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"Happy Birthday, Dinky!"

The tiny unicorn squealed with delight as she gazed upon her surprise party.  The backyard of the little cottage had been transformed into a veritable filly's wonderland.  Several tables were laid out, covered in festive tablecloths and adorned with balloons.  A mountain of colorfully wrapped gifts was piled in on one of them, and the rest were laden with large amounts of sweets.    There was even a huge custom birthday cake, a real one, professionally prepared at Sugarcube Corner, instead of the muffin topped with a candle Dinky was used to receiving on her birthday.

Many of the fillies and colts from Dinky's class at school stood in the yard as well.  Dinky immediately recognized the trio who called themselves the Cutie Mark Crusaders, as well as Pipsqueak, the new colt who had moved from Trottingham a few months earlier.  Twist, the geeky but friendly filly who sat next to Dinky in class, smiled warmly nearby.  A whole host of others were there as well; Dinky assumed nearly the entire class had been invited.

Smiling the broadest of the whole bunch was Dinky's own mother, Ditzy.  The pegasus positively beamed as her ecstatic daughter raced into the yard to greet her friends.  Ditzy had been waiting for years to throw her daughter a proper birthday bash, and this year, she finally found herself financially able to do so.

Ditzy trotted over to the corner of the lawn, where Pinkie Pie was going over her checklist, making sure she had delivered all the requested party elements.

"Wow, Pinkie Pie, this is amazing," the pegasus commented.  "Dinky looks really thrilled; you really can throw quite the party."

Pinkie grinned.  "Yeah, well that's what you get when you order the Doozy package," the pink mare chirped.  "A party with all the extra trimmings!  There's even some super-duper-amazing entertainment coming!  They'll be here in a little while."

"Great!" Ditzy responded.  "So, how much do I owe you for setting all this up?"

Pinkie frowned.  "Well, I warned you that the Doozy package isn't exactly cheap.  I mean, it's a lot harder to push the Doozy party cannon out here then my regular party cannon."

Pinkie pointed to the gigantic device, almost twice her height, its barrel gleaming eerily in the shadows as it awaited its next opportunity to spew party paraphernalia all over somepony's lawn.

Ditzy blinked.  "That… that probably explains what that explosion shortly after you got here was…"

"Yes ma'am!"  Pinkie squeaked.  "Now, usually the Doozy package is pretty pricey, but since you're a first time customer, I can give you a little discount!"

"Oh, no special treatment, please," Ditzy countered.  "I can pay full price.  Really."

Ditzy handed over the bits to Pinkie.  It was only the sum of her last few jobs' pay; she could easily afford to part with it at this point.

"Okey-dokey-lokey!" said Pinkie as she accepted the money.  "I'll just be on my way then!  Good luck with whatever job you will inevitably wind up being assigned after the impending page break.  I'll see you in the next chapter!"

"I… you'll see me… huh?" Ditzy stammered.  Pinkie didn't answer; she was too busy preparing to haul the Doozy party cannon back to Sugarcube Corner.

"I swear, that mare is even weirder than Watt sometimes," Ditzy mumbled, turning back to the party.

"Hey everypony!" she called to the young ponies scattered around the yard.  "Who wants some birthday cake?"

In an instant, the pegasus found herself surrounded by a horde of eager ponies, chattering and carrying on as they awaited their treat.  Ditzy quickly cut the cake, giving the first piece to little Dinky.  Soon, everypony was enjoying Pinkie Pie's latest confectionary masterpiece.

Ditzy was so busy watching the youngsters bury their faces in cake that she didn't notice the sound of another pony coming around the house and strolling up behind her.

"Excuse me."

Ditzy turned around and was faced with an unusual sight.  The visitor was none other than Ponyville's librarian, Twilight Sparkle, and on her back was Spike.  But for whatever reason, Twilight was decked out in her dress from the Grand Galloping Gala, and wearing her mane in an elaborate style that could only have been the work of Rarity, and Spike was adorned with a top hat, cape, and magically conjured moustache.

"Um… can I help you?" Ditzy asked, staring at Twilight with one eye and Spike with the other.

"Uh, yeah, hi," said Twilight awkwardly.  "Pinkie Pie sent us here to do a magic show for a birthday party."

"Does that have something to do with why you're both dressed like that?"  Ditzy asked.

"Well, yes," Twilight sighed.  "Spike is the 'magician.'  I'm supposed to be the 'lovely assistant'."

Ditzy blinked.  "Spike can do magic?"

"But of course," Spike said, standing up on Twilight's back and bowing regally, sweeping his cape in front of him.

Twilight gave her hip a sharp twitch, causing the baby dragon to topple off.  "No, he can't," she corrected.  "I'll be the one actually doing the magic; I'm just going to make it look like Spike's doing it.  That's why I have my mane like this; I have to keep my horn hidden.  Because, you know, a unicorn doing magic is an everyday thing, but a dragon doing magic is something special."

