"Uh... are you sure about this?"
"I really, really, really don't think that this is such a good idea."
"Oh come on you nilly fillies! This is a great idea! We'll get our cutie marks in no time."
With timid eyes, Applebloom looked down to the hap-hazard bed of pillows and hay resting a good twenty feet from where they were. Attached to a couple of trees sat a taut, thin line of wire. Currently, the three of them stood on a thick tree branch, a few balancing sticks resting in the crook above their heads. It was a sunny day in Ponyville, and the three Crusaders had left class, eager to try out Scootaloo's newest scheme on how to get their cutie marks. The only problem was, as young Sweetie Belle and Applebloom were starting to figure out, most of Scootaloo's ideas usually ended badly. And sore. However, she swore that this would be different. After all, what was more important than staying balanced?
"Listen, Scootaloo," Sweetie Belle began carefully. "Why don't we at least try this a little closer to the ground? That way, when we get really good, we can try it way up here without getting hurt."
Rolling her eyes, Scootaloo blew out of her lips, making a "pfft" sound. "We're not gonna get hurt!"
"But we always get hurt," Applebloom stated. "Member when we did ziplinin?"
"And the talent show?"
All three of them shivered at that memory. However, Scootaloo shook her head and stepped closer to the balance line. "Ah, this time is different. I promise."
Scootaloo paused at Sweetie Belle's question before shrugging. "Well... how am I supposed to know? It just feels that way." So, giving the branch behind her a tap with her hind hoof, one of the balance sticks tumbled down in front of her. With an easy snap of her jaw, Scootaloo had her balance stick at the ready in her mouth. "Wath an wurn!" she said, her mouth full of stick. The other two nervously passed glances before watching their friend approach the line.
A mere push away, Scootaloo glanced back at their "safety net." A nervous sweat beaded her forehead, but she ignored it. Rainbow Dash never got scared, and so Scootaloo wouldn't either! Knitting her brow, she began to inch herself forward onto the balancing line. Instantly, her body swayed back and forth, the stick growing heavier against her teeth. Beneath her hooves, the twine strained and groaned, and with every new step, she could hear her friends gasp. Her ears flattened against her head as she tried to focus more on concentration than the wind that blew against her, or the way her legs shook against the twine. After only a few moments, however, gravity won its battle, and down Scootaloo came, her stick flying behind her.
"SCOOTALOO!" cried her friends. They watched helplessly as the little Pegasus fell down, down, down, towards the unhelpful pile of pillows below. Her tail whipped around behind her, her legs kicking as she fell backwards. But then, when she had about a foot and a half left to fall, something caught her from midair and swooped her back up from the ground.
Her stomach doing a backflip, Scootaloo poked an eye open and turned her head around to look. The flapping of a rainbow-colored mane filled her vision and she gasped in delight. "Rainbow Dash!" she exclaimed.
"The one and only." Rainbow smiled over her shoulder as Scootaloo wrapped her little front legs as tight as she could around her savior's neck. Coming around for a landing, Rainbow Dash slowed her flight to an easy drift just before her hooves touched the ground. Applebloom and Sweetie Belle were waiting for her when she landed.
"Are you ok?" Sweetie asked.
"Sure am," said Scoot. "All thanks to the most awesome Pegasus ever!"
With a chuckle, Rainbow shined her front hoof on the coat of her neck, her wings giving a casual flap. "All in a day's work."
"No really!" With giant eyes, Scootaloo hopped around to grin widely up at her idol. "You're the bestest, fastest, most awesomest pony ever! Oh I wish I could fly like you. I'd give anything for it!"
Again, Rainbow laughed, her blue cheeks sporting spots of pink by now. "Awe, shucks." She ruffled Scootaloo's mane playfully. "You'll hurt yourself trying to reach the impossible, kiddo. But thanks."
The four of them turned to see two other faces join the group. Applejack and Rarity trotted towards their little sisters, who in turn rushed to their sides. Rarity, who was still working hard on being a better sister, quickly picked Sweetie Bell up and examined her.
"Are you all right!?" she asked frantically. "No bruises... no bumps or scrapes?"
"I'm fine," Sweetie squeaked in embarrassment. "Really. I wasn't the one who fell."
Rarity gave an exaggerated sigh of relief, setting the little Unicorn down. "Well I can't be faulted for being worried," she pouted. "After all... what were the three of you up to!?" She eyed the balance rope apprehensively.
"We were just tryin to get our cutie marks, as usual." Applebloom smiled meekly as her sister gave her a sharp frown.
"Well gettin' y'all's cutie marks ain't no excuse to try and break yer necks. What if Rainbow Dash hadn't been here? You three would be flatter than pie crust, that's what."
The three fillies lowered their heads in shame before apologizing in unison. "We're sorry," the said sincerely.
"Ah, t'ain't no harm done," said Applejack gently. "Y'all just remember not ta do it again, ya hear? Now..." She put her hoof on the back of Applebloom's head, drawing her close. "Who wants some fresh, hot apple cakes?"
"I do!" said Applebloom brightly.
"Great, Granny should be just about done makin' em." Kneeling down a bit, she allowed Applebloom to jump onto her flank before turning to Rarity. "How about you an' Sweetie Belle, Rarity?"
"Oh, thank you, Applejack, but no. Sweetie Belle still has to help me with my newest fashion line."
Sweetie brightened. "Are we finally gonna do the outfit I designed?" Though Rarity's smile became rather forced, she nodded for the sake of her sister, making Sweetie Belle jump for joy.
Applejack turned her smile to Scootaloo. "And what about you, sugarcube?"
"No thanks," said Scootaloo brightly. "I want to hang out Rainbow Dash a little more."
In surprise, Rainbow's ears shot up before she tapped the top of the Pegasus's head. "Actually, I have a lot of weather work I need to do this afternoon. It's going to be a little windy tonight and we have to make sