• Published 2nd Nov 2015
  • 9,569 Views, 2,420 Comments

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 41: Memories

Cheerilee opened the door to Spoiled's office with extreme trepidation. She didn't know why she was so cautious, considering the whole building was abandoned, with one obvious exception.

But, knowing the reputation of the mare who usually sat behind the desk inside, she was half expecting an alarm to go off, or a secret booby trap to unleash it's horrible contents. Fortunately, either Spoiled hadn't been there that day to set one up, or Cheerilee's coffee-fueled paranoia was getting the better of her. Again. Anyway, she got into the room unscathed. For now.

Breathing a sigh of relief, but shuddering a little at the sight of the empty seat where her nemesis usually resided, she tentatively trotted over to the filing cabinet where she'd began her fruitless search earlier. Opening up the drawer once more, on this occasion her sights were set on acquiring a specific pony's information.

Namely: The head of the school board herself.

Yes, the elementary had past history on everypony there, even the staff themselves. Cheerilee had spotted her own folder once or twice during her occasional snooping, but had managed to resist the temptation to browse through it. She didn't want to be reminded of her failing love life, and previous misguided career as a florist...

Ah, there it was. Poking out right at the end, a rather thin volume that nevertheless promised to be interesting reading. Cheerilee had no idea why she wanted to look into Spoiled's past. Just an inkling, she guessed. Having had no success with discovering Mrs Rich's no doubt nefarious scheme earlier by concentrating on the present, perhaps it was time to switch her attention to the past. It was a long shot, but one she felt was worth taking. Diamond Tiara, and all the ponies who cared for her, were counting on it.

Perhaps there would be some answers inside. Such as: What turned Spoiled into the tyrant she was today? What drove her to treat her daughter with such contempt, and heap such unnecessary pressure on her? Was this uncompromising, selfish figure of a public official ever different from the way she was now? Cheerilee intended to find out. Preferably, before it got dark.

She scanned the document inside. Date of birth. Blood type. Height. Weight. When she got married (Celestia bless his soul). Her daughter's birth. When she got her current job. Her hobbies, which included fine dining, fashion and... Disco dancing?

Cheerilee certainly wasn't expecting that. Future blackmail material, perhaps? No, the teacher was far too morally upright to engage in that kind of skulduggery. But, if the situation ever required it... She'd file this little tidbit away in her head anyway, and label it 'for use in case of emergency'.

She found other items of intrigue, such as evidence of her personally blocking a multitude of misdemeanors from her daughter, so it wouldn't end up on her little 'darling's' permanent record. This might have been helpful a few days ago, but right now she needed to get Diamond out of trouble, not in it.

There was also a few notes regarding her opinion of the other fillies and colts around school. To cut a long story short, she found the vast majority to be either too stupid, scruffy or just plain worthless. Barely any pony made the grade, in the perfect imaginary utopia of Spoiled.

The only pony to emerge with any credit from her extensive profiling was Silver Spoon, and even she was criticised for braiding her hair too tight and having fake pearls. But then again, who could live up to the paragon of beauty that is Spoiled Cheerilee found herself wondering. Oops. Bad teacher. Naughty.

She realised she was getting off the beaten track. She'd found plenty of material which offered a glimpse into the, to put it mildly, warped mind of Spoiled, but as of yet nothing to assist her in discovering what the head of the board was up to. She'd arrived at the last page...

And there was nothing there. It was as blank as the flanks of the youngsters she encouraged her daughter to ruthlessly mock. That was it. There wasn't anything left. All of Cheerilee's efforts had been for naught. Spoiled was going to get away with whatever vile connivance she was hatching, and that was that. The teacher shook the documents in pure frustration...

Something small fell out of the bottom of the folder. It fluttered through the air, before nestling at Cheerilee's feet. She looked at this tiny squared object with inquisitiveness. It must have been missed by her during her initial run-through.

The teacher very much doubted it was anything important, though. Something so minor and insignificant would hardly be of use to her at this crucial moment. But, short of any better options right now, she'd take a quick peek anyway...

