Octavia wrapped her forelegs around Vinyl's midriff, vainly attempting to heave her away from the doorway. She dug her hooves into the ground to gain leverage, finally loosening Vinyl's grasp in a crashing, two-mare pile up. Octavia slowly brought herself to her hooves, donning her most sincerely disappointed facial expression.
"Look, you have to come shopping with me, whether you like it or not."
Vinyl attempted to hide behind herself in a rather convoluted foetal position, groaning into the paving slabs and old chewing gum.
"I don't like clothes shopping. Come on, we just went to your rehearsal, can we just go home?"
Octavia dug her hooves in further, metaphorically this time. Her disappointment became a saddened pout, and she made sure to force her eyes to water with awaiting tears. Vinyl glanced at the imminent and purposeful downpour, and released a resigned sigh. She got onto her hooves, noticing how the tears rapidly evaporated, and a smile unfolded on Octavia's face.
"There we are! You need a new Gala dress, Vinyl. I won't take no for an answer."
Vinyl chuckled, falling in line beside Octavia.
"You're a manipulative mare, Octavia. That move just then was nasty."
"A mare does what she must, Vinyl. Besides, you've pulled the same trick on me many a time. You've become an accomplished user of the puppy eyes maneuver."
Vinyl slung a foreleg around Octavia as they walked down the street, giving a tight squeeze before she released her hold.
"I guess that makes you my faithful student, Octy. Besides, I already have an outfi-."
"If you're suggesting you appear to the Grand Galloping Gala in that tin foil outfit, then don't say another word. There are old Doctor Whoof episodes that would be embarrassed to use that."
Vinyl took her turn to pout; lowering her head a few degrees, removing her shades, and ensuring Octavia was treated to a panoramic view of her glistening, watery rubies. Octavia noticed the attempt to sway her opinion, and turned away, scoffing at the sight of it.
"It doesn't work if I just did it to you."
She turned back, the very same eyes were still staring at her. Vinyl was nothing if not determined once she set her mind to a task. Octavia occasionally likened that mentality to a cavepony rubbing sticks together for fire. Vinyl often didn't enjoy this view once she realised Octavia was implying she was simply bull-headed.
"Look, Vinyl. We have to get moving, if you'll just..."
Vinyl's stoic pouting achieved new levels, Octavia wasn't sure that amount of tears could be dammed any longer.
"Alright. If you come with me, I'll make it up to you later on."
Vinyl decided to play this round cagily, still keeping the safety off her tear strewn eyes.
"How are you gunna do that?"
"Well, I'll do you some...favours. Later on."
For reasons that cannot be explored at this time - due to the potential of young fillies and colts reading this fiction - both Octavia and Vinyl shared a wry, knowing smile with each other. Vinyl drained away her alligator tears, adopting a sprightly spring in her step as she trotted to the Canterlot shopping mall that awaited them both.
"Y'see, Octy? That's why you're still my student."
* * * * * *
After much searching, deliberation, and quick snacks in coffee shops, Octavia and Vinyl finally happened upon the appropriate shop they had planned to visit. They arrived laden down with several bags of stuff that they hadn't planned to buy, but apparently the advertising departments of various high street shops had decided they should.
The boutique itself was a large and flamboyant affair, lavishly decorated in things that looked very expensive, and Vinyl noted, not very hard to fit in a saddlebag. It was also rather extravagantly tiled 'Un Magasin qui est Vraiment Sympa,' which Vinyl's rudimentary French had very little understanding of.
Octavia scoffed at the name, before nudging open the door and allowing Vinyl entry into the room. Immediately upon entering the boutique they were met by a seemingly aristocratic mare, her navy blue form shrouded under layers of pompous and extravagant dresswork. Octavia felt that she had taken it upon herself to be a one-mare mannequin for her designs. More to the point, it seemed she aimed to advertise all of them at once.
"Well good afternoon, ladies! I'm Toile Chatoyante, and this is my Boutique Magnifique!"
Octavia shied away from the overbearing salespony approach, before carefully extending a hoof to shake Toile by. She released a slight sigh, noting the pent-up excitement in the other mare's shake.
"Good...afternoon to yourself, too. Myself and my friend were looking for Gala dresses, I was wondering if you had any designs that would suit?"
At once Toile's eyes lit up, a canvas and pen appearing from a backroom amidst an aura of midnight blue magic. The pen danced in the air, sketching lines that flowed as gracefully as the pony they were intended for. An avatar of multi-tasking, Toile was in the process of stitching the very same dress together with her magic as she drew it, until Octavia cut her off with a confused query.
"Miss Toile...what are you doing?"
The swarm of myriad objects and fabrics halted in midair, the ethereal blue magic holding them in place. Toile turned around from the midst of her artistic fervour, apologetically blushing.
"Oh, I'm ever so sorry to have rushed ahead. All my dresses are hoof made on demand, I have a talent for telling sizes at a glance, and what would suit a mare. For example, your choice to wear a pink bow tie shows you wish to draw attention to your eyes, so I have designed your dress to do the same."
