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A Silver Summer

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Chapter 1

 

   Silver Spoon slowly walked through the park doing her best to ignore what was going on around her. She was sure that a certain blue pegasus with a rainbow mane was on weather-duty today. She didn’t know her name, but she knew that whenever that mare was responsible for the weather it would turn out to be the perfect day for one nice, prolonged nap. Enough clouds in the sky to prevent the sun from burning away your coat, yet still sufficiently sunny to keep the air pleasantly warm. And this exceptionally warm summer morning had elicited almost the whole town to crowd even the last inch of grass to be found. Wherever the silver maned filly looked she saw mares and stallions lying in the grass. Couples nuzzling each other. Single ponies sleeping or reading. Young parents on a walk with their foals. Old ponies observing the scenery while playing chess or checkers. But worst of all, she saw other fillies and colts. She saw them running around, playing happily. Silver Spoon tried her hardest to ignore them, but their joyful laughter kept ringing in her ears like a mocking choir of malice.

   It’s like they know, she thought. Maybe they did know. Those from her class were most likely to.

   She saw a few of them and stopped. For the first time in a long time she felt a wish growing deep inside of her to join them in their games. It’s not like she actually wanted to be associated with them, but anything was better than what lay ahead of her. But still, she had no choice but to move on. Her fate was inevitable. And to her dismay, also inevitable was now the shortest route possible to her very special summer camp. All she had had in mind was getting there as fast as possible and not waste precious summer vacation time. But now it seemed to the little filly that maybe taking a longer route around the park would have been less aggravating for her. All she could do there and then was lowering her head, shutting off her mind and keep moving forward.

   Lost in her glooming thoughts about what was still to come that day, she set herself in motion again. Just to be stopped moments later by a sharp pain in her forehead.

   “Ouch! Can’t you watch where you’re going?” Silver Spoon said and heard at the same time, rubbing her throbbing head.

   She tried to make out who had run into her but her vision was all blurry. She blinked before realizing she had lost her glasses. It took her a few seconds to find them. When she finally had put them back on, she saw yellow at first. Then she saw red. Yellow fur and a red mane. Of course. Just perfect. That was what was needed to turn this day from bad to worse. Those three losers who… Wait, three? Silver Spoon looked around. No, only this one. It didn’t matter. Even if it was only one of them, naturally it had to be the worst.

   But something was strange. That brat wasn’t as hyperactive as usual. On the contrary, she seemed just as downbeat as Silver Spoon. A perfect chance to take out some frustration.

   “All on your own? What’s the matter, gave up on getting a cutie mark? Or did the impossible happen and the other two dumbos actually got theirs and ditched you?” That should do it. Getting Apple Bloom tangled up in helpless anger was always the best way to get at least some fun out of a day.

   “And what about ya’? Where’s yer pest of a friend?” came the reply.

   Silver Spoon smiled. She had expected this question and had the answer ready: “If you mean my lovely friend Diamond Tiara, she is on vacation with her parents. At their summer house .” She tried to put as much force on the last two words as possible. “It’s just like ours. With its own private beach.”

   That should do it. Silver Spoon’s parents were way better than Apple Bloom’s and this would show her. She already celebrated her triumph silently, but Apple Bloom didn’t seem to notice that she should have been ashamed of her family by then.

   “Then how come yer still here? Ya’ Ma ‘n Pa left without ya’?”

   This drove a deep sting into the filly’s heart. All the triumph that had filled her mind for a few fleeting seconds was washed away in an instant. Back were the thoughts of why she was still in Ponyville and where she was heading right now. Defeated and angry she snapped: “None of your business.”

   This wasn’t going as she had hoped. That damn blank-flank should have been running off by now, aware of her inferiority. But somehow, she had turned the tables on Silver Spoon. Again. Why, just why did she always come out ahead of her, no matter what the grey coated little pony did? Once again it was the brat who smiled. That annoying smile which told the whole world she was better than anypony else.