Ditzy grinned.  "Pinkie pie sure knows how to come up with good entertainment ideas for colts and fillies!"

"That she does," Twilight agreed.  "Pinkie's had us do this before; the crowd usually loves it."

"Well, duh," Spike added.  "Who wouldn't love a show where the Amazing Spike performs fantastic feats of prestidigitation?"

Twilight glared at her assistant.  "Don't get a big head this time, Houdini, or you might find some of your 'tricks' staring to backfire on you…"

Spike gulped.  "Gotcha' Twilight…"

Ditzy called everyone together, and soon Twilight and Spike found themselves with a large audience.

"Good afternoon, everypony!" Spike announced.  "Today I, the Amazing Spike, will put on a display of magic the likes of which nopony has ever witnessed before!"

"Ooooohh," the crowd responded.

"What shall I do first?" the dragon asked.  "Someone in the audience, give me a suggestion!"

"Why don't you make miss Twilight disappear?" Apple Bloom called.

"Yeah!" Scootaloo agreed.  "A vanishing trick!  Making Twilight disappear would be awesome!"

"I really like her mane!" Sweetie Belle added, taking notice of Twilight's unusual manestyle.

"A simple trick," Spike commented.  "But very theatrical.  I like it!"  He turned to Twilight and waggled his fingers mysteriously.  "I summon the ancient dragon magic to make Twilight Sparkle… disappear!"

Twilight performed the mundanely simple invisibility spell and vanished from sight.  The audience gasped in surprise, and then cheered.

"Now shall I bring her back?" Spike asked.


Spike again motioned in Twilight's direction.  "Fine.  Let's bring Twilight Sparkle back!"

Twilight reappeared in a flash, pretending to look shocked, as if Spike had actually sent her away somewhere of his own accord.  The audience applauded.

Ditzy Doo sat at the back of the group, nibbling on some cake and watching the magic show.  She couldn't remember ever seeing her daughter this happy before.  Every year, Dinky's birthday was celebrated with a meager, homemade muffin, and a small, dull present costing only a few bits; it was all the money Ditzy could spare.  Now she was able to afford a party like this one, and still not be met with financial hardship.  Sure, her new job was hard, but it was worth it, considering the fulfilling results and the huge pay increase from her old job.

Applying to Equestria Speedy Shipping Services was the luckiest mistake I ever made, the mare thought, smiling to herself.  Ever since Dinky's father died, all I've really wanted is to make her happy, and now I can finally do that.

Sure, there was still the minor complication of actually telling Dinky about her new job; Ditzy was hesitant to do so, even though she wasn't sure exactly why.  She harbored a nagging feeling that breaking the news to a filly that one was employed in a business like matchmaking was something that needed to be handled… delicately, to say the least.  So every time the thought came to her, she pushed it to the back of her mind.

I'll think of something eventually, Ditzy thought absentmindedly.  For now, I should be grateful I even have such a good job.

Indeed, Ditzy's endeavors into pony shipping were still going well.  She succeeded at the vast majority of her assignments, and got along well with her coworkers.  Well, except for one…

I wonder why Glow hates me so much, Ditzy pondered.  She doesn't exactly get along well with the others, either, but I wonder what I did to make myself the prime target?

Ever since the argument a few weeks ago, Glow had been acting… different.  Instead of just spiteful, she seemed to have a haughty sort of air about her.  She tended to greet Ditzy with a nasty smirk, and the pegasus couldn't help but wonder if the unicorn was formulating some sort of evil plan.  For now, Ditzy found the best course of action was to ignore her coworker's taunts as much as possible.

Both Ditzy and Breeze had not brought up Glow's comment concerning the two of them again.  Ditzy didn't feel an explanation was necessary.

Glow's accusations don't bother me.  It's perfectly obvious that there's nothing going on between Breeze and I.  I mean, we're just friends.


Another thunderous round of applause snapped Ditzy out of her reverie.  It appeared that Twilight and Spike were about to conclude their show.

"Well, fillies and gentlecolts, we're almost out of time," Spike announced.  "But I think we have time for one more trick.  Twilight, whaddya' say we get the birthday girl up here to help us?"

"That sounds like an excellent idea," Twilight replied.

Dinky squealed with joy as she hopped to her hooves and ran over to Twilight and Spike.
Spike grinned and turned to Dinky with a grand sweep of his cape.

"Alright, Dinky Doo," he announced.  "I, the Amazing Spike, have the power to perform any amazing feat you so desire!  What would you like me to do?"

Dinky put a hoof to her chin in thought.  Suddenly, her face lit up and she leaned over and whispered something to Spike, who in turn whispered it to Twilight.

"Aww," the purple mare cooed.  "That's so sweet.  Alright, oh Amazing Spike, make it happen!"

Spike struck a dramatic pose, swung his arms in a grand arc and held them skyward, and at the same moment, Twilight released a burst of magic.  A glowing orb rocketed into the sky, traveling higher until it was almost out of sight.  Then suddenly is burst into a giant, colorful firework.

