• Published 1st Dec 2013
  • 13,912 Views, 1,220 Comments

CMC: The Next Generation - DisneyFanatic23

A series of one-shots on the adventures of five fillies (a flightless pegasus, a snobby unicorn and a set of energetic triplets) on a quest to earn their cutie marks.

  • ...

Words, Words, Words

"Well," Prism said, pulling the brambles out of her tail, "skateboarding was a bust."

"I told you," Gemstone grunted as she straightened out her blue mane.

"I, for one, thought it was fun!" Blueberry exclaimed, jumping up and down. "Did you see that 360 I did?"

"How about that grind I did on the railing?" Raspberry piped.

"And my kick flip combined with my Cherry Bomb?" Cherry chimed.

"And yet you three still don't have your cutie marks," Prism grumbled.

She and Gemstone walked sadly out of the skate park while the triplets bounced beside them.

"So what do we do now?" Gemstone asked. "Go to Sugar Cube Corner?"

"As much as I hate to admit it," Prism sighed, "I'm not in the mood for sweets right now."

"Ooh!" Raspberry exclaimed. "Auntie Twilight's in town! Why don't we go visit her at the library?"

"Yeah!" Blueberry agreed. "Maybe we can get cutie marks for being librarians!"

Gemstone stopped in her tracks. "The library? With..." she shivered, "books?"

"No way!" Prism protested. "We're not getting cutie marks in books! We're not nerds!"

"Yeah," Gemstone laughed. "Books are for...uh...what you said."

"Come on!" Raspberry begged. "You don't have to read or anything. We can just say hi to Auntie Twilight! I heard she got engaged this summer! I want to hear all the details!"

"Okay, fine," Prism grumbled. "We'll go see Aunt Twilight."

"Which way is the library again?" Gemstone asked.

"It's just over there on the left!" Blueberry exclaimed.

When they reached the end of the street, four of them turned left while Gemstone turned right.

"Hey, Gem!" Prism called. "This way!"

The unicorn turned around. "Oh, right! I mean left! I mean... Coming!"

They reached the large oak tree and knocked on the door. The purple alicorn opened it with her magic and glanced around for her visitor.

"Hello?" she called.

"Down here, Auntie Twilight!" Cherry chimed.

Twilight looked down at the fillies and smiled. "Hello, girls! Come on in!"

The triplets gazed in awe at the number of books surrounding them. Prism just yawned in boredom while Gemstone quivered in nervousness. Twilight looked the five over.

"You three have grown since last I saw you!" she declared. "How are the wings, Prism?"

Prism grunted, which was answer enough for the princess.

"And how do you like living in Ponyville so far, Gem?"

"It's fine," Gemstone said. "I have a lot of friends."

"Wow," Raspberry gasped, pointing at Twilight's horn. "Is that your engagement ring?"

The alicorn glanced up at the amethyst ring sitting on her horn. "Yes, Flash gave this to me about a month ago."

"When are you two getting married?"

"We're not sure yet. We're still in the middle of planning. So what brings you girls here?"

"We're Cutie Mark Crusaders now!" Cherry announced.

"Oh?" Twilight said. "I figured you girls would be next. Any luck so far?"

"Got a couple of bruises," Prism grumbled, "but still no cutie marks."

"We thought we could try being librarians!" Blueberry squeaked.

The alicorn's smile disappeared. "Oh?"

"Yeah!" Raspberry shouted. "And check out books and stuff!"

Twilight gasped when she saw that the magenta filly was standing on an unstable tower of books.

"Raspberry, watch out!"

The filly cried out as the tower wobbled and she lost her balance. Using her wings, Twilight caught her, but the books came crashing down on the other fillies. The alicorn gasped again.

"Are you girls alright?"

She sighed in relief as four heads poked out of the pile. Blueberry glanced up and saw an open book on her head. Curious, she lifted it off to look at it. On the cover was a blond mare in a green dress examining a broken clock. Blueberry read the title:

"Nancy Horseshoe and the Secret of the Old Clock."

Twilight grinned. "I love that series. That one's the first book."

"What's it about?" Blueberry inquired, flipping the book over to the back cover.

"It's about a teenage girl detective."

"What's a detective?"

"Some pony who solves mysteries, like missing watches or stolen money."