   It was too much for Silver Spoon. She felt tears welling up in her eyes. She held her head up high and told Apple Bloom: “And by the way, I don’t have any time for this stupid chit-chat. I have an important appointment I can’t be late for.”

   With that, she trotted on, as calm as possible. She kept her eyes closed to make sure absolutely nopony had the chance of seeing as much as a single tear. Her bumping into a few other ponies must have looked silly and clumsy, which made Silver Spoon even madder. But of all ponies in the world, Apple Bloom was the last who she could let see her crying. Fighting hard not to break into a run until she was sure that farm filly was out of sight, she finally escaped.

   Yet that meant she was that much closer to her destination. The place where her ordeal was to begin. The dreaded building she had to suffer in all year long except for a few valuable weeks. And even that was taken from her now. Despite the calendar saying the summer vacation had already started, she was at the Ponyville schoolhouse. With a deep sigh and the definite knowledge nothing would prevent her from what was going to happen she entered the classroom, ready to face what was going to happen. And it was terrible. Degrading. Humiliating. Almost unbearable. And it hadn’t even yet begun.

   Seemingly all the other fillies who were destined to share her fate were already assembled. And worst of all, none of those who would have deserved it were here – except maybe for Snips and Snails, who didn’t even seem to care. Actually, they looked like they’ve been prepared for this for quite some time now. Featherweight was present, too, much to Silver Spoon’s surprise. She would have thought he didn’t have to go through this. Not that she cared. The fat one and the purple maned unicorn were here as well. She just couldn’t remember their names. Not that she ever tried.

   Silver Spoon sat down at her desk and let her head sink once again until it hit the all too familiar piece of furniture. She did it partly because she didn’t want to see the others and partly because she was trying a very feeble attempt to hide her face. But before long, she heard the door swing open followed by the ever so unbearably sweet voice of Cheerilee.

   “Hello and good morning my little ponies. I am glad you’re all here on time, so we can begin right away. So don’t let us waste any time and start your summer make up class in Geography.”

   Silver Spoon had to look back up again. These words meant she had to at least pretend to be interested in what was happening at the teacher’s end of the room for now.

   All around her, the other fillies greeted their teacher with joyful smiles.

   How were they able to do it? Sitting around in this boring classroom, listening to the same boring stuff they got nagged with all year long and still be happy about it? Maybe it was because they don’t have anything better to do. That must have been it. They didn’t have any vacation homes or swimming pools. Some of them didn’t even have a house with a garden that could have a sweimming pool. Silver Spoon almost pitied them. How dull must a life be, that going to school during your summer vacation seems like fun to you? Well, that’s what you get when you don’t have the right parents.

   The right parents… this thought made her heart burn again. She did have the best parents possible, yet still she had to suffer in the middle of this lousy bunch of losers. The only thing left for her was to live through all this with as much dignity as possible. With newfound resolution, she focused on Cheerilee, ignoring the other fillies in the room and tried to look as interested as possible. She nodded from time to time when somepony said something, even if she didn’t understand what it meant or was about. She scribbled something down whenever Cheerilee told them stuff about other cities she had never heard or cared about. She even managed to raise her hoof once, when the class got asked to point out Ponyville on a map of Equestria. And she didn’t get picked for that one, which was the best of it all, because she had actually no idea where anything was on any map. All in all it went really good. For about ten, maybe fifteen minutes.

   The longer the class went on, the more confusing and irritating everything became. Silver Spoon didn’t understand why she needed to know anything about some southern settlement named “Appa-Loser”. The name itself sounded ridiculous. Why would you want to announce that you all are losers in your town’s name? Maybe they were so considerate to tell ponies like her that she didn’t even have to bother looking for it on a map. What she wouldn’t have done anyway. Those things were just too confusing. If she wanted to go somewhere she’d ask her parents to buy her a first class ticket for the train. And if it wasn’t possible to go somewhere in a first class train cabin, that place wouldn’t be worth going to anyway. Except for their summer house at the beach, of course.

