Hello dears. It feels like it's been forever! Rarity Belle at your service, more commonly known simply as Rarity. Business pony and expert dress maker! Oh, and holder of the Element of Harmony known as Generosity.
It's been over a couple of weeks since the ordeal with that brute of a chaos spirit Discord. Everyone else seems to be holding together alright. Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash seem to be hanging out more than usual. Fluttershy strangely asked Miss Cheerilee for advice on how to handle difficult fillies... maybe she wants to give babysitting one more shot?
As for myself, I am doing perfectly well. I can now look at jewelry without vomiting (I'm fairly sure horses aren't supposed to be able to do that!).
I can now look at the rocks outside without falling into fits of self loathing.
I only break into a cold sweat now when touching diamonds rather than all gems.
And the nightmares where a handsome prince arrives to woo me only to tell me his name is Tom and turn into a giant boulder now only happen every other night.
Yes. I'd say I've perfectly recovered from the travailing ordeal without the slightest permanent stain on my inner beauty!
Now if only Pinkie Pie would stop mentioning how none of my dresses have those sparkly gems in them anymore. And Twilight would stop asking why I'm practically throwing away gemstones at Spike whenever he comes over.
And I wish Fluttershy would stop telling me that I need to open up and talk more about what happened! What Discord told me that made me give up being generous and instead become 'The Hoarder' as Twilight called me.
Since we weren't acting like ourselves, Pinkie Pie insisted on coming up with nicknames for ourselves when we were under Discord's corruption. She says she can't decide if she should go with Rarigreed for me since it's more identifiable, or Greedity because it rolls off the tongue better.
I tell Pinkie Pie in NO uncertain terms that I do not care one way or the other and that I have no interest in this particular 'project' of hers and that she should not discuss it with me further in any shape or form!
What am I supposed to say? That Discord barely said a word to me and simply offered me what I thought were some pretty treasures?
Maybe I should take a page out of 'LiarJack's' book and say I resisted all his temptations like pure innocent Fluttershy and he had to -force- me to be selfish. But I think we've all had our share of lies for one lifetime after this.
And for the first time since I was chosen worthy by the Element of Generosity, I'm suddenly asking if I really am.
I've dealt with hecklers and idiots before who try to paint me as some greedy nag who'd trade her own friends in for some baubles and I still refuse to dignify their verbal assaults with an answer.
But now I've found myself wondering. Was I being generous for the sake of others? Or because I couldn't stand to look at anything that didn't fit my view of what was pretty and had to FORCE it to be that way?
Am I like Discord? I know the way the world 'should' and 'should not' be, so anything that conflicts with that HAS TO change no matter what... But isn't that the way it is with everypony? Pinkie thinks people should always be happy and sure seems to go out of her way for it. Fluttershy wants everyone to be kind, but she doesn't go around bossing everyone to be kind because then that wouldn't BE kind.
Blast it all! BLAST it all! May Celestia take it all and banish it to the moon!
Was I THAT desperate for a stallion in my life that I was willing to love what I thought was a giant diamond?! I can swoon any stallion of my choice! So why don't I just find one worth of my time and finally have my prince? Or did Blueblood really ruin a lifetime goal of mine so utterly that I wanted to be with something I knew couldn't cheat on me or treat me wrong? Did I let that arrogant foal get to me that much? Even after I lost my temper and gave him the talking to he so richly deserved, am I really letting that upper class reject ruin what I wanted so badly? Just to be WITH someone?
I know Spike would move mountains for me if I wanted. It's actually a little painful knowing even he wouldn't come to my side with how I was acting as Discord's pawn. Thankfully he didn't hear me call him Twilight's 'little minion.' At least Sweetie Belle didn't have to see me like that, she was as insane as all the other ponies in Ponyville were at that point. I swear I wish Celestia would let me take a sledge hammer to Discord's statue! Sweetie Belle actually threw out her doll collection because they were giving her nightmares! I had to save them from the garbage and hide them somewhere (I know she'll thank me... eventually...).
Cheerilee and the parents of all the fillies and colts in town are trying their hardest to help their children recover, but we're ALL dealing with what Discord did to us even as Cheerilee tries to help her students. Celestia bless her soul, I can tell she's hurting like the rest of us during her time as Discord's mad plaything, but she still wants her students to 'bloom' as she insists is the meaning of her cutie mark. Sometimes I wonder if being a florist was what she was good at, but not what made her happy.
