The Diamond Cutter

by Nova Force

Silver Spoon's Birthday Party

Chapter 9: Silver Spoon’s Birthday Party

No regrets. Tonight will be fun, Diamond Tiara thought, standing outside Silver Spoon’s mansion. In addition to getting a terrible night’s sleep, something made her feel “off” all day. Her body ached in a way that she could not pinpoint. She figured that a birthday party was just what she needed. The pink filly knocked on the front door.

“Hey there, fillyfriend, come on in!” Silver Spoon said, welcoming her with a kiss on each cheek.

Diamond Tiara walked in and handed her a small, wrapped box with a silver bow. “Happy birthday. This is for you.”

Silver Spoon had no trouble accepting the gift. “Oh, Diamond, thank you. I’ll put this with the others.” The two ponies walked into the living room which had been transformed into a celebration hub. Silver Spoon placed Diamond Tiara’s present on a large pile of other gifts from her parents and extended family.

There was one thing peculiar about the situation. Despite the many presents, Diamond Tiara was the only pony to show up thus far, and she was a filly who had perfected the art of being fashionably late. “Where is everypony?” she asked.

Her best friend showed no concern. “Oh, I’m sure they’re on their way. In the meantime, have a look at this gorgeous anklet.” She waved her foreleg with pride.

Glittering in Diamond Tiara’s eyes was a platinum, gem-encrusted piece of jewelry. The pink filly couldn’t help but gape. “Who’s it from?”

“My cousin, Silver Platter.”

“Ah, I’ve always liked her.”

Silver Spoon pulled the anklet closer to her face and smiled over it. “She and I have had our differences, but after a gift like this she’ll be in my good graces for years.” The gray filly quickly dropped her foreleg as her voice turned apologetic. “Oh, what am I doing? It just hit me that the last piece of jewelry you wore was that crummy, pre-school cutout from Snips. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to rub this in your face.”

“No, it’s all right. I trashed that garbage the moment I got home,” Diamond Tiara lied. Even thinking about that corsage, which currently rested on her bedside table, made her feel worse. She wanted to change the subject. “Where are your parents?”

“My parents? Please. You think a mature young mare like me would let her parents come to her birthday party? Do you also think we’re going to be hoof-painting?”

There was an awkward silence. Diamond Tiara did not know what to say. Silver Spoon burst out laughing. “Oh, what’s wrong with me today? I’m sorry again, Diamond. I just had to give you a little tease.”

Normally jokes were funny, but only when they came at the expense of other ponies. Diamond Tiara would have made a fuss, but thinking about hoof-painting with Snips had a calming effect on her. In fact, the more she thought of it, the more she smiled.

Silver Spoon noticed this and was slightly taken aback. “Hey now, you liked that joke?”

Diamond Tiara threw her a curve ball. “You know, it’s just us. Maybe we should. Hoof-painting is actually pretty fun.”

Silver Spoon tilted her head. “What?”

Time to go on the offensive. “Sure, I mean, when I did it with Snips, he was a little annoying, but the hoof-painting was great. It made me feel creative.”

Silver Spoon was not on the same page. “Um, okay.”

“No, really! It’s not just slopping paint into a random pattern. There’s a lot of potential to go from nothing to something. Do you know what I mean?”

“Are you being serious?” The gray filly’s face grew concerned.

With her eyes closed, Diamond Tiara gave a single, confident nod. “Yes.”

Silver Spoon could not determine if her best friend was being serious or playing a joke. “Diamond, do you know who hoof-paints? Pre-school ponies and weirdos like Snips and Snails. I had fun hoof-painting as a toddler, but only as a toddler. I’ll bet you my family’s fortune that no pony hoof-paints in Canterlot.”

Diamond Tiara knew that might have been true, but she no longer had the energy to care. She didn’t want to have to convince her best friend that hoof-painting was fun. She didn’t want to call Snips and Snails names anymore. Above all, she didn’t want to lie anymore about her feelings.

Her mind was made up. The ache in her body started to subside, but it was now replaced with an accelerated heartbeat. “Silver Spoon, what if I told you that I like Snips?”

Her friend looked skeptical. “I would think you’re trying to pull one on me.”

Diamond Tiara waited a beat. “Well, guess what: I like Snips.”

There was another silence, more awkward than the first, but this time the horseshoe was on the other hoof. Silver Spoon did not look shocked, but rather confused. “But you dumped him last night. I saw you do it.”

“I know, but I didn’t want to.” Ever so slowly, the dam of dishonesty that Diamond Tiara had built began to crumble. The falsehoods about her feelings for Snips were washing away.

Silver Spoon was now staring at the floor. She had something on her mind, but she was formulating how to say it. “Diamond, I had a feeling this was true. I thought that I made myself clear last night before you cut things off with Snips, pardon the pun. Listen, we’ve been friends for a long time. I’m proud to call you my best friend. Ponies like us belong with Equestria’s finest, and that’s in Canterlot, not Ponyville. How do you expect to get to Canterlot with Snips anchoring you in this small town?”

The scenario was one Diamond Tiara wrestled with for days. “I’m not sure.”

“You’re not sure because the answer is that you can’t. I’m sure Snips was very nice to you, but Snails was nice to me, too. You didn’t see me develop feelings for that doofus.”

She waited for Diamond Tiara to speak, but the pink filly offered no response. Silver Spoon continued, “It’s like I said before. You can choose to be with any pony you want, but so can I. Please don’t make me choose to leave you behind in Ponyville. I want the best life possible, and that includes having my best friend at my side in Canterlot.”

