• 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 42: The Face Of Evil

Despite his earlier confident, even smug demeanor in front of Twilight previously, Legal Eagle felt troubled. His usual air of confidence and haughtiness was intact, as he navigated his way back to the best hotel Ponyville had to offer (which, by his standards, wasn't much at all) but inside his head he was deeply, deeply conflicted.

He pondered what his latest client had just told him. It wasn't strange for him to keep all kinds of scandals hidden away, whether they be secret trust funds the owner didn't want to share, or fake injuries which had been invented for a higher payout in court.

This however, was completely different. He'd never been told anything of this magnitude before in private, and then expected to cover it up. It wasn't about a cache of money, or an over-exaggerated accident this time. It was something significantly more serious. In fact, one could say it hit him on a personal level. How could he possibly live with himself knowing...

"Hey, watch where you're going, fancy pants!" A guttural accent suddenly bought Legal Eagle out of his slumber, as he stepped right into the path of a fruit cart. It's purveyor, a rough looking stallion with a bunch of green grapes as his cutie mark, stopped for a minute to further harangue the distracted lawyer.

" You out-of-towners think you can do anything, dontcha?" The apple carrier rasped. "Well, here in Ponyville we have a little thing called 'roads' and 'crossing', and when you see a barrow such as mine, it's quite common to stop at the side of the 'road' until it's safe for 'crossing'. You know, unless you want to get run over. Hope my little lesson helped, and enjoy your stay here. Please hurry back as soon as you can."

With that, and a shake of his head, the stallion stormed back to his cart before trundling off without waiting for a reply, not even giving Legal Eagle to deny that he was Fancy Pants.

The lawyer tried to snap out of his self-imposed funk. This wasn't like him at all. Usually, he was unflappable during the build-up to a trial, dedicating his attention completely to the task at hand. Whether it was standing up in court talking to the judge, addressing the jury with a brilliant summation or accepting the hoofshakes of the wealthy ponies afterwards he'd inevitably got off scot-free.

But, try as he might, even as he approached the inappropriately titled 'Cozy Stables' hotel, he could not disregard what he'd been informed of that very afternoon. As he walked up the corridor to his room, passing a posh-looking yellow mare and grey stallion on the way, he again went through the sequence of events that led up to him being made aware of this startling revelation. During any case, you should prepare for the unexpected, but never in a thousand of Luna's moons had he been expecting to hear something like that...

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

The lawyer had just finished getting amorous with Spoiled, and was snuggling up next to his lover/client in the tiny holding room, when the big bombshell dropped. The conversation however started amicably enough, with Mrs Rich complimenting Legal Eagle on his prowess at pleasing her carnally.

"Oh yes dear, that's just what I needed!" Spoiled whispered to him with pleasure."You don't know how long I've had to wait between lovemaking sessions with Filthy, while he travels across Equestria leaving me and my precious Diamond all alone. That stallion is the most selfish pony around, I swear. And then, on the rare occasions we do get together, I barely feel a thing! A blossoming lady like me needs somepony strong and virile to give me what I desire, not a washed-up old mule like my husband. The one good thing he's done of late is to keep you on retainer..."

Legal Eagle's 'additional services' were apparently pleasing his client, but the lawyer was a little confused by the language used by Spoiled. "Hang on there a moment. Isn't the whole reason you're allowed to burn through money the way you do precisely because your partner works so hard in earning it? I mean, whatever else you could accuse him of, I didn't think selfishness was one of his traits. He displays a work ethic even I can be proud of, and his daughter dotes on him, I'm told..."

At this point, the mare lying nearby began to stand up, and pushed him in the midriff. "Hey, wait a second!" She snarled. "Don't forget who the enemy is here. If he was better at his job, he wouldn't have to roam as far and wide as he does, so do not give him any credit for that. A mare of my grandeur and splendour should be treated like a lady as a matter of course, so he's doing me no favours there, either. And as for my Diamond, well let's just say she wouldn't be the hard jewel I've forged all by myself, if I let his soft-hearted ways get to her. Of course, all that's in danger now..."

"So you say..." Legal Eagle took his cue from Spoiled, and clambered to his hooves also. "Regardless, now we've got the fun and games out of the way, I think we need to actually do what the princess thinks we came in here for..."

