Formally Edited by: Clavier, Mr. Minimii and Apple Cinnamon
Edited by: Unnamed Pawn and First_Down
Thanks to Catnipfairy for her artwork!
Sweetie Belle slowly positioned the white flower in her mane with her magic before looking at herself one last time in the mirror. The light blue dress Rarity made for her was simple, but it had a few diamonds at the end of her flank in honor of the one she was going to say goodbye to today. Besides, everypony knew Diamond Tiara was going to look the best out of all of them. One last time to show off before she was sealed forever in her wooden bed.
The dress was ready. The question that Sweetie Belle kept asking was if she was ready. It had been a few days since her talk with Luna and Shoestring Catch, when she'd said she was ready to face her fears. Now that the day had come her doubts were returning. She had visited him again last night, thanks to Luna, where he held her as she cried throughout the dream. He promised that everything would be okay. She was strong, and she could do this.
Taking a deep breath, Sweetie Belle turned away from the mirror and looked out the window where she could see the memorial still displayed on the street. It was much bigger than the last time she saw it, but many of the flowers were now dying and the candles were nearly burned out. Sweetie and a few other ponies had taken time during the days leading up to the funeral to replacing them when they dried up.
Rarity said that that they had a choice. They could visit, say their condolences, see Diamond Tiara, and leave like many were doing. Or they could stay for the whole funeral. While Sweetie Belle was tempted to choose the first one, she knew that if she was going to accept the concept of death she would have to stay for the whole thing. And she felt like it was the proper thing to do anyway since she had been part of Diamond Tiara’s life, despite it not being a pleasant experience.
At least I won’t be going alone, thought Sweetie Belle, turning to her door and leaving her room. She walked down the stairs and saw her sister putting on her snow boots. Rarity had opted for a similar dress design like Sweetie Belle's, only the coloring was a deep purple instead.
“Oh, Sweetie Belle,” said Rarity, noticing her. “Are you ready?”
“Yeah, I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” answered Sweetie Belle, making for the coat hanger that held her pink scarf. She stared at it and remembered that the last time she had seen Diamond Tiara was days ago by the pond, chasing her for stealing her scarf. It felt like a lifetime when everything seemed to be normal. How much was going to change now that Diamond Tiara was gone forever?
Rarity’s hoof on her shoulder caught her attention. Looking up, she saw her big sister’s sympathetic smile as she said, “We don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”
Sweetie Belle shook her head. “No, I can do this. Besides, we’re already dressed.”
Rarity nodded and opened the door.
The walk to the funeral home was an eye opener. It seemed more than half the town was heading for the funeral home to say their goodbyes. Curious, she turned to Rarity as they turned the corner and asked, “Do you think Diamond Tiara knew all these ponies?”
Rarity shook her head. “I’m guessing most are going to be polite and give Mr. Rich their sympathies. The poor stallion is all alone now.”
“But many ponies d-die,” pointed out Sweetie Belle. “So why are so many attending now compared to the ones when old ponies pass away?”
“I think it’s because dying from natural causes is to be expected. It’s when one has lived their full life and they are ready to put it to rest for the next one,” explained Rarity. “Whenever a pony dies before their time, it’s a shock to us all. We’re not like Manehattan or Canterlot, Sweetie Belle, we know each other very well here.”
“When was the last time anything like this happened?” asked Sweetie Belle, trying to remember.
“I would say Mr. Hooves's death, but his funeral was private and in Canterlot, though there was a candlelight vigil in Ponyville that day. The closest to this would be Diamond Tiara’s mother, sadly,” whispered Rarity. Sighing, she replied, “She died in a train accident and was... with foal at the time.”
Sweetie Belle froze and gasped, covering her hooves in shocked. “S-she was having... a foal?”
“Yes,” answered Rarity, walking over and hugging her teary-eyed sister. “Despite living in Manehattan she was still one of us, and we buried her here. I never knew her personally, but I went to the funeral, as did many others at the time. You were too young to understand such things and you stayed at home with Mother and Father.”
“How cruel can fate be to have Diamond's mother and brother die.... and then this happen soon after?” asked Sweetie Belle, bitterly wondering what kind of deity does this. “It’s not fair.”