Princess Celestia actually put out a royal mandate for counselors from all over Equestria to visit Ponyville and all other places Discord had damaged. But there are so many of us who were tainted by Discord, and only so few ponies whose special talent is giving ponies the therapy they NEED now. So the doctors are focusing on those of us who really need help. Big Macintosh apparently can now stay in the same room with a dog without breaking down into a nervous wreck. I'll admit I don't know Applejack's brother all that well, but seeing that mountain of strength and silent will so... damaged like that carries a whole new flavor of wrongness. But after the first two weeks we've all been able to at least PRETEND that nothing had happened and we were able to playact through our lives. Well, most of us.
My oh so loving, attentive and caring parents practically -fled- Ponyville with Photo Finish on the first Pegasi flight to the southern islands as part of their 'therapy' for whatever torture Discord put them through. I didn't ask what Discord made them do, but they were covered in hoof marks whose indentations were of the garish tacky brand-names they always wore.
And that, of course, leaves me with Sweetie Belle, again. I swear to Celestia herself, I spend more time raising my little sister than my parents do! 'Back after a week's vacation!' Ugh! I can't believe I still fall for that lie! This isn't the first time Sweetie has plagued my home for more than a month! I'm more of a mother than mother is! Gagh! This added stress I do not need!
Yes yes it took her trying to change her name to Sweet Apple and joining Applejack's family to get me to realize I actually cared for her! Moving on!
Spike keeps visiting, asking if there's anything he can do for me. I give him some meaningless task or another until he's satisfied for the day and leaves. I can't bear the idea of using him for real workloads... Most ponies aren't interested in buying new dresses right now anyway; all my orders are from out of town.
Maybe I should just tell him that he's too young for me, and by the time he hits manhood I'll be in a rocking chair. But he's about the only one in Ponyville who didn't suffer emotionally during the whole ordeal, and I don't want him to be hurt like that right now. It would be the single most unlady-like thing I could possibly do.
I've already thrown away the orders for dozens of the ugly dresses I made for my friends that one time that the population of Ponyville suddenly couldn't get enough of once they were all as mad as hatters. It was an unspoken agreement that I wouldn't force them to honor orders they made while completely out of their gourds.
THANK CELESTIA AND HER DAY AND LUNA AND HER NIGHT that Applejack, along with the others, volunteered to take Tom, er, the boulder away and promised to drop him, ugh the thing in the middle of Froggy Bottom Bog where the frogs and hydra could have it. Applejack said it was her way of making up for how the railway wouldn't accept my commission to take the boulder to Appleloosa, smash it into a million pieces and scatter the rubble across several miles of open desert.
Twilight at first calmly suggested that I should keep it as a reminder of hardships endured and make myself a better pony out of it. I calmly suggested in return that Twilight should go to Pony Hell. Thankfully she forgave me later even if she admitted it was partially her fault.
With IT gone I could finally walk around the shop without thinking every big round shadow I saw was IT following me somehow. At least THOSE nightmares had stopped.
The door to my work room smashes open into splinters. Tom rolls in carrying a bouquet of flowers in its cracks.
"No. NO! GO AWAY!" I trot backwards, it rolls closer.
A voice rumbles. "I love you more than anything, Rarity, my love! And we shall be together forever!" A cockatrice crawls out of the bouquet and glares at me... my insides turn colder than ice before going numb. I see, hear, think, but cannot move. Can't move, can't speak. Can feel everything on the outside but so empty on the inside. I see the gray statue of a unicorn in one of my mirrors.
"Now my rock princess, let us be off! Attendants!"
Dozens of smaller rocks rolled in behind Tom, and push me along, taking one of my wedding dresses and rolling it onto me. I can't move. I can't speak. I'm only their dress up doll.
"Now my rock princess let us be happily ever after, FOREVER!"
I startled awake, standing on my four hooves. I had fallen asleep? In the middle of the day? How vulgar. Thank goodness no one had borne witness to such a travesty. Maybe I was overtired, maybe.
I stood in my stock room, looking at my dresses, all with jewels I had found and dug up myself; even my earliest designs had always included stones of some sort or another. And they all reflected back at me as I stood there looking at them. Seeing a mare aged before her time, tired, weary, invisible weights dragging behind her. And I imagined, for one brief moment, Discord's sneering face on them.
