Apple Bloom 1
Why Am I Crying?
By The Rated Ponystar
Edited by: Clavier, Mr. Minimii, Apple Cinnamon, and First_Down
Thanks to Catnipfairy for her artwork!***
For most ponies in the farming business, winter was the toughest time of year. They had to be sure enough of the harvest had been sold, and that enough food and supplies were stored to last throughout the season. Winter was a time of great struggle and, more often than not, boredom. Snow made a poor substitute for dirt afterall.
However, there was one Apple out of the bunch who had a different opinion, especially when winter provided snow days. Like many ponies her age, Apple Bloom preferred the chance to play with her friends instead of learning math problems or doing her farm chores. It gave the Cutie Mark Crusaders not only an opportunity to have fun, but also to search for cutie marks they couldn’t normally try for during the other seasons. With a vast wintery kingdom before them, the eager fillies swore to find their winter-specific talents, no matter how many tries it took.
“Look out! Outta the way! Ah can’t stop!” shouted Apple Bloom, sliding across the frozen pond uncontrollably. Other skaters gasped and skated out of the frantic filly’s way, some even jumping into the air while flailing their limbs. Apple Bloom's legs slid in all directions as she struggled to keep her balance, praying for her face to not kiss the hard ice... again.
Leaning back, she tried to press the back of her hind skates into the frozen lake, but she slipped. Despite landing on her freezing flank, she continued to slide towards an artificial embankment where a big pile of snow awaited her. When she reached the end, the screaming filly was thrown up into the air by a small snow ramp, and landed face first in the powdery substance.
A voice cried out, but the ringing in her ears made it hard to focus on who was talking. Apple Bloom felt somepony grab her tail and, after a few tugs, pull her out. Turning around to her savior, Apple Bloom nodded in thanks to a worried Sweetie Belle.
“You okay, Apple Bloom?” asked Sweetie Belle, looking for any sign of injuries on her friend.
“Ah’ll be alright, Sweetie Belle, just as soon as the world stops spinnin’,” replied Apple Bloom, swaying back and forth. Recovering from her dizzy ordeal, she quickly looked to her flank only to groan. “So much for a cutie mark in ice skatin’.”
Smiling sympathetically, Sweetie Belle placed a hoof on her friend’s shoulder. “Cheer up! If it helps, I didn’t get a snow angel cutie mark.”
Apple Bloom leaned her head to the side and spotted a series of misshapen outlines in the snow. Instead of angels, they looked more like mutated goats with extra limbs and wings. Apple Bloom shivered just looking at them. A few other fillies walked past the snow imprints, gave one glance, and then went on their way, walking faster than before. Apple Bloom took another look at Sweetie Belle, sized her up, and then turned back towards the abominations with a raised eyebrow. Blushing, the unicorn filly rubbed the back of her neck, protected by her pink scarf. “W-well, maybe Scootaloo’s doing better with that hockey game.”
“Don’t bet on it.”
The girls turned back to the ice pond, where they saw Scootaloo come to a halt before them. Spitting the hockey stick out of her mouth, she gave a cold glare towards the other end of the pond where the game was taking place. “Stupid jerks, kicking me out just because I accidentally scored for the other team once... maybe twice.”
The other two fillies glanced at each other before checking their sullen crusader’s flank, but it was just as bare as theirs. The three sighed in unison, tails lying low and ears flat against their heads.
“Well, this was a waste of time,” said Apple Bloom. “We tried hockey, snow angels, ice skatin', snowball fights, sleddin', and even igloo makin'. But we still got nothin’.”
“Guess winter isn’t our season, huh girls?” asked Scootaloo.
“Hey, come on,” encouraged Sweetie Belle, nudging her friends. “We still got the rest of our snow day left. Why don’t we just enjoy it and—” Before she could finish, a pink blur ran right behind her and grabbed the end of her scarf. With the prize in her possession, the thief ran off, dragging the end, resulting in the scarf being quickly unraveled from Sweetie Belle’s neck. Before she knew it, her scarf had been ripped off and she spun around like a top.
“Hey!” shouted Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, turning around to get a good look at the thief. Much to their non-surprise, it was none other than their usual tormentor, Diamond Tiara, who was wearing a pink parka and her own ice skates.
Coming to a halt on the ice, she turned around and grinned. “What’s the matter, Cutie Mark Losers? Lose something?”
“Give Sweetie Belle her scarf back!” ordered Scootaloo while Apple Bloom helped their fallen member back to her hooves.
