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    Ponies told her she was silly.

    She lived in Ponyville. A little town in the middle of nowhere, inhabited by simple folk who did not wear or care about clothes in the least. To try and sell clothes to them would be akin to trying to sell food to a rock.

    But she didn’t care, because she was a designer, and clothes were her medium. She’d had a few successful sales before—small ones, as she was not a very good designer back then—but it wasn’t about the money or the success or any such thing.

    She just wanted to create and share.

    So she made clothes. She made hats, and coats, and dresses, and all manner of pretty things that would at most get a glance from curious tourists, and some nice earnest comments from dearest Fluttershy.

    And still, she felt the same. She’d only had three visitors in a month, and still she bounded into the lobby with a grand smile whenever her doorbell rang, exclaiming loud and proud:

    “Welcome to Carousel Boutique, where everything,” she said, and she did mean everything, she believed this with as much certainty as the sun was yellow and the grass was green, “is chic, unique, and magnifique!”

    You see, she was a designer, and she loved to make clothes, be it for many ponies or none at all.

    xXx

    Rarity left her dusty workshop, bitterly slamming the door shut like she did every morning she stepped in there under the delusion that maybe this would be the day she’d create. Relief washed over her soon after. A very sick, perverse sort of relief one has after easily convincing yourself that your problems can’t be fixed, clearly.

    Rarity used to be a designer. A great one and an awful one at once. But that didn’t matter anymore—the quality or quantity—because she wasn’t a designer anymore anyway.

    And yet, trotting into her dimly lit lobby, a pang tore through her chest at the sight of a sign on a table, waiting to be hung.

    “Closed for business at the time,” it said in bright, bold, colorful, desperate letters, “but worry not, we will be opening again soon! Thank you for your patience.”

    Rarity loathed that sign.

    It was a lie, the most blatant lie she could ever put out into the world, and she hated that it was a lie, and she hated that it wasn’t a lie, and she hated the colors, and the letters, and everything about that bloody sign.

    Every morning she looked at it, she told herself she ought to burn it. She ought to tear it into pieces, chuck it in a bucket and set the entire sunforsaken thing aflame, burning to cinders like her own sunforsaken career.

    Why keep the charade going? Why trick ponies? Why continue to be an awful pony, stringing along the kind clients who genuinely and lovingly supported her endeavors even despite them being nonexistent for ages? Why cling to hope that one day things would change, that there was a light at the end of the neverending tunnel?

    I’m going to burn it, she thought to herself, ruefully taking it in her magic.

    But, instead, she opened her front door, smiled brilliantly at a waving neighbor, hung the sign on the doorknob, went back inside her house, closed the front door, and then screamed until her throat felt like it was bleeding.

    This story is completely unedited, and for lack of a better expression, save for this section and the past two, is being live-written and live-posted. That is to say, I am working on it now, March 11th, and posting sections as soon as I finish them. It is essentially a completely stream-of-consciousness story, as is designed to be written and posted as such.

    The rest of the chapters will be posted without commentary, or with minimal commentary, but I do want to take a moment to thank my supporters on Ko-Fi and Patreon. You have been a lifeline for me, especially last year as I died inside and out. Thank you for sticking it out, and being the only tangible thing I could cling to when I believed I was worthless.

    You can support me on

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