes. She couldn’t wait for Twilight and Rarity to be able to visit the spa with her again.

But that wouldn’t be for a few months. Until then, she would just have to come here alone.

And that was worth a smile.

Author's Note:

Written for prompt 290: Funny thing about black and white. You mix it together and you get grey. And it doesn’t matter how much white you try and put back in, you’re never gonna get anything but grey.

I don't think this is what the prompt writers had in mind.