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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)



Diamond Tiara knows all about work delegation: if you want something done, have other ponies do it for you. In the name of that goal, Silver Spoon studies for both and Diamond copies her friend's efforts. It works every time. Except that Cheerilee just forced Diamond to switch desks. And with finals a week away and no personal knowledge for most of the subjects, the only ponies she can now hope to copy from are Snips and Snails. Something which may get her sent all the way back to preschool. And there's no way Diamond is going to lower herself to doing her own work.

Which means the colts are going to be learning on her behalf.

No matter what she has to do to make that happen.

It's for the best cause ever, after all.

(Part of the Triptych Continuum, which has its own TVTropes page and FIMFiction group. New members and trope edits welcome.)

Now with author Patreon page.

Cover art by GroaningGreyAgony

Chapters (8)
Comments ( 214 )

I've been advised by my attorney to protest the horribly out of character depiction of that paragon of honesty and studiousness, Diamond Tiara, and the events of the day as depicted in this story. Certainly when the upcoming trial takes place and the character witnesses put forth their completely honest and unrehearsed descriptions of this wonderful and generous filly, you members of the jury will see clear to provide an adequate recompense for this slanderous and libelous and inaccurate depiction. Something around six figures would be about right, although it can go to seven if you are feeling particularly indignant at her treatment, and perhaps a few figures of that might just come back into your pockets by a roundabout way.

After all, she's saving up bits to buy a little sister :pinkiehappy:

Let's see... plaudits for the John Kennedy Toole reference...
Boos for starting new multichapter stories while you have others unfinished?
Decisions, decisions... :raritywink:

(Yes, I know I'm guilty too.)

ETA: Read both chapters. Plaudits, plaudits!

Well, this is off to an excellent start. I really like the hints of insecurity under all of Diamond Tiara's self-assured egocentrism. She thinks she's infallible. If she's irrefutably proven wrong even once, her entire ego edifice will crumble like a soggy sandcastle. At least, that's what she thinks will happen. Or what I think she thinks, anyway.

Also, snarky Cheerilee was a joy to read.

In any case, looking forward to more.

I love it already, can't wait to see what Filthy ACTUALLY thinks of this. Since in this story DT has been forced to actually learn history, is she going to base her plans and actions off of historical figures or something?

Oh. Huh. Always a funny feeling when someone updates as you read...

In any case, excellently done here. I'm sensing a theme of consequences throughout the story, of karmic and social debt that needs to be paid. And Diamond's still trying to cook the books, because that's always worked, and the idea of it not is tantamount to Armageddon. And somewhere in there, a filly is crying because, as far as she can tell, her daddy doesn't love her anymore. :fluttercry:

Fantastic work. Eagerly looking forward to more.

I like this version of Diamond Tiara. Well, not exactly, she's a pony I would line up and pay good money to hate, but I like the fact that you wrote her that way. No moral ambiguity, no grey areas, just a thoroughly despicable pony who's about to get four seasons worth of karma in the neck.

Comment posted by throwawayponystory deleted Jun 6th, 2014

I enjoy your borrowing of the novel's name. heh.

I'll be coming back. Will be interesting to see how you proceed. I can see Diamond Tiara actually learning the information as she works harder than she ever has in her life to get Snips and Snails to understand it.

I'm a fan of bad girls gone good, but only if the reformation is caused by building a good foundation for the change.

I never did write that post I promised in your 50 thoughts blog, about Cheerilee and Diamond Tiara, did I? Oh well...

Anyways, I was a bit worried going into this fic, I admit.
Having read "While Their Name's Still Spoken", I wasn't too fond of how you characterized Diamond in that story. And seeing 4506520's post worried me as well.

And... it seems my worry was misplaced.
I think you're actually pretty fair with Diamond in this fic, She sounds and acts like a spoiled brat would, with the addition of actually having the power to get things her way(even if it's exaggerated a bit, given her age). And it's not like in the formerly mentioned fic where DT was implied to be just using Silver Spoon, as we in this fic see that she actually values her very much, second only to her Father(not counting herself, of course :raritywink:).

