Tang Ri Shan
Be Somepony Else
(Inspired by the songs sung during the Crusaders of the Lost Mark Episode, this story follows the same plot)
"Where…are you girls even…going?" Diamond asked as she chased the Crusaders through the streets of Ponyville. "Do you even know where Diamond Tiara is? You said she wasn't at school today!"
"Don't worry, we'll find her!" Scootaloo called over her shoulder. Diamond winced. I'm not worried about that, I'm worried about what will happen after that! She thought, even her mind seemed scared of how the Crusaders would react if they knew the truth.
"Where should be start?" She heard Sweetie ask
"Let's start at the school" Applebloom suggested. "Miss Cheerilee may know why she wasn't there today." With that, the crusaders sped up, leaving Diamond struggling to catch up.
What am I going to do now? Diamond thought, her mind beginning to fog over with panic as she ran. I can't just tell them! They'd never believe me! They'd laugh at me…or worse! But just then, she saw movement in the corner of her eye. Quicksilver? She wondered, wrenching her head around, certain she had seen the silver unicorn staring at her, but when she looked again, there was nopony there. But Quicksilver's gaze caused Diamond to have a sudden burst of courage. No! I need to tell them, before things get any more difficult! "Girls, hang on a second!" Diamond called ahead, but the girls didn't seem to hear her. By this point, they had passed through most of Ponyville and Diamond could see the school up ahead. "Girls, stop!" She yelled, but the Crusaders were now busy chatting amongst themselves and didn't answer her. Annoyed now, Diamond put on a burst of speed and dashed past the three fillies. Reaching a fork in the road, she skidded to a halt, and then whirled around to face them. "CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS STOP!" She screamed, holding up a hoof. The crusaders skidded to a stop, their eyes wide in surprise. "Please, just…listen to me…for a minute!" She panted.
"Okay! Okay! We're listening. What is it?" Scootaloo cocked her head.
Diamond took a deep breath, gathered her courage, and spoke. "There's no need for you to go looking for Diamond Tiara"
"What? Why not?" Sweetie asked
"Because…because she's right in front of you" Diamond confessed, bracing herself for the emotional hurricane to come. "I'm Diamond Tiara" She squeaked, and shut her eyes, and waited.
After 30 seconds of silence, a strange noise made Diamond crack open her eyes. She saw the Crusaders were all making funny faces that looked like they were trying to hold something in. As Diamond lifted her head, all three of them burst out laughing.
"Ha Ha! Very funny Crystal!" Scootaloo chortled.
"It's true! I am Diamond Tiara!"
"Sure, and I'm Princess Celestia" Scootaloo rolled her eyes.
"I'm serious! It's really me!" Diamond exclaimed, but she could see that the Crusaders weren't listening.
"Prove it" Applebloom demanded, smirking.
Diamond smirked back at her. "Okay, Applebloom. Do you remember when Diamond Tiara was teasing you during that class we had about cutie marks? What did she do?"
Applebloom's smile faded. "Uh…. Oh yeah, she passed me a note and Miss Cheerilee caught me"
"And do you remember what the note said?" Diamond demanded.
"Uh…no, ah don't." Applebloom frowned.
"That's becuase it didn't say anything. The note was blank. And then Diamond Tiara said 'remind you of any pony'? Remember that?"
Applebloom's eyes widened "Yeah, but how did you know...?"
"And remember when the three of you first became the Cutie Mark Crusaders, it was at Diamond Tiara's Cute-cenera. You tried to hide your blank flank by covering it with a sheet. Then Sweetie Belle said that the lack of a cutie mark meant that you were full of potential and Scootaloo said it meant you could be great at anything. And then she said it meant she wasn't stuck being stuck up like…like me" Diamond's ears drooped and the fire went out of her eyes as she saw the Crusaders glance at each other, confused. "And you know what, you were right. I was stuck being a stuck up snob. I was raised to believe that I was better than anypony else because my parents were so wealthy. My mother taught me to believe that position was more important than friendship. But after I saw how the three of you banded together and were able to outshine me at my own party, I started wondering if my mother was wrong. Maybe friendship is more important than position. But it took Silver Spoon turning against me to make me realize that nothing is more important than friendship. I found myself all alone, and it was scary. I never want to feel that way again, never!" Diamond felt tears come to her eyes and she felt powerless to stop them. "It's true what they say, 'life's no fun with a party of one!'" Diamond Tiara's voce broke and she simply stood there, tears flowing down her face.