"Came in here..." Spoiled couldn't hide her merriment. "That's a good one, dear. I'll have to remember that one for Blueblood's party. You might be surprised to learn that the glitterati do like the occasional dirty joke..."

"Yes, okay..." Legal Eagle was impatient to carry on after his unitentional faux-pas. "So, as I was saying, what we're going to have to do is start off by telling everypony that Twilight went way beyond her jurisdiction when she trespassed into your home late at night and took your daughter away. Then, we'll highlight the shoddy treatment Diamond has received since leaving your protection, which has inspired her to bunk off school and even have an extended hospital stay. Finally, we'll hit them with the big ones: The brainwashing demonstrated when she changed her name . The forced destruction of her tiara. The utter lunacy that an upper class filly could live on a dowdy little farm. I think, after all that, there can only be one conclusion, and my winning streak will remain intact ...

"Hmm, what was that, dear?" Spoiled had been so busy putting her dress back on, and making her mane look perfect, she'd completely missed what the lawyer had just said. "Oh, never mind. I'm sure you've got everything in hoof. I know we're going to win, that's a given. With you on my side, and all the facts speaking for themselves, justice will prevail. For now, what I'm really looking forward to is the face of that imitation princess when she gets beaten by us. What do you think it'll be like? I'm guessing the pout, with the lips around the gums. Won't that be a sight worth seeing? Bring a camera that day, won't you?"

"Er, yes. I'm be sure to..." A slightly exasperated Legal Eagle retrieved his suit from the floor. "But for now, as sure as you are that we're going to get the not-guilty verdict, you still have to play your part. When you're up on that stand, and you're being barraged with questions, you have to know what to say. If you'll just listen to me for a moment, I can help you to cultivate a positive image, as well as win the hearts of..."

"Oh, what nonsense!" Spoiled dismissed the advice with a waved hoof. "I intend to go up there to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That's all I'll need. I'll talk about how nopony loves my Diamond like her own mother, and how she's suffering every second she's away from me. I'll talk about the rotten state of the nation, that a bookish, childless weirdo can have authority over a fine pony of prestige. I'll talk about how those three little thugs, led by that uncouth yokel, have systematically been bullying my daughter into becoming like them. And finally, I won't forget to mention how disappointed I am that Celestia has let things get this far, and I'd like a private audience with her to air my grievances. I might even add a few tears, just to sway some of the doubters. What do you think, dear?"

"Um, well. It's a start, maybe a few less insults..." Legal Eagle was unsure of the effectiveness of Spoiled's plan, but he was loathe to criticise it, seeing as how much money he was being paid. "Tell you what. I'll write a few things down for you to study tonight, and if you like them, you can use them."

"Oh, very well..." Spoiled rolled her eyes, finally giving a bit of ground. "But I don't see how it's an improvement on what I've already got lined up. Let's just hope you're as good in court, as you are at satisfying mares in season..."

At this point Spoiled pulled in Legal Eagle for another big, sloppy kiss which caused the lawyer to flinch a little, but to his credit he did manage to keep his protest to a minimum.

"There's another thing I've been meaning to ask you..." Spoiled said, as she withdrew from the smooch. "Is it true what you told me earlier? About client/lawyer confidentiality being of paramount importance to you?"

"Of course." Legal Eagle, with no other option, swallowed the horrible taste in his mouth. "If I betrayed the trust of any of the ponies I represent, word would spread quickly, and my career would be dead overnight. So, whatever you want to say to me in here, won't go any further, guaranteed. Why, is there something you want to get off your chest?"

"Just a minor incident, that might come up if my daughter chooses to blab about it." Spoiled remarked, with a smirk. " I wasn't going to tell anypony, but seeing as how we're both in the same business of manipulation, and if you breathed one word of this to anypony your illustrious job would come to an abrupt end, I think I can trust you. You remember those two poor, naive boobs I told you I managed to coax into my web? Well, it all started when I told them a little story about my Diamond being the possible catalyst for a war between the classes..."
........................................................................................................

She hadn't mentioned any names, in case she needed the two culprits again for some other unseemly task. She hadn't said why she did it, other than what was in her mind, justified petty revenge.