She picked it up. It was a photograph, taken some time ago. In glorious sepia, it showed Ponyville Elementary in the past, before its numerous renovations. Standing front and centre were a trio of young ponies, two fillies and a colt. One filly was standing slightly to the side, looking on with a smile at the other two, who were...

Cheerilee dropped the picture with an audible gasp. She knew those three ponies.

They might look slightly different now (especially in one case), but there was no mistake. It was them.

She'd had no idea that...

And what's more, as the image had landed on the floor, she spotted something on the back of it. Writing.

Cheerilee picked up the photo again with a trembling hoof...

Only to let it fall again as soon as she'd finished reading the six lines of text scrawled on there.

Oh my Celestia. This might not explain everything, but I think I can see where it started.

And there was me thinking that this would be a wasted search...

I could kiss whoever took that picture.

But for now, I have to go down to see Twilight...

Without a moment's delay.

.................................................................................................................................

"Hello, how can I help you today?" Nurse Sweetheart sounded friendly enough at the reception, but you could tell she was somewhat on edge by her gritted teeth and the shaky posture.

"Er, hello. We're looking for the room of a Miss Diamond Tiara...?" Silver Sterling wondered what was bothering the medic, but decided that perhaps it was just down to the pressures of the job. After all, there must be some kind of stress from working such long hours with so little pay. She certainly couldn't do it, that was for sure.

Upon hearing the name of the patient, Sweetheart's discomfort was even more apparent "W-what?" She stammered, her eyes rapidly darting from left to right. "Y-you want to see her? I-I mean, of course you can. Ha ha. That must mean you're with Princess Twilight's group. P-please, come right this way..."

The nurse marched up the corridor hurriedly, and the three fillies and one adult who were supposed to follow her looked at each other with apprehension. Their first thought was that something serious must have happened to their friend, for their request to provoke such a reaction, so they quickly took after her.

"Excuse me a minute..." Panted Scootaloo, as she caught up to Sweetheart. "I have to ask. How is Di doing? Is she alright?"

"What...?" The nurse stopped for a second. "Well, Redheart was tending to her, and she told me your friend was fine, if a bit drowsy. But we haven't checked on her condition for a while, because we've been busy doing other things."

"Huh? What do you mean?" Sweetie Belle had drawn alongside now, and was equally as concerned as her fellow Crusader.

"Well, nothing you two fillies need worry about..." Sweetheart gave a rather forced smile to the youngsters surrounding her, unwilling to admit to her temporary loss of sanity while trying to win the favour of the princess via a hot beverage.

"So, what you're telling us is: You don't know how Diamond Tiara is doing, and you're telling us not to worry?" Sterling, with her daughter in tow, was somewhat exasperated at the nonchalance on display from the medic. "How are we supposed to feel better, if you don't know anything about her condition?"

"Oh, I'm sure if anything bad had happened, the princess or any of her friends would have informed us at the front desk..." Sweetheart reassured them, somewhat unconvincingly. "Anyway, you can see for yourself. Look, we're here now..."

The party following the nurse glanced around the corner to see a group of five familiar mares all gathered outside a room, and looking as though a hurricane had blown through the area. Sweetie in particular had never seen her sister looking so unkempt, while Scootaloo was just glad her suspicions of her idol's dye job were apparently unfounded, as Rainbow Dash was there, looking as cool and blue as always.

Those present were eager to meet up with the princess and her entourage, but not before they'd been stopped in their tracks by an anxious looking Sweetheart. "Sorry to be a pain..." She hesitated, as though she couldn't believe what she was about to ask. "But could you tell me: Are any of you perchance, a Chaos God in disguise?"

If the four newly arrived visitors weren't already freaked out by the nurse's odd behaviour, they certainly were now. "Er... Pardon?" Was Sterling's confused response, while the others just wore expressions of incomprehension.

Realising that she must sound just a little crazy, Sweetheart decided to withdraw her question. "Oh, er, never mind. Just a little bit of humour I sometimes try out with our guests. I'm well known for it. Ha ha. Must be getting back. Let me know if there's anything else you need. Cheerio for now..."

And with that rather strained farewell, the medic took her leave, silently cursing Loving Care for being lucky enough that her shift ended earlier, before all this nonsense unraveled.

