• Published 26th May 2012
  • 7,077 Views, 209 Comments

Tarnished Feelings - DJLowrider

After a falling out with Diamond Tiara, Silver Spoon re-discovers who she is and finds new friends.

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Everything had to be perfect. Nothing could be left out of place. To some, social gatherings in high society were an escape from the day-to-day grind. They represented a chance to dress up, eat fancy food and mingle with ponies they didn’t normally get a chance to even see in public. There was certain to be some ponies attending this particular function that would see it as such an event. Silver Spoon, however, was not one of them.

For her, parties weren’t a getaway; they were her arena. They were where she stayed connected with all the most important ponies around. They were where she proved her savvy and charisma and maintained her own image as one of the most important, up-and-coming mares in Ponyville. She not only had to be on top of her game for these sorts of events, she also had to have just the right look. For that reason, she had spent the past hour primping and preening herself in front of the mirror in her bedroom. Her glasses were crystal clean and sat comfortably on her face. Her mane was in its typical tight braid that was tied off with a light blue band. Her tail had been brushed to the point that it practically shone in the light. She was the very picture of a well-groomed mare. The problem was that all of these preparations had taken only fifteen minutes. The other forty-five had been spent agonizing over the final touch she needed: a necklace.

She had quickly narrowed her choices down to two necklaces, but had been agonizing over her final selection for some time now. On her left was a brand new silver open heart pendant that she’d received as a gift during last Hearth’s Warming from her longtime friend Diamond Tiara. On her right was a far simpler piece, but one that held tremendous significance to her all the same: a string of pearls that, for years, had been part of her trademark appearance. For as brilliant and beautiful as the pendant was, Silver found herself continually coming back to the pearls that had adorned her neck for so long. They had been restrung several times and a few of the pearls did show a bit of aging on them. Diamond Tiara had begun deriding her for still wearing them once they had become teenagers. After all, pearls were the sort of thing elderly mares wore all the time. They were hardly considered high fashion these days. In fact, Silver had no doubt part of the reason she’d gotten the pendant from Diamond was because it was intended to be a replacement for her pearls. The truth, at least as far as Silver was concerned, was that her pearls couldn’t be replaced; not now, not ever.

The sound of the downstairs clock chiming the hour roused Silver out of her thoughts. Time was running short and she couldn’t afford to be late; not even fashionably so. She settled on wearing her pearls and quickly strung them around her neck. There was something comfortable about having them on, and even though she knew she would get teased by Diamond Tiara for wearing them yet again it wouldn’t be anything she couldn’t handle. A final glance in her mirror satisfied her and she set out from her room. She reached the bottom of the stairs only to be startled as a loud snore came from the living room. Peering inside, she saw the familiar sight of her father passed out on the couch. His black and gray mane and tail were disheveled and his blue-gray coat was slightly sweaty and matted. She sighed with a half-smile and walked over to where he slept.

“Worked yourself to exhaustion again,” she said quietly, as if talking to him. “You really don’t need to keep doing this to yourself, daddy. Of course I know exactly what you’d say if I told you that yet again, though.”

Silver grabbed the blanket that was draped over the back of the couch with her teeth, pulled it over him and kissed his cheek gently. He shifted slightly without waking up at the gesture. Silver quietly left the room and then the house in order to begin the short trek to Diamond Tiara’s home for the evening’s party. As she passed through Ponyville town square, she took in the sights and idly watched other ponies come and go along the road. A Pegasus pony flew overhead towards what was a fairly newer structure in town. It was a tower of sorts with a picture of a sun sitting behind the clouds. A crank stuck out of one side of the tower at the top. The Pegasus grabbed the crank and turned it a few times, which in turn changed the picture from the sun hiding behind the clouds to a fully cloudy picture with raindrops falling from the clouds.

“Ugh, rain today?” Silver complained to herself as she picked up her pace a bit. “I swear, I really need to give those weather ponies a talking-to someday. How stupidly inconvenient. At least we have the weather towers to tell us these things now. Those things really were a great ide-”

Silver stopped herself mid-comment and looked around nervously. Fortunately she didn’t see anyone she really recognized and breathed a sigh of relief. No one had heard her comments that were basically praise for what was the result of Apple Bloom’s work in town. It was no secret that despite the passing of time Diamond Tiara still held great contempt for the youngest member of the Apple family. Silver had tried in recent years to get her to forget about it, but Diamond was insistent on proving her superiority over Apple Bloom. It was so bad that now Diamond had every pony she knew keeping an ear out for anyone who dared to even praise Apple Bloom or her work in town so she could make an example of them.