Diamond Tiara tapped her chin and gave a loud “Hmmmm” before shouting, “Nope! I think it looks much better on me.” She wrapped it around her neck before posing and sticking out her tongue.
“If ya don’t give Sweetie Belle back her scarf, Ah’m a gonna...” growled Apple Bloom, nostrils flaring.
“Oh, poor me! Whatever shall I do?” mocked Diamond Tiara, placing her hoof dramatically over her prized tiara. Smiling, she pointed at them. “If you want it so badly, come and get it!”
With that, she took off skating down the pond at top speed. The crusaders looked at each other, nodded, and charged. As they sped across the ice, Sweetie Belle gasped an alarming realization. “Wait! I don’t have—” When the girls turned, Sweetie Belle was unable to follow, and she continued sliding forward on her bare hooves. “—ssskkkaaattteeesss!”
The girls turned their heads, wincing as they watched Sweetie Belle slide into one of the goal posts that was being used for the hockey game. The players all stared at the scene, either in annoyance or shock, before rushing over to help the poor filly.
“She’ll be fine!” shouted Scootaloo, leaning forward for more speed. “Stay on target!”
Apple Bloom nodded and proceeded to follow Scootaloo’s example. She felt the blistering wind sting her face as she gritted her teeth, hooves skating down the lake in a rush. A few times she felt herself slip, but managed to recover quickly enough to keep up the pace. As for Diamond Tiara, she was—as much as Apple Bloom hated to admit it—graceful as a pro. She curved, twirled, and even jumped around the ice like she had been born to skate.
The chase took them all over the pond, attracting the attention of all the other colts and fillies who watched with anticipation. A few even started to take bets.
The two continued their pursuit, Diamond Tiara skating closer and closer to the edge of the pond. Apple Bloom nervously glanced at Scootaloo, whose teeth were clenched so tight it looked like they might break under the pressure. Lifting her head up, Apple Bloom gasped when she noticed the large tree near the end of the pond they were being baited towards. Making a hard right turn, Apple Bloom shouted, “Scootaloo! Look out!”
“Huh?” Scootaloo turned her head, missing the moment when Diamond Tiara turned as well. Looking back, Scootaloo gasped and tried to stop, but she slammed into the tree with a loud crash. The branches above vibrated from the impact, causing the snow held by them to pour down on the dazed pegasus.
With only herself left in the chase, Apple Bloom put all she had into her legs. She dashed across the ice, inching ever closer to Diamond Tiara. When she was close enough, Apple Bloom leaned back, ready to pounce the bully off her skates. Just as she was about to strike, something white and cold smacked her on the side of her face. Confused, she skated off-course while Diamond Tiara got away, triumph beaming on her face.
Wiping away the snowball that had hit her, Apple Bloom gasped upon reaching the edge of the pond again. Like before she sailed into the air, only this time she landed in somepony's snowpony, complete with a black top hat, carrot nose, and coal eyes. The snowpony's body was torn apart and the head fell down on top of Apple Bloom’s own forehead, making her look like a two-headed snowbeast. Dazed, she turned back to the pond, where she saw Diamond Tiara pointing and laughing at her. Another pony in a grey parka soon skated next to Diamond Tiara and joined in.
“Nice shot, Silver Spoon,” complimented Diamond Tiara.
“It was easy since Apple Dork’s got such a big head,” laughed Silver Spoon as the two friends proceeded to bump their flanks together.
Diamond Tiara took off the scarf and threw it on the ice. “Here’s your loser friend’s scarf, Frosty the Blank Flank. Like I would want to keep such a grotesque piece of clothing anyway. Not even I could make it look good.”
Turning red in the face, Apple Bloom wanted nothing more than to take the carrot off the snowpony’s head and shove it up Tiara’s nostril. “Ya... ya jerks! Why are y’all so mean?!”
Diamond Tiara raised her head and snorted. “Like I have to answer to a loser like you. See you around, blank flank. Don’t get too angry or you’ll melt.”
The two bullies skated away, laughing their tails off as Apple Bloom shook the rest of the snow off herself. She walked over and grabbed the scarf that had been her objective, but she knew it was nothing more than a hollow victory.***
“Here you go, girls! Three hot chocolates with marshmallows, whipped cream, and a cherry on top!”
“Thanks, Pinkie,” muttered the three fillies as their host put the drinks on the table.
“Don’t worry, this will cheer you girls right up! You want any cookies to go with them?”
“No thanks, Pinkie Pie,” mumbled Apple Bloom, blowing on her hot cocoa. “We just need some time alone.”
