• Published 13th Jan 2014
  • 1,696 Views, 33 Comments

A Crown of Rhinestones - TheDarkStarCzar

Diamond Tiara goes too far and gets caught, now the Cutiemark Crusaders hold her fate in their hooves while Silver Spoon argues for leniency by telling the story of how they met how they received their cutiemarks.

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The briars and brambles had left a map of scratches across Silver Spoon's grey pelt. The uneven path bruised her when she had stumbled haphazardly down it, culminating in the fall that left slick trails of blood and tears to flow down her muzzle, and for all that she'd been too slow. Far, far too slow. Reckless shortcut or not, when she'd finally surmounted the knoll and crossed the schoolyard three fillies squinted in the dark at the damage that had been done, one more met her eyes, coldly, and then she trotted away, whistling.

She'd left Silver Spoon to cover for her, again, and trotted off blithely. She'd warned her off, begged her not to come here tonight yet sorting out this disaster fell exclusively to her. As she approached, panting and battered the three blank flanks eyed her suspiciously. She had to plead her case, Diamond Tiara's case and their expressions spoke of incredulity, shame and undisguised disgust. A trio of skeptics.

She thanked Celestia that she didn't really need to convince Scootaloo, because it was her that had the monopoly on outright loathing and was unlikely to be swayed. Objectively she thought Apple Bloom was the smartest of the three 'crusaders' or at least the most level headed and since the attack was meant for her it seemed likely that the other two would defer to her. It wouldn't be easy to convince her but Silver Spoon had to cover Diamond Tiara's flank no matter what it took. She sighed and muttered a few half hearted greetings, flailing for some tact to convince them to hush this up when Sweetie Belle interrupted, largely disarming her.

"Silver Spoon! You're hurt!" Sweetie Belle piped, noticing the steady trickle trailing from her left nostril, over her lip and dripping regularly off of her chin into the tough, lush playground grass that surrounded the school. Silver Spoon snorted, mumbled about it not mattering, that she was okay, but Sweetie Belle rummaged around her saddlebag, eventually coming up with a cloth, "Now just press it with the handkerchief and tilt your head back and pinch that nostril until it stops."

Scootaloo grunted and rolled her eyes, "You're not supposed to do it that way. Just roll up some of one corner and stick it right up there. You don't need to tilt your head back and if you pinch your nostril it'll just start bleeding again as soon as you let up."

Sweetie Belle screwed up her face, "Blegh! You're not supposed to go sticking things up your nose. Rarity says that's unladylike."

Then they were off on their own argument. It was unladylike indeed, but Silver Spoon followed Scootaloo's advice. She figured that the pegasus' scooter and rough and tumble lifestyle probably necessitated a more practical view of first aid as well as more actual experience implementing it. They exhausted their personal attacks on each other and eventually came to the question of why they were helping one of their sworn enemies anyway, for which they had no particularly good answer, other than Sweetie Belle's opinion about it being the proper thing to do. Apple Bloom had been conspicuously silent, thinking on the real matter.

"I know what you mean to do," Apple Bloom resolutely stated, "But t'ain't fair. Diamond Tiara's been pickin' at us forever but she's gone way too dang far this time. You're gonna try an' keep us from tellin', but I mean to say right off that we ain't gonna lie for nopony, 'specially not that filly."

"I'm not asking you to lie, but you don't want to be a bunch of tattle tales, do you?" Silver Spoon responded in a clipped nasal voice, automatically invoking the rule of the schoolyard.

"Frankly I just don't care too awful much about that and I'm dang tired of Diamond getting away clean everytime she pulls some horseapples like this! She can say what she wants about me, but bringin' mah family into it? I can't stand for that!" She stomped up to Silver Spoon and got in her face so close as to force her to drop the handkerchief for fear that she'd bump her leg and set her muzzle to bleeding all over again. Then she growled, "If'n you had anything to do with this, well I hope you get some'a what's coming to y'all too."

Silver Spoon stammered for a moment, torn between defending herself that she hadn't and taking the fall along with Diamond Tiara. Scootaloo interrupted this useless train of thought, "I don't know how she expected to get away with it anyway. She's gouged up the whole front of the school. Even if we didn't say anything everypony's going to know she did it, she's the only one who hates us enough to bother."

