• Published 10th Mar 2013
  • 2,372 Views, 46 Comments

Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara are Filly Cure! Magical Fillies!? - Starwind Dood

Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara must work together to save Equestria from looming shadows, the Crystal Empire from it's own painful past, and especially their classmates from their own sorrows? They'll have to to become Filly Cure!

  • ...

Is that what you really think of me?

"Help what?!" Cheerilee roared, the malevolent mist around her growing stronger. "I've done nothing but my best and still life feels the need to throw dirt at me all the time! I hate being lonely, I hate being relied on constantly, and I hate you for always making my life worse! I hate you, Apple Bloom!"

Apple Bloom had become useless, Diamond Tiara groaned. She should have had them transform before they broke in. Apple Bloom was a sniveling mess now. Only one thing left to do: steal the spotlight. She threw Sherbet straight at Cheerilee, nailing her on the side.

Cheerilee turned, eyes red with anger. "And you!" Diamond Tiara chuckled to herself. This was too easy. "Always acting like the perfect little princess when you're nothing but a perfect little prick."

"Is that all you've got?" Diamond Tiara was stone faced, keeping her emotions in check.

"You're a snot-nosed little good-for-nothing that only cares about herself!"

Is that what you really think of me?

She wanted to stay in bed, or maybe she just didn't have the strength to get up. Wisps of light wanted Diamond Tiara up, but aching pains ept her down. "Would it be so bad to miss one day of school?" she whispered to herself. Silver Spoon was so good at taking notes that Diamond Tiara had no need for Cheerilee's boring lectures. Such a good friend Silver Spoon was, so good that all Diamond Tiara needed to do was sleep the day away and be better tomorrow morning. Everything else could wait.

"Diamond Tiara!" The door flew open and at the threshold stood Filthy Rich. He irritably stomped over to Diamond Tiara's bedside and bit down on her sheets. He threw it out the window. "Do you have any idea what time it is? You're going to be late for school." He sounded extra grouchy this morning. It took him a few moments to notice, but eventually he looked down and noticed Diamond Tiara's awkwardly bandaged body. "J-just what on earth have you been doing? Playing in the Everfree?"

"Exactly, dad." Diamond Tiara fidgeted with the breeze. "That's exactly what I've been doing. So, think you can get my blanket back? Actually, buy me a new one. The old one probably has dirt on it now."

"If you have the energy to give me lip then you have the energy to go to school. Now get out of bed and brush your teeth. If you're not down in ten minutes, you're grounded." An empty threat, but once done fuming he left Diamond Tiara alone in her room. He hurried downstairs, probably to organize some papers or do some other business-related nonsense.

"What a chore." Diamond Tiara rolled, quite literally, out of bed. She landed on the floor with a soft flop. "This bites, bites so hard." A glittering metallic disk floating just above her caught her eyes. "What do you want, Sherbet?"

"You seem to be in need of help," the disk said with a soothing tone.

"You seem to be in need of a face."

The little floating disk released a puff of smoke, and when that smoke cleared in the disk’s place was a strange diminutive ponyish creature with nubs for limbs and no snout. That was Sherbet. "There, now I have one," she said with a chuckle.

"Don't give me lip." Diamond Tiara was now on her hooves and slowly slumping her way to the bathroom. "And as you can see I don't need your help. So go sit next to a tube of lipstick or something." She bit down on a tube of toothpaste and globbed the minty gel onto her perfectly pink toothbrush. She clamped her hooves between the end of the brush, but it slipped out from beneath her hooves and fell to the floor. "Great."

"Diamond Tiara!" Filthy Rich yelled from the first floor. "You have five minutes left!"

Diamond Tiara galred at the floor. "Oh hold your horses," Diamond Tiara said quietly. Sherbet floated over next to her head with the toothbrush rinsed and toothpaste reapplied, sporting a smug grin. "And what do you want?"

"To help you, of course." Diamond Tiara doubted that.

"All you care about is having me fight for your filly curry thing."

"That's not true." Now it was Sherbert's turn to be insulted. "Now open wide so I can make those teeth sparkle!"

"Make me," Diamond Tiara spat back.

A fight had broken out between the two of them, one that shook the floors of the house as a great battle unfolded between filly and fairy. A battle so tremendous that it attracted the attention of Filthy Rich on the first floor. He had a paper in front of him with words written so small that one would need a magnifying glass to read a single line. "Diamond Tiara!" he yelled. The distraction continued. "Diamond!" He ran upstairs and bucked open the door to the bathroom. Diamond Tiara was on her back in the middle of the floor, covered in toothpaste, flashing him a smile of perfectly white teeth.

"Done," she said with an air of smug.

"What are you doing?" Filthy Rich asked, his stone face trembling.

"Brushing my teeth. Now I'll just rinse and we'll be on our way."

"You do that," Filthy Rich said resisting the urge not to laugh. "And, thank you for being ready on time," he said with defeat.

"No problem, daddy." Filthy Rich shut the door. Diamond Tiara hurried to the faucet and started rinsing off stray bits of mint paste. She laughed to herself, hoping today might be a good day afterall. Diamond Tiara pulled out a compact mirror from her mane. "No more talking from you, got it?" No response. "Good." She replaced the mirror in her hair.

Early in the morning in Cheerilee's classroom was always dreadfully boring. Diamond Tiara was always dropped off early because her father believed that it was what the smarter fillies would do. Diamond Tiara never studied. She would instead gossip with her best friend."Morning, Silver Spoon," Diamond Tiara called out.

"Morning," Silver Spoon said back. Her eyes squinted up and she took a little sniff of Diamond Tiara in. "Why do you smell minty?"

"It's cheap shampoo." Diamond Tiara collapsed into her desk.

"You look worse than yesterday." Silver Spoon hopped over to Diamond Tiara's side and studied the sloppily placed band-aids. "What happened to you? Did Apple Bloom and her troupe of terrors do something?"

"Like I would let myself get roped into any of their lame-mane-brained schemes." Diamond Tiara scoffed at the idea of having to spend any more time around Apple Bloom than she needed to; magical forces of a shadow king notwithstanding.

A blue colt appeared next to Silver Spoon. Diamond Tiara knew him, Shady Daze, as a part of the foal free press. "You look like a dog took a bite out of you keister and spat it back at you." Shady Daze's unnecessary commentary irked Diamond Tiara. "What in all of Ponyville happened to you? Maybe it'll make a good story for the Foal Free Press!"

"What's the matter? Running out of stories with your baby paper?" Diamond Tiara never got over being replaced as Editor-in-Chief. So much power was now wasted. "I'll be glad to do an interview and tell you everything you're doing wrong."

"We're better off without your yellow journalism." Shady Daze turned and left with an air of stuck-up pride for his work, pride Diamond Tiara believed was not deserved. Not long after Shady Daze's partner appeared/

"Good morning!" Truffle Shuffle yelled as he pranced into the school house on surprisingly graceful hooves. A stack of papers had to have been magically balanced on his back. "Shady, I've got a new funny comic that's sure to bring in the readers! We'll be back to number one in no time!"

"That's the stuff I like to hear, Shuffles!" Shady Daze ran up to Truffle Shuffle and helped him with the papers. Every morning Truffle Shuffle would appear exclaiming whatever dumb idea he had for the paper at the top of his lungs, then he and Shady Daze would go to their own little corner of the classroom to whisper back and forth. Like clockwork, this was a part of every early morning for Diamond Tiara; a monotony that ground at her nerves. If there was one thing that becoming a Filly Cure had done for her, it was break up this painful monotony. Having an outlet for violence was also a boon.

"How childish." Diamond Tiara sunk into her seat and collapsed on her desk.

"You still haven't explained what's with all the bandages." Silver Spoon poked a particular bandage on one of Diamond Tiara's back legs. Diamond Tiara nearly jumped through the ceiling, howling with pain.

"I fell," Diamond Tiara said through pained words. "I fell, okay!"

"Okay, okay, jeez." Silver Spoon backed off.

Diamond Tiara turned her attention to the clock. It would soon announce the start of class and then a parade of punctually-challenged fillies and colts would storm through the doorway and scramble for their seats.

"Get out of my way!" "Me first!" "I want through!"

It was already starting. Diamond Tiara grimaced at the sound of three particular fillies that, surprisingly, had made it to the classroom on time for once. Apple Bloom and her two friends were fighting to get through the doorway for whatever reason. The three of them had so much energy it disgusted Diamond Tiara. After some awkward struggling, Apple Bloom mustered the strength to squeeze between her two friends and shoot herself face first into the classroom, landing on the floor face first. Apple Bloom picked herself up and said to her two friends, "hah! Now you gotta do my chores for a week."

"No way we can do that!" Scootaloo argued back as she fell to the floor with noone to support her. "That would kill us! I call a do-over!"

"Can't you make it just a day?" Sweetie Belle started begging, tidying up her wind-slicked mane.

"I guess just one day will be more than enough for you two," Apple Bloom said, laughing.

Apple Bloom turned and noticed Diamond Tiara staring straight at her. "Diamond Tiara," she said with little emotion other than contempt. "Is there something you want from me?"

"Nothing. Nothing at all," Diamond Tiara said back, her voice dry as a desert. The two of them said nothing more as Apple Bloom took her spot between Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara. Cheerilee was terrible at picking seats.

Class would begin in five minutes. The stampede of foals started in four minutes. Six minutes later, everypony was in their seat waiting patiently for Cheerilee to announce the start of class. Eight minutes later, Cheerilee was nowhere to be found.

"What gives?" Diamond Tiara said to herself. She was enjoying the extra minutes of peace but it was entirely unlike Cheerilee to ever be late. The rest of the class was becoming restless over the sudden absence of their precious 'Miss Cheerilee'.

Thirteen minutes after the class had started, Lyra ran in through the class door, collapsing in exhaustion on the floor. "G-good morning, fillies and gentlecolts! So, uh, I bet you're all wondering where Cheers- er, Miss Cheerilee is? So, Miss Cheerilee has caught a bug, a bad bug! So while the Mayor is scrounging up a proper substitute, I guess I'll be the full on teacher for the day with promise of a pay bonus if I do a good job. So, think we can all get along?"

"No!" Half Note shouted from the back.

"Groovy," Lyra said with a sigh. "Looks like my new lyre is a little further off."

"Miss Cheerilee is in trouble." Diamond Tiara overheard Apple Bloom whispering to her friends. "We've got to investigate and find out what's what." The three of them got closer together. Diamond Tiara put her hooves to her ears in anticipation of what came next. "Cutie Mark Crusaders, Private Investigators, yay!" They said it loud enough to disrupt the entire class.

"Uh, girls, a little quieter next time?" Lyra winced. Diamond Tiara pitied her. Lyra was out of her league.