Sterling and the others would've loved to delve deeper into that surreal confrontation, but they never had the chance. "Darling!" "Squirt!" Came the respective calls, as Rarity and Rainbow Dash spotted their two favourite fillies first, and proceeded to immerse them in warm hugs. Applejack and Twilight were surprised to see such a large group, but stepped forward to welcome them anyway, while Pinkie, always ecstatic to see so many ponies together, was rushing around, greeting everypony in sight. Multiple times.

After the initial hellos were out of the way (Pinkie took an extra few minutes), and awkward questions had been answered about how they'd all come to be gathered there, why the hospital seemed in such a state of disarray and what had caused the mares' manes to be so messed up, they got down to the nitty-gritty.

"So, how is Di, anyway?" Silver Spoon inquired, with a tinge of nervousness.

"Yeah, and what about Apple Bloom? Is she still in one piece, too?" Scootaloo also sounded a little frantic.

"Please. We have to know!" Sweetie Belle added to the chorus.

"Er, they're both doing okay, we think..." Applejack answered, a little perplexed. "You can go in and see them now, if you like..."

Scootaloo and Sweetie didn't need a second invitation. They dived for the door to Diamond's room together, each one opening it at the same time , and the sound of a happy Apple Bloom welcoming them could be heard coming from inside, before the entrance swung shut.

Oddly enough, Silver Spoon, the one who'd been most desperate to see her friend out of all of them, held back. She was still unsure whether Diamond even wanted to speak to her at all after earlier on, as she tried to pluck up the courage to follow the two Crusaders.

Noticing her daughter's reluctance, Sterling, who was in the middle of introducing herself to the mares she didn't know, looked at her with concern. "I thought you really wanted to see Diamond, Spoonie. I... Or rather your brother, drove you all the way out here, and now you don't even want to go in?"

"It's not that..." Sighed Silver, her head slightly bowed. "I'm just not sure what I'm going to say. You see, we had a bit of a falling out here, before I saw you today. And, I want to gauge her mood first, before I just barge in there..."

"Oh I see..." Sterling was starting to put a few things together in her head, the way any good mother should. "Well, that is a shame. I'll tell you what. I have an idea. Something we can enjoy together, while you figure out what you're going to do."

"And, what might that be?" Spoon suddenly felt a sense of impending doom.

"We can go and get you tested for new glasses, of course!" Sterling took hold of her daughter's hoof, and started to take her away. "By the time they've seen to you and we've chosen your pair, I'm sure Diamond will have calmed down or you'd have thought of something to tell her! Possibly, both. It was nice meeting you ponies! Especially you, princess! You must come to one of my candlelight suppers! Ta-ta for now!"

And with that, backed up by the futile protests of Spoon, Sterling and her daughter exited the scene. Those left behind looked at each other, trying to assess their opinion of this new pony.

"She's not bad..." Applejack remarked.

"A lot politer than Spoiled..." Twilight conceded.

"That's not exactly difficult though, is it?" Rainbow Dash said.

"I see her in my shop sometimes. She buys a lot of ballgowns..." Rarity confirmed.

"Hey! Maybe she can wear one to one of my parties!" Pinkie Pie grinned.

"Princess Twilight, Legal Eagle is ready to leave now..." Redheart stated.

What? Caught off guard momentarily by their animated conversation, none of the mares noticed the silent approach of possibly the most stoic nurse in the building. Out of all the medical staff, she was the only one not caught up by the hullabaloo around Twilight's supposed thirst earlier on, in fact she was the only employee around to keep the place ticking over while everypony else was losing their heads.

As far as the 'surprise' rumours of a visit from the new inspector, she just took it in her stride. Discord or no Discord, her first duty was to her patients, and nothing would distract her from that. Neither the petty needs of the royal family, or the threat of chocolate rain falling, would diminish her role.

And now, she stood there waiting expectantly, as Twilight flustered a little to regain her composure. "Er, y-yes. I'll be right there. Listen, girls. I'll be back in a moment, I just have to make sure Mr Eagle gets out okay, and Spoiled is still securely locked up. I won't be long. Take care of things while I'm gone..."

