• 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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Paint Games

Chapter 4: Paint Games

The bell rang. School was over for the day. Standing by the stoop of the school’s entrance was a pair of giddy unicorns. They watched as dozens of fillies and colts flooded out the doorway. They kept their eyes sharp; at any moment two particular fillies were bound to emerge.

“This is going to be fun!” Snips said running in place.

“I can’t believe this is happening. Who would’ve guessed that carrying a filly’s books could be so exciting?” Snails hardly focused on anything else after lunch. For the first time, he was about to spend quality time with Silver Spoon – alone. “Gosh, my hooves are sweating. I hate when this happens.”

Snips patted his friend on the back. “Relax, buddy. This is our chance for these girls to get to know us. Just be yourself.”

Snails cast a suspicious look at him. “Well, look at you Mr. Knows-Everything-About-Relationships. You eat one lunch with Diamond and now all of a sudden you’re giving advice?”

“I’m just saying that I didn’t force anything.” Snips said.

“Here they come!” Snails squeaked.

Two fillies appeared at the entryway. Together they walked down the steps in synchronization with their egos on full display. Neither of them was in a hurry. When they reached the bottom, Diamond Tiara spoke first. “Hello, boys.”

“Hey! Long time, no see!” Snips showed no intimidation.

Snails was going to say something to Silver Spoon, but a dozen prepared greetings came out of his mouth all at once, resulting in an absurd babbling. The gray filly hesitated before forcing a giggle.

Diamond Tiara approached Snips and knelt down to rest her saddlebags on the ground. She pulled out several of her schoolbooks, including her art book. By the time she came back up to hand them to Snips, however, the little unicorn was already taking the books from her and putting them into his own saddlebags. After placing them nicely inside, he threw his bags over his back and grinned, “Let’s go!”

Diamond Tiara felt a mild uneasiness when Snips automatically took her books, not because she thought he was being too forward, but because she liked it too much. She admired Snips’s kindness.

The moment was short-lived, however, when Diamond Tiara noticed Silver Spoon watching her. The pink filly felt pressure to turn up her “bossy” dial. “Right, you will follow me to my house. This way!” She led Snips toward their destination, with the unicorn cheerfully carrying her books.

Silver Spoon watched as Diamond Tiara and Snips walked away. If she did not know better, she could have sworn that her best friend had a twinkle in her eye when Snips took her books. Before she had time to explore that possibility, she felt a tap on her shoulder.

There was Snails, beaming at her with a fixed gaze. “I guess that just leaves the two of us, huh?” the unicorn said in a love-stricken stupor.

Silver Spoon’s patience dropped like a lead balloon. She laid her saddlebags on the ground. “Here you go.”

Snails pitched his voice lower to sound as chivalrous as possible. “Which books would you like for me to carry?”

“What do you mean, ‘which books’?” The filly pushed her belongings toward him.

The unicorn coughed, breaking his voice back to normal. “Oh, you want me to carry all of them?”

Silver Spoon slowly circled around him. “A big strong stallion like you should have no problem with my things. That is, of course,” she paused midsentence to come face-to-face with him. She leaned forward and lowered her glasses. Her violet eyes glistened as she whispered, “If you don’t think you can…”

Snails straightened his legs and puffed up his chest. “Of course I can! Have no fear!” The gangly unicorn slid his head under her bags’ straps and heaved them onto his back. The weight of his own bags combined with hers caused his muscles to strain. On the outside he showed no weakness, but inside he trembled with doubt.

“Come, this way.” Silver Spoon trotted off toward her house. Snails followed, though at a much slower pace.

* * *

So far the walk had been pleasant. Filthy Rich’s mansion was in a part of Ponyville that did not require Diamond Tiara and Snips to go through the town center, which spared her from being seen with him. Despite the heaviness of his saddlebags, the little colt moved at a brisk pace. One thing Diamond Tiara appreciated about him was how he did not feel the need to fill every moment with mindless conversation. This suited her – she felt sure Snips didn’t share her refined interests. At one point, however, she noticed that Snips wasn’t making any attempts at conversation.

Why isn’t he talking to me? I am his date for the Sadie Hoofkins! He should be showering me with praise like there’s no tomorrow. She watched as Snips carried onward with his silent but cheery demeanor.

