• Published 29th Nov 2013
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The Diamond Cutter - Nova Force



She’s a rich filly. He’s a poor colt. What happens when Diamond Tiara accepts a dare to take Snips to the Sadie Hoofkins Dance?

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Sugarcube Retreat

Chapter 10: Sugarcube Retreat

What happened?

This question refused to go away. No matter how many ways Snips approached it, he couldn’t find an answer.

Things were going so well, was another recurring phrase.

Snips had hoped that time would take away the sting in his heart. Unfortunately, the weekend wasn’t long enough. He awoke this morning feeling extra anxious; today he had to go to school, which meant seeing her.

Only one other pony knew what he was going through. After the dance, Snips and Snails only had each other. The magic of friendship carried them through that night. To say that their feelings were hurt was an understatement. Unlike Snips, Snails literally did everything Silver Spoon asked for and more.

“I’m not going to school anymore, not after tonight. How can I?” Snails had said.

After waking up still so upset, Snips asked himself the same question. He was sure that Snails wouldn’t be there today, so he couldn’t count on him for moral support. The little colt gathered his saddlebags and left his house for school, although he moved with sapped energy.

The sun was bright, in stark contrast with Snips’s dreary mood. His stomach normally would be demanding breakfast; a bowl of honey and oats always fueled his tank for the morning, but his appetite had vanished.

The dirt path to school felt longer than usual. At this rate, Snips would be late for school, but it didn’t matter to him. He was in no rush to feel awkward and uncomfortable. In his peripheral vision, Snips caught a glimpse of sunlight from the ground. When he turned, an object shined in his face.

He gasped: it was Diamond’s tiara.

What’s this doing here? Snips picked up the tiara and looked around to make sure no pony was watching. I better double-check. He brought the tiara to his nose and took a few sniffs. The scent of expensive mane perfume was unmistakable. Yup, this is Diamond’s.

A little part of him began to feel giddy over the prospect of returning Diamond Tiara’s most precious possession. The tiara was a staple of her identity – it was even half of her name! She must be in complete disarray without it, he thought. Snips closed his eyes and let his imagination run wild.

There Diamond Tiara was, sitting in the middle of the schoolyard and crying her eyes out. The top of her head was empty. Ponies from all over, including Silver Spoon, were trying to console her, but nothing could make her stop. Then, on the horizon, an adult unicorn galloped toward the scene with a tiara on his head. Everypony cleared the way as the unicorn went straight to Diamond Tiara. Using his horn’s magic, he lifted the tiara from his head and placed it on hers. The pink filly smiled from ear to ear and threw her hooves around him.

“Oh, thank you, Snips! Thank you!” Diamond Tiara said, kissing all over the side of his head.

“Think nothing of it, my little pony,” said Snips, flexing his full-grown unicorn muscles.

When Snips opened his eyes, he was alone. His deserted surroundings brought him back to the grim reality of his life: Diamond Tiara wanted nothing to do with him.

Whatever. Snips dropped the tiara back onto the ground and continued on his way. His mind was now made up: no school for him today. As far as he was concerned, relationships were too difficult for him. Now he needed simplicity in his life. He wanted something he could understand.

He needed ice cream.

As chance would have it, the Sugarcube Corner was nearby. Nothing is simpler than ice cream, he thought. Although he had no appetite, there was always room for comfort food.

Snails followed his path until he came to the fork that would lead him into the Ponyville town square. When he entered the confectionary, the fresh aroma of candies and cakes filled his senses. Business was slow since it was the first day of the week. Slow business, however, did not mean an empty shop. A lone unicorn sat on a stool by the bar where Mr. Cake stood. Snips moved forward. He could see that the unicorn had his face buried in a dessert bowl of some kind. “Snails? Is that you, pal?”

The gangly unicorn lifted his head; it wobbled as he attempted to fix his gaze on Snips. “Hey there, Snips ol’ buddy, ol’ pal. Pull up a seat.” Snails pounded the counter, “Another round of snicker-doodle pudding bowls!”

