• Published 2nd Nov 2015
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A Mother's 'Love' - deadpansnarker



Diamond Tiara finds out the consequences of her actions against Spoiled Rich after she stood up to her in front of the entire school. Disgraced, her precious tiara taken away...Then, somepony knocks on her door late at night, and everything changes.

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Part 38: Choices

Diamond Tiara was left reeling by Legal Eagle's confident prediction. Just when things had started to look up for her. Just when she'd finally found a home she could feel comfortable and safe in. Just when she thought she'd discovered that most elusive of novelties than so many other ponies took for granted.

Freedom.

The ironic thing was, the stallion who she loved most in the world, despite all his faults, looked to be the instigator behind this major setback to her newly desired lifestyle. He meant well, for sure, but putting her back in the old dragon's lair while he was rushing around Equestria was not what she wanted now.

Never again would her tyrannical mother dictate her life for her. She was her own filly now. She had friends she wanted to keep. She wanted to help other ponies. She just wanted to be herself.

All things that would never happen if this sleazebag of a lawyer got his way. Well, she hated to disappoint her Daddy, but this was the one time she was going to have to fight against him with every fibre in her little body. And, thinking about all the friendships she'd nurtured of late, she knew she'd have plenty of aid on that score.

In the meantime, Legal Eagle had turned away from Tiara and Apple Bloom to regale the assembled mares in that little room about what an upstanding citizen Spoiled was. "...Head of the school board for seven years, with an unblemished record. Helpmate for the entrepreneur Filthy Rich, perhaps the primary source of jobs and enterprise in the entire Ponyville region. A devoted mother, who balances her successful career with raising her beloved daughter. And you expect me to believe she said all of that?"

"It's true." Twilight emphatically stated. "She more-or-less outright told me she has no respect for anypony, not even Princess Celestia. I was there to hear every word, and there are plenty of nurses and patients who'd back me up on that. Plus, you should know that she practically threatened a child out there. I think you've got your work cut out for you, Mr Eagle, if I do say so myself!"

Legal Eagle looked slightly flustered for a second, but soon recovered his composure. "Well, if she did say anything offensive to your delicate sensibilities, I dare say you goaded her into it. Such statements are easily admissible in court. You might be a Princess, but your word is not absolute. We still have a thing called 'due process' in this fair land of ours, and I expect you to adhere to that."

Twilight bristled at this bullish response, and countered it with more revelations. "You do realise she broke the terms of the injunction against her barely a day after it was installed? Does that sound like the upstanding citizen you describe so vehemently? Plus, if you want my opinion, she doesn't really see Diamond as a filly to be loved and cherished at all, but as a status symbol she can bring up at parties or social gatherings. I also suspect she plans to transform the child into another version of herself, completely against Tiara's express wishes. And seeing how your client behaves, I can't really say I blame her!"

The lawyer stared back at the alicorn with a deadpan expression. "That's not really for you to comment on is it, though? I've known my main employer Filthy for many years, and he would never tolerate such mistreatment of his precious daughter. He told me himself that sometimes his wife can be a little strict, but it's what Diamond needs as she grows up in a competitive world. From what I hear, she's going to take over Barnyard Bargains one day, and to succeed in such an endeavour she needs to learn to be a little cutthroat, and not given an easy ride in life like some other ponies I could mention..."

Applejack, picking up on the side glance he gave her on the utterance of that final sentence, decided to enter the fray. "Why you..." She stopped herself just in time from saying something she might regret later. "Now, listen here Mister. My Daddy was working the fields long into the night, while you were just a twinkle in your mother's eye! Generations of Apples have cultivated the land, receiving little to no thanks from freeloading ponies like you, who probably had their high-class education paid for them by wealthy parents! I've had to strive for everything in life, whereas I bet everything you've received just fell into your lap! But just because you were born into money, it doesn't necessarily mean you're happy. Diamond here taught me that herself, just this very morning..."

At this point, Applejack took a moment to gaze with affection at her new foster child, and Tiara, who had been listening with great interest to the discussion at hoof, felt the warm sensation from their heart-to-heart talk earlier on pass through her being again. This cozy feeling was only escalated by Bloom deciding to take that moment to put a hoof around her neck, to show that appreciation for the pink filly was not just a one-way street.

This finally made Diamond sure about the announcement she planned to make in the near future, a decision she'd made as a direct result of the love shown to her by her new family, and the contemptuous actions of her mother, both before her reformation, and after she'd left the mansion...

She just had to find the right moment to speak out.

Meanwhile, Legal Eagle was not impressed with Applejack's defense of her lifestyle. "Poppycock!" He humphed. "How much effort do you have to expend to feed a few chickens, pick some apples and plant some seeds in a field? It's mindless, easy menial work, and that's why it's been delegated to the likes of you. I'd be embarrassed to have your cutie mark, myself. Just a personal preference, obviously. And, from studying the notes of the case, I see you've been selected as her new foster mother? Well, if that's the sort of choice Miss Sparkle is apt to make, I think we can all go home now, because the trial is already won! What will a special pony like Diamond Tiara, with future leadership aspirations, ever learn on a grotty little farm? How to pig wrestle, I suppose?"

If Applejack wasn't ready to lose her cool before, she certainly was now. "Why, you patronising, pretentious, ignorant little toad!" She bellowed. "There are so many things wrong with what you just said there, I don't even know where to start correcting you! Instead, why don't you spend a day at Sweet Apple Acres, doing all of our jobs, while we take it easy? My guess is: You'll be begging to go home after five minutes! You'd have a lot more to worry about than a dirty suit, that's for sure! And with us, Diamond will learn about the important things in life your clients have been sorely neglecting her in before now. Humility. Kindness. Empathy. Love. Those sound like much better traits for a future 'leader' than Vanity, Cruelty, Hatred and Fear, don't ya think?"

Legal Eagle put his nose in the air, and regarded the orange mare in front of him with disdain. "I don't know what you're talking about. Why should I expect any less from a farmer, anyway? I've come up against your kind in many a courtroom battle over the years, over land that should rightfully belong to the aristocracy, and I've always won. You working-class ponies are envious over those used to a higher standard of living, so you take every opportunity to discredit them. I mean, just look at how you've debauched Filthy Rich's precious little filly over there! Confined her to a hospital bed. Forced her to remove her lovely crown, and replace it with a tatty old bow. Even making her befriend common foals like that sorry specimen over there, who are so below her station, if would be funny, if it wasn't so sad..."

"That's enough! Don't say another word!" The words had already left Diamond's mouth before she realised they were out, and everypony in the room stopped whatever they were doing to stare at her in shock.

She covered her lips quickly, and turned to Apple Bloom, still standing by her side, looking as stunned as everypony else. It was the lawyer's barbed words aimed at her new roommate that had finally caused her to blurt out her anger, and now she had everypony's attention, she thought she may as well continue her spiel.

"How dare you insult one of the few ponies who made the effort to find the real me, and helped me to change into somepony much nicer and happier than I ever was before! How dare you belittle the achievements of the family who took me in and accepted me without hesitation, despite all the nasty things I did to them previously! How dare you praise my mother so much, when you have no idea how she's made me suffer, both in the past, and especially today. Most of all, how dare you assume you know what's best for me, when I've never met you before, and by the sound of things, regret ever having done so!"

Diamond paused for breath briefly, and glanced about at all the astonished faces around her. Good. This was exactly the reaction she was was hoping for. And, save for a growing hug from the farm filly who seemed to be glued to her side, she felt nothing aside from the need to continue.

"Furthermore." She stated plainly, preparing to drop her major surprise."After recent events, I no longer feel comfortable with my own name. Since the day I was born, I've been known as 'Diamond Tiara'. This title is further enhanced by the symbol on my flank, and the jewelry I have worn on my mane. There's not a lot I can do about my cutie mark, but if you look around you, the remains of my tiara are scattered all over this room. I would like to think of this as more than a coincidence. As soon as that thing, that I was made to wear by my mother ever since my cute-cenera, shattered on the floor, I realised my old life and identity had gone with it. I no longer wish it to be part who I am now. So, from now on, I will be known as..."