Pinkie frowned for a second but her smile quickly returned. “Okie dokie lokie! If you need anything to turn those frowns upside down, give a holler!”
The girls gave a weak smile and waved the bouncing pony goodbye before sighing. They drank their warm beverages in silence for a few minutes when suddenly Scootaloo slammed her hoof on the table. “Stupid Diamond Tiara! Stupid Silver Spoon! They just had to make us look like foals in front of everypony! We’re gonna be laughingstocks at school tomorrow!”
Sweetie Belle moaned, placing her head between her hooves. “Don’t remind me. I just want to forget all about it. Knowing those two, however, they’re going to blab about it all day.”
“Ah don’t get how some ponies like Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon can keep gettin’ away with all their bullyin’!” shouted Apple Bloom, narrowing her eyes. She glared down at her hot chocolate, imagining Diamond Tiara’s smug looking expression in the reflection. “Silver Spoon’s bad, but Tiara’s the worst. She’s done nothin’ but make our lives miserable since day one! Ah wish she’d get her due just once!”
“Hopefully, Santa Hooves will give Diamond Tiara a big box full of coal this year,” said Sweetie Belle.
“Hey, speaking of which! Hearth’s Warming Eve is coming up in a few weeks. You girls ready for that?” asked Scootaloo, wings buzzing in excitement.
While Sweetie Belle went on to talk about how she and her family were going to Manehatten to celebrate the holiday, Apple Bloom continued to ponder about the plague in her life named Diamond Tiara. Since their families knew each other personally, their lives were forced to intertwine. She couldn’t remember much of Tiara when she was younger, but since starting third grade Apple Bloom knew her as nothing more than a rich snob who seemed to always get everything she wanted. Not to mention she seemed to enjoy torturing Apple Bloom and her friends.
Why does she do it though? Ah’ve never done a single thin’ wrong to her, thought Apple Bloom as she closed her eyes. She thought about every prank and mean joke Tiara had pulled on her, from calling her a blank flank to blackmailing her, and it filled her with rage. Just once Ah wish she’d get what’s comin’ to her…
“Hello! Equestria to Apple Bloom!” yelled Scootaloo, waving her hoof in front of the startled filly. “You okay? You look as spaced out as Sweetie Belle when she’s staring at Featherweight.”
“Hey!” shouted a blushing Sweetie Belle.
Apple Bloom giggled at her friend’s expense but soon sighed. “Ah was thinkin’ about Diamond Tiara...”
“Her again?” groaned Scootaloo, rolling her eyes. “Apple Bloom, what else is there to think about? She’s an evil witch, we hate her, and there’s nothing else to it. Right?”
“Well, I think ‘hate’ is kind of a strong word, don’t you?” pointed out Sweetie Belle.
“What other word would you use?” asked a stunned Scootaloo. “She hates us, so why don’t we just hate her back?”
“But Rarity told me that hating somepony, even if they are mean, doesn’t end up making you feel better,” said Sweetie Belle, rubbing her hooves. “I mean, I don’t like Diamond Tiara, but I wouldn’t say I hate her.”
Scootaloo rolled her eyes. “You’re always too nice for your own good.”
“Well, let’s just stop talkin’ about her, okay?” Apple Bloom took her cocoa and drank what was left. “Just because she ruined our snow day doesn’t mean we should let her dictate our lives completely.”
“True,” said Sweetie Belle, nodding.
“I guess, but I still hate her,” pouted Scootaloo, crossing her forelegs.
Join the club, thought Apple Bloom. She looked up at the clock and gasped. “Aw, applesauce. Sorry, but Ah gotta get home before supper. See y’all at school!”
“Bye, Apple Bloom!” her friends shouted as she rushed out of Sugarcube Corner.
She kept up her power trot through the snow-filled streets, occasionally spotting a pegasus or two helping others clean up most of the snow. Just as she was about to turn to the street that led home, she paused, noticing a large crowd of ponies in the middle of the road. Towering over the crowd was an ambulance carriage that was loading up somepony inside. She narrowed her eyes and stood on the tip of her forehooves in an effort to get a better look at who it was, hoping they were okay. Before she could get a glimpse of the injured pony, the ambulance closed its doors and took off.
