• 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.

  • ...

Tough Love and Some of the Other Kind, too

A bloody sunrise still hung low behind the schoolhouse, darkening the face in contrast, but as Silver Spoon squinted at it, it seemed to her...

"Surprise." Apple Bloom said in a low growling monotone as she slipped past, a hoof's breath from her shoulder as the grey filly stood slack jawed on the path, looking at the schoolhouse's unblemished face.

"What's the surprise?" Her sister asked in confusion as they trod back towards their farm.


"Well it's somethin' or you wouldn't have said nothin' at all." Applejack sternly said.

"Oh, it's just, um...she said I was libel to get a whooping right on the schoolhouse lawn for my math scores, and here you ain't even as mad as all that." Apple Bloom replied quickly.

"Well, I'm none too pleased, don't get me wrong, but I know you been workin' hard at it and I ain't got no right to complain myself, my math scores weren't nothin' to write home about neither. Still..." Their conversation continued, but had drifted beyond easy hearing and besides, Silver Spoon's mother was impatiently calling for her.

She stood by Cheerilee in the doorway, tapping her hoof and giving her best 'quit dawdling' look, hindered somewhat by the sunglasses affected to disguise her puffy eyes. Normally she wouldn't have been up this early, but her and father were going to Canterlot for the week and in order to supervise the packing properly she'd had to sacrifice a portion of her beauty rest to show up for the conference as early as possible.

"Sorry." she blushed, "I got distracted by what the Apples were saying."

"That's one of the things we need to talk about." Cheerilee was saying as she walked up, "Silver Spoon's often inattentive in class, daydreaming with her head in the clouds..."

It went on from there, but true to her complaints, the filly's attention had drifted and she didn't hear a bit of it. She was too busy looking at the schoolhouse and the miracle that seemed to have spilt all over it. Up close there were signs of hurried work, and the paint was patchy in numerous places, but it was unnoticeable unless somepony was looking for it. Cheerilee's demeanor seemed relaxed and undistracted, which seemed to indicate that she either didn't know or had handled the situation and not thought much of it.

"Silver Spoon! Get your flank in here!" Her mother hollered out the door and she drew herself away from pondering to join them inside, "Honestly, I don't know what's going on in that head of yours half the time."

"That's true." the filly nodded her head and obliquely agreed, to which her mother gave a puzzled look, swatting her on the rear as she ushered her inside.

The rest of that morning passed in anxious silence. Silver Spoon sat in her room reading the same few paragraphs of some novel, over and over again, while never comprehending them. Her thoughts were elsewhere and she desperately wished to know what had transpired and by whom it had come to pass. Given the choice she would have run to Diamond Tiara's, and when she was rebuffed, as she most certainly would be if her spite had survived the day, she would have scoured the town for a lead, starting with those three blank flanks who were the catalyst, though not the cause, for so many of her ills.

The choice was made easy, though, she was grounded for certain academic deficiencies which she would rather not admit to and would contend that it's Cheerilee's fault for being so boring as she is, and one would have to take a firmly defensive stance should they choose to debate in her favor.

It was the next day before she learned anything further, namely that she'd have to wait until after class to find out, as Diamond Tiara was alarmingly absent.

Long ago Cheerilee had separated Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon in class, using Apple Bloom as an unwilling buffer, but now she was grateful for her proximity for she couldn't take the suspense and risked interrogating her in class. "What happened? Do you know?"

She gave a mock incredulous look and stage whispered, "I ain't got the faintest idea what you're on about, did something happen?" Then she looked back to where her fellow Crusaders were seated winked, which raised titters. Regardless of Silver Spoon's numerous and desperate entreaties, she wouldn't say a further word about it and she was shortly rebuked by Cheerilee for whispering in class.

Looking back to Apple Bloom's two friends, so as to see if anything of value could be discerned from them, she noticed that the eyes of all the other students fled from her gaze like roaches from the light. They all knew something.

At recess she pressed the two most likely weak links in the conspiracy of silence, as well as the Equestrian gene pool, Snips and Snails, but either they'd been coached on playing dumb by an expert, or they really knew nothing. She tried to get at Sweetiebelle as she blithely swung on the playset, regular as a pendulum, but her friends saw Silver Spoon coming and held her at bay by their presence.