“Many things are not fair, Sweetie Belle. It’s just how the way things are,” whispered Rarity, patting her sister’s back. “Come along, we don’t want to be late.”
Sweetie Belle dried her eyes with her hoof before continuing to follow Rarity. Snow was falling down lightly, tickling their faces by the time they finally reached the home. As soon as they arrived, Sweetie Belle spotted Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. The former, who only had a scarf, was comforting the latter, who was decked out in a very heavy black dress and veil.
Rarity greeted the pegasi duo. “Hello, Rainbow Dash. Fluttershy.”
“Hey, Rares. Hey, Sweetie,” greeted Rainbow Dash while a sniffling Fluttershy only blinked and nodded. “How are you doing?”
“We’re fine. I’m not surprised to see you undressed for the occasion, Rainbow Dash,” muttered Rarity, glaring at Dash for her lack of proper wear.
Rolling her eyes, Rainbow responded. “Lighten up, Rarity. I’m still doing overtime this month because of all these snowstorms around Equestria. I'm just here to pay my respects and help out Fluttershy. Then I gotta head back to Cloudsdale.”
Rarity’s frustration lessened as she turned to Fluttershy and walked over to comfort her. “There, there, darling. Everything will be alright.”
“...I really wish this wasn’t happening...” whispered Fluttershy, sniffing and wiping her tears away with a tissue.
Rarity turned to Rainbow Dash and said, “I’ll take care of her. You head inside so you can head back to work sooner.”
Rainbow nodded. “Thanks, Rarity. I owe you.” And with that said, she made her way to the funeral home’s doors. No sooner had she left then the Apple family arrived from the opposite route. When they saw Sweetie Belle and the rest, they walked over to greet them.
Upon seeing Apple Bloom and her black dress and bow, Sweetie Belle felt most of her worries wash away and she quickly embraced her fellow Cutie Mark Crusader. The two of them didn’t speak much, nor did they pay attention to their sisters talking to each other. They turned to the funeral home, Sweetie Belle’s heart thumping faster with each second. She was sure Apple Bloom’s was too.
“Ah guess this is it, huh?” asked Apple Bloom, sighing. “You know, Ah still wonder if this is all a dream and the two of us will wake up, go back to school, and find out Diamond Tiara glued our backsides to our chairs again.”
“We did get back at her by switching her chocolate milk with mud, remember?” asked Sweetie Belle with a small smile.
Chuckling, Apple Bloom nodded. “Yeah... seems like all our past attempts at gettin’ in each other's manes were just... foalish, now that Ah think about it.”
“We couldn't be foals forever,” whispered Sweetie Belle, lowering her head. They said that getting your cutie mark was a sign of leaving fillyhood and entering adulthood. Somehow Sweetie Belle felt like that also applied to now. No matter how many times she crusaded with her friends, had sleepovers or went to school, it would never feel the same again. “We would have had to face this at some point.”
“Ah guess, just wish we were more pre...pared...” Apple Bloom’s eyes widened as she tilted her head to the right, just enough to look past Sweetie Belle’s head.
Sweetie Belle turned around and a gasp escaped her as she felt a magical sparkle burst from her horn. Also dressed in black, accompanied by her father, Scootaloo saw her friends and carefully walked towards them with an emotionless face. The others noticed the two newcomers as well and were just as surprised as their younger siblings.
“Crimson? Scootaloo? Ah thought ya weren’t comin’?” asked Applejack.
“Well, I did the odd job for Mr. Rich here and there. Plus, Cheerilee and I... talked awhile ago and I felt that I could be there for her today. Diamond Tiara was her student, after all,” answered Crimson, rubbing the back of his neck. “It was actually Scootaloo that encouraged us to both come.”
Sweetie Belle turned to an impassive Scootaloo and nearly shouted “what” but kept it to herself. I thought she made it clear that she didn’t want to come, that she hated Diamond Tiara.
“Hey, can we go in now? It’s getting cold?” asked Scootaloo, shivering.
“Sounds like a smart idea. Let’s go,” seconded Granny Smith, and she moved her wobbly legs up the stairs with Big Macintosh’s help. “These chilly winds ain’t so good for these old bones. Then again, me and winter have always been like chili and applesauce. Can’t mix them unless ya want the household smellin’ worse than a hog bath.”
