• 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.

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Chapter 3

Sweetie Belle wracked her brain trying to come up with a good suggestion. "Cutie Mark Crusader Dirty Deed Doers?" she offered.

"Nah, that sounds, well, dirty," replied Apple Bloom.

Sweetie Belle admitted to herself that it wasn't a very good name. Like her companions, Sweetie Belle sat silently as they continued to try to think of a name. Tradition held that thinking of a good name was the last step before implementing a plan to get their cutie marks and they often applied the same thinking to non-cutie mark related plans. They needed to come up with something fast, otherwise they wouldn't make it to the schoolhouse in time to claim the seats they wanted for today.

She looked around the clubhouse, the base of operations for the CMC, her eyes scanning the walls. They were covered in crayon drawings of various plans the CMC had to get their cutie marks. No help there. One section of wall was almost a shrine to Rainbow Dash, Scootaloo's doing, for the little pegasus idolized the rainbow maned flyer. Rainbow Rampagers? No, that was stupid as well. She wasn't very good at thinking up names. Usually it was Apple Bloom who came up with the names, though Scootaloo had her share as well.

As if hearing that thought, Scootaloo offered a suggestion. "Cutie Mark Crusader Tiara Punters?"

"I like it, " said Apple Bloom, no doubt imagining a two hooved apple bucking move sending a tiara flying into the distance while a distraught Diamond Tiara looked on.

Sweetie Belle wasn't so sure though. They weren't actually planning to punt the diamond tyrant or her tiara. She preferred a name that better reflected what they intended to do. It was one of her quirks, liking precision when it came to her wording and something Scootaloo occasionally teased her about. "Don't you think that makes us sound like ruffians? We don't really want to smash anything, just get her back for some of the mean things she's done to us."

"Cutie Mark Crusader Payback Ponies?" offered Apple Bloom.

Sweetie Belle contemplated for a second and nodded, at the same time as Scootaloo. Yes, payback was the right word for what they had in mind. With the last step of planning completed, the fillies quickly gathered up their things and headed off to school.

Diamond Tiara sighed upon seeing Snips and Snails attempting to nonchalantly stand around talking up ahead along the route she and Silver Spoon usually took to school. In light of his behavior the last time he'd had a crush on her, she should have expected this and taken a different route. Unfortunately, her thoughts had been focused on the school day itself and not the walk to school and so she had overlooked this possibility. Still, if they had not seen her yet, there might still be time to adjust their route. "Dorks ahead. Think they've seen us yet?"

"Yeah, too late, incoming dweeb patrol," Silver Spoon remarked as Snips and Snails pretended to look surprised at seeing the two fillies and headed their way.

"Oh, hey, Tiara, Spoon, you guys heading to class?" Snips asked.

"No, we're going to the Everfree Forest to pull on a manticore's whiskers, want to come?" Silver Spoon said. She waited a second for her sarcasm to sink in, before continuing, "Of course, we're going to school."

"And if we don't keep moving, we're going to be late for class. I hate being late," added Tiara.

"Well, we're heading there too," said Snips, stating the obvious.

"Yeah, we'll walk with you," offered Snails.

It occurred to Tiara that it was going to be a long day.

Normally, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were the first students to arrive for class. Tiara liked being early because it gave her some time to chat with Miss Cheerilee before class begin, maybe help her set up some things for the day's class. It was one of the things she'd learned from her father, to stay on the good side of those in power, do them little favors and small courtesies so that when you needed something, there was a positive relationship already there and you were more likely to get what you wanted. And so she made sure to get some brownie points in early, before the rest of the class arrived, so that they would not see her do it.

Arriving early also meant Tiara and Spoon could pick whatever desks they wanted. Usually, that meant ones in the front two rows. She liked to think it was because she wanted to maintain the image of a good student, but the truth was that she genuinely liked school and learning. Well, unless the lessons were about something that she'd never have a use for. Then she found it hard to stay focused.

Diamond Tiara surveyed the class room, relieved that there was still a desk available in the front row, between Scootaloo and Apple Bloom. It was not her preferred spot though. That spot was the left most seat in the front row and currently occupied by Scootaloo. She walked up to the desk and glared at the offending filly, but the orange pegasus pointedly ignored her, making it clear she had no intention of moving. Miss Cheerilee took that moment to call the class to order, so Tiara slid into the empty chair between the two.

Diamond Tiara found the first hour of class pretty boring. Miss Cheerilee was teaching about stars and constellations and how they could be used to navigate at night. Useless stuff for any civilized pony. After that, she went on to English grammar and Tiara became more interested, as it was her favorite subject. She liked knowing how the language worked and she enjoyed using that knowledge to correct others. She was just getting into the lesson when a sound jarred her out of it.