What she had described, in great deal, was the pain and anguish apparent on her daughter's face, almost as if her own mother had relished her agony. Spoiled was doing Diamond a favour in teaching her that if you cross the bull, you get the horns. It was supposed to serve as a lesson for the future: If you want something out of life, you have to be ruthless, even to your own blood.

Except, Legal Eagle couldn't see it that way, no matter how hard he tried. The only mental image he had was that of a terrified filly screaming, as a strange mare's hoof was given free reign over her most intimate areas. The feeling of not being able to escape. The trauma that would last her for years.

But, what could he do? He couldn't breathe a word of it to anypony, or his life as he knew it would be over. It might be the most morally repugnant thing he'd ever been told in his entire career, but he still had a duty towards his client... Right?

Even if he was now sickened at the mere sight of Spoiled, and wanted to sit in the shower and cry all day at the thought that he'd slept with such a monster on several occasions, for just a few extra thousand bits. Now he knew what Diamond meant, when she'd told him in the middle of her rant that he didn't understand the horrible things she's done to me.

He tried to think optimistically. Even if he did keep things to himself, and the child had to suffer in silence forever, things could still work out fine, right? She could still live a full life. Physically, she was fine. And she seemed like a tough little nut, who could bounce back. She'd be alright, for sure. Everything would be okay...

All this rhetoric passed through his head, as he turned the key to his hotel door, in an attempt to salve his conscience.

It didn't work.
.......................................................................................................

"Why, darling... I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about!" Spoiled Rich nervously laughed. "What does it matter, anyway? The past is the past. Whatever feelings I might have had for any colt back then are irrelevant. I'm deeply in love with my partner, you're happy with who you married, so why are you dredging this up again?"

"Because, it's necessary." Silver Sterling was determined to push the issue. "Everything you've done since you came back from St Whinneans and found out he'd moved on to me, I think is as a direct result of that. Yes, I know all about that place. I've heard the stories. Soon after you left, I found out what it was really like. Me and Wooden Spoon tried sending you letters, but you didn't respond. To this day, you've never told me what happened to you. Well, now's your chance. It's just the two of us, if Princess Twilight here is willing to give us both a minute..."

Sterling turned around expectantly for a positive response from the alicorn, who had already realised the gravity of the conversation by the brief exchange so far alone.

"Er, well, if you want five minutes alone with Spoiled, I can't really see the harm in that..." Twilight considered the grey mare in front of her far more trustworthy than the shady lawyer who'd just departed. "Me and my friends will be leaving soon, and we have to decide where we'll be keeping Mrs Rich for the night, so don't be too long..."

"That's fine. I promise you won't even remember I've been here." Sterling smiled at the princess. "In the meantime, could you keep an eye on Silver Spoon for me, please? I don't want her wandering off into the main street, and doing herself an injury. I want to take her home with a new pair of glasses, not in a wheelchair wearing a full cast. I'd be very grateful..."

"Consider it done!" Twilight was more than happy to fulfil this simple request. "Now, if its not too much of a problem, I'm going to lock the door again. I'll only be a knock away, so bear that in mind if you need me. See you in a little while..."

And with that, the alicorn let her horn flare up again, which denoted the inevitable closure of the entrance. She would have loved to hear more of Spoiled's mysterious past, but her curiosity must always take second place to her duties.

As soon as they were shut in, having regained her composure, Spoiled sneered contemptuously. "This is what I've been saying all along. What kind of princess worth her salt adheres to the request of her inferiors, to act as a glorified foalsitter?! If I was running things around here, I'd actually get some mileage out of the job. I'd be in the lap of luxury from day one, and making sure everypony knew I was the boss. If one of the peasants asked me to do something like that, they'd need somepony to help them look after their sprog alright, because they'd be spending the next month in my dungeon! What a disgrace she is, having the tools to get whatever she wants and just not using them!"

"...Or maybe, she's a kind, generous mare, who sees her role as working for everypony, and not just to benefit herself!" Sterling shot back, before pausing for a moment in thought. "Believe it or not, you used to be a lot like her, back when you were known as Spoiled Sweet. You always let me have first go on the swing. You always gave me first lick of the ice cream. We went everywhere together. We never argued. And then, when you returned after your time away at that horrible place, it was like you'd become a completely different pony. We've barely spoken since, and even at the parties we attend you seem to go out of your way to avoid me. I don't understand it. If our children can get on, why can't we? Why did you change so much?"

