Never Going Out Of Style
“Fillies and gentlecolts, she’s been in the Moon for one thousand years, but tonight she returns to Canterlot... a star! It’s time to witness the rebirth of Equestrian fashion with... Princess Luna!”
It was insufferable, these pre-act speeches. He didn’t know who they got to come up with such rubbish, but he did know that they were trying to offend his refined ears so badly that he’d look more kindly on whatever travesty the models came out wearing. The crowd, pedestrian as always, began to cheer and clap before the dress even emerged. How tiresome.
“Isn’t this exciting, Mr. Hoity Toity?” asked one of the simpletons who was sitting next to him. “It’s Princess Luna!”
“I heard she was sooooo nervous about this,” said a pony who was wearing a dress where she should have been wearing a gag. Hoity endured the banality but did not respond. His expression was unreadable behind his mirrored glasses.
‘I heard she made the dress herself!” said the quellazaire, which caused Hoity to abruptly turn about.
“Surely not,” he said, “I was informed that there would be Piedmount on display here, not some nopony from the moon!”
There was a brief moment of silence as the footfoalers looked at each other.
“We might of exaggerated,” said gagless in her annoying voice.
“But it’s Princess Luna! How can you not be excited to see Princess Luna!” said irrelevant.
“Oh, it’s like Ponyville all over again,” moaned Hoity Toity. More valuable time, wasted. Some hack from the moon was going to inflict horrors upon his eyes and he’d just have to sit through it...
The curtain raised. The princess stepped out onto the catwalk.
There was a collective gasp from the audience as Luna, as graceful as a ray of moonlight lighting up the night dew, floated onto the stage. And then there was silence.
Absolute. Awestruck. Silence.
Hoity Toity took off his glasses.
“My stars,” he said, and every eye was immediately upon him. He got unsteadily to his feet and looked up at the Princess who was transfixed with nerves. “Even if there was a time when trashy street walker was a look worth aiming for, you hit somewhere between there and rodeo clown. It’s like I’m looking at the garbage bin of history, oh, for shame!”
He put his glasses on and sat back down, turning his head aside so he didn’t have to look at the abomination any longer. He noticed to his satisfaction that the other ponies were giving him some space at last. It seems they’d finally realized that somepony as important as him needed space to –
Stars exploded along the inside of his glasses. He heard his ruff rip a little as he hit the ground – oh, that would simply not do – and he heard a muffled voice shouting “Take him away!”. He felt some ruffians lay their hooves on him. He would have called Hooves to deal with them but he couldn’t seem to clear his head from all these spinning colours.
“No way! Is that...”
“What’s HE in for?”
“I heard he got kicked by Princess Luna!”
Hoity Toity got to his feet. Oh, his glasses were cracked, and he couldn’t see anything through them. That, along with his ruined ruff completely ruined the image he was going for. He may as well just give up. “Hooves. Get me my Autumn Array. And my cushion,” he added.
“Uh, sorry Mr. Toity, sir, but I can’t,” said Hooves. Hoity Toity took off his glasses.
He was in a small, cold prison cell with iron bars. A few other ponies were around in the same area. Hooves was in the same cell as him, looking worried.
Hoity Toity put his glasses back on.
“You can still provide a cushion.” He said.
“Yes, Mr. Toity, sir.” Hoity Toity sat down, and sure enough there was a comfortable pony there to take his weight.
“Now, would it break the ambiance of this little grey hole to get some service?” he called aloud.
Trumpets sounded, and Hoity Toity peeked over the rims of his glasses. Some dark blue mare came down the steps, flanked by a squadron of guards. The overall effect was trite, to be honest, obviously meant to evoke the feel of Princess Celestia’s visits but with none of the confidence needed to offset all of the ham.
The mare stopped in front of the cell. He pushed his glasses back up his nose. There was nothing further to see here.
“Well?” She asked, challenging.
“Well your fashion choice was still a garish mishmash that will haunt my dreams longer than anything that could happen in this dungeon,” Hoity Toity said. He didn’t flinch when there was the sound of something slamming into the bars.
“Who do you think you are, talking to me like that? Do you know who I am?”
“No,” said Hoity Toity.
“I will not be made a laughingstock,” Luna hissed through clenched teeth.
“Madame, I couldn’t give a fig for what you are or are not,” Hoity Toity said, “My grievance is entirely with your dressmaker. Who is the culprit?”
“I – my sister helped me,” the voice seemed a bit less steady.
“And your sister is...?” Hoity Toity said, waving one hoof.
