It took quite a while to bring Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo up-to-date regarding the comings and goings of events since they'd parted ways from from their young friends at school earlier that day. For starters, before they even got to the point of the explanation, they had to assist in clearing up the mess on the floor, as well as aid a quartet of mares jammed in a door frame to get free.
It was a shame in a way, the Crusaders had already received their symbols of destiny, because otherwise they would have been a horseshoe-in for the 'creating havoc' cutie mark, if such a thing existed. This ability had seemingly been retained even after they'd discovered their unique talent of helping others to discover their own skills, making it kind of an extra-curricular one. Lucky them, not so lucky for everypony else.
In the meantime, there was Diamond Apple, at first still a little groggy from being unexpectedly awoken from her late afternoon nap, then in a complete reversal from her old ways, wanting to help her new sister and friends to sort out the problems they'd instigated.
But Applejack insisted she stay in bed, with the orange mare pointing out her new foster child had been through more than enough drama on that long day without getting involved further. So instead, the pink filly remained under the covers and sulked, a little fed up of the constant babying she was subjected to.
Eventually, when the last piece of glass and broken tiara had been removed from the floor, with all the adult ponies recovering from their unphysical crush on each other, Apple Bloom's tale began, and it was a humdinger indeed. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle listened with rapt attention as the farm filly regaled them with a story of family, friendship and insanity (Spoiled pretty much covered the latter part) with Diamond interjecting at various points to say her piece, determined to prove that despite her recent ordeals, she could still contribute to the discussion at hoof.
Of course, the one thing the two new sisters left out was that incident, but basically everything else was covered. The big argument between Apple Bloom, Diamond and her old mother. The visit, and subsequent falling out with Silver Spoon, which of course Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle knew most of already. The appearance of the slimy Legal Eagle. And, a certain pink filly's life-changing decision to be fully integrated into the family she once despised.
It was certainly a lot to take in, and the two listeners stared at each other in awe as the tale reached it's conclusion.
"Whoo, that's definitely something, alright." Whistled Scootaloo.
"You're telling me! I'm still getting my head around Diamond being nicer. Now we're supposed to remember her new name, too?" Complained Sweetie Belle.
"Hey, it's no trouble for me..." Smirked Scootaloo. "If you have any problems recalling it, why don't you write it on the back of your hoof?"
"Hang on, so..." Sweetie Belle frowned. "If I changed my name to say, 'Sweetie Drops' tomorrow, you'd be able to get it right every time, just like that, with no slip-ups?"
"Of course!" Scootaloo nodded. "Though, you might want to pick a different name. That kinda sounds like a cough medicine. Also, there might be a pony called that already."
"No there isn't!" Countered Sweetie Belle. "That's just her nickname. Her proper name is something else..."
"You're wrong!" Scootaloo was clear in her disagreement.
"No, I'm not!"
"Yes you are!"
"Girls, girls! Enough already!" Apple Bloom was fed up as acting as peacemaker between her warring friends. "Give it a rest, will ya? Can't you see, Di is recuperating? The last thing she needs is you two yammering away like a pair of timberwolves..."
"Hey, I'm fine now!" As much as Diamond Apple liked the feeling of having a new sister, sometimes she did get a little overprotective. "If they're going to stop fighting for any reason, it should be because we don't want them to end up like me and Silv. I wish I could see her again, to say how sorry I am..."
Scootaloo and Sweetie Dro-Belle glanced at each other, before the orange pegasus spoke up. "Um..." She hesitated for a moment. "We kind of have some news on that front, as well..."
"Oh?" Diamond looked on with interest.
Sweetie Belle was the next to pick up the mantle. "Yeah, you see, she kind of gave us a ride over here in her coach. With her mother, who seems very nice. Her brother drove us. Not the smellier one, though, thank Celestia."
You could have heard a pin drop in that room the next few seconds, as Diamond processed all of this information. Then, taking everypony completely by surprise, the newest Apple jumped out of bed, ran under the legs of the mares near the door, and proceeded out into the corridor, barking "SILVER! SILVER! WHERE ARE YOU?!"