For a moment, the crowd thought that was the whole trick, but then the sparks from the explosion began to rearrange themselves in midair, beginning to form words and an image.

It only took a few seconds for the particles to take their new form.  Ditzy looked up, not sure if she could believe her eyes.

Multicolored particles spelled out the phrase 'Thank you, mommy!', and the image forming beneath it was a surprisingly clear picture of Ditzy and Dinky, snuggled up together in a big, warm hug.  The whole audience let out a long "awwwwwwww" at the sweetness of the gesture.

"What do you think?"

Ditzy, who had been staring dumbstruck at the firework, finally looked down to see her beaming daughter standing in front of her.

"Dinky…" Ditzy started, a few tears welling up in her eyes as she looked up again at the spectacular gesture of gratitude her daughter had wished up.  "…dear, I… I don't know what to say…"

Dinky just laughed and tackled her mother, pulling her into a hug not unlike the one depicted in the iridescent masterpiece overhead.

"Thank you so much!" the little unicorn squeaked.  "I've… I've never had a party like this before…"

"You're welcome," Ditzy said lovingly.  "It was high time you got to have a real party."

Dinky gave her mother a final affectionate nuzzle before sprinting back to her friends, who were now all talking to Spike about his amazing magic as the aerial picture finally began to fade.

Spike eventually said goodbye to everyone, and hopped onto Twilight's back.  The pair made to leave the yard, strolling past Ditzy on the way by.

"Payment is included in Pinkie's fees," Twilight said.  "So you're already covered."
She leaned in a little closer to the pegasus.  "And… I hope you know, you have the sweetest little filly I've ever met.  I hope you take good care of her."

"I always do," Ditzy replied with a grin.

Twilight smiled.  "Come on, Amazing Spike, our work here is done."

Ditzy wiped the last of the happy tears from her misaligned eyes, and returned to host the rest of the party.

Luna's moon was rising steadily in the night sky.  It was time for a certain filly to go to sleep.

"Dinky!  Bedtime!"

Dinky ceased playing with the 'Equestrian Filly' dolls she had gotten as a birthday gift and began to trot up the stairs.  Halfway up, she stopped, and turned back.

"Hey, mommy?  Can I ask you something?"

Ditzy looked up from her seat at the table.  "Sure, what is it?"

Dinky cantered quietly over to the table and hopped up onto a chair across from her mother.  "Mommy, I was just wondering… how did you manage to throw me such a big party this afternoon?  Wasn't it real expensive?"

Ditzy smiled uncomfortably.  "Um… I… I got a bonus at work.  Delivering a package to the princess, you know.  So I decided to use the extra money on your party."

"That was really nice," Dinky commented.  "I hope you liked my thank you gift in return."

Ditzy broke into a wide, sincere smile now.  "I loved it.  You're the best filly a mother could have."

Dinky smiled, and was silent for a few moments.  Ditzy went back to what she was doing, aware that the filly was still watching her.

"Mommy… do you think daddy is up there somewhere, wishing me a happy birthday too?"

Ditzy's breath caught in her throat.  Dinky almost never brought up her late father, mainly because she was too young when he died to remember anything about him.

"Of… of course, dear.  Daddy's not with us anymore, but I'm sure he's up there somewhere, watching you grow up.  You're making him very proud."

Dinky sighed happily at the thought of her father's comforting gaze.  "It's too bad he's gone.  I guess I'll need to find someone else to teach me about magic."

Ditzy smirked.  "You could get the Amazing Spike to help you."

Dinky laughed aloud.  "Yeah!  Or at least miss Twilight.  She was the one really doing the magic, wasn't she?"

Ditzy focused both her eyes on the filly.  "Nothing gets by you, does it?"

Dinky shook her head.  "Nope," she said proudly.  "Now, I'll go to bed.  Goodnight, mommy."

"Goodnight, sweetie," Ditzy said as she watched the filly bound up the stairs.

Nothing gets by Dinky, she thought to herself again.  How many of my excuses about work has she already seen through?

The mare pushed the thought from her mind and got back to work.

Pinkie Pie lurked between the page breaks, having lost her way to chapter 7 after leaving Dinky's party.  After realizing that she had rather awkwardly created an unnecessary paragraph with her antics, she waved briefly at the readers before turning and setting off down the side of another page.
"Ditzy Doo, come to my office for your next assignment.  Thank you."

Ditzy gratefully got up to answer Candyfloss's call.  She had been stuck in the lounge with no one around but Watt for two hours, and she was eager to escape the Earth pony's endless chatter.  She trotted down to the office of her superior.

"Good afternoon, Ditzy," Candyfloss said with the usual vague smile.  "How are you today?"

"Fine," said Ditzy.  "What's today's mission?"

