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The Great Decorate-Off

by LockHeart

“Oh there’s simply not enough time!” Rarity exclaimed as she frantically pranced from one dress form to another. They were loaded with plain white dresses she had spent the night preparing. Her trunk of ribbons and gems was bursting at the seams, but had zipped with much effort and assistance from Opalescence sitting on top. She had little time left to prepare for the Great Decorate-Off in Applewood and there was hardly time to load the carriage.


Pinky’s left ear started to twitch from Sugarcube Corner where she was finishing a frosting taste test for Mrs. Cake. “THE Pink one!” She declared with an alarming certainty, pointing her hoof at an electric pink frosting. “ Strawberry Lemonaid is sure to win them over!” Pinky’s right ear twitched. Then her hind right hoof tapped the floor three times in quick succession.

“Hmmm,” Pinky mused. “This is a grade 4 disaster looming!” She licked the remaining frosting from her lips. “I’ve got to go Mrs. Cake, Rarity needs me!” Then she zipped out the door.


At the edge of Ponyville Rarity was panting at the top of a hill leaned up against her cart piled with dresses. Pinky landed from a bounce next to Rarity and giggled, “Silly, you’ll never make it to the Decorate-Off in time standing around!”

Rarity jumped in surprise, alarmed at Pinky’s sudden appearance. She thought she would have been used to it after so many occasions. Rarity tried to compose herself, “Oh darling, you sneaked up on me again! Oh, and there’s frosting in your mane.”

“There’s no time to wait, and I’m saving that bit of frosting for later! I have a feeling I’ll need it” Pinky pulled Rarity up to sit on the cart with her and produced her Party cannon. “Hold on!” She warned as she the lit the fuze. Rarity ducked into her dresses and clutched the sides of the cart as they blasted down the road towards Applewood leaving a trail of confetti behind.

“Oh Hi Applejack!” Pinky waved as they zoomed past Big Mac pulling their cart up the road as well.

“I wonder if they’re going where we’re going,” Applejack mused.

“‘Eyuuup,” Big Mac agreed.


Pinky’s cannon ran out of streamers just as they were pulling up to the Mane Hall. A banner declaring “The Great Decorate-Off” adorned the front doors. Rarity lifted her head from the pile of dresses. “Oh thank goodness we’re here.” Her head swung with dizziness from the accelerated journey. She blinked her eyes into focus and gazed up at the Mane Hall.

“Well we’d better head in I suppose.” Rarity said as she pulled at the cart.

“Oh we won’t be needing your cart,” Pinky stated, bouncing up the stairs, “You can leave it out here.”

“What?” Rarity tilted her head in confusion as she followed Pinky up the steps. She caught a delectible fragrance in the air as they approached.

The doors swung open as Pinky entered and Rarity gasped in surprise. There were baking stations lined up across both sides the large open room. Some ponys were already at work setting up their stations. “This can’t be,” Rarity stammered. “This was supposed to be a decorating contest. I must be in the wrong place. Where did you bring us?”

Pinky chucked at her friend's confusion and reassured her. “You’re one of the most creative people I know Rarity! You’re going to do great!” Pinky pulled a large chefs hat out of thin air and placed it on her own head. “With my help!”

“But I haven’t got anything to decorate.” Rarity protested.

“Nonsense!” Pinky uttered as she led them to a station with eggs, flour, and sugar with mixing bowls. “I’ll whip you up a cake in no time.” In a tornado of movement she began to work on several sheet cakes.

Rarity glanced around nervously. Everyone seemed to be comfortable except for her. “I know!” She said, “Pinky I’ll be right back.”

Rarity returned to her cart and took some scissors to one of the dresses she thought she’d be working on. Applejack and Big Mac pulled up their cart and began to unload buckets of apples into the hall. “I’m surprised to see you here,” Applejack mentioned as she returned to the cart to haul more goods inside. “I had no idea you were interested in decorating baked goods!”

“I didn’t expect it either dear!” She admitted. But now that Applejack was participating she’d have to make an honest go at it.

Rarity returned to the hall with a gorgeous apron lined with lavender ribbon and emeralds. She returned to the station with her head high. Now she was in her element.

“Ding!” A timer went off as the cakes finished baking. Pinky pulled them from the oven with mitts and stacked them on top of eachother. It formed a steaming 6 tiered cake. “Now wait to frost until it’s had time to cool.” Pinky advised. She pulled a box of sprinkes and frosting from beneith the table. You’ve got two hours left to decorate so give it your best shot!”