Diamond Tiara looked around the room. “Silver Spoon, no pony’s here. Ponies don’t like us. I’m starting to think that the only reason that they came to my cute-ceañera was for the cake.”

Silver Spoon shook her head. “That’s not true! Everypony wants to be us. Those who say otherwise are just jealous. Don’t you remember how easy it was to get Snips and Snails to be our dates? That alone is proof that we are special. We belong in a special place. What do you see in Snips, anyway?”

An honest question deserved an honest answer. “He notices things. He liked my leaves.”

“Your leaves? What leaves?”

“In my art project. I made the leaves blend into each other in a way that you can’t really tell where one starts and ends. He noticed that and it made me feel good.”

No matter how much Silver Spoon scrunched her face, she could not see the logic. “So you like Snips because he said something nice about your painting? So, what, is that all it takes to be the pony of your dreams?”

Snips is the pony of my dreams – in more ways than one. Whenever Diamond Tiara normally had a dream, she would forget it moments after she was awake. Her dream where Snips gave her the paintbrush that she needed to complete her painting was as vivid as the project itself.

My project. Inspiration had struck. It called to Diamond Tiara. She had no time to waste. “Silver Spoon, I’m sorry, but I need to go.”

Terror gripped Silver Spoon. “What? Y-you’re leaving? But it’s my birthday party!”

“I know, and I love you, but there’s something I have to do – now.”

Diamond Tiara headed toward the front door without giving Silver Spoon a second look. She left and galloped as hard as her little pink legs would carry her. Silver Spoon stood at the entrance of her house and called out to her, “Please don’t leave me all alone!”

It was too late. Wild horses could not have stopped Diamond Tiara. Her destination was the Ponyville schoolhouse. Since it was the weekend, however, there were no guarantees that the school would be open. She clung to one vestige of hope. Tomorrow marked not only the beginning of the new school week, but also the art show. If Diamond Tiara was a betting filly, she would have wagered that Cheerilee was at the school prepping for the week ahead.

If not, she was sunk.

Diamond Tiara had never been much of an athlete, but even the Wonderbolts would have been impressed with her speed. Silver Spoon’s neighborhood was now behind her and the heart of Ponyville, the town square, grew on the horizon. She felt grateful that it was nighttime, for the heat of Celestia’s sunlight would have made her journey more unpleasant.

She ran and she ran. Almost there, almost there. When Diamond Tiara made it into the town square, only a hoof-ful of ponies was out. One couldn’t blame them; it was a school night. She praised her lucky stars; not having many ponies out made traversing the town square much simpler. The schoolhouse was just outside the perimeter and around a tiny hill.

As she galloped, Diamond Tiara looked up at the stars. She closed her eyes and made a wish. Please be there, please be there. Her tiara fell from her head because she was running so hard. Under normal circumstances, she would have noticed in a heartbeat that she was missing her signature coronet.

Her focus was elsewhere. Please be there, please be there. She came around the tiny hill, and her final destination came into view.

Luna must have been watching over her on this night. A lonely light shone in the corner of the Ponyville schoolhouse. Yes! Diamond Tiara found her second wind and sprinted toward the front door. She didn’t even bother knocking. She twisted the knob hoping it would be unlocked and, sure enough, it was.

The pink filly darted down the hall to the source of light. The door to Cheerilee’s office was open, so Diamond Tiara let herself in. The truth was she would have let herself in regardless of the door’s position.

Sitting forward in her chair was Cheerilee. The magenta mare had a pencil in her mouth and an array of papers strewn about her desk. Her concentration broke as she noticed her student’s presence. “Diamond Tiara, what are you doing here?” She saw that the pink filly’s tiara was missing. “Is everything all right?”

Although she was out of breath, Diamond Tiara felt supercharged. “Miss Cheerilee, I would really appreciate it if I could work on my art project. I have one more thing that I forgot to add. May I, please?”

Cheerilee’s initial concern was dashed as her face filled with delight. “Spoken like a true artist. Only those most determined to succeed push themselves until the last possible moment.” She opened her desk drawer and grabbed her keys. “Of course you may, follow me!”

Together, the two ponies headed toward the art room. In her mind’s eye, Diamond Tiara could see her finished project as clear as day. The process of translating her vision onto her canvas might take a while, but that didn’t matter. At this point, she considered the “whatever it takes” approach the only viable option.

“Here we are.” Cheerilee unlocked the door and turned on the light. The haunting stillness of the room during night hours gave Diamond Tiara the creeps as she entered. Her teacher stood inside the door frame. “I’ll be in my room grading papers if you need me, Diamond. Oh, I’m so excited to see what new addition you make!”

Diamond Tiara watched as Cheerilee went back to her office. She took a deep breath, “Me too.” The pink filly trotted to her easel. Draped over it was a large cloth meant to shield the finished product from snooping, copycat eyes. In one massive pull, Diamond Tiara yanked off the cloth and stared at her painted landscape.

Any casual observer would have believed her artwork needed no further additions, but inspiration can strike at a moment’s notice – even in the form of a little blue unicorn with buck teeth. As bittersweet thoughts of Snips flooded her mind, she thought, This may not be enough, but I hope it’ll at least show that I care.

What do I need first? She smiled as her eyes fell upon the round bristle brush. Perfect.