Octavia idly toyed with her bow tie, unsure how to respond to the insight to a thought process she wasn't even aware of. She had simply felt her bow tie looked...nice. Vinyl snickered slightly in the background behind her, as Toile returned to her work.
A mannequin had been brought to the centre, the various pieces of fabric and clothing forming in the air above it before plummeting onto the wooden form like birds at the sea. In this manner, a dress most elegant began to form. A long, flowing gown grew, jet black frilled with vibrant pink, that coated the rump. The forelegs of the mannequin were enveloped in knee-length socks, a dim, slate grey topped with a subtle, pink frill. On the left ear a small rose of beautifully folded fabric was perched, and a necklace set with a morganite in its centre was draped over the neck.
Toile stepped back, a set of scissors and a needle and thread her only remaining tools. They nipped away at some areas, and extended others, refining and perfecting her work. Octavia stepped forward as Toile deferred to her, allowing Octavia a full view of her work. Carefully, Octavia caressed her dress with a hoof, eyes floating over the design. It was truly a breathtaking sight to see something so personal created so quickly.
"Feel free to try the dress on, I would not expect you to purchase one without having worn it beforehoof."
Octavia broke her gaze away from the garment, nodding. At once the dress was lifted off the mannequin, and the miasma of midnight blue magic took Octavia a full hoof off the floor, affixing the dress onto her. It was something of a disorienting experience to say the least, but it had achieved its intentions, and Octavia was carefully lowered to the floor fully clothed.
She felt it necessary to parade the outfit, noting how the way the silky socks hugged her forelegs was almost too enjoyable, and the outfit overall flowed perfectly with her own movements. The entire piece weighed barely more than a feather in her mind. She turned to Vinyl, who had been giving her more than one appreciative glance throughout the parade, and was currently stood with her mouth slightly agape in a some amazed smile.
Octavia executed a quick twirl for Vinyl, ending with an inquisitive glance. Vinyl took a moment to regain her faculties of speech in order to convey her thoughts to Octavia. Thankfully, her social acceptability faculty was also in place.
"It...you look...great, Octy. Just beautiful."
Octavia blushed, an action that the pink of the dress accentuated even more.
"Well, I think that's that one definitely bought. Now, Vinyl, I do believe it's your turn."
Octavia began the process of removing her outfit, a task that went unaided while the fashionista in the room was otherwise occupied. Vinyl stood forward, an aura of blue stealing her shades away and moving them to sit atop her horn. Toile simply stood for a moment, intently sizing up her task.
"Intriguing that you chose to hide such striking eyes. They are truly your greatest asset. Hmm, There should be a piece on the head, to bring them out to the onlooker, while the rest of the body should blend with the mane to frame them. Yes! I have it!"
Toile's once dulled eyes lit up with inspiration, the swarm of fabrics and equipment were thrown up into the air, congregating around the mannequin as they began to work. As before, a gown was formed, though this time it was a darker affair. The torso was clad in deep black with a red band at the hip, while the rump was then covered with a piece that extended to hoof level, midnight blue and trimmed with a series of pink musical notes.
More unfolded, an almost neck scarf-like piece; shimmering cyan, with a deep, black musical note set into the centre. Finally, a ruby red rose was created, a carefully folded affair much like Octavia's that was set atop the mannequin's head. Toile finalised her design, the last pieces falling into perfection as she heaved deep breaths from the exertion.
Octavia had removed her own outfit in time to see Vinyl's being fitted. Vinyl was somewhat less co-operative, and fidgeted as Toile put on her outfit. Not that it seemed to affect the fashionista's worryingly acute magical capabilities. Vinyl was once more levitated down to the floor, where she tottered unsteadily in her new outfit.
She turned to Octavia, who emitted a sharp gasp. Whereas she had always found Vinyl's eyes alluring, now they were truly mesmerising. The dress almost seemed like a magnifying glass to them, drawing all focus onto the bright eyes that awaited her verdict.
"My...well, it is possible to make you seem cultured. You're simply...breathtaking."
Octavia noticed a small smile from Toile in the corner, as Vinyl gave her a customary twirl. Octavia also noted - in a thought pattern she didn't often champion as her most eloquent - that the outfit also accentuated Vinyl's curvy form in a most flattering way.
"Well, I guess that means you've got yourself two happy customers, Toile. Isn't a pair of smiles the best payment you can get for your art, eh?"
Toile chuckled, a glassy, fluid affair like a teaspoon stirred in a cup.
"Indeed, but the rent pony doesn't accept smiles as payments. I can offer you a couple's discount, if you'd like."
Octavia coughed, blood rushing to her face as Vinyl nervously scraped a hoof across the ground.
"Heh, you figured it out, did ya?"
Toile smiled, already writing out a receipt with a spare quill and parchment.
"Like I said, my talent is in sizing up a pony, or ponies. You two just seemed....it made sense to create dresses for you both together. It's rare you get a pair that trot through that door and shine together as you do. Now, about my payment."
Vinyl chuckled, reaching into her saddlebag for her money, while Octavia blushingly did the same. They both glanced at each other as they paid, faces burning, though they were both aware the other was laughing inside.