For a while, nopony spoke. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo looked at each other, confused. But Applebloom stepped forward, a smile on her face.
"Crystal, ah can understand you've been through a lot, but…"
"CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS!" Everyone jumped and glanced up as Pipsqueak appeared out of nowhere, followed closely by Silver Spoon, Snips, and Snails. All four ponies were out of breath.
"What's wrong?" Sweetie asked, noticing the nervousness on their faces.
"Have-have any of you seen Diamond Tiara anywhere?" Silver Spoon asked.
Diamond opened her mouth, but Scootaloo beat her to it. "No, we haven't, why?"
"Well apparently..." Pipsqueak paused to take another breath "She's gone missing!"
"She's missing?" The crusaders gasped.
"Yeah, her mother came by the school board meeting to pick up her daughter" Snails began "And when she learned she hadn't been there all day, she flew into sucha rage! It was super scary to watch, and…"
Snips shot Snails a look before continuing "Apparently Diamond left her house for school this morning, but never arrived. It was like she vanished into thin air!"
"Oh, I hope she's okay" Silver Spoon whined, she was practically trotting on the spot, her face a mask of fear and guilt. "What if something's happened to her?" Diamond felt a small smile come to her lips despite herself. Silver still cares for me after all! Her heart seemed to swell with joy.
"Miss Cheerilee is asking everypony to help find her. We could use your help" Pipsqueak finished, then paused, waiting for a response, but the three Crusaders were staring at each other, wide eyed. Slowly, they turned their gazed towards Diamond Tiara, who slowly nodded her head, returning their gazes steadily even though she felt like melting into the ground beneath her. Three pony jaws seemed to hit the floor.
"No way!" Scootaloo was the first to recover, shaking her head.
"It can't be!" Sweetie exclaimed, taking a step backwards.
"It ain't possible" Applebloom shook her head, she was gazing at Diamond nervously, like she was afraid the filly might suddenly run up and attack her.
"What are you three muttering about?" Silver Spoon demanded. "We have to go find Diamond Tiara!"
"Yeah…about that…" Abblebloom started
"Crystal was just telling us…" Sweetie added
"That she's actually Diamond Tiara in disguise" Scootaloo finished. Snips, Snails, Pipsqueak, and Silver Spoon all glanced at each other, then at Diamond, who held their gaze unflinchingly, even though her legs felt like jelly.
"What?" Pipsqueak finally stammered. "B-but how can that be!"
"I don't believe it!" Snips shook his head. "Crystal Crown was so nice to all of us. Diamond Tiara was never more than a bully!"
"Yeah!" Snails added. "Crystal's nothing like Diamond! She's way better than her!"
Diamond felt her jaw drop and her eyes moisten again. "Y-you really think…?" Diamond couldn't even finish the sentence. Her legs gave way beneath her and she lay down on the road and began to cry quietly. She couldn't stop the tears from coming, like Snips and Snail's words had broken open an aquaduct of misery. And what made it even worse was her silent admission that they were right. Diamond hadbeen nothing more than a bully, to almost every pony in her class. She should have expected this, but it still hurt her to hear it.
"Crystal, are you okay?" She felt a hoof on her shoulder and was slowly helped to her feet by Pipsqueak and Sweetie Belle. Her gaze rested on Silver Spoon, who had an expression of anger and confusion on her face.
"I'm sorry" Diamond sobbed, taking a shaky step towards her best friend. "I know that probably doesn't mean much right now, but I'm really sorry for the way I treated you during the election. If I had just allowed you to speak, maybe none of this would have happened. I was wrong, to put my social standing before my friends. Nothing is more important than friendship, I see that now" By now, she was standing right in front of her friend and she raised her hoof. "Bump" She tapped Silver's leg. "Bump" she tapped Silver's hoof. "Sugarlump" She folded her leg and nudged her friend gently. "Rump" She turned and nudged Silver with her tail. Without waiting to see what her friend would do, she lowered her head and slowly began to walk away, feeling tears threaten to spill out once again.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN'T FOUND HER?!" Everypony froze as they heard yelling coming from the school. Diamond winced as she recognized her mother's voice.