“Celestia,” Luna almost snarled.
“Then you should have words with her, because if she sent you out onto a stage wearing buttless chaps you would have cut a finer figure. It was like some kind of cruel joke, that.”
“I...” Luna stopped, “You *will* give me your honest opinion, will you not?”
“Why would I give anything different?” asked Hoity Toity, sitting in the dungeon of Canterlot.
“Hm. Come with me.”
“Sorry about the bruise, by the way,” said Luna as Hoity Toity walked into her room. In the course of the walk up here Hooves had managed to find him a fixed set of glasses and do some emergency stitching on his ruff. His eye was still black where Luna had kicked him, but it hid well behind the glasses.
“That was a new one,” he said absently, “Normally they just cry.”
Luna laughed. Hooves looked uncomfortable at how funny Luna found that.
Hoity Toity sat down. “Proceed.”
“Well... here’s what I wore when I first rose to the moon,” Luna said, stepping behind a screen and emerging in a spectacular silver and black dress.
Hoity Toity sat in silence for a moment and said, “The designer?”
“Well, it sort of magically appeared.”
“I see. Enchanting, but played out. Celestia has been riding that particular fashion into the dirt.” Hoity Toity said, waving his hoof, “Next.”
Luna twitched with a touch of anger at being dismissed so easily, but went and tried on her next piece. It was a classy black and purple ensemble. “This was what I wore when I was going formal as Nightmare Moon –“
“Oh, no, not unless you want to look like a Goth,” Hoity Toity said, averting his gaze.
“Hey! I was wearing this before it was cool! I MADE this cool!” Luna said, her voice raising.
“And ponies all across Equestria have spent the past thousand years making it uncool. Next!”
Fuming, Luna went behind the screen a third time. Hooves cast Hoity Toity a worried glance, as if to question his commitment to antagonising the Princess. Hoity Toity didn’t pay him any heed.
“Fine! How about this!” Luna said, emerging in a sweeping oceanic gown that raised from darkest green to deepest purple, crashing and flowing like a thunderstorm over a stormy sea.
“And who designed this one?”
“I did. While I was in the moon.” Luna said, raising her head defiantly.
“Ah, so you’re finally showing me something real,” Hoity Toity said, looking at it, “Not your sister’s work. Not you trying to be something you’re not. Not some mysterious magical gift. Something you actually, genuinely put your own emotions and effort to.”
“Well, the stitching is clumsy and you obviously aren’t used to having access to a decent sewing shop, but with some adjustments I think we can work with this.” Hoity Toity said, “Hooves! Get me my editing pen and those designs!”
“Fillies and Gentlecolts, let’s give it up for the new star of the Grand Galloping Gala, the newly returned... Princess Luna!”
Celestia carefully hid her giggle. No matter what Luna came out wearing this time what ponies would remember was the streetwalker clown. That’d teach her to stop playing loud music in the small hours of the morning.
The curtains opened. No one was there.
There was silence for a moment, and the whispering set in.
Belatedly, a unicorn with a silver mane ascended the steps, cleared her throat, threw back her hooves dramatically and announced, “The GREAT and POWERFUL TRIXIE is here to inform you that Princess Luna will not be attending the Grand Galloping Gala because she has found a much cooler party to attend.”
“How can it be cooler than the Grand Galloping Gala?” Asked one pony in the crowd.
“Because it will have the GREAT and POWERFUL TRIXIE in attendance,” Trixie shot back. “Now, Trixie has to get back. She hopes you all enjoy your crummy, Trixie-less party.” Trixie strode confidently off the stage, leaving a crowd of muttering ponies in her wake.
The rest of the Gala just felt kind of hollow after that. Sure, it was grand, and galloping and all that... but what was *Luna’s* party like?
“This is an almost criminal waste of my time,” Hoity Toity said.
“Would you prefer to go back in the dungeon?” Princess Luna asked.
Hoity Toity considered it. On one hand, he wouldn’t be stuck here dancing with this quellazaire and would be able to sit down. On the other hand, this place wasn’t a total crime against fashion. The silver maned unicorn had a pretty cape, the griffon had an interesting spike thing going, and the grey pegasus was wearing some abomination emblazoned with muffins that was despite all sane reason strangely compelling. There weren’t many others around. It was a small, private affair in the shadow of the mountain.
“Please, if you must do this, let’s at least change the music to something classier,” said Hoity Toity as he was forcibly waltzed by Princess Luna.
“Shut up,” said the Princess, “And dance.”