I screamed, using my horn to tear off the gems I had so carefully and painstaking placed myself, destroying hours, days, weeks worth of work in minutes, snarling and cursing and sobbing, stomping on them and screaming at them. How dare they betray me? How dare they lead me astray? Jewels had helped me find my cutie mark, had helped me realize my special talent in creating things of beauty! How dare beauty betray me? How dare they turn me into something I wasn't? I tossed them out windows, breaking glass, I knocked over mannequins, ripping off jewelry and throwing them against walls. I didn't show mercy to any precious jewel or treasure.
I showed no pity to any pretty, shiny rock. The dresses were often torn to shreds. I kept screaming. I kept snarling. I stamped my hooves like a mad pony.
"Rarity?" I heard a small voice like a sleigh bell. I turned and hissed. Sweetie cried out in fear, looking at the ugly thing wearing her sister's face. "Rarity, the dresses, what are you-"
"I'M FIXING THEM!"
"But you said those didn't work without the-"
"I SAID I'M FIXING THEM YOU STUPID FILLY! DON'T YOU DARE TALK BACK TO YOUR ELDERS!" A sharp circlet whizzed by Sweetie Belle's head and imbedded itself in the walls behind her. A few severed threads of her mane floated to the floor.
Sweetie Belle fell to her knees and covered her head to make herself as small as possible, and sniffled.
Reality came down on top of me like Luna's moon, fallen from orbit. What had I done? WHAT HAD I DONE?!
I was at Sweetie Belle's side in an instant, idly wondering if I had spontaneously learned how to teleport. Sweetie Belle shrank a little at my touch. I shuddered. I examined her, thankfully the circlet had missed her. But it had been eye level. And I knew I hadn't been exactly aiming. It could have just as easily been a few more inches to my right...
"I'm sorry Sweetie Belle, I'm, just so sorry. Big sister is, big sister just did a very bad thing just now. And she's sorry. You haven't done a single thing wrong. Big sister's just tired right now. I promise, big sister's not angry at you. Big sister's not going to hurt you. Big sister won't shout at you again. Big sister isn't going to do anything bad to you. Big sister's just upset... big sister's ashamed that she could EVER consider a jewel to be the most beautiful thing in the world, that she could ever consider them to be the most wonderful thing in the world to her. I promise, big sister's not angry at you."
Sweetie Belle finally stopped shaking, and her eyes, red with tears, looked at me timidly as she asked, "What, what is the most wonderful thing?"
I nuzzled her, "You are Sweetie, you're the most wonderful and beautiful thing in the world to me. Because you're not a thing. You're my baby sister. There's only one of you. That makes you more precious than a thousand diamonds. And it makes you more special than a million jewels... Jewels can't tell me how much they love me, and they can't listen when I tell them how much I love them. You're the most important thing in the world to me... "
We just sat there together for over an hour, watching the sunset through the broken window before I put a cloth over it to keep the night air from getting in. No offense to Princess Luna.
"Come on now, let's get this place cleaned up and go to bed. I promise you can help."
"I can?" Sweetie Belle asked, cautious but eager. Helping me has always been a desire of hers no matter the task, be it small or big. You can't buy that kind of devotion.
"Yes dear. You are after all, my most beautiful and most wonderful treasure."
A few days later -and after a very large clean up and a trip the spa, for just me and Sweetie Belle- I was in the shop again, as normal. For a tiny bit it FELT like the precious status quo we all lived for was what it was again.
There was a jingle at the door.
A little violet-pink pony came through the front door with a white and purple mane. The filly moved with the uppity air of an upper class heiress, but her motions reminded me a bit of a doll, forced, almost mechanical, like she was putting conscious effort into her body language. Her name flashed through my mind as I saw what she was wearing and her cutie mark, and my coat became matted with sweat.
"Greetings, Miss Rarity." Like her body language, her voice was prim and proper, with a healthy sprinkling of spoiled arrogance, but it also seemed forced. I was considered part of Ponyville's 'upper crust,' even if some, like the Tiaras, considered me an outsider for being a unicorn. As it was, the filly went through her social expectations with minimal snottiness.
"Welcome to the Carousel Boutique, young miss! What can I help you with today?" I said, putting on my best business face.
The filly moved closer. I took a step back. Di-di-dia-diam-the filly either didn't notice or pretended not to.