After reading the blurb, Blueberry was intrigued. "Can I borrow this, Auntie Twilight?"

The alicorn laughed. "Of course, you can! This is a library, after all!"

"What's this?" Raspberry said, picking up a book. "The Frog Princess? I've heard of a Frog Prince, but a Frog Princess?"

"Ooh!" Twilight exclaimed. "That book was one of my favorites as a filly! It's about a princess who kisses a frog, but instead of the frog turning into a prince, she turns into a frog."

"Sounds romantic!" the magenta filly squealed, holding the book to her chest. "Can I borrow this one?"


"Hey!" Cherry said, diving into the pile of books. She emerged with a colorful comic. "Who are Bitsie and Vanilla?"

"They're teenage fillies who fight for the attention of a colt who can't decide between them."

The red filly opened to the first page and after reading a few lines let out a laugh. "They're funny!"

Twilight turned to the remaining two fillies. "Are there any books you girls would like to borrow?"

"Uh-uh!" Prism said, shaking her head wildly. "Reading's for nerds!"

The alicorn could not help but laugh. "Your mom said the exact same thing! Well, except she used the term 'egg-heads.' Maybe I should recommend you the same book. Has your mom ever read you Daring-Do?"

"Of course, she has! She reads to us every night!"

"Well, would you like to try reading it on your own?"

The pegasus filly paused as Twilight levitated Daring-Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone out of the mess.

"Mom hasn't read that one in ages," Prism declared. "I don't remember much."

"Well, here," Twilight said as the book floated into Prism's hooves. "You can remind yourself." She turned to the unicorn. "Gemstone, would you...?"

She trailed off once she realized that Gemstone was no longer standing there. The library door was open and swinging in the breeze.

"Huh," she said. "I wonder what made her run off in such a hurry."

Gemstone panted heavily as she raced home. She had to get out of there. She could not be around those books, especially with the others talking so much about reading. She could not let them know. She did not want to risk losing her friends after just getting them back. She did not want them to make fun of her like the colts and fillies back in Canterlot. She had told her friends she was teased for her mother's background and her lack of a cutie mark, but those were only trivial matters compared to what she was really teased for.

She burst into Carousel Boutique, slammed the door behind her and pressed her back against it. She closed her eyes and let out a breath of relief. No books. No words. She was safe.


Her eyes opened at the sound of her mother's voice. The unicorn mare stomped angrily into the room, her magic levitating a saddle bag and a piece of paper. Gemstone gasped.

"Uh oh."

Rarity scowled at her daughter. "Care to explain this?!"

She shoved the giant red 'F' in the filly's face.

"I'm sorry, Mother!" Gemstone cried. "I didn't want you to know..."

"We've talked about this, Gem!" Rarity shouted. "You promised you would do better! While spending time with friends and keeping yourself pretty are important things, your studies come first!"

"I did study, Mother! I've tried! I swear!"

"Well, you're obviously not trying hard enough! Oh, I hate to tell your father about this..."

"No!" Gemstone begged, grabbing her mother's legs. "Don't tell Father! He'll be ashamed of me! Please! I promise I'll do better!"

Rarity looked down at her daughter with pity. "Alright, I won't tell your father, but if this keeps up, we're going to have to hire you a tutor and you'll be studying instead of playing with your friends."

Gemstone gasped.

"I'm sorry, darling, if I seem brash, but I'm only doing this because I love you and I want you to excel in life. You don't want to spend the rest of your life shoveling manure, do you?"

"Yuck!" the filly spat. "No!"

"Then please, get your grades up."

"I will, Mummy. I promise."

"Now, don't you have a spelling test tomorrow?"

"Mmm-hmm," Gemstone nodded.

"Would it make you feel better if I helped you study?"


"Excellent! Now, where's that spelling list of yours?"

Rarity opened her daughter's bag and took out a piece of paper with several words on it. She pulled up two stools and they both sat down.

"Alright," Rarity said, clearing her throat. "Spell the word tea."

Gemstone sighed with relief. "Oh, that's easy. T-E-E."

"No, silly," her mother laughed. "I meant the drink, not the golf tee."

The filly blinked. "Is there a difference?"

Rarity's smile faded. "Yes."