Silver Spoon didn't respond right away. It wasn't true that everypony would know she'd done it, Miss Cheerilee somehow managed not to understand the depth of animosity Diamond Tiara felt for the little blank flanks and her stern father had only the barest inkling. If she hadn't been caught, nopony would have ever known for sure, save Diamond Tiara herself and Silver Spoon, who would have gladly carried the secret to her grave.

"I don't know why she hates us so much anyway!" Sweetie Belle whined, "What did we ever do to her?"

"Aside from befriending Apple Bloom, you mean? It's her that Diamond Tiara's got it in for, after all. You know they used to be the best of friends, right?" The two blank flanks looked to Apple Bloom and gave her a look of disappointment and betrayal. She shrunk under their gaze, "Until Archer got her cutie mark, first in our class who did, they were two peas in a pod. What happened there, Apple Bloom? Want to tell your friends about that?"

"She...she said she outgrew me." Apple Bloom admitted with a sniffle, "Before I was born our pa's did business together, it was only natural that we played together as little foals, but then, like ya' said, other foals started to get their cutie marks and she said I was foalish, that I'd always be foalish and she didn't want ta' be seen with a blank flank like me no more, even though she was one just as much as me. She started goin' 'round with the older foals and won't talk to me 'less it's ta' insult me. After this I just don't see that there's any way ta' bury the hatchet no more."

She sighed and looked to the schoolhouse in the descending darkness. Gouged with a chisel into the soft cedar siding on either side and on the door itself were crude slurs and a pictogram. The pictogram was a couple of stick ponies, one mounting the other. They were poorly drawn and their cutiemarks hard to make out, but from the caption; 'Sweet Incest Acres!' it was clearly meant to be Apple Bloom's siblings. One slur declared 'Apple Bloom is a mud blooded ground pounding bumpkin!' while another few decried the whole earth pony race in general.

"It looks to me like Diamond Tiara's the one who needs to grow up." Scootaloo fumed, "I think she's just jealous that you're getting along fine without her and she's just showing her true colors, little psycho that she is."

"We've got to tell," Sweetie Belle entreated her friends, "A filly who could do this, there's got to be something wrong with her. How could she if there wasn't?" Her friends nodded in agreement, Scootaloo mumbling about that filly being crazy, but they didn't understand Diamond Tiara the way that Silver Spoon did.

Diamond's anger had been building for some time, but it was only the day before that she brought up the idea of a night raid.

Flat teeth rolled the pistachio shell over and over again, one half of the split shell hollow, the other's treasure still wedged tightly inside. Her tongue probed the slick inside of the shell, trying to extricate the nutmeat inside. She labored at the task, hardly aware of the low grade frustration as she attempted to vacate the husk that had been five full minutes in transit from her left cheek, where whole shells were squirreled, still armoring their kernels, to her right, where the interlocked detritus waited to be spit forth en masse.

Much like doodling, it was an occupation that kept her idle mind from wandering and it was in large measure responsible for keeping her annoyance at Silver Spoon's continued bleating from becoming hotly evident. Her friend, she decided, was too nice, too cowardly, for her own good, and she was no longer listening to her but rather waiting for her to stop talking so that she might reiterate her intentions and force her to capitulate to her participation in them.

A blankly imperious stare weathered the storm of verbiage that continued spewing her way, and she finally took brief notice of the pistachio's reluctance to give in just long enough to shatter the shell between her teeth with more force than was outright necessary. The tip of her tongue deftly separated the proverbial wheat, crumbled as it was, from the shattered chaff in a largely subconscious way. Her thoughts briefly touched on how nutmeat was a completely proper term and that she could and would use it without too much consideration of any double entendres that might be implied. She was Diamond Tiara. Such crude humor as sprung from those paths was far beneath her level of intellect and refinement. So was eating pistachios in such a vulgar manner as to require spitting out their hulls. In public anyway. Here she was comfortable and she let them skitter like junebugs over the smooth stones.

Her only true friend seemed not a bit perturbed by the uncouth manners, nor the spiderweb strand of spittle that hung unnoticed from the corner of her jaw or the tiny sliver of shell that hung there likewise, she just kept to her overearnest tirade.