The filly spoke with a sense of entitlement. "Your little store has the honor of accepting a VERY IMPORTANT commission from me, Miss Rarity! I expect it to be completed before the week is out. I assume this won't be a problem for a store with so little business as yours."
I kept my face on. It was a struggle. Stupid little filly, I likely do more work in a week then a member of your family does in a year!
"So... what is this dress of yours you would like me to complete?"
I finally realized how peculiar it was that a spoiled brat like Diam-this filly would be without any escort. And where was that other half of hers anyway?
Diamon-ugh! The filly pulled out a crudely drawn figure from a saddle bag I hadn't noticed before (Myself missing a detail? How was that possible? Then again I was trying my hardest not to think about how she was wearing her namesake on her head.) with measurements apparently written in by someone else.
From the measurements, the dress appeared to be designed for an adult mare. The design was excessive and a half, done with little sense of style, and was far more flare than substance.
"This. I trust you'll be able to follow them with no real problems. Ignore what the notes say, include at least five times as many diamonds as that. And make sure they're the largest you have! I know you're a so-called expert at finding diamonds, so no excuses! Remember, five times as many as-"
She practically shoved the design in my face. And I saw them, diamonds, all over the gaudy dress with a drawing of one by the side as if for example. Diamond Tiara continued to ramble for several seconds but I wasn't listening anymore.
All I saw was myself ripping a stone wall to pieces and ruining my appearance all for the sake of something pretty and being vicious to my friends for no good reason, thinking they wanted it for themselves. And finding out it was all a lie, I threw it out at once... and felt the crushing SHAME inside me, for acting absolutely no different from this spoiled brat but several times worse. I was deluded into thinking something worthless was precious, but how much of the rest was me? My head hurt as Greedity's- no, my actions ran through my head. I had been so, so wretched.
"ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING YOU NARWHAL?" DIAMOND Tiara shouted out, her DIAMOND tiara actually looking rather tilted slightly from her agitated expression.
"NO. And get out."
"WHAT?" DIAMOND Tiara said in total disbelief. When was the last time someone other than her parents had told her "no?"
"I SAID NO! YOU CAN TAKE YOUR BUSINESS ELSEWHERE! NOW GET OUT! AND DON'T YOU DARE COME NEAR MY STORE AGAIN!!" I snarled.
"NO! Here is something YOU can't do!" I used my horn's magic to lift the suddenly confused and angry, then very scared DIAMOND Tiara. I drank it in. "SO who's a narwhal now?" DIAMOND Tiara was shaking. I leaned in close to the helpless filly. "Now listen here you greedy little foal! If I EVER catch you or hear that you called my little sister that I am telling your teacher and I PROMISE she'll listen to me! And if I find you near my home again I'll see you in a dungeon for trespassing! And I promise that little revenge fantasy already in your empty head won't work! My customers will never listen to anything you or your parents say!"
"MY PARENTS-" DIAMOND Tiara actually began to snarl but I then telekinetically tossed her out! Her DIAMOND tiara then fell off her head, and I practically THREW it at her as the spoiled filly left in tears, picking it up in her teeth and running.
The adrenaline spent, I leaned against the wall. What I had done played over and over in my mind until Sweetie Belle came home from her latest CMC group activity. No need for bandages this time, so I guess Scootaloo hadn't picked out activities today.
"Big sister? Are you okay?" Sweetie Belle asked, looking at me with concern. I must have looked worse than I normally did these last few weeks.
"It's... it's nothing dear, just, Dia-diamo-, a classmate of yours showed up for a dress to be made, but I had to turn it down."
"Diamond Tiara?" Sweetie Belle asked, then tried becoming smaller as I glared at her for saying that word.
"Yes dearie, if you must know, it was. Don't worry. She didn't cause any trouble."
"Was she acting weird like at school?"
I froze. I asked carefully, "What do you mean 'acting weird?'"
"Well..." Sweetie Belle looked uncomfortable under my gaze. "She doesn't really bully us anymore."
I blinked, suddenly feeling VERY ugly. "Really?"
"Well, she doesn't even look at us anymore, or anyone. Once school started again Miss Cheerilee kept asking her to pay attention in class. I guess she did that before, but before, she acted bored. Now it's like she... I guess like she's somewhere else."
"So would you say she's being nicer?"
