• Published 7th Aug 2012
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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.

  • ...

Chapter 2

Snails was happy. So far, it had been a pretty good night. Someone had been nice enough to leave a delicious snack backstage before the show. The S&S Magic Act had won the Best Magic Act award for the third straight year. This year, they'd added a few new tricks, though Miss Cheerilee still wouldn't let them try the Milk Can Escape. Maybe next year though. That would be cool. They'd be sure to win a fourth straight time with that trick. Yes, life was good.

He looked down at the medal around his neck. His was heavier than Snips's medal, he was sure of it. And shinier. So shiny he could see the reflection of the ponies across the room. He played with the angle of the medal a bit. Yup, that orange, white, and yellow blur would be the Crusaders. He changed the angle a bit more, only for the reflection to go pink. This puzzled him, so he looked up only to see Diamond Tiara standing there.

Maybe she had come over to congratulate him. That would be cool, but was not very likely. Or else she might have brought him some carrots. He liked carrots. Maybe they'd be carrots from Golden Harvest's garden. Those were the best carrots to be had in Ponyville. He moved his head around to see if she had any carrots, but sadly, she did not. Well, maybe he could go and get some. Luckily, he was standing right by the door. Wait... the door. That must be why Tiara was standing in front of him. She wanted to use the door.

"Um, Snails," said Diamond Tiara, startling Snails, "I was, actually..." Tiara, looked over her shoulder at the grinning Crusaders and the sympathetic look from Silver Spoon, then took a deep breath, gathering her resolve, "I was wondering if you'd like to go to the Hearts and Hooves Day Dance with me."

"Okay, I'll get out of your, wait, whaaaat?"

"Yes, magic act, impressed or something, and so I had to come over and ask right away. You aren't going with anyone else, are you?" asked Tiara, then she shook her head quickly to clear it. "Oh, wait, of course you aren't. So you'll go with me. It is settled. Now, you're blocking the door, get out of my way." She called back to Silver Spoon. "Come on, Sil, we're leaving."

Snails stepped to the side while his mind tried to grasp what just happened. Diamond Tiara had just asked him out?Him. She'd rarely said more than five words in a row to him before and they were usually "Get out of my way." But now, this. He needed time to think. Well, actually, he wasn't very good at thinking. He needed help to think. He needed to go find Snips. He'd know what to make of this.

Now, where would Snips be? He looked around the backstage area, seeing Miss Cheerilee and some other foals, but no sign of Snips. Maybe outside? He went through the door and around the front, where a decent number of adults still lingered. He wandered amongst them, looking for Snails, stopping from time to time to bask in the admiration of others when they complimented him on the S&S Magic Act. He liked attention. But he didn't wait for too long, he needed to find Snips. He made sure to thank them before he moved on though, as his mother had taught him that was the polite thing to do.

Failing to find Snips there, he pondered where to head next. Maybe Snips went home. Or maybe he went to Sugarcube Corner. They'd be open late tonight to cater to people coming back from the talent show and they'd have some great cupcakes, ones made by the Cakes themselves, not the ones made by Pinkie Pie. Not that Pinkie Pie's were bad, well, other than that one time all those ponies got sick, but the Mrs. Cakes' were the best. His stomach rumbled at the thought of a cupcake and that decided him. He'd go look for Snips at Sugarcube Corner first. And maybe, okay, definitely, get himself a cupcake. The thoughts of cupcakes translated to his face and his step gained a bit of a bounce, then as thoughts returned to Diamond Tiara, returned to normal, only to change again as thoughts returned to cupcakes, a cycle that continued as he made his way down the street.

Snails arrived at Sugarcube Corner and spotted Snips seated by himself at a small table. He decided that maybe Pinkie Pie had the right idea when the first place she generally went looking for someone was here. He called out to Snips and his short, rotund friend waved him over to his table with a half eaten cupcake in hoof. Another one sat in front of him, next to the wrapper of a third.

"Want a cupcake?" Snips asked. He pushed the untouched cupcake towards the other side of the table, while continuing to talk without giving Snails a chance to respond. "We sure were awesome tonight. I bet if Trixie had seen us, she'd have made us her apprentices for sure."

"Yeah, that would be awesome!" replied Snails, as he seated himself and took a bite of the cupcake. "So good!" He lost himself in the cupcake for a bit, savoring its flavor. He pondered raising the topic of Diamond Tiara, but decided to take another bite of cupcake instead. Meanwhile, Snips chatted happily on how well their magic act had gone, recounting the high points of the night. He'd said pretty much the same stuff after the show, but Snails didn't mind. From time to time, he'd repeat the last thing Snips said in an affirmative manner, then take another bite of cupcake until, at last, the cupcake was gone.