"Oh, um...T-E...I?"

Her mother raised her eyebrow in concern. "Uh...let's move on. Spell locomotion."

Gemstone gulped and slowly recited, "L-O-W-K-U-H-M-O-W-S-H-N?"

"Oh, dear. Well, that's a long word anyway. Here's an easy one. Apple."












"CAT! For crying out loud, spell CAT!"


Rarity let out an exasperated groan and fainted out of her seat. Gemstone gasped and rushed to her mother's side.

"Mummy?" she cried, nudging her mother's head. "Mummy? Are you alright? I was just kidding! Really, I was just kidding!"

"Really?" Rarity mumbled, her eyes fluttering open.

"Yes! It was a joke! Funny, right?"

The mare groaned as she sat upright. "Yes, funny. Now let's be serious and actually spell the words this time."

Gemstone bit her lip. "Um...actually, Mum, I think I'll just study on my own. Bye!"

She snatched the paper out of her mother's hoof before she could respond. The filly raced up the stairs and to her room, slamming the door behind her.

"Phew!" she sighed. "That was a close one. Alright, now to," she gulped as she glanced at the words on the paper, "study."

She sat at her vanity and squinted at the list. She tried to read it, but she could have sworn the letters were moving, even jumping off the page. After a while, she screamed in frustration and flopped her head down onto the vanity.

"What's the point?" she groaned. "No matter how much I study, I'm still going to fail!"

The bell rang, dismissing the class for the day. Gemstone was devastated. She knew she had failed the spelling test. She did not know how to spell any of the words Cheerilee had said. Her mother was going to be displeased.

She was sulking out the door when the teacher called her.


The filly flinched and turned around.

"Yes, Mrs. Cheerilee?"

"Is everything alright at home?" Cheerilee asked sincerely.

"What?" Gemstone said, blinking in surprise.

"You seem a bit off today. Are your parents arguing again?"

"No, they're as fine as ever."

"Then why are you so upset?"

"I'm not upset!"

"I understand moving into an entirely new environment can be frustrating. I can understand if you're having difficulty adjusting..."

"I'm fine! Really!"

Cheerilee did not look like she believed her. "Well...alright, but if there is something troubling you, you can always come to me."

Gemstone wanted to tell her. She had known Cheerilee even before she moved to Ponyville and she was one of the nicest ponies around. However, she did not want her teacher thinking she was stupid, nor did she want to be given special attention. She just wanted to be treated like all the other students.

"I will, Mrs. Cheerilee," she lied.

The unicorn turned back to the door and quickened her pace before her teacher could ask anything further. Gemstone was not looking forward to homework tonight, because she had to read a chapter in her History book. Her mother had allowed her to spend one hour with her friends this afternoon, but she was to come straight home and do her homework afterward.

Gemstone had lost track of time while gazing at the beautiful apple trees and arrived at the clubhouse several minutes later than her friends. She gasped when she saw that they all had a book open in front of them. It was not their History books, but the books they had found at the library yesterday. Prism was the first one to look up from hers and notice the unicorn.

"Hey, Gem!"

The triplets then looked up at her.

"You should really read this Nancy Horseshoe book!" Blueberry insisted. "It's so exciting and mysterious!"

"Well, this Frog Princess book is so silly and romantic!" said Raspberry.

"You think that's silly and romantic," Cherry chimed, "check out Bitsie and Vanilla here! These characters are such crack-ups!"

Gemstone looked at Prism. "I thought you said reading was for nerds."

"Yeah, well," the pegasus shrugged, "I've been wrong before. I've forgotten how exciting the first Daring-Do book was! I was up all night reading this! Well, until Aunt Scootaloo forced me to go to bed. I just can't put this down!"

"Why didn't you check out a book yesterday, Gem?" Blueberry inquired.

"Uh..." Gemstone uttered. "I'm too busy to read. Besides, shouldn't we be reading that chapter for History?"

Raspberry gasped. "Gosh, you're right! We should probably do that first, before we forget!"

"Why don't we all read it together?" Cherry cheerfully suggested. "We could take turns reading it aloud! It'll be fun!"

Gemstone cringed at what she had just gotten herself into. She was about to make an excuse to leave when the triplets pulled her to the floor and the five formed a circle. They brought out their History books and opened them to the chapter.