A few of them giggled at granny before following her. While heading up the steps, Apple Bloom turned and asked the question that was at the forefront of Sweetie Belle's mind. “Ah thought ya weren’t comin’ for Diamond Tiara?”
Scootaloo stopped midstride and stared downward, causing the other girls to halt as well. “I’m not here for Diamond Tiara. I’m here for somepony else.”
Sweetie Belle was even more confused, but she was told to hurry up by Rarity and quickly headed inside.
The halls were no different from when Sweetie Belle was last here, except for the fact that ponies were crowding them. She recognized so many faces, so many ponies who had all come for Diamond Tiara, many of whom she knew had even vocally opposed her bratty attitude. There were a few bored-looking faces from those who clearly didn’t want to be there, but they were overwhelmed by the majority of sad-looking citizens. Sweetie Belle thought back to what her sister said earlier. Was it like this when Diamond Tiara’s mother died? And Dinky’s father?
Ponyville was a small town, with its population barely reaching four hundred if she remembered her lessons correctly. Everypony knew everypony, if not personally then by name. It made sense that such a death would affect everypony. Sweetie Belle tried to think of another time when she'd heard somepony had died. Chances were she had, but she never really paid any attention to it until now.
She and the others entered the room where Diamond Tiara was presented. It was filled with ponies who were either talking to each other, sitting on the chairs, talking to Mr. Rich, or... heading towards the half-open casket. Sweetie Belle gulped as she eyed the decorated wooden box, adult-sized instead of one for a filly. The open half of the casket revealed white velvet lining with a few blue flowers placed inside, either held in by staples, glue, or magic. On the closed end was the familiar tiara, only it was fractured in several places, held up by a soft, pink pillow and surrounded with rose petals. Surrounding the casket itself were bouquets of flowers, all varied in color, with blue and white rose wreaths on the opposite ends with a banner wrapped around it that held three words: “Rest In Peace”.
The only thing that Sweetie Belle couldn’t see was the body itself.
The remaining decorations fit the somber mood: black ribbons on the walls, pictures of Diamond Tiara in her life as a smiling and happy filly, some stuffed animals on the side in a bed of flowers and farewell cards. She saw the poster that Dinky had made, along with not only her signature but various others in their class. Sweetie Belle turned to Scootaloo. Did she sign as well?
Scootaloo was looking around in a bit of shock, but was also like she was searching the room. At first, Sweetie Belle thought it was for Rainbow Dash, who was already at the casket and saying something to the body, but she glazed over her like an afterthought. Who could she be looking for?
Even after Rainbow had finished and said her goodbyes, Scootaloo still never shifted her focus over to her idol. Sweetie Belle, curious, started looking around as well to see who else was here and try to listen in on the conversations.
She saw Mr. and Mrs. Joyous trying to comfort their young foal, who was ceaselessly crying. Mrs. Joyous was also in tears, saying something about how horrible they were to her—obviously Diamond Tiara—and asking her husband why they didn’t forgive her when they had the chance. Mr. Joyous was silent.
Miss Cheerilee was sitting on a nearby couch, some of her students coming by and talking to her. Some were in tears, others just wanted a hug, and she was there to comfort them all. Even when she wasn’t teaching she was still the mother hen to her students. Sweetie Belle had never felt so much respect for her teacher as she did in that moment.
Even Mr. and Mrs. Cake were there, walking to the casket with their twins. The twins, being the innocent babies they were, were smiling and saying “Daimon” over and over again. Some couldn't handle the scene, and they excused themselves with red-rimmed eyes. Sweetie Belle felt her own tears forming as well. To the twins, Diamond Tiara was just sleeping. But it was a sleep she would never wake from.
“Come on, y'all, there's Mr. Rich,” said Applejack, urging them forward. Sweetie Belle was grateful as she rubbed her eyes.
They proceeded as such until they were right in front of the poor fatherless stallion. He had been crying, his tear marks were evident enough, and it seemed some of them had stained his expensive, black tuxedo. Wiping his tears with a tissue, he greeted them as Big Macintosh walked over and hugged him like he was his own brother. “Thank you. Thank you for coming.”