When Snips finished with his tale of their grand finale, he took advantage of the opportunity to change the topic. He leaned in closer to Snips and, in a hushed voice, asked "What do you think of Diamond Tiara?"

Snips took a moment to pondered the question, then replied, "Well, she's the prettiest girl in school, but she's not very nice to anyone she doesn't consider worth her time and that's like half the class. Including us. So I guess I try not to."

"Do you think a pony like her could--"

With Snails slow rate of speech, Snips had plenty of time to figure out where Snails's sentence was heading and cut him off. "No. There's no way. You know that. I thought you got over her three years ago?" recalling that his friend had embarrassed himself pretty badly back then, trying to win Tiara's affections, following her around like the love sick colt he was. It had not been one of his finer moments.

"Well, she sorta asked me to dance."

"Asked you?"

"Maybe more like told."

"That doesn't make sense. It must be a prank or something."

"But what if it isn't it, Snips?" asked Snails optimistically, for while he had given up hope of his daydreaming from three years ago becoming reality, the little cruelties Tiara and her friends had inflicted upon him over the years had yet to fully extinguished it entirely. "What if this is my one chance? Will I ever get so much as a hoof in the door again? Even if it is a joke, got to try and hope for the best, right?"

Unlike most of his classmates, Snips knew that Snails was capable of some deep thoughts, just that it took him longer to get there than most other ponies. And that he tended to take the path of least resistance, often didn't bother to try and to think things through on his own, but rather just took his lead from others, usually Snips. But even knowing that, this speech caught Snips off guard. It just wasn't that often that Snails said so much at once or about anything so serious.

"Well, I guess I can see that. Buddy, I hope you know what you're getting us into."


"Well, sure, you wouldn't think I'd let you try to impress her highness by yourself, right? We've been best friends for as long as I can remember, no way I'm abandoning you at this hour of need. Besides, this could be something big for us. If you were dating Diamond Tiara, we'd be cool, popular!"

"I'll be ruined! Completely uncool. This is such a disaster. When I get my hooves on whoever stole our flowers, I'm going to...to...well, I don't know what, but it'll be something they'll rue for the rest of their life. A life I'll do my best to insure is a long and miserable one," ranted Diamond Tiara.

"We so should have gotten the Best Dramatic Act award anyway, even without the flowers," said Silver Spoon. "We were robbed. If the judges had been fair, this wouldn't be happening."

"Well, we'd have had it for sure if those flowers hadn't disappeared." Diamond Tiara stopped and sighed. "What am I going to do, Sil? Having to go to the dance with Snails, that will be even more embarrassing than when my dad made me hop around the mud farm in that bunny costume."

"I don't know, but we'll think of something. No way I'm going to let those three ruffians get the best of my best friend. We still have a couple of weeks to think of something."

The two fillies were heading back to Diamond Tiara's house. They had planned to go to Sugarcube Corner after the show so that everyone could admire their awards, to be followed by a sleepover to celebrate their award winning performance but neither was in much of a mood to celebrate now. Instead, they strode the rest of the way to Tiara's home in silence each lost in thought.

Praiseworthy, the Rich's butler, an aging grey stallion with a covered plate cutie mark, greeted them at the door, taking note of their demeanor. "Evening, young misses. The show not go as well as hoped?"

"It was horrible, Praise. We didn't win. Someone took our flowers and we had to get replacement ones," Tiara started.

Silver Spoon picked it up from there. "And we couldn't find any red ones to replace them, when our lines specifically mentioned they were red. We wound up using daisies."

"Well, I'm sure both of you were still wonderful, even so. I wish I could have been there to cheer you on. But I know what will cheer you right up. How about some nice hot chocolate?"

Diamond Tiara doubted the drink would help her mood, but she knew Praiseworthy would be hurt if she didn't let him do something, so she nodded. While he went off to prepare the drinks, Tiara and Spoon moved to the Sitting Room. Praiseworthy returned shortly and, contrary to Diamond Tiara's expectations, the drink did lift her spirits. And it looked like Silver Spoon's as well. Silently, both fillies agreed to set aside their worries for now. Instead, time was spent playing with toys, discussing fashion, and playing with the piano in the music room.