In essence, this story shows what can happen to a person(pony?) if they get spoiled too much. It's a sad -- but real-- phenomenon, and I do hope she gets out of it(a least somewhat) by the end of this fic.
I do however hope that she doesn't get too much of a "come-comeuppance", as I tend to see in a fair bit of stories around these parts. It is after all important to remember that she is a child, and simply cannot grasp reality very well yet, including concepts such as "consequence" and "perspective".

Whew. Apparently I do have a lot to say about Diamond Tiara :twilightsmile:


Oh, and also, the line

or at least that was how Diamond saw it and she was pretty much always right

suffers from a severe case of "stating the obvious", which is very rarely good for the narrative.
(or, another way of saying it, this line seems to be told in a third person omniscient voice, whereas the rest of the story is written from a third person personal perspective, and it comes off as somewhat jarring)

Hmm. This was a lot deeper than I expected it to be, I'll admit. Well done.

Why am I feeling sympathy for Diamond?

I love the book you based the title off of. I'll have to give this one a read. :pinkiehappy:

I was just about heading up for the night, when I saw this in the frature box... and saw the author. And promptly thought, welll, there goes that then...

Excellently done! I am veyr much looking forward to see where this is going (not least for the moment Diamond actually has to face the consequences of her actions, not too mention the inevitable hilarity of her trying to get Snips and Snails to study..!)

There's been a sort of rash of these DT fics suddenly, unless it's just me. Oddly enough, considering DT is not among my favourite ponies, I find I am enjoying the surge.

I especially like it that DT obviously loves her daddy, even as narcissistic as she is, but goddesses help him when she finally decides that he's an enemy.

My god! This is one of the most delusional perspectives I've ever read. Bravo! I bow to you! She might even learn something. But probably not. And it's kinda sad how lonely her dad is. Just bad parenting.

I only wish the show tried to have Cheerilee punish Tiara in some way; the fact she's remained scot-free for such a long time feels...wrong.
Yes, in the real world such things do happen, but...man, I hoped a fantasy cartoon would have a sense of fairness in it :-/

You know, I'm also feeling sympathy for Diamond. She's clearly a little terror, but the self-delusion and fragility on display in her internal monologue is more sad than anything else. And that focus on the number of ponies at the dinner table suggests she is having a hard time dealing with her missing mother. She probably needs counseling as much or more than she needs to be punished for her misdeeds.

Also, I am loving the portrayal of Filthy. I want to hug him or buy him a beer or something.

Oh ho ho.
I just realised that you put Truffle right next to Silver Spoon, you sly dog you.

Man. I bet when this is all over with, the one pony most happy for a summer vacation will be Cheerilee.

4506947 Celestia save us from fanfic justice!

Yeah, I think this is definitely an interesting take on DT. I also love how in pony society, a child arguing they have individual political rights is good evidence that they child has become corrupted with troublesome ideas. ("What's next daughter, you're going to listen to that tabloid rag that says we should have a constitution!")

You know, seeing the premise, I am reminded of a Timon and Pumbaa show episode, where Timon goes to spectacular lengths to try and evade a test of manhood. By the end of it, he's gone to such spectacular lengths that the test of manhood would have been nothing in comparison. As Timon puts it near the episode's end, 'It's just too much hard work avoiding hard work'. I expect that, towards the end of this story, Diamond Tiara may come to a similar conclusion.l :rainbowlaugh:

Hey, up to 30 stories!

Someday I'm going to send an expedition team into your mind, to figure out where you keep getting these ideas from. Then we'll move the multinational corporations in and ruthlessly extract them.

It will be like Nigeria, except with ponies, instead of oil.

And probably some other significant differences that I can't be bothered to research.


You know, if you really get down to it, Diamond is actually a quite intelligent child. She readily identifies her problems and puts a lot of planning into solving them. I wouldn't be surprised if she could do all this schoolwork herself easily, it's just that she doesn't want to.