The alicorn followed Redheart back to the holding room, while those remaining wondered what they were going to do while their de-facto leader was away. They didn't have too long to think though, as suddenly a loud BANG could be heard from inside Diamond's room, which led to a competition as to how many fully grown mares you can get stuck in a doorway at any one time...

The answer: 4.

.............................................................................................................

Silver Spoon was standing at the reception with her mother, trying to find out where the optical department was, when Twilight turned the corner with Redheart. With a nod to Sterling and her daughter on her way to the holding room just behind the front desk, the alicorn flared up her horn, which caused the door to open once again.

"About time you got here..." Legal Eagle was not best pleased about being kept waiting, as he stepped through while buttoning up his suit. "Still, never mind. At least it was time well spent, because now I am thoroughly prepared for whenever you deign the trial to be. I wouldn't say this is quite an open-and-shut case, but I'm certain that come the date, we're the clear favourites to win. Of course it won't just be our victory, but Diamond's too. The sooner she's out of that unwholesome environment, the better. I'll see you again, princess. Good luck. I have a feeling you'll need it."

Rolling her eyes at the lawyer as he departed, while he only acknowledged Sterling and Spoon on the way out (after all, he only made money respecting wealthy ponies) Twilight still managed to hold her tongue. Peering further into the room, the princess decided to have a few words with Spoiled before she shut it again. Albeit, reluctantly.

"Are you alright in there?" Twilight asked, not very sincerely.

"Fine, darling." The trademark arrogant accent was there to behold. "That was a most productive meeting, even if I do say so myself. I can't wait to see the look on your face when I show you up in front of everypony on our special day in court. But that, as they say, is the future. Right now, I'm more focused on the present, and if I may be so bold as to ask, when are we going to leave? I trust you don't plan to hold me prisoner here overnight. Not that I'm one to complain, but I can imagine it gets a bit drafty in the evening. If I catch hypothermia, it'll be on your head, you know. Just thinking of your reputation, dear..."

Deciding that she'd had more than enough of Spoiled's patronising for one lifetime, Twilight picked that juncture to interrupt. "The reason why we're still here..." She said, irritably. "Is that your daughter is still recovering from the effects of whatever happened to her in this hospital not so long ago. I don't suppose you'd care to shed some light on that, hmm?"

"Darling, I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about..." Spoiled responded, with mock outrage. "If anything bad has happened to my precious Diamond, it's that bumpkin and her foul progeny you need to speak to, not me! I'd love to hear more details, though. Perhaps, it would give me even more ammunition to use in my case. Maybe you could regale me with them, during my stay at your palace. I trust that's where you'll be keeping me, since there are no hotels of any note around here. Now, this is the kind of room I would require..."

Twilight was about at her wits end. Her carefully controlled public image was about to shatter. She was going to turn the air blue with very long, very hard-to-pronounce profanities. Possibly, do something even more drastic with her horn. She was playing into Spoiled's hooves, but she really didn't care. The alicorn was just about to blow her top, when...

"Hello, Spoiled. I see you've up to your old tricks again. You always did have a way with words, didn't you?"

Twilight ceased her frustration for a moment to look around, to try and see who'd just spoken. Left alone at the reception was a slightly forlorn-looking Silver, wondering where her mother had gone off to.

The answer was, right next to Twilight. Sterling stood by the door, glaring at the occupant inside, a very unimpressed look on her face.

The alicorn was quick to chastise this unwelcome intrusion. "Mrs Spoon. You shouldn't be..."

It was the look on Spoiled's face, that stopped Twilight in her tracks. That omnipresent expression she'd always had, the one of smug superiority to every other living creature, was no more. The aura of one so far above the rest, she may as well have taken up residence on Luna's moon, had completely vanished.

In it's place, was the demeanor of somepony a bit nervous. Agitated. Vulnerable.

Twilight Sparkle relished every single second of it.

And a single second is about how long it lasted. Soon, the shutters were up again, the defences were manned, and the fortress of inconsequentialness was impenetrable once more.

