• Published 7th Aug 2012
  • 5,033 Views, 164 Comments

Pride and Prejudice and Snails - Mudpony



A lost bet forces Diamond Tiara to ask Snails to a dance. But when Snails turns to Sweetie Belle for help with impressing his date, she develops feelings for him. And so what was to have been a simple victory for the CMC gets a bit more complicated.

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Chapter 11

"So what'd you tell him?"

Silver Spoon's question pulled Diamond Tiara out of the trance-like state she had been in. Shaking off the hypnotic effects of the soft clicks and bumps of the train travelling down the rails, she contemplated how much of the truth she wanted to tell her friend. Should she bring up her own conflicted feelings? Sure, they had sworn to always tell each other the truth, but a case like this had to be an acceptable exception.

"Well?" Silver Spoon asked.

"The truth." At Silver Spoon's incredulous look, Diamond Tiara winked. "Not the whole truth, of course. Just the useful parts. I told him that Sweetie Belle has a crush on him. That her friends are trying to break us up. That that's why I'd panicked and let him think her card was from me."

"How'd he react?"

"He wanted some time alone." The soft clicks of the train on its rails continued to tick away as the two fillies sat in silence. The memory of Snails telling her to stay away from him for a bit, that he needed some time, played through her mind. "I think he'll be okay though. He said he wants to talk again after school tomorrow," she said.

Silver Spoon nodded. "So you still got him hooked. Good."

"Was there ever any doubt?" Diamond Tiara replied. "At the very least, he won't be running to her. Not after that kiss."

Diamond Tiara replayed the scene in her mind. Not the parts leading up to it, of course. Just the good part. That she considered kissing Snails a good part surprised her, but it was the truth. The first meeting of lips, the shocked look in his eyes, and the way it melted away as he kissed her back. It had been nice, not at all gross like she had expected. Even knowing that a crowd was watching her kiss Snails, Snails of all ponies, had not ruined the moment. Instead, she had gracefully curtsied to them after the kiss, bringing forth even more cheers and whistles.

"So, what was it like?"

She had felt so light, like she could have floated away in the slightest gust of wind. The slight shortness of breath. The softness of his lips meeting hers. The look on Snails's face afterwards, as he blinked rapidly, his little mind still trying to figure out what had happened. The way his head nodded as she told him she would explain later, on the train.

"Oh, it was, like, totally gross. All icky and slimy. And I think he tried to use his tongue." Actually, she had been the one imagining doing that. Not during the kiss they had shared tonight, but the next time she got a chance to really kiss him. She had read about it in a book once. It had seemed disgusting at the time, but now it almost seemed desirable.

"Blech." Silver Spoon's face looked like a foal who had just been fed a big bite of brussel sprouts wrapped in mashed alfalfa. "I've got to tell you, Diamond, you sure are committed. I don't know if I could bring myself to do that. With Featherweight, I mean. He's so annoying. If it weren't for what he did to you, I'd so dump him right this second."

Whether summoned by Silver Spoon's mention of him or some innate journalistic instinct to always be where he was not wanted, Featherweight picked that moment to enter the car. Diamond Tiara sighed and quickly looked away, hoping he would not see them. The last thing she wanted right now was to have that colt around right now, with his moping and boring conversations. He was worse than Snips. And Snails, she added. Definitely worse than Snails.

"Oh pony feathers. It is him, isn't it?" Silver Spoon asked, slouching down.

Diamond Tiara nodded. She risked a quick glance at the other end of the car, hoping he was not coming their way. Her luck for the day had been used up, apparently, because not only was he walking down the hallway toward them, he was looking at her. She sighed as he slid into the bench across from her, forcing Silver Spoon to scoot over.

"Hello, girls," he said, stretching out the first word. He set his camera down and settled into his seat. Diamond Tiara frowned. He was up to something. "So I was thinking about this week's issue of the Foal Free Press. Front page, a big story on this event. The headline: 'Love for Golden Oaks Library'." One of his forelegs swept across the space before him, as if pointing out the words. "Of course, it'll need a picture. Something that will really draw the interest of readers." He paused, probably to give them time to see where he was heading with this.

Diamond Tiara rolled her eyes. He was actually going to try and use the pictures he took of her and Snails to blackmail her? Had stick boy actually grown a spine? It would be interesting to find out, she decided. She gave him a smile and asked, "And?"

Featherweight seemed taken aback by her response. She watched as he swallowed and looked away. Then his face hardened and he met her gaze. "And I've got the perfect picture: You kissing Snails."

The image of everypony in her class laughing at her flashed through her mind, and for the briefest of moments, she might have considered panicking. But then the more rational part of her brain took over. Diamond Tiara laughed.

"Listen, feathers for brains, if I was worried about ponies knowing I'd kissed Snails, I surely wouldn't have done it in front of a whole roomful of ponies. Ponies who love nothing better than to gossip." She looked at Featherweight's face. "What? You didn't consider that? Geez, seriously, if you want to force somepony to do something, at least make sure you got something on them first."

"Does... does that mean you aren't going to let me off the hook if I don't print the picture?"

"Don't print the picture? Ha! Exactly the opposite. I want you to print it." She stood up, leaning over the table and jabbing a hoof in his face. "And make it big! And I want a copy of the picture, Monday, first thing!"

She was not sure what she would use the picture for, but it seemed like the right thing to say. And by the look on his face, it had been. Utterly crushed. Served him right for thinking he could get the better of her. Of course, that would probably make him more mopey than ever. She smiled. He scooped up his camera and started to slide out into the aisle, but she stopped him to add one more thing. "Also, Silver Spoon is totally breaking up with you, because you're, like, a total downer."

She watched him leave, enjoying his confusion. He had wanted to end it on his terms, from a position of strength, and instead he had been dismissed and was lower than ever. She laughed.

"Well, that was interesting," Silver Spoon said. "Are you sure about letting him off the hook though?"

Diamond Tiara nodded. "No point in you being miserable over somepony as unimportant as him."