Although curious, Apple Bloom knew better than to keep her family waiting. The incident settled into the back of her mind as she continued making her way home.***
trip home didn’t make Apple Bloom feel any better than before. Night
had finally come, and it was getting colder. Thankfully, she managed to
reach her house just as the moon rose. With the day’s events still
lingering in her mind, she kicked the door open and announced her
arrival with a grumble. Her sister, Applejack, was feeding wood to the
fireplace when she noticed Apple Bloom stomp inside. “Somepony’s had a
bad day. Mind tellin’ yer big sister what’s the matter?”
“Two words,” huffed Apple Bloom. “Diamond ‘Stupid’ Tiara.”
“Uh, that’s three words, Apple Bloom,” pointed out Applejack. Apple Bloom rolled her eyes and sat down next to her sister, gazing into the burning fire and watching the flames dance. Sighing, Applejack wrapped her foreleg around Apple Bloom. “Do ya wanna talk about it?”
“What’s there to talk about? Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are nothin’ more than a pair of bullies who want nothin’ else but to make me and mah friends feel like dirt.”
“Look, Apple Bloom, Ah know y’all don’t get along with Diamond Tiara, but she’s can’t be all that bad. Ah’m sure if ya look hard enough there’s somethin’ good to find. Ya know, she used to come ‘round these parts all the time to play with ya when y’all were in diapers. Why, you two were close as kin back then.”
Apple Bloom snapped her eyes towards her sister in shock. “Wha-what?! Me and her?! Never!”
Applejack nodded. “It’s true. Ah bet Ah can even find those old pictures in the attic.”
“Ugh. Ah think Ah’m gonna be sick,” muttered Apple Bloom, holding her stomach. The idea of her and Tiara as baby pals was so... wrong.
“Come on now. Sure, she’s done some bad things, but Ah bet she’s actually pretty nice when ya get to really know her,” said Applejack.
“Sorry, but Ah think that’s nothing but a pile of manure! Ow!” cried out Apple Bloom, rubbing her head.
“How many times have Ah told ya, we don’t use that kind of language ’round here!” scolded Applejack, lowering her hoof. “Now, no more talkin’ about Diamond Tiara. Go to yer room until it’s suppertime.”
“But...” Apple Bloom stopped herself, knowing it was futile to try to change her sister’s mind. “Fine.”
Defeated, Apple Bloom dragged herself to the stairs and slowly made her way towards her bedroom. Stupid Applejack. Me and Tiara? Friends? Not in this lifetime. She’s nothin’ but trouble, just like Scootaloo said. Hay, Ah’m in trouble now because of her!
Reaching her room, she flung the door open, flopped onto her bed, and moaned. Why does everythin’ that has to do with Diamond Tiara always bite me in the flank?
Apple Bloom turned to her window and saw that the stars were already out in Luna’s perfected night. She soon lost herself in the endless sea of lights that decorated the sky like a Hearth’s Warming tree. She wished she could fly up to them and never have to deal with bullies, school, or annoying sisters whenever she wanted.
“Apple Bloom! Come and get some grub!” called out Applejack from below.
Apple Bloom was about to leave her room when she spotted something glowing out of the corner of her eye. She looked back and gasped as one of the stars started to streak across the sky like a falling arrow. A shootin’ star!
Apple Bloom sat on her haunches and held her forehooves close to her heart. Closing her eyes, she prepared to wish the same thing she had wished for nearly all her life: a cutie mark. But then she stopped. Instead, something else crept into her mind, an alternate wish that was just as desirable as her usual one. She concentrated so hard her face scrunched up.
Ah wish somethin’ bad would happen to Diamond Tiara. Feeling a bit better, Apple Bloom got up and made her way downstairs to eat with her family, thinking of nasty bugs and pranks that Tiara could possibly fall victim to should her wish ever come true.***
“Just this once!”
“This is the sixth time this year.”
“Have mercy for one of yer best friends!” begged Apple Bloom as she forced her eyes to water, hoping it would give her an edge.
Sweetie Belle shoved her away. “Next time, do your own homework.”
“Augh! Some best friend y’all are,” pouted Apple Bloom, turning her chair around and crossing her forelegs.
“You have nopony to blame but yourself,” scolded Sweetie Belle, placing her school books on her desk.
“It’s not mah fault Ah got caught up in all the snow day activities! Ah thought there’d be plenty of time to do it later... at least if there was a second snow day...” mumbled Apple Bloom. She glanced up at the clock and frowned, noticing that it was almost nine. “She’s late.”
“Scootaloo’s always late,” answered Sweetie Belle, nonchalantly.