In all of the Crystal Empire, Shining Armor and Lattice were the only ones privy to the absence of their beloved princess's presence, and only Shining Armor knew the true reason behind that absence. He was the only one that knew that Princess Cadance left to find King Sombra, because they were the only ones that knew that he had managed to infiltrate the kingdom's castle despite the presence of the magical barrier manifested from the Heart Crystal. Shining Armor sat still as a corpse's heart with his eyes ever present on that magical stone. It shined brilliantly, but was that enough? "Why?" Shining Armor repeated over and over again, the words falling into oblivion on the edge of his lips. He was surrounded by hundreds of smiling and singing crystal ponies, their coats all as brilliant as the happiness in their hearts. The crystal Empire was a spotlight of jovial tiding begging neighbors into its doors for merriment but leaving any with evil intent shunned from this sacred land. What happened? "What?"

"Are you done gaping?" Lattice was the other pony that knew of Princess Cadance's absence, but not why. Instead she seemed to prefer nagging at Shining Armor about courtly affairs with her stale muzzle and beady little tired and cynical eyes. She would follow Shining Armor everywhere but the bathroom, which was slowly becoming his favourite spot. "I suppose since you were not born here that the sight of the Crystal Heart is one of magic and intrigue, but believe me it gets boring rather quickly."

"Lattice," Shining Armor turned and cut her off before she could say any more, "has the Crystal Heart ever been broken?"

Silence but without the sense of foreboding that Shining Armor expected. Instead Lattice looked at him as if he was touched in the head. "Broken? If it were ever broken we wouldn't have one! It's not some mechanical contraption built by fallible pony hooves. Are you daft?"

Shining Armor started rubbing his temples. Lattice treated every question he had like it was common knowledge and always his fault for not knowing, nevermind that he had been living in the crystal kingdom for less than a year. He rubbed his temples a little more. "Then how did it come to be?"

"Well, that's a much better question, but the same can be said for your elements over in the sister's domain. Does anypony know how those things came to be?" Lattice had a point, but Shining Armor found she always did. Lattice was like a wife without a single benefit. Shining Armor also pictured some evil enchanter in a mystical workshop, creating all these magical artifacts for the purpose of causing headaches for everyone.

"Okay, let me try again. Has the Heart Crystal ever failed to keep out evil?" Silence again, but this time with the sense of foreboding. Shining Armor's heart sank as Lattice's coat began to dull. She was recalling something painful, that was obvious.

"I suppose our Heart Crystal failed us with Sombra."

Shining Armor's heart almost stopped. Did she know?

"The day he appeared he did so without so much as a single bit of warning. I suppose our heart crystal didn’t stop him then."

He had done it before. Shining Armor wanted to kick himself for not realizing that King Sombra had done all of this before. The dark specter of the Crystal Empire knew some secret to piercing the Heart Crystal's defences. He could do it over and over again. As many times as he wants. The Crystal Empire wasn't safe in the slightest, and he and Cadance didn't realize just how unprotected it was. "Cadance, you need to hurry back."


Shining Armor realized his snout was an inch off the floor. He pulled himself back to attention. "Oh, just reminiscing about Cadance. I just love, love, love her... you know?" Lattice wasn't any brighter. "But, you know, we don't have to worry about Sombra anymore! He went and blew up! Yep, we all saw it, right over there, I think?" He nudged in some random direction he wasn't totally sure of. "The kingdom is safe!" That was a big fat lie, but Lattice's coat started to regain luster. She was buying it!

"Yes, I suppose it's a good thing he's gone. Even with what was lost... there is hope for a brighter future."

"That's right!" Shining Armor mentally patted himself.

"And that bright future starts with your announcement and speech." Shining Armor mentally kicked himself. For some reason Lattice's soat was also back its translucent glory. She enjoys her job too much, Shining Armor noted.

"Yes, I'll announce the Princess Cadance's absence, it will be a big deal and maybe the Crystal Ponies will make it into a funfair! You know, I've been working on my flugelhorn."

"Are you taking this matter lightly?"

"Of course not." A deep sigh and then surrendering to the cranky mare's will. Shining Armor turned and started off into town.

"Where do you think you're going?" Lattice again.

"To converse with my subjects, duh? C'mon, how am I supposed to make a speech to get the masses riled if I don't know what the masses want? Speeches were always Cadance's job before."

"And you just stood next to her pretty like a - "

"Don't say it!" He knew what was next. "Give me a chance to prove myself, okay? I'll show you I'm more than a trophy."

"For all our sake let's hope so." Lattice pulled up next to Shining Armor. "Well, you wanted to talk to them, no?"

"And you intend to come with me?" She nodded. This day wasn't getting better. Another sigh, another surrender. Shining Armor left into town, Lattice next to him every step of the way with her beady little cynical eyes, but just before the Heart Crystal disappeared from view he took one last glance at it.

The bell rang, signalling the end of class. Finally, it was over, Diamond Tiara thought to herself. Lyra for all the musical 'genius' she claimed to have had was totally ineffective at trying to be a real teacher. "You ready to go, Silver Spoon?" Silver Spoon nodded in agreement. "Then let's go."

"Like, what do you want?" Diamond Tiara snapped back at Apple Bloom.

Apple Bloom squinted her eyes. She wasn't enjoying this interaction any more than Diamond Tiara was. "I was just askin' how you're feelin'."

"I'm fine, thank you." Diamond Tiara took one step forward. Whatever it was she had done, she had done it wrong as howling pain started shooting up from her hoof. "I'm totally fine." Diamond Tiara ignored any pain to save face. She and Silver Spoon left the classroom, but barely out of earshot she could hear Apple Bloom getting chastised by her friends.

"Why are you concerned about her?" Diamond Tiara overheard Scootaloo question.

"Whatever Diamond Tiara did I'm sure she deserved it." Sweetie Belle added. Diamond Tiara wished she let her get crushed by the lyre monster.

No more could be heard, but nothing more needed to be. For Diamond Tiara, this changed nothing about how she felt about those three anyway.

"Diamond Tiara, you're limping." Silver Spoon's voice suddenly pierced its way into Diamond Tiara's head.

"It's fine, don't worry about it."

Silver Spoon started examining Diamond Tiara's leg. "It's not fine." She looked worried.

"It is, so drop it," she said, raising her voice. Silver Spoon took the hint. Silver Spoon went quiet, but she was obviously annoyed. The less Silver Spoon knew the better, probably. Diamond Tiara only looked like a dog's chew toy, and that was thanks to the protection of the stupid dress she had to wear, but Silver Spoon could end up in far worse condition if she ever saw that strange colorful mare.

"Diamond," came a little whisper in Diamond Tiara's ear. Sherbet whispering something into her ear. "I think I feel it on our left."

Diamond Tiara looked around. The color almost drained from her face when she saw her: a mare covered in a cloak with few exposed limbs, but what was exposed did not have a singular colored coat. It was the colorful mare. She disappeared into an alley "Silver Spoon, head on home alone," Diamond Tiara ordered. Silver Spoon was about to argue back, but one look of absolute order from Diamond Tiara was enough to stop that.

"Are you sure?" Silver Spoon asked. Diamond Tiara was absolutely sure.

"My dad ruined my blanket this morning and I want to pick out a new one alone." Diamond Tiara quickly said. "Go home. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Alright then." Silver Spoon, somewhat reluctantly, went on ahead, away from Diamond Tiara whose eyes were dead set on the location of where the colorful mare from before ran off to.

"What are you going to do?" Sherbet whispered into Diamond Tiara's ears. "You can't fight without Apple Bloom."

"You little imps sure put the dumbest rules on using these powers. Why don't you go fetch that little mud-for-brains so that I can pummel that colorful nuisance’s brain into the grounds for the trouble her stupid monster gave me."

"I won't leave you alone!" Sherbet was arguing back. "That pony can make Curezzatos!

"I can barely say quor-ah-sato, but if you go get Apple Bloom it won't be a problem. Stop arguing and get moving!" Diamond Tiara grabbed the magical compact mirror out of her mane and threw it as far as she could. That should take care of that pest, now it was time to deal with another. She'll track the mare and when Apple Bloom shows up they'll transform and Diamond Tiara would crush the colorful mare's face.

Diamond Tiara swiftly ran into the same alley the colorful mare disappeared into. It was leading into the outskirts of ponyville, away from buildings and closer to the everfree forest. Diamond Tiara quickly spotted a bush just at the edge of the city and she dove into it. "Where?" Diamond Tiara whispered to herself. "Where is she?"

A scream echoed from Diamond Tiara's right. Wasting no time Diamond Tiara bolted off towards the scream. That was her best chance. The scream repeated periodically, guidning Diamond Tiara closer and closer to the edge of town. Just next to the Everfree Forest, she found the colorful mare crouched over a blue mare. "Now, surrender to me the Aurora Crystal!"

"Somepony, help me!" the blue mare screamed.

Diamond Tiara swallowed hard and yelled as louad as she could. "Hey, muck for brains!" Diamond Tiara yelled at the colorful mare. "Remember me?" Where's Apple Bloom?

"I-it's Filly Cure! The fillies who cure things!" Does she love saying the obvious?

"Are you gonna fight me without some dumb monster this time? Huh? Huh!" Where was Apple Bloom? Where was Sherbet? They needed to get here right away. "You know you're no match for my magical powers, so you should just run away with your tail between your legs! Compared to me you're just a bug for me to crush!" Just keep talking and keep stalling.

"But, but, but, butts! Filly Cure needs two butts! You have only one!" Was this thing even capable of making sense, Diamond Tiara wondered as the urge to hit it in the face grew. "With only one, the filly can't cure! The filly can't cure! This filly will not be cured!"

"Shut up, you're annoying!" Wrong thing to say, Diamond Tiara thought to herself. This thing was getting under her skin better than she could get under it.

"Fight?" The colorful mare echoed. "You want to fight?" Before Diamond Tiara could realize, the colorful mare was right in her face. "I'll give you a flight!"

Diamond Tiara couldn't react in time. The colorful mare attacked Diamond Tiara with the strange magical wind from before, and this time Diamond Tiara wasn't protected. Nothing caught her fall. She landed on the cold hard ground and shrieked as the pain wracked her entire body. "You," Diamond Tiara growled with the last of her strength. "When I get my hooves on you, I'm going to... I'm going to rip you to pieces."

"Poor poor pretty filly cure. You can't do anything without the other pretty filly. You're useless."

"Say that to my face!" Diamond Tiara forgot her injuries and threw herself at the focus of all her rage right then. She wound back her hoof and drove it forward, straight into the colorful mare's sickeningly wicked grin. The mare barely moved, not that Diamond Tiara cared. The longer it was standing the longer she could pummel it. "I'll make you regret calling me that!" Another gust of wind threw Diamond Tiara off, kicking her hard to the ground. "Don't you dare think less of me!"