Silver Spoon's laughter rang through the air. "For sure." She paused, and her face grew solemn. With a raised hoof, she asked, "We're not letting Alula off easy though, right?"

"Of course not."

"Good. I want her to suffer a bit longer for what she did. Friends shouldn't betray each other like that."

Diamond Tiara acknowledged what her friend had said with a slight smile, but her thoughts were already elsewhere. What would Snails wind up deciding tomorrow? Would he end it? Did she want him to end it? She stared out the window and scowled. The feeling of power from putting Featherweight in his place was gone, but she wanted that feeling again. It beat this uncertainty. She did not like that feeling at all.

She thought of another of her dad's lessons: "If you want something to happen, don't wait around until it does. Make it happen." Well, she could do that. She would act like she was confident until she that is exactly what she was.

She turned back toward Silver Spoon, a smirk plastered on her face. "So I've been thinking about tomorrow. First, we take the picture Featherweight is giving us and then we..."


Sweetie Belle put on a fake smile as her two friends rushed up to her. So eager were they to know that their school books nearly flew out of their packs from the excited bouncing.

"Did it work?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Is he your boyfriend now?" Scootaloo asked. "Tell us everything. Except the mushy stuff. No mushy stuff."

"Unless you really want to tell us," Apple Bloom said, nudging the unicorn twice.

It was too much for Sweetie Belle. She collapsed to the ground, tears starting to well in her eyes. At the sight, her friends playful demeanor stopped. Apple Bloom lowered her head, holding it close to Sweetie's.

"What happened?" Apple Bloom asked quietly.

Though it hurt her to relive it all, she told them. She told them about how she gave Snails the card and the following confrontation and the kiss that ended it. She told them about the train ride home, about how she had curled up, pretending to be happy when all she wanted to do was cry, while Rarity and her friends had chatted about the event. Eventually, she had gone to look for Snails and he had told her to leave him alone, that he knew why she had done what she did. That had hurt most of all.

Her friends held her while she let it all out. Within the warm embrace of her friends, her spirit climbed out of the pit, and at last, she thanked them. They nodded awkwardly.

"Reckon we'd best be heading to school," Apple Bloom said. Sweetie nodded and fell into step beside her friends. For a while, they walked in silence, until Apple Bloom broke it. "Ah'm really sorry it didn't work out how you was hoping, Sweetie."

"I... I just want to forget all about it," Sweetie Belle said. "Why does life have to be so complicated?"

"We won't mention it again," Apple Bloom swore. And for about ten paces, that was the case, but then Scootaloo spoke.

"I just can't believe she kissed him," Scootaloo said. Apple Bloom glared at Scootaloo, who shrugged. "What? I'm only saying what we're both thinking."

"Yah heard what Sweetie said. Tiara was all panicked. Things were getting out of hoof faster than a timber wolf in the hen house, and she just acted. Ah'd bet she probably spent darn near the whole train ride home talkin' Silver Spoon's ear off with her complaints about it. No doubt she's doing her best tah forget all about it. Right, Sweetie?"

Sweetie Belle did not answer. In her mind, she replayed the scene yet again. Something about Diamond Tiara's expression did not fit with what Apple Bloom had just said. The panic had been there, for sure. But there was only the slightest trace of disgust and horror afterwards. Her body shivered at the possible implications of that.

"Um, Sweetie?" Apple Bloom asked.

"What if... What if she kissed him 'cause she likes him?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"Want to kiss Snails? Seriously?" Scootaloo laughed, before cutting herself short as Sweetie looked her way. Scootaloo swallowed and shrugged, her cheeks reddening slightly. "No offense, Sweetie. I mean, I'm sure Snails is awesomely kissable. Not nearly as gross as one would think." She gave a big, toothy smile, the same type Sweetie Belle had seen her use on grownups after one of their crusading attempts had resulted in substantial property damage, before she continued. "What I meant to say was—"

Apple Bloom shoved a hoof into Scootaloo's mouth. "Ah'm sure she just means for how Diamond Tiara would see things. Right, Scootaloo?"

Scootaloo nodded, and Apple Bloom retracted her hoof. "Yeah. She'd never lower her—"

Scootaloo's sentenced ended with a loud oomph as she was plowed into by another pony. The folder the pony had been carrying dropped to the ground, scattering its contents across the floor. Sweetie Belle gasped and moved to help the hapless pony, only to step back when she saw who it was.

"Why don't you blank flanks watch where you are going? I had to totally swerve several times before I hit you!" Silver Spoon snapped at the crusaders.

Apple Bloom raised one eyebrow. "Y'all had tah swerve tah hit us?"

"Oops. I mean I, like, totally tried to swerve to avoid running into you. I most definitely did not mean to run into you just so I could accidentally spill the contents of this folder. That'd be the sort of thing only lame ponies like you would do." Silver Spoon started shoving various papers and pictures back into it. She gasped and pressed her hoof down on one of the pictures, before picking it up. "Look at this! Now it has a hoof print on it. Thanks to your clumsiness, it's ruined!"

She held up the picture for the crusaders to see. A picture of Diamond Tiara, eyes closed, leaning forward to lock lips with a wide eyed Snails. Silver Spoon waved it slowly in front of all three of them, to make sure they could all see smudge, which did not in any obscure either Snails or Diamond Tiara, before she slipped the picture back into the folder.

Silver Spoon gave an exaggerated sigh. "I sure hope Featherweight can make another copy. That picture is going to be on the frontpage of the Foal Free Press on this week's issue. Really big. On Thursday." She raised a bare foreleg and looked at it. "Oh, look at the time. I, like, so got to go. See you in class, losers!" She spun around and raced off.

Apple Bloom stood still, her head tilted slightly. "Yah know, something tells me that might not have been entirely accidental."

"You think?" Scootaloo asked Apple Bloom, before turning her attention to Sweetie Belle. "You still think she might like him for reals?"