Silver liked to think that she was fully safe from Diamond’s wrath given their history together, but she still had no desire to tempt fate. She let herself silently thank Apple Bloom for her contribution to the town and continued on her way to a party that she was certain would be a very memorable event.

True to Silver’s expectations, after a couple of hours it was clear the party would indeed be quite memorable; however, it was for all the wrong reasons. She’d arrived in plenty of time only to find out that Diamond Tiara had been looking for her to get her input on the quality of the food for about half an hour at that point. Then Diamond had immediately gotten on her case for her choice of jewelry. Indeed she went to great lengths to remind Silver how out-of-vogue pearls were currently. It had bordered on outright berating, but Silver defused the situation by promising to wear something different for the next party. At that point, Silver figured the worst was over and things would even out for the rest of the evening. That was before Opulence and Fortuity showed up.

Opulence and Fortuity were Earth pony sisters who, like Silver and Diamond, were born into an incredibly wealthy family and were considered part of Ponyville’s high society. Diamond had spent quite a bit of time getting to know them over the past year, doing her level best to ingratiate herself to them. It was something Silver was not all that thrilled about. Opulence had a rather sharp tongue and no compunctions about speaking her mind to anyone at any time. Fortuity was well-informed in the gossip community and seemed to love using whatever she learned about any given pony against them. All in all it was safe to say that the sisters had a penchant - perhaps even a liking - for cruelty and it had begun to rub off on Diamond in ways Silver neither liked nor seemed to be able to curb.

Silver had put some distance between herself and the sisters as soon as they’d shown up and hoped to avoid contact with them entirely, but after seeing them wandering around with Diamond Tiara in tow for most of the party she worried that crossing their paths would be inevitable. Still, she couldn’t spend the whole party avoiding other guests. She had to make her own rounds as well, after all, and now was as good a time as any to get started.

“Silver Spoon, is that you my girl?” she heard a voice call out to her from a little ways away. She looked over to see a rather large orange-colored Earth pony stallion with a jet black mane and tail waving to her. A much smaller light-blue Earth pony mare with her dark blue mane worn up stood alongside him, smiling and waving at her as well.

“Good afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Suds,” Silver said with a smile as she quickly approached the couple. Mr. Suds was the owner of the largest chain of Laundromats in Equestria. He was also an old school friend of her father’s and had been something of an uncle to her for many years.

“My goodness, Silver, look at you,” Mrs. Suds said, looking her over with a warm smile. “Art Deco has raised you to become quite the picture of a proper young mare.”

“You’re too kind, ma’am,” Silver replied in deference. “How are you enjoying the party?”

“Oh we just arrived,” Mr. Suds told her. “But I spotted you right away and just had to thank you for that restaurant recommendation last week.”

“I’m glad to hear that worked out for you, sir,” Silver said, unable to hide the proud smile creeping across her face. “The Cherry Blossom Bistro really is quite a fine establishment. It’s some of the best Nippony-ese cuisine I’ve come across.”

“Have you been to that country yet, dear?” Mrs. Suds asked. “You seem to know so much about its food.”

“Oh no, not yet,” Silver admitted. “I would love to go someday, but it’s too far away and quite expensive to live there. As for my knowledge of their food, it’s all from books and from what few restaurants I’ve been able to go to so far that offer that style of food. I’m hardly an expert on the matter yet.”

“You’re far too modest, Silver,” Mrs. Suds told her, shaking her head as she spoke. “You have quite the gift when it comes to fine dining establishments.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Silver replied, blushing a little as she eyed her cutie mark briefly. “It is something I’ve always been passionate about.”

“Well I’m sure a beautiful, up-and-coming young mare like yourself has better things to do than just chatter with us all evening,” Mr. Suds said as he stepped past Silver a bit. “Tell your dad I said ‘hi’!”

“I will, Mr. Suds,” Silver said with a nod. “Enjoy the party, sir!”