"This isn't any fun without the other filly." The colorful mare forgot about Diamond Tiara and turned back to the now unconscious blue mare. "Nothing I can do to this one now. Pain and suffering is for those that are wakey wakey. She needs breakfast!"

"Shut up and fight me!" Diamond Tiara screamed.

"No, I will not shut up and fight you! I will shut down and flight me!" More annoying nonsense. Diamond Tiara, with only adrenaline left to push her, threw herself one last time at the colorful mare. She was going to knock out one of its teeth at least, but in the blink of an eye, the mare disappeared. Diamond Tiara flew past where it once stood and landed face first in the dirt. It didn't taste good.

Diamond Tiara could barely raise the upper half of her body. "I'm alive, and in pain," she said to herself. "Where are those stupid imps with stupid bloom? I almost died because of them!"

"If you have strength to yell you're not dying."

"Sherbet!" Diamond Tiara twisted around and collapsed onto her back. There was Sherbet floating over her. "Where are the other dimwits! Do you have any clue what almost happened to me!?"

"Who you callin' a dimwit!" Apple Bloom was close-by. Diamond Tiara lifted her head slightly. She could see the pink bow getting closer. "You go chasin' after that freaky mare and then blame me for your condition? What's wrong with you?"

"How about the fact that I have to deal with the slowest pony in Equestria when the bad guys show up? I saved that mare over there, but does anypony thank me? Nope." Good deeds are never rewarded, that was one of Diamond Tiara's credos. "So forget this!" Apple Bloom jumped back a little. "Take Sherbet, give her to one of your stupid friends! I've got better things to do then get hurt all the time!"

"Are you for real?!" Apple Bloom squealed in delight. Of course she was happy about this turn of events. "Oh boy! Should it be Scootaloo, or Sweetie Belle? Oh who am I kiddin' Sweetie Belle can't fight monsters! Oh, this is going to be the best now! C'mon, Sherbet, let's get you a better partner!"

Sherbet was stupefied. "W-what?! I never agreed to this."

"Well who wouldn't! Let's get this mare to the hospital," Apple Bloom pointed at the unconscious blue mare, "and then get the real Filly Cure goin'!"

"B-but - "

"No time for butts! We've got to get another one for Filly Cure!"

"That joke," Diamond Tiara rolled her eyes, "is terrible."

When Princess Cadance was around there were fewer things that Shining Armor enjoyed more than strolling through town with the love of his life. Without Cadance, under the constant threat of an attack by a vengeful pony with no heart left, very shadow had become a monster in his eyes. He was on full alert, but unable to concentrate long before his eyes would shift to another spot.

"Prince Shining Armor, you do know the end of the day is coming and I have yet to hear a word out of your mouth when it comes to your announcement to the populace? Are you intentionally shirking your duties?"

Protecting the Crystal Empire was Shining Armor's sole most important duty. "Perish the thought. In fact, I'm mentally combing over it as we speak. Just watch, after tonight you won't have a doubt in your mind about my abilities." He said with total calmness. It was also a complete lie that just might get Lattice off his back for a moment. Shining Armor doubted that he could ever give a speech good enough to impress this crusty old mare anyway.

"It's Sombra!" a child screamed.

Shining Armor jumped in the direction of the voice, his horn glowing with magic. "Where? Where!?" he screamed.

"It's Sombra!" A child was giggling. Actually, more than one. Shining Armor turned around and there were a couple of colts jumping on his shadow. "Look, it's like Sombra!" one of them giggled. He looked up to Shining Armor. "Where's the princess, evil king!" A mother soon appeared, wearing a face mixed with apology, embarrassment and anger at the child.

"Please, don't mind him," the mother begged. "Come on, you two." She grabbed the two colts and whisked them away hurriedly. Shining Armor stared blankly at his now empty shadow.

"And what was that outburst about?" Lattice's tone could turn the oceans to sand.

"J-just being cautious." Shining Armor's heart was racing, pumping so fast it hurt. He let off an awkward smile that he knew wouldn't fool Cadance. "The safety and well-being of the citizens takes top priority, right?"

"You have a point." Words Shining Armor hadn't heard from Lattice yet. "Though, to joke like that around the captain of the guard no less! Somepony needs to give those foals a good lesson!" The crusty old mare was becoming even crustier. She pursed her lips and squinted her eyes at the colts.

"Er, now, now. It's not so bad." It's still a little bad. "I mean, it's a good thing, right, that the children think back on Sombra as, well, a joke." A joke with a very real punchline. "No need to get all worked up." Nopony could possibly be as worked up as Shining Armor, and it took every ounce of concentration to hide it.

"Your taste in jokes is terrible. Now then, enough lollygagging. You have subjects to address, a speech to give, politics to deal with. You're the acting ruler of the Crystal Empire. Start acting like it."

The pressures of Sombra on his right, and the scrutiny of Lattice on his left. Plenty of rest for the wicked, but that was the last thing Shining Armor was. "Okay, okay, mom," he joked.

"Don't ever call me that," Lattice said venomously. She looked ready to bite his head off.

"S-sorry." Shining Armor was driven back a little. "Let's just go back to the castleand get comfy." The two of them started on their way. Shining Armor was full of doubts over the entire matter. He never once in his life fancied himself in the position of prince. He fancied himself plunging a spear through some gruesome monster’s hide and receiving medals from princesses for acts of carnage vindicated as heroism. Unfortunately, gruesome monsters are few and far between, and the truly gruesome monsters are usually the one's you'll never be prepared for, let alone solved with a spear. Between Queen Chrysalis and King Sombra, all the knightly training in the world had become bunk. Both had managed to make fools of him, and now Shining Armor had to become a prince? What did a prince do? There was no real example of princehood back in Canterlot. With no example to follow, what could he do.

"You know," Lattice said all of a sudden, "your shadow could somewhat pass for... his."

"My shadow?" Shining Armor looked down. His shadow didn't look out of the ordinary. A rather big and broad shadow. Shining Armor was very proud of his physique and to cast a large shadow was in itself a reward. "Hardly. A large shadow is a sign of heroism." That's what his childhood taught him anyway.

"Both big ponies with... horns. There aren't naturally any crystal ponies with horns."

"Unicorns are everywhere in the rest of Equestria. Horns are a dime in a dozen."

"Well, from the point of view of a crystal pony, you're another large oddity like, well, him."

Shining Armor stopped. He looked around, all around him. He looked in every direction. The crystal ponies were inching away from him. So slow he couldn't notice till it was pointed out to him. "Lattice."


"I'm not feeling well." His heart was sinking.

Diamond Tiara laid in bed, rubbing her sore leg. "Bites, bites, bites," she cursed over and over again. No one else was home: no Sherbet, no Filthy Rich. He was probably busy at work, like always. She could just cry to herself in peace without anyone around to bother her. "That last one really hurts." She touched her leg and winced. Tears started streaming down. "Never trust an imp that can turn into a flying saucer when she offers you magical powers. They just want to use you."

An hour passed where Diamond Tiara just sat still in bed. The room was dark and quiet, just like any night. Noise isn't ever an issue in this household. Diamond Tiara, deep in unconsciousness, rubbed her stomach and whispered, "Daddy, make me a sandwich." She didn't dream of sandwiches that night.

"Good morning, class. You can all call me Night Shade."

Diamond Tiara stared at the front of the class, one eye twitching. The blue mare from before was standing at the front of the class, shining them all some big fake smile to try and gain their adoration, not that she would need to worry about that. These fillies and colts would shower anypony with unconditional adoration. Lyra was unable to properly control the class, so Diamond Tiara could sleep easily that entire day, but what was this teacher capable of? Time to find out. Diamond Tiara ripped out a piece of paper from her notebook and started writing in it. "Something juicy," she whispered to herself as she wrote on the paper.

"Until Miss Cheerilee gets better I have been contracted by the Ponyville board of education to instruct you all until her return."

"What's wrong with Miss Cheerilee?" Apple Bloom was raising her hoof to get attention. Diamond Tiara thought of using Apple Bloom in her little experiment, but that was too obvious, plus the class still thinks shes responsible for throwing a stupid paper plane at her. Whoever that pony was, Diamond Tiara would make her pay.

"Such business is not for good little fillies to dwell on, especially when we still have the rest of the day to learn." Shutting down Apple Bloom with such a weak attempt? Diamond Tiara expected Apple Bloom to sit down quietly... for now. Eventually Apple Bloom would press the subject again and again. She was predictably persistant.

Diamond Tiara's eyes snapped over to a new target. Yes, he would do nicely. Diamond Tiara folded up the piece of paper carefully. At some point, the teacher would pass by the front row of desks and Diamond Tiara would make her move.

"Now class," she was beginning some lecture-drone, and the class was already losing interest. She was walking around the class as she lectured to make sure she got everyone's attention. Diamond Tiara saw her chance. She held the little paper note up with a hoof and flicked it with another. The paper note when soaring over the teacher's head and landed on Lance's desk. The seeds are now sewn. Diamond Tiara propped her head against a hoof and waited for the show to start.

"Who dares write me a letter of challenge!" Lance screamed aloud, playing his part perfectly. "Show yourself to me so we may fight honorably!"

"What is this about?" And now Miss Night Shade was a part of the play.

"After school behind the classroom is no place for an honorable duel!"

"What pony would want to fight Lance?"

"I see hearts on the note!"

"Is it a love letter?"

Diamond Tiara praised herself for her genius. Now the juicy bits were going.

"Filly? Apple Bloom! Do you finally accept my challenge!"

"Like hay I do! Go sword some other pony!"

"No, it's you I will sword!"

"K I S S I N G!"

This was perfect! Diamond Tiara laughed so hard inside that she choked on it. The new teacher lost control and was obviously out of her league. Now Diamond Tiara could take it easy. She closed her eyes and got comfortable on her desk. The rest was smooth sailing.

"Class," Night Shade said, "that is enough!" She stomped her hoof on the ground, and silence followed. That was unexpected. "Good, now then. Let's continue with the lecture on old world art and culture. Diamond Tiara, no sleeping in class."

Diamond Tiara's eye twitched. Her genius, stomped away in an instant. "This is what I get for saving you," Diamond Tiara scowled under her breath.

"Shining Armor, get your firmly toned butt out here this instant! Don't act like no one notices! I guess the least a trophy can do is polish itself!"

Lattice had been banging on the bedroom door for an hour now. She was persistent, Shining Armor had to give her that. That persistence was wasted. Shining Armor wouldn't open the door for the end of the world. What speech could he give when Shining Armor wasn't even sure if he was wanted within the Crystal Empire. He had given up an entire life back in Canterlot for his love Cadance. Without the slightest hesitation he gave up his home, he gave up the glory, he had given up the glorious spotlight. Restoring the empire was Princess Cadance's duty, and to be there for her and take part himself in the restoration of a brilliant land was something he took pride in. But now what? What if the crystal ponies fear he will turn into another King Sombra. "I am not Sombra. I'm nothing like him."