"Please, just tell me what's going on. She won't talk to me and nopony will tell me what's happened or who fixed the wall or if we're in trouble." She begged, looking up from her knees and haunches ears back and sniveling. Certain humiliations had to be borne in service to Diamond. They whispered amongst themselves and turned, Scootaloo with a scowl and Apple Bloom with hard resolution flashing.

"Sorry, Silver Spoon, seems like we still don't know what you're talkin' 'bout, and I don't think we'll know anytime soon neither."

"You told! You told and they sent her away already and I'll never see her again and it's all your fault!" She cried. Scootaloo, quick to anger, advanced and hoofed her hard in the chest, pushing the sniveling filly back.

"You shut up. We didn't squeal, but it'd serve you right if we had."

"They did send her away, didn't they? What did they do to her? Tell me!" She pushed Scootaloo back, briefly, but the pegasus surged forward and knocked her to her plot.

"That's not what happened," Sweetiebelle chimed in kindly, "She's probably just sick..."

"Faking sick." Scootaloo interjected.

Apple Bloom hushed the trio and turned back to Silver Spoon. She held her hooves together, then knifed her arms straight out, a gesture they all took to mean that they were finished, then she turned her back even as Silver Spoon moaned and screamed alternating pleas and curses upon them.

She felt a warm hoof upon her shoulder and looked back. It seemed her over dramatic state had drawn Miss Cheerilee's attention. She asked what was the matter, if the other fillies had been mean to her and the bratty filly was so close to bursting into deep, abyssal, give-up-and-curl-into-a-ball-for-all-eternity tears that she could think of no other thing to do than take off running and that's just what she did.

Cheerilee gave chase, but the filly's headstart and the path she'd taken through the brambles, the one she'd taken the other night in the opposite direction that had claimed her pearls, left their teacher far behind, calling after. Let the blank flanks explain it if they could, it was tomorrow's problem and, for her, there were no more tomorrows.

Before she could comprehend her own mind she was crashing through the dense boxwood the screened the Rich estate on three sides. It was like trying to swim through a sponge, but she eventually tumbled out on the other side, breathing heavily and shuddering with exertion. A window was flung conspicuously wide, somepony, somezebra, was worried and she was being bid come in. She didn't waste a second as she hurdled the window, landed on her knees and slid across the floor. By the time Xenia had a chance to look away from her work the grey filly had already left the door flapping back and forth in her wake.

In the main hall she came face to face with the butler, who registered shock for but a moment before he strode forward. She gave him her best sneering death glare and charged him. In his frightened confusion she scuttled between his legs and bound up the stairs. He was far too slow to keep her from her goal.

She opened Diamond's bedroom door the barest sliver and darted into a world of near complete darkness, but she knew the room well enough to have the door latched and a chair wedged beneath the knob before it rattled and shook in it's frame.

"I'm sorry, mistress, the little dickens slipped past me." The butler called from behind the door.

"It's fine," Diamond's voice, hoarse and wavering, called, "Leave me be."

"Diamond!" Silver Spoon searched around for the lights, but in the end settled for opening the curtains. What greeted her was not the graceful and imperious mare she'd come to know and love, but a regular little filly, frizzy headed, with squinting, bloodshot eyes and snot dripping from one nostril, "You're sick! You're not even faking it."

She rolled her eyes, as if to say, no, really? Silver Spoon moved in to hug her and not only did she not rebuff her, but she squeezed her right back.

"You'll get my cold if you do that."

"I don't care, I...Diamond, are you alright?"

"Sheesh, it's just a cold. Why'd you get so sappy all of a sudden? It doesn't suit you."

"You know what I mean." She grumbled, releasing her, and she twisted her lip in a wry smirk that said she did, "So what happened?"

She shook her head, "Your guess is as good as mine, better, probably since I've been cooped up in here all day."

Silver Spoon grimaced with a shudder, "I thought, I thought they'd tattled and already sent you away."

"There's no need to get so worked up, but who cleaned all that up, and why?" Her eyes screwed down to slits, "Was anypony acting funny? Did the blank flanks say anything?"