"Today," Candyfloss started, "You're getting an unusual kind of mission, and so must be informed of a few additional parameters to your job.  Today, we have gotten, as we occasionally do… a call from a young colt.  As you might expect, the ethical standards held at Equestria Speedy Shipping Services cannot allow you to attempt to form a serious, lifelong bond among underaged ponies.  Usually, when we get calls from young ponies, they aren't after that anyway.  You are permitted to aid them in achieving a date with the object of their affection; a simple, informal dinner.  Any requests of a young pony to get the object of their affection to form any sort of long term relationship, as well as any other requests that may be considered improper for a pony of that age must be denied in order to uphold our ethical standards.  Do you understand?"

"Of course," said Ditzy.  "I have a filly of my own, I know what's acceptable for kids."

"Good," said Candyfloss.  "Here's the address.  Off you go!"

Ditzy took to the air, and soon found herself at an average-looking house in Ponyville.  She rapped briefly on the door.

A moment passed, and the door swung open, revealing a tiny, pudgy, turquoise unicorn colt with a pair of scissors as a Cutie Mark.

"Hello," Ditzy said.  "Someone contacted Equestria Speedy Shipping Services?"

The unicorn's eyes lit up.  "Snails!" he cried.  "They actually sent someone!  We're saved!"

He turned back to Ditzy.  "My name's Snips, and my pal Snails is inside.  And boy, do the both of us need your help!"

He trotted back inside, motioning for Ditzy to follow.  Once they reached the living room, Ditzy caught sight of the other pony, an orange unicorn with a greenish mane, who was gazing blankly into space.

"Snails," Snips said.  "This is… uh… the shipping pony!  She's gonna help us out!"

Snails turned ever so slowly to stare at Ditzy.  "…I like her eyes…" he drawled after a moment.

Snips chuckled.  "Don't mind Snails, he's a little… slow.  But the two of us need your help with a big problem!"

"Uh… sure," said Dtizy.  "What's wrong?"

"Well," Snips started.  "We were talking with our friends at school, and everyone was admiring our friend Peach Pit, because he's going out with this super-awesome filly in our class named Lemon Fresh.  And I thought it was annoying how he was bragging about getting a date, so I told him that anyone can get a filly if he really tries to."

Ditzy didn't like where this was going.

"So naturally," Snips continued.  "Peach Pit said Snails and I couldn't get a date in a million years.  And so I said 'oh yeah?' and he was all like 'yeah'."

Ditzy didn't like where this was going at all.

"So," Snips continued.  "I bet him that Snails and I could get a date with any available filly in our class within a week.  And he said 'fine then, it's a bet', and everything would have been all set up for us to prove him wrong, but then he told us which fillies we had to get dates with…  Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon."

"Silver Spoon is cute!" announced Snails to no one in particular, eliciting a puzzled look from Snips.  The orange unicorn took no heed, continuing to stare at the wall and smile dully.

Ditzy put a hoof to her forehead in annoyance.  Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, if Dinky's description of her classmates was any indication, were two of the most mean-spirited and stuck-up fillies ever to curse Ponyville with their presence.  They were also rich and extremely picky; Ditzy suspected ragamuffins like Snips and Snails were the very last ponies they'd ever consider dating.

"The point is," Snips continued.  "We don't even like these two, but we need photographic proof that we were on a date with them, by tomorrow, or we'll lose the bet!  So we need you to help us get a date!  Please?"

Ditzy was under no obligation to accept every assignment, but then again, this might be a good chance for her to teach these colts not to accept stupid bets, and not to date snobby jerks like Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon.  She decided to accept; the alternative was returning to HQ and listing to Watt ramble on some more.

"Alright, kids, we'll give it a try."

"Woohoo!" Snips cheered.  "You hear that Snails?  We're gonna win this bet yet!"

Snails just blinked.

"Not so fast," Ditzy said.  "You have to pay for this service you know."

"Oh," Snips said, thinking hard for a moment.  "Well, when we win the bet tomorrow, we get forty bits.  You can take half of that."

Twenty bits was incredibly meager pay for a shipping job, but then again, these were young colts.  Ditzy took the offer.

"Come on Snails!" Snips called as he followed the pegasus out the door.  "Let's go get some fillies!"

Snails seemed to register the instructions after a few moments, and trotted out the door after Snips.

Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon appeared to be in some kind of argument.  Neither was aware of the three faces, two belonging to colts and one to a mare, peering around the corner of a building.

"Those two?" Ditzy asked.  She could tell just by looking that these two fillies everything that Dinky had described them as; rich, snobbish, and ill-tempered.

"That's them," Snips whispered.  "What's the plan?"

Ditzy scrutinized the target for a moment.  "I need to see how they react to you.  Just walk over to them and say hi, and don't even bring up the fact that you're trying to get a date with them."

Snips shrugged.  "You're the boss.  C'mon Snails."

Snips and Snails strode nonchalantly into the square.  The fillies didn't notice their approach, as they were still locked in a battle of words.