Sweetie Belle did not answer her. She stood, her forelegs spread, glaring at Silver Spoon's retreating form. "Oh, if she wants war, I'll take her to war."


Silver Spoon looked away from where Alula sat by herself in the lunchroom. Like the weather that saw them eating lunch indoors, the pegasus's mood was miserable, grey, and depressing. And just like the ponies stayed indoors to stay out of the rain, they avoided sitting near Alula, lest her mood was contagious. Alula must really have liked Featherweight, to be taking it this hard. Silver Spoon was not sure what she saw in him. Maybe it was a pegasus hormone sort of thing. Whatever the cause was did not matter that. What did was that Alula's state last until the weekend. Then her time would be complete, the sentence served.

On Saturday, Alula's good friends would come to visit to her and apologize for not doing so sooner. The blame for that would be laid on Heart Throb, of course, and the conversation would naturally shift to how colts were jerks. And maybe that would set the... no, stay focused on the weekend. Just the weekend. Colts were jerks. Then they would excuse Snails from that. And then they would hug and cry, and all would be forgiven. They would be closer friends than before. The perfect conclusion to the plan.

Silver Spoon raised her head and looked toward Featherweight, watching as his gaze drifted toward Alula, then away again. It felt good to be rid of him. Even accounting for his moping and his being a bore, he just had not fit in. Actually, she would glad when all this was over, when things were back to normal. When it was back to just hanging out with her regular friends. Dating could wait until they went to university in the big city, where they could meet somepony with a real future. Although, maybe if the right pony presented herself... Himself. She meant himself.

Diamond Tiara's laughter derailed her train of thought, and Silver Spoon looked over to see her friend chuckling. She followed Diamond Tiara's gaze over to the next table, where Snails sat. For a moment, she worried that maybe things would not return to normal, but she dismissed those foolish thoughts. Diamond Tiara had assured her that there were no feelings for Snails, and since she and Diamond Tiara could tell each other anything, would never lie to each other, she had nothing to worry about on that front.

"These seats taken?" a voice asked, as Scootaloo sat down without waiting for an answer to her question.

Silver Spoon restrained a chuckle. Obviously, this morning's little trick had struck a nerve. Well, that had been obvious enough just from Sweetie Belle's expression. And now they wanted to play. As if they stood a chance against her and Diamond Tiara.

"They're for mature ponies only. The baby section is over there." Diamond Tiara pointed over to where the youngest kids in school sat.

"Your flanks will fit right in there," Silver Spoon added. "Not a cutie mark amongst them. And, like, maybe you can recruit them for your little loser club."

"Maybe we will," Apple Bloom said as she took a seat. "They've probably got better manners than you two."

"Like you'd know a thing about manners, what with being raised in a barn and all," Diamond Tiara shot back.

And like that, a full-fledged insult war was on. Scootaloo retorted, with support from Sweetie Belle. Silver Spoon seized the obvious retort and drove it home mercilessly, only for Apple Bloom to fire back with one of her own. With each comment, the fillies' voices raised in volume, even as they themselves stood upon their rear legs, using their forelegs to gesture ever more flamboyantly.

"Girls!" Everypony froze at the sound of Cheerilee's voice. "Is there a reason for all this ruckus?"

Silver Spoon's heart raced as she turned to face the teacher. She could not think of anything to say. Luckily, Diamond Tiara came to the rescue.

"We're sorry, Miss Cheerilee. We're just excited about what we're covering in history class today, that's all. Right?" All the formerly bickering fillies nodded, doing their best to look entirely innocent.

"Oh, yes, Miss Cheerilee. The fourth century of the Lunar Exile period is our favorite," Sweetie Belle said.

"Oh really?" the teacher asked. The students dutifully nodded. "Well then, I'll be looking forward to your insight into the EG Affair and what it showed about the status of Equestrian society of the time. But until then, girls, please try to keep your enthusiasm in check."

"Okay, Miss Cheerilee," all five fillies said in unison. Miss Cheerilee took a moment longer to look at each filly, a look that felt like it was trying to plumb the depths of her soul, but like the others, Silver Spoon maintained her best cute and innocent look. It seemed to work, for Miss Cheerilee turned and left. The fillies all breathed a sigh of relief.

"Good going, brainiac," Diamond Tiara snarled at Sweetie Belle, as she reached into her pack and pulled out her history book, flipping through the pages to what they would be covering in class.


Snails stood waiting outside the school, shifting impatiently from side to side. His usual smile was absent, but then, so were the thoughts that usually occupied his mind. He should be happy. He had what he wanted. She had even kissed him! And yet he was having doubts. The whole situation with Sweetie Belle. Was she really interested in him as well? He liked her as a friend and had been sure that was all she had seen in him. After all, he knew that he was quite the catch as a boyfriend, he also knew that fillies seemed to be ignorant of this fact. Why was she interested in him? Why was Diamond Tiara? Was Sweetie Belle really jealous of Diamond Tiara? Perhaps that is why there had almost gotten into a fight at lunch? Was he really the cause of it all? Or was he just a pawn in some sick game?

It was all too complicated. He preferred things simple. Playing pirates with Snips on a nice sunny day, with just enough of a breeze to feel the wind in one's mane. An awesome magic show, with fireworks. A good movie with a bold hero, a daring heroine, and a happy ending. Simple things that did not leave one with troubled thoughts that refused to go away.

And yet... that kiss. It had caught him completely by surprise and been all that he had hoped. No, it had exceeded his wildest expectations. Diamond Tiara sure did not make anything easy. Well, except enjoying being kissed by her. With that thought came the return of his usual smile and the creak of the door.

He looked toward the sound and felt his momentary return to bliss wiped away. Through the doorway stepped Diamond Tiara, and yet not, for what stood there was not the confident and brash filly he adored, but one who was tentative. It occurred to him that this was a side of her he had not seen, a side she must usually keep hidden. The realization pushed his worries back into the dark recesses of his mind, and he stood still, once again enjoying just feeling good. The silence lasted until Diamond Tiara spoke up.