"It doesn't matter, does it? Somepony gave you a second chance. There's no point looking a gift horse in the mouth." She'd never really understood that idiom, but it slipped out. Diamond looked nonplussed.

"It matters quite a bit, to me. I need to know who has the goods to come back and bite me in the flank so I can take care of them some way or another." She coughed into a tissue miserably, wiped her mouth and groaned, "I went to the conference yesterday with Daddy and it didn't seem like Cheerilee knew anything about it, and the maintenance department takes three days notice to change a lightbulb. There's no way the blank flanks could do it by themselves, they'd wreck everything up worse than I did."

"Seriously? After everything that happened, that's what you're worried about? Damage control?" She just couldn't understand Diamond's misplaced priorities, "You should just be happy someone cleaned up after you and let it die down."

"That's fine for now, but I'll have to deal with eventually."

"Why? Who cares? Not everypony does things just to have leverage down the road."

"Not everypony, but a lot more than you'd suspect, so who do you think it was?"

Silver Spoon thought back, "The blank flanks know what's going on, I'm sure of it, but they won't tell me, but honestly, most of the class was acting funny, I think they might have all known."

"What?" She scoffed, which caused her to break into another coughing fit, "They wouldn't all get together just to save my flank. There's no way."

"Well...maybe they did. I...I may have told them about the summer we got our cutiemarks."

"You what!?" She snarled, "You didn't tell them how we got them, did you?"

"Of course, that's the whole story, isn't it? I was just throwing anything out there I could to make you seem more sympathetic. Somepony worth a second chance." She sheepishly admitted.

Diamond Tiara facehoofed, "I can't believe you! How could you do something so stupid! All this time, this air of aloof superiority I'd been establishing, it's gone forever now. For the rest of my life those ponies are going to see me on the streets and whisper about me as a tragic figure they'd so altruistically saved instead of cowering at my presence as is right and proper. It's even worse that I don't know for sure who knows, or if they even kept it a secret. You've ruined me Silver Spoon! Absolutely ruined me. Now instead of the elegant beauty queen who deigns to bestow her presence on the masses, I'm just a townie buck up, heiress or not."

"I...I don't see how you figure all that."

"Sympathy! When they have a reason to show somepony sympathy it puts them on a higher footing than the recipient, capiche? Why am I even explaining this to you? If you don't understand it now, you never will."

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do anything like that. I was just trying to keep you out of trouble." She mewled in the face of Diamond's unaccountable anger.

"Trouble? What trouble? Sure it's easier that they didn't find out, but what would have happened? I would have been punished, maybe sent away, though I doubt it. Even if it was as bad as last time I'd make it through, persevere and come out on top. Then I'd at least have a Canterlot school to brag about instead of everypony thinking I'm just some pretty faced, empty headed beauty queen for a cut rate discount store." She quelled her rage enough to blow her nose, "You're lucky I'm nice, or I'd do something very unpleasant to you. Now get out, and don't come back here again!"

Silver Spoon made no attempt to move, piecing together some justification as she was, but took too long. Diamond sprung up from her bed grabbed her former friend around the throat in a headlock, unbarricaded the door and flung her out in a heap, then slammed the door behind her.

With a groan and a slow unraveling, the grey filly sorted herself out and walked downstairs, intent on exiting through the kitchen to avoid further troubles with the butler. Xenia was there and she gasped at the filly's ruffled state.

"It's fine, I'm fine." But by the time she'd said it, it was clear she wasn't and the plump zebra moved in to nuzzle her as a torrent broke loose from amethyst eyes.

"Oh, I'm so sorry."

"I'll be okay, it's just...Diamond's kind of a mule isn't she?"

Xenia started, but then hugged the filly all the tighter, "My kitchen, you should know, is not a place for casual racism, but confidentially, she really is. I take it things didn't go well? I was hoping that seeing a friend would snap her out of it."

"Yeah," she sniffled, "It looks like she's going to need some other friend to snap her out of it, because it sure isn't going to be me."

Xenia drew back, and smiled gently, "Oh, so you think it's so bad as all that, do you? Haven't you noticed that Diamond doesn't really have any other friends besides you?" Now that she mentioned it, that was fairly obvious. For being the most popular filly in school, she never hung around with the other foals, "Do you really believe she'll discard you so casually as all that? I think not. You shouldn't let her know I told you, but she speaks very highly of you, though the way she treats you doesn't seem to show it."