"Either you open this door or I'll make sure you share something with him, the afterlife!" Lattice sure knew how to yell at him, just like his wife. "Open the door! Or the Princess will come home to find her trophy dented beyond repair! You have till three! One! Two!" Shining Armor magically undid the lock. "Three!" Lattice bucked the door open and the hinges exploded off the wall. "Just what do you think you're doing!?"

"Please tell me why in all of Equestria, or your Crystal Empire, did Cadance stick me with the single most annoying vassal of them all!" Shining Armor yelled at her from across the room. "Seriously, can you do anything other than just yell and nag! You're cutie mark must be a battleaxe for all the crud you put me through!" Lattice began backing away. "You want a speech? Here's one: you're a nuisance! You do nothing but complain! So go complain to somepony else! I'm not hearing it anymore!" Shining Armor's horn gave off a bright glow as he formed a barrier within the room that pushed Lattice out, an act that had left her shaking and aggravated. "What do you have to say now!" She made some angry face, mouthed some angry words, and banged angrily on the barrier, but not a single sound pierced his barrier. "I'm sorry, I can't hear you!" he said through the barrier, taking some snide joy in Lattice's helplessness.

She continued to bang on the barrier. The barrier held perfectly. Nothing she did bothered Shining Armor. Stronger ponies have tried to crack Shining Armor's powerful barrier magic. They all failed. Lattice was less than a fly on the wall at this point, which gave Shining Armor the peace he needed to sit on his haunches, stare out the window, and convince himself he was nothing like Sombra, the evil and malicious king that watched ponies suffer from his castle. Sombra was the king that reveled in making others suffer. Sombra, the monstrous tyrant whose mere shape gave the crystal ponies fear and he delighted in it. Shining Armor was none of these things, right?

Lattice was still pounding on the barrier an hour later, an impressive feat. Each beat was weaker than the last. Poor thing must have gotten hungry. Another hour later, Shining Armor dispelled his barrier. Lattice, ready to strike it, tripped over forward and landed on her face. "You," she moaned weakly, "how dare you act this way towards aristocracy."

"Am I going crazy?" Shining Armor quickly said.

"As sure as I bake a mean custard pastry."

Shining Armor didn't respond. He turned and stared at Lattice. "You do?"

"I do!" Lattice shouted back.

Shining Armor didn't respond.

Lattice sighed. "What's your problem, trophy... Shining Armor?" No response out of him. "Are you okay?"

"I'm not turning into King Sombra, right?" Shining Armor asked on one quick breath. His eyes were bloodshot and his mane a mess.

"Okay, maybe you're more crazy than I thought. What in all of Equestria would make you think you're anything like that evil-to-the-

"They were ready to run away from me, and not the kids: the adults. Like they were scared of me. I haven't done anything, I've done nothing but try to fit myself in as a member and citizen of this kingdom. I don't want to be treated like a stranger here, Lattice. I gave up everything back home for here. If I don't have a home here then..." what was his home now?

Five more minutes! Just five more minutes and the torture that was Night Shade would be over. She was worse than Cheerilee in every way, Diamond Tiara painfully learned. Twice as demanding, twice as authoritative, and nothing they did seemed to have anything to do with class. She had them on a whole new subject studying ancient pony art. Ancient pony art was boring! Diamond Tiara had seen macaroni art from foals half her age that was more interesting, but in four minutes, it would be over, and Diamond Tiara could go home and fume by herself in peace. In three minutes she could run out of this building as fast as she could. In two and a half minutes she could be far away from this battleaxe of a pony. "In two minutes," Diamond Tiara whispered to herself, grinding her teeth, "I can be free."

"Diamond Tiara?" Silver Spoon nudged her. One minute later the bell rang.

"And with that, I suppose class is dismissed." Every filly and colt in the room got up, unable to stand another second, shot out of their desk.

"Everypony hold it!" Apple Bloom shouted as loud as her hillbilly lungs would let her. "Now, I know y'all want to get out of here and back home to start playin', but I was thinkin' that maybe we would do somethin' a little more special and visit Miss Cheerilee seeing how she's all sick and stuff."

Such a sweet and kindly gesture for their teacher and Diamond Tiara couldn't expect less from Apple Bloom. She also couldn't care less. She wanted to go home. "How sappy."

"Uh, Diamond Tiara." Silver Spoon again. Diamond Tiara knew where this was going.

"You want to visit her, don't you?" Silver Spoon was too nice for her own good sometimes.

"I won't force you," Silver Spoon said, pouting her lower lip, a technique Diamond Tiara taught her. She was also better at it. "If you don't want to go I can go by myself alone."

Diamond Tiara knew she was too nice for her own good. "Fine, I'll go. But you owe me."

"Double chocolate caramel with my family's imported Saddle Arabia dried melon bits?"

"Silver Spoon," Diamond Tiara licked her lips, "you know the way straight to a filly's heart." Diamond Tiara wouldn't admit it, but she would have gone with Silver Spoon for just a regular sundae. "Okay, let's go."

"You're all welcome to visit your teacher, but don't forget you have homework due tomorrow, dearies." Night Shade reminded them all. Diamond Tiara couldn't care less about that while the rest of the class begun their chorus of whining.

"This new teacher bites," Silver Spoon whispered to Diamond Tiara. "Can't wait to get Miss Cheerilee back."

Within a few minutes the class was slowly marching to Cheerilee's house. The sight of children walking so hurriedly on their own through Ponyville was rather unheard of. No one feared for them. One of the most magical mares in all of Equestria lived in this town. Everyone always felt safe. Until now.

"Did you hear about what happened in the park the other day?" The hushed whispers and gossip was starting, Diamond Tiara noticed.

"It was found all torn up this morning."

"Someone said they saw some kind of monster rise up in the park."

"I asked Twi - I mean, Princess Twilight about it. She said she didn't have a clue."

"What, really?" There was something about knowing something more than 'Princess' Twilight that Diamond Tiara enjoyed.

"She said she investigated it but couldn't find a single clue about what happened."

"So you think there's somepony more magical than Princess Twilight?"

"Princess Celestia? Princess what's-her-moon - Luna?"

"I heard that that one green mare was spotted there beforehoof."

"The one always with the candy mare, Bon Bon?"

"Her name is Lyra. I heard she's been having financial issues."

"Starving artist types."

"Think she did something desperate?"

"You're wrong." The whole class stopped. Sweetie Belle had stopped and was shouting at some of the gossipy ponies, a couple of frumpy looking mares that had nothing better to do but say mean things about someone behind their back. Sweetie Belle looked tense, angry almost. As angry as a filly with cotton candy mane can look. Diamond Tiara had never seen her like that. "Lyra would never do such a thing, so don't you go spreading lies like that. It's not nice."

"Why don't you go back to playing with your friends. Let the grown ups talk to themselves in peace." The world of adult conversations was supposedly sacred and to be undefiled by children. Diamond Tiara hated that notion, and she could see Sweetie Belle did too.

"What would you know, you weren't there!" Sweetie Belle began screaming.

"Oh, and you were?" The 'adult' mares asked back. Diamond Tiara almost bursted out laughing.

"I was! I know who did it too! It was this mare that had fur that never stayed one color!" The adults were beginning to look intrigued. "She was talking to Lyra and then started saying nasty things to her! And then she started using magic without a horn! Look for a pony with, like, every color in her fur and can use magic without a horn! That's who did it!"

The two mares looked at each other, and started laughing. "Oh, don't worry, we'll find her. Remember to check under your bed and closet." Of course, like an adult, they didn't take Sweetie Belle seriously. "Fillies these days with their imagination."

"At least I have one and don't spend all day saying mean things!" Now the adults were angry, and Apple Bloom was rushing to Sweetie Belle's side.

"C'mon, weren't we gonna visit Miss Cheerilee? Don't make a scene." Apple Bloom pulled Sweetie Belle away from the gossipy mares.

"But if they say things like that and everypony believes them, Lyra will never be able to get a new lyre."

"It'll be fine. I believe you. Lyra would never do something like that. She's way too cool for that."

"Maybe she ran off to Canterlot? She wasn't in school today anyway. Who knows." Diamond Tiara added in offhandedly. The next thing she knew, Sweetie Belle was yelling at her.

"You're just like those adults, saying mean things and thinking you can get away with it when it's not nice!"

Gossip was easily one of Diamond Tiara's favourite past-times.

"Thinking you're better than anypony else."

Something Diamond Tiara delighted in knowing.

"When really you're just a bully that thinks only of herself!"

Diamond Tiara had been called worse and didn't lose her cool over it.

"Hey, Sweetie Belle, quit it." Apple Bloom was trying to restrain her enraged friend.

"Why's she even here? She doesn't care about Miss Cheerilee the same way the rest of us do. She and, and Silver Spoon too. Why are they even here when all they do is ruin everything? They're both the worst ponies ever!"

"What did you say?" Diamond Tiara stopped and turned around. "Why don't you repeat that to my face? What happened to all that not talking bad about others behind their back!"

"It doesn't count with ponies like you."

Diamond Tiara could've punched her in the face. She might have done so if she had the strength. Now it was Silver Spoon holding back Diamond Tiara. "Let go of me."

"Ignore them. We're here for Cheerilee," Silver Spoon whispered.

"They're insulting you," Diamond Tiara almost growled.

"And I don't care," Silver Spoon answered her.

"Fight, fight, fight, fight." Oh great, Diamond Tiara groaned. The ring of fillies and colts was taking its place with their barbaric and selfish chanting. As much as Diamond Tiara would have loved knocking some sense into Sweetie Belle for once, she didn't want to give the rest of them any kind of satisfaction. That was supposed to belong entirely to Diamond Tiara. "Fight, fight, fight, fight!"

Silver Spoon came in closer to Diamond Tiara. "You know what, let's just leave. This is going terribly."

"No, you wanted to see Cheerilee, and if Dumb Belle over here doesn't like it she has to deal. Besides, I don't want to fight her with a crowd. Too many witnesses."

"Fight, fight, fight!" The ring was complete, and thirsty for somepony to knock the other one clean.

"Rip her to pieces, Sweetie Belle!" Scootaloo was the worst of them all. "Teach her who's boss!"

"Scootaloo, don't make it worse!" Apple Bloom yelled. "No fighting, no fighting!"

"I hope you're happy." Diamond Tiara sneered at Sweetie Belle.

"Not really." Sweetie Belle replied in a squeak. She was useless in front of a crowd. She closed her eyes and tried to become smaller. She raised a hoof, not to hit anyone, but to shield herself.

Diamond Tiara, stepped forward, and that was her worst idea of the day. She over-extended herself and felt pain shoot straight up her hooves. She blacked out for a moment and collapsed on the floor. The entire audience gasp.