Except, it wasn't. They'd been a chink in the armour. An Achille's hoof. A weak spot. It might have popped up oh-so briefly, but it was definitely there.

Twilight was so caught up in digesting this unanticipated turn of events, she couldn't stop Sterling from entering the holding room, and taking a seat on the opposite side to the head of the school board.

"Sterling, dear..." Spoiled stared at the grey mare with barely concealed malice. " How are you doing? I hear your daughter and mine are getting along splendidly. I 'm afraid we won't be able to attend your soiree in a few days though, as something rather pressing has come up..."

"Let's get to the point, shall we?" Sterling fixed her eyes deeply into Spoiled's, causing the other pony to flinch back a bit. "I know everything. You might have some of these other ponies fooled, but not me. I remember how you used to be, before what happened, happened. And now, you plan to put your daughter through the same ordeal. Is that what you really want for her? To end up like you? Broken, twisted, hateful inside? Do you feel that bitter, you're going to ruin her life, too? Answer me, Spoiled. We used to be friends, a long time ago..."

"Yes, a long time ago..." All pretense from Spoiled was now gone, and she was simply snarling at the mare in front of her. "Those days are long gone, thank goodness. And I don't care to revisit them. Isn't it enough that I let your brat hang out with my daughter? You should think yourself lucky I'm willing to go that far, after what you did..."

"What I did?" Sterling was taken aback by her former acquaintance's cheek. "Why, who stood aside to let you become president of the school board all those years ago, when we both know that if I'd ran, I'd have been elected by a landslide? And you know why I didn't run, and told everypony to vote for you? A sense of misplaced guilt. Without me, you'd have only got one vote, from yourself! When I think about all the children who've suffered under your tenure, I now realise it's them I should be feeling sorry for, not you, and what your parents did or where they sent you, which was nothing to do with me. Anyway, we both know who this is really about. Why you hate me so much. Why you lash out at almost every pony who gets near you..."

Spoiled's brow began to pour with sweat, while her face looked on the verge of panic mode. "I-I don't know what you've talking about. P-princess Twilight Sparkle, please remove this individual from my presence, post haste..."

"Oh, no you don't." Insisted Sterling, getting comfortable in her seat. "I'm not going anywhere. You and me are going to have a nice, long chat. This is for both you, and your daughter's benefit. I'm not sure at all the wisdom of trying to talk some sense into you, seeing how far gone you are already. But I'm going to darn well try. First up for discussion: The first colt you ever fell in love with. The one your parents disapproved of. The reason you were forced to spend years in that place. And, my husband. Let's talk about... Wooden Spoon."

..........................................................................................................................

The picture Cheerilee had dropped onto the floor before she left in haste was that of a trio of good friends, all the product of happier times. The two fillies were from a distinctly upper-class background, whereas the colt came from far more modest beginnings. The writing on the back, give or take the odd spelling mistake, read as follows:


OUR LAST PICTURE TOGETHER, BEFORE I GO AWAY FOR A WHILE!
MAMMA SAYS IT'S A LOVELY PLACE, WHERE THEY'LL TEACH ME HOW TO BE A PROPER LADY!
I CAN'T WAIT TO GO, BUT I'M REALLY GOING TO MISS YOU GUYS! WAIT FOR ME!
TO MY BFF SILVER STERLING, I'LL THINK ABOUT YOU EVERY DAY.
TO THE LOVE OF MY LIFE WOODEN SPOON, YOU'LL ALWAYS BE IN MY HEART.
THANK YOU FOR BEING THE BEST PONIES IN MY LIFE. SEE YOU SOON! SPOILED SWEET xx

Author's Note:

Thanks to everyone who read this so far, whether you like it, love it or loathe it. I can honestly say, writing this fic has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had. I'm now up to nearly 500 upvotes and 800 readers. Let's keep 'em coming!! :twilightsmile:

And of course, don't stop commenting. I've met some truly fascinating people on this site... So don't hesitate to say 'hello'. Pardon me for being so forward... It must be the drink talking. Too much Red Bull on a late night typing session always brings out the worst in me. I'll be back as soon as I've sobered up a bit... hic :derpyderp2:

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