"My dear, I do wish you wouldn't bad mouth St Whinneans quite so much..." Spoiled leered at her former friend. "My mother and father, rest their souls, knew what they were doing when they sent me there. They whipped me into shape from a weak, pathetic little filly, into the strong, powerful mare you see today. As soon as I get my Diamond back, she's going there for an extra long stay. While I was there, I learned about the realities of life, that concepts such as 'love' and 'friendship' are mere follies put upon us by our lesser emotions, that are best ignored. What really matters is marrying well, and moving up the social ladder, by any means necessary. The best thing I ever did was ditch my old surname. Rich is so much more 'me', you know? And the reason I let your daughter play with mine, is that I believe the sins of the mother shouldn't be passed onto the child. Not that I care much now, but when I discovered how Wooden Spoon had cheated on me with you while I'd been gone, it sealed the deal on me never trying to get close to anypony ever again, unless I can gain something from it. How right my school's teachings proved to be..."

"We didn't mean it to happen..." Sterling tried to emphasise, her hooves in the air. "With you away for so long, we only had each other for company, and things kind of developed from there. Like I said, we tried to contact you on numerous occasions, but either you were ignoring us, or we simply weren't getting through. Either way, the fact is, we fell in love, and even though I felt as guilty as you can imagine, sometimes the heart can't be controlled. Regardless, haven't you got Filthy? If you tell me you don't feel affection for anypony, is that another way of saying your entire marriage is a sham, that you only got together with him for his wealth? What about your determined fight to get back your daughter? Is that just window dressing, too?"

"When are you going to learn, dear, that everything is a means to an end." Spoiled looked at the grey mare as if she was mad."I'm happy with Filthy for now, but let's just say a better offer came along. Don't you think I'd be a fool to ignore it? After all, you only live once. Unfortunately, one thing you can't exchange is your children, because I must say if such a program were in operation, I would be sorely tempted to trade in my current one, based on her latest behaviour. I don't think she's beyond help just yet, but I do need to get her down to Whinneans as soon as possible, before this strain of sickening niceness she's developed becomes terminal to both of our future prospects. When I think about what that accursed Apple child has done to her... I just want to... I'd best not say. And, to answer your question, I found out after I'd left the boarding school that all outside communication is banned. Just as well, really. It might have stunted my progress while I was there, to be constantly reminded of my former existence."

"Don't you see what they've done to you?" Unable to control herself any longer, Sterling got up and walked over to Spoiled's side of the table, to put her hooves over her former friend's. "Can you honestly you're happy with the way you are now? All you seem to do is seek to lie and manipulate others, even when you don't have to. You have no friends. Everypony I know would rather cross the street than talk to you. We all know what you're like. You say you're doing this for your daughter? Well, if your aim was to turn her into a social pariah, I would say you're doing a grand job! Her getting away from you sounds like it was the best thing that could have happened to her. And my husband must thank his lucky stars that he didn't end up with somepony who valued his monetary worth far, far more than his personal value. What happened to you was awful, but everything since then has entirely been your doing. You've never tried to seek help or counselling, which might have made all the difference. I'm giving you one last chance now, to pull back now from this mission of self destruction you've set yourself on. Please, if you just talked about your feelings, maybe I could understand..."

"What, like your precious little 'Princess Of Friendship' out there would, you mean?" Spoiled growled, as she pulled away. "The one who preferred to listen to the rumour mill of children, than an upstanding citizen like me? Don't bother. I decided on my life's course a long time ago, and it didn't include you, her, or any of these ponies who avoid me, simply because they're jealous of me and what I can do. As for your fake concern for my daughter, you can keep that to yourself, as well. I will get her back, I will raise her how I see fit and she will undergo the same formative years I did. Nothing will stand in my way. Because I haven't spoken to you for years, dear, I kind of forgot why we stopped being friends. Now, after talking to you extensively, I think I can see why. You can go now. I never wish to see you again. Inform Twilight to let you out."

