• Published 13th Sep 2018
  • 2,459 Views, 162 Comments

Alternate Beginnings: Year Six - Doug Graves

Herd Apple continues to grow, both out and up, as Doug meets a few more colorful characters.

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14 Unbearable Whispers

The four Apple fillies arrive at the Rich mansion, the courtyard decorated with gray, silver, and purple decorations. Randolph greets them at the front door, the butler ushering them through the spacious entry room to the main party area. Their hastily wrapped present finds a place on the table with many others, all sorts of shapes and sizes, though most are larger. Lots of ponies are gathering around the party room: some congregating at the delicious smelling snack table, others at a few of the games, the largest group being the Pin the Tail on the Pony game, and others dancing around Pinkie's sound system.

The trio scampers around the room, oohs and aahs at the blown-up pictures of Silver Spoon's new cutie mark, a decorated silver spoon with an amethyst heart set in the hoofhold. Applebaum breaks off, heading to the snack table to hang out with Lemon and a few of the young fillies in their class. The trio make their way through the crowd of fillies, walking up to Silver Spoon in the far corner. The filly of the hour is showing off her new cutie mark to the other fillies in their class. Silver Spoon spots the trio and waves, her sister Diamond Tiara smiling next to her.

"Your cutie mark!" Sweetie Belle squeals as she gets close, rushing over and tentatively putting a hoof on Silver Spoon's flank, admiring the intricate design. "It's so beautiful! How did it happen?"

The gray filly grins, a few of the other fillies that already heard the story moving away. Silver Spoon says, "I don't think I'll ever get tired of telling it! So, yesterday the baker, Ms. Swirl, she comes into dam's shop, looking for a special present for her special somepony."

Sweetie Belle grins, "Oh, and she's been looking for so long, too! I'm so happy for her!" In a little lower voice, "I don't think she ever really let Pinkie Pie forget how she ran off with Daddy, you know?" She snickers, "It's so nice that she has somepony in her life now!"

"I know, right?" Silver Spoon grins, "Anyway, I was working the register when she came in. She asks about getting something custom made, right? Tells me that it's for this stallion who came by a couple months ago, delivery pony type. Starts telling me that, well, the two of them got to talking, you know, and they really hit it off. And now he's coming by more and more frequently, and she wants to get him something special to propose with, right? 'Cause she doesn't think he'll be the one to do it, most stallions aren't. His name is Carrot Cake, and he told her how he always wanted to work in a bakery, making his namesake cakes, but he has to deliver flour and other ingredients as part of his, um," she twirls her hoof in the air a few times, "Apprenticeship."

Scootaloo says, "Hey, kinda like your dam is doing with you, right?"

Silver Spoon nods, "Yup! So, dam hears me talking to Ms. Swirl and comes over from the back room. She was working on designing a couple new patterns for some contract up in Manehatten, stuff that they would then make out there. Dam saw how excited I was getting about the whole thing and that we would be making something special for them and so she told me that I was going to get to design and craft it! And, she cut Ms. Swirl a deal, saying that she stood by everything sold at the shop, that if there were any problems just to come right back and we'd fix it, and that the discount was for me making it instead of her. So, I got a pencil and some paper and made a quick sketch of a fancy spoon, since they're bakers, you know? And I put the little heart design on the top. Ms. Swirl just loved the design at first sight! I thought it was a little plain, so I put in the swirls around the heart. Really makes it stand out a lot better."

"Aww, that's so sweet!" Sweetie Belle exclaims, stomping her hooves on the ground, the other Apple fillies joining her.

"I know!" Silver Spoon beams, "And, so, dam lets me go through all the steps, just making sure that I remember everything, even though I'm the one doing all the work." She smiles at her dam, the mare standing in a corner off to the side, chatting with Pinkie Pie. "I don't mind, it's just her reminding me what to do and when, in case I forget. And I don't even need the help! It's, like, everything is just coming so naturally to me! Ms. Swirl goes off on some errands, says she'll come back in four hours when I've finished. So, I make the mold for all the curved spaces on the spoon, since it's not, like, a flat or twisted piece of jewelry, and it'll take a bit of fine manipulating. And I pick out a nice amethyst for the gem; I would have liked one that matched her hair or cutie mark a little better but Mrs. Rarity didn't have anything that matched the color any better either. She did help me cut it, though, said it looked very beautiful, and whoever got this present would be a lucky pony indeed!"

"When did you get your cutie mark?" Scootaloo says, enraptured by the story.

"I'm getting there!" Silver Spoon exclaims, then pauses; "Actually, I don't know when it happened exactly. You see, I finish making it, and Ms. Swirl comes back in. She sees the spoon, and she's so happy with the gift, she's ecstatic, and then she notices that my cutie mark is there! And it looks exactly like the spoon I made! Well, she doesn't want to take the spoon now, she says that I should have it because it's my cutie mark, right? I look at Set, and she's hanging back, letting me decide. And I say to Ms. Swirl that no, this is her gift for her special somepony, and that I was happy to make it for her and that she should have it. And she's all in tears now, and thanks me and Silver Set for such a special gift. Gives me a big hug, and dam gives me the whole commission, too!"

"That's so awesome!" Scootaloo says, a wide eyed look as if dreaming about having that much money, "You know what you're going to do with the bits?"

Silver Spoon shakes her head, "No; dam was talking about saving a bit of it, put towards when I get a special somepony. I'll be getting a place of my own, especially if I'm lead mare. I mean, dam owns the flat above the shop but we rent it out, since this place is plenty big enough for the herd. But when I get my own herd then I might need to go someplace else." Silver Spoon nervously glances around, a little self-conscious about the luxury surrounding them, "So, um, if you want to try some of the snacks and desserts they are right over there! It's all Pinkie Pie stuff, and it's really good! But, I don't have to tell you all that, right?"