"Pssst," hissed Apple Bloom to Tiara's right. Diamond Tiara turned her head to the left, pointedly ignoring Apple Bloom. This left her facing Scootaloo though, who jerked her head in the direction of Apple Bloom. Apple Bloom repeated herself, louder this time, "Pssst!" Scootaloo again signaled Diamond Tiara to pay attention to Apple Bloom again with another jerk of her head. They weren't going to stop, figured Tiara, and she turned to Apple Bloom, who held out a folded piece of paper to Diamond Tiara, wanting her to pass it to Scootaloo. Diamond Tiara took the paper from Apple Bloom and held it out for Scootaloo.

"Diamond Tiara! Are you passing a note?" Miss Cheerilee asked, reaching out and taking the note. "Well, let's see what it says, then." She unfolded the note to reveal to the class a crayon drawing of a light magenta filly and an orange colt sitting under a tree kissing. "Couldn't this wait until lunch break?"

"Yeah, Tiara, can you wait until lunch for that?" Apple Bloom asked, making a kissy face, much to the class's amusement.

Diamond Tiara blushed with embarrassment and turned away from Apple Bloom, only to see Scootaloo making kissy faces at her as well. She looked straight ahead and let her head drop onto her desk. This day could not end soon enough.

When Miss Cheerilee called for lunch, the classroom emptied quickly as the foals headed outside to enjoy the sunny weather, with two exceptions. Usually, lunch was Snails's second favorite part of the school day and he and Snips would be the first ones out of the door. Today though, he stayed at his desk a bit as others left and Snips waited for him.

This morning's plan hadn't gone so well. Snips's plan had seemed foalproof. 'Accidentally' meet up with Diamond Tiara and then walk her to school. Snips would keep Silver Spoon busy, leaving Snails free to chat with Tiara. But in practice, it'd run into a few hiccups. The two fillies had arrived considerably later than expected. As a result, he and Snips had gotten bored, let their watch down, and so been standing still chatting when the fillies noticed them, rather ruining the plausibility of the accidental meet up. Added to that, Tiara hadn't seemed eager to see him and Snips and Silver Spoon even less so. Silver Spoon hadn't cooperated at all with the plan, pretty much ignoring Snips. And as a final straw, the same tardiness that ruined the start of the plan also meant that they had to move at a brisk pace to make it to class on time, not leaving much time for talking. Overall, a total bust.

Then there was what happened right before lunch. That sort of behavior wasn't like the Crusaders. And while they meant it to hurt Tiara, it hurt him as well. That they thought so little of him, like he wasn't worthy of her. "They all think nothing of me," he said to Snips, "that any filly going out with me should be made fun of."

"That's silly, you know you have lots to offer, you're a prime catch, we're both prime catches!" exclaimed Snips. "And, you know what, you should totally go lay into them for making fun of Tiara that way."


"Like in the comic books, you know the ladies always like the hero who rescues them. Swoop in and save the day like Black Jack or Colt Masterson. So go out there and give them Crusaders a piece of your mind, be the hero, a knight in shining armor. Come on, let's go!" he exclaimed as he used his head to shove Snails towards the door.

Snails figured it sounded like a good idea and headed out the door. Once through it, he looked around the playground to locate Diamond Tiara, finding her sitting under a tree with Silver Spoon and another of their circle of friends, eating lunch. The Crusaders were nearby, making kissy faces at Tiara whenever she looked in their direction. Snails ran up to them and gave the best heroic speech he could come up with. "Stop being mean!" Okay, he thought, maybe that wasn't the best speech, as the Crusaders all faced him with mouths open in shock, before bursting into laughter.

Diamond Tiara felt her anger rising. Being teased by the Crusaders was bad enough, but now Snails was trying to stand up for her? Okay, it would almost but cute if she wasn't who she was. But she was Diamond Tiara, she didn't need rescuing. Maybe it was time to go on the offensive. She got up and walked over to Apple Bloom,shoving her roughly with a hoof to get her attention. "I'll go with whoever I want and I won't have you making fun of it. I'm Diamond Tiara, I don't need the approval of you or anyone else. Snails and I are going to be the toast of the ball. Just you watch."

On impulse, Diamond Tiara grabbed hold of Snails and proceeded to do a dance step, only to discover he didn't have a clue how to do any actual dancing. His legs became entangled in hers and they collapsed in a jumble, much to the amusement of the Crusaders and the other foals watching the commotion.

"Burnt toast of the ball maybe," quipped Apple Bloom.

Diamond Tiara disentangled herself and raced back inside the school house, head hanging low, the rest of her lunch forgotten.

Sweetie Belle watched the embarrassed Tiara run off. For some reason, she didn't get as much enjoyment from seeing Tiara get humiliated as she'd expected. And there was a hint of something else. Was it guilt? Or was it pity? Was she actually feeling sorry for the filly who terrorized their lives on a n almost daily basis?