Silver allowed herself a moment to forget her earlier troubles as she watched Mr. and Mrs. Suds head off to mingle. Most ponies didn’t know what her special talent was, but the few who did had always been impressed by her knowledge of restaurants and the quality of their food. She’d always had a rather discerning sense of taste and now she was beginning to write articles for local magazines and newspapers wherein she would give her reviews and thoughts on Ponyville’s various dining establishments. She looked forward to the day when she was so influential her words could make or break a restaurant. For the time being, though, she would settle for knowing she could at least try to direct the high society of Equestria to proper, quality eateries.

‘Maybe this party won’t turn out so bad after all,’ she allowed herself to think.

“Oh hey, there she is!” an unfortunately familiar and incredibly annoying voice said from behind her.

‘Right,’ she thought, her high spirits immediately coming crashing back down to earth. ‘My mistake. I forgot…they’re still here.’

“See, Fortuity?” Opulence said as she and her sister approached Silver from behind. “I told you we’d find Silver Stooge around here somewhere.”

“Sis, please,” Fortuity said, rolling her eyes melodramatically as she went along with Opulence’s little game. “Her name is Silver Spoon.”

“Oh, are you sure?” Opulence said, feigning alarm at her 'mistake'. “I really thought it was Silver Stooge.”

Fortuity looked as if she was giving the matter some thought. “Hmm…I suppose ‘Stooge’ would work for a nickname. I mean, it’s not like she does anything but hang around Diamond Tiara day in and day out.”

“Hello ladies,” Silver said, trying her level best to maintain her composure. “Enjoying the party?”

“Not really,” Opulence said directly. “Too many wannabe elites and nouveau riche dorks hanging around just for free food.”

“It does beg the question of exactly what kind of company Diamond Tiara keeps,” Fortuity said as she looked around the party. Her gaze finally fell back on Silver, a somewhat menacing smile on her face. “So many lame ponies just hanging around her for no good reason. You know what I mean, Silver Stooge? Oh I’m sorry, I meant Silver Spoon. You were right, sis, that name does work for her.”

“Well, I suppose that does sound like a problem,” Silver said, her eye now twitching a bit from the growing pile of passive-aggressive insults being slung at her. She spotted a small piece of litter on the ground nearby and smirked as the retort quickly formed in her head.

“I swear, look at this,” she said, picking the litter up with a disgusted look. “Clearly I need to talk to Diamond about the state of her home.”

Silver forced herself to look straight at Fortuity, who still had a smug look on her face, and put on her own very best fake smile as she said, rather spitefully, “The ponies at the sanitation department simply aren’t doing their job with all the trash that’s cluttering things up around here.”

Silver’s transparent insult immediately set Opulence off, but before she could say anything, Fortuity stopped her. She quickly whispered something to her that brought a devilish smile back to her face. Opulence then walked off as Fortuity turned back to Silver.

“Please excuse my sister,” Fortuity told her. “She had to go use the little fillies’ room. But you make a fair point, Silver. Diamond does have a lot of clutter in her yard here today. Much like her life, don’t you agree?”

“All too well, in fact,” Silver replied slowly. She’d tried to see where Opulence had actually gone off to, but the crowd had become a fair bit denser and she lost her all too quickly.

“A mare like Diamond needs to make sure she’s saying the right things,” Fortuity went on. “Rubbing elbows with the right ponies. She can’t be wasting her time with those who’re just common folk posing as upper class.”

Fortuity then saw Opulence out of the corner of her eye and knew it was time to act. She quickly stepped aside a bit and picked her tone up a bit, speaking a fair bit louder.

“Like that one old hag that runs the dress shop here in Ponyville,” she said. “I think her name’s…Rarity? And I heard the most fascinating bit of gossip lately that she’s been seen quite a bit with a real loser, too. Some washed up artist by the name of Art Deco.”

The murmurs immediately picked up in the crowd as Silver bit her lower lip. Her father and Rarity had first been mere acquaintances. A few years ago, they struck up a business relationship between his art and her gems and clothing. Not too long ago, however, Silver certainly had begun to notice that they were spending more and more time together, and not just for work-related matters. She’d done her best to downplay the rumors and especially to keep Diamond Tiara in the dark on the matter; a task she suddenly realized she had failed at as she saw her longtime friend standing right next to Opulence not far away.