The sun shone through the slatted wooden blinds, casting broad ribbons across her pale pink jaw as it orbited slowly as a cow working its cud might. Her head suddenly dropped back and she let out an exaggerated sigh. This whole afternoon was beginning to be a bore. From her friend's mewling foreswearing of her latest planned jab against Apple Bloom and the other two blank flanks by association, to the very locale. Indeed they sat on the veranda of a grand and enormous stuccoed mansion, bigger, even, than Diamond's own, but its very location spoke of its inferiority. Paradise View West, a subdivision added onto the Paradise View development which, in turn, was a pale thing next to the tract which they imitated, Paradise Estates. That, of course was where Diamond lived and she deserved no less. Likely there would soon be a series of tract homes and duplexes added to take advantage of the prestigious name. 'Paradise Adjacent Acres. It ain't Paradise, but you can just about see it from here!' or something. She'd have to work on her snide take on their motto.

It was surprisingly difficult being witty in a manner that truly befit her intellect on the spur of the moment and she reflected that the obsequious agreement of her companion had kept her from having to hone her barbs into sharper, more murderous things. Another failing that could be pinned upon her guileless friend. She spit another shell, in loosely paired halves, to join the growing drift of hollowed out carapaces on the floor and then finally turned her full attention to the conversation at hoof.

"Whatever. We're doing it at dusk tomorrow." Diamond ordered, interrupting without even waiting for an ebb in the conversation. Silver Spoon blinked, her mind reeling to catch up from arguing against the risk to picking apart the plan in more specific ways.

"If you're going through with this...wouldn't it be better to wait until it's totally dark? Somepony might see you, or us, I guess, and this is the sort of thing we could get in real trouble for." Silver Spoon plead in an attempt to mitigate their risk of exposure. The sort of vandalism that Diamond Tiara had in mind could come back to haunt them if it could ever be pinned upon them.

"That's stupid. Celestia damn, you really are dumb sometimes." She fixed her grey friend with a withering stare, then explained in slow condescending tones, "If it's too dark to work we'll have to have a torch and that'll show up like a flare saying 'vandalisimo aqui'. We have to do it when it's still light enough to see what we're doing but dark enough that nopony sees us. The magic hour, though I'd give us maybe twenty minutes when the light's just so. I just need you to be a lookout, I can do the work myself if I have to. If you're too much of a chicken to do it with me."

Silver Spoon didn't understand the bit of language she'd taken from the burro's tongue and chalked it up to Diamond Tiara being raised largely by the help that she knew such phrases, and to her haughtiness that she would often slip such phrases into casual conversation, even knowing nopony but her understood them, "It's too risky and it's just too much anyway." Silver Spoon hoped to talk her out of it, "You didn't answer my question. Why go after the Apple family when it's really just the lame little blank flank you want? I can see having it in for Apple Bloom, but your dad's in business with the Apple family. If they find out it's going to be bigger trouble than you need."

"Even Daddy didn't get to where he is without a few dirty tricks to keep the peons stepping and fetching, and this feud with Apple Bloom? I have to nip it in the bud. With her friends and that lame little bad seed of a turncoat, she thinks she's got one up on me and after they made those three dork wads flag carriers, I need to put her in her place." She pounded her forehooves together in emphasis.

It was Friday and a three day weekend lay ahead of them, but not one of the fun ones where they got off to celebrate some half flanked holiday that no one actually cared about. Monday was parent teacher conferences and they'd each have to come in with their parents for half an hour or so. It was only a holiday if a pony had no skeletons in their academic closet. Silver Spoon wasn't worried, though Miss Cheerilee always did find something she thought a student could improve on, no matter how good they'd done. Diamond Tiara wouldn't show that she was worried even if she had been.

A couple quarters back, Diamond Tiara had gotten in trouble for the Gabby Gums incident that had caused such a stink throughout the town. Her parent teacher meeting had reflected it. She hadn't been seen outside of school for several weeks afterward and she refused to talk about it. She was so petulant as to refuse to talk about refusing to talk about it, though it was presumed by all that she was grounded.