"Diamond Tiara's out in one blow!" some colt shouted out.

Sweetie Belle opened her eyes and before her was a winded Diamond Tiara. She didn't remember doing that/

"Sweetie Belle! Sweetie Belle! Sweetie Belle!"

Sweetie Belle tried to stop them, but with no luck. "But, I, wait, no - "

"What in sam's hill is goin' on here!"

Everyone froze. This was a voice familiar to many, and especially familiar to Apple Bloom. "Oh no: sis."

"Apple Bloom!" Applejack had appeared, not looking happy in the slightest. "Apple Bloom, why are you out here with all your classmates and - Sweetie Belle? Diamond Tiara? Oh nelly, this better not be what I think it is."

"It's not!" Apple Bloom started fidgeting around. "Nothing happened! These ponies are all crazy! I swear! Sweetie Belle didn't even touch her! You know Sweetie Belle! She's too, uh, sweet to hurt anypony on purpose. This is all a big misunderstanding! This is not what it looks like, I swear!"

"Sweetie Belle didn't hurt her, Miss Applejack." Even Silver Spoon was trying to convince her. "Diamond Tiara hasn't been looking well since this morning. She just collapsed."

"Is that so." Applejack looked at the both of them. If both Apple Bloom and Silver Spoon were trying to tell her the same thing, it had to be true. "Well, then, I guess if what you both say is true. But what in tarnation are all y'all doin' out here without a chaperone?"

Apple Bloom answered. "We're on our way to visit Miss Cheerilee, but then Sweetie Belle overheard some mares and got all mad and then Diamond Tiara said something and then all this and," she took a deep breath, "and then it looked like they were gonna fight and then - "

Applejack put her hoof in Apple Bloom's mouth. "Okay, I get it." She sighed and took a deep breath. "Okay, well if y'all are gonna go visit Cheerilee y'all are gonna need a chaperone, and that's me. Anypony that tries to start another fight is goin' home."

The class let out a conjoined groan as they huddled behind Applejack who decided to play mother goose. Diamond Tiara was still face first in the dirt, mentally cursing herself. She felt a hoof grab one of her own. "Well that sucked." She struggled to maintain balance. "Sorry, Silver Spoon. I didn't mean for all that to happen."

"I'm not Silver Spoon." That was Apple Bloom's voice.

Diamond Tiara's head shot up. Apple Bloom was holding her hoof. Diamond Tiara pulled hers away, nearly falling over in the process. "What are you doing?"

"Diamond, I was just - "

"Get away from her." That was Silver Spoon's voice. She appeared just behind Apple Bloom and almost pushed her away. "Don't you think you and your friend have caused enough trouble? Diamond Tiara's hurt you know. Put a leash on that candy-maned barbarian."

"Silver, I'm just trying to say - "

"Say what!?"

Apple Bloom took a deep breath. "Would you let me finish? I wanted to say sorry. Sweetie is just really worried about Lyra. She didn't mean to start nothin'."

"Fine, you've said your apology, now leave us alone." Silver Spoon stared daggers at Apple Bloom, who could only ease away uncomfortably in silence. "The nerve of some fillies." She turned to Diamond Tiara, her venom being replaced with worry. "Are you okay? You just collapsed out of nowhere! I almost had a heart attack."

"I just over-extended myself. Silver Spoon, I'm sorry. I think I got you in trouble."

"No more than usual." Silence, and then they started giggling.

"Hey, it's not my fault the world isn't ready for us," Diamond Tiara said with absolute confidence.

"The world isn't ready for you anyway." Silver Spoon wrapped one of Diamond Tiara's hooves around her neck. "You want to go to my place for sundaes?"

"No, we're going to see Cheerilee, if only so I can stick it to Dumb Belle later. And then I'll have two sundaes. One for me, and one for my leg."

"Your leg can eat?"

"A pony of my caliber can do anything!" They both started giggling again.

The rest of the walk to Cheerilee's house was uneventful. With Applejack leading the pack of fillies and colts, the town gossips were unusually silent. No pony dared earn the ire of one of the best friends of the new 'princess'. That was what Diamond Tiara chose to believe. It was fear inspired honesty, the most common kind.

At last, they were at Cheerilee's house. Applejack trotted up to the front door and gave it a quick knock. "Miss Cheerilee, you won't believe who came to visit you. Three guesses, and it ain't me." Applejack gave her own joke a chuckle, but there was no answer. "Uh, Miss Cheerilee?"

"Nopony's home!" came a sudden horrible scream from the other side of the door. "Nopony is home!" It was somewhat hard to distinguish, but Diamond Tiara could hear Cheerilee in that voice.

"Uh, Miss Cheerilee, you're home." Applejack tried knocking the door again, obviously unsure of how to respond. "L-let me tell you who's here, your class. They all came to visit. They were all looking forward to seeing you and makin' sure you're okay. You can come out, just for a second, right?"

"N-no, I-I can't come out. Just, leave, just leave!" Her voice was growing shakier.

The students were starting to grow nervous. Some looked like they could even cry. They weren't expecting this. Even Silver Spoon wore a confused and disheartened look.

"C-c'mon, Miss Cheerilee, it'll only take a sec - "

"Go away!" Cheerilee screamed with a terrible and raspy voice. "Go away! Leave me alone!"

"I-I see. Okay then. You... you have a good day." Applejack turned to the class and gave an awkward smile. Everyone looked ready to burst out crying. "Who wants to come to the farm for fritters?" Bribery and distraction, a shrewd business tactic, Diamond Tiara mused. It worked: the class became alive again at the prospect of fritters. Diamond Tiara found this pathetic. "Y-yeah. Last one to the barn is a rotten egg. C'mon, let's go. Please Granny don't kill me for this."

"Well, this bites," Diamond Tiara said as she tried to unhook herself from around Silver Spoon. "Wonder what's her deal."

"I hope she's alright." Silver Spoon couldn't care less about fritters. She was above them, Diamond Tiara knew. "I guess all that's left is to go home." The both of them sighed and turned towards Silver Spoon's house. Apple Bloom was in front of them. "What do you want now?"

"Can I speak to Diamond Tiara alone?" Apple Bloom asked with the biggest, fakest, most awkward grin Diamond Tiara had ever seen. "It's important."

"Why alone?" Silver Spoon got closer to Apple Bloom to protect Diamond Tiara. "Why Diamond Tiara?"

"It's, uh, important. It's, uh, curing related?" The terrible smile only got worse.

"Silver Spoon, it's fine. Why don't you go on ahead. I'll catch up."

"In your condition?" Silver Spoon pointed out.

"I said I'll catch up. Let me listen to what this loser has to say so I can be on with my day." Silver Spoon looked ready to argue, but then sighed and gave up. She gave a nod of affirmation, and went on her way. "Okay, what is it?"

"Was the loser part necessary?" Apple Bloom felt it necessary to dawdle on unimportant things.

"Yes, it was. So, what is it?"

"Well, Custard and Sherbet have been bothering me non-stop since we got to Cheerilee's! They said that they feel something evil inside there."

"So what happened to replacing me?" Diamond Tiara grew haughty and Apple Bloom sighed.

"Sherbet won't cooperate." Apple Bloom became annoyed. "She said she'd only let you use her magical power."

"As I thought."

Sherbet popped out of Apple Bloom's mane, still in the form of a little compact mirror. She opened herself and started yelling at Diamond Tiara. "Then why did you let her take me! What was the point of all this?"

"So I can finally have some peace and quiet. Why else? Seriously, do you ever let up on doting on me?"

"You're... unbelievable," Sherbet said with exasperation.

"So, evil magic stuff’s happening inside Cheerilee's house, right? Something new to beat the stuffing out of?"

"Most likely!" came Custard's annoying little voice from inside Apple Bloom's tail. "Filly Cure gets in there and beats up the bad guys!"

"Sounds like fun, we'll meet back here tonight." Diamond Tiara had a lot of pent up anger she could start letting out.

Shining Armor's breathing was strained. Sweat poured down his face and turned his mane into a matted mess. He closed his eyes, gripped a spear in his teeth, and threw himself forward. The hit connected and the spear stuck cleanly into the training dummy's wooden body.

"Have you had enough of this?" Lattice sat against a wall at the base of the arena, bored almost witless. "You've been at this for hours and quite frankly I'm beginning to find this a little disturbing. Heck, it was just plain creepy to begin with."

"I'm sorry, but training drills are the only way I can clear my head." Shining Armor magically brought another spear over to his mouth to grip. He would practice the under-belly lunge technique now. Perfect for when he felt the need to rip out a monster's stomach. It's almost a shame he never gets to use it. Considered far too barbaric and violent to use against other ponies and sentient beings. Superfluous to the job of protecting. Now he was protecting himself from the insanity of isolation. He sprinted forward, ducked down and used the momentum to slide under the dummy and impale the spear into underbelly. He was flawless.

"The citizens are beginning to get worried. They're wondering why their beloved princess has closed her doors on them and hasn't addressed them at all for two days now."

"Then why don't you make a speech, Lattice?" Shining Armor pulled out the spear from the dummy's underbelly. "Why don't you give them that precious peace of mind?"

"Because politics."

"Have I ever mentioned how much I hate politics?" Shining Armor jumped on the the dummy's back and stabbed his spear into the dummy's back.

"The populace will begin to worry if the princess's nigh-lifeless and strict retainer with nary a funny bone in her body were to suddenly announce her departure. One that she never formally announced for reasons I imagine only you know and will not tell."

"Lattice," Shining Armor rolled to the side and shot the spear into the dummy's side. "I'm actually amazed that you know how un-fun you are."

"It takes practice to become as much of a killjoy as I, Shining Armor. Understand the resources that are available to you in that Princess Cadance appointed me as your counselor."

"Okay, so you say that they won't like it if somepony as absolutely soul-crushing as you - "

"You're too kind."

"As soul-crushing as you delivers the message. So what about me? Not sure if you noticed, but I'm becoming a paranoid wreck simply because I think they're comparing me to Sombra just because I'm a unicorn like him."

"And locking yourself up in this castle to put a spear into some wooden doll is helping?"

"Did Sombra spend a lot of time in the castle?" He dared to ask it. Even after so long, for many crystal ponies any subject about King Sombra was off-limits. Few could stand to recall the trauma of his reign.

"He did," Lattice said in a quick breath. "He was almost always in the castle. Either locked up in here, or standing on the balconies to watch us suffer. Whenever he did leave the castle it was usually to make us suffer more. If you want to prove you're as different from Sombra as possible to them, then I suppose the thing to do would be to be out there, making them happy."

"Happiness, huh?" Shining Armor dropped the spear. "I wonder what will make me happy?"

"You're a bona fide prince now. For the rulers of state, the people's happiness becomes the ruler’s happiness. Their pain is your pain. Their lives are your life. A good ruler, nay, a good prince is one who is of the people, Shining Armor. You must become of the people."

