One of the hardest things to do in life is to forgive yourself.
Diamond Tiara was starting to learn that the hard way. For the past couple of days, she had been chewing over how she had treated other ponies in the past, especially the Cutie Mark Crusaders, particularly Apple Bloom. In spite of her internal predicament, she couldn’t be in a bad mood, at least not today.
She glanced down at the ticket she held in her hoof. As a kind gesture of showing her that they held no hard feelings against her, the Cutie Mark Crusaders had generously gotten her a ticket to a magic show. Not only that, but they had even managed to snag a backstage pass for her so she could meet the magician in question. When she had inquired as to how they had managed to obtain such a thing, they had said that Twilight Sparkle was a personal friend of the magician and had sweet talked said magician into giving her a backstage pass to her next show.
Unfortunately, going meant having to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and Celestia knew that the last thing she wanted was to be accompanied by her mother. Her father was away on business, as usual, so asking him to go with her was out of the question. Thankfully, Applejack and Rarity had agreed to go with her. If anything else, it would give them something to do.
The two were currently busy chatting up a storm about fashion or something or another while Diamond Tiara was left to gaze out the window she sat beside. There wasn’t much to see, however. Nothing but rolling hills and green pastures as the train roared through the countryside. She sighed, wondering when they were going to get to Manehattan.
She supposed getting to go to Manehattan was some sort of a bonus. After all, she didn’t get to go to Manehattan very often, and it was where all the celebrities hung out. If she was lucky, maybe she’d get to meet a few of them. Though, she seriously doubted it. They were just going to Manehattan for the magic show and then would be whisked away back to Ponyville just as quickly as the show ended. Regardless, she supposed that it was a good way to spend her weekend.
“You okay, darling?”
She turned to see Rarity looking down at her, smiling. She nodded her head. “Yeah, I’m okay.”
“Ya look like ya could use somethin’ to eat,” Applejack added. “When’s the last time ya ate?”
“This morning. I didn’t really get to eat lunch.”
Without hesitation, Rarity stopped one of the ponies pushing a trolley full of food down their corridor. She had Diamond Tiara pick out something, then paid for the snack with a couple of bits from her saddlebag.
Diamond Tiara munched away on the candy bar. It wasn’t exactly a nutritious snack, but it would at least fill her up. She turned to Rarity and smiled. “Thanks.” In truth, the word made her cringe. Not because she didn’t like being polite, but because it was such a rare occasion that she used it that it felt like vinegar coming out of her mouth. This was quickly remedied by taking another bite of her snack.
“Think nothing of it, darling,” Rarity said. “Applejack, you want anything?”
“Nah, Ah’m good,” Applejack replied. “Had a big lunch before Ah left.”
Rarity chose a snack for herself. She tore open the bag of candy with her teeth, then proceeded to tip a few morsels into a waiting hoof and popped them in her mouth. She offered a helping to Applejack, who politely declined and began reading a book to keep herself busy.
At long last, to Diamond Tiara’s elation, the train finally pulled into the train station in Manehattan, coming to a screeching halt. Despite wanting to run off the train right away, she decided to wait for Applejack and Rarity to go ahead of her. After all, she had no earthly idea where the magic show was being held, so she figured that it would probably be best to let them lead the way.
Once they were off the train, Rarity and Applejack began heading towards the theater with Diamond Tiara hot on their heels. The journey to the theater took far longer than Diamond Tiara would have liked, but they got there eventually. They took their seats after being admitted into the theater and waited patiently for the show to begin.
The lights were dimmed as the curtain was pulled open. “Come one, come all,” came a booming voice from the stage. “Come and witness the amazing magic of The Great and Powerful Trixie!” A loud boom was heard, followed by a cloud of smoke, from which jumped none other than the “Great and Powerful” Trixie, smiling at the audience. She sported a purple wizard’s hat, along with a cape of the same color adorned with multi-colored stars. “Watch as The Great and Powerful Trixie performs the most spectacular feats of magic ever seen by pony eyes!” A series of fireworks went off behind her as this exclamation.
While Rarity and Applejack were slightly annoyed by Trixie’s boasting, Diamond Tiara seemed to be fascinated by her tricks, and the fact that Diamond Tiara was having a good time was the important thing. The filly watched the pony onstage with admiration and wonder. Her eyes seemed to grow wider and wider with the more feats that Trixie effortlessly pulled off.
For the final feat of the show, Trixie hoisted up a pinata. She took a torch with her magic and scanned the audience as she proclaimed, “For this next trick, I will need a volunteer from the audience.” Her eyes landed on Applejack and Rarity. “How about you, Hagity?”
“Hey,” Rarity screeched through gritted teeth, glaring. “My name is Rarity! I’m not a hag!” She would have leaped over the seats to pummel Trixie herself had Applejack not been holding her back.
“Settle down there, sugarcube,” Applejack said, patting Rarity on the head. She was relieved when Rarity settled back in her seat.
“How about it?” Trixie proposed.
“Rarity, just do the stupid trick so we can get out of here and go home,” Applejack urged.