Letting loose a few tears, more for the sake of the friend she lost years ago, than for the beast in front of her, Sterling realised she could do no more here, and hurriedly retreated to the door to give it three short raps. Just before it opened however, and before she could escape the insanity behind her, Spoiled had a final parting shot to offer.

"One last thing, dear. Tell Wooden Spoon that I regret nothing, seeing as I ended up with by far the better end of the deal. And, by the looks of things, so did Filthy. Oh, and as soon as I get my child back, your daughter is not allowed to socialise with her again. I've been far too lenient with the company she keeps up til' now. Bye bye, dear. Enjoy your mediocre life."

And with that, the two former chums fell out permanently, and as soon as a crack of light shone through the doorway, Sterling couldn't get out of there fast enough, almost falling into Twilight in the process.

Using her magic to simultaneously shut it again, as well as lift Sterling off of her, the alicorn hardly needed to ask, but decided to anyway just to be courteous. "So, how did it go?"

Glancing at Silver Spoon, who still didn't really know what was going on judging by her expression, Sterling confirmed the princess's suspicions. "It's as bad as I thought. Worse, even. Much worse. Still, she's chosen her path, and there's nothing I can do about it now. It's Diamond we really should be concerned with. If you need any help at any future custody hearing..."

Twilight gratefully nodded at Sterling's offer. "It would be good, to get the perspective of somepony who knows her well. I might just take you up on that. In the meantime, I think this filly here has been wondering where you've been. I need to get back to my friends again. If you need anything else before you go, come and find us. Thank you very much for your support, and I'll see you later."

And with that, Twilight trotted away, leaving Silver Spoon with a thousand questions (well, actually four). "Where were you, mom? Was that Mrs Rich you were talking to? Is she mad at us? Can I still play with Diamond?"

The answers were, in order:"I was having a discussion with Mrs Rich. Yes it was, but you knew that already. She is very cross, but we'll take that in our stride. And of course you can sweetheart, for as long as you like."
............................................................................................................................

Apple Bloom looked a little sad as her friends entered the room, but greeted them enthusiastically anyway."Hi, Scoots! Hi, Sweetie Belle!"

Scootaloo smiled in response. "Hi there!"

Sweetie Belle was also pleased to see her fellow Crusader. "Hello!" They shared a group hug, before Scootaloo thought of something.

"Where's Di?" The orange pegasus inquired. "Oh, never mind, she's having a nap."

" Lucky!" Sweetie Belle humphed. " I'd love to have an afternoon snooze."

Scootaloo sniggered at this. "You walk around half asleep most of the time anyway, so what's the difference?"

Sweetie Belle was not best pleased with the comment. "Hey, you take that back!"

"Nope." That was Scootaloo, defiant to the last. "So anyway, what's been going on?"

"Yeah, it feel like ages since we've seen you... "Sweetie Belle added.

Apple Bloom was silent, her eyes trained to the floor.

Scootaloo frowned with concern for her friend. "That bad, huh?"

Sweetie Belle was also worried. "Oh dear..." she muttered.

Suddenly, Scootaloo thought she had a great notion. "Tell you what, let's tell her our news! That'll cheer her up!"

Sweetie Belle was all for this. "Hey, that's a good idea! Who'll start?"

Scootaloo rolled her eyes, as if the answer was obvious. "Me of course, duh! Today I built a paper mache ramp in school, but it collapsed as soon as I put my scooter on it!"

Thinking back to the incident, Sweetie Belle found it somewhat amusing. "Heh heh, that was really funny!"

Crossing her hooves, Scootaloo began to get annoyed. "Well, at least I actually did something! Your pony colour changing spell was a complete washout!" She pointed out.

Sweetie Belle stopped chuckling to defend her magic skills. "Oh come on, it wasn't that bad. Something happened..."

"Oh sorry, I forgot. It drained the colour from all the flowers in the garden..." It was Scootaloo's turn to have a laugh at her friend's expense. "Green Hooves the gardener was not best pleased."

Sweetie Belle shivered at the memory. "You're telling me. He chased me around the entire school with that rake. Luckily, I managed to get away..."