Shining Armor started off towards the castle.

"Where are you going?"

"To do some reading."

"It's nearly dusk! The moon will be up in minutes! Do you mean to tell me you're putting off your speech again!"

"Yes!" Shining Armor shouted back from the archway in. "Yes I am!"

It was nightfall now. Diamond Tiara waited in her room patiently. Sherbet sat on her bed in her imp form making some face that could be recognized as anger, but Diamond Tiara was always under the impression that Sherbet really needed a new face. "Your father's not home. I see no reason why you need to wait just so you can sneak out like some hormonal adolescent."

"I'm practicing for when I'm older." It was getting close to the appointed time. She didn't care if she left Apple Bloom waiting.

A creak was heard from the bottom floor. "Diamond Tiara, are you still up?" Filthy Rich called from below.

"Quick, hide." Diamond Tiara shut off all the lights and leapt to her bed. She quickly wrapped herself up and began feigning sleep. Sherbet floated still, completely stunned by the sudden action.

The sound of Filthy Rich's steps echoed upwards. The doorknob turned, and he peered into the dark room. "I guess you're already asleep." There was a hint of disappointment in his voice. He crept into the room, as quiet as he could so as not to wake Diamond Tiara. He was by the side of her bed, looking down on the most precious thing in his world. "My sweet little princess," he whispered as he moved a lock of her mane out of her face. "I'm sorry I couldn't get home sooner again. I've been trying to get home sooner but... well, I guess I'm just not trying hard enough." He knelt down and kissed her on the cheek. "You're the toughest little girl in the world, like a diamond. I know you'll do great things. Dream some good ones, my little pony." He let out an exhausted sigh, but smiled to himself. "Hey, I don't remember buying this one." He picked up a pink plush toy the mimicked something only vaguely equine with a mane that mimicked the swirls in cheap ice cream. "Maybe I should let up on the presents a little." He put put it down and crept out of the room, quietly.

The room was dark and silent again. Diamond Tiara threw off the covers. "Sherbet," she said with an agitated groan, "if you just cost me any new toys then I will rearrange your face personally."

"I've always wanted somepony to do my make-up." Sherbet poofed into a little floating compass and hid herself in Diamond Tiara's mane. Diamond Tiara swiftly moved to her bedroom window and quietly lifted it. She was smiling to herself and even humming, for tonight she could ignore the pain.

Even at night Ponyville is considered one of the safest places in all of Equestria to be about sneaking around. Diamond Tiara must have heard this passed around a hundred times thanks to their 'Princess' Twilight Sparkle. This is also the town that has been attacked by Ursa Minors, Parasprites, a dragon that still lives in that very town, vengeful princesses, vengeful moon ponies, vengeful street performers with magical amulets, a spirit of chaos, a changeling invasion, and an army of pink clones that nearly reduced the town to rubble, and this was all just the top of her head. Even before Sombra and whatever that colorful pony was, Ponyville was easily the most dangerous places in all of Equestria, which made sneaking out all the more fun.

Apple Bloom was waiting by the side of Cheerilee's house. "You're late. I've been waiting here for thirty minutes."

"Do anything useful in that time?" Diamond Tiara climbed up to the nearest window. "It's not even open yet."

"I've never broken into somepony's house before." Apple Bloom was useless.

"Great, now what?" Diamond Tiara groaned.

"Leave it to me." Sherbet poofed out of Diamond Tiara's mane. She floated over to the lock and her little stubby arms started glowing. The lock of the window clicked open.

"We can do that!?" Custard yelled out like a buffoon. The three girls shushed him down.

"We have more magic than just bestowing powers to Filly Cure, though none of it seems to involve fighting. Sorry girls, but when a fight starts up I'm pretty... useless."

"It's all right, Sherbet." Apple Bloom patted the little imp on her head. "You're plenty useful."

"Since when were you two so friendly?" Diamond Tiara slipped into Cheerilee's house.

"You did leave her with me for a day." Apple Bloom slipped in after. "Okay, so, where's the source of the bad magic voodoo?"

Sherbet poofed back into a mirror and hid herself in Diamond Tiara's mane. "It's everywhere, absolutely suffocating."

Cheerilee's house was dark. Darker than the night. Darker than black. It was a kind of dark that wanted to eat everything in sight. Vision was useless here. Diamond Tiara and Apple Bloom were blind. "What do we do here?"

The two of them tried to feel their way around. Still unsure of where to go, until they heard something. It sounded like a wail.

"I'm a good pony."

It was Cheerilee's voice.

"I work hard like anypony else."

She was crying.

"I'm not lonely."

That sounded like a lie.

"Please, somepony, it hurts."

What's going on, Diamond Tiara thought to herself. She always knew that there was some secret pathetic side of Cheerilee that she hid from others, but this was something else entirely. What should she do? Just what was going on here? Diamond Tiara was too confused to do anything. Unfortunately, before she could come up with something, Apple Bloom acted first.

"Miss Cheerilee!" she shouted out loud. "Miss Cheerilee, are you okay?

"I have a bad feeling about this." Diamond Tiara tried to follow after.

"Miss Cheerilee!" Apple Bloom yelled again, over and over again.

"Is somepony there?" Cheerilee responded to Apple Bloom's cries. "No! Go away! Go away! Leave me alone!"

"Miss Cheerilee, it's me, Apple Bloom! What's the matter? Miss Cheerilee!" Things were about to go very bad, that was Diamond Tiara's instinct. Apple Bloom found a door to the room in the darkness, Cheerilee's voice coming from behind it. "Miss Cheerilee!" She turned the doorknob, and rushed into the room.

Diamond Tiara did not follow immediately. "Sherbet, can you give me the slightest idea of what's going on here?"

"I can tell you one thing, there is a malevolent aura coming from that room. It's the same aura I felt when the Aurora Lights were released, and the same one I felt on the day you first became Filly Cure."

"This is bad." Diamond Tiara ran into the room.

"Miss Cheerilee," Apple Bloom crept closer to Cheerilee, "it's alright." In this room, there was one small candle that illuminated from a nearby vanity. Apple Bloom was edging closer and closer to a disheveled mess of a pony, to Cheerilee. "Miss Cheerilee, what was all that about? Everypony knows you’re a good pony."

"G-go a-away, Apple Bloom, g-go away." Cheerilee was shaky, wide-eyed and red-eyed. This was far from the composed Cheerilee either of them knew. This was a pony on the verge of something, perhaps desperation. "L-leave me, a-alone."

"Miss Cheerilee?"

"I SAID LEAVE ME ALONE YOU STUPID LITTLE BRAT!" she suddenly snapped back. Apple Bloom was taken aback, shocked to silence. "What are you even doing in my house? Are you sneaking in! You obnoxious little piece of failure I am so tired of dealing with you!" She was standing up now, advancing on Apple Bloom. Her eyes, they were leaking some kind of mist that swirled behind her. "Every single day it's some new headache from you that I have to deal with! You make my life a nightmare sometimes! And then you try to play sweet with me? 'oh, Miss Cheerilee, you're my favourite teacher. You're the best, Miss Cheerilee' I HATE IT!"

"M-m-miss Cheerilee, I j-just wanted to help y'all," Apple Bloom said while on the verge of tears.

"Help what?!" Cheerilee roared, the malevolent mist around her growing stronger. "I've done nothing but my best and still life feels the need to throw dirt at me all the time! I hate being lonely, I hate being relied on constantly, and I hate you for always making my life worse! I hate you, Apple Bloom!"

Apple Bloom had become useless, Diamond Tiara groaned. She should have had them transform before they broke in. Apple Bloom was a sniveling mess now. Only one thing left to do: steal the spotlight. She threw Sherbet straight at Cheerilee, nailing her on the side.

Cheerilee turned, eyes red with anger. "And you!" Diamond Tiara chuckled to herself. This was too easy. "Always acting like the perfect little princess when you're nothing but a perfect little prick."

"Is that all you've got?" Diamond Tiara was stone faced, keeping her emotions in check.

"You're a snot-nosed little good-for-nothing that only cares about herself!"

"Is that what you really think of me?" Diamond Tiara snidely replied back. This mist around Cheerilee was growing stronger.

"You're the worst little filly that, in my entire life, I've ever had to deal with!"

You're the toughest little girl in the world, like a diamond.

"You're going to amount to nothing with your snot-nosed attitude!"

I know you'll do great things.

"I wish you'd die and get out of my life!"

Dream some good ones, my little pony.

Diamond Tiara chuckled to herself. This was too easy. "Some teacher you are." She said right back.

Cheerilee exploded, screaming in anger as mist poured out of her in a terrible storm that threatened to devour her. "Apple Bloom!" she screamed out. "It's curing time!" No response. "Apple Bloom!" Diamond Tiara scowled and felt around. She found some soft little thing. "Apple Bloom!"

"Yeah?" came a meek cry from the soft thing.

"Stop listening to her and listen to me!" Diamond Tiara struggled to keep her cool as the mist from Cheerilee started ebbing toward the. "Right now stupid Sombra is inside her! You want to save Cheerilee, right!?"

"Y-yeah," Apple Bloom answered again with that meek tone.

"Then get your act together and take my hoof!" Diamond Tiara extended out hers.

"Y-yeah!" Diamond Tiara and Apple Bloom joined hooves. Sherbet and Custard floated out of the two ponies respectively. They opened up and light shot straight through the roof. Darkness and Light was now pouring out of the top of Cheerilee's house.


The pillar of light died down, and in the wake of the darkness stood two fillies, one in violet, and one in red. "Protecting the light that spreads across the world, Cure Red!"

"The beacon of hope shines down on us, Cure Violet!"

"Together we are Filly Cure!" The darkness came swirling around the two of them.

"Envoy of deepest darkness..."

"Prepare to be cured!" A wave of shining light emanated from the two fillies. The darkness around them was shined away. Diamond Tiara and Apple Bloom stood poised and ready. For Diamond Tiara, so long as she was Cure Violet, the pain was gone. She wanted to make the most of it. "Well, now that the speech is over, what do I get to beat up today?" Cheerilee stood, convulsing with rage and anger, her eyes pure white and pouring with mist. "So, we get to beat the Sombra out of you? Oh, I can live with this."

"We're here to save Miss Cheerilee, not hurt her," Apple Bloom said while dropping onto her hooves. "Don't go too hard on her."

"Hurt her, save her, all the same thing. I don't see any other way to get that thing out of her."

"The shining wave!" Sherbet yelled out from her clip on Diamond Tiara's frilly dress. "It has the power to expunge evil from good."