She closed her eyes, before speaking again.

"Diamond Apple. I know my father will be disappointed, which I regret sincerely. I know my mother will be angry beyond belief, which I honestly don't care about. But I need to do this, for me. Maybe, one day in the future, when I'm a stronger pony, I'll be able to look in the mirror and call myself 'Diamond Tiara' again. Until then, at least while I'm living under the same roof as the Apples, I want to feel like a part of them, to have what they have. If they let me become a full member of their family, even if it is only temporary, I would be honoured. I want to move forward, and the first step to changing what I am, is changing who I am. So, everypony present, I would appreciate it if you called me by my new name from now on. Thank you." The freshly titled Diamond Apple concluded her speech, and tried to gauge the reception from all those gathered around her.

Unfortunately, it's hard to see whats going around you with a red mane in your face. As soon as she'd finished talking, Diamond found herself being squeezed into submission by a happy-beyond-measure Apple Bloom, who exclaimed in a high-pitched voice "Oh, Di! We really are like sisters now!"

So, it was anypony's guess who these sentences belonged to: "Hmm, guess I'll have to change the text on her party invitations from now on..." "Darling! What an adult decision you just made! I'm so proud of you!" "Nice one, kid! I didn't think you had it in you." "As long as you're happy, that's all that counts..." " It might take a bit of work registering your new name with the mayor, but I'm sure it's within my capacity!" "...Sugarcube, I-I don't know what to say..."

Okay, so the last voice was somewhat easy. As was the next one, the only dissenting voice in the entire room, who seemed immune to Diamond's noted powers of persuasion.

"Sorry, sweetheart. But I don't accept that." Legal Eagle was clearly not amused by the pink filly's defiance. "I'll still call you by your proper name that your father gave you, which is Diamond Tiara, in case you've forgotten already. I'm glad you made this little announcement though, as it only furthers my case as to what an unhealthy influence your current foster family have on you. Ditto for them making you smash up your priceless jewelry on the floor, an heirloom that your father said you never left home without. Clearly your young mind has been warped by those around you, and the sooner we get you back into the loving hooves of your real family, the sooner we can repair the damage done to you, both mentally and physically, caused thus far. Now, Miss Sparkle, I'd like you to take me to see my client. I think I've seen enough for now."

With that, the stallion turned abruptly about to stride towards the door, looking back expectantly at being accompanied by a certain princess. Shrugging her hooves, but giving a nod of congratulations to Diamond on her way out (which the pink filly had to move Bloom's hair just to see) the alicorn joined Legal Eagle by the door, before quickly teleporting them both outside without opening it, no doubt to keep everypony inside the room safe, as well as avoid the still huge crowds still in the corridor.

The second the pair left, Apple Bloom pulled back her head a little from her overpowering hug so she was face-to-face with Diamond, although the force of the embrace was as strong as ever. "Di, that was amazing!" She gushed. "Wherever did that come from? Oh, who cares! You truly are one of us now! I'm so pleased, for both of us! I can't wait to tell everypony on the playground tomorrow about the new Apple! I'll even let you have first pick at next year's Sisterhood Social about who you want to go with. Me, Applejack or Big Mac! Granny would be up for it too, but I guess you shouldn't encourage her..."

Realising that sister sounded a lot better than auntie, Diamond Apple finally decided to accept her old enemy's new role. "Actually, when I was talking to Legal Eagle, I was drawing inspiration from you, when you defended me from Spoiled Rich earlier on. I kind of wish I'd been the one to have put her in her place, but obviously, I was sidetracked by you-know-what. Still, at least I got to give somepony what for...!"

The two fillies giggled together, and Diamond at last returned her new sister's elongated hug, as if to celebrate their new bond, created that very day.