"But, she's so angry all the time, and so worried about what she's going to become and it seems like all I ever do is mess up her plans and make things harder for her."

"She makes things hard on herself, and the plans and ideals of a half grown filly might not amount to so much as she thinks." Xenia wiped her smudged face with a dish towel as if she were the little foal she now truly felt like. She couldn't say she disapproved so much as she should have, "Her father spoils her. Without a proper mother she's been wanting for a grounded filly that she can talk to. Somepony to reign her in, a bit, and make her see that her future is of her own choosing."

"I get that, I guess, but I don't know how to do that."

"There are two ways to show someone you care. The obvious is to be nurturing and to coddle them." She said, and smilingly spoon fed Silver Spoon a slice of peach in half melted whip cream meant for a fruit pie she'd been working on. Then her face went stern. She set a bowl of soup, some wheat crackers and orange juice on a tray and set them on the filly's back, "The other is, how do you call it, tough love? Yes. I believe that's it. You show them what must be done and unrelentingly drive them to do it. It feels much riskier than it is, and sometimes it can be painful, but sometimes it's the only way."

With her newly found hardened expression, she pointed a hoof towards the front of the house, and Silver Spoon realized what she intended. She gulped, but the zebra pointed again, more insistently and swatted her backside with an agile tail to drive her on.

Diamond's door was still unlatched, and when Silver Spoon came in, she squinted at her in the dim light, then rolled her eyes.

"Did you bring me lunch as some sort of namby pamby apology?" She asked as her friend set down the tray, she looked about to say more, but she seemed genuinely curious. Silver Spoon herself quite wondered what she was going to say and found herself rewarded by a stream of consciousness refutation of many of the things she had come to believe.

"Hardly." She sat at the foot of her bed and took a long breath, "Have you ever considered, Diamond, that we're not so special as we tell ourselves? I mean really, we had to have cover stories about how we got our cutie marks so nopony would know what they really meant. That's a bit pretentious, no? We keep telling each other how unique and how clever we are, you with your machinations to keep Ponyville under your hoof when you grow up, and me with my angsty little suffering filly routine."

Silver Spoon thought of her library of deep and dense tomes, suddenly props every one for a drama she meant to abandon, "Well, I for one am done with it. I'm just a normal little filly, like everypony else. All the chasing after you, pretending to be popular, all the while whining that nopony understands me, it's not me, at least it's not who I want to be. I don't want to be a bully, or a snob. I want to be happy, and work hard and have friends who let me be myself and don't force a set of rules on me about who I should be and how to be proper, and you. You're trying to be popular by keeping ponies in your iron grip, but that can't work in the long term, can it?"

Diamond looked confused and a bit stunned, but Silver Spoon plowed on, "It only works because the school gives you a captive audience, and a small town like Ponyville does too, but you want to be more than that, I know you do, and the first thing that you're going to have to do is give up the idea that you can control everything and everypony. You know who hates change and wants to control everything? Little baby foals and doddering old stallions. You can't plan the next sixty some years of your life because life is what happens while you're busy making those plans." Admittedly, she'd read that on an inspirational mug, "So look, if you don't want to work for your dad, don't, and if you don't like your special talent, work towards something else, make it mean something else, because if you don't, you're just going to be stuck with something that makes you miserable. You don't just have to accept it, but if you want to change we're both going to have to work on growing up a bit, and I hope you do because I want to stay your friend, if I can, and you're just never going to be happy trying to be the biggest fish in this small pond."

Silver Spoon nuzzled her surprised friend, than moved to leave, but with a grin she said,"Now smile, say thank you and eat your bucking soup."

"Thank you." Diamond Tiara said, and found that she meant it.

When Silver Spoon got home, her mother had taken a break from her protracted travel preparations and was sitting on the chaise, sipping mint tea. Without thinking she began to speak, "Mom, I have something to tell you. That tea service I brought home wasn't custom made by Zebracan craftsmares, I made it in class last summer. I've been thinking about it a lot and I don't want to be some snobby socialite, it just isn't me. I think I want to be a silversmith."