   Tired and weary from all this nonsensical stuff, she let her view trail off until it found the window. That magical gate to the outside world, where ponies were having fun, enjoying the best season of the year. Silently, she began cursing each and everypony who was about her age she saw crossing by. Their happiness was a mockery to her. Displayed blatantly just to make her feel even worse. After a while – Silver Spoon had no idea anymore how long she had been trapped in school – she was pretty sure she must have already hexed every single filly and colt this town had to offer. Until two all too familiar faces entered her field of view. Both of the other blank-flanks, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo. Even they had a better time than Silver Spoon. Despite being still blank-flanks.

   Wait, they’re still blank-flanks? That reminded her of something. Something not too long ago, not even an hour. Though it could have been days or weeks for her. She had almost drowned that memory of humiliation. But now it was as clear as day to her. Her own words echoed in her mind: “Did the impossible happen and the other two dumbos actually got theirs and ditched you?” As it seemed, neither of them had gotten a cutie mark. This meant she had hit the nail back then. The three of them had a fight. That’s why Apple Bloom had looked so depressed when they had run into each other. But then again, these two looked quite happy. They didn’t seem to care about any fight between friends. Well, not that she cared. Yet still, somehow, it irritated her. And that in itself began to irritate her as well. Wasn’t this something to be happy about, if the blank-flank trio began to fight in-between themselves?

   “It seems like Silver Spoon is looking really hard for Canterlot right now. But I suggest you use this map we have here. You do have better chances to find it there than outside the window.”

   The other fillies laughed at Cheerilee’s words. And this meant to Silver Spoon, they were laughing at her as well. Flushing with anger and embarrassment she moved slowly across the room to the huge map concealing the blackboard. Completely clueless she stared at this incomprehensible composition of wavy lines in different colors, large and small areas in different shades of green, blue and brown, little circles, squares and triangles and many words – definitely names – written all over it. Bored and annoyed, she began to search for the little word “Canterlot”.

   When she was back at her desk she didn’t know how much time had passed. In her opinion the lesson had to be already over considering she had spent an agonizing eternity scanning that confusing formation of colors other ponies called a map. A look at the clock could have solved this riddle for her but it was placed right over the blackboard. And that was the last direction Silver Spoon wanted to look right now. She slumped into her chair, praying her ordeal would end soon. When Cheerilee finally closed the lesson Silver Spoon would have sworn it had to be way past noon by now. But now that there was no danger lurking in the front of the room she could risk a look at the clock. It proved her wrong.

   Somehow she had made it through Geography without getting into any more embarrassing situations. But she wasn’t able to take any relief in that thought. The limit of boredom she could withstand was already reached. Yet she still had more ahead of her than behind her. And this was only the first day; three more weeks of this nonsense were still to come.

   But this outlook wasn’t the only reason her mood was already worse than she had ever thought it possible. There was a second, more prominent one. Some of her classmates were leaving. They were free. And she had to stay. For two more lessons. At first, when Featherweight left the school house, a pair of hateful purple eyes followed him. When that fat little colt left, those eyes turned from hateful to desperate. And when the unicorn left too, they portrayed a mix of revelation and anguish. Silver Spoon turned to the other side of the room. Only Snips and Snails were left. Snips, Snails and she. Silver Spoon had thought her mood was at its lowest before, but when she realized she was now officially on one level with those two guys, it sank to somewhere underground.

   They were so incredibly dimwitted. Whenever she had received a ‘not so good’ grade she could count on the fact that theirs were worse. The thought of being smarter than them had always been her mental refuge. In fact, the only reason she remembered their names at all was because they were so notably stupid. They did something extraordinary dumb at least once a week. If it was slow week. Surely, it was good entertainment each and every time it happened, but now that she was undeniably on the same level as them, it was heart crushing.

   No matter how hard she prayed silently, nopony else came through the door to prove to her that having bad grades in Equestrian was not a definite sign of being as low as Snips and Snails. And, to top all that with some extra icing of uncomfortable, this meant the chances of her getting picked for something – anything – was way too high for Silver Spoon’s taste.