“Silver, this is a joke right?” Diamond asked as she quickly approached her, glaring daggers at her.

“Um…well…” Silver stammered, trying to avoid eye contact with Diamond. “I don’t think they’re all that serious about it…and-“

Silver was cut off by the distant rumble of thunder in the sky. She’d never been so thankful for foul weather.

“We really shouldn’t be talking out here when there’s a storm about to hit,” she said quickly. “Let’s all head inside so the party can continue, okay?”

Silver went to begin walking into the house only to bump into Opulence who blocked her path.

“Oh I’ll bet you’d like to just run away, wouldn’t you?” Opulence said, clearly getting quite a bit of entertainment from the controversy she’d help cause. “Don’t you think your best friend, of all ponies, deserves to know the truth? Just what kind of friend are you?”

Silver felt helplessness start to take hold as her mind fumbled for a way out of the verbal onslaught. “Well, I-“

“This makes her a liar and a stooge, doesn’t it sis?” Fortuity added venomously. “And she has the nerve to talk about the kinds of ponies Diamond Tiara associates herself with. Like she knows better than Diamond herself.”

Silver now decided ignoring the two sisters was the best way to go and looked pleadingly at Diamond Tiara, but her longtime friend’s face was twisted with anger and disdain.

“You come late to my party,” Diamond said, practically shooting the words at her. “berate my guests, and now I find out you’ve been lying to me too? Just what kind of friend are you?”

“Diamond, please…” Silver said in desperation. “We can talk this over; just let’s go somewhere else, okay?”

“Stop trying to tell me what to do!” Diamond shouted at her. “You’re not the boss of me! You’re not even worth keeping as a friend anymore!”

Diamond shoved Silver back a bit and then hooked her hoof under the grey mare’s necklace. “And get rid of this cheap piece of junk hanging around your stupid neck!” she said as she pulled on it hard. The string quickly broke, sending pearls flying in every direction.

Silver panicked as she saw the tiny white orbs scatter. She quickly scrambled to gather them back up, using a discarded salad bowl she found to hold them as she went. Behind her she heard the combined laughter of Opulence and Fortuity, which was soon joined by Diamond’s own laugh. The laughter quickly ended as a louder and more insistent clap of thunder came from the sky. Silver continued to search desperately for all of her pearls as party guests quickly fled the yard for the interior of Diamond Tiara’s home. By the time Silver found the last of her pearls and placed it safely in the bowl, the yard was empty. She put the bowl on her back and quickly went over to the door to the house, only to find it was now locked.

“Um, hello?” she called out, knocking on the door. “I’m still out here. Someone please let me in.”
Inside she could hear the party continuing, but no answer came to her. She knocked more insistently.

“Okay, fun joke everyone. Come on, let me in now.”

Still no answer came. Silver felt the first drops of rain begin to fall now as well. She quickly found a window and looked in, spotting Diamond chatting with the two sisters. She tapped on the glass trying to get Diamond’s attention, only to see the sisters lead her off further into the party and away from the doors.

Silver’s heart plummeted. The rain came now in full force, quickly drenching the rest of her body as her face was already wet from the tears that fell from her eyes. Betrayed and abandoned, she slowly began to walk away from Diamond Tiara’s home. The storm raged above and around her as she plodded along home. She sobbed harder with every step. She had lost her best friend; indeed, her only real friend. What’s more, now her reputation was sure to take a hit with whatever other stories Opulence and Fortuity decided to spread about her.

As she entered Ponyville town square, one of her front hooves slipped into a particularly deep puddle. She tripped and fell over, mud splattering all over her. Her pearls scattered out of the bowl again, but at this point she was too despondent to care. She folded her front legs over her face and openly bawled. She had never felt so low in her entire life. She cried so hard and for so long that despite the cold rain and mud, she eventually fell into a deep and dreamless sleep right there where she lay.

A while later - how long it had been she had no way of knowing - Silver stirred enough to realize she was being carried on someone’s back. She felt no more rain falling on her, yet she could hear the rain continuing to fall. She drifted back to sleep not caring for her fate, though still noting the faint scent of lilacs before blacking out again.