Taken aback momentarily, the filly was soon pursued by Applejack, while the rest of the adults followed suit, with Pinkie notably wearing a most inappropriate grin during the chase. Those running after Diamond were so wrapped up in their hunt that they even failed to spot a returning Twilight, who was almost spun one-hundred and eighty degrees by those rushing past.
Overcome by a slight bout of dizziness, the alicorn gathered her wits, before noticing the three sheepish-looking Crusaders emerge from the room. "W-what's going on here?" She stuttered.
"Er, Diamond decided to go for a little jog..." Sweetie Belle started talking.
"To clear her head of all of the cobwebs..." Scootaloo continued the sentence.
"And to find Silver Spoon by herself, to apologise." Apple Bloom was the last to speak.
"Oh, is that so?" Twilight mused. "Well, it's a shame she didn't stick around to ask me, because I know exactly where Silver and her mother are headed. This hospital is so big, it might be a bit of trouble to find them without knowing exactly where to go..."
"No, I don't want those! They're hideous!" Silver was not best pleased at the latest spectacles laid out for her perusal, and promptly waved them away.
She'd tried on, or looked at, almost every pair in the building, and yet was far from being satisfied. Either they were too big, too small, too colourful, too dull, too reflective...
For every new set of glasses presented to her, there was always some excuse as to why they weren't good enough, and the optician, a naturally patient stallion by the name of Vision Express, was beginning to lose his cool.
"Are you sure, miss? I think that's the last pair we have in stock..." He said in a harsh tone that made Sterling wince, but was seemingly missed by her daughter. "So either it's those, or you go home blind."
"I'd rather walk into a bottomless pit than be seen with these monstrosities!" She yelped. "Take them away!" They were quickly put back into their box by the grey filly, who tossed them over her shoulder into the massive heap of unwanted lenses nearby.
"Well if that's the case..." Vision Express forced grin was plain to see. "May I just say what an absolute pleasure it's been serving you both today. Do have a safe journey home... And madam, you may want to hold your daughter close. Traffic can be quite hectic, at this hour."
"I'm so sorry. She's not usually this fussy." Sterling mouthed to the long suffering optician, out of the earshot of Spoon. "If there's anything I can do to make up for wasting your time..."
"Well, unless you want to stick around and help me reorganise all of these..." Vision Express gesticulated at the now huge mound of uncatalogued glasses that the grey filly's indecision had left in it's wake. "Then I'm afraid there isn't. But once again, lovely to meet you both. Do pop in, again. Maybe in a millenia, or two..."
Picking up on the server's surly attitude, Sterling proffered nothing in return but a slight blush, and was about to take her fickle daughter in hoof and leave quietly, when...
"Hey, what's that?" Silver Spoon had spotted something gleaming, in the depths of the spectacle storage cupboard.
"What's what?" Vision Express scoffed. "I told you before. You've tried on every single pair we have in stock. They're scattered all around you. Now, if you'd please go, it's going to take me all evening to..."
"No. She's right. I can see it too. A faint glimmer..." Even though her daughter had been very difficult, Sterling always stuck up for her when she was in the right.
"Huh?" The optician was curious enough to take a peek himself, and what do you know, he saw it as well.
Right at the back. The light catching onto something metallic. Vision Express went to check it out...
And there it was. One of the most beautiful spectacle cases you're ever likely to see. Made from the purest silver and engraved with the coat of hooves of the Equestrian royal family, it was almost too pretty to touch. But, the optician did anyway.
"Er, I believe you were referring to these, my lady..." Vision Express was as flabbergasted as everypony else there at the startling appearance of these hitherto unknown lenses. Maybe, they'd been blocked by so many other boxes over the years, it was only once the storage space had been cleared that they'd been spotted.
Perhaps, they'd been donated by a long forgotten member of the monarchy eons ago and been left there, waiting for a very special pony to take ownership of them...
In either possibility though, one thing was for certain in the optician's mind. It didn't matter how nice they were, the fussy grey filly was bound to find some minor fault with them, and tell him they simply weren't good enough. After all, her track record so far was roughly one-thousand pairs to nil...
"I'll take them!" Squeaked the voice of the high-maintenance smaller pony.