   So the inevitable happened and Equestrian class began. Again and again Cheerilee asked her to read something, come up to the blackboard and write something on it or to explain to ‘the class’ what some word meant. And again and again Silver Spoon asked herself what all of this was good for. Granted, being able to read was nice and there were a few books she liked. But she was already able to read them and she didn’t want to write books herself. Her dad always had someone writing his letters for him. If she ever felt like writing a book that’s how she would do it. It was way easier than learning about grammar and proper spelling and whatnot. And was Cheerilee really expecting her to run around some day and explain big words to other ponies? Why would she ever do that? Atop of all of that Cheerilee’s expression changed little by little over the course of the lesson. At first, the filly didn’t see it, but the look in her teacher’s eyes became more noticeable with every answer she gave. That mare actually pitied her.

   But why should she feel sorry for her?

   Or was Silver Spoon mistaking it for disappointment that her victim didn’t show as much despair as she wanted it to? But no, that couldn’t be. In fact, she immediately dismissed this thought as ridiculous. Cheerilee didn’t mind all the other happy faces in the room and she was one of the nicest adults Silver Spoon knew. Even though the little filly had no idea why Cheerilee would let anyone suffer through all this, she was certain; her teacher didn’t do it for her own amusement.

   But then why did she look so disappointed, almost sad? Maybe she was forced to do all this by somepony else. And that’s why she looked so sad, because she knew this little filly didn’t deserve any of what was happening to her right now. That had to be it. Of course, it didn’t change anything about Silver Spoon’s situation as a whole, but somehow, it comforted her to know that somepony was actually feeling for her. Didn’t this mean Cheerilee was a potential ally for her? Maybe she should ask her to talk to dad about all this? She knew teachers talked to parents from time to time, even though she had no idea what they would talk about. But that was no reason not to at least try this straw.

   Already rejoicing in this realization, another one set in. One that dragged her mood right back down to where it had been before. Her father was miles and miles away, sunbathing, swimming or something like that. And he wouldn’t be back before summer classes were over. Her brief moment of encouragement faded away within seconds. There would be no way out of this.

   As endless as this lesson seemed, the best thing about it was that it only seemed to be endless. Equestrian class did indeed end eventually and Cheerilee told them to take a short break to go outside and play for a few minutes. With that she left the class room, followed by Snips and Snails.

   Silver Spoon had already risen from her chair, but then stopped and let herself fall back onto it again. She knew if she left the room now she wouldn’t be able to go back inside again. So she remained at her desk, cursing the idea of a break. During regular school time it would have never seemed possible to her but right now, she hated it. All it meant at this moment was unnecessary extra time that had to be spent at school. Silver Spoon rather had it done with and go straight on to the next class. Especially since the next one was the most ridiculous: Mathematics.

   It was like nopony at this school had ever heard of calculators. She used her dad’s all the time. And he did too, of course. And this wasn’t a matter of wealth, even she knew that. As a fact Silver Spoon had already seen other ponies – poor ponies – who owned a calculator. For example, she knew the purple coated librarian had one. Back when Cheerilee had dragged the class there to teach them how to use a library – like she ever needed to do that, if she wanted a book, her parents would buy it – there was a blackboard standing around, just like the one at school. It had an overly long, complicated equation written all over it. Even on the backside. Silver Spoon had checked. And there was absolutely no way anypony could have calculated all that in her head. So even the librarian could afford a calculator and she must be pretty poor. Why else would she live at her workplace? That’s like if Cheerilee would live at the school house. No, only poor ponies live at the same place they work at, like that librarian. Or farmers like Apple Bloom’s family. Or Sweetie Belle’s wannabe high-society sister. And even though she had no idea what Scootaloo’s parents worked as, Silver Spoon was sure they were poor, too.