Mr. Cake put his hoof down. “I think you’ve had enough for today, lad.”

Rather than protest, Snails gave a single hiccup and dropped his forehead to meet the counter. He let out a miserable groan before rolling his head to one side and closing his eyes.

Mr. Cake grabbed Snails’s bowl and started the process of cleaning it. Snips hopped on the stool beside his best friend. Mr. Cake looked at Snips but nodded his head toward Snails. “Are you here for the same reason he is?”

As much as he hated to admit it, Snips had to be honest. “Yes.”

Mr. Cake frowned. “I’m sorry to hear that, son.” He reached under his hat and pulled out a chocolate chip cookie. He slid it toward Snips. “Here you go. This one’s on the house.” As the little unicorn nibbled his cookie, Mr. Cake said, “There’re plenty of fillies in the sea.”

Yeah, but there’s only one Diamond Tiara. “How much did Snails tell you?”

“Well, he didn’t name any names, but he said that you boys went through a lot at the Sadie Hoofkins Dance. That’s a shame. Why, I remember when Mrs. Cake asked me to go with her. My goodness, that was forever ago, way before either of you was around.”

Snips watched as the bakery owner rotated the pudding bowl under running water. The pudding washed off the bowl with little resistance. If only emotions could erode so easily. “Mr. Cake, how do you and your wife make things work?”

Mr. Cake pulled out a drying cloth and began wiping the bowl. “To tell you the truth, we work hard at it. I tried to tell your friend this, but he was more focused on his pudding. What I wanted to say was this: I love my wife and cannot imagine my life without her, but that doesn’t mean everything is always easy. There are times when we disagree.” Mr. Cake put the bowl and cloth down and looked at Snips directly. “I’ve seen a lot of young broken-hearted ponies over the years. Although everypony is different, a lot of their stories have common themes.”

“Like what?” Snips was no longer eating his cookie.

“The usual. Young fillies and colts jump hooves-first into a relationship, expecting nothing but good times. Then after the initial excitement wears off, the harder times come. The root of their problem in some form or another is always a conflict of interests. Sometimes ponies simply want different things from each other. At such a young age, I can guarantee you that most ponies don’t really know what they want.”

Before their conversation could continue, Mrs. Cake peeked out from behind the door to the kitchen. “Dear, do we need any more jelly rolls for Mr. Rich?”

Mr. Cake smacked his forehead. “Oh, that’s right! Yes, we do. Could you get two more batches going? He came in this morning and added to his order.”

Feeling proud of herself, Mrs. Cake nodded. “Good thing I asked! I’ll get started.”

Mr. Cake gave her an admiring smile. “You’re the best.”

Snips’s ears had already perked up. “Are you talking about Filthy Rich?”

The yellow pony ducked under the counter and made ruffling noises as if he were looking for something. “The one and only.”

Snips couldn’t help but want to know more about Filthy Rich’s order. “Um, have you done business with Mr. Rich before?”

Mr. Cake came up from the counter with cleaning spray and another drying cloth. He sprayed around Snails’s head. “Oh sure, he’s hired us to cater for a number of his business functions. He’s surprisingly a nice stallion. Yep, Mrs. Cake and I have gotten to know him pretty well over the years. In fact, his little filly had her cute-ceañera here a few years ago. Were you here for that? I remember lots of little ponies that day.”

Snails shot open his eyes and lifted his head from the counter; blobs of sugary sweetness plopped from his face back onto the counter. “I was there. Diamond Tiara snapped at me for having one measly bite of her cake. The little wretch barked at me.”

Mr. Cake quickly moved to clean the spot from where Snails had lifted his head, but he chuckled. “Yes, Diamond Tiara can get feisty. I remember when her father used to bring her in here all the time. She would say that she wanted everything behind the glass. Poor thing would throw a hissy fit whenever Mr. Rich told her ‘no’.”