“Ah’d be here even if it was the end of the world,” said Macintosh, still holding on. “Ya know ya got me and everypony here, right?”
“I know... thank you... I wish we never left here in the first place. It’s kind of when everything went wrong, huh?” asked Mr. Rich.
“Ya did what was best for yer family...” Big Macintosh sighed and shut his eyes even harder as he said, with great struggle, “Mah Pa... and Ma... they tried their best too. Ain’t no shame in that.”
Mr. Rich nodded as Granny Smith came and hugged him next. “She’s with them angels in Elysium, child. Free from pain and roaming with her ancestors. We’ll see her and everypony again someday.”
“Thank you... I want to believe she is happy... with her mother and brother, I really do,” whispered Rich as Applejack came next and took her hat off.
“Ah’m so sorry, Filthy... Ah mean...”
“Applejack, I don’t care anymore. Call me whatever you want,” said Filthy Rich with a small smile.
Applejack nodded. “Anythin’ ya need from us yer gonna get, okay? Ah don’t care if Ah have to miss applebucking season. Ya need somethin’, say the word.”
Apple Bloom stepped forward and looked up at Mr. Rich. “Are ya doin’ okay, Uncle Rich?”
Upon hearing that, nearly everypony but the Apples all turned to Apple Bloom with wide eyes. Uncle Rich? thought Sweetie Belle and she was pretty sure Rarity, Scootaloo, and Fluttershy were thinking the same thing.
“...Honestly, no. But maybe in time things will be different...” answered Mr. Rich before he turned to Rarity.
“Mr. Rich, my sister and I want to express our most sincere sympathies for your loss,” said Rarity, stepping forward.
Sweetie Belle stood by her sister and bowed. “I.. I’m really sorry that Diamond Tiara is.. gone...”
Mr. Rich nodded. “Thank you. The dress you made for her was perfect. My little angel would love it. And I think she would be very happy to see the Elements of Harmony come visit her one last time. She never really told you, but she did admire every one of you, especially Princess Twilight.”
“Where is Twilight, anyway? I thought she was going to be leading the funeral?” asked Rarity.
“She’s making sure final preparations are set for... when we go to the graveyard, but I have yet to see Ms. Pie. Where is she?”
That was a question even Sweetie didn’t think about until now. Pinkie Pie loved everypony, even a brat like Diamond Tiara. Sweetie thought she would at least decorate for the funeral, but none of it looked like Pinkie Pie’s work. Applejack, Rarity, and Fluttershy frowned, but it was her sister that answered. “Funerals.., don’t go well with Pinkie Pie. She hates them, actually. I think it's because it's the antithesis of everything she is. And since this is a filly’s funeral, it was too much for her and she went back to her parents for a bit. I’m sorry, Mr. Rich.”
“It’s okay, I understand,” said Mr. Rich as he turned to Fluttershy who was trying her best to say something, but all she could do was cry. Walking up to her, he lifted her hoof and she held her breath as they looked at each other eye to eye. “Miss Fluttershy, you have a very lovely voice. My daughter... whenever she was being tucked in, she always asked her mother to sing her ‘Hush Now, Quiet Now’ before falling asleep. I... I would like you to sing that song for her at the end of the funeral. I want her to hear it one last time...”
Sweetie Belle was surprised that Mr. Rich was asking this. It was well known that out of all the ponies in Ponyville, Fluttershy had a very beautiful voice, but didn’t often sing in public. Sweetie Belle heard it many times, and it was like hearing something straight from a choir of angels. Fluttershy gently placed her other hoof on Mr. Rich’s and, with determination, nodded. “I will.”
“Thank you. It means a lot to me.”
Scootaloo and her father walked up and shook hooves. “We’re sorry, Mr. Rich. May your daughter be at peace,” said Crimson.
“Yeah,” was all Scootaloo said, looking down at her hooves.
Sweetie Belle shook her head in confusion. What is she here for? If she's not even here to be respectful to Mr. Rich, then what is she here for?
Whatever Scootaloo had been looking for, she must have founded it as she quickly walked off and made for the other side of the room. Sweetie Belle turned to Apple Bloom, who gave an acknowledging nod. While the adults were busy talking to Mr. Rich, they quietly snuck away and tailed Scootaloo. After walking through the crowd they spotted a sight that made both fillies' jaws drop.