"What's going on?" Applebloom asked.
Snips frowned "Sounds like Diamond's mother is still ranting"
"Yeah, she was yelling at Cheerille when we left." Snails added. "I think she blames her for Diamond's disappearance"
Diamond gasped, and then snorted as she felt a jolt of rage surge through her. Her feet moved on their own accord and she spun around and charged towards the school.
"Crystal!" She heard Pipsqueak call out and the sound of hoofbeats behind her told her they were chasing after her. Fine! Let them come! I don't care anymore!
"When I heard that my daughter had gone missing, I came over here expecting to see that she had been returned, and instead I find out that no pony has seen her all day!" Diamond's mother ranted from the steps of the school as Diamond arrived. "This is what I get for allowing my daughter to mingle with insignificant lowlifes!"
"What did she just call us?" Diamond heard Sweetie Belle whisper to Scootaloo.
"Nothing good, I'll bet" Scootaloo replied in a growl.
Cheerilee stepped forward, a look of concern on her face. "I promise you Miss Rich, we are doing everything we can to find your daughter"
Diamond's mother frowned, as if she was appalled that Cheerilee was even speaking to her. "Well, that's obviously not good enough, now is it? It's yourresponsibility to see to it your students are safe! Are you saying you can't even do that, you sad excuse for a teacher?!"
There was a collective gasp. Cheerilee seemed to shrink down under the pony's insults and Diamond's father stepped forward. "Dearest, I understand you're worried about Diamond. I am too, but really, what good will come from insulting our daughter's teacher?"
"Clearly you have been blinded by the same lack of sense that has corrupted our daughter!" Her mother snapped and her father blinked at if he had been hit in the face. "I've told you and Diamond time and again that socializing with these ponies is not how one moves up in Equestria! As soon as we find Diamond, I am going to enroll her in another school, one with ponies of our own class!" There was another gasp. Diamond's father looked shocked and Diamond felt faint. She…she wouldn't! She thought desperately, but she saw her mother's face and knew that she was serious as she glanced at the assembled crowd. "Is there ANY pony here with enough sense to find my daughter?" She screamed.
Diamond felt her anger rise again. Her mother couldn't do this to her! Not after she had finally discovered true happiness! She wouldn't let her! "I know where Diamond Tiara is!" She announced, marching forward as ponies parted around her.
Her mother turned to face her, eyeing her critically as she approached. "Oh really, and where is she?"
"Sorry" Diamond gave her mother the meanest glare that she could. "I'm not allowed to say"
Diamond's parents gasped and her mother's eyes widened in surprise, than narrowed in disgust. "How dare you! You ungrateful urchin! You will tell me where my daughter is, or I'll…"
"Or you'll what?" Diamond shrilled, cutting her mother off. "What will you do? Besides, it's not like you've ever taken an interest in Diamond before!"
"Crystal, what are you doing?" Diamond heard some pony call from the circle around them, but her ears were so full of buzzing anger she couldn't make out who it was.
"Excuse me?" Her mother gasped, her face livid.
"You heard me!" Diamond continued. "You've spent your entire life acting like a high horse and raising your daughter to follow in your hoofprints. She thought that was fine at first, but now she finally realizes that what she truly wants is something your teachings could never give her, friends!" There was a collective gasp as Diamond pointed a hoof at the Cutie Mark Crusaders. "Friends like the Cutie Mark Crusaders, who have worked harder to find out who they are than any pony I know! When they eventually do discover their talents, I know that it'll be amazing! Or Silver Spoon, who never lose sight of what's important, even when Diamond Tiara herself did. I know that Diamond would do anything to repair her friendship with Silver Spoon I also know that Diamond Tiara would be honored to consider the Crusaders her friends too…if they'll have her, that is" Diamond shot a smile at the crusaders who were staring at her, wide eyed and jaws wide open. Silver Spoon, standing just behind them, had a smile on her face.
"What? My daughter would never socialize with those blank flanks" Diamond felt herself physically stiffen at her mother's scoffing tone.