Snips cleared his throat.  "Uh… hi, ladies."

Both fillies quieted instantly and turned to face the new arrivals.  Silver Spoon scrunched up her nose distastefully, and Diamond Tiara took a step back, lifting a front hoof and sticking out her tongue in disgust.

"Ew," Diamond Tiara proclaimed.  "What do you two losers want?"

"Uh, nothing," Snips said quickly.  "Just… I mean… uh… nice day, huh?"

"Yeah, until you loused it up," the pink filly responded.  "Now go away before we catch the plague or something from you two weirdoes."

Snips sighed and made to go back the way he came.  After walking a few steps, he realized Snails was not following; the orange colt was staring fixedly at Silver Spoon, whose expression was growing increasingly disturbed.  Snips grabbed his companion's tail and yanked him away.

"Well, that went… about as well as expected," Ditzy deadpanned once the colts returned to her hiding place.

"Yeah," Snips said.  "But you've gotta' have some kind of magic strategy to make them like us, right?  I mean, you couldn't be a shipper otherwise, could you?"

Ditzy laughed.  "There's no 'magic strategy', I'm afraid, but trust me; there's more than one way to catch a filly's interest."

The pegasus turned and trotted briskly down the street, with her young clients in tow.

Snips peeked out of the small closet he and Snails had been rummaging through.  "Uh… what exactly are we looking for again?"

"I told you," Ditzy replied impatiently.  "You two need to find some way to impress those two with a display of skill.  Don't you guys have anything in there that you can use to impress them?"

"I'll keep looking," Snips answered, plunging back into the pile of junk in the closet.

Ditzy thought over her strategy yet again.  In most situations, this would be considered a very blunt and rather shallow way for the client to get the target's attention; but impressing fillies or colts was different than impressing adult ponies.  Ditzy remembered Dinky's detailed description of Applebloom's antics involving some device called a "loopty-hoop" a few weeks earlier; another example of her theory.  Young ponies, for the most part, were easily impressed by some display of skill.

The question was, could Snips and Snails do anything impressive enough to interest Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon?

There was good news and bad news.  The good news: Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were in a good mood.  The bad news: they were in a good mood because the stunt Snips and Snails had just tried to pull had gone so catastrophically wrong that it had left both fillies rolling on the ground in laughter.

"Oh man, you two are so pathetic," Diamond Tiara squealed in malicious delight as she watched the colts struggle to untangle themselves from the bizarre position they had wound up in following the accident.

"I know, right?" Silver Spoon added between fits of laughter.  "I mean, why would you even try something that random?  I could understand if you were those three fillies who are still looking for their Cutie Marks, but the two of you… what were you even trying to prove?"

Snips and Snails just stared at the ground as the two giggling fillies walked away, describing the stunt again and again between giggles.

A few moments later, there was a flutter of wings as an exasperated grey pegasus landed next to the colts.

"Well, they noticed you," Ditzy said dryly.  "Not in the way we hoped, but…"

"But… we did what you said…" Snails responded.  "We performed a feat of skill."

Ditzy shook her head.  "Uh… perhaps I should have been more specific.  You two were supposed to do some stunt that you actually knew how to do, not just one that would be impressive but basically impossible for you.  When I saw you come out here with a beach ball and a dozen eggs, I wasn't sure what you were planning, but I figured it was some simple trick of yours.  Instead, I watched you wind up in a tangle of legs, covered in egg yolk, with the two fillies you're trying to impress laughing their flanks off at you!  And I don't know how you managed to set Leafy Green's cabbage cart on fire in the midst of all this, but I'm probably going to have to pay for it…"

"Alright, we get it!" said Snips.  "We screwed up, okay?  Sorry!"

Ditzy caught herself when she heard Snips' apologetic outburst.  "No… I'm sorry," she said.  "Customer service is an important part of my job, and more importantly, I'm usually such a friendly pony.  I've been letting myself get too worked up over this.  Sure, this isn't the type of assignment I'm used to having, and we've had a few setbacks so far, but that's no reason for me to turn into a grump."  She looked at Snips and Snails, who were watching her curiously.  "Do you guys forgive me?"

Snips and Snails grinned.  "Sure!" said Snips, his usual vigor returning.  "Don't worry about it."

"Great!" said Ditzy, relieved.  "Now, let's do this right.  I've got some other shipping tactics that just have to work!"

Six hours and nearly a dozen failed strategies later, Ditzy was finding it difficult to maintain her composure, but she refused to let her frustration show again; she was a better pony than that.  Snips and Snails were getting discouraged, too.

"It's no use," Snips said with a sigh.  "Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon have watched us make fools of ourselves over and over today.  Maybe we should just give in and lose the bet."

"Well…" Ditzy began, feeling rather defeated as well.  "Let's give it one more go, and then, if we still fail, we'll call it quits.  Alright?"