"Well? What's the plan?" she asked, her voice harsh and demanding. And yet, underneath it, he could sense an insecurity. Before last night, he probably would not have noticed. Of course, before last night, it might not have been there.

He leaned forward and kissed her, enjoying her momentary surprise. "I thought maybe we'd go for a walk, maybe by the lake?" he suggested.

She smiled at him. "I'd... I'd like that." And not just any smile, but one of ones she usually reserved for Silver Spoon. He froze, just smiling and staring.

"Um, Snails?" Diamond Tiara asked, waving a hoof in front of his face. "You in there?"

The smile gone, his brain began to function again. He nodded slowly. Conversation. He needed to say something. Something that would get her talking happily. Maybe something about— "So, what was up at lunch today?" his mouth asked, without waiting for his brain to decide that this was the right thing to say.

Diamond Tiara rolled her eyes."Oh, just Apple Blank and her friends starting trouble again."

The venom in her voice when she mentioned Apple Bloom sent a slight shiver up his spine. "What's the deal with you two anyway?" he asked. It probably was not the smartest thing to say, but then, he was not the smartest pony. And he really did want to know.

Surprisingly enough, she did not bite his head off. "What, you mean besides the fact that she's, like, a total menace to the town and I seem to be the only one that can see it?"

Snails pondered that. Sure, Apple Bloom had done a few bad things, but nothing that much worse than any other foal. Certainly nothing as bad as bringing a bear larger than the town hall into their midst anyway. That had been a crazy weekend. He hoped the Great and Powerful Trixie would return to Ponyville again soon. She would probably have all new magic tricks, even more impressive than last time. It would be awesome. He could just imagine Diamond Tiara snuggled against him, while Snips sat on his other side, and they all oohed and awed at the marvelous show. The rest of the class would be there too, like Rumble and Apple Bloom. Except that Diamond Tiara would probably fight with Apple Bloom, for some reason other than just bringing a bear to town. "There's something else, no?"

"I just dislike her, okay?. I always have and I always will." She walked without speaking for a bit. "Actually, I suppose that's not quite true. The 'always have' bit, I mean. She used to be my best friend. That's back before I met Sil, obviously. Back when my mom... back when my mother was still alive."

"I'm sorry," Snails said out of habit.

"For what? My mother being dead? You had nothing to do with it. Besides, it was a long time ago. I barely even remember her." Again silence, and Snails let it be, for he sensed that Diamond Tiara had more to say. It took a while before she continued though, long enough that the lake was in sight.

"There was a storm. A big one. And just like that, my life changed. One moment I was your typical happy filly, and the next I'm halfway to being an orphan." She lowered her voice, trying to sound like a stallion. "Sorry, kid, there's been a wagon accident. Your mom won't be coming home ever again." A swift kick of Diamond Tiara's leg sent a rock flying into the lake. "I didn't speak for a week. But you know what got me talking again?"

Snails shook his head, not saying a word for fear that the sound of his voice would ruin the moment.

"A sleepover." She gave a short laugh, and it was not a merry one. "Yeah, a sleepover. My dad had to leave town on business, so he arranged for me to stay with the Apples. It was like there was light again after eternal night. I'd get to spend time with my best friend. We'd play games, have fun, and just for a little while, things would be how they used to be.

"At first things were great. We played happily. Of course, it was a farm, so Apple Bloom had to do some chores, and I went along to help. Everything was fine until she started laughing at me because I didn't know how to do all the farm stuff. Why would I, you know? I wasn't raised in a barn like her, but she laughed anyway. I got angrier and angrier. And then we had to cross a stream. Naturally, they didn't have a proper bridge. No, it had to be a log. A slime-covered, slippery log. So, yeah, I slipped and fell in. And she just giggled.

"As I sat there in mud, the cold water swirling by, it was like it all became so clear. I could see her true nature, and how it was all the fault of her and her family. Everything that was wrong was tied to that farm. My mom wouldn't even have been pulling that wagon if not for that farm, you know. She was returning from taking a shipment of zap apple jam to Canterlot."

Another rock found its way into the lake, followed by a third, before Diamond Tiara continued.

"Anyway, I tackled her, right then and there, knocked her into the middle of the stream. Applejack had to pull us apart, twice. The first time the moment I got free I threw myself right back at her." Diamond Tiara laughed and shook her head.

"I spent the rest of the day sitting on a stool in the kitchen. And so did she. Later, she even had the nerve to try and say sorry, but I saw through that. I asked her what she was sorry for and she couldn't even admit what she had done. All she could say was that she was sorry for making me angry.

"For the longest time, I wouldn't even go back to that farm. Threw the biggest fits you can imagine if my dad so much as suggested it. Over time, that passed. I don't even hate her that much anymore. But one thing I can tell you: Never trust an Apple. They'll always backstab you in the end."

She laughed again. "So there you go. My past with Apple Bloom." She stopped briefly, looking out over the lake, watching the sunlight reflect on its waters. "You know, you're only the second pony I've ever told that to."


"How about this one?" Filthy Rich asked, as he held up a suit in front of himself.

Diamond Tiara cast an appraising eye upon it. The color suited him well. The cut was modern, yet classic. If he combined it with the right tie, he would surely catch the eye of every pony with an interest in stallions. Applejack would barely be able to keep her hooves off him.

She shook her head. "No, daddy. I don't think that one is a good choice at all."

Filthy Rich looked down at the suit and ran a hoof along it, smoothing it. With a slight tilt of his head, he looked back toward his daughter. "Really? I thought it was quite fetching."

"Oh, no, it sends completely the wrong message. Right, Spoon?" Diamond Tiara asked.

"Definitely, Mr. Rich. Completely the wrong message."

Diamond Tiara scanned the various outfits laying upon her father's bed. "I'd go with the dark grey one, daddy."

He looked at it, once again with a questioning look upon his face. "Are you sure? Don't you think it is a little too, um, business?"