Rarity sighed in annoyance, but nonetheless got up and walked on the stage.
“Thank you,” Trixie said. She addressed the crowd next. “Now, watch in awe as I make my assistant disappear.” She turned back to Rarity. “Step into the pinata, please.”
“Oh, for pony’s sake,” Rarity groaned. She climbed into the pinata.
“Wait a minute,” Applejack cried. “What are you going to do?!”
Trixie held up a hoof to silence her. “Please, this requires absolute silence.” Without another word to Applejack, she turned and, to Applejack’s horror, lit the pinata on fire, engulfing it in flames.
“Rarity!” In an impressive display of speed and agility that would rival Rainbow Dash’s, Applejack leaped over the seats and was on the stage in a heartbeat just as the ashes of the burnt pinata were falling onto the floor. “Rarity . . .” A tear trickled down her face. Enraged,, she turned on Trixie and roared, “Where is she?! What have ya done with Rarity?!” She advanced towards the magician and was pleased to see that she was succeeding in intimidating her.
“Calm down, darling,” a voice called. “I’m right here.”
“Wha . . .” Applejack followed the sound of the sound of the voice and was taken aback to see Rarity smiling and waving at her from the audience. “Wha . . .” She turned to Trixie. “How . . . how did ya do that?”
Trixie merely smiled triumphantly. “A good magician never reveals her secrets.” She addressed the crowd. “Thank you all for coming! I hope you all enjoyed the show! Good night!”
The audience began exiting the theater. Meanwhile, Applejack joined Rarity and Diamond Tiara at their seats.
“So, what do you think?” Rarity asked Diamond Tiara. “Would you like to go meet her?”
“Uh . . . I don’t know. . . . .” Diamond Tiara admitted nervously.
“Oh, come on, now, sugarcube,” Applejack said. “She ain’t gonna bite.”
“Well, okay.” Diamond Tiara followed Applejack and Rarity backstage, but was surprised to find that Trixie wasn’t there.
Applejack addressed Snails, who was passing by. “Hey, fella, do ya know where Trixie’s dressing room is?”
Snails nodded. “Yeah, it’s just down the hall, I think.” He grinned at Diamond Tiara. Leaning down, he said, “Hey, you’re kinda cute. You wanna go do something?”
“She is not interested in anything you’re throwing, mister!” Rarity cried, quickly ushering Diamond Tiara away from him.
They walked down the hallway outside of the auditorium and came across Trixie’s dressing room. They knocked and waited.
Snips answered the door. “Sorry, but the Great and Powerful Trixie isn’t entertaining guests tonight,” he said.
Diamond Tiara showed him her backstage pass.
“Oh,” Snips replied. “Okay, hold on.” He closed the door and addressed Trixie. “Um, excuse me, Miss Trixie?”
“I thought I told you not to bother me,” Trixie snapped, taking a sip of her wine.
“Yeah, I know that, but–”
“Then get out of here and leave me alone!”
“But, Miss Trixie, you have a visitor.”
“Very well. Send them in.”
“Right away, Miss Trixie.” He ushered Diamond Tiara in while Applejack and Rarity decided that they would wait for her outside. He presented her to Trixie. “Miss Trixie, this is, uh . . .”
“Diamond Tiara,” the pink filly stated.
“Oh,” Trixie said. She hopped down from her chair and examined the filly closely. “The Great and Powerful Trixie does not think she’s had the pleasure of meeting you before. Have you ever graced the Great and Powerful Trixie with your presence?”
Diamond Tiara blinked, taken aback by the fact that Trixie was addressing herself in the third person. Nonetheless, she said, “No, this was my first time seeing your show.”
“Is it? Then, tell me, did you enjoy Trixie’s performance?”
Trixie raised an eyebrow. “You guess?”
“I didn’t really like how you were picking on so many ponies. You know, like calling Rarity ‘Hagity.’”
Trixie merely sputtered her lips at this. ‘Oh, please, child. The Great and Powerful Trixie does not care if she upsets somepony with her comments. If those ponies can’t handle Trixie’s brilliant wit, they need to grow a backbone.” She took another sip of her wine.
“You mean, you don’t care if you hurt somepony’s feelings?”
“Of course not! Why should Trixie?!”
“Well, how would you feel if somepony was calling you names? Somepony could call you the Lame and Pathetic Trixie.” She actually had to smirk at that.
Trixie, on the other hoof, didn’t share Diamond Tiara’s amusement at the comment. “How dare you!”
Diamond Tiara grinned. “Doesn’t feel good, does it?”
At this, Trixie stopped and looked down, her demeanor suddenly adopting a dejected one. “No.” She looked away and rubbed at a hoof.
“You don’t really think about what you say before you say it, do you?”
Trixie said nothing.
“You don’t stop to think about how what you say could affect somepeony, do you?”
Again, Trixie gave no response.
Diamond Tiara plopped down on her rump. “To be honest, I haven’t done that myself, especially not in the past. It’s kind of something I’m ashamed of. This one time, I was the editor of our school’s newspaper. Instead of printing actual news stories, I focused on spreading gossip and rumors about other ponies for my own amusement. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, hurt a lot of ponies with my words and actions.”