"It will expel the evil Cheerilee from the good Sombra?" Diamond Tiara launched herself into the sky. The possessed Cheerilee had just lunged at her and crushed the spot where Diamond Tiara once stood. "That makes perfect sense, just like everything else you've ever said since we first met!" Diamond Tiara flipped around and dive-bombed at Cheerilee. "Tiara kick!" She crashed right into Cheerilee's side. Cheerilee didn't budge.

"Little brat!" Cheerilee screamed as the dark mist knocked Diamond Tiara away. Cheerilee jumped forward and bit Diamond Tiara's leg and slammed her down. She raised a single hoof. She wanted to crush Diamond Tiara's head.

"No!" Apple Bloom shot herself like a cannonball into Cheerilee's side. She just barely got Cheerilee to budge off. "This isn't like you!"

"Not like me?" Cheerilee repeated, hissing the words like a venomous snake. "What would you know! Every day with you brats is another day of my life lost! Another day lost and another day closer to my own miserable end! I hate you!" The dark mist formed spears that surged at Apple Bloom.

Diamond Tiara pulled herself up and deflected every shot with just her hooves, faster than the eye can see. "I think I'm starting to get the hang of this." She kicked off the ground and in seconds was behind Cheerilee. "Eat this!" She threw herself at Cheerilee and threw out a multitude of punches. "Go down, go down, go down, go down!"

"I'll crush you!" Cheerilee spun around and smacked Diamond Tiara upward, destroying anything that was left of her roof. "I'll crush you into little stupid pieces you selfish ungrateful brat!" Cheerilee hunched down, building strength in her hind legs. She was going to spring upwards, but something caught her.

"Cheerilee, stop!" Apple Bloom cried. "This isn't you, it's Sombra!"

"This is exactly what I've always thought!" Cheerilee grabbed Apple Bloom and threw her up at Diamond Tiara. "I've hated you all forever!" She hunched down and shot herself upward.

"What do we do?" Apple Bloom whined as she and Diamond Tiara began their descent. "Do you really think she hates us?"

"I don't care," Diamond Tiara responded curtly. She grabbed Apple Bloom's hoof. "And if you really want to save her I suggest you do the stop caring to? Or do you want Miss Cheerilee to drown in her own little pity party?"

"You know I don't!" Apple Bloom yelled back.

"Good, then I suggest you start clenching those teeth!" Diamond Tiara started spinning Apple Bloom around. "Sub-apple-ic Collider!" Diamond Tiara spun around and smashed Apple Bloom right into Cheerilee. The three of them rocketed downwards and exploded the ground beneath them on impact. Cheerilee's house was almost completely gone. Diamond Tiara pulled herself up and swung Apple Bloom around again. "One more! Sub-apple-ic Collider!" Cheerilee went rocketing off, out of what was left of her house. "Easy enough."

"You're the worst, absolutely evil, the last filly in the world who should be a curing filly!" Apple Bloom continued to whine and cry some more. Diamond Tiara didn't care.

"Shut up and give me your hoof again. This is our best chance for the Shining Wave!"

"Fine," Apple Bloom said with an irritated sigh. She and Diamond Tiara joined hooves and the power within them started welling up immediately.

"Resound, Oh Yonder's Glorious Break, Irrevocable Voice!"

The possessed Cheerilee was waking up, her face portraying something more beast than pony now.

"Filly Cure Shining Wave!" The tink spark of light came, and was followed by the stream of light, pouring out of the filly's hooves and engulfing Cheerilee. The light torrented into the sky and evaporated. Cheerilee lay on the ground, unconscious. This mist was gone.

"So the key was to blast her to smithereens? Who came up with these powers." Diamond Tiara sighed. She knew what was coming next. The cloths were beginning to vanish away, almost as easily as they came. In the blink of an eye she was bare again, and the pain came surging back like a tidal wave.

"Miss Cheerilee, Miss Cheerilee!" she heard Apple Bloom cry out. What a worrywort. Everything would be fine, Diamond Tiara guessed. Cheerilee would be fine. Diamond Tiara knew she herself wouldn't. She passed out.

"Miss Cheerilee! What? Diamond Tiara? Diamond Tiara! Diamond Tiara!"

"Shining Armor, what are you doing?" Lattice said with her usual toneless and spiritless voice.

"As you can see, this is a book-fort. No girls allowed I'm afraid," Shining are replied matter-of-factly. "I'm sorry Lattice, but I'm afraid you'll need to wait for me to finish my business in here." The library was only sparsely lit and completely devoid of any other pony than Shining Armor and Lattice. Shining Armor was back in his book fort from when he was helping Princess Cadance pour through these dusty old books. He added a few trebuchets in case he was attacked by crusty old mares.

"Prince Shining Armor, I demand to know when you decided to lose your mind!" Lattice still had no sense of humor.

"It must have been the day I decided to hook up with my sister's babysitter. You know how sleazy that sounds?" He had a book in front of him, one possibly detailing events from a thousand years ago. "I'm sure that's the concept for some R-rated movie I snuck into one time."

Lattice looked ready to pop a blood vessel. If she had, Shining Armor would have considered it a victory. "Prince Shining Armor, I am only vaguely aware of the new modern norms of contemporary Equestrian culture, but are you trying to insinuate that your courtship with Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, crown princess of the Crystal Empire, is something written by gutter-minded culture-trash written for the sake of despicable and pathetic stallions, no, colts, like you so obviously are?"

"Of course not." Shining Armor had to correct her on this. "The culture-trash you mentioned would at least have the sense of realism to not make the babysitter a princess. I mean, seriously, Lattice, she would have been a cheerleader or the nerd with glasses that you wait half the movie to take off the glasses. I just got really lucky."

"You're a moron! No, swine! A creature of substandard being! Unfit for the princess, unfit for the throne, unfit for the country! You'll lead us to our ends! The Crystal Empire is doomed! Doomed! We're all going to follow a blind herder off a cliff! We'll be mocked for all of history!" Shining Armor never knew that Lattice could be so dramatic.

"Great, will you leave me alone now?"

"Of course not." Nothing could ever be that easy. "Now, what are you really doing?"

"Trying to brush up on my history is all. You know, it gets a lot more difficult to find more about the history the farther back you go."

"Our scholars had very little time to record our precious history when King Sombra rose to power." Lattice knocked aside the pile of books serving as the gate and invaded the book fort. "They've been working hard to try and fill in the blanks, but many of them are nervous wrecks and probably would be happier in an insane asylum."

"Usually when a king rises to power via a coup he'll overwrite the history in his own image." Shining Armor shut the book and tossed it aside.

"I suppose King Sombra didn't have time for that. Too busy casting down misery on us all. As for a coup, perhaps if there was one then we would have been able to prevent it. One day, he appeared, the former princess disappeared, and before we knew it everything had changed. He wasn't something we saw coming, he was something that simply appeared almost solely to make our lives miserable."

"Gotta admit, the guy sure was to the point. Equestria has had it's own share of usurpers, but they all sure liked to talk and gloat and that might be the only reason it still stands."

"How nice for the Crystal Empire to get the only competent monster." Lattice wasn't enjoying this subject. Shining Armor had had enough talking about Sombra anyway.

"Tomorrow morning, I'll give the speech and make the announcement."

"Did the trophy get his soul-searching over with while I wasn't looking?"

"Sure, let's go with that." Shining Armor turned and helped Lattice up. "Reading all of this history, I know I want to help keep the empire smiling and happy. That's what Cadance wants, and it's also what I want. I want this kingdom to shine like before. So, think you're still willing to help me, Lattice?"

"I'm still putting up with you, aren't I?"

Shining Armor chuckled. "Indeed you are. Thanks."

Does it hurt here?

Diamond Tiara's eyes wavered on the edge of consciousness. She could feel something wrapped around her and some kind of warmth spread across her chest. Someone was talking to her. She couldn't recognize that voice in her state.

You're in terrible shape, but don't worry. I'm here for you.

It was such a warm voice. Female. Diamond Tiara felt the warmth being spread along her leg now. The pain was just fading away now. She could almost stand the thought of standing! "Thank you," she barely said with her weakened voice.

You're a surprisingly strong little filly if you've been livin' with this, but you gotta take better care of yourself.

"I know, mom," Diamond Tiara said with with a comforted smile on her face. In response, she heard some giggling.

Sorry sweetie, but I ain't your mom.

Diamond Tiara's eyes shot open and she shot herself upward to take in the area. House wasn't her house. Wooden beams were exposed, quite tacky, and the walls were colored with shades of yellow, very unfashionable. She looked around. She was on a bed, and spreading some kind of mushy substance on her leg was Apple Bloom’s older sister, Applejack. "What am I doing here!?" Diamond Tiara's face flushed red with anger. "What are you doing!"

"Hey, hold your horses. If you move around too much then you'll pull something and undo everything I did." Applejack spoke calmly while gently pushing Diamond Tiara back down onto her back. "You calm now?"

"Hardly." Diamond Tiara was growing angrier by the second.

"Fine. Well, Apple Bloom showed up with you on her back and begged me to give you the zap-apple treatment."

"Zap apples?" Diamond Tiara looked closely at the mushy stuff Apple Bloom was spreading. It was rainbow colored.

"Yep! Zap-apples. High in nutrition, gives you a kick of energy, and pretty damn effective in relieving pain and rejuvenating the body. Coulda prolly made a mud bath out of it if it weren't so darn tasty on toast." Applejack started wrapping up Diamond Tiara's leg much like her chest was. "By tomorrow morning I'm sure you'll be back to terrorizing my little sister, unless you actually had a change of heart and, you know, feel grateful for what she did for you in swallowing her pride and bringing you here?"

Diamond Tiara responded with a heart-felt, "no way!"

Applejack sighed to herself. "Well gee, how nice of you." Diamond Tiara felt the bandage around her leg being bound too tightly. "Especially after you got her in trouble not too long ago."

"I didn't throw that paper airplane! It was some other numbskull." Diamond Tiara was growing more infuriated. No one ever believed her when she told the truth. "Apple Bloom is the one that started spazzing out and attacked me."

"I'm sure you're telling the truth." Applejack didn't believe her in the slightest. "Anyway, you're all good now. Just, be a little more careful. I have no idea what you fillies are doing and I'm going to hope it's just more cutie mark crusader schemes that you got involved with, I'm sure against your will. I don't want to see this as a recurring thing."

"Whatever." Diamond Tiara had no control over when monsters attacked.

"So, should I get your dad to pick you up?"

"No!" Diamond Tiara screamed in panic. "He cannot know that I snuck out. I'll get home on my own. Thanks for everything. Bye." Diamond Tiara tried to jump off the bed, but she misunderstood what little strength she had. She landed on her face on the floor. "Ow."

"Hey, don't go hurtin' yourself again." Applejack scooped Diamond Tiara up. She placed the filly on her own back. "I've only got so much jam, and if you went and snuck out I have to tell your father, no if ands or buts!"

"I am so tired of hearing about butts today!"