   Silver Spoon shook her head. Why was she thinking of those losers now? Her situation was as dull as it could get already. No need to think of more depressing stuff than she already had at her hooves. That was the only good thing she could find about this whole situation. That those cutie mark dweebs weren’t here. Even though they would have deserved it. But right now she was happy that she didn’t have to deal with that trio on top of everything else. Even thinking about them was bothersome. Fortunately her mind got snapped back to the present by the slight creaking of the door. The break had gone by faster than Silver Spoon had expected. She turned her head around, awaiting the last part of today’s misery.

   And then, in walked Apple Bloom.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

 For an endless second Apple Bloom just stood there in the doorway, the knob still in her hoof, her eyes widened in disbelieving surprise. Silver Spoon was sure she looked the same herself.

 A string of questions shot through her head. Why was Apple Bloom here? Was this why she had been so sad back when they met in the park? Why didn’t she look as upset now? And why was she coming over to her? Really, of all the desks in the room, Apple Bloom had to pick the one next to her? Silver Spoon made a point of not to look at the new arrival as she asked, “Do you have to sit there?”

 “It is ma’ desk. Ah’ always sit here,” was the reply.

 Silver Spoon almost facehoofed. How could she forget that? But then again… “This is not regular class. You can sit anywhere you want.”

 “And Ah’ want to sit at ma’ own desk. What’s yer problem with that?”

 Silver Spoon was dumbfounded. Did she really have to ask that?

 “My problem is you sitting right next to me.” And it wasn’t just the mere presence of her. Having another filly at her side would mean that Cheerilee would look over here more often. And that meant Silver Spoon would have to act more focused than she wanted to.

“Then why don’t ya’ move away?” Apple Bloom wanted to know.

This was getting on her nerves. Silver Spoon made no effort to conceal her anger when she said, “Because I was here first. Isn’t it obvious? You came last, so you sit somewhere else. Why is a know-it-all like you at makeup class anyway?”

For the first time this day, Apple Bloom didn’t give an immediate reply, much to Silver Spoon’s surprise. That had been an honest question for a change and not a try at getting to Apple Bloom. The silver maned filly thought about turning her head a little to get a glimpse of Apple Bloom’s current expression. But still, she had to show her that she wasn’t interested in her presence at all, so she kept her gaze fixed in the other direction.

Nonetheless Apple Bloom decided to answer, her voice sounding clearly embarrassed: “Well, Ah’ didn’t do so great in mathematics this year. And so…”

“…you got sent here as punishment.” Silver Spoon smiled to herself. “So that’s why you almost cried when we, er, met in the park.”

“What? No! Ah’ didn’t get send here. Ah’m here because Ah’ want to. Ma’ sister even said a C is no big deal, but it was the only one on ma’ record sheet and Ah’ want to fix that.”

Silver Spoon’s mind went blank. She must have misheard something. Apple Bloom was here on her own free will? That was so exceedingly stupid. Even for her. And wait, did she say that was her only C? If she was here for a C and it was her only one that had to mean she got only A’s and B’s in all the other classes. That proved it, getting good grades had nothing to do with being smart. As if hers hadn’t been the proof of that already.

“Say, is this yer ‘important appointment’ ya’ spoke of?”

Apple Bloom’s question pulled her back to reality with a vengeance. That was so typical for her. Making Silver Spoon’s life miserable whenever possible. What should she say to that? Now she was glad she had kept looking away from that redhead. Otherwise she would have been able to see the surprise written all over Silver Spoon’s face, who had absolutely no idea what to say to that. Trying to force her mouth to come up with words, she opened and closed it a few times but not even as much as a simple sound would escape her throat.

Then she heard Apple Bloom adding: “Ah’d never thought ya’d take school this seriously.”

That was so silly. Who could ever take school seriously? The few things that were actually useful could have been taught to Silver Spoon by some private teacher in much lesser time. She had never understood why she had to do all the other stuff she would never need ever again.

But all this aside, there was something that really confused her. Apple Bloom’s remark had sounded so… cheerful. Or was it hopeful? She was pondering for a moment if Apple Bloom was enjoying Silver Spoon’s misery. But there had been no trace of maliciousness in those words. Was she actually happy that Silver Spoon was here? Not like happy about what happened to her but that she decided to come here? Was that it? Did Apple Bloom really think she had come to summer class because she wanted to?