She gestured languidly to the sugar bowl with the spoon handle stuck out, "I figured that's what happened when I saw the spoon matched your cutiemark. Did I ever tell you how I got mine?" She asked, though they both knew she hadn't, "See, I was born into a pretty poor family on a pineapple plantation, and until I was eight, that's all I did was plant and pick pineapples, but one day I discovered coconuts and I was obsessed. Don't ask me why, I never understood how foals can latch onto things so adamantly, but I surely did love palm trees and coconuts. Still do, but the land there wouldn't grow them, for some reason their roots would rot, but I was determined, and within a couple years I had transplanted a grove of ones that would survive and had come to be a young prodigy in the coconut palm field. That's when I got an offer from a casino in Las Pegasus."

She gruntingly got up and retrieved a photo album from a high shelf and flipped it open to a sphinx and pyramid carved from cloud, floating high above the San Palamino desert. Surrounding it were thousands of palm trees, dashes of green in the monochromatic sky, "They wanted palm trees that would grow in the clouds and as stupid as it sounded at first, I eventually managed it and was paid a pretty bit for it, too. It was hard but it was my talent, more than that though, I met your father there playing at the casino. He was a smooth talker, I mean to tell you, and he convinced me to put up the bits for him to enter one of the big poker tournaments. Danged if he didn't win it and win me too while he was at it. That's where our initial stake came from, you know, and we could have lost it just as easily as not, even if he is the best poker player in Equestria. That's his special talent. We were careful from then on out, kept our risks minimal and played the market instead of the casinos, but when you have money, it makes money and here we are."

"So we really are the nouveau riche?" Silver Spoon giggled.

"That's us. A gardner, a gambler and now maybe a silversmith. I never brought it up because I wanted you to have the chance to be a high society mare like your father wanted if that's what you wanted, too. Really though, ponies put way too much emphasis on definitions. Rich, poor, ponies are the same inside and we're all just doing as best as we can to get by, some just get lucky where others don't." Paradise shrugged, "That's the way of things, I guess. There's not much point in getting all existentialist about it. Now, I kind of saw this coming so I was looking into it and it looks like there's a pony right here in town you can apprentice with if that's what you want to do. We can go talk to him tomorrow, if you like."

Silver Spoon remembered how she'd skipped out of class and made Cheerilee chase her down, "Well...Maybe we should wait 'til next week. I think I'll probably have detention for the rest of this one."

Indeed she did have detention, but she had to risk another. It took Wednesday and Thursday, but Diamond Tiara showed up on her doorstep. Even though she lived just a bit down the street she'd never entered her friend's home, they'd always hung out at Diamond's, so this was a step in and of itself. She even came with an offering, a string of pearls.

"I found these by the schoolhouse and restrung them for you." She smiled sheepishly, "It took a while, but I think I got all of them."

She downplayed it, but her friend realized it would have taken an inordinate effort to scour through the dirt and grass to gather them all, so Silver Spoon invited her in. The house was cluttered and worn compared to hers, but she was fascinated by all the little trinkets and wasn't scared to show it. She'd apparently cast her snobby social rules aside. When they finally reached Silver Spoon's room her eyes lit up at the pile of stuffed animals, ones that were actually played with, heaped between the end of the bed and the wall and she fell back into them and snuggled into the pile like a rabbit in a burrow. Silver Spoon couldn't help but chuckle as her head popped up from between Hermione hedgehog and Superdog. Ironically she'd come to tell her friend how she'd intended to make things right in a bid towards acting more grown up, and why she needed a decoy.

Towards the end of class, when all was silent save for pencils scratching on paper, Silver Spoon rose to her hooves, scooting the desk with a cringe inducing screech, "Miss Cheerilee! Look at that!" She exclaimed and bolted out the door.

"Celestia help me..." She mumbled as she rose to attempt pursuit, "All of you stay here! Silver Spoon! This is just the sort of thing that got you detention all this week!"

Diamond Tiara went to the front of the now unsupervised class and cleared her throat. Silver Spoon made one large loop and swooped by the door, just long enough to hear her begin before she led Cheerilee off again.