Applejack didn't want to know where that came from. "C'mon you, let's get you back home."

Just outside the doorway, Apple Bloom was waiting. When she saw Applejack and Diamond Tiara she galloped up to them. "Is she okay now?" She wasted no time.

"Yeah, she's back to her usual cranky self. C'mon, we need to get her back home, and you need to go to bed, now."

"But - "

"No buts!" Applejack had become staunch. "The both of you decided to sneak out for whatever dumb reason, and now you both will pay the price. No dessert for a week, Apple Bloom, and an early curfew!"

"No!" Apple Bloom began to cry. "But this week Granny Smith is making her famous double-story with homemade honey whipped cream marble screw cake! Vanilla and chocolate! Vanilla and chocolate! You can't do this to me, sis! You can't! I'll die! It's vanilla and chocolate!"

"You can at least go down with dignity." Applejack hurried Apple Bloom into her room. "And if you sneak out again I'm boarding up your windows! You won't see the light of day if I can help it!"
The last thing Diamond Tiara heard out of Apple Bloom's mouth was an elongated and overly-dramatic 'noooooooooo'. Diamond Tiara now knew a new way to torment Apple Bloom: with cake. She was sure Silver Spoon could make something better.

Diamond Tiara rode Applejack through Ponyville. It was just a little past the dead of night. The sun would probably come up in a few hours. Diamond Tiara started forming alibis, anything she could do to dodge blame, because no one would believe she snuck up to fight her possessed teacher via magical powers from an annoying pair of imps. She could blame Apple Bloom, even Applejack was convinced it was her fault in some way. The safest bet.

"Just what did you fillies do to get yourselves all banged up?" Applejack was becoming inquisitive.

"Ask Apple Bloom." A bad answer, Diamond Tiara knew. Apple Bloom didn't have the mental faculties to come up with decent lies. Applejack accepted it though. Everything rested on Apple Bloom. They were doomed.

"Here we are." Diamond Tiara's house, a large two story house that was almost a mansion. But, any bigger, and it would be too much for just two ponies to live in. Applejack knocked on the door. What were the chances of Filthy Rich being up this late.

The door opened almost immediately. Filthy Rich now looked the part in regards to the first part of his name. "Diamond Tiara! Oh, Celestia, Diamond Tiara! Thank the princesses you’re safe!" He rushed over to Applejack's side and scooped her up into his chest. It was soaked with cold sweat. "Do you have any idea how worried I was?"

"Well, I was supposed to get back before you realized so you wouldn't be so worried." Diamond Tiara hugged herself close to that filthy smelly chest of her father's. "I didn't mean to worry you."

"You are in so much trouble, my little pony," Filthy Rich said between his sobs.

"I know, daddy," Diamond Tiara answered him, a tear rolling down her cheek.

Applejack was starting to look obviously uncomfortable. "Well, uh, I'm glad to see that everything's alright over here, so, I've just gotta get home now. Er, see you at our next shipment, Mr. Rich."

"Yes, thank you, Applejack." Filthy Rich carried his daughter into their home. "Thank you." He shut the door. He carried Diamond Tiara upstairs. She was sound asleep in his arms by the time they reached her bed. "You... are going to kill me one day." Filthy Rich was far too exhausted to be angry. He wished he wasn't, but this was a good alternative. He could yell at her tomorrow. He brought the sheets up and tucked Diamond Tiara in. "Hm, where's that toy?" He started scrambling around, looking for the odd magenta doll. He didn't find it. "I must be losing it in my old age." Giving Diamond Tiara one last look of paternal love, he then quietly left the room. Not even a mouse could wake up.

Several minutes later, a certain magical mirror pushed itself out of Diamond Tiara's mane. In a poof of smoke, Sherbet emerged, tears streaming down her eyes. "I knew that there was love in this house, I just knew it. Diamond Tiara, you manipulative little brat, have you nothing to say about the true and honest love between you and your father." Diamond Tiara didn't respond. She really was asleep this time! "Well, you've done a good job tonight."

"Daddy," Diamond Tiara whispered in her sleep.

A new day was beginning in the Crystal Empire. Every pony in the city had been gathered before the crystal castle, eagerly expecting an announcement that they had been told was of great urgency. What was going to happen? That was the question on all the crystal ponys’ minds. It was also the question on Shining Armor's mind. He surveyed the courtyard from within the shadows of the doorway. "No turning back now," he said to himself.

"You're not getting cold hooves on me now, right?" Lattice was just behind him, sporting that same sour look she always did. "You cannot back out of this."

"Lattice, Lattice, Lattice," Shining Armor said with a faux tone of assurance. "I gots this."

"Never before have I been so sure that no, you do not ‘gots’ this at all."

"Then prepare to be amazed." Shining Armor stepped into the light of day. The murmuring amongst the crystal ponies ceased quickly. The prince was on stage, but where's the princess? Shining Armor was going to have to amaze himself now. "My dearest citizens, I, Prince Shining Armor, come to you bearing a message. Princess Mi Amore Cadenza has left on official duty as a delegate for the empire to foreign shores." The murmurs arose again. Shining Armor strained his ears to try and hear anything. He couldn't make out a word. He had to continue. "So, by decree of crystal empire law," they were settling down, "I, Prince Shining Armor, am now acting ruler of the Crystal Empire." The murmurs exploded. Whatever they were saying, they were being loud and indiscrete about it.

"Doing good so far," Lattice said to him.

"What do you mean? They're all talking."

"They just found out their beloved princess is away, of course they're going to talk about it."

She had a point. Shining Armor cleared his throat. "And so," they didn't stop talking. Shining Armor cleared his throat and said louder, "and so!" They were all still talking. Shining Armor's horn lit up. "And so!" he said with his magically-enhanced voice that shut out all of the crystal ponies’ petty little whispering. "And so I come to you all, knowing full well I am an outsider. I am not a crystal pony by birth. While the power of the crystal heart can temporarily make me one, I would soon revert back to being a unicorn. However, when I chose to come to the Crystal Empire I did not do so without consideration. I chose to come here knowing this was a land still recovering from its terrible trauma. I came here with the full intent of helping, because I came here knowing that this is now my home. I may be welcomed back into Equestria with open hooves, but this is my home now, and I want my home to be a happy one. I am your prince, it is only by your sovereignty, not mine, not Princess Cadance's, but yours that I may continue as your prince, and as such I will devote my life to you all, because that is my duty, my right, and my will as your prince. Let's all step forward into a new tomorrow!" Shining Armor went quiet. The crystal ponies became quite noisy. Shining Armor turned around and returned to the shadowed halls of the castle. He took one look at Lattice. "Water, I need some, now."

"Of course." Lattice stepped aside and a pitcher was already prepared behind her. "Speeches tend to make ponies thirsty, I know." Shining Armor bolted to the pitcher, ignored the little dainty cups, and started chugging down the water. "You did well. I would grade your performance with a B. Got a little cheesy at the end but your heart was in it, that's good."

Shining Armor emptied the pitcher and stared into its empty abyss longingly. "Since when did you become my teacher?"

"Since I took this job. Really, must you argue so much?"

"Yes." Shining Armor was drinking out of a nearby vase of flowers. "This one has good flavor."

"I'll relay that message to the head chef."

The voices outside weren't dying down. Shining Armor wasn't sure if he wanted to ignore them or not. Now, only time would tell him what the crystal ponies would really think of him.

Comments ( 8 )



Btw, your stuff broke and is showing at the end there.

So unfair bro. So unfair. I'll update this tomorrow once I wake up in the morning

Poor Telaros...


Great chapter, btw.

Now now, Shining Armor—don't be like that! Just because Sombra and you share some superficial similarities doesn't mean you're like him! You're nothing like him! There's no way you could ever be remotely like Sombra!

I have actually been growing to really enjoy Shining and Cadance thanks to this story, but this was just extra frosting on my double-story layered with homemade honey whipped cream marble screw cake! Vanilla and chocolate! Seriously, Vanilla and chocolate!

I was gushing at how well this story flowed. I was not expecting Diamond Tiara POV to be THIS awesome. Can someone PLEASE animate DT literally rolling off her bed? That was cute. Adorable. Other words that help describe my squees. Diamond is such a little wisecracker to her dad.., loved those two.

The way you go with the whole Magical Girls giving you power to ignore pain, how every action they take have lasting effects, really drives home that whole Madoka thing that many MG shows tend to go for these days. I LOVE how it was executed here. The ponies never seem out of character, the way Diamond would comment on some of the silly aspects or just plain weird/annoying bits about how things work as a Cure Filly was, really had me laughing a good bit here and there.

I loved Sweetie Belle's and DT's scene at that climactic moment. I loved Apple Bloom's remark to Diamond Tiara when Diamond used her favorite attack on the villain.

All that and AJ. DT was adorable, AJ's response was pretty much expected after that lol. But Sherbert. She is just one of my favorites. Sherbert and Diamond play off each other so well. Their fights and their little moments together and now DT's slight annoyance that Apple Bloom and her somehow feel buddy buddy, was all wonderful.

This story, your stories, they just don't lack in the minor details. Read this twice now and it's just so much fun. This is certainly my favorite chapter. OMG. This story needs fanart, STAT.

People just don't know what they're missing here. Holy crap this story needs more attention. No idea what people are skeptical about. It isn't Anthro, it isn't a plain Crossover. This is set in Equestria and characterization and how well strewn this story is put together honestly makes this easily one of the best stories you'll read on this site.

Not Apple Bloom Story.
Not Diamond Tiara Story.
Not Crossover Story.
I'm talking this is one of THE best fun filled adventure story that keeps the ball rolling. Not only is each chapter a full on episode of its own, but it's all sown together in sweet sweet continuity to its predecessor. Small things like how a character gets hurt and they aren't magically healed up the next day.

If you LOVE minor details in story that doesn't forget that it was a thing in a previous scene or chapter, if you like stories with emotions and motivations, if you even are capable of reading words on a screen about pastel colored ponies, THIS is the story you should be reading!

I can't wait for more!

^^ How I felt reading chapter 3

I'm still waiting for Diamond Tiara to admit that she wants Apple Bloom as a friend. It's kind of interesting though that she's the tougher one and Apple Bloom is the super sensitive one.

Waiting for chapter four now.

It's no secret that Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara are developing into quite the superheroes... and womance. Don't forget the womance! :derpytongue2:

Also, Shining Armor develops great leadership skills in this chapter, albeit slowly.

So far, this story is pushing the boundaries of what I consider a good fanfiction and good literature. I consider this story good fanfiction and it has a long way before I think of it as the latter.

Favorited and followed! :moustache:

Despite not updating in FOREEVER~
This story is 100% Diamond Cutter approved!

You know what bothers me.

I have looked everywhere on Fimfiction.

And this is the only Precure fanfiction on the site:ajbemused:

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