All these questions seemed to overload Silver Spoon’s head. Just a moment ago, she didn’t know what to say at all, now she was struggling to decide what to say first. Helplessly, her mouth opened and closed a few times while she heard Apple Bloom sitting down at her desk and rummaging in her school bag. After a long moment of futile attempts Silver Spoon took a deep breath to calm her mind. It went almost blank for a second. Before she knew it she was looking at the back of Apple Bloom’s head and heard herself saying: “Why are you so happy about it?”

The filly spoken to turned around. For the first time since she had entered the room, the two had real eye contact. And Silver Spoon could see as much surprise in Apple Bloom’s eyes as she was certain to be shown in hers.

What surprised Silver Spoon wasn’t exactly what it was that she had said rather than how she had said it. It was no cutting remark. There was no spirit of confrontation. It was the honesty, the sincerity in her voice that had really startled her. She wanted to know the answer.

Overcoming her state of mind she refocused on those amber eyes in front of her. Apple Bloom still seemed to be in a state of minor shock. There was more than surprise in her look. Silver Spoon had the feeling she could also see some kind of realization.

There was no telling how long they sat there, just staring at each other in silence, both waiting for the other to finally say something. It felt like hours. Silver Spoon had never felt so uncomfortable. 'Please, just answer my question,' she begged silently. And the strangest thing above all this, somehow she knew Apple Bloom wanted to give an answer but just couldn’t.

Her dilemma was ended when the door opened once again. They were able to break eye contact at long last. Both looked around and saw Cheerilee walking up to the blackboard. When the teacher saw who had joined her class while she had been outside, she said: “Ah, hello Apple Bloom. You are here already, very good. Since we are complete, let’s start mathematics class.”

For once Silver Spoon didn’t pay attention to Cheerilee because she was bored, but because she was distracted. Every so often, she would try to get a glimpse of Apple Bloom out of the corner of her eye. Somewhere between them her last question kept lingering around, awaiting an answer of which Silver Spoon wasn’t even sure if it existed. This would last for a few seconds, then she would turn her head to face her desk again and begin asking herself why that answer was so important to her at all. She certainly didn’t want Apple Bloom’s approval for anything she did, does or was going to do. She had never tried to impress her. Not like that. Why would she need to do that in the first place? She was better than that little farm filly, everypony could see that. And if she wanted to do so, going to school would be the very last of all things she would impress her with. Or anypony for that matter. And she most certainly didn’t want Apple Bloom to like her. That thought was so absurd she didn’t even need any reason for rejecting it. Maybe she didn’t really want to know why Apple Bloom was so happy for her to be here. Maybe Silver Spoon wanted to know why Apple Bloom herself liked to be here. But then again, what good would that bring for her? Knowing the reason for somepony’s stupidity didn’t help her in any way whatsoever.

Over time these question grew too tiresome and started to wear her head out. But when she tried to distract herself by looking out of the window again, there was nothing there to keep her attention away from the thoughts currently occupying her mind. Even all those pesky little fillies playing around just to show her how miserable her day was were no point of focus for her anymore. So her eyes would turn over to the blackboard for a change. Unfortunately the things there were even more confusing and made less sense than that damn question which just wouldn’t stop bothering her. It took only moments and her head would start to hurt from all the incomprehensible information hammering at it. And above all this she couldn’t shake the feeling that Apple Bloom kept looking at her. Then she would try to catch a glimpse at the yellow filly, only to see those orange eyes were fixated at Cheerilee as if the foal at Silver Spoon’s side was determined to not look at Silver Spoon at any cost. But this would be enough to bring back the question still hanging there to nag her mind and the cycle would start anew.

When Cheerilee finally told her students the class was over Silver Spoon sighed deeply in relief. She was free. Sure, she had to come back here in two days but for now she was free to go. To ultimately escape this place of torment. Hastily she stuffed her books into her saddlebag and the pens and writing pad back into her desk. Ready to storm out and escape this nightmare for now, she heard a voice from behind her that took her by surprise.