She'd been the editor of the school paper, even though her tenure was brief, and later she'd said that meant could honestly claim it in coming years when she would need to have such extracurriculars to string together an impressive university application. She implied that it was her only concern, but her little digs at the 'crusaders' had escalated in number and severity afterwords. Things only devolved after Babs Seed happened into town. Her betrayal was a slight Diamond never really lived down and her plans to deface the school house was the effluent of her seemingly impotent rage, boiled over. It wasn't until they won the coveted flag carrier spot for the Equestria Games that she actually chose to act upon.

"But the Apples..." Silver Spoon started halfheartedly, already knowing she was about to be shouted down with such assurance that she hadn't even bothered to have an ending lined up for her sentence. If she hadn't been interrupted she would have just trailed off, but she knew her friend well enough to not even doubt her interjecting.

"The Apples will be the first ones there on Monday, Applejack's always up early and she's always busy so she'll want to come in before she gets all sweaty. This weekend the school will be abandoned, what kind of loser wants anything to do with a school on the weekend? It's far enough off the beaten path that nopony will see it until Cheerilee comes in and she won't have enough time to do anything about it."

"Now, I don't care about the older Apples, they know their place well enough but that Apple Bloom's been real uppity since she started hanging around with those other blank flanks. It's not enough to make that little lame-o cry, she's gotten tougher lately with her cheering squad behind her. The way to hurt an Apple is to go after the Apple family. I want to embarrass her in front of her sister, show her she's not safe in her own school and the paranoia of not knowing for sure who did it should be enough to keep her in line for years."

Silver Spoon considered it, then finally reached a verdict, "No, I'm out. You can call me chicken or whatever, but you're sticking your neck out too far this time."

She scoffed, "Don't be such a namby pamby little baby, we won't get caught and who's going to think we did it? Would earth ponies really write slurs against their own race?" Diamond Tiara always considered them and her immediate family transcendent over common earth ponies, like they were stealth unicorns or something, with an innate dignity above and beyond their earth tending brethren. Such delusions of nobility were what drove her but there were few who doubted that they would, in large measure, be fulfilled in the long run.

"I don't care. It's a bad idea. I don't want any part of it and if you try it I'll tell on you." Silver Spoon bluffed, "You know I will."

Her spoiled pink friend sneered frighteningly and her eye twitched, "I know you won't, you're not going to fool me with that. I'm doing this and if you want to stay my friend you'll be there at eight oh five sharp, Saturday night."

"I'm not going to be there."

"You bucking will," she snarled, "You Celestia damned well better be there!" Then she was up and gone, leaving the crunch and rattle of discarded shells in her wake. Silver Spoon sighed heavily in protracted contemplation and eventually went inside for supper. Worry killed her appetite however, and she headed to the Rich estate after an untouched dinner and apprehensive glances and mutterings from her parents. She had always been such a moody and sullen foal at home, though, that they were almost afraid to speak to her when her mood turned dark and they simply nodded and wished her a good time when she announced she was headed down to her friend's house, hoping that her funk would be abated when she returned so that they didn't have to deal with it themselves.

Diamond Tiara was 'unavailable' to her friend that night and on Saturday morning as well, and it really drove the point home. This is what Silver Spoon could expect if she defied her. Having a butler to tell your best friend to go away seemed like about the cruelest thing possible.

She had done this same sort of thing before from time to time and the two had always reconciled pretty quickly, but it filled Silver Spoon with boundless dread. What if she meant it this time? What if this was really the end? It may seem like Diamond Tiara is a pretty lousy friend, but she's the only pony she'd ever met that she felt really understood her, and that goes a longer way than one might imagine, so it's unsurprising that Saturday night, just after sunset, found Silver Spoon at a crossroads both literally and metaphorically.

The literal one lead to the schoolhouse on the one hoof and back home on the other and she was pacing between the two, cursing to herself, telling herself to mare up and be strong without knowing which path that actually indicated. She was at the cusp of a decision when it was made for her in the form of disembodied laughter and conversation floating up the path from town.