"What?!" Vision Express blinked out of his thoughts. In all the time he'd spent procrastinating, Silver had already snatched the case away, opened it up and tried on the glasses inside. If the box was ornate enough...
The spectacles were on a new level altogether. Gold rimmed, intricately carved, a perfect fit. But unknown to the two adults watching her, the item's true worth lie in it's efficiency. Wearing them for Spoon was like having perfect eyesight, with no magical enhancements or spells present. Just good old-fashioned professional craftsponyship.
"I can read that writing from all the way over here. No Griffons Allowed. And look mom, I can count all the wrinkles on Mr Express's head!" Spoon excitedly exclaimed, her joy making her a bit more insensitive than usual.
"I think we've found our match..." Sterling announced with a little smile, as Vision Express wished he'd worn his favourite cap to work that day, to cover up the scalp full of age creases he was sure the youngster had added to the last hour.
"It appears so. Will wonders never cease..." The optician muttered, while hurredly writing up the order. "Now, take good care of those. Something tells me we're not going to get a set like those in again for quite some time..."
"Oh, don't you worry. I will!" Silver Spoon was looking forward to showing them off in the playground already. Now all she'd have to do was reconnect with her best friend, and it would round off the day nicely.
In fact, it was as the grey filly was staring down the corridor, having donned her new glasses to admire how clear everything was, that she noticed a pink dot approaching her from quite far away. There seemed to be other dots in close proximity too: An orange one, A white one, a larger pink one and a blue one floating in the air.
Spoon watched these strange specks as they closed in and morphed into pony shapes, even as her mother was signing the paperwork for her new lenses. By the time the grey filly heard her name being called, and saw exactly who the lead pink dot was, it was already too late.
BANG! OOF! SHATTER!
Diamond Apple and Silver Spoon definitely did 'reconnect' that day, though not really in the way either one would have wanted.
In a flash afterwards, still in a daze from the collision, Diamond found herself being scooped up by Applejack, while Spoon received the same kind of treatment from Sterling.
"What were you thinking, wandering off alone like that, in the middle of a busy hospital..." Sterling told her daughter off.
"Yeah, and you shouldn't be running around like a mad mare either, not while you're still recovering..." Applejack also chastised her charge.
"...Sorry, mother." Silver sighed at her carelessness.
"Yeah, sorry mom..." Diamond's admitted to the orange figure holding her close...
Before noticing everypony staring at her, and wondering what all the fuss was about.
"... Huh? Why are you all looking at me like that?" The pink filly wondered.
"W-what did you just call me?" Applejack asked, a face a mixture of emotions.
"Well, I just..." Diamond retraced her short-term memory, before realising the gravity of her words. "H-hey, wait a second. I-I was only copying what Silver Spoon just said. D-don't read too much into that..."
All of the mares present chuckled at Diamond's obvious discomfort and subsequent blush, and even Spoon giggled a little at the scene. Their merriment however, was cut short a moment later, as an angry looking stallion cleared his throat out loudly next to them.
"Yes, that's very moving. My heart is melting at this precise second. Now, if you don't mind me interrupting this poignant scene, just what are you going to do about all of this?" Vision Express indicated the area around him, and as those assembled in the location began to glance about, they saw his point.
Everywhere, there were crushed boxes, with the glasses inside irreparably damaged. Everypony chasing Diamond had been unable to stop their headlong rush into the large heap of discarded glasses at the back of the shop in time. This was especially true for Rainbow Dash, who'd decided to put on a air spurt at the worst possible moment...
The consequences were clear for all to see. Well, almost all. Silver soon found the world a very blurry place to live in again. Putting a hoof on her nose, she realised in the melee her new posh eyewear had fallen off, and had joined the other spectacles in pieces on the floor.
"Oops, guess we shoulda looked where we were going..." Rainbow Dash apologised as best as she could for the unfortunate crash.
"Um, yeah. Our bad..." Applejack was still stunned by Diamond's term of endearment, and wasn't taking charge of the situation as she normally would do.
"Hey! It could have been worst you know... At least they weren't new glasses!" Pinkie was specifically referring to the destruction of Silver's antique lenses, as the party pony happened to be sitting on the now rather squashed silver box.