"Yeah, why not," Snips mumbled.  Snails just nodded vaguely in agreement.

"Ok then…" the pegasus racked her brain for anything else the colts could try.  "Let's go with something simple.  Just try complimenting them.  Any feature will do.  Tell them they have… lustrous coats, or… beautiful eyes, or something.  At this point, they'll probably just laugh at you again, but there's no harm in trying."

"Sure, why not," said Snips unenthusiastically.  "Let's go, Snails."

The colts exited the building in which they had been hiding and located Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon once again.

Silver Spoon was the first to see them coming.  She poked Diamond Tiara to get her attention.

"Look who's heading this way."

Diamond Tiara turned around, catching sight of the approaching colts.  "You two again?" she asked.  "Seriously, can't you two just go away before somepony gets hurt from laughing at you so hard?"

Snips ignored the jeer as he tried to decide how to compliment the pink filly.

What feature do I praise? Snips thought.  Her mane?  Her eyes?  Maybe her tiara?

"You're cute, Silver Spoon!" Snails suddenly yelled.

There was a long, awkward silence.  Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon glanced at each other briefly before once again collapsing in laughter.

Snails' face had turned bright red; he stood completely still, not quite sure what had caused him to admit his opinion of the grey filly.  Snips just shook his head.

"That's it.  We're done.  Let's go, Snails."

The two colts began to trot away, yet again, from the gleeful fillies, but Diamond Tiara stopped them.

"Wait… wait…" she managed to choke out between laughs.  "Just… hang on a sec…"  The filly gathered her composure and stood up, facing Snips and Snails with a curious expression.

"I just have to know," she said.  "Is there some particular reason you two have been following us around all day and doing stupid things?  Are you really just that bored or something?"

"Nah," Snips said, deciding it was time to spill the beans.  "We were trying to impress you two so you'd go on a date with us, but-"

"So we would what?"  Diamond Tiara gasped.  "Why would either of you possibly think that the two of us would ever want to date you two losers?  I mean, I know you're dumb, but not that dumb!"

"I know," Snips mumbled.  "It was a stupid idea.  Snails and I will just lose the bet; it's not that big a deal."

"Bet?" asked Silver Spoon, walking up next to Diamond Tiara.  "What bet?"

"Peach Pit at school was going to pay us forty bits if we managed to get a date with you two by today," Snips said.  "That's why we were trying so hard."

Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon looked at one another.

"Silver Spoon, are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"I think I'm thinking what you're thinking, Diamond Tiara."

Once again, Diamond Tiara faced Snips and Snails.  "Alright, listen.  We'll cut you two stooges a deal.  We'll pretend to go out with you, just long enough for you to get the proof you need, and then when you win your bet, we get twenty bits from the winnings."

Snips' face lit up.  "Really?"

Diamond Tiara shrugged.  "Sure, why not.  Just don't get any ideas; remember, we still hate you two."

"Fine by me," Snips said.  "So, who's got a camera?"

"No… way…" Peach Pit breathed, unable to believe what he was looking at.

The photograph clearly showed Snips and Snails, sitting at a table at the ice cream shop, posing for the photo with Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon.

"There's your proof," Snips said smugly.  "Now where's our money?"

"…Fine," Peach Pit grumbled, handing Snips a bag full of coins.  "I don't know how you two did it, though…"

The confused colt wandered away, shaking his head, leaving Snips and Snails with the money.  As soon as he was out of sight, a certain pair of fillies trotted over from where they had been discreetly watching from another part of the playground.

"Alright, we'll take our share now," Diamond Tiara said.  She snatched the bag from Snips' hoof, dumped out the coins, and took twenty for herself and Silver Spoon.

"Thanks, losers," the pink filly mused, sauntering away with her newly earned funds.  Silver Spoon remained behind for a moment, watching Diamond Tiara walk away and around the corner of the schoolhouse.  She turned back to Snips and Snails; curiously, she was blushing ever so slightly.

"Um… Snails…" The silvery filly asked quietly.  "Yesterday, did you mean it when you… um… said I was cute?"

A wide, dopey grin appeared on Snails' face.  "Yes ma'am."

Silver Spoon looked left and right a few times to ensure nopony was watching, the suddenly hopped up and gave Snails a quick peck on the cheek before turning tail and scurrying off in the direction Diamond Tiara had gone.

Now it was Snips' turn to burst out laughing.  The turquoise colt cracked up as his orange companion stood stark still, blushing madly and staring in the direction Silver Spoon had gone.

Snips might have gone on laughing for much longer if a certain grey pegasus hadn't floated down from the roof of the school and landed next to him a moment later.

"Oh… hello, again," Snips said.  "Here for your share of the winnings, right?"

"That's right," said Ditzy.  "You promised me half, remember?"

"Yep," Snips said.  "So let's see… we gave twenty to Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, and half goes to you, so that leaves us with…"

"Absolutely nothing," Ditzy finished in a matter of fact tone, picking up the bag containing the remaining bits.