"Sweetie Belle, I'm tellin' you, it's got to be sand, good clean sand, not half dirt like the stuff you pulled from your dad's potted cactus. Then it ought to run out of the bottom of the can less sputtery like and more like an hourglass." A voice, unmistakably Apple Bloom's was saying.

"Look, guys, I know it's getting late, but let's just get some sand from the playground and give it one more try." Sweetie Belle pled.

"Couldn't we just wait 'til tomorrow?" Scootaloo huffed," I don't want to go clear to the school and back just for a bucket of sand this time of night, even if we do get a chance to sleep in tomorrow."

"Awww, but we already have it all setup. If we don't do it now we'll have to take it down and start all over!" Sweetie Belle whined as Silver Spoon started to panic.

Applebloom was sighing as she passed by the bush Silver Spoon had leapt into to hide, "It's fine. We'll take one more stab at it, but if it don't work we're just going to have to call it quits on building a better mousetrap cutiemarks."

"Fine. Race ya there!" Scootaloo cheered, then they took off and so did Silver Spoon's heart. Without a second thought she bounded after them as fast as she could run. It was fortunate that they were on hoof rather than riding that scooter and wagon or she would have had no chance whatever of catching up much less beating them there.

As they ascended the hill they had to slow to let Sweetie Belle catch up and Silver Spoon made her own shortcut out of a rabbit trail clipping a corner and pushing through the brambles of blackberry bushes and cockleburrs. Their thorns tore at her chest and flanks, leaving broken off thorn tips peppering her hide as she desperately pressed on. Her string of pearls snagged, and she choked for the barest moment before they broke, spraying the pearl beads, a gift from her departed grandmother and valuable in their own right, all over the ground. It didn't slow her a bit. She had to get there first and warn Diamond Tiara regardless of everything.

She had warned her, Silver Spoon thought. She'd told her it was too dangerous and now she was going to pay the price and she'd see who was right, but maybe, just maybe she could get there first and save her, or maybe she took the warnings to heart and stayed home. Soon she knew that to be wishful thinking. As she slogged through the muddy banks of the ditch and surmounted the small hill beyond, there was her best friend, that mule in pony's clothing, gouging away at the schoolhouse walls with a chisel. She hadn't been lax in her efforts either. As planned, the walls were lousy with slurs and vulgarity.

Silver Spoon looked to her right, the three fillies were just visible around the bend. If they weren't paying much attention, and they likely weren't, she should be able to get Diamond to cover before the horseapples hit the fan. It was dark enough they probably wouldn't even notice the scratchings on the walls unless they came fairly close. She was going to make it, she thought joyously, just in time for her to trip on a root and crash to the ground with a thud, her muzzle crashing hard into the dirt, eliciting a startled yelp.

She stood up, dirt clogging her bloodied nostrils and saw Diamond frozen in place having heard her intended savior crash loudly to the ground. She was going to tell her to run, but the moment had slipped away when Diamond Tiara saw the Cutiemark Crusaders at the very instant they saw her, chisel in hoof. Scootaloo squinted into the night, trying to make out who it was and what she was doing, then scoffed in incredulous disgust once she'd gotten the gist of it.

Diamond got over her shock quickly, going so far as to finish the sentence she was working on, 'Granny Smith has saggy tits!' It opined. Finished with that she threw the chisel, letting it stick in the ground amidst the curly wood shavings it had generated, she shrugged and shoved between the stock still Crusaders towards home, whistling a Sapphire Shores tune as she went.

"Look, she's not crazy or anything, she's just...I dunno." Silver Spoon shrank under the Crusader's combined glare. Flailing for options and finding them nil, she realized that she was going to have to do something that Diamond Tiara would find obscene. Something she might never forgive her for. She was going to have to tell the real and unvarnished truth.

Author's Note:

This is a story I've been plinking away at for months. Originally it was from first-person (pony?) with Silver Spoon as the narrator, but she sounded too much like Sea Swirl from my Siren Song fic. That's all well and good, my whole impetus for pony fics is primarily writing about neurotic sorts (which in my head Silver Spoon clearly is), but it was just way too cynical for a filly's inner voice. Thus a couple rewrites, so if there's an 'I' out of place or any errors too awfully egregious I wouldn't mind them being pointed out too awfully much.