Maybe this is a step too far, but I'm wondering if part of that is influenced by her relationship to Silver Spoon. Yes, Diamond is using her to do her work for her; yes, Diamond considers being studious and diligent nerdy; but what would happen if Diamond actually did start to do all her work herself? Where would that leave Silver Spoon? We're all very ready to think of her as victim in this, but maybe they keep this dynamic in place because changing it would upset their friendship (or so they fear)? I'm wondering if Diamond is also subconsciously avoiding education because Silver Spoon is the "smart" one of them, and she doesn't want to take it away from her.

Lastly: Aw, no romance tag? Bummer. The dorks and bullies just fit so well together in my mind^^

Ah, genius without root. I remember those days...

Next step: convince Snips' and Snails's parents that they're good for each other and can spend the summer together.
The parents tell Diamond that they can't, they need the colts to do lots of important chores if they aren't in school. Diamond Tiara tries to solve that problem, finds new ones cropping up along the way.
In the end, Diamond Tiara still fails, but Ponyville has somehow become a streamlined interconnected chores/studying/transport/communication/entomology/motivational-seminar/investment-banking social machine over the past week, and nobody knows how or why.

Class action suits? :trollestia:

"...boys for whom the term 'morons' had first been invented and then discarded because it was simply inadequate to the task..."

That tickled me.

"I think I'll always be young," Snails gravely stated. "I know I always have been."

It amuses me how, in an extradiegetic sense, this is completely correct. Snails's Flash model will never age.

Also, wow. That is some very impressive obfuscating stupidity there. Tiara's got her work cut out for her. Eagerly looking forward to more.


"I think I'll always be young," Snails gravely stated. "I know I always have been."

It's actually a line from someone else's work, one I felt fit beautifully here. (My wording may not be exact, but it's close.) I'm curious to see who'll ID it.

Without benefit of search engine.

Whoa, is Diamond Tiara developing empathy?

I like how Diamond Tiara is so wrapped up in her new "philosophy" that she would sooner educate two super-morons for the purpose of cheating off of them rather than simply educate herself.
I also have a glimmer of a suspicion how that story might end: in success and accolades! :pinkiegasp:

I've been in customer service training at work all week long, and these employee management asides are practically giving me flashbacks.

"Hey, lookit this," Snips said. His field surrounded the paper in a series of stutter-steps, carefully raised it. Large sections fell away. What remained was a series of carefully-clipped miniature exacting outlines of a pony form, linked to each other at the nose, a chain of two-dimensional nuzzles.

You know, if Diamond could figure out how to phrase studying as a way to cut stuff she'd be like 50% of the way towards figuring out how to motivate these two.

Ooo, I have a feeling that the explanation for why they always fail contains the seeds of making sure they pass this time. It's just a question of finding the correct lever.

Another great addition. Lots of fun was had =P
Would have been a brilliant chapter, but I still have some problems with this; As great as your Diamond Tiara is, she does in my opinion have two flaws:
a) her relationship with Silver. I still don't agree with you on that one :derpytongue2:
b) She shows way too much self-insight for a kid of her nature(spoiled young brat).
Basically, problem a is more or less a subjective issue, and there isn't much to say about that one. Perhaps the story just isn't for me...
Problem b though I think is a narrative issue. You generally have huge problems with conciseness(in fact, I would almost call it your biggest flaw =P), in that there are many superfluous lines that could be cut to improve the narrative, most of which fall into the category of "over-explanation", which, due to the nature of the perspective, makes it feel like DT has too much self-insight.
I could point a bunch of these lines out, if you're interested :applejackunsure:

Either way, this is still an all around good story so far :twilightsmile:


I could point a bunch of these lines out, if you're interested

Pass. If I had any idea what I was supposed to be doing, I'd never get anything done.