I wonder what he’s thinking. Probably something immature and stupid. Colts. Diamond Tiara tried to analyze Snips’s body language to get some sense of what was going on in his head. His Cutie Mark, a pair of scissors, caught her eye. Even his Cutie Mark is childish. What does it even mean? I have to know. “Snips, I don’t understand your Cutie Mark. What’s the deal with it?”

Snips turned to her, his face slightly puzzled. “My Cutie Mark?”

“Yes, do you like to cut things or something?”

Snips chuckled. “Well, yeah, but it’s not as clear-cut, pardon the pun, as you make it sound.”

This answer did not help her. “Explain.”

“Well, like you, I really enjoy art class. However, I prefer the ‘crafts’ side of art. I love it whenever we get to build things. My all-time favorite art activity growing up was making cutout snowflakes. Our house would always get decorated with countless snowflakes that I made. I was proud of myself for never cutting the same design twice. For me, snowflakes are like ponies; they have their own uniqueness, and whenever they are together, they create natural harmony in Equestria. You know what I mean?”

A part of Diamond Tiara felt warmth at Snips’s analogy. “I guess so.”

The two ponies continued walking until the area around them started to feature more and more upscale homes. Snips slowed down so that he could take in the sight of such magnificent homes. “Gosh, I don’t get to come by this side of town very much. You live in a beautiful neighborhood.”

Diamond Tiara had kept going, but stopped when Snips started to admire her community. She backtracked toward him. “Yes, it’s not Canterlot, but it’s the best that money can buy in Ponyville. Come on, we’re almost to my house.”

She tugged at his saddlebags to pull him along. They journeyed a few more blocks until they reached a red, two-storied mansion with four pillars supporting a balcony. Diamond Tiara was about to go up her front porch steps, but saw that Snips was gaping. “Wowza. Nice place,” he said.

Praise of her father’s wealth tickled her. “It is, isn’t it? Well, thank you for…” she took a second to find her voice, “…carrying my books.”

“It’s my pleasure!” Snips carefully lowered his body to shrug off his saddlebags. As he dug through his things to separate them from Diamond Tiara’s, she noticed that he had worked up quite a sweat.

“Um, would you like to come in for a glass of water?”

The colt wiped the perspiration from his forehead. “Yeah, that’d be awesome. Thank you!”

“Sure, don’t mention it.” Diamond Tiara took her books and led him inside.

When the front doors opened, Snips did a double take. Not only did the mansion’s vestibule have a spiral marble staircase, but off to the side was a grand piano. Hanging above it was a one of a kind oil painting of the great pony pianist, Frederic Horseshoepin. Everything in sight was a testament to Filthy Rich’s business success.

“Wait here.” Diamond Tiara laid her books and saddlebags by the door and trotted to her kitchen to fetch him some water. While she was gone, Snips marveled at the opulence around him. Living on the other side of Ponyville did not give him much opportunity to see this type of glamorous home. Although part of him was impressed by Diamond Tiara’s mansion, another part was grateful that he didn’t have the mentality that homes like this were considered unacceptable because they weren’t in Canterlot.

“Here you go.” Diamond Tiara reappeared and handed him water in a glass that most other ponies would only use on special occasions.

“Thanks!” Snips quickly started downing the water. It seemed as soon as she handed him the glass, he finished it. “Celestia, did I need that!”

Although he was holding the glass wrong, Diamond Tiara took in a tiny bit of pleasure returning a small favor.

Snips’s eyes flashed open as if he had been struck by lightning. “You know what, Diamond? I just had an idea. Do you have any free time? I know a game I think you might like.”

She slowly took the glass back from him as she tried to guess what he meant. “Alright. What is it?”

“First, we need a sheet of paper, a bottle of black paint, and a small plate. Do you have these things?”

“Yes, I’m sure I do. Put your things down by mine and follow me.” Diamond Tiara went into her living room while Snips put his bags next to hers. He then followed to find her at a counter opening one of its drawers. Diamond dug around in it before pulling out the materials Snips requested. She closed the drawer and took the paper, plate, and bottle to the coffee table. She waved at Snips to come join her. “Ok, now what?”