Snips blinked as the realization dawned on him.  "Oh yeah…"

"Hopefully, you two have learned a little something about making bets you probably can't win," Ditzy said.

Snips nodded.  "I'll say.  I'll that effort, and we came out of all this with nothing."

"Not quite nothing," Snails said, holding a hoof to the cheek Silver Spoon had kissed.

Snips laughed.  "Whoa, buddy.  Don't get ahead of yourself."

Ditzy said goodbye to her two young clients, and with a quick grin and a wave, she launched herself into the sky again.

Breeze in gonna' laugh his flank off at this one, the mare thought as she soared back to headquarters.

Dinky Doo and her friend Twist peered out from the schoolhouse window.

"Was that…my mom?" the little grey unicorn asked her friend.  "Talking to Snips and Snails?"

"What was she doing out there?" Twist asked.

"I don't know," Dinky said.  "But I guess I shouldn't be surprised; mom has been acting strange for the last few months…"  She turned to her red-headed friend, determination in her eyes.  "…And you know what, Twist?  I'm going to find out why."
Chapter 6

Okay so...

1. I'm sorry this is late; I promised it would be up by yesterday. But I was having some writers block about the ending if this chapter so I left it till today.

2. I'm also sorry that the ship in this chapter is not that great. Well, I don't like it too much anyways; I'll wait and see what you think. Hopefully I made up for it with the portion of the chapter preceding the ship, though...

Let's see, what else do I have to say...

The reference to "Equestrian Filly" dolls is a parody of "American Girl" dolls, in case you didn't catch that.

Expect a journal entry in the next few days coming from this page; I need to discuss some stuff with all you readers. (Nothing negative, don't worry)

MLP and all related blah blah blah no one actually reads the disclaimers blah blah blah it's all (c) Hasbro.

Add a Comment:
fotland42 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013
Bribery: because when a girl says she wouldn't go out with you if you paid her, she's probably exaggerating.

Personally, I liked the Pinkie bit.
Luckysweep Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
silver snails! that is one pairing i actually like!
another one is snails with apple bloom.
it's a toss-up for which one i like better. i'd flip a coin, but it would land on its edge.
portaljumper339 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Student General Artist
Nice job on this, but you may have wanted to scale back the Pinkie breaking the fourth wall a bit. I can't speak for everyone else, but I found it really distracting. Other than that, great work!
PegasusRescueBrigade Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012
Some people do find it distracting, I know.
I took a risk there, and the majority liked it.

If Pinkie being over-the-top bothers you, you might not like Ch.7 very much...
portaljumper339 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Student General Artist
Well, if the whole chapter is based around it, that's one thing. My beef with it in ch. 6 is that the rest of the chapter is about a completely different set of characters, so throwing that in there seems unnecessarily tacked on. I for one love Pinkie's shenanigans, but just be tactful with it in future.

Great story though, definitely gonna read the rest.
18273 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012
need morre vant more the whole dinky - derpy thing is great
DolphinBuster Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Dinky .... you devious filly you! And Pinkie Pie breaking the fourth wall kind of thing? Awesome...I'm going to read on and see if she's actually is in the next chapter!
sapphire475gs Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012
Actually enjoyed the awkward Pinkie Pie breaking your page breaks!

Also, great noodle incident setup. I can see the headlines now: "Two unicorns commit arson using a beach ball and a dozen eggs".
I'm glad you enjoyed Pinkie. That part is a test find out which readers like that sort of thing. Because you're now moving on to the most infamous (and probably most popular) chapter; the Pinkie chapter.

Tread carefully, friend. Strange things are about to be afoot...
StarryOak Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If pony hell (Tartarus) is a physical place in equestria, what about heaven?
FiMvisible Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012
Pinkie Pie just made my day, again. :D

Only a teeny oddity I don't get along with: I don't think Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon would hang out with 'losers' like S&S just for money. I mean, they're so rich and spoilt and all, and I think that their reputation would be more important to them than some bits. Just my opinion, though. Otherwise the chapter was awesome and really funny! :D
Well, I was going with "The rich are often the most greedy" idea there.

They have tons of cash, but they probably are always looking for more.
Cocorebals Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I really enjoyed how this chapter kinda advanced the story by spending a little time off of shipping, very well done! :D
RainyMeadows Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012  Student General Artist
This was the cutest chapter yet!
Flaxative Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012
Man, no one quite like Pinkie Pie when it comes to breaking the 4th wall.
PegasusRescueBrigade Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012
If you're already saying that, I'm interested to see your reaction after chapter 7.
Flaxative Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012
Just finished reading it; I think it's safe to say that the 4th wall is in pieces.
Icewind136 Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012  Student General Artist
Oh, the ship wasn't amazing from a shipping perspective, but it was still ridiculously cute at the end. Also, it was a nice story.
MeatGibZ Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012
Silver Spoon x Snails

Oh lord, I feel both mortified and intrigued

But still, cute :3
stickman00 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2012
when it got to the shipping part the story I wondered how you were gonna pull of a believable ending. the ending was acceptable but could be improved. Of course Diamond Tiara wouldn't of gone out with snips or snails with out expecting something out of it. i don't think she would ask for for just money. I'm sure they dont need any. You could of added that Diamond Tiara had beef with Peach Pit and found it as an opportunity to get at him.
DeathMetalPony Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011
XD have you read chap. 7 yet?