A loud thump came from the kitchen. Mr. Cake turned to Snips and Snails and said, “Be right back, gentlecolts. I gotta help with those jelly rolls.” He fled to the kitchen.

Snips gazed at his half-eaten cookie. He wanted to consume every crumb of it, hoping that it would fill the void. It was certainly more comforting than sitting in math class. He looked over at Snails, whose head wobbled as the pudding continued to slide down his face. Seeing how far his best friend had gone to drown his sorrows gave Snips doubts about his cookie.

The kitchen doors blew open, and through them emerged a disheveled Mrs. Cake. She tried her best to re-swirl the top of her mane. She saw that Snips was staring at his cookie. “Is there something the matter with your cookie, honey?”

Snips shook out of his mild stupor. “No, it’s great; delicious, even. I just have a lot on my mind.”

“Yes, I know,” Mrs. Cake admitted. “I’m sorry, but I could hear my husband talking. His voice carries well in our store. Since he’s busy with the jelly rolls, do you mind if I take a guess at who your special somepony is?”

“Uh, okay.” There’s no way she can know.

“Would it be Mr. Filthy Rich’s little filly?”

How did she guess?! Snips didn’t say anything. His blushing cheeks answered for him.

“I thought so. She’s a cute little pony, that’s for sure. Her attitude needs adjusting every now and again, but she’s still young.”

Snails had ejected himself from the conversation. He began slowly spinning around and around on his stool. Mrs. Cake paid him no heed and instead focused on Snips. “Listen, I know Mr. Cake talked to you, but here’s some advice from a married mare. It’s a big world out there. You little ponies are entering your prime years, and you have many options. I don’t know your personal story, but chances are that Diamond Tiara is confused and doesn’t know what she wants. At your age, Mr. Cake and I definitely had no idea what we were going to do.”

Without breaking eye contact with Mrs. Cake, Snips slowly put his cookie into his mouth. Her words drew him in like a tractor beam.

“I know that you and your pudding face friend are playing hooky today.” Snips was suddenly seized with horror. “Don’t worry; Mr. Cake and I remember what it was like being young. We understand what you’re going through. With that said, we will only turn a blind eye this one time. If we see you skipping school again, we’re going to contact Miss Cheerilee.”

Snips took one final swallow of his cookie. “Thank you, Mrs. Cake. I’m sorry. I just really don’t want to go back.”

The kind mare shook her head. “You can’t avoid Diamond Tiara forever, Snips. You’re going to see her one way or another. It’s just a matter of time.”

There was a brief silence. Snips chewed on her words. He knew that he would have to stallion up sooner or later.

Mrs. Cake stepped closer to Snips. “There’s one more thing I want to say, and that’s this: no matter how nasty she was to you, don’t stop being the good colt that you are. You may be tempted to lash out at her, but don’t do it – even if you think it’ll make you feel good. Being mean won’t accomplish anything except damaging yourself. If you have the opportunity to show her kindness, do so. Let her see that there’s a better way.”

There was another loud clang from the kitchen. Mr. Cake’s voice rang out, “Dear, could you give me a hoof with these jelly rolls?”

“Coming!” she called to her husband. She turned to Snips. “I wish we could chat more, but–”

“No, I understand. Duty calls.” He watched as Mrs. Cake disappeared behind the kitchen doors.

Snips turned to Snails, who was still twirling on his seat. The unicorn wondered how much his friend listened to Mrs. Cake’s advice, but at this point, he didn’t really care. “There’s something I gotta go do, Snails. I’ll catch you later.”

“Buh-bye,” Snails droned.

Snips picked up his saddle bags and left Sugarcube Corner. His hooves carried him down the path home, until he found what he was looking for. Diamond’s tiara rested on the ground untouched, except for a ladybug crawling on it. Snips thought about what Mrs. Cake had said about showing kindness.

I have to return this to her. Guess that means I’ll be at the art show tonight.

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