Rarity set to work loading the frosting tubes and practicing her techniques on a sheet of parchment paper. “Oh I see how this works,” She said after a few tries.


After some time of deep concentration a distinguished pony entered through the main door and tapped his hoof loudly on the floor to draw everyone’s attention. Rarity looked up from her work. All of the tables were now filled with contestants. She noticed Mr. and Mrs. Cake working away at a decorated cake as well. Applejack was decorating freshly baked pies. The whole room smelled delightfully of baked goods and sweetness. Rarity’s tummy rumbled but she remained focused on her task. The sense of competition was tangible in the room. She had to give this her best effort.

All eyes were on the pony who had entered as he cleared his throat. “Please welcome this years judge, Sir Gordon Ram.” A blonde muscular ram with a light grey pelt entered the room. The room was completely silent. Rarity thought she detected the contestant next to her shaking. Gordon did look very stern and severe, but Rarity was not intimidated. The room clapped politely and returned to their work.


As the time was up Rarity collapsed next to her station, fanning herself. Pinky skipped over to examine her cake. She put on a pair of sunglasses. “It’s brilliant!” She exclaimed, “No really, how DID you get the sugar to sparkle like that?”

The towers were adorned with sugar candy that looked just like the gems she had tried bringing earlier, and with the icing piping she was able to make patterns that looked like ribbon and lace around the base of each layer. “I worked my magic,” Rarity answered, fluttering her eyelashes.

“You sure did,” Pinky agreed then whispered knowingly, “Told ya you could do it.”

A shadow loomed over Pinky as the judge approached from behind. “It may look pretty,” He agreed, “But does it TASTE as good as it looks?” His face was critical. Rarity gulped but stepped forward and placed a hoof on her chest.

“Hello Sir Gordon, My name is Rarity and this is my cake for the Decorate-Off.”

“Hmm,” He acknowledged as he placed the fork in the side and took a testing bite. His expression gave nothing away. He walked to the next station and Rarity’s shoulders sagged. She couldn’t tell if he had appreciated her design as Pinky had.

Pinky Pie gave Rarity a knowing wink, “He does that to everyone, don’t worry.”

“Oh, I hope so,” Rarity agreed. She just had to place above Applejack.

“Here here,” The announcer pony decreed after some deliberation time. All eyes again went to him. “Sir Ramsey is ready announce the placements.”

The intimidating Ram stood at the front stage where the metals and platforms were. “In third place, a most delightful treat from the Apple family.” Applejack and Big Mac perked up as they were called. They exchanged a high-hoof in celebration. Applejack made her way to the stage.

Rarity held her breath, now she really had to place. “In second place,” He continued, “Are the cupcakes from Gladys the Gryphon. Simply marvelous what you did with the buttercream.”
Rarity looked longingly at the Gryphon’s station as she walked to the front of the room. The cupcakes were circular with parasprite wings made of painted clear sugar emerging from each one. She had to admit it was a clever design.

“And in first place.” Rarity’s heart stopped. “Is Mr. And Mrs. Cake yet again! I don’t know how you got so much flavor into that strawberry lemonade frosting.” Rarity sank to the floor while Pinky erupted in a cheer. Rarity thought she detected Applejack sticking her tounge out at her when no pony else was looking. She slumped in embarrassment further, ashamed.

“Woooh-Hooo!” Pinky exploded a popper as they passed by their station to accept the first place medal.


As the ponys disassembled their stations Rarity scraped her hoof in the cake and took a tentative bite. “Ow!” She exclaimed as she cut her tongue on a shard of her sugar topping. “That’s so hard.”

Pinky snatched a gem for herself to try and gnawed at it. “Oh, it’s very crunchy.” She stuck her tongue out that was now dyed bright green. What did you put in these?”

“I used a lot of dye to get it the brilliant green color while maintaining the translucency and sheen of the gem.”

“You sure did,” Pinky agreed. “My tongue is gonna be this color for weeks! You can stick to decorating clothes, but you had fun right?”

Rarity nodded, “I suppose it was nice to try something different.” Applejack prodded back to her station with the medal around her neck. “But, I wouldn’t say my baking days are over yet. I may just have to come back next year and try again.”

“Here,” Pink offered Rarity some of her hair frosting. “It will help rinse the taste out of your mouth from your cake.”

Rarity and Pinky Pie both burst into laughter.