Scootaloo pulled her up on this point. "No you didn't," She recalled. "The only reason he stopped running after you was because Snips and Snails were experimenting with matches in the toolshed. One little spark, and..."

"Oh yeah, there was that too..." Sweetie Belle also remembered the event. "So, everything worked out fine in the end, apart from a minor blaze. Are you feeling any better yet, Apple Bloom?"

The farm filly was not really in the mood for small talk, and continued to alternate between looking at the floor, and glancing at the pink figure in the bed behind her.

Scootaloo didn't like to see Apple Bloom in this frame of mind. "She still looks kind of low. What could it be?"

Sweetie Belle pondered the possibilities. "Maybe she's lost her bow... No, it's still there. Maybe she's thirsty... Nope, there's an untouched glass of water over there. Maybe..."

Interrupting the unicorn, Scootaloo had a flash of inspiration. "Oh, I know what it is! I've figured it out!"

Sweetie Belle's eyes widened. "What? Tell me!"

Scootaloo pointed a hoof at the ceiling, at a dodgy fixture. "See that light up there? It keeps blinking on and off. Obviously, the bulb needs to be changed. Now, I would fly up there and do it myself, but..."

Always the blunt one, Sweetie Belle simply stated: "You can't."

Scootaloo sighed at this comment, but knew her friend meant no harm. "Yeah, thanks for reminding me. But anyway, perhaps we can still reach it. If Apple Bloom stands over there... And Sweetie Belle, you go on her shoulders... Then I'll climb on yours..."

Apple Bloom was bought back to reality by the sensation of being shoved into position. "Girls, that's not the reason..." she protested.

Unfortunately, Sweetie Belle was too intent on the task at hand to hear her friend. "Ooh! That sounds like fun! Okay, Apple Bloom, let me get on top... And Scoots, you turn it off, and grab the spare..."

Scootaloo flipped the switch, and went to join her fellow Crusaders with the extra bulb in hoof. "Got it! Now, please don't wobble, this is difficult enough as it is. Stay still. It won't take a minute..."

Apple Bloom, feeling the pressure of her two best friends perched precariously on her, decided to put them straight."Girls, I really don't care about the light. I've got something to tell you, if you'd just step down..."

Sadly, Scootaloo was too eager to complete the mission. "Shh. I'm nearly finished. Now, all I have to do is unscrew this here..."

" Hurry up, my shoulders are starting to hurt." Sweetie Belle complained, before she had a sudden thought. "This would be a lot easier if Diamond Tiara was awake, to help us. Then we wouldn't have to strain so much..."

"Why didn't you just use your magic to reach it, Sweetie?" Apple Bloom rolled her eyes at the unicorn's forgetfulness. "Not that I'm really concerned..."

Sweetie Belle facehooved at missing this easy solution. "Oh no! Rarity's right!" She lamented. "I just don't think things through! When will I learn?"

Apple Bloom smiled a bit at the unicorn's self pity, then decided to reveal something else. "One more thing. It's not 'Diamond Tiara' anymore. It's 'Diamond Apple'. She's now, almost officially, my new sister."

Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle looked shocked, and looked at each other with open mouths. "WHAT?! How did that happen?"

Suddenly, there was a sensation of heavy movement, and Apple Bloom struggled to stay upright. "Hey, stop rocking! If you do that, then we're gonna..."

It was too late. Both Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle become too fidgety, and end up unbalancing Apple Bloom, and the three fall down with an audible BANG, the two bulbs shattering nearby. In the next second, four mares attempted to enter the room together, before getting lodged in the doorway.

"Ouch! That hurt." Sweetie Belle rubbed a small bump on her head.

" Sorry girls, I just couldn't hold on." Apple Bloom explained. "You were being too active."

At this outburst of noise, Diamond Apple woke up and rubbed her eyes. "Huh?! What's going on?! And why is it pitch black in here?"

Scootaloo surveyed all the chaos around her, before turning to Apple Bloom. "I think you're right..." She told the farm filly. You do have something to tell us. And, you better start from the beginning..."

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

Legal Eagle opened his hotel room with a heavy heart. He had so much to think about. So much to decide. And not much time to do it in. He wondered over to the cabinet to pour himself a glass of wine, and mulled over his options.