“Because it somehow makes me think that ya’ can’t be all that bad if yer willin' to improve yaself. If yer willin’ to work on yer knowledge, maybe yer willin’ to work on yer attitude.”

The words hit her like a hammer in the back of her head. She was so astonished by Apple Bloom’s words, she completely forgot to get angry about the farm filly keeping her from leaving. She simply turned around and said, “What?”

Apple Bloom smiled. “That’s the answer.”

“Answer? To wha… Wait, you mean the answer? To what I asked you?” Silver Spoon’s head was spinning. It was as if Apple Bloom’s word had only now reached her conscious mind. Like her head had taken in the sounds but refused to process what had been said because it was too absurd. Now it had no other choice than to give in and accept it as reality.

“Work on my attitude? Why... How…What makes you think-” Silver Spoon stammered on until Apple Bloom interrupted her.

“To be honest, it took me a while to figure out why Ah’ was so happy maself. But that’s it.”

'Improve my attitude? I’m not the one here who needs to do that,' Silver Spoon wanted to say. But Apple Bloom’s happiness still perplexed her. So what came out of her mouth instead was: “Why would you want me to ‘improve my attitude’?”

Apple Bloom sighed. “Well, it’s no secret we don’t get along with each other.”

'That’s not my fault.'

“Yer always pickin’ on me, yer always makin’ fun of me and yer always walk around as if yer better than anypony else.”

'I am better than anypony else.'

“But truth is, Ah’ don’t like not gettin’ along. We don’t have to be friends but not gettin’ into fights whenever we see each other would be nice.”

'As if that’s my fault.'

Silver Spoon couldn’t stand it anymore. Finally, her curiosity had moved aside and made way for agitation. With a grim face she asked: “And what about you? Are you willing to improve your attitude?”

Now it was Apple Bloom’s turn to look like somepony had slapped her out of nowhere. “Ma’ attitude? What’s wrong with that?”

“You’re an annoying teacher’s pet who can’t get through a single lesson without showing off how much of a know-it-all you are every five minutes. You and your stupid blank-flank friends cause nothing but trouble bugging everypony around you with whatever comes to your mind. Even worse, you always come out of those messes ahead of anypony else, even getting praised for it. None of you seem to notice that you’re just an annoyance to everypony around you. And the three of you seem to celebrate being blank-flanks. Why would you do that? That just shows how stupid you are. Not to speak of that you are the reason why my best friend lost her place as the head of the school newspapers. Speaking of her, you keep spreading lies about her family.”

All that flew out of Silver Spoons mouth as if it had waited somewhere inside her throat to break free at the first opportunity possible. She didn’t shout, she didn’t scowl, she didn’t change her expression or tone at all. The whole delivery was done matter-of-factly.

A second later she added, almost like an afterthought: “And you keep bragging about what a great sister you have.”

Apple Bloom was finally speechless. 'Strange,' Silver Spoon thought, 'if I'd known that was all it took to shut her up, I’d told her sooner.' With growing amusement she watched Apple Bloom fighting for words.

All of a sudden, Cheerilee’s voice reminded her that they still were in school. "Come on you two, I want to lock the door and get home. And I’m pretty sure you’d like to run along and play outside after all this hard work.”

Apple Bloom trotted to the door looking at the floor.

She must have really impressed her this time. That idea heightened Silver Spoon’s spirit. She kept staring at Apple Bloom, determined to take every little bit of this precious moment in. But the longer she looked she noticed something. Apple Bloom wasn’t impressed. In fact, she looked rather depressed.

When they had left the school house and were out of their teacher’s range, Silver Spoon inquired tauntingly: “What’s the matter? Does the truth hurt so bad?”

Apple Bloom gave no answer. Silver Spoon was certain she saw tears forming in her eyes. The next second, Apple Bloom ran off. Silver Spoon stared after her for a moment.

'I guess it does.'