"Why don't you go first, Gemstone?" Prism suggested.

The unicorn bit her lip as she nervously glanced at the page.

"Lanq..." she uttered. "aqo...im the...naqisal lanb af...Egue...Egue..."

Her friends stared at her.

"Uh, Gem?" Prism said. "Can you read?"

"What?!" Gemstone screamed. "Of course, I can read! What do you think I am? An idiot?!" She slammed her book. "I've never been so insulted!"

"Gem, she didn't mean..." Blueberry started to say.

"If you need help..." said Raspberry.

"I don't need your help!" Gemstone cried as she stormed out of the clubhouse. "Because I'm not stupid!"

Gemstone wanted class to be over. She could not stand the concerned, pressuring gaze Prism was giving her, nor the struggle she was having deciphering what Cheerilee had written on the chalkboard. The unicorn's eyes kept wandering to the clock on the wall, as if staring at it would make the hands move faster. For a moment, she wondered what it would look like if the hands were encrusted with rubies. It would look fabulous if it also had sapphires studded around the frame.


She jumped as Cheerilee's voice interrupted her from her thoughts. She looked up at her teacher to see a disappointed expression on her face.

"I'm very surprised at you, Gemstone," she said. "In all my years, I have never seen a student do this badly."

Gemstone glanced down at her desk and finally noticed the paper. The big red 'F' jumped out at her like a rabbit to a carrot. For a second, it looked like a 'E,' and then back to a 'F,' but she knew the letter all too well, no matter what it looked like.

"We'll talk about this after class," Cheerilee said.

As she said those words, memories of the first grade came flooding back to the unicorn.

"Who can spell the word cat?" the teacher asked the class. "Gemstone?"

"Um..." six-year-old Gemstone uttered. "K-A-T?"

The unicorn stallion raised an eyebrow. "Is this a joke, Miss Gemstone, or are you really that stupid?"

"It's not a joke!"

"Then you must be stupid!" one of the fillies exclaimed.

The Canterlot fillies and colts roared with laughter and pointed their hooves at her.

"Gemstone's a dumb-dumb!" they chanted. "Gemstone's a dumb-dumb!"

"Gemstone? Gemstone!"

Cheerilee's voice snapped her out of her trance.

"Are you alright?"

Gemstone could no longer hold back her tears. She bawled as she raced out of the classroom. Cheerilee called after her, but the unicorn filly did not look back. She would get in trouble for this, but she did not care. She did not care about anything, not even where she was going. She just wanted to keep running.

Rarity was in the middle of sewing a skirt when the bell above the door jingled. She turned her head to see who her customer was.

"Oh, Cheerilee!" she greeted with a smile. "What brings you here, darling?"

"I've come to see how Gemstone's doing," the concerned teacher said.

"Oh, I imagine she's fine."

"You mean she's not here?"

"Well, no. Usually around this time, she's playing with her Crusader friends. If this is about her grades, I've talked to her about..."

"She left class an hour ago in quite a frenzy!"

"What? Ow!" Rarity cried out as she pricked her hoof on her needle. "You mean she skipped out on class?"

"More like stormed out, with tears in her eyes!"

"I don't understand! That's not like Gemstone. What happened?"

"I had just given her back her spelling test and then she started crying. Then she just got up and ran out the door. I assumed she had gone home, but..."

"Spelling test? Oh, dear. Did she fail?"

"Well...I'm sure you've noticed she has been struggling in school lately..."

"It's always been this way! She never tries hard enough! Oh, what am I saying? My daughter's in hysterics and I'm criticizing her grades! I assure you, when she comes home..."


The mares turned as Prism and the Tri-Pies burst into the boutique.

"Is she okay?" Blueberry inquired.

"Is she in her room?" asked Raspberry.

"Can we see her?" Cherry begged.

"What are you talking about?" Rarity asked.

"When Gem ran out of class all worked up," Prism explained, "we thought maybe she had gone to the clubhouse or here. She wasn't at the clubhouse, so we came here. We wanted to see if she was okay!"

"Wait. If she's not with you and she's not with me..." Rarity stiffened. "Oh no. What if Gemstone's run away?! What if she's out alone on the streets?! What if she wandered into the Everfree Forest?! What if...?"