Looking at the unsavoury mess left behind by their thoughtless rampage, and noticing the optician's brown fur in the early stages of turning into a nice shade of red, Rarity decided it was time to employ her own unique tactics. Making herself look as presentable as one can after a crash of that scale, she approached the simmering stallion seductively.
"Hey, you..." She purred, battering her eyelashes.
About to unleash a volley of expletives, Vision Express stopped for a moment to ask. "Who, me?"
"Yes, you. I don't see any other handsome stallions around here do you?" Rarity asked, in a voice that could melt butter.
"No, I don't, but... Wait a second... You can't mean me. I'm old enough to be your..." The optician was understandably very confused.
"Oh my dear, that doesn't matter. That just means you have more experience..." She complimented, while giving him a little wink.
"Hee hee. Ha ha. Ho ho... Really?" Having had virtually no attention from the opposite sex for a generation, Vision Express was suitably flattered by such high praise, especially coming from such a gorgeous creature.
"Yes, indeed." Rarity kept up her impressive pretense. "And I was just thinking, maybe an intelligent, hard-working, understanding pony like yourself might be able to overlook this unfortunate episode, if we put it right ourselves. You see, me and my friends are personal acquaintances of Celestia..."
At this point. Rarity led Vision Express further away, for a more 'private' conversation, while the others just stared after them with open mouths.
"Well, I knew she had it in her..." Rainbow Dash pondered. "But I've never seen her do anything like that before..."
"I have..." Pinkie giggled to herself, remembering how the unicorn had bilked a nerd stereotype out of a piece of asparagus during market day for Fluttershy once, using very similar methodology.
"Well, anyway, I'm just glad everything looks to be taken care of now..." Sterling remarked, still holding a fidgeting Silver Spoon close.
"It's certainly been an incident packed day, what else could possibly happen, I wonder?" Applejack wondered aloud, also firmly grasping Diamond in the same way.
"I don't know, but if anything else does occur, I want it to be outside this hospital!" An authoritative voice sounded behind the group.
Turning around to see who it was, they saw none other than Nurse Redheart, looking more than a little fed-up and tapping her hooves in annoyance.
"On this shift alone..." Redheart frowned. "I've heard shouting coming from everywhere, flying in the corridors, ponies being knocked over in the halls, and a near riot over tea. Now, I find you responsible for the destruction of hospital property? If you were any other ponies, I'd be throwing you into the holding cell alongside Mrs Rich myself!"
An immediate panic took hold of the listeners, who were ready to grovel and beg to avoid such a terrible fate. Please, anything but that!
"Seeing as how some of your number, though..." Redheart continued with a sigh. "Are responsible for saving Equestria from total destruction on several occasions, I suppose we can overlook it this time, as long as you leave this establishment in the very near future. Judging by her vigorous run just now, Miss Diamond Tiara is more than ready to face the world again, and that hoof should be just fine with the fresh bandage. I fear though, that if you stay for very much longer, this hospital very much won't be. Please come to the front desk soon, and we'll get her checked out."
As Redheart sauntered away, everypony reacted to this announcement with mixed feelings. Some, like Diamond, were just glad to see the back of this place with all it's bad memories, while others, mostly the adults, felt a bit ashamed at the chaos they'd bought to this formerly peaceful clinic.
"I'll tell you what's not fair..." Pinkie fumed. "We're here to face the music, and Fluttershy, Rarity and Twilight get off scot free!"
To her surprise, the usually stoic Redheart laughed a little at this remark, and turned her head to address the party pony briefly.
"Don't be silly." The nurse explained. "We never lock up princesses..."
"But what am I supposed to do for school tomorrow?" Silver Spoon wailed about her lack of new glasses. "I won't be able to see a thing."
"Well, we can't do anything for now." Sterling replied. "You'll have to get somepony to read the questions for you. Or maybe, you can borrow that nice Twist girl's spectacles!"
"But mom!" Spoon complained. "She doesn't even talk to me any more. In fact, I can't remember the last time she said anything to anypony..."
"Well, it's either that, or you take a magnifying glass with you. There really is little else I can do. Sorry, darling..." Sterling told her daughter.
