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Divide and Conquer · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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A Fashionista's Guilty Pleasure
She was in a crisis she had never faced before and dearly prayed she would never face again. An out of body experience so resoundingly violent that she wasn’t even aware of the ponies huffing their disapproval of having to walk around her on the narrow sidewalk. There! Inside the most plain unassuming thrift shop imaginable on a dress rack facing the entrance was...the ugliest dress Rarity had ever seen!

“Egads!” Rarity galloped inside. “What a frightfully inept attempt!” The stitchwork, those crinkles and folds, the dreary colors imitating "fashion" from the begotten and gratefully forgotten Draft era made the dress resemble what a hanged cat might look like.

“This place should be closed down just for harboring such a monstrous thing! And yet... I can’t look away from it. Why can’t I walk away?” She saw a nearby mirror and saw herself, aghast, confused, and enraptured.

Just like that there were two Raritys. The real Rarity, and the imposter who thought the cheap thrift thing she’d stumbled across like litter was utterly irresistible in its ugliness. Ugly, yet appealing, garish, yet unique, bold, distinct, and even a bit mysterious, like a discovered artifact. In fact how old was it? Was this an authentic Draftien dress? Rarity noticed other ponies on the edge of her awareness. Some of them eyeing the same rack. Maybe eyeing the same dress. No! She didn’t know if she wanted it. If somepony else bought it she could never have it!

Of course we want it, Darling. It’s positively fascinating!

“No we do not!” Rarity shrieked out loud and at no one. Every pony in the room gawked. “Er, eh-heh, don’t mind me I am just thinking all to my lonesome.” Rarity tittered nervously waiting and praying for the unwanted attention to wane.

Drat! A yellow coated mare pranced up beside her browsing the rack all nonchalant. The back of Rarity's neck prickled. Oh no you don’t.

“I can already tell that nothing along here suits you.” she stated as fact.

“Huh?” The mare hadn’t been listening, her amber eyes flicking towards the white unicorn, then back at the rack. With horror, Rarity saw her lean towards the uniquely beautifugly dress.

“You’ll look fat in it!” Rarity shrieks again, the other mare balks wide eyed.

“Excuse me!?”

“The cut of this garment will not look good I assure you.”

“But I haven’t even-”

“You will look like a HIPPOin ballet!”

The mare quaked then backed away, ears flat. She opened her mouth wanting to argue but in the end her bottom lip trembled and she went away. A veil of peace returned except for raging internal battle over the dress's fate.

Walk away, Rarity, just think of what your colleagues would say!

If they do not see the true beauty of this masterpiece then they aren’t worth your time!

What horrid spell has this jumble of fabric cast upon me?

It was six in the afternoon, closing time at seven. In that hour Rarity waged war with every pony who even thought of moving towards that dress. Proselytizing why they’d hate it, why it wasn’t worth their bits. It was cursed! Somepony died in it yesterday! The cheap fabric would give them a rash for weeks!
Nopony even wanted the old thing, if they even went near that rack at all, not that Rarity could tell. She was desperately determined and they were all her enemy!

Only one mare more dangerous. Rarity glanced the mirror again and there she was. Smiling while she was not. So happy to find a dress so ugly not even her mother would want it.

“Excuse me, but it’s closing time.”

“I can’t leave yet.”

Seven-thirty and the store was empty save Rarity and the shop keeper.

“Excuse me, miss?”

“I must..make sure she leaves.”


Her!” Rarity points at herself in the mirror as if pointing out a rat. The last pony Rarity had to conquer was...herself. Stunned but proactive,the shop keep grabbed a sheet, grumbling about how she wasn't paid to deal with crazies, and tossed it over the mirror, blinding Rarity to her foe. “Okay she’s gone. If you’re not buying anything please leave.”

Rarity broke. “I’ll buy it! Please! Put it in a box. I can’t let anyone see it.” The stark panic in her eyes drove the shop keep to action. Her prize was wrapped and boxed. The door locked quickly as she left. But in Rarity's mind the battle was over and peace restored.

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#1 ·
· · >>libertydude
The premise here is fun, but this seems like it’s in a sort of uncanny valley of zaniness. Rarity is being too silly for me to take this seriously as a story played straight, but it’s not *so* zany that I want to suspend my disbelief and go along for the ride—the secondary characters are too nonconfrontational and reasonable for that. I wonder if this might have worked better by leaning harder into the craziness.
#2 ·
I think >>Hornbind hit the nail on the head with this one. The story's got the right kind of voice for Rarity and the situation is definitely inspired. Seeing Rarity enraptured with a terrible dress and trying to come to terms with her fascination toward it would legitimately be a funny fic. The moments that focus on her struggle between burning the dress and buying it were the best parts for me.

Yet there's just something about the piece that feels out of place. As Hornbind said, "an uncanny valley of zaniness" where things are almost zany enough, but not quite. I think it comes from the final scene with the mirror. Such a literal representation of Rarity's struggle could have been great in either a serious or comedic fic, but the execution here makes it seem like the fic is trying to be a little too serious in at least one aspect (conquering oneself). It makes a largely comedic fic serious in a sense, and I think that is really messing with our perception of the story. Mixing comedy and drama can work, but a sudden swerve into drama after such hijinx can just feel weird.
#3 ·
The zaniness can be tweaked just a tad, but I quite enjoyed this one. Thanks for writing it, author!