The stallion looked up from the papers on his desk to find a small filly poking her head around the doorway into the study, glittering tiara perched on her head – as always.
"Daddy, you love me, don’t you?"
He knew that voice. It was the voice that could almost get away with anything. It wasn’t begging, it wasn’t pleading, it wasn’t dry statement or vainglory. It was that floating, expectant question, buoyed by her overflowing self-confidence that all the world was hers.
Filthy Rich lowered his pen and pushed himself away from the desk, smiling warmly.
"Of course I do, Tiá."
"And you’d do anything to make sure that your little princess has everything she needs to succeed in this world?”
Ah, his own words used against him.
"Of course, my little princess."
The filly was now beside his desk, curled around the corner, arcing forward towards his chair, her eyes large and soft in an immaculate 'puppy face.'
"Daddy, what is five times three?"
Filthy Rich held back a sigh.
"Surely my little princess knows such a trivial answer as that," he said, instead.
"Oh, of course, Daddy! But I’m just quizzing you!"
"Is that so?"
She was against the chair now, nuzzling into his forelegs.
"Diamond Tiara," he said, "It’s important that you do your own homework. It’s so you can learn.”
"But it’s boooooring, Daddy!"
"I had to learn when I was in school, you know."
"Nuh-uh," she asserted. "You’re too old to have gone to school."
Filthy Rich chuckled.
"Come up here, Tiá."
He shifted to make space on the wide chair and helped her jump up beside him. She very quickly nestled herself against her Daddy, letting him hold her. After a moment, he bent his head down and blew a raspberry into her mane.
"Hey, Daddy, stop!"
He smiled as her pretend-indignant pout gave way to a muted giggle.
"Do you think Silver Spoon or Featherweight have their daddies do their homework?”
Diamond Tiara didn’t say anything, a shadow crossing her features.
"What about Twist?"
She fidgeted some.
"Noooo," she said at last, drawn out and almost dejected. Almost.
"What about… Applebloom?"
"That good-for-nothing blank– I mean, what? No!" She paused, and he did not interrupt her. Softer, more subdued, she repeated, “No. Not her, either.”
Filthy Rich nuzzled her again and she gave into it after a moment.
"Look at these papers, Diamond Tiara. Do you know what these are?"
"Your… uh… no, don’t tell me, I can remember…. Receipts?"
"Very good," he said, encouraging. "Do you know what that means?"
After a moment of great consideration, she shook her head, ‘no’.
"These papers are where our money comes from and where it goes."
Filthy Rich watched his daughter carefully. She gave very little away, he thought, but knew that sparks were flying in her head.
"I use math to keep track of these numbers and what they mean, Tiá. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. All things that you’re learning in school now.”
"I know how to add and subtract!"
"I know you do. Cheerilee keeps me well informed of your progress. That, and you’ve stopped asking me to do them for you.”
He squeezed her slightly in praise. He felt her smile.
"But Daddy," she said, pointing accusingly at the desk, "It’s just so boring! Why do I have to know these stupid things?”
"Because, Diamond… Look at me, please."
"Diamond Tiara, one day, all of this will be yours. Yours to manage, yours to build up on or to destroy. All of this will be your responsibility.”
"You mean… Everything will be mine?"
"Yours to have, and yours to lose. I won’t be around forever, right?"
The glint in Diamond Tiara’s eyes dimmed some.
"All of this, all that I’ve done and am doing now is for you, Tiá, my darling little princess. I want to give you everything you need to succeed, I love you so much. In fact…” He blew another raspberry into her mane, eliciting another half-hearted protest. “In fact, I love you so much, that I’m making you do your multiplication tables.”
"Tell you what, I’ll go over them with you when you’re done."
"Really?" Forgetting herself, Diamond Tiara leapt to her hooves, forelegs braced against her Daddy's barrel. "Really, Daddy?"
"Everything for my little princess. Not give you the answers, but yes. Now go along. We both have a lot of work to do tonight.”
Diamond Tiara fell forward and wrapped her legs around him in an emphatic hug. She planted a peck on his cheek as she withdrew before turning to trot back to her room.
Filthy Rich watched his daughter go, a wistful smile on his face.