The unicorn started hyperventilating. Cheerilee put an assuring hoof on her back.

"Calm down!" she exclaimed. "We'll find her. I'm sure she just went to compose herself somewhere."

"Call the police!" Rarity shouted. "Call the Royal Guard! Call the Princesses! Call my husband! We have to find my daughter!"

Rarity's friends had all gathered together and split up to search for the lost unicorn filly. Twilight started her search in the library.

"Gemstone!" she called, digging under her piles of books.

Applejack and her family had separated the farm into sections so they could cover the entire area.


Scootaloo and Prism searched the park.


Thunder Dash and Lightning Dash scanned the terrain from the skies.


Cheerilee and her daughter Apple Blossom searched the playground.


The Tri-Pies poked their heads in the pond.

"Gemstone?" they called, their voices altered by the water.

Pinkie Pie and Red Shoes checked out all the hang-out spots, including Sugar Cube Corner. They, mostly Pinkie, spent the longest time "searching" through the desserts.

Discord, Fluttershy and Screwball searched the Everfree Forest.

"Gemstone!" Fluttershy called as she spread the bushes apart.

"Gemstone!" Screwball hollered as she pierced her head through the trunk of a tree.

"Gemstone?" said Discord as he peeked under a pebble.

Rarity and Fancy Pants called out their daughter's name in desperation as they went through all the stores in Ponyville. When they had no luck, Rarity cried into her husband's shoulder and he placed his hoof around her.

"Do not fret, my dear," he said. "We'll find her."

"Where can she be?" Rarity sobbed.

"Well," Fancy Pants said, tapping his chin, "whenever I got upset as a colt, I would run away to a special place, somewhere my parents would never think to look."


"What makes you think she's in the barn?" Applejack asked Fancy Pants.

"Yeah," Cinnamon Roll said. "Gemstone would never hide in such a messy place!"

"Precisely," Fancy Pants declared. "My parents would never dare to look for me in a dirty place. Of course, there were no barns in Canterlot, so I hid in the junkyard. If my Gemstone is anything like her father, she would have run to the dirtiest place in Ponyville."

"Gee, thanks," Applejack grumbled.

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Rarity asked. "Let's go in!"

Fancy Pants held out his foreleg to stop her. "No, my dear. This situation must be handled delicately. I'll go talk to her."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. I think I know what the problem might be, and how to help her."

He stepped away from his wife and slowly entered the barn. The place smelled of manure and pigs, and those pigs were making noises. But there was another noise that did not belong to a pig. It was sobbing.

Fancy Pants followed the sound and looked up to see a tiny figure in the shadows of the hayloft. He climbed up the ladder and cautiously moved toward the figure. There was no mistaking the filly with the blue mane and white fur huddled in the corner with her back to him.


Gemstone gasped and turned her head around.

"Father?" she whimpered. "What are you doing up here?"

"I was about to ask you the same question," he said, sitting down beside her. "Your mother has half of Ponyville looking for you."

"I'm not going home!" she shouted. "Every pony thinks I'm stupid, including Mother! They don't say it aloud, but I know they think it!"

"You're not stupid, darling..."

"Yes, I am!"

"So you don't have the best grades. I didn't do so well in school for a while, and look how I..."

"I CAN'T READ, OKAY?!" she hollered as tears formed in her eyes again. "I can't! I really can't! I know I should be able to read right now, but I can't! I look at the words, and they move! I swear! They're out to get me! I can't spell either! I can't even spell CAT! I'm stupid! I'm stupid! They're all right! I'm stupid!"

She pounded the barn wall as she kept saying this and sobbed. Fancy Pants put his hoof around her and pulled her closer.

"Oh, dear, dear, dear," he whispered. "Why didn't you tell us this before?"

She sniffed. "I didn't want you to know I was stupid."

"You're not stupid, dear..."

"Yes, I am! Didn't you hear what I said?! I especially didn't want you to know, Daddy, because you're the smartest stallion in the world!"

Fancy Pants chuckled. "Actually, I had the same problem when I was your age."

Gemstone blinked. "What?"

"It's true. I had as much trouble reading and writing as you do. I thought I was an imbecile. I couldn't even tell my left from my right."