"Not really. Yes. No. Maybe? She just ignores us instead of taunting us, but she keeps screaming at Silver Spoon."
My jaw dropped. "What? But, isn't that her best," I corrected myself, "-only- real friend?"
"Yeah, Applebloom thought it was weird too. No, I think what she said was 'whad da heck es dat 'bout' or something. You know that break we got after the panic over the Cutie Pox? Ever since school started again, everytime Silver Spoon tries to talk to her, D-, Tiara just yells at her. Calls her a good-for-nothing four-eyes, says her cutie-mark is stupid, says it means she's only good for being rich and isn't good at anything, and she's worthless... Cheerilee gave Tiara a time out and Silver Spoon - I think she was crying - went to visit the counselor after that... Later, when Miss Cheerilee was talking to Tiara, Tiara shouted that she wished you hadn't beaten Discord and that everyone in Ponyville was still crazy. I think she might have gotten suspended for the week after that."
I just listen. I can only listen. There is clearly a larger picture going on here. That was when I noticed a piece of paper still on the floor, which I floated up to get a better look... it was Dia-, Tiara's sketch, with her name on it. I finally noticed a small note in the corner, Sweetie Belle did as well.
"Momma's?" Sweetie Belle read it out loud, "I didn't know she had a mom."
"Eh?" I thought I already had that talk with Sweetie Belle about where foals came from.
"Well... When Cheerilee wants to talk to her parents, it's only her dad who ever shows up. She always talks about how great her dad is but never talks about her mom. So we figured she didn't have one."
"Everyone has a mother, Sweetie Belle... everyone..." I sighed, "Everyone is some mother's child."
I took the paper with me. Sweetie Belle and I spent the rest of the evening in relative silence. I asked about her day and she asked bits about mine. Cheerilee was apparently falling back on her old tactic of trying to relate to her students by sharing her own ordeal during Discord's games. Apparently Cheerilee had been planting flowers in other ponies' heads after Discord had driven her mad. She also talked about how bottled up feelings could hurt a pony worse than what caused those feelings in the first place.
"It was really weird."
"After you asked about it. Seeing Silver Spoon cry... I didn't think she knew how to."
'Of course,' I thought. The logic of a child, and most adults. Silver Spoon was bad, a bully... and therefore, she had to be all bad. There couldn't be a single thing that made her a real pony, as opposed to a creature that lived only to make the lives of Sweetie Belle and her friends miserable.
"Well, you did say her only friend just told some very awful things to her. Wouldn't you cry if Scootaloo or Applebloom said awful things to you?"
"But they'd NEVER say awful things to me..."
"Like how you all started fighting in the royal garden?" I said flatly.
"Er, I bet it was that bad dragon-snake that made us do all that! It had to be, right?" The idea to Sweetie Belle that she and her friends could have had a genuine FIGHT instead of just one of their arguments obviously scared her. After all, weren't friends not supposed to fight? Wasn't that the point of being a friend?
I sighed, I have more experience dealing with fillies than Fluttershy could hope to have. But that didn't make some things less difficult.
"If you're sure it was dear. Then I'm sure too. Now eat your alfalfa."
I kept Tiara's sketch with me. She didn't come back for it. I wondered what deadly wrath she was convincing her father to bring down upon me like she was a princess and I was a 'faceless commoner.' She couldn't appreciate that I personally knew Her Majesty's personal envoy to Ponyville and had met Princess Celestia multiple times. I doubt her father would risk trying to cross a national hero even to appease his daughter's demand. All the same I watched my flanks for a few days.
On a hunch I made a few visits to the town records, I milked the gossip sources, filtered out the garbage from facts. Taking advantage of Celestia's decree, I even paid a few visits to some of the psychologists in town, but found they wouldn't answer the questions I had as a matter of course. However all the same, in a few days I had more or less learned what I needed to know.
I closed the shop early, and began to work. I told Sweetie Belle she should consider doing something nice for Silver Spoon. She looked at me like I had told her to give flowers to Nightmare Moon. Knowing how much I sounded like Fluttershy I said, "Sweetie Belle. Being generous to people you like is easy. Being generous to strangers is simple. Being generous to people you don't like is neither easy nor simple. But it's also something that they can't imagine you doing for them, and the best gifts are sometimes the surprise kind."
"But would you WANT someone who's awful to get a gift?"