If not, you're about to get your wish.
Be prepared to go on an adventure with Pinkie if you haven't read it.
DeathMetalPony Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011
I just read it.

you, sir, deserve the key to the internet.
Haissan Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011
hey man, I was following this for a little and suddenly 3 chapters were posted, I cannot believe this!
Essentially I was gifted with a pleasant suprise
Sonnette Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011
Silver Snails. I have a new OTP. <3 :D
lol1759 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2011  Student Digital Artist
This is my fave ditzy doo fanfic
Cheezy805 Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Why is Kingdom hearts music so perfect for everything? The Simple and Clean Instrumental Version was playing when Silver Spoon gave Snails a kiss on the cheek, haha.
This is one of only about 6 fanfics that I actually pay attention to, and I'm a tough critic. Good work on such good story writing. I did notice that this wasn't up to your normal standard, but you explained why, so whatever.
Looking forward to the next chapter!
The next chapter is almost done, actually.

And I'm not sure whether or not it will be possible to judge the new chapter based on the standards of the old chapters. It's... different. Very, very different.
lucariodarkness745 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And yet it's still great! :D
pokemonlover111 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2011
More is on the way. Spare me!! Lol
pokemonlover111 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2011
I'll spare you, don't worry. lol
RaenBoow Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2011  Student Digital Artist
I would have been dissapointed if they would have succeded winning the bet AND their hearts (especially Tiara's cause she seems really not capable of turning out to be anywhere near 'nice' :smoking:) Snail is probably the only one I like out of those 4. I liked your solution ^^ After reading the comments I really long for the next chapter thou... Write it when you want but don't forget it!! :brushteeth:
Yeah, I didn't really feel like any real relationship should start from that. The characters are incompatible, and Diamond Tiara especially is just a jerk.

And don't worry 'bout chapter 7. I'm working on it; I already have several pages.
RaenBoow Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2011  Student Digital Artist
excellent :ninjaplot:
mlpMaconMixx Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Muahahaha! Detective Dinky is on the case! :D
bigfatal21 Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2011
I just can't imagine Pinkie Pie with a checklist. And when I try mentally asking her, she just narrows her eyes and goes, "Parties are a serious business."
Well, can you imagine how upset Pinkie would be if she forgot the balloons or something? Parties are Pinkie's works of art, if they're incomplete, they're just a waste in her eyes.
LongshotLink Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
That was actually really cute. Well done. And Dinky really does see and understand more than anyone would think of a little filly.
Lastingimage24 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011
Actually, the ship wasn't bad. Well the whole Snails and Silver Spoon thing wasn't. I can't imagine a ship with Snips, though, he's just frigging ugly. While I don't mind the homosexual ships I think this fandom is missing out on great straight ships, although that's just my opinion. Absolutely loved the characterization of Snails, btw.

Yeah I really hate Snips :/
I hate Snips too. The first time I saw him I was like "Is that a pony, or a blue-green pig?"

Snips is too... obnoxious in every way to actually get shipped, and Diamond Tiara has an irreconcilable personality in my opinion. But Snails struck me as having the potential to be a little sweet, and Silver Spoon, as I noticed on the show, probably wouldn't be quite as mean without DT backing her up. So I thought it seemed appropriate to put a little something between those two.

Really, I'm not a fan of any of those four characters, though.
Sonic-chaos Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh Pinkie, the 4th wall crumbles in your mere prrsence :D
Awesome chapter and nice use of the American Girl reference. My sister got one and I have to admit it creeps the shit out of me! Just sitting there with the same clothes as my sister. I swear to God one of this days it is going to come to life and try to replace her :iconexcaliburfaceplz:
Yeah, expensive lifelike dolls scare me a little too.
DarkApostleMatt Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011
I love this fic!
Wavedrake Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Ammagosh I love this story series. I read it since the beginning and it's sooo fun and funny and of course fulla shipping and all kinds of lovins, good on you c8
TheEvilTater Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011
Once again you have made a chapter near flawlessly. I love the split story between ditzys job and her personal life. dont change a thing :D
I shan't. (Is that a word?)

Next time, we'll see a serious and possibly somewhat depressing opener, followed by a hilarious and very off the wall shipping story.

Should be kind of an emotional roller coaster if it turns out right.
TheEvilTater Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011
Ugh... You just HAD to make it more painful to wait didn't you?
Sorry lol.
supergeek17 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Pinkie Pie waving to us form the other side of the fourth wall was godly. Another awesome chapter!
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