The pair were making their way out of the hospital alongside almost everypony else who'd been involved with Diamond's life on that very hectic day, having just left reception. Twilight was staying behind to find suitable arrangements for Spoiled for the evening (which didn't involve a sleepover at the castle) while the others were saying their mutual goodbyes.
The Crusaders found much amusement in discovering how much destruction the, for now, misleadingly titled 'Elements Of Harmony' had just wrought onto the medical facility, considering their own group's reputation for causing mayhem. Never again would the trio be able to be teased for their misdemeanors, considering what the so-called more mature 'adults' had just been culpable of.
Rainbow Dash, who was on weather patrol, said a heartfelt goodbye to Scootaloo, promising to hang out with her the next day. She also said she'd check in on her old flight school buddy Fluttershy on her way back to Cloudsdale, if just to see how much trouble one peeved little bunny can cause in a few short hours.
Rarity, having dealt admirably with the ire of Vision Express, to the extent that he longer wished to press charges, was also in a hurry to get back, mostly to pick up on the some of the brisk trading at Carousel Boutique before closing hours. Thinking that Sweetie Belle had aided and abetted in enough shenanigans for one day, she insisted her sister come with her, much to the younger unicorn's chagrin.
As for Pinkie Pie, she wanted to find out exactly how much business Gummy had rung up while she was gone, to see if he was worthy of trust for solo future employment opportunities. Unfortunately, Silver Spoon's actions just before leaving Sugarcube Corner meant that her results of her test would never truly be known. Oh, well.
Speaking of the grey filly again, she was currently weighing up the wisdom of going over to her best friend to try and clear the air a bit. Neither had much of a chance to speak in the hospital, after the events of their little fender bender in the hall.
She had also noticed her being called 'Diamond Apple' on several occasions, and wondered what all that was about. Well, there was only one way to find out. Plucking up her reserves of courage, she went to find the pink filly...
Only to discover that Diamond had similar designs on her too, as the pair bumped into each other en route. This time, with a little less force.
"Hey..." Diamond got the ball rolling.
"Hey." Silver Spoon responded in a similar monotone way.
"How's your head doing?"
"It still hurts a bit, but I'm more upset over the loss of those glasses. They truly were one of a kind..."
"Yeah, sorry about that, Silv."
"... It's okay. It was an accident. I'll manage somehow. You're far more important to me, Di..."
"Huh? What brought that on?"
"What do you think? Things have been awful for you, and I haven't been a very good friend. Well, starting from now I'm going to make it up to you. I won't leave your side ever again, just you watch..."
"Aargh! Don't say that, Silv! I got in enough trouble today with the Cutie Mark Crusaders stalking me! I don't want that kind of behaviour from you, too! It would drive me mad!"
"Oh, so all that stuff earlier on, about them staying close to you at all time and making you a member, Di? That was..."
"Totally their idea, yes! I mean, we might be friends now, but it would take a lot more than friendship to get me to join their goofy little clique! The only full time partnership I'm interested in is a duo of high class ponies..."
"Snips and Snails? Now, that is news. Which one do you fancy? I've always had a thing for buck teeth, myself..."
"Very funny, Silv! I mean us! I just hope our entire 'thing' wasn't bullying others. We did other fun stuff, too, like at the mall and parties. We just have to focus our efforts on enjoying each other's company, without hurting other ponies. I'm sure we can do it..."
"Di, that's all I ever wanted to do from the start. I'm not saying it was entirely your fault since I followed you into battle by choice, but a lot of the bad things we did together I always felt guilty about. The only reason I didn't abandon you is because I was afraid I wouldn't make any other friends, little knowing of course that you had your problems t-too a-at-h-home... *SNIFF*.
"There, there. Don't cry. Here, you can have one of the tissues I swiped from the hospital. The fact is, nopony knew what I was going through, so don't feel guilty about that. Spoiled made sure that I accepted the way she treated me as normal so I didn't tell anypony, while hiding what was happening to me from my father. She was very clever, but once my new friends got involved, there was only going to be one winner..."