"..." I thought about how to explain this as best I could. "Sweetie Belle, I won't pretend that I thought there was any good in Discord. But I didn't think there was any good in Nightmare Moon either. I don't think Princess Luna is bad. And if there could be good in someone like Nightmare Moon, what about everyone else?"
Sweetie Belle looked at me with an admirable struggle to understand what I said before saying, "But what does that have to do with giving a gift to a bad guy? Why give a bad guy something when you could give it to a good person instead?"
"Sweetie Belle... Nightmare Moon thought EVERYONE was bad for not thanking her for working on the night as hard as Celestia does the day. But we proved her wrong, we helped her out of the dark place she was inside herself. I've taught you very much that what others think DOES matter. I know that goes against a lot of what your teacher says, but if someone is awful to you, it's because they think they have a right to be awful towards you, because you're just something that LOOKS like a pony but isn't one, or because they think you deserve to be awful towards... I'm sorry Sweetie Belle, I really don't expect you to get any of this. But please, for your big sister. Being generous to someone who doesn't like you, and you don't like, can cause good things to happen."
Sweetie Belle just nodded dumbly and wandered off, what I said churning in her skull in a soup of confusion. Hopefully my place of authority as her big sister would help her make the right decision. Meanwhile I worked from sunrise to sunset then slept until halfway through the following day.
I also swallowed my pride and asked Fluttershy's help on the sewing. How did a mare whose special talent was animal care know more about sewing than me?
I also did a LOT of digging in the next few days. The dia-dia, DIAMOND dogs knew to stay clear of me but I insisted on their help as well, which they reluctantly agreed to.
It was like swallowing bitter tea mixed with cough medicine every time I was given one of the things I ordered them to find for me. But I endured. I let the sweat drip off me, I felt my body shake until it was sore, feeling them have actual contact with my body when I handled them. Somehow I endured.
They were very surprised at the end when I emptied out my saddle bags, giving them an equal amount of gem stones from my own collection for what they had dug up for me. I had to explain to them, slowly, that this was what was known as 'fair trade.' To be fair I had at first intended to simply take what I wanted, counting on my infamous reputation to get what I wanted. But then I realized I wasn't their queen and I had no right to 'tax' them no matter my fantasies.
My talk with Sweetie Belle had caused me to realize I had reduced these dumb mutts to a one-dimensional trait: 'they had kidnapped me.' And as much as I loathed them and their total lack of respect for their own appearance, I begrudgingly had to admit they had their own simple appreciation for beauty. I was an artist and a business pony, not a tyrant.
When I got home I arranged them by size, weight, and everything else. The constant exposure wasn't pleasant, but I began to build up the tolerance I needed to work again. Maybe I was just being selfish again after all, maybe I was just using this as an excuse to give myself what I needed to begin to work again without being scared to death of my own materials. But I also knew this had to be done. I could have just ignored it, just let it go, but I realized I wasn't going to.
Sweetie Belle confessed she had tried to talk to Silver Spoon, only to find the filly yelled at her, asking if Sweetie Belle and the others were going to laugh at her now that D-Diamond Tiara hated her too. Silver Spoon had apparently acted like a cornered animal. Cheerilee had broken things up, leaving the CMCs very confused. I knew they were simply too young to understand that a bully's greatest fear was being bullied. Silver Spoon and D-Diamond Tiara now sat on opposite ends of the classroom apparently.
Silver Spoon had always been a follower not a leader, and now she found herself alone. Of course she'd think that the fillies she had helped taunt wanting to be friends with her were really just trying to set her up, to let them be cruel right back at her now that her 'protection' was gone. I told Sweetie Belle not to give up, that Silver Spoon didn't know how to make real friends. She thought I was crazy. Maybe I am at this point. Maybe everyone in Ponyville is now. Who goes through what we did and comes out undamaged?
Two days later in the early morning, having barely made my very real deadline, I trotted in front of the Tiara household.
I knocked on the door and a gray Earth Pony opened it. I informed her I had a personal delivery for the young lady of the household.
Diamond Tiara trotted downstairs wondering what could be SO important that it would take away -her- precious time. When she saw me her face contorted in rage. "YOU!" She glared at the older servant. "THROW HER OUT!"
The old maid looked ready to try her best. Instead I said quickly, "I've brought you your commission, Little Miss Tiara."
"Huh?" She blinked those big eyes of hers, confused as the entire room practically tripped over itself switching gears.