"Sorry to interrupt you two siblings..." The duo's hug was cut short by Applejack trotting over to them. "But I'd just like to officially welcome the newest member of the Apple family to our little clan. I know it was a tough speech you made there, and frankly I'm still in a bit of shock myself at what you said. But if it's what you really want, then I'm sure me and the rest of my kin will be more than happy to call you one of our own, for as long as you feel is necessary. Of course, this means as soon as you're fully healed up, you'll be expected to do your fair share of chores around the place..."

Diamond Apple's intense feeling of joy came to a screeching halt at that very moment, and she stared aghast at her foster mother. She's talking about chores, already? Am I going to regret this decision?

Fortunately, a strong guffawing was soon heard from Applejack, and Bloom too, who had caught onto the gag almost immediately.

" Got ya again." Applejack chuckled. "That's another thing you'll have to get used to. Our weird sense of humour."

Diamond blushed at the giggling ponies in front of her, but she didn't feel like the butt of a heartless joke, the kind she used to play all the time, in the bad old days.

She felt like part of a real family, having fun with them, in a harmless prank. It was wonderful.

As quickly as the laughter from Applejack had began though, it subsided, and the orange mare began to look immeasurably more serious. "Another thing you'll learn about us Apples, sugarcube, is that we take honesty very seriously, and we always look out for each other. I say this, because I happened to catch a snippet of what you said to that lawyer. Something about Spoiled doing something really bad to you today? I can't help but feel, this is somehow connected with what made you lash out at your best friend, and also the secret you're keeping from me, with your new sister. I wouldn't usually be this insistant, but something tells me you really need to get it off your chest. Won't you please tell me what it is? I promise not to get mad, or think any less of you. I just want to help..." The orange mare gave her foster daughter the most caring look she could muster.

Apple Bloom bit her lip, and turned anxiously to Diamond for a response...

And the newest Apple had no idea what to do.
........................................................................................................................

"Here you go, Legal Eagle, the holding room where your client currently resides. Take as long as you need. Me and my friends will be here for a little while longer, to give Diamond chance to recover from her ordeal."

"I must say, Princess your parlour tricks are very impressive. I can't believe you managed to transport us past that unruly mob, just like that. I wish I had that kind of talent, to escape some of the friends and relations of those I've put away over the years. You should hear some of them carry on after the trial. They're not guilty, and you know it. How could you misuse your cutie mark in such a way, when you could be doing such good with it? What they don't understand is how irrelevant it is whether the accused party is culpable or not. I'm paid to a job, and I do it well. It's as simple as that."

" Well, that's a very... Interesting point of view. And thank you for the... Compliment. Speaking of that 'unruly' mob, I fear I am somewhat responsible for it's formation, so I have to go back soon and hopefully restore some order around here. I'll let you see her now, but as a precaution, I'll lock both of you inside the room. This is not a reflection on you, it's just that this particular mare has already breached her restraining order once already, so I don't feel I can trust her to stay where she is, even if she does have counsel now. Just bang on the door if you want to be let out, and somepony will hear you and notify me."

"That's absolutely fine, Miss Sparkle. That's one thing I think we have in common at least. We both have difficult tasks to perform everyday that impact the lives of others. The difference is, of course, is that I had to sit numerous bar exams for months and study long into the night to achieve my position. You got hoof-picked from an early age by our glorious ruler, and only had to solve a few 'friendship' problems to turn into the alicorn you are now. But, considering the rather simplistic circumstance of your rapid promotion, I would say you're doing a fine job! I refuse to listen to anypony who tells me differently, and believe me, I come across a fair few in my profession!"

"You do? Would you care to elaborate? I'm still new to this job, so I'm bound to make some mistakes. If you give me a few examples of problems your colleagues might have with me, it may help me out in my non-stop quest for self-improvement. After all, as I've learned over the years since I moved from Canterlot, there are some things you can't solve with books, as crazy as it sounds! You can keep your sources anonymous, of course..."