Well, of course it is. That's the idea. Like she would want Apple Bloom's sister to get any romantic ideas toward her father when they went out for their evening two nights from now. Especially with him picking out the clothes beforehoof, even if he was going to be away on business the next couple of days. She was taking no chances. "Oh no. It is perfect."

Silver Spoon nodded in agreement. Filthy Rich looked at the suit he was holding one last time, then shrugged and tossed it onto a pile of other rejected cloths.

"Well, okay. I'll trust your judgment. Now, what tie to combine with it. I was thinking the red one with the sailboats," he said.

Diamond Tiara's ears shot up as the doorbell rang. "That'll be him, Sil." She slid off the bed and walked toward the door. Before going through it, she turned her head and nodded to her father. "That one should be fine, daddy."

Silver Spoon added her support for the choice. "That one for sure, Mr. Rich."

The two fillies giggled once out of earshot. "No chance she'll see it as anything other than business related that way."

"For sure," Silver Spoon said, as they passed through the doorway into the entry hall.

"Mr. Iron Will and friends here for you, Miss Tiara," Praiseworthy said, indicating the minotaur and a pair of his goat servants.

Diamond Tiara nodded. "Thank you, Praiseworthy."

"Will Miss and her guests be wanting tea?" Praiseworthy asked.

Diamond Tiara looked at Iron Will and raised an eyebrow. At the minotaur's nod, she turned to the butler. "That sounds lovely, Praiseworthy. We'll be in the study."

The butler nodded, then turned crisply and headed toward the kitchen.

Diamond Tiara led the way through the house. Once at their destination, Iron Will sat himself down upon one of the chairs and dropped the folder he was carrying upon the table. With one finger, he flipped it open and slid the top piece of paper over to Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon.

"So this here's the tally of all the income." With his finger, he indicated each item as he recited them. "Ticket sales, donations, the bachelorette auction, and the raffle. As you can see, the total comes to six thousand, three hundred and eighty-two bits."

Silver Spoon gave an appreciative whistle. Diamond Tiara would have done the same, but whistling was not something she had bothered to learn to do. It was just far too common, although it did have its uses. Like right now. Almost sixty-four hundred bits. That was way more than the paltry thirteen hundred the blank flanks had made with their fair. She could hardly wait to rub it in their faces tomorrow at school.

Iron Will slid over another piece of paper. "And this here is the expenses. Rental, decorations, labor, Mr. Gustave's fee, drinks, food, and my own modest fee. All itemized."

Diamond Tiara looked down the list and at the big number at the bottom. Her anticipation of tomorrow disappeared faster than social graces at an Apple family reunion. Not that she had ever been or had any desire to go to one of those, but she was pretty sure the pigs would be the most refined thing there.

"But... that only leaves like eight hundred left," she protested.

Iron Will nodded.

"Are you sure there isn't any mistake?" Silver Spoon asked, as Diamond Tiara slid back into her chair.

"'A mistake in the bill is not nice; always be sure to check it thrice': That's my motto when it comes to bills. There's no mistake, Iron Will guarantees it. I've got all the receipts here, if you want to check for yourself." He indicated the various bits of paper that were still in the folder.

"Oh," Silver Spoon said.

Seeing the fillies' disappointment, Iron Will softened his usual gruff demeanor. "Iron Will did say you should try to get some volunteers and donations."

"But that'd have taken so much time," Diamond Tiara protested. "We have lives, you know."

"Sorry, girls. There's nothing Iron Will can do. I already gave you the best prices I can manage," Iron Will said. He gestured to one of the goats, who held out another folder. From it, Iron Will took the final invoice and slid it over to the two fillies.

With a sigh, Diamond Tiara signed it.


"I hope we're playing some dodgeball today," Diamond Tiara said, placing her tiara in the center of her gym bag.

"I, like, totally know what you mean," Silver Spoon said, as she put away her necklace. "I mean, I'm not a big fan of dodgeball, but today, chucking the ball as hard as I could at somepony would feel so good."

"I know, right?" Diamond Tiara replied, sliding her necklace into the side pocket.

The two fillies, all ready for gym, slid their bags over against the wall and headed out the door, to join the rest of the class, who were gathered around Miss Cheerilee. Diamond Tiara frowned. Miss Cheerilee did not have the red rubber balls that meant either dodgeball or kickball. Instead, she had a round ball with hexagonal patterns on it.

"Okay, class, today for P.E., we'll be playing hoofball," Miss Cheerilee announced to the class. The class cheered. Hoofball, or soccer as it was known in the griffon kingdoms, was always favorite. Diamond Tiara glared at Apple Bloom, giving a slight smile as she imagined slide tackling Apple Bloom and seeing her flipping over in the air. Feeling eyes upon her, she glanced to her left to see a similar expression on Scootaloo's face.

"Bring it," she mouthed to the pegasus.

Miss Cheerilee waited until the class quieted down, then continued. "Now I know normally let you pick your own teams, but for today, I've made up the teams. Diamond Tiara, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, Silver Spoon, and Apple Bloom, you'll be on the red team. Rumble, Alula, Snips, Snails, Truffle Shuffle, and Tootsie Flute will be on the blue."

Sweetie Belle raised her hoof.

"Yes, Sweetie?" Miss Cheerilee asked.

"I have to leave early to help my sister, remember?"

"Is it true she wound up completely red, mane and all, from trying to paint a barn?" Silver Spoon said with a snicker. Others in the class made their own comments, and the volume quickly rose, before a whistle cut through it.

"Quiet, class," Miss Cheerilee said, the whistle hanging from her neck by a cord. "Okay, Sweetie, you can go." While Sweetie Belle ran off, Miss Cheerilee looked over her class. "That leaves it four on six, so I'll need to move one player over. Let's see..."

Please let it be Snails, Diamond Tiara repeated to herself.

"Twist."