The three Apple fillies shake their head, spotting Lemon and Applebaum standing near the snacks. A group of older fillies with their cutie marks come over, Silver Spoon turning to chat with them and telling her cutie mark story again. The three wave goodbye, Silver Spoon returning the wave before going back to talking. The trio head to the snack table, gathering a heaping plate of the hoof food each, Apple Bloom saying, "Ah'm so happy for her. Ah hope that Ah can get my cutie mark doing something with Applejack! Ah really love spending time with her."

Sweetie Belle grins and nods while Scootaloo huffs, kicking at the carpet. "Yeah," the pegasus says, "The only way I'm getting a job doing something with Rainbow is by printing and hoofing out the weather schedules."

"Ah'm sorry, Scootaloo," Apple Bloom says, "Ah wasn't thinking about you when Ah said that."

"Nah, it's cool," Scootaloo says, a slight sigh, "Nothing I'm not going to hear for the rest of my life."

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean that it isn't going to get better!" Sweetie Belle says. "Maybe when you get your cutie mark you'll be able to fly with her!"

"Yeah!" Scootaloo exclaims before taking a bite of the crackers, the rich cheese a bit much for her taste. She shrugs, eating the rest of it, then starting on the chocolates. They each turn, hearing a bit of commotion coming from the present table.

Silver Spoon and a group of roller derby fillies, all with their cutie marks, are around the presents, many of which are now unwrapped. "Oh. My. Celestia. Who got her this?" says Bolt, one of the older fillies, disdainfully picking up the blue ball. "Didn't they realize that you would be using a full size ball, now that you've got your cutie mark and you'll be playing with the big fillies?"

"Yeah, and look at it!" Hairpin Turn scoffs, "They didn't even bother getting you a new one, just the old one they had laying around."

Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo look at each other, tears in their eyes as they shrink down. They try to slink away, going back to the food table and hoping nopony realizes that it was their gift. They hunch over as Diamond Tiara moves next to them, grabbing a bit of cheese as she tries to hide her eavesdropping.

Silver Spoon says, "Hey, you three, stop that." She runs a hoof over the three signatures, "I like it; it's a great gift to remind me of all the time we spent playing together." She smirks as she glances over at the three derby fillies, "You'd think you'd remember those times a little better, or do they need to beat you again to jog your memory?" The trio look at each other, a little surprised at the change in Silver Spoon's voice; they hadn't heard the gray filly say something forcefully before.

"Hey!" Finish Line exclaims, pointing a hoof at Silver Spoon, "That's all foal stuff. And it only happened a couple times before we started trouncing them. It's way different now that we're in the big leagues." The two other roller derby fillies nod along, smirking as they tap their pads.

"Uh huh," Silver Spoon's smirk gets larger, "And when they get their cutie marks and join us I bet they'll beat you there too."

"Hey, maybe that can be our present to them," Hairpin Turn says, poking Bolt in the ribs, "A ball of the correct size! At least then they'd be able to play with us, you know?" She gives a mean laugh, "You'd think they'd stop when they could barely feed the first three."

"Yeah, maybe they'd be able to afford a proper gift if they did." Bolt shakes her head, "Heaven's Sun, that human, you know?"

"Jeez, don't remind me," Finish Line says, a glance to the snacks table, "I'm surprised there's still food here."

"Hey! I didn't invite you here so you could bad mouth my friends," Silver Spoon says loudly, glaring at the three, "And if that's all you want to do then please leave."

"I'm sorry, did we say anything bad about your friends?" Finish Line looks between Bolt and Hairpin Turn, the two returning short shakes of the head. She turns back to Silver Spoon, "Unless you think that human is your friend. You going to shack up with him like the rest of those losers?" Finish Line smirks, the fillies behind her bumping hooves against each other.

"HEY!" Diamond Tiara yells, stomping over, "You three are no longer welcome to this party. Please, do us all a favor and leave."

"Hah! Need some blank flank to fight your battles, Spoon?" The three roller derby fillies shake their heads, "Later, dudes."

"The nerve of some ponies," Diamond Tiara says, holding her nose in the air as the three older fillies leave the room. Silver Spoon sighs heavily, her body shaking as a few tears form in her eyes. Diamond Tiara slowly runs a hoof along Silver Spoon's back, the gray filly relaxing as she slowly settles down.

The Apple trio comes over, Apple Bloom saying, "Hey, um, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. Thanks for standing up for us."

"Ugh, no need to thank me, I couldn't stand them insulting my sister either." Diamond Tiara smirks, moving over to wrap Silver Spoon in a hug, the filly smiling back.

"And, Silver Spoon, thank you, too. It really means a lot to us that you invited us here." Sweetie Belle's smile gets bigger as Silver Spoon smiles back and wipes a tear from her eye.

"And thanks for standing up for us, too!" Scootaloo says, the trio joining Diamond Tiara in hugging Silver Spoon.

"You're welcome, I guess; I couldn't stand them being mean to you all!" Silver Spoon gives a forced smile, glancing at their plates, "Just, um, try to leave some food for everypony else."

The trio nervously rub the back of their heads, small laughs as they glance around. They grab their plates, taking them off to the side where they hurriedly finish the rest of their food, then joining Diamond Tiara at the Pin the Tail station while Silver Spoon greets another set of fillies.