"Free of charge. And free delivery to you personally. On one condition."
"Condition?" She asked, not sounding very pleasant at all. I knew I was on thin ice already, but what had to be said had to be said.
I telekinetically opened the case I was carrying, showing the newly made dress, with diamonds in compartments on either side of it. "You sew in the diamonds yourself."
"You want to show your mother you still love her? You want to show her that you haven't given up on her? That you still believe in her? That she's still your mother even if your father says otherwise, young lady? That you're still waiting for her to get better? The best gifts, little filly, -AREN'T- the most expensive ones. They're the ones you've put the most time into yourself, the ones you've put your own effort into. They're the ones that show you really care about the person you're giving the gift to."
Diamond Tiara's jaw hung limply from her face. I gave the most formal, polite, and proper farewell fit for high society, and left. Behind me I heard heavy hoof falls and a quick shuffling noise, and a window confirmed what I imagined of a stallion passing through a minute later and Diamond Tiara hiding the case behind the servant.
I managed a smile. Maybe I was being foolish. But I knew this wasn't pointless... or at least, I didn't believe it was. And I think I finally understand. Making things beautiful and making beautiful things is simply what I am good at. A pony is not a slave to their cutie mark no matter what they teach you in school. It's your guide, not your master.
My Element and my Cutie Mark are not the same thing, have never been the same thing, and I was a foal for believing they were. If making beautiful things and making things beautiful are what I'm good at, and my Element is to be generous towards others, of course I'll share my talent with them. But that isn't the only thing I can share. Letting my sister help, spending time with others: those are generosities too, not just giving away THINGS. And I should have remembered that when Twilight's spell made me relive those moments I had been true to that inner spirit. But I was too scared of what I had done.
I'll never know how much of what I did was Discord's taint or my own choices, but I'm not ashamed anymore. Not as long as I remember that no matter what riches cross my path, my greatest treasure is at home, and she is waiting for me. And whether I find someone to live my life with is up to me. For the first time in weeks, I finally feel free.
Diamond Tiara carried the bag in her mouth, tiny red marks surrounded her front hooves and face. Sewing without fingers or a magic horn is even harder than it sounds. A large white burly pegasus pony walked next to her, as did one of her family's servants, because there was simply no way in Pony Hell that this place would EVER let a filly within these walls without protection and an adult. The servant however had promised not to tell Onyx Tiara where his daughter had really been this afternoon.
Diamond Tiara looked in the other rooms only once, and wished she hadn't, seeing a pink pegasus with stumps for wings mindlessly singing to herself.
"Screwball! You got a visitor!" Said the burly pegasus, sliding the small door within a door open. Diamond Tiara felt a wave of disgust at the oversized feather duster calling the mare inside by that name.
"Her name is Golden Tiara." She said lowly.
"Oh oh oh? Is that so so?" Said an adult earth pony on the other side. She had a pink-purple coat, and a purple mane with white stripes. "Who could it be-be on this special of days?" She said in a oddly happy voice.
Diamond Tiara pushed the bag through the opening lower on the door. "Happy birthday, mama."
"Oh baby... is that you? Does dear know you're here?"
"Of course he does," she lied. "He's hoping very much that you'll get better."
The pony in the room opened up the bag and examined the dress from every which way, trying it on in every way except the way it was meant to be worn. "OH? Is this for me-me? OH OH OH! It's so pretty! Did you do this? It's so wonderful!... Come to mommy."
Diamond Tiara didn't even hesitate. She pressed herself against the door, hearing her mother's heartbeat as she heard hers.
"You know dear, the world was finally right again a few weeks ago. Everything stopped being confusing and everything made sense again. The doctors even started making sense and let me and everyone out... then that rainbow came and the world was confusing again... But don't worry, I'm sure the world won't be confusing again really soon. If it could all make sense again once. I'm sure it'll make sense again real soon dear. Then mommy will be back home. I bet it'll be in time for YOUR birthday! You'd like mama to be there, yes dear?"
"...yes mama, that would be very nice." Diamond Tiara realized she had to end this conversation now. "I'm sorry mama, I have to go now, daddy's waiting!"
"Okay sweetie! Tell dearest that his princess still loves her prince when you see him!"
"I, I will mama! Bye!" She ran. She couldn't bear to have her mother see or hear her crying.