Diamond Tiara groaned. To say that Twist was not good at hoofball, or any sport for that matter, was like saying rain was wet. Now she had Twist on her team as well as those crusaders. Even with her leadership skills, it was going to be an unmitigated disaster.


It had been an unmitigated disaster. The type of disaster that, in future years, would be dragged up whenever some new disaster occurred, just to stress how disastrous the new disaster truly was. They had only managed to score a single goal, and that one had been by Silver Spoon, on a lucky kick from midfield, on an undefended goal. Truffle Shuffle, the opposing team's goalie, had long since started leaving his team's goal to try and score some points as well. And he had scored. Twice.

The whistle signaling that it was time to hit the showers and get ready for the next class had been a relief. The opposing team had rushed off together, cheering and laughing, leaving the thoroughly defeated red team blaming each other for the trouncing.

"Well, maybe if you tried this new thing I heard of, we wouldn't have lost so badly. I think they call it 'passing'," Scootaloo said.

"Like you're one to talk," Diamond Tiara shot back.

"Hey, I tried passing to you!"

"Yeah, once."

"And you totally blew it. Just stood there as the ball bounced past and out. So of course I wasn't going to just give the ball to the other team like that again."

Okay, that might have been her fault, but she had been keeping an eye on Snails as he ran. Keeping an eye on where the opposing team was at was something you were supposed to do. But even if she had gotten a little bit too caught up in it, she wasn't going to admit it. Besides, there had been plenty of times she had been actively calling for the ball and Scootaloo had not passed, inevitably losing the ball to the defenders. "No, instead you just let them take it from you."

"Well, it's not my fault if—"

"It was jutht a game, guyth" Twist said, trying to play the peacemaker.

"Shut up!" both said unison.

"Did you, like, even try to stop any of the shots?" Silver Spoon asked Twist.

"Hey! She got a couple of them," Apple Bloom said.

"Probably because she just happened to be in the way," Silver Spoon retorted.

"Itth not my fault. I tol' you I wathn't a good goalie. But you didn't lithten," Twist said.

"And you," Diamond Tiara said, pointing a hoof at Apple Bloom. "I can't believe you shot on our own goal."

"That was a pass!" Apple Bloom said. "And I was doing what you yelled to do."

"Whatever. I so didn't tell you to score for the other team."

"Like, totally," Silver Spoon said.

"Well, maybe it wouldn't have happened if you'd been back on defense like you were supposed to be, rather than wandering around midfield!" Scootaloo said, pushing Silver Spoon.

The two sets of fillies faced off, glaring at each other, with Twist caught in the middle, trying to keep the two sides apart. One pony shoved another, but before it could go further, a shadow fell over them. "Girls!" Miss Cheerilee said with an edge to her voice the fillies rarely heard. "Twist, to the dressing room. Now."

"Yeth, Mith Cheerilee," Twist said meekly, slinking off with a backwards glance.

The four remaining fillies now faced Miss Cheerilee, who glared at them until Twist was out of earshot. "I know something has been going on between you. I'd hoped it would sort itself out, but it hasn't been. That's why I put you on the same team. I was hoping you'd work out your differences and come together as a team. Instead, you put on the worst display I've ever seen." She sighed. "Frankly, girls, I'm disappointed in you."

"But what I can tell you is that this needs to end. One more incident and I'm sending a note home for all involved. Do you girls understand?"

The four fillies nodded dutifully, while casting angry glares at each other.

"Okay, then apologize and hit the showers. And let's have no more of this pointless bickering."

The four fillies mumbled apologies none of them really meant. That seemed sufficient to satisfy Miss Cheerilee, and Apple Bloom and Scootaloo walked away toward the showers. Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon tried to follow, but Miss Cheerilee stopped them.

"I'm serious, girls. I don't care who starts it. I expect the two of you to set a good example. Now, I'll see you in class."

Diamond Tiara fumed as the teacher walked off. Who was Miss Cheerilee to threaten Silver Spoon and her? It was all the fault of the blank flanks, not them. Maybe she should make sure those photos of Miss Cheerilee got published after all. But how to work it so that Featherweight did not get blamed? Not that she would mind if he did, but they had made a deal with him. Plus he had held up his side, so far. When it came to business, one's word was one's bond is one of the things daddy always said. Plus he would probably rat them out if they got him in trouble, and that would be bad. She ground her teeth in frustration.

"Calm down, Tiara," Silver Spoon said. "We don't want to get in trouble."

Diamond Tiara sighed. Silver Spoon was right, she knew. The last thing she needed right now was to get into trouble for fighting with Apple Bloom and her friends. If she did, it would no doubt come up at her father and Applejack's night out. That could lead to all sorts of further questions. She had too much going on right now to deal with that. She took several deep breaths and counted down from twenty, slowly.

Reaching the end, she let out another deep breath. "Okay. I'm good."

"Then shower time and back to class. So totally can't wait until this day is over."

Diamond Tiara nodded and followed Silver Spoon inside. She made it a point to ignore the crusaders, instead checking out the fascinating tiles on the opposite wall. Reaching her preferred shower stall, she turned on the water. Steam surrounded her, for she liked her showers hot. Soon, the soothing hot water washed away much of her irritability.

Turning off the water, she grabbed the towel from her gym bag and dried herself off. The next step was to comb her mane and tail. By the time she finished that, only Silver Spoon remained. That was to be expected, since the other colts and fillies from the class did not care for their appearance as much as the two of them. Next, she put on her tiara. That left just one thing left. She reached into her bag, feeling for her necklace. It was not there.

Calmly, she felt again, more thoroughly, but again without success. She held the bag open and looked inside. Not there.

"Sil? Have you seen my necklace?"

"Isn't it in your bag?"

"Of course it isn't in my bag. I wouldn't be asking if it was there," Diamond Tiara said, giving Silver Spoon a look that made it clear she expected better of her friend.

"I meant the side pocket, dummy," Silver Spoon said, sticking her tongue out at her friend.

"I never put it in there," Diamond Tiara said, not even bothering to look. "Besides, I distinctly remember putting it by my tiara, like I always do."