"Don't call them that! Don't you dare call them such mean and hurtful names!" Diamond spun around, stuck her face forward until she and her mother were nose to nose.
"Ahem, excuse me" Diamond turned to see her father approaching. "Crystal, is it?" She asked "How do you know these things about our daughter? Did she tell them to you?"
"Not exactly" Diamond smiled at the confusion on her father's face.
"Then how? And please, can you tell me where she is now? My wife and I are worried about her safety. Even though we often do not show it, our daughter means the world to us." Seeing the pure concern on her father's face, Diamond felt part of her anger begin to fade away.
Turning to face her father, she asked. "Does she really mean the world to you?"
Her father slowly nodded, a small smile on his muzzle. He seemed genuinely concerned. Diamond glanced back at her mother and saw her frown, but there was emotion in her eyes as well, concern and confusion had replaced some of the disgust and hatred.
Diamond took a deep breath to steady herself. It's time! She told herself and reached up with a hoof for the charm at her neck. "You want Diamond Tiara back?" She asked aloud as she worked the necklace up over her head, she let it fall to the ground in front of her with a clatter. As soon as the crystal touched the ground, it began to glow. A ring of white light appeared around Diamond's feet and slowly traveled upward. As it moved, it turned her blue skin pink, and her mane into purple and white. She closed her eyes as the ring moved past her face, then there was a bright flash and the light disappeared. She could her gasps and cries of recognition as she opened her eyes. "Here she is" She said to her father, who looked like he was in shock. "And as for you mother, I'm going to say this very clearly" She turned to face her mother, who cringed. "Leave. My. Friends. Alone!" She emphasized each word by taking a step forward in her direction. "Understand?" Her mother nodded, suddenly unable to speak. "Good" Diamond smiled.
"Diamond, how did you…?" Pipsqueak asked. Diamond smiled and picked up the charm with a hoof.
"With this." She announced, holding the charm out for everypony to see. "It's a glamour charm; I used it to change my appearance" She froze as her father stepped forward, a stern look on her face, and she felt the charm slip from her hoof and fall back to the ground.
"Well Diamond, no doubt you have a perfectly good explanation for doing that" Diamond opened her mouth, but froze when her father raised a hoof to stop her. "…which your mother and I would be glad to hear over dinner tonight. Right now though, I believe your new friends have some questions they would like to ask you" Her father glanced at the other ponies, then back at his daughter, and smiled. "So, we will see you at home tonight at the usual time, agreed?" He held out a hoof.
Diamond glance at her father, but then smiled as she realized what he meant and slapped his hoof. "Agreed" As her father nodded at her, Diamond suddenly caught sight of the wrecked playground, and a thought crossed her mind. "Um…father? Can I ask you something?"
"Yes, of course" Her father lowered his head and Diamond whispered her idea in his ear. He straightened, looked thoughtful for a moment, than nodded. "I believe that can be arranged."
Diamond felt her jaw drop. "What? You're agreeing just like that?"
Her father snorted and his face adopted a look of mock surprise. "I'm wealthy, not heartless" He smiled at his daughter. "I'll see you at home then" With that, he started walking away from the school. "Coming dearest?" He asked as he passed his wife, who had not moved or spoken. She still seemed in shock.
"I…I…I" She stammered.
Diamond watched her father chuckle to himself, place a hoof around his wife and start to lead her placidly away. "Come my dear, let us get a nice cold glass of…something, and let our daughter have some time with her friends." Winking back at her, Diamond's father escorted his wife back towards town. "I think she's earned it, don't you?"
Watching her parents move away, Diamond felt a rush of satisfaction and she closed her eyes, basking in the warmth of her success.
"D-diamond Tiara?" Diamond opened her eyes and turned to see Silver Spoon standing behind her, her eyes moist, which made Diamond Tear up as well.
"Silver Spoon." She smiled at her best friend.
"I'm sorry for what I said!"
"I'm sorry for what I did!"
Both girls paused after they blurted out their feelings, then they suddenly rushed forward and hugged each other, tears flowing freely.
"I'm sorry for what I said to you!" Silver sobbed into Diamond's shoulder.