“Not her. Ah meant Miss Cheerilee. She’s usually the first one here, but Ah haven’t seen her all day.” Apple Bloom raised her head up and looked around the classroom. She could see Snips and Snails reading a comic book, Dinky staring dreamily at Pipsqueak, Archer talking to her friends about some movie she saw, but no sign of her teacher. It wasn’t normal for Miss Cheerilee to be late for class. Teaching was her life, and even when she was sick it was hard to keep the dedicated teacher away from school. Maybe she got really sick. Or what if she’s in some kind of trouble?
Apple Bloom snapped her head up when she heard the door open, but saw that it was only Scootaloo. The pegasus filly shook flakes of snow from her mane as she entered. Hurrying over to her seat next to Sweetie Belle, she quickly started pulling out her school supplies. “Am I late? Somepony pulled me over and said I couldn't use my scooter when the streets were icy 'cause there was an accident or something yesterday.”
“Gosh, was anypony hurt?” asked Sweetie Belle, biting her lip.
Scootaloo shrugged. “I don’t know. Whoever it was, I’m sure they’re fine.”
The crowd of ponies and the ambulance from yesterday flashed back into Apple Bloom’s mind. Ah wonder if that was the accident?
Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard the door open again. Much to her relief, it was Miss Cheerilee, but the sudden joy faded shortly upon a closer inspection of her teacher. Everypony quickly became quiet the moment she entered. The smiling face that Cheerilee always greeted her special little students with was replaced with a frown of utter sorrow. She slouched, and her tail drooped to the floor, gathering dust. As Cheerilee dragged herself to her seat, Apple Bloom noticed tear marks on her teacher’s cheeks.
“Jeez, who died?” whispered Scootaloo, but Apple Bloom only glared in response before turning her worries back to her favorite teacher.
Cheerilee looked over her students, wiping tears from her eyes as she tried to say something, but it was so soft that Apple Bloom couldn’t hear it. The other students started shifting around in their seats while some tried to ask what was going on only to be silenced with a shush.
Finally, Cheerilee cleared her throat and closed her eyes. “Students... this isn’t an easy thing for me to say to any of you, but you’re going to hear it anyway and as your teacher I feel it’s my responsibility to tell you of this... tragedy.”
Apple Bloom heard a loud gulp and glanced over to Scootaloo, who was starting to sweat. Probably thinks she jinxed it.
“As some of you know, yesterday there was an accident. A carriage got loose and slipped on some ice on the road. Somepony was hit and they were hurt so badly they had to be taken to the hospital...”
She took a deep breath and opened her eyes. “That pony was Diamond Tiara.”
Gasps filled the room, followed by a sudden wave of whispering. Apple Bloom quickly turned to Diamond Tiara’s seat, finding it empty along with Silver Spoon’s.
“Miss Cheerilee! Is Diamond Tiara okay?!” asked a filly, leaning from her desk.
Everypony was silent as Miss Cheerilee froze and gulped. Shaking her head, their teacher somberly answered, “I’m sorry class but... Diamond Tiara... died last night from her injuries.”
Nopony gasped this time. Apple Bloom wasn’t even sure if anypony was breathing. She knew she wasn’t. After a few seconds of silence, a few students began to cry, holding each other at the revelation that one of them was now dead.
Dead... she’s dead... Diamond Tiara is... dead? thought Apple Bloom, horrified at the idea. She thought about the annoying filly who mocked her, calling her a loser and a blank flank. And now she was dead. Gone. Never coming back.
She slowly turned around towards her friends. Sweetie Belle was whiter than the snow outside, tears streaming down her face as she held her hooves to her mouth. Scootaloo stared at her desk with wide eyes, her mouth slightly open in shock. Apple Bloom turned away and looked back at Diamond Tiara’s now permanently empty seat. Questions began to form in her head: Had she suffered? Did she bleed a lot? Where was Silver Spoon? Was she okay? What about Tiara’s father? What were her former bully’s last thoughts? Was she really dead, or was this all a prank?
“I know this is a hard time for you all. School will be closed for a few days so that you can come to terms with this horrible occurrence. Your families are on their way right now to pick you up, and I urge you to talk to them, or me, about anything you may be feeling,” continued Miss Cheerilee. “Mr. Rich has also allowed each of you to come to his daughter’s funeral later this week. I ask that, as her classmates, you pray for Diamond Tiara and for her family and friends.”
That settled it for Apple Bloom. This wasn’t a prank. Not even Diamond Tiara would do something as mean as faking her own death. She was really gone. Apple Bloom gasped in horror as her mind turned to the previous night, the night she had wished for harm to come to Diamond Tiara.
The wish had come true.