"You don't suppose...?" Silver Spoon said, indicating with her head the spot where the crusaders usually kept their things.

Like a catapult shot, Diamond Tiara was out the door. The moment she was outside, she scanned, looking for the three fillies. There, by the door to the schoolhouse proper. Without further thought, she charged their way. "Where is it?" she yelled.

"Your heart? I thought you didn't have one," Scootaloo said.

"No, my necklace, you flightless waterfowl," Diamond Tiara yelled back. "I know you lame-brains took it. Give it back!"

"Ah wouldn't steal!" Apple Bloom said.

"As if. The whole town knows you stole stuff from that zebra when you nearly infected the entire town with the cutie pox. Where is it, you thief?" Diamond Tiara grabbed Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo shoved Diamond Tiara away. "Keep your hooves off her, if you know what's good for you."

"Or what? You'll flap your wings at me? Was it you that took it?" Diamond Tiara accused, glaring at Scootaloo. "Trying to join your friend in her life of crime?"

"Like you're one to talk, card thief," Scootaloo shot back.

"One last chance. Give it back."

"Or what?"

Diamond Tiara threw herself at Scootaloo, sending a feather flying into the air as the two collided. The force of the collision bowled Scootaloo over, and Diamond Tiara landed on top of her, taking advantage of the position and her opponent's surprise to land several good blows. She felt somepony grab her, trying to pull her off Scootaloo, and then heard a loud oomph as Silver Spoon tackled Apple Bloom. The momentary distraction was sufficient for Scootaloo to sink her teeth into Diamond Tiara's foreleg, and she yelled in pain. Before Diamond Tiara could recover from the bite, Scootaloo threw her sideways, and the two ponies rolled into Apple Bloom and Silver Spoon. From there, it became a short-lived brawl that ended as quickly as it had begun.

"Girls!" loudly cut through the air, bringing the turbulent ball of fillies to a sudden stop. All four fillies looked up at a very angry Miss Cheerilee.

"Just what in Tartarus is going on here?"

All four fillies started to talk at once, each wildly gesturing, doing their best to lay the blame on the other side. Miss Cheerilee silenced them with a piercing burst from the whistle.

"One at a time. Starting with you, Diamond. And the rest of you sit quietly and wait your turn. You'll get your chance shortly."

"They stole my necklace!"

"What necklace?" Miss Cheerilee asked.

Diamond Tiara took a deep breath and started to explain, the words flowing out of her without thought. "Well, see, it all started with the talent show. We made a bet, but they sabotaged our act and so they won, and they made me go out with Snails to the dance even though I don't want to. At the dance Snails gave me the necklace, and then I saw Sweetie totally had a crush on Snails, so I pretended to like him to get back at them for cheating. And now they stole the necklace because I'm totally winning and they want to steal my fake boyfriend away from me."

She looked pleading at Miss Cheerilee, doing her best to apply all her charm, to make her see that she and Silver Spoon were not at fault, that all the blame lay on the crusaders. Miss Cheerilee was not, however, looking at her. Nor was the expression on her face what Diamond Tiara expected to see. It was not the anger that had been there, nor the understanding she had hoped to evoke.

It was a look she remembered well, for she had seen it before, on the day her mother had died. The look somepony gave that said they knew you were in pain, but that there was nothing they could do about it: Compassion mixed with an equal part helplessness.

Behind her, the door clicked shut. Diamond Tiara turned to see who was there, to see Snails standing there. His pack dropped to the ground, hitting with a thump and scattering its contents across the floor. With a look of utter heartbreak, he turned, shoved open the door, and ran off.

"Snails! No! Wait!" Diamond Tiara yelled, reaching out with one leg toward him, pleading for him to stop, but to no avail. Snails was the inverse of his namesake, moving faster than she had ever seen him go. As she watched, she felt compelled to whisper one last thing, even though she knew it would do no good, that he would not hear it, and even if he had, would not stop. "I can explain..."

For about ten seconds, there was silence, only for it to be broken by Scootaloo. "Hah! Serves you right."

With a roar of rage, Diamond Tiara launched herself at the crusaders, Silver Spoon only half a step behind.

Comments ( 47 )

Chapter 11. That took a bit. Just haven't been in a writing mood for the last bit, plus plenty of real stuff happening. But it is done. Now to work on revising "First Snow" for resubmission to EQD, well, that and start on chapter 12, and maybe a sequel a "Too Cool for MULE". Yes, urge to write... rising.

And on to chapter 12, wherein I'm not entirely sure what happens, as I need make adjustments to my planned outline. But I expect Snails will wander, Sweetie will comfort, Diamond Tiara will try to the do a right thing, and I'll kick her while she's down for it.

IT'S HERE! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY

IT'S HERE! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY :pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy:

2657686
Yeah, you'd think so. Just grab some other flowers and good to go. But not the case for DT and Spoon. The flowers they had were "perfect" for their act. The replacement ones weren't.

Pfffft, DT's a simpleton.

:fluttercry: New feature brought 2 downvotes. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :raritycry:

2657220

Why don't you send this to EQD instead? It's more unique.

Well, finally the cat is out of the bag. I would say Sweetie should make her move, but now he knows he was nothing but a pawn in a game so likely wouldn't work.

Hope Allula and Featherweight get back together.

Will the Snails entering the shield tournament thread get picked back up?

2657866
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. :scootangel: Still, it also brought a bunch of new favorites, comments, and up votes, so yay for that.

2658131

Why don't you send this to EQD instead? It's more unique.

I wanted a newer fic, as well as a shorter one, that I felt was worthy. The idea being that that would give me the greatest chance to get the story through, and in doing so, provide me with valuable first-hand experience and insight into the process, while not having it take a huge time investment (compared to a 60k+ word fic).

This story is my first published one, long, and it has a lot more issues that would need addressing. Before putting in the work necessary to submit it, I wanted some idea of just how much work it would actually be to get it through, and I didn't want to blow a strike finding out. So basically, part of why I picked that over this because I want this to have a better chance to get through if I do decide to submit it.