Scootaloo was hugging a teary-eyed Silver Spoon. The same Scootaloo who had declared she would not go to the funeral, or ever feel sorry for bullies, was hugging Diamond Tiara's best friend. So many questions were ringing in Sweetie Belle’s head, but all she could do was open her mouth in silent shock.
Eventually, Silver Spoon noticed her and Apple Bloom and gulped, nervously shying away. Scootaloo, seeing her unease, put a hoof on her shoulder, and said, “Hey, it’s okay. They’re here to see Diamond Tiara.”
Apple Bloom nodded and reached out her forelegs for a hug. “Ah’m really sorry ya lost yer best friend, Silver Spoon.”
Slowly, Silver Spoon reached out and accepted the hug. “Thank you,” she whispered as Apple Bloom patted her back.
Sweetie Belle soon joined in and hugged them both as well. Now she knew who Scootaloo was here for. She didn’t know what the story was between her best friend and Silver Spoon, but she was glad that Scootaloo had come nonetheless.
When all the hugging was done, the girls sat next to each other, silent and unsure of what to do next. Sweetie Belle couldn’t think of a time when the Crusaders and Silver Spoon ever shared a quiet moment together, but there was a first for everything. Silver Spoon, looking down at her hooves, asked, “You girls... see Diamond yet?”
“No,” answered Scootaloo. “Have you?”
“Yes...” Silver sniffed and lowered her head even more. “You should... go speak to her one last time... We’re gonna start soon.”
The girls nodded and slowly they made their way towards the line leading to the casket. It was finally time for Sweetie Belle to see what she had afraid of since learning about Diamond Tiara's fate. It was time to see death itself. Sweetie Belle could feel every bone in her body shaking as, one by one, ponies finished their farewells and the line got shorter. While she was in a near panic, Apple Bloom muttered what she suspected were prayers and Scootaloo was silent. What were they going to say when they saw the body? What was she going to say?
Was she going to say she felt sorry Diamond Tiara was dead? That she forgave her for all the bullying? Would she wish her a peaceful afterlife? Could the dead even hear them, wherever they were?
Before she knew it, all three of them were at the casket. And there, before their very eyes was the former bane of their school. Their bully. Their nemesis. Diamond Tiara.
Sweetie Belle could only remember two emotions that Diamond Tiara always held in her memory: disgust and anger. This time, she was seeing what she felt was Diamond Tiara’s real face. Her beautiful eyes, forever shut, were stenciled in black outliner. Her red lipstick smile seemed peaceful and joyful rather than stuck up and sinister like the one she had whenever she was planning on making somepony’s day miserable. It was as though a life of hardship had finally ended and she could rest at last. For the dress, Rarity had chosen a lightish blue for the main color and purple for the secondary. It was so soft it looked as though it was made of clouds. Perfectly-cut diamonds hung off the stems, sparkling in the overhead light, and the glow from above gave the impression of heaven's gates opening for her tragically departed soul. Her hooves, folded over her chest, held a lily that seemed to gently tickle her neck.
She looks so peaceful, thought Sweetie Belle as she stared at the beautiful corpse. The image reminded her of a story Rarity had once read to her about a filly princess who had fallen under an everlasting sleep spell. And then, unknowingly, she felt tears welling in her eyes. She bowed her head, whimpering, as it all finally came crashing down. So many days of waiting and it was now here. The end of Diamond Tiara. Her final day of honor before she was gone forever. All the troubles they had together, all the moments of pain, tears, and hate. And it was just gone. It seemed so useless to hold anything against her now that she was dead. What was the point?
Apple Bloom, in the center between the three of them, was openly bawling. She could barely stand up as he held both hooves on the casket, careful of where her tears were landing. Sweetie Belle moved her tail so that it held Apple Bloom’s to let her know that she was not alone in her grief. Then a third tail joined, and she didn’t need to look to know it was Scootaloo. She didn't bother to question why this time. She was simply glad that the three of them were there together.