He didn't have much chance to dwell on them though, as his wife Home Maker came in from the lounge. "Hello there, my love. Hitting the bottle a bit early, aren't you? Rough day?"

Legal Eagle looked up at his partner of five years. "Yes, you could say this is a particularly taxing case. Lots of moral ambiguities abound. Plus, a stallion's livelihood could be at stake..." He took a sip from his glass.

Home Maker walked over to give him a sympathetic pat on the back. "That bad, huh? Well, I'm sure you'll pull through, love. You always do. I'm glad you've returned anyway, as the little one has been bugging me all day. Now it's daddy's turn to keep her quiet. Libra Scales! He's here! Now give him a big cuddle, and tell him he's naughty for being away for so long. Quick, hide the alcohol. She's coming..."

Legal Eagle's very young daughter shyly looked around the corner for a minute, before almost creeping into the room. She had been out of diapers for about a year, and had only learned to talk in full sentences a few short months ago. In her hoof she held a piece of paper, which she held out to her father while blushing.

Scrawled on it, with fine marker pens, was a picture of him wearing his flowing court robes like a cape and clutching his briefcase like a superhero, while a couple of evil looking horses stood nearby behind bars. They did not look best pleased.

"That's you puttin' the bad guys away." Was all she could say, while her father stared at it, a mixture of pride and guilt pervading his mind. If only she knew the truth...

"That's... Great, darling. Whenever did you ever find the time to do that?" Legal Eagle attempted to compliment his daughter, while putting on a forced grin.

"Is boring here. Nothing to do." Libra Scales looked moody for a moment, her usually sunny disposition put on hold. "When can we go home. I miss you, when you're gone."

"Now, now sweetheart." Home Maker attempted to placate her daughter. "You know as well as I do that this trial is very important to your daddy, and we can't go back to Canterlot until it's done. It's one of the biggest he's ever had. And just think about what that poor mother is going through, having her darling daughter ripped from her like that, by a princess of all ponies! Honestly, it makes you think it could happen to anypony, if a respected mare like you described your client to be, can just have her removed under the flimsiest of evidence. It almost makes me fear it could happen to us..."

"What?" Shrieked Libra Scales, who picked up on things remarkedly well for somepony of her tender years. "I don't want to go! I want to stay with you, daddy and mommy! Please say I won't have to go!" She ran over to her father, to sink her head in between his forehooves protectively.

"Oops..." Home Maker was somewhat embarrassed at herself. "I'm so sorry. I probably said too much, and I've upset her now. Still, I can't help having an opinion. Just thinking about some of the horrible ponies you see every week, and yet the royalty chooses to persecute an innocent mother like that. It makes you wonder what this country is coming to. Still, I needn't worry. I'm sure you'll see justice is done. I'll go and prepare dinner. You stay here, and reassure our precious that she isn't going anywhere. Not as long as I'm alive and breathing, that is."

With that, she kissed her husband on the muzzle and walked to the kitchen, leaving Legal Eagle alone with his daughter and his thoughts. Picking her up to give her a loving cuddle, he pondered on the term that Home Maker had just used to describe their child. 'Precious'.

Funny coincidence it was, that it was exactly the same word Spoiled Rich often said when referring to Diamond.

There was a difference, though. In his wife's mouth it sounded pleasant, affectionate, loving.

Whenever Spoiled said it, it came across as hard, brutal, unyielding. Almost as if she was talking about a possession.

And if Home Maker ever tried to do anything to his daughter like Spoiled had done with Diamond, and called it 'punishment' afterwards...

Why, he'd probably end up murdering her.

The thing was, he'd been a hypocrite all his life in the courtroom, so it should come as no surprise.

Why though, in this one particular case, was he seemingly unable to separate his personal life, and his professional life? Why did it make him sick, just thinking about it? Why oh why...

His mind continued to bathe in turmoil, while Libra Scales fell asleep in her daddy's hooves, blissfully unaware of what was about to erupt in Ponyville.

Author's Note:

Phew, 6000 words certainly takes it out of you.
This took me all weekend to write, now it's time to relax... Pull up a chair...
And answer the dozens of comments I'm sure to get later on.
Darn it.

One more update possibly, before Season Six commences. Can't wait... :pinkiehappy:

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