"Me too," the filly said in awe.

"I had to repeat the fourth grade because of it."

"Then how did you become so rich if you did bad in school?"

"For starters, honey, I was already rich. Well, my parents were anyway. And while I did badly in school, it wasn't my fault. I had dyslexia."

Her daughter scrunched her nose. "What's that? Is it a disease?! Do I have it too?! Are we going to die?!"

Fancy Pants laughed. "It's not a disease, dearest! It's a learning disability. Ponies who have dyslexia have trouble reading and spelling. Sometimes it's genetic, which would explain why you have it."

"You mean you can't read and write either?"

"Why do you think I have your mother read all my letters? When they found out I had dyslexia, my parents had me homeschooled by private tutors who were specialized with students with learning disabilities."

"Are you going to have me homeschooled? I don't want to be homeschooled! I want to go to school with my friends!"

"We're not going to have you homeschooled if you don't want to, sweetie."

"Then what are you going to do? I mean I still don't understand how you were the most important pony in Canterlot when you can't read."

"I kept it to myself, of course. There are other ways to succeed in life than being a good reader or writer. Why, a lot of successful ponies had dyslexia: painters, inventors...all of them working in fields that don't require a lot of reading. You can see I turned out fine, and I know you will do great things too."

Gemstone smiled. "Really?"

"Yes, but first, you must be honest with your friends and family and allow us to help you."

"You promise I won't be homeschooled or repeat a grade?"

"Of course, dearest. However, we will have to get you a tutor. I think your Auntie Twilight would be more than willing to help. And," he said with a wink, "you'll get to tell those colts and fillies back in Canterlot that you have a princess for a tutor."

New tears formed in Gemstone's eyes, but these were happy tears. She embraced her father as she felt a great sense of relief wash over her. She was not stupid. She was not abnormal. There were other ponies like her, and one of those ponies was her father.

"You're the best daddy in the world, you know that?" she said.

Fancy Pants grinned as he patted his daughter's head. "If I didn't know it before, I certainly do now."

After Fancy Pants had explained the situation to every pony, Rarity took Gemstone in her forelegs.

"Oh, my dear little Gemstone!" she wailed. "All this time, I thought you were lazy and not trying hard enough! Now I know that it wasn't your fault, I...I...I feel so guilty!"

"It's alright, Mummy," the filly said.

"But I should've known! Or at least have guessed! After all, I knew your father... Oh, Gemstone, I've been a terrible mother! Can you ever forgive me?"

"You're not a terrible mother and of course, I forgive you."

Her mother squeezed her even tighter.

Afterwards, arrangements were made. Twilight agreed to tutor Gemstone and help her with all homework involving reading and writing. The Cutie Mark Crusaders apologized for calling her out on her illiteracy and promised that they would help her as well. Cheerilee offered Gemstone extra time on her tests and assured her that she could always ask her if she was struggling with something. She would also let her do her reports orally instead of writing them down. She did one report explaining dyslexia to the class, so that they may understand that she was not stupid. Fancy Pants did his part by showing his daughter some tricks in deciphering words, like how sometimes what she thought was a 'b' was actually a 'd.'

It was because of all this help that Gemstone was able to get her grades up and her mother had her next report card framed and hung on the wall of the boutique.

The unicorn filly was happy, because she no longer felt like an idiot. She was never going to hold her problems back again, because now she knew that she could always count on her friends and family to help her get around them.

Author's Note:

I wanted to give Gemstone a character aspect that did not make her two-dimensional. I think I came up with the idea of dyslexia after she mixed up "punch" and "pinch" in the last chapter. It would also explain why she was so nervous about making friends. Part of this was inspired by an episode of Arthur and I was going to end it the same way, but I decided to take a different approach. Instead the teacher explaining dyslexia to Gemstone, why not her father? I don't write much on Fancy Pants' character anyway, and after reading that dyslexia is sometimes genetic, why can't he have dyslexia too? Those who have dyslexia vary in background and personality. If you don't think it's possible for Fancy to have dyslexia, remember this is AU.

Yes, I made a reference to the Nancy Drew books as well as the Frog Princess series, which I love. I could tell you what the comic Cherry picks up is based on, but I can't really use their name on this site (which is why I changed the names of the characters).

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