“Diamond Tiara...” said Apple Bloom, speaking first. “... ya were mah first friend. Mah best friend a long time ago. Ah’m so sorry Ah forgot ya. After everythin’ ya went through, Ah should have been there for ya. Ah should have remembered all those times we played together, loved each other, and promised to be friends forever. Ah broke that promise, Diamond Tiara, and Ah’m so sorry.” She reached into her dress and took out a small photo. Getting only a glimpse, Sweetie Belle saw that here were two foals. One was Apple Bloom, the red mane and bow attested to that, and the other had to be Diamond Tiara based on the coat color. “Do ya remember yer last birthday we had? It was a few weeks before ya moved. Ah remember everythin’ now and Ah wished that Ah had sooner. Maybe ya wouldn’t have turned out who ya were in the end. Ah don’t know if ya can forgive me, but Ah forgive ya, mah sister. Ah do.”
Apple Bloom gently placed the photo in the casket before covering her eyes with her foreleg again. Sweetie Belle placed a hoof on her shoulder and took a deep breath. Before she knew it, she began to speak “I know you weren’t the nicest of ponies, but with so many ponies here maybe there was some good in you. No, I know there was, because I believe there is good in everypony.” She rubbed her hooves nervously. “I wonder if it was ever possible that we could have become friends someday. Or at least stop hating each other. I think that’s the thing I’ll regret the most, that we never got over our problems. I’d like to think that, wherever you are, you are happy and with your mom and brother. And I want you to know that I forgive you too. Rest in peace, Diamond Tiara.”
It was short, but for some reason it was all Sweetie Belle felt she needed to say. It was enough to feel a weight finally lift off her back, allowing her to breathe easy again.
There was only one more left. Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom turned to Scootaloo, who never once took her eyes of Diamond Tiara’s face. So far she had surprised them both by coming to the funeral and comforting a crying Silver Spoon. What will she do now?
“...I can’t forgive you,” muttered Scootaloo, shaking her head. “I know I should. It might seem pointless, but I just can’t.” Her eyes formed a slight glare. “You hurt me. You hurt my friends. You hurt so many ponies that some are even glad you're dead. You insulted me, bullied me, and I can’t just let that go one, two, three. I’m not a pony like that.” She closed her eyes and let out a deep breath. “But... I don’t hate you anymore.”
Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom continued to stare, silent and holding their breath.
“I used to think you were pure evil. That nothing good existed in you. But I was wrong. There was a kindness in you that you showed to only a few. A noble side that... I never would have imagined if I didn’t learn about it. This hatred in me. It’s a sickness and nothing’s gonna help if I have it inside me. So yeah, I can’t find it in me to forgive you for all you’ve done to me and I don’t know how long it will take me to do it. But I do not hate you anymore, Diamond Tiara, and I’m sorry this happened to you. I’ll look after Silver Spoon and help her recover from your death. I’ll see all your efforts weren’t in vain.”
When she was done, Scootaloo walked towards her father who was sitting next to Ms. Cheerilee. All Sweetie Belle could do was stare at her, before Rarity asked her to sit by her as well. It was time for the funeral to begin.
Once Princess Twilight arrived, the entire room quieted as she led the procession. Sweetie Belle tried her best to pay attention, but all she could focus on was Diamond Tiara. Now that she was higher up on a bench, she could see Diamond Tiara's body clearly. All Sweetie Belle could think about as she stared at the peaceful expression on her face was what if she hadn’t died. Would she still be the same even as an adult? What would have been her impact on the world? Could they have ever resolved their childhood problems? It was these questions that made Sweetie wonder how many young lives had been lost before? Was this going to happen to Shoestring Catch? Was he going to be in a wooden box too, looking like he was sleeping as ponies cried for his passing? How many young lives would be lost before it was her turn?
If this was fate, if Diamond Tiara’s time had come, Sweetie doubted she would ever understand why. And if it was random, did that make it any better? Despite having her fears about death relaxed, and her drive to live until the end, she still had so many questions. Her sister had told her various theories about it, and she made a mental note to check each of them out when she had a chance.
Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard Twilight say that Mr. Rich would speak. Focusing on the teary-eyed stallion, she watched him head over to the casket and look inside. Nopony said anything as he continued to stare at his daughter for a long time. Tears could be seen dripping down from his face, and one landed directly on his daughter's cheek. Gently, he wiped it off and turned to face the crowd.