Eventually, Praiseworthy informed the girls that it was time to wash up and prepare for bed. The fillies made a halfhearted attempt to delay this development, but without success. Diamond Tiara crawled into her own prince sized canopy bed, while Silver Spoon used a smaller guest bed Praiseworthy had set up in the room for that purpose and the two girls had pushed up adjacent to Tiara's.

Settled in, they returned to their conversation from the walk home. Neither had had any good ideas in the meantime and the talk went around in circles until it was interrupted as someone knocked quietly on the door. "Tia, Silver Spoon, you still awake?" Mr. Rich called out quietly.

"Yes, Daddy," answered Diamond Tiara.

Rich opened the door. "You girls have fun tonight? Sorry I got back so late, got wrapped up in business." That was something Tiara was used to. Her father was often away on business. She spent more time with the household help with him. But that just made any time she got with him all the more precious. "Your act was wonderful," he said, as he kissed Tiara goodnight. "Both you girls did great. Now, don't stay up too late, remember, you've got school tomorrow."

"Yes, dad," both girls replied and giggled as Mr. Rich softly closed the door behind him. Sleepovers weren't an uncommon thing when it came to Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, at either house, and both girls had taken to answering certain questions in unison, as if they were sisters with two sets of parents.

Once her dad left, Diamond Tiara returned to the previous topic of discussion. "So, I can't think of anything that'll get me out of it. Unless I get hospitalized or something."

"Yes, yes, that could work!"

"I AM not going to get injured or use some Heart's Desire like a pathetic loser just to get out of this."

"Oh, that wasn't what exactly I was thinking--"

"Good, because if I see you come near me with a shovel, I'm going to run away screaming and I'm not stopping no matter how much you shout that you're just trying to help."

Both fillies started to giggle as they imagined the scene. When the giggles ended, the grey filly suddenly started to giggle again. Diamond Tiara cocked her head questioningly. Silver Spoon managed to contain her giggling for a bit. "I was just imagining if I was trying to use my mom's smallest rubber jewelry hammer instead. It'd take forever!" Both fillies started to laugh.

"Anyway, what I was thinking is you could just pretend to be sick," Silver Spoon said, raising her hoof to silence Tiara's objection. "Yes, I know it won't work for the whole time, but it will be good enough for tomorrow. Tomorrow is friday, so that means we have an entire weekend to think of something else."

"And even if we can't think of anything else, that's three days for it to be old news." Diamond Tiara gave Silver Spoon a tight hug. "Good thinking, Sil, you're the best."

The two best friends spent the next bit planning for the next morning, then shifted topics to discuss the latest dress styles coming out of Canterlot, before drifting off to sleep.

Filthy Rich looked up from the papers he was reading as Praiseworthy knocked softly on the open door of the study to get his attention. "What is it, Praise?"

"I'm sorry for the interrupting, sir. It is the young miss. She claims to be sick."

From Praiseworthy's tone of voice, Rich could tell that the butler didn't believe his daughter was actually sick. It wouldn't have been the first time. No doubt she was probably worried because she hadn't won an award last night. He loved his daughter dearly, but she could be a silly filly at times. "Okay, thanks, Praise, I'll take care of it."

He set down the papers and went to his daughter's room. Tiara lay in bed and let out a dramatic moan when he entered. Silver Spoon stood close by and spoke up, "She had said she wasn't feeling well last night, Mr. Rich, and this morning, she was all cold and sweaty."

Rich moved closer to his daughter and put his hoof to her forehead. She shivered as his hoof came in contact. She felt cold and damp. A bit too damp. Dropping his hoof back down to the floor, he checked under the bed. Sure enough, there was a container that still held some cold water.

He put on a stern face to mask the amusement he felt as he held up the container. "Sick, huh?" Both fillies had the sense to look guilty, though more likely due to getting caught than from any real remorse.

He sat down on the bed, next to his daughter. "Now, I know that failing to win an award can seem like the end of the world at your age, but it isn't. There will be other shows, other awards. In a couple of weeks, you won't even remember last night, okay?"

Both fillies dutifully nodded.

Mr. Rich kissed his daughter on the forehead. "Okay, now hurry up and get ready for school No more fooling around or you'll be late. Now, I've got some work to finish. I'll see you later tonight, okay, Princess?" Another kiss on the forehead as she nodded her head, and he exited the room, heading back to the study.

Rich chuckled as he sat at his desk and picked up the papers he'd been reading earlier. Ah, to be young again, life was so simple then. And a lot more fun than sorting through purchase contracts from local farms for his latest store.