This seemed to get Trixie’s attention. “Hmm, Trixie is intrigued. Tell Trixie more.”
Diamond Tiara did. She told Trixie everything, how she was raised in a rich and prosperous family, how her mother had brainwashed her into thinking that it was okay to tease and bully others just because her mother thought of them as being beneath her, and, just recently, how the Cutie Mark Crusaders, her former enemies, and her had become friends and how the Cutie Mark Crusaders had finally gotten their cutie marks. Trixie listened intently, just sitting and letting the filly ramble on and on about what her life had been like up to that point.
“You and Trixie have a lot in common,” Trixie said. “Trixie herself was brought up in a broken home, raised by a broken family. Trixie’s parents were always fighting, forcing her to do things she didn’t want to do.” A few stray tears made their presence known, but Trixie quickly wiped them away. “They enrolled Trixie in Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, despite that Trixie wanted to go to a regular school, make friends. No matter how hard Trxie tried, though, she just couldn’t make any friends. All of the other ponies teased her, made fun of her. It was long before Trixie began believing that her worth was only measured by how good at magic she was. Before she knew it, Trixie was being forced to put on shows in order to support her family.” She gritted her teeth and angrily shook her head. “See what you’ve gone and done? You made Trixie reminisce about her past and bring up her pain water.” She once again wiped at her eyes to keep any tears from falling. She cleared her throat.
“So you don’t really want to do this?” Diamond Tiara asked.
“No,” Trixie cried. “Trixie always wanted to be a performer, yes, but not like this. It was always Trixie’s dream to be an actor.”
Diamond Tiara blinked. “Really?”
“But of course. Trixie has a natural gift for acting, wouldn’t you say?”
“I guess.” A moment of silence passed before she added, “I always wished I could be in a different family, one where my worth wasn’t measured by my social status.”
Trixie nodded. “You and Trixie share a lot in common.”
Diamond Tiara didn’t seem to hear this since she continued talking. “I’ve recently learned that the words we use can hurt others.” She looked up at Diamond Tiara. “Even if you don’t see it, the words you use to degrade other ponies do have an affect, whether it be positive or negative.”
Trixie sputtered her lips. “Stop with this nonsense. Trixie doesn’t believe her words have any affect on anypony and even if they did, Trixie wouldn’t care in the slightest.”
“I don’t believe that.”
Trixie blinked. “What?”
“You said you wanted to be an actor, so why don’t you just go out and do it? Forget what your family wants. They can deal with their problems on their own. If you want to get anywhere in acting, you have to change up your attitude.”
“What’s wrong with Trixie’s attitude?”
Triixie blinked, but otherwise said nothing in response.
“You’ve got to start acting nicer, start talking nicer,” Diamond Tiara said. “If not, you’re not going to get anywhere in life. You’ll never be able to become an actor with your poor attitude.”
“Hmm,” Trixie pondered. “Perhaps you are right. Maybe Trixie does need to improve her attitude a little bit. It could be the reason why so few ponies are coming to Trixie’s performances.”
Diamond Tiara smiled.
Trixie looked over at the clock on the wall. “It’s time for Trixie to be leaving. The Great and Powerful Trixie has had a marvelous time talking with you.”
Diamond Tiara nodded in agreement. “Same here.” She watched Trixie walk over to the door. “Are you going to apologize to all the ponies you’ve hurt?”
Triixe turned and nodded. “Well sure, but are you going to apologize to all the ponies you’ve hurt?”
After a moment of thinking about it, Diamond Tiara nodded her head. “Yes. Yes, I am.”
With that, Trixie flew open the door to her dressing room and made her exit.
Diamond Tiara soon followed afterward.
“I thought she was a bit more tolerable this time around,” Applejack was saying.
“She called me Hagity,” Rarity roared, sneering. “I’m not a hag! I–oh.” She looked down to see Diamond Tiara standing in front of her. “There you are.” She and Applejack began walking towards the exit. “Did you have a nice time talking to Trixie? You were in there an awful long time.”
“I enjoyed it,” Diamond Tiara said. “She’s really not so bad once you get to know her.”
Applejack entered the Apple family home, a bundle of envelopes in her mouth. She set the mail on the kitchen table and started going through it. She stopped when she came across something addressed to Apple Bloom. She called upstairs, “Hey, Apple Bloom, ya got some mail here!”
Apple Bloom was downstairs in a heartbeat, hopping up and down in excitement. “Ooh, what is it? What is it?!”
Applejack chuckled at her sister’s enthusiasm. “Why don’t ya take a look for yerself?”
After getting the envelope, Apple Bloom was surprised to find that the return address was Diamond Tiara’s. Her curiosity piqued, she ripped open the envelope and unrolled the piece of parchment inside.
It’s kind of a long story why I started bullying ponies. I think because it happened to me, but that’s no excuse. I’ve been mean, and I’ve hurt some of you, and I’m really, really sorry. So, I’m gonna try to be better. I don’t just want to be respected; I want to liked, too, and I know I have to earn that.