"Oh, nothing you need to worry about, Miss Sparkle! After all, you're the officially designated Princess Of Friendship! Your word is absolute! Why should you care if a few disgruntled ponies, who feel they have much closer ties to royalty than you, dismiss your elevation into the hierarchy as a fraudulent sham? And what does it matter if some dissatisfied voices tell me that spending half of your time cooped up in a castle doing nothing, and the other half flying around Equestria on the whim of a magical map of unknown origins, is a complete dereliction of your duties? I wouldn't pay their jealousy any mind at all. Just follow my advice, and ignore all petty criticism. If you know what you're doing, then what's there to worry about? Now, open this door, if you please."

"Um...Yes. Of course. And thank you for such an illuminating perspective on how others perceive me. I'll be sure to think about what you've explained in great detail. Here you go with the door. I'm sure we'll see each other again later on. I can't wait...."

CREAK!

"Excellent, Miss Sparkle. May I just say it's been a pleasure meeting you, and I hope you weren't too offended by..."

BANG!

"Oh dear. I fear I may have touched a nerve. Looks like I've jeopardised my only chance at ever getting a job representing the monarchy..."

"Darling, don't we pay you enough already? My husband and me? All you care about is bits, at least that's what you've told me on many an occasion..."

"Why, hello there, Mrs Rich! How are you doing? I mean, considering the of course trumped up charges that are about to be leveled against you, and your current less-than-salubrious accommodations?."

"Well, my dear, I feel a lot better now I know I have the support of the best lawyer this side of Equestria in my corner! Filthy really was true to his word. At least that old fool is good for something. Now, tell me... What's the current status with the 'Ward Of The State'?

"It pains me to break this news to you, but those farmers have really done a number on her. She seems the exact reverse of the filly you described, with no interest in power or wealth at all. Seems she's decided to 'turn over a new leaf' and help everypony in her new rustic community. It was a nauseating display of sappiness, let me tell you. She even destroyed the tiara you told me you purchased, and has decided to change her name to 'Diamond Apple' to further discredit herself from her illustrious heritage. I couldn't help but notice the connection she shared with another filly while I was talking to her, who I suspect judging by their closeness and the similar ribbons they were wearing, might be a huge contributory factor to your daughter's brainwashing. Let's see now... She had yellow fur... A red mane..."

"Don't talk about her!. Don't ever talk about her around me. You don't know the extent to what that little brat has ruined my life. When I get out of here, I'll make her pay, you just wait and see! Still, at least it proves I have the right stallion for the job, that you picked up on her unhealthy influence on my Diamond so easily. All my troubles at the moment, from our interfering 'Princess', to the nosy teacher at my school, are no more than symptoms. That 'Apple Bloom' creature is the root cause. And, mark my words, I'm preparing an antidote even as we speak. I've already got two unsuspecting goons helping me out to that end..."

"Er... Okay. Duly noted. Client confidentiality is in full effect here, of course. But what are you going to do about your offspring's unfortunate regression?"

"Oh, that? Pish posh. I had a solution in mind for that since yesterday. When I send her off to St Whinneans, I'll tell them about the way she used to be, and they'll restore her to her original factory settings, by any means necessary. I know myself how efficient they are from personal experience, since I went through the same process myself when I had a crush on a colt from a far inferior stock, and my parents sent me there to get fixed. Fortunately, their methods although they were somewhat... Brutal in execution, helped me to see the light, and made me the mare I am today. If I want my precious Diamond to shine with the same veracity as me, I need to win her back as soon as possible, and enroll her there to get her poor brain unscrambled. That's my top priority."

"Of course, we have to win the case first..."

"Well, that shouldn't be a problem, right? I mean, just look at who I'm talking to here! Mr 100%. I can see why my husband has signed you up under an exclusivity contract, why would we ever need anypony else for our legal needs? Of course, what he doesn't know is that's not the only department you give 100% in, right dear...?"

Smooch.

Author's Note:

All I can say is, there is no accounting for taste.
Oh, and I'm incredibly bored at the moment, hence the reason why this update is roughly a week early.
Hope you liked... :moustache:

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