"N-new f-friends? Di, I'm not sure if I'll be able to take to them as easy as you. I mean sure, I'm grateful to them for helping you to turn your life around, and exposing your horrible home life. But we're too different in a lot of ways, despite what you said earlier, and to be honest, I have been feeling a little jealous of the way Apple Bloom has been hanging around you lately. And, by the sound of things, you're almost sisters..."
"We are sisters now, as far as I'm concerned, Silv. I just feel that the Apple Family has got a lot to offer, in terms of teaching me about real life, hard work and sacrifice, things that I've been kept from for far too long. If I'm going to grow up to reach my full potential as a leader, I could do a lot worse than learn from them. Plus, I know I'll be a lot happier. Sure, I may have to forego a lot of the luxuries I'm used to, but it's a price I'm willing to pay. I'll still see my dad regularly, of course. Oh, and Spoiled, too... Hopefully, behind bars."
"Hee hee, I think we can both agree there. It just... Seems so fast, you know? One minute, we're calling them blank flanks, and laughing at how pathetic they are, next they're the toast of the town, and the one you hated the most is the pony you're moving in with, and calling 'sister'! Pretty crazy..."
"Yes, I suppose it does sound a little weird when you put it like that, but if there's one thing I've learned about Equestria, is that something odd happens at least once a week. I mean, think about it. Just lately, we've had unicorns turning into alicorns, weather factories blowing up, an invasion of property-destroying yaks and even Big Ma... Uh, my new uncle in drag almost winning the Sisterhooves Social! Can you really say what's happened with us and the Crusaders is that odd by comparison?"
"No, I guess not, Di. I'll try to follow your example and get on with them, but expect a few arguments along the way..."
"I'd expect nothing less, Silv. And although I'll be spending a lot more time with Apple Bloom now, you'll still be the one I'll come to for advice, guidance or just a good old sugarlump rump! Plus, I don't think my new sister would take too kindly to trying on clothes for hours, amongst other fun things only you and I do could together..."
"That's a comforting thought. Thanks, Diamond Ti... Or should I say, Diamond Apple. I think I hear my Mom calling me now. I appreciated the talk. I feel a lot better now. Speak more in the morning?"
"Of course. I'll always be here. And before I forget, I'm so, so sorry about hitting you earlier. I didn't mean it..."
"I know that. We can discuss it more tomorrow, but remember: All is forgiven. Have a lovely night with your new family."
And on that sweet note: the duo parted ways. Silver Spoon (still feeling her best friend was holding something back) jumped on the coach bound for Silver Estate Inc, while Diamond Apple took the far more modest route on foot, with Applejack and Apple Bloom.
The farm filly (now one of two) still refused to leave Diamond's side, despite her frustration, while Applejack told both children there was going to be a 'serious family discussion' in the evening about the future.
And they were being watched...
A very excited teacher ran into the hospital, waking up the receptionist in the process. Just when something approaching order had been restored to the place.
"It's here!" Cheerilee shouted, waving a photograph she'd run all the way back to school to collect after originally forgetting it, in her outstretched hoof. "The missing puzzle piece! I understand it all now! Twilight has to see this!"
"... Right, that's it, I quit. Ponyville is a nice quiet place to work, they said. Easiest job you will ever do, they told me..." The staff member muttered to herself, as she grabbed her stuff to exit through the door.
"Huh?" Cheerilee commented, unaware of earlier occurrences.
"If you're looking for the party of... Rowdies who were here previously..." Redheart popped in quickly to nip the situation in the bud. "Most of them left half-an-hour ago now, and you just missed Princess Twilight with her prisoner."
"Prisoner?" Cheerilee was temporarily confused, before a metaphorical light bulb appeared above her head. "Oh, yes! I know who you mean! That's perfect! If I hurry, maybe I can catch them! Thank you so much!"
"Don't mention it..." Redheart responded in rather a sarcastic manner, but it was too late. A coffee-powered Cheerilee had already sped off, almost knocking over the departing worker in the process, further reinforcing their decision to relocate somewhere less stressful... Like, Tartarus.
"With teachers like that..." Redheart shook her head, before going to place a 'Help Wanted' ad in the window. "It's no wonder..."