"And I'm sorry for everything I did to you." Diamond gave her friend a squeeze" To all of you" She added, glancing up at the ponies who surrounded them. "But I want you to know, I will never do anything like that to you ever again. Never!"
"That's quite the commitment you're making, Diamond Tiara" Cheerilee reminded her, almost teasingly. "Are you sure you can keep it?"
"I know I can keep it" Diamond smiled as she stepped away from Silver Spoon and faced her classmates. "And...I'm sorry for deceiving everypony. For the longest time, I've wished that I could be somepony else. The old Diamond Tiara, the rude and snobbish bully that you all knew, that wasn't who I really was. I wanted to change, but I…didn't know how. I was afraid that no pony would give a chance because…because I thought you wouldn't be able to see past what you thought of me" Diamond pointed with a hoof to the crystal on the ground. "This glamour charm gave me chance to live my dream, to cast off my old image and show you who I really was."
"So you're basically saying you tricked us into hanging out with you all day because we didn't know who you really were?" Scootaloo frowned.
Diamond winced, and then lowered her head, ears drooping. "Well, yeah I guess. I'm sorry. I just wanted you to see the real me"
"Well…." Applebloom paused, then smiled in a teasing way. "I guess it worked then, didn't it? What do y'all think of the new Diamond Tiara?" She asked the assembled, who responded with cheers.
Diamond glanced up and around at the ponies who were all smiling at her. "Y-you mean you're not angry at me?"
"Of course we aren't angry at you, silly!" Silver Spoon chided, before giving Diamond a friendly nudge
"But did you really have to disguise yourself like that just to prove to us that you were capable of changing?" Sweetie Belle asked. "The three of us wanted to help you, but you pushed us away"
"I didn't know you wanted to help. I thought you were just going to rub it in my face." Diamond confessed, feeling her cheeks flush.
"Well, at least it's all over now" Applebloom sighed.
"Well, not exactly" Diamond smiled. "Ever since I got my cutie mark, I've realized my talent is convincing ponies to do what I want, so I convinced my father to donate the money for the new playground equipment!" A chorus of cheers rose up in response to this and Diamond's smile grew wider. "What do you think, Mr. President? Think you can handle it?" She winked at Pipsqueak, who looked surprised, then nodded, smiling widely
"No problem, if I can get a little help" He winked back at Diamond, who felt a warm feeling bubble up from her chest and before she knew it, she was singing.
"We'll build a playground for all of us to enjoy!
So full of games there's enough for each girl and boy!"
Diamond mounted the steps of the school as she sang "I wanna help and do everything that I can!
I wanna show you a change! Listen Up! Here's the plan!" Everypony gathered around as Diamond explained what she had in mind.
All too soon, a large unicorn in blue coveralls appeared on the road from town, using his magic to pull along a card piled high with boxes and crates.
He set them down, nodded to her, and then headed off while the students helped unpack the boxes. As Diamond helped Pipsqueak decide what went where, she felt the warm feeling get stronger and stronger.
"There's so much more that I can do
To help everypony else!
I see the light that shines in me
I know I can be my better self!" She sang as she helped construct a merry go round and a teeter-totter and a tetherball tower.
"I can free the past
Because the future is bright for me!
My cutie mark has set me free
To do what's right, and be the pony I wanna be!"Diamond suddenly noticed Silver Spoon having trouble setting up a fence and rushed over to help her, earning a smile in return.
Eventually the playground was finished and everyone was amazed by it. Even Princess Twilight had flown over from her castle to admire it.
"To be the pony I wanna be" Diamond sang from the top of the slide tower before sliding down the slide to the ground. She landed next to Silver Spoon, nudged her playfully, and c crowd of her classmates surrounded her, chatting happily.
"You know Diamond, I think you got your wish after all." Silver Spoon commented. Seeing Diamond's confused look, she added. "You may still look the same as you did before, but you are definitely some pony else now"
"Hear Hear!" The crusaders agreed, smiling at her.
Diamond felt a smile come over her face as well, and sighed happily, basking in the warmth of all those smiles."Thanks everypony. I guess you're right. I did become some pony else after all"
Well, that's it! I actually meant for this to be a one-shot, but I don't think it falls under that category now! Still, I've been working on it all week and I'm quite pleased with it. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Until next time!