Will the Snails entering the shield tournament thread get picked back up?

Yup. Snails has things to think over, and one of those things is his participation in the tournament.

This is looking pretty good. Am I the only one looking forward to Diamond Tiara and Snails getting together instead? They seem to rub off on each other, making them both better ponies. Also, I really want to know what Snail's real name is!

2658875 I like DiaSnails.

NO, NO, NO!!! Everything was going so well,and in one angry outburst you did exactly what Snips warned you not to do! You broke him! You tore out his heart and broke him D.T.!!

Why can't you just admit you like him. He's the best thing that has ever happened to you!

Mudpony don't let it end like this! Their perfect for each other! Let her fix this...SHE HAS TO FIX THIS!!

DON'T LET SWEETIE BELLE WIN!!

2658875
I'm on your side, I want DT and Snails together.

oh no, now im worried whats going to happen.:ajsleepy: I don't want Sweetie to win! :raritydespair: DTxsnails 5ever!
Great chap by the way. :raritywink:
but we want MOAR!!!:pinkiecrazy: But take your time.:twilightsmile:

2657596
With all the shipping that gets done, it surprises me how much hasn't really been explored, though I sort of understand the why of that as well, especially with Snails. He's not exactly the most popular pony, nor the most desirable pony right out the box, being neither good looking or smart. The latter I find makes him the hardest character in the story to write for. To get him to help move the story along, while still having him be simple and silly Snails... well, let's just say, "Thank Faust for Snips."

On a related note, I wonder at times how many readers have a moment where they stop for just a second upon realizing that they are actually rooting for Snails, that Sweetie and/or DT winding up with Snails is a good thing. Seriously, we're 60k words into shipping Snails. Snails of all ponies! :rainbowderp:

2658875
Since I spent several hours researching to find the right name for him, it is good to know that at least one person is looking forward that to eventual reveal :pinkiehappy:

2659139
Of course it cannot end like this. I still have to kick Diamond Tiara while she's down. :pinkiecrazy:

2660998
:unsuresweetie: <-- Does not approve (of the first line)

All of the children in this story need to grow up a bit. Against all expectation, Snails is the only one who's actually making an effort. His character growth is really impressive!

I feel bad for Sweetie Belle, of course, but no good will come out of being manipulative. Which is what Diamond Tiara is being, naturally. I hope DT and Snails end up together, but only as long as DT makes the effort to improve her own behaviour.

I wouldn't bother trying to submit this to Equestria Daily, though. Their rule against foalshipping is pretty strict.

I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't think DT and Snails should be together. DT doesn't deserve such a sweetheart .

I don't think Sweety should have him either. I don't really see this as a crush, just her being jealous of DT.

This is just my opinion. I love this story and look forward to the next chapter.

It has been six weeks. PLEASE CONTINUE THIS!!!

Is this story still alive, or is it abandoned?

2928250
It's alive, just real life has been a bit hectic. But seems to be returning to normal, so hoping to get some writing in today.

Soo... are we ever going to get any more? :applecry:

3213801
I'm planning to start work on the next chapter next week. Barring life interfering more, anyway :scootangel:

Plz don't let Sweetie Belle win...

Can't wait for chapter 12 !!!!!

2895180
Finally got around to fixing this. Thanks for pointing out.

Now, back to working on the next chapter. :pinkiecrazy:

3260485
This kind of feels like the twifans about Team Edward and Team Jacob.
:pinkiecrazy:

im sure this fic is not dead yet...oh wait.

3943720
I was just staring to make progress on the next chapter before I got distracted by "Flirt to the Finish". Hopefully I can get that sucker finished before I get distracted again ;)

3944423 this new chapter better be dam good making me wake over half a year

I just hope this story is updated before an entire year has gone by since the last update... :fluttershysad:

4199419
Well, we're past a year already. But on the bright side, my schedule should be clearing up in about a week, and that should hopefully give me some good writing time. Provided things stay clear, of course.

4277213
Guess I'll just keep waiting... :fluttershysad:
Ah, well, I can read it a fourth time meanwhile! :pinkiehappy:

The greatest story with a Snails a Diamond that ever Diamond a Snails.

Must read for anyone who even reads fiction, despite the incomplete tag, a must read.

5847657
Seconded to infinity.
I am anxiously waiting for an update, even though it's coming up on 2 years.

I can't be the only one who ships Snails with DT now. Right? It's time she found somepony good for her.

/sigh... :fluttershysad:
Make fluttershy happy.
A new chapter might just do the trick!

Brought to you be the Council of Make Flutters Happy Again

--Spade

It's been 3 years now. Will this story ever be continued? I really hope so because the characters are well written and the story is beyond amazing. :fluttershysad:

7634746 It is definitely something I want/intend to finish. Just hasn't come together yet.

Comment posted by Kanga Mother of Roo deleted Mar 20th, 2018
Comment posted by Kanga Mother of Roo deleted Mar 20th, 2018

Why was this cancelled?

I feel sorry for the people that read this 4 and half years ago and are still waiting for the next chapter after this cliffhanger.

And Jesus Christ this fic is damn fine fic. The way you explain Snail's cutie mark was marvelous(my favorite part), I also like how Snips told DT that he knows there's something fishy going on, Diamond's feelings towards Snails was so well built and adorable too for that matter. And this chapter tho, the war had started and broke Snails in the middle of it. Icing on the cake.

I expect the next chapter will probably a long thinking from Snails, or the war continues. If ever we get it tho. I'm just gonna hope for the best of this fic and keep on waiting.

Tho I prefer you finish this fic ASAP

9701695
It's all about the execution.

Well, I'm sad this wasn't continued to its ed

God, I need this story to continue. What makes it hurt even more is that the writer is still on the site, so I KNOW he hasn't left the fandom. And still no continuation. :raritycry::raritydespair:

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