I guess there's truth to this.
Stuff such as revising and editing, as much as it improves the quality, also reduces the output rate.
Seems it's a value judgment one has to make :applejackunsure:


No -- I revise and edit. But what always results is my horrible, illegible, reader-repulsing feel-free-to-laugh-at-this-word style. And nightmarishly flawed as that is, it's the only system I can utilize for words to emerge at all. If I try to downshift or upshift into anything else, all I'm going to do is burn out the clutch while destroying the engine. I know I can make a car idle along if I'm using an automatic transmission. I cannot work stick and any attempt to do so on an uphill results in crash damage to whatever was stopped behind me. Eventually, when the insurance rates climb too high, you just stop driving entirely.

(And having driven that metaphor beyond its useful life...)

Bottom line: I'm aware I svck. It's just a level of svck I have to live with.

Maybe DT will give in now and study...

Bwhaha! No.

I actually rather like this interpretation of Snips and Snails. They're just kind of doing their own thing.

Interesting. DT is approaching this from a business perspective, hopefully the lessons she learns here will give her insights into Barnyard Bargains in the future. (I suspect that in Equestrian, Dale Carneighie Rich, author of "How To Win Friends and Influence Ponies," is an ancestor of Diamond Tiara. I'd love to hear Twilight's views on such a book.)
I really love your motivation for Snips and Snails flunking. It's plausible, gives us a deeper insight into their characters, and gives DT an interesting challenge to overcome. I can't wait for more!

Hmmm. Alright.

Let me propose a few thoughts here:
a) Diamond Tiara is an unreliable narrator
b) the ponies around her can read her easier than she thinks
c) for all their gross behaviour, Snips and Snails are actually pretty nice
d) at least one of them might genuinely like her (we'll see when the teasing comes, and from which direction)
e) for all their continuous failing in school, all three are probably fairly smart.

Diamond outsourced all her learning, and for a shockingly long time it worked. That takes serious planning. Snips and Snails prove that they can manage all this, they just don't want to. Not when that means their parents keep them apart. They deliberately sabotage themselves, but only in the right way. That's almost harder than just passing it on your first try.

How frustrating must that be for Cheerilee? To have three kids who appear to be quite intelligent but completely lacking in proper judgement? I mean, it has to sting that Snips and Snails pass this stuff whenever it's somepony else teaching them...

Well, that hypothesis is a bust.
Oh wow! I just thought of a potential solution, but I don't know if DT would be willing to pay the price, and it also relies on another factor.
The reason they intentionally fail is to be together in summer when their parents would otherwise separate them. Suppose their parents (unlike most of her parents' classmates) would consider DT a sufficiently good influence that the three of them could be together away from school? Of course, that would require her to actually spend extensive amounts of time with the three, and committing to do so with her summer. And she may not take such an obligation seriously, but I'm sure her father would do it for her.

Boys, that makes a surprising amount of sense. I wonder if they look up to Blueblood as their idol of obfuscating stupidity?

The plot thickens!

Gonna guess Lewis Carroll before googling.

(*heads off to search engine*)

… and I'm not finding the source, so I'm going to have to ask whether I'm right.

Given DT's established reputation among both young and adult ponies, that might be orders of magnitude harder than the study route.

I could see her plans falling apart, though, and as she gradually creeps over the line into madness and supervillainy, she does enough studying on her own to not only pass her test, but also to swap in fake tests for Snips and Snails which earn them unwanted passing grades. Then she can sit on the schoolyard steps cackling with maniacal vengeance, ruining their summers in retribution for them foiling her plan.

4541890 Well, although I agree that it seems a bit farfetched that any of her classmates' parents would consider her a good influence of any sort, in this case they need only be satisfied that her presence will stop them from getting into their accustomed sort of trouble, while not getting them into other trouble of comparable magnitude or worse, or otherwise corrupting them.

I have to say, though, your idea sounds a lot more fun/ny. If it's not the true ending it's at least an omake.

4541873 I hadn't seriously considered a guess, but with your example to follow I say A. A. Milne.

Uh-oh, Diamond Tiara better watch out for cooties! Or maybe not; they are worth a 1.5x multiplier on injury compensation payouts, after all... :trixieshiftright:

4541890 In my best Abridged Goku voice...
"That's Disney evil!"

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