"Everypony," She said with a nervous half smile, "and especially Apple Bloom, last week I did something unforgivable, and you saved my plot anyway, and...I just wanted to say thank you, and I'm sorry. I know in the past I've given some of you a hard time, well, all of you really, but I want to change, and I don't know if we can make a fresh start, but I'd like to give it a try if you'll let me....."

She went on from there. Silver Spoon was told that it was a very moving speech, so far as school foals can be moved by a speech, which is less than you might really wish, but she didn't get to hear it. She was too busy dodging, weaving, and hoping she didn't get caught too soon.

"Darn it Silver Spoon! What's gotten into you?" Miss Cheerilee huffed as her quarry stood on the other side of a tree to let her catch her breath while still keeping her at hoof's length. Silver Spoon just kept laughing as they circled the tree until the little grey filly finally let her catch up. It appears that in order to grow up, as it were, one must be willing to make a foal of one's self on a fairly regular basis. Silver Spoon okay with that, and when she attempted to explain it to Miss Cheerilee, her teacher was too baffled to even add on to her sentence, so, all in all, it was a good day.

Author's Note:

Probably no more than a week later Diamond Tiara would revert to being a spoiled bitch again, eh but maybe it could stick, who knows? I quite liked her in Ponyville Confidential, in which she was a proper character, capable of interacting reasonably as well as being nasty rather than just a two dimensional bully.

Anyway, I hope you liked it and thanks for reading!

Comments ( 10 )

Pretty good ending. I like it!


I think the ending was alright, if a bit unresolved. I'm also still confused by Paradise's dramatic change of attitude towards Silver Spoon in this chapter. I loved the backstory you gave to DT& SS, but I feel almost like that part could've been a story in of itself; as it took up quite a significant portion of the overall story. But I digress. I think the first chapter is still my favorite. Great character development. Overall, I loved the story.

Great work, my good sir or madam. :eeyup:

I very much enjoyed this story. While SB wasn't played quite as deeply as I like her to be, it's understandable, given that the main characters are SS, DT and AB. Your portrayal of DT and SS was a fascinating read and probably the best of them that I have read so far. I am sure to add this to my list of top stories. Which means it's time for me to write a new recommendation blog.

Thanks for writing this, it was fantastic.

DT was just a plot device in Ponyville Confidential. Not to say that the lack of constant vitriol wasn't refreshing, but you can tell she was toned town for that episode because she had essentially nothing to do with the main conflict, unlike most episodes she shows up in.

I'm still waiting for a proper episode that develops those two. It's season four and they're still just cardboard cutouts in the show, but you can kind of tell that they have a bit of a cult following on this site if you look at review patterns, and it's because they generate an interesting dynamic with the CMC.

Good story.

Diamond Tiara had been running all her life it seems. Running from her background and her nature, creating improbable dreams and turning herself into a monster in the hope that it would somehow give her the power to escape who she really is. It was never going to work. Eventually, sooner or later, she would see that.

Diamond thinks she's better than a normal earth pony, or so she says and it's implied that it's a misdirection as to the culprit, but is it actually some sort of self loathing bubbling up? Well...yes. I expect so.
Diamond pretty well takes whatever opinion seems to make the most convenient tool or weapon at any given point. It points to a certain lack of introspection that might imply that even she doesn't know whether she means the things she says.

Please continue this.

I want to see this continued.

The start shows how awful Diamond is, doesn't pull punches, and gives us a REASON for why she's so awful.

It also shows that while Diamond Tiara IS a elitist spoiled filly, her BULLYING is something she LEARNED, just like everything.

Silver Spoon nuzzled her surprised friend, than moved to leave, but with a grin she said,"Now smile, say thank you and eat your bucking soup."
"Thank you." Diamond Tiara said, and found that she meant it.

EXCELLENT! The student has become the teacher!:pinkiehappy:


Probably no more than a week later Diamond Tiara would revert to being a spoiled bitch again, eh but maybe it could stick, who knows?

It's amazing how one episode can change one's opinion on a character:
If I had read this story when it came out, I'd have thought that there was no way DT would NOT end up having a relapse.
However, reading it now, several months after Crusaders of the Lost Mark, I feel confident in saying that her change of heart in this story is practically guaranteed to stick.

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