“Diamonds are precious gems. Maybe the most precious of them all. When Crystal Eyes gave birth to my little girl, I thought she was the most priceless thing I ever had. We called her Tiara because she was our princess; our little bundle of joy to love and spoil. I promised myself I would make her the happiest filly in the world.” Lowering his head, ears flat, Mr. Rich harshly said, “I failed in doing that the moment my wife and our unborn son died.”
He shook his head, a hoof running through his mane and nearly ripping his hair out. “I pushed her away because I couldn’t accept the mare that I loved all my life was dead, along with our baby. I let my daughter suffer the loss of her mother alone, without me to hold her. I will live with that for the rest of my life in shame, and my actions created a rift between us that was never filled. Turning back to his daughter, his knees gave out and he struggled to stay upright, eventually leaning on the casket for support. “A-a-and yet-t-t she l-lo-loved me-e-e... she s-still loved...AH!”
He fell to his knees, both forehooves on the casket as he rested his head against the edge. His tears were now coming down like waterfalls as he whispered his lost daughter’s name over and over again. But no matter how many times he said it, Diamond still lay there as still as a statue.
Sweetie Belle couldn’t look anymore. She instead turned and hid herself in her sister’s side, eyes closed and crying. She could even feel Rarity's tears drip from above. There were more cries of woe, more tears shed. All around Sweetie Belle, she could hear them. A single small room in a bigger room was filled with sorrow. A father completely broken, having lost everything he cared about. Life wasn’t cruel, it was simply fragile.
“I... I...” Mr. Rich said as Sweetie Belle turned back towards him. Facing the audience he said, “I know that my daughter was... not the kindest of ponies. Maybe even cruel to some of you. But please, it wasn’t her fault. It was mine.” He stood up and faced each of them. “Don’t hate my daughter. Please, just hate me. Hate a stallion who failed his family. Hate the one who never showed his daughter enough love to change her. Hate me, not my precious daughter. Please... I don’t think...”
Big Macintosh finally stepped in and helped the sobbing stallion to his seat. Nopony said anything as they watched him slowly sit on his seat. For a long time spoke or got up. Finally, Twilight stepped forward again. “As is earth pony tradition, each of you will each receive a flower and bring it up to the casket to lay inside. Once we have all done so, we will close it and carry it out for Diamond Tiara's journey to her final resting place.”
Sweetie Belle joined the others as she got in line. One of the workers of the funeral home holding a basket of roses. Some ponies didn’t come up, a few she recognized as foals that Diamond Tiara bullied or insulted in the past. Thankfully, Scootaloo was not among them. As the line moved forward and everypony gathered a flower, Fluttershy, stood near the casket, cleared her throat and began to sing.
“Hush now, quiet now. It's time to lay your sleepy head. Hush now, quiet now. It's time to go to bed”
Sweetie Belle watched as those she knew stepped forward with their flower, said their final words, and dropped it into the casket. Sweetie Belle, for the second time that day, didn’t know what to say. What else was there to say?
“Driftin' off to sleep. Exciting day behind you. Driftin' off to sleep. Let the joy of dream land find you”
When she stepped forward, staring into the face of her archenemy one last time. Sweetie Belle closed her eyes. “Goodbye.”
And she dropped the flower.
“Hush now, quiet now. It's time to lay your sleepy head. Hush now, quiet now. It's time to go to bed”
It was finally over.
After so much wait, it was finally over.
Sweetie Belle, along with her sister, Scootaloo, and Crimson watched Big Macintosh, Cheerilee, Sebastian,and Silver Spoon’s mother carry the casket out of the funeral home and down the street. Towards the direction of the cemetery.
Apple Bloom had given her goodbyes before joining her family with the march. Mr. Rich only asked for family and closest friends to join them in the final part of the funeral. Now there was nothing to do but head home. There was no reception planned, and Sweetie Belle felt too tired to do anything else.
Sweetie Belle then remembered something and turned to Scootaloo, who was staring at the receding casket. She thought back to their fighting, how angry they were at each other. Now? It all seemed pointless.
Wrapping her tail around her fellow Crusader, Sweetie Belle whispered, “Scootaloo... I’m sorry.”
Scootaloo closed her eyes as a single tear dripped from her eye.
“I’m sorry too.”