She watched as Snails slowly got up and shook his head slowly at the Crusaders, before turning towards the schoolhouse, as if contemplating whether Tiara would want to see him. Apparently, he decided she wouldn't, as he headed off towards some benches instead, with Snips trailing along.

"He's right, you know," said Sweetie Belle, said to the others. "We're not acting like ourselves, we're acting like her."

"Bah, she deserves it and you know it," said Scootaloo, displaying a stubbornness that would do her idol Rainbow Dash proud.

Apple Bloom also wasn't up for relenting. She'd suffered from Diamond Tiara's attention longer than any of them. "Yeah, she's been drivin' us crazy forever. An' now we've got a couple of weeks to get some payback and I reckon we should take it. Got to harvest the Zap Apples while the harvesting is good."

"Maybe, but maybe we're going too far. That drawing didn't just hurt Tiara, it hurt Snails' feelings too and he doesn't deserve that." With that, she turned away from her friends and headed over towards where Snips and Snails were, leaving her friends to think through her words. She doubted it'd do much immediate good, but she could hope. They'd come around in time, anyway.

Approaching the table, she took a seat opposite Snails. "I'm sorry, Snails, I shouldn't have laughed. What we did was a thoughtless prank. We should have thought it through better. Its just she makes fun of us so often, well, we acted without thinking. Can you forgive us? Is there anything I could do to make it up to you?"

Snails opened his mouth to reply, but before he could get a word out, Snips jumped in with a suggestion of his own. "Yeah, dance lessons!"


Snips explained. "Dance lessons. You saw Snails out there, he's got four left hooves. He's going to need some serious help or the night of the dance will be a complete disaster. Your sister is into all the fancy stuff, she probably knows lots of fancy dancing. And they'll play some of that stuff at the dance. If Snails could do that, it'd probably really impress Tiara. Or, at the very least, stop a repeat of what we just saw."

Sweetie Belle felt even worse, seeing their enthusiasm about the upcoming dance. It had seemed like such a good idea at the time, embarrass Tiara and get a little payback on Snails for causing Scootaloo to crash with their costumes. But now he was taking it seriously, staking hopes of a relationship on it, and might really get hurt. Should she tell him about the bet, let him know why Tiara had asked him? She looked over her shoulder, towards where Scootaloo and Apple Bloom were re-enacting the failed dance. No, she couldn't do that. Her friends would be upset if she did. But she could at least warn him that Tiara wasn't serious. "You know this is probably all a cruel joke, right?" she said. That was the truth, after all, even if it wasn't Tiara who was playing the joke.

"He knows it might be," replied Snips. "But whether it is or not, this is his one chance, you know? How likely is he to get another?

"Yeah, my one chance," echoed Snails.

Guilt wracked Sweetie Belle. Perhaps helping Snails would ease some of it. Besides, learning to dance could help him later in life, she rationalized, when he found a filly that was actually interested him. "Fine, I'll talk to my sister about dance lessons. But don't blame me if this turns out badly."

Diamond Tiara breathed a sigh of relief, as Cheerilee dismissed the class. The day was over at last. Scootaloo and Apple Bloom had continued to tease her throughout the day and a couple of others had joined in as well. It just wasn't fair. This sort of thing wasn't supposed to happen to her. She was better than the others, prettier and richer. Making fun of others was her job.

The classroom filled with the sound of books being scooped and up and deposited in bags, chairs being moved, and the pounding of hooves as young ponies raced out of the classroom to enjoy the weekend. Apple Bloom took a moment to whisper a quick "dance, dance, super trip, splat!" Tiara gave a reflexive "Blank flank" as a response, but the earth pony was already gone in a streak of yellow, red, and giggles. She gathered up her things and headed towards the door, her head lowered.

Silver Spoon ned her and together they headed out. "You know, I think you had the right idea at lunch."

"Oh, yeah, falling on my face was a brilliant plan."

"No, not that. You've been letting them get to you, like you're doing something wrong. Like anything could bring you down. But the only thing that can do that is you. You going with Snails to the dance doesn't lower you, it brings him up. He's lucky, the luckiest colt in school. You're still you. Or at least, you would be if you quit acting like you had something to be ashamed of."

The two friends walked in silence, Silver Spoon having said her piece and Diamond Tiara considering her best friend's words. The more she thought about it, the more she realized her friend was right. She needed to quit acting like she was some undesirable and resume being her normal self, the most popular filly in school.

"You're right, Sil. I'm going to quit moping. I am still me and he is lucky to get to go with me. I'm going to pretend I'm actually looking forward to this, that I really want to go to the dance with Snails. I'm going to turn this around on them. I'm not going to let them win." She raised her head and walked proudly down the street, her tiara's diamonds glistening in the afternoon sun.