|Date published||June 20, 2011|
Simply Rarity is a short story by Somber. It invents a backstory for Rarity which only partially meshes with her characterization in season 1 of the show, and portions of which are contradicted by new developments after it was published.
"Simply Rarity" is primarily written in a diaristic style: the story is told via very brief vignettes presented as entries in a journal Rarity kept as a filly. These segments are bookended by a frame story set in the "present day", sometime after Twilight has moved to Ponyville.
The story's title refers to the way Rarity chooses to close out her diary entries. At first, only "Simply Rarity" is appropriate for a filly of her pedigree. She switches to "Just Rarity" when thrown out of the orphanage and to merely "Rarity" when she runs out of ink. At that point, she also switches her salutation from "Dear Journal" to "Dear Diary".
She starts adding complements and adjectives to her valediction again when she hears of Sweetie Belle's impending arrival into the world, cycling through a new one every entry. It is once again "simply Rarity" below the very last entry in the diary, and it is also the last phrase she thinks of in the frame story.
Rarity leaves Twilight Sparkle's birthday party in tears when Rainbow Dash and Applejack intimate that her birthday gift (a diary) is a little on the cheap side. When Twilight goes to the Carousel Boutique some time later to talk to Rarity about it, her friend is clearly still distraught, particularly when asked about why she tutors Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon in poise and manners despite surely not needing the money. Instead of answering, Rarity opens a chest and entrusts Twilight with an old book: Rarity's own diary, given to her at her own birthday party many years earlier.
The diary charts Rarity's early life from the moment she receives it. She has grown up the only child in a well-off family and is about to have a little sister. Spoiled Rarity is upset: how "rare" can she be when she's not the only filly in her family anymore? She gets even more upset when she hears what her parents are calling their newborn: Unique.
Her parents have little patience for her tantrums. It is quite clear to the reader, if not to young Rarity, that they are having money problems. First they stop sending Rarity to etiquette training, then they let go all of their servants and sell what they can of their personal possessions. Eventually, her father throws himself out a window. She later acknowledges it as a suicide, but at first tries to rationalize it as an accident.
The three remaining family members move out of their old mansion into a more run-down neighborhood. One of the things Rarity takes with her is an old cloak; stuck within it is a sewing needle, which Rarity makes some use of later on. Her mother neglects the children, leaving Rarity to care for Unique much of the time. One day, she does not return.
Their landlord throws them out of their house, and Rarity and Unique are put first put in what is either an orphanage or a foster home, and then in a homeless shelter. When the adult ponies want to take Unique away to get her adopted, Rarity runs.
The two foals eventually make their way into the countryside when its winter and snowing. One night, Unique dies from the cold.
Rarity and Unique are found and taken to Sweet Apple Acres. The Apple family takes care of her for a while, though Rarity doesn't really want to stay anywhere near where her sister died. She uses her needle and the basic sewing skills she's acquired since her father died to help out where she can. This nets her a job and a room with the only seamstress in Ponyville.
Said seamstress, a pregnant recent widow, adopts her. Rarity lives a semblance of a normal life again. She's even sent to school, where she once again comes in contact with Applejack. The Earth pony does not appear to recognize Rarity, which the unicorn is glad for.
Over the course of time, Rarity gains another sister - Sweetie Belle - and an adoptive father. The seamstress and her new husband move to Canterlot, but they leave Sweetie Belle in Rarity's care.
The diary's final two entries lay out Rarity's plans for the future. Having been sold the tailoring shop by her adoptive mother, Rarity decides that she will work hard and give most of the money she earns to charities all over Equestria. She also writes that she cannot imagine ever giving the diary to anybody else to read, and that if it ever is read by anyone, she hopes that person will know never to discuss its contents.
As Twilight turns the last page, she notices two strands of hair; one, it is implied, from Unique, one from Sweetie Belle. She starts writing the first entry in her diary, but without mentioning Rarity's name.
In a coda, Rarity is still at work in her boutique, even late at night. She is sewing blankets for the poor, having already arranged for the pastries left over from Twilight's party to be sent to a shelter the next day. As she thinks about her love for Sweetie Belle, she takes another look inside the chest she'd taken the diary from. What's inside is Rarity's old cloak. It represents everything she would ever be, she thinks: "simply Rarity".