The excitement in his voice was beginning to ramp up. “Awesome, so now we need to pour a little bit of the paint on the plate. Then we’re each going to dip one hoof into the paint and–”

She interrupted him. “Wait a second. You want to hoof-paint? That’s for preschool ponies!”

Snips shook his head. “No, we’re not hoof-painting. At least, not exactly. Here, watch.” Snips laid the sheet of paper onto the table and rested the small plate by its side. Carefully, he spilled a tiny blob of paint onto the plate and then closed the bottle. He dipped his hoof into the paint and hung it over the sheet of paper.

Diamond Tiara watched as Snips delicately outlined a little zigzag on the paper. The unicorn looked up at her and smiled. “It’s your turn.”

“What? I don’t understand.”

“Just follow my lead. Take your hoof, dip it in the paint, and then choose one of the ends of my line. From there, build on it by drawing your own. The idea is that we’re going to make a picture line-by-line taking turns. The only rule is that you cannot lift your hoof once it touches the paper until you finish.” He slid the plate to her. “I can’t wait to see what we come up with!”

“Um, alright.” Diamond Tiara dipped the tip of her hoof into the paint. Once she had enough, she stared at his line wondering where she could extend it. She lowered her hoof to one end of his line and traced an “S” shape. The smoothness of her line’s curves contrasted with his sharp zigzag.

Snips, however, loved it. “Great! My turn.” Little by little, the two ponies added lines of all kinds. There was no overall cohesion to the picture. Instead, whenever one of them started to outline one idea, the other would change the design into something else. At one point Diamond Tiara tried to make a clam, but Snips turned it into a boomerang. Likewise, he started to draw a mushroom, but she drew it into a cloud.

At last they ran out of space on the paper for any more pictures. “Not bad, Diamond. Not bad.” Snips held up the paper and studied the array of doodles they made together. “I especially like this one.” He tapped at the little cloud she made near the paper’s edge. “You know, your art project might look good with some clouds.”

“Really? That’s funny you say that because I was actually going to add some the next time we had class.” A nagging part of Diamond Tiara wanted to admit how she even had a dream that featured Snips enabling her to make those clouds.

“Ha! Great minds think alike, don’t they?” Snips waggled his eyebrows.

“Yeah, they certainly do.” Diamond Tiara was surprised at how easy it was to get along with Snips. Everything about him seemed so simple and uncomplicated. This colt really doesn’t need much to be happy. While thinking of this, Diamond Tiara had a realization. “Snips, it just hit me. Do you have a suit for the dance?”

Snips’s posture slunk down a bit. “Uh, actually I don’t.”

“I thought that might be the case. Hold on.” Diamond Tiara got up and walked over to one of the living room desks. She pulled open a drawer and dug inside. After hearing some shuffling noises, a tiny pink shine caught Snips’s eye. Diamond Tiara came back and handed him a jewel. “This should get you something acceptable from the Carousal Boutique. Go there on your way home and buy the most expensive suit they have.”

Snips had never held anything of so much value before in all his life. “Oh, sure. I’ll find something nice. I’ll actually head there now. It’s on my way home.”

“Fantastic! Well then, let’s wrap things up, shall we?”

“You got it. Thanks for playing with me. This was fun. I can’t wait for the dance.”

Diamond Tiara’s heart skipped a beat. “Me neither.”

Snips then left the living room and went back to the vestibule. He gathered his belongings as Diamond put away their little art experiment. “I’ll hang on to this,” she said, holding up their picture.

“Alright, cool. You can have it as a reminder for the next time you poo-poo hoof-painting. Thanks again for that glass of water.”

Diamond Tiara came to see him out the door. “You’re welcome.” She opened the door for him.

“I’ll see you tomorrow!” With that, Snips skipped out onto her front porch and trotted along his way home.

Diamond Tiara watched as the little unicorn left. I’m not sure what color vest he could pull off, but he absolutely needs to go with a bowtie. He would look so cute. He could even wear it again at Silver Spoon’s birthday par– Her thoughts stopped dead in their tracks.

Snips won’t be at the party. He’s not supposed to be with me beyond the dance. Oh, Silver Spoon, why did you put me through this dare?

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