Rhymes and Romance

Chapter 1: Gossip

A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanficion

by Jonathan "KnightMysterio" Spires

All characters not original copyrighted to Hasbro and used for non-profit amusement reasons. All original characters copyrighted to me, so ask me first before using. The story takes place a year and a half after A Little Chat.

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Carousel Boutique...

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Rarity busily worked away at her latest order, humming to herself. "Hmmm hmm hmm... the pony everypony should know..." she sang idly, chuckling to herself. Business had been booming recently. Photo Finish had put in a big order, paid in advance, and given her plenty of time to finish it, Rarity having the last of the order delivered just today. In addition to that, Fancypants had recently requested yet another one of her custom dresses for Fleur de Lis's birthday next month.

And to make matters even better, Applejack had recently given her a jug of her family's famous apple cider for free, as a way of apologizing for forgetting her birthday the week before. Sweetie Belle and the other Crusaders were starting to get a REAL idea of what their talents were, and she had recently won an award for her fashion designs in one of Equestria's most prestigious magazines.

She was in the process of starting Fancypants's order when the bell at her front door rang, signaling a customer.

"Welcome to Carousel Boutique," Rarity said, easily falling into her practiced greeting. "Where everything is chiq, unique, and magnifique."

"It's wonderful on this fine day," said Zecora, the zebra nodding in greeting, "to meet someone so lovely in every way."

Rarity grinned. "It's a pleasure to see you, Zecora. It's been far too long since we've talked," she said, going over to prepare some tea.

Zecora smiled. "Indeed it has, this much is true. Allow me to make it up to you," she said, reaching into her saddlebags and sifting around inside for something. She came out with it, revealing a mouthful of pictures which she placed on the table. "These are pictures of my native land, of dresses and clothing, all from my clan. Having these, I think is best, so you have references for my dress."

Rarity blinked. "A dress?" she said, grinning.

Zecora nodded, blushing. "I find myself in need of the finest regalia... You see, I've been invited to the Grand Galloping Gala..."

Rarity went wide-eyed for a moment. And then she laughed, hugging Zecora. "Oh, but this is glorious! Not only is it a great honor, one you well deserve, but it's an excellent chance to show all of Equestria your talents as a potion-maker," she said, gushing.

Zecora grinned, blushing even brighter. "The thought had cross my mind, 'tis true. But that's not why I want a dress from you."

Rarity looked at her curiously. "Oh? Then why..." she trailed off, a grin coming to her face. "Ooooh, is it what I think it is?"

Zecora nodded. "Forgive me for my shyness and more... but I've just never had a coltfriend before..." the zebra said, blushing brightly as she went to sit on one of Rarity's couches.

Rarity giggled. "Ah, your first romance. You never forget it," she said, chuckling as she went over to study the pictures Zecora gave her. "So who is it?" she teased. "Anypony I know?"

Zecora blushed. "Forgive me if I do not say just yet... I just want to make sure that everything is set..." she said hesitantly.

"Fair enough," Rarity said. "I won't pry until you're ready to come forward." She studied the pictures Zecora gave her, hmming curiously. "Now let's see... You want something based on your own culture's traditions, but with my own flair to it. Correct?"

Zecora nodded. "Of fashion talents, there is no need to test. From what I have seen, you are the best," she said, smiling.

Rarity blushed. "Well, if you're going to put it like that, then I might as well do it for free as a way of saying thank you," she said, smiling.

Zecora blinked. "Are you sure that's wise? I have money to pay," she started.

"I've got money to spare, so don't worry this day," Rarity finished. She blinked, realizing she just finished Zecora's rhyme for her. "Oh, phooey," she teased. "Now you've got me doing it."

Zecora giggled.

Rarity chuckled. "But in all seriousness, I did have a recent influx of bits. I recently completed a rather expensive set of dresses for that famous photographer, Photo Finish, so I am in the black financially for a while. I can afford to make a free dress for someone who's been such a good friend."

Zecora nodded gratefully. "I thank you, dear friend Rarity, for making this Gala dress for me."

Rarity nodded. "No worries, dear Zecora. I'll make something beautiful for you. As it stands, I've had to turn down my own Gala invitation, so it's nice to know that at least my work will be on display there," she said, levitating some materials over to her desk. She picked up a tape measure and began taking Zecora's measurements. "Of course, a dress, no matter how fine the work, is only as beautiful as the pony wearing it. Or zebra, in this case. Lucky for me, it will have somepony truly lovely wearing it."

Zecora blushed. "You flatter me most needlessly. It is enough that you make this dress for me," she said.

"Tish-tosh. While I am no Element of Honesty," Rarity said, writing out measurements as she took them, "When I compliment somepony, I mean every word." She smiled, and added, "Besides. You must be doing something right if you've managed to get a coltfriend."

Zecora blushed. "I admit that I was surprised as well. The fact that he wanted me... ah well, that's a much different story to tell. But as I said I wish not to tell all for now... I'm still getting used to all this... and how..." she said, grinning and shaking her head.

Rarity nodded. "Of course, my dear," she said. "I am enough of a lady not to press for details when somepony doesn't wish to share them."

Zecora nodded gratefully. "For your discretion I am eternally glad," she said, "I want to make sure things won't turn out bad..."

"I don't see why they would," Rarity said, looking over the pictures Zecora gave her. "Yes, I can most definitely work with this... You're one of the few that I think green would actually work for, a nice dark shade to highlight your lovely slimming stripes..."

Zecora smiled. "I shall leave you to do your work, my friend. I bid you farewell, we shall meet again," she said.

"Have a wonderful day, Zecora," Rarity said, waving to her as the zebra walked out of her store.

Zecora smiled and nodded, exiting, passing Derpy and Raindrops as they came to deliver the mail. "Good morning dear friends! I bid you hail, most noble deliverers of the daily mail."

Derpy grinned. "Morning Zecora," she said, reaching through her saddlebags and pulling out some envelopes. "Got some letters for you from home. You want them here or just drop them off at your place?"

"I still have errands, no need to race. Just leave them at the door to my place," Zecora said, nodding.

Derpy grinned and nodded, putting the letters back in and helping Raindrops carry in the packages they had with them. Zecora smiled to Rarity and left to attend to her remaining errands, Rarity smiling as she began to make sketches, looking over the pictures Zecora gave her.

The bell jingled, Rarity's grin getting wider when she saw the love of her life enter the room, hot and sweaty from a day of hard farm work. "Applejack, darling!" she said, setting down the pictures and sketches and going over to give the farmpony a passionate kiss. They held it for a long moment, Rarity savoring the sweet apple taste of her lover, before breaking it off and smiling at one another.

"Ah tells ya, Rare," Applejack said, smiling gratefully. "After today's bit o'nonense, ah needed a kiss like that."

"Oh dear," Rarity said, pouring some tea for her and motioning her to sit down on her couch. Rarity poured tea for herself and sat down next to her, nuzzling the farmpony contentedly, not caring about the sweat that got on her lovely coat. "Tell me all about it."

Applejack sipped her tea, sighing. "Well, we had a major gopher incursion in the outer part of the orchard. We lost a couple trees to those little critters before Big Mac was able to get Fluttershy there to convince them to leave us alone. And then the durn things showed up in Golden Harvest's carrot farm, which she blamed on me..."

Rarity huffed, levitating a clean, wet cloth from her nearby sink to rub Applejack's forehead. "Quite rude. You had no control over where they went after Fluttershy sent them away."

Applejack smiled gratefully at Rarity when she began to rub her face with the cloth. "Yeah, but accordin' t'her, ah'm the one who didn't tell Fluttershy to make SURE they went away from the farms."

"Preposterous," Rarity said.

"Durn stupid is what it is," Applejack said. "And after that, ah had to haul away those dead trees to the compost heap at the edge of Everfree. Had a Timberwolf show up, too, try to turn them into new wolves."

"Oh my!" Rarity said, checking Applejack over for injuries. "Are you hurt? Did that ruffian of a creature injure you?"

Applejack smiled and kissed her lovingly. "Ah'm fine, sugarcube, ah'm fine," she said. "Twilight had just finished holdin' court in the castle in Everfree, so she was able to chase it off by yellin' in the Royal Canterlot Tone."

Rarity sighed, hugging her. "Just so long as you're all right," she said.

"And then there was the incident at the bowling alley," Applejack added.

Rarity blinked. "Oh dear. What happened?"

"Ah came in at the end of it, but y'know that Pezuna feller?" she said.

Rarity's expression darkened. "The one rumored to be a..." she started.

"That's him," Applejack confirmed. "Apparently the Crusaders managed to convince Mr. Kingpin to let them play again, and Pezuna started bein' 'untoward' towards them..."

"Really now," Rarity said, glancing over to a pair of shearing scissors on her table.

Applejack snickered. "Ah had the same idea. But Rainbow Dash took care of that for us," she said.

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The bowling alley...

Earlier in the day...

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Rainbow Dash snarled, leaning over the bruised, battered form of Jesus Pezuna, one hoof hooked in his shirt. "If I EVER catch you within TEN FEET of my daughter or her friends EVER AGAIN, I'm gonna..." She raised her other hoof, ready to bring it down again.

"I'll stay away, I'll stay away!" Pezuna pleaded, squirming in her grasp, one eye swollen shut.

Rainbow Dash snorted, and slammed his head against the lane. "Mr. Letrotski, if you'd do the honors?" she said, turning to a mustached, blond-maned Earth pony in a hooded sweatshirt standing nearby.

"The Dude abides," he said amiably, turning around and bucking Pezuna hard enough to send him down the lane, crashing into the pins.

The Dude's friends laughed at this. The larger of the two, Walter Coltchak, snickered and said, "Y'know what? I'm gonna count that on your score. Mark it down, Donny."

"Steerike," the smaller Earth pony said, scribbling in the points. The Dude grinned.

"Thanks, Dude," Rainbow Dash said, going over to check on the Crusaders, Scootaloo bouncing up and down in excitement. "You girls okay?"

"That was SO AWESOME!" Scootaloo cheered. "I have the coolest mom EVER!"

Rainbow Dash blushed at the praise. "Yeah, well..." she said. "I kinda lost my temper there, and that's a bad thing. He still shouldn't have been coming on to you girls, though."

Applejack, having walked in just as the fight ended, frowned. "What's goin' on?"

"That creepo Pezuna started saying weird things to us, getting closer than we were comfortable with," Sweetie Belle said.

"Yeah. He said somethin' about makin' sure we got a 'special kind' of Cutie Mark," Apple Bloom added. "Ah dunno what that meant, but ah got a feelin' that's one Cutie Mark we don't want."

"Izzat so?" Applejack said, glaring down at Pezuna, who was slowly pulling himself out of the pins.

Rainbow Dash sneered at him, Pezuna flinching when he noticed it. "Don't worry. I think he gets the hint to leave them alone after this."

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Carousel Boutique...

Now...

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"Well, good job on Rainbow Dash's part," Rarity said. "Although I am honestly surprised that she or this 'Dude' person didn't have charges filed against them."

Applejack snorted. "Tch. Everypony knows about Pezuna. Who'd actually side with him?"

"Hm. True," Rarity admitted, levitating a brush over and starting to use it on Applejack's mane.

"Aw, c'mon, Rare," Applejack said, blushing.

"Tish tosh," Rarity said, gently moving Applejack's hat over to a table as she continued her brushing. "If I'm not allowed to pamper my wife, who is?"

Applejack blushed, grinning. "So how about you, darlin'?" she said. "Anything interesting happen to you today?"

"Certainly not as interesting as what you've been through today, for certain," Rarity said. "Gilda may be stopping by later to compare notes. Her shop in Griffhala just opened recently, remember?" Applejack nodded, and Rarity continued. "I've started work on some new orders for Fancypants..." Rarity grinned. "I do have a delicious bit of gossip for you, if you're interested. But I have to get your word that you won't tell a single soul until she's ready to come forward with it herself."

Applejack grinned, guessing it was romance related from the phrasing. "Ah promise," she said.

"Do you Pinkie Promise?" Rarity said.

"Cross mah heart and all that," Applejack said.

Pinkie Pie popped out of the nearby trashcan, a stern look on her face. Applejack and Rarity yipped, jumping into each other's forelegs in fright.

"Say it right," Pinkie Pie admonished.

Applejack stared at Pinkie a moment rolled her eyes. "Cross mah heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in mah eye," she said, going through the motions of the promise.

Pinkie Pie beamed. "Okay, that's all I needed," she said, disappearing into the trash can.

Rarity and Applejack traded looks, Rarity levitating up the can, pulling out the trash and seeing no sign of Pinkie ever being there at all.

"One would think we'd be used to that after knowing her for so long," Rarity said, chuckling.

Applejack chuckled. "Aw, she means well. Anywho, what's the gossip?"

Rarity looked around, grinning conspiratorially. "Zecora's been invited to the Grand Galloping Gala! And she has a coltfriend, too!" she whispered.

Applejack grinned widely. "Yee haw! That's great! Zecora deserves to have herself a little romance," she said.

"Oh indeed," Rarity said. "I've been commissioned to create a dress for her."

"It'll be a beauty, then," Applejack said. "Ah wonder who the lucky colt is?"

"He must be a stallion of excellent taste if he's romancing Zecora," Rarity said.

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Later...

Zecora's hut...

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Zecora, calmly humming a Zebrican tune, arrived back at her hut, surprised to smell something delicious cooking. Picking up the mail, she went inside, grinning when she saw her coltfriend there.

"Ah, greetings!" Prince Blueblood said, a book and a large stirring spoon held in his magic. Inside one of Zecora's cauldron's was a bubbling, delicious smelling mixture.

Zecora giggled when she recognized the cauldron.

Blueblood smiled. "I was making you dinner! I found this book of traditional Zebrican recipes in the Canterlot library today, and I wanted to surprise you! I"m not sure I'm getting the recipe right, though..." he said, peering at the book.

"By smell alone it's right, on that you've won," Zecora said, setting her saddlebags aside. "But really, you chose that specific cauldron?"

Blueblood blinked. "Why? What's wrong with it?" he asked, staring into the cauldron.

Zecora giggled again. "Each cauldron has a purpose, you see. In that I make potions of virility," she said.

Blueblood blinked. "Virility? As in..." The regal unicorn blushed. "Oh dear... Bit more of a kick that we'd need this early in the relationship, isn't it?"

Zecora nodded and blushed, going up to him and kissing him on the cheek. "We'll just set this extra outside, and let nature have it, let nature abide. We'll just simply remake the stew, and have ourselves a quiet dinner for two."

Blueblood grinned, and kissed her more passionately. "Sounds like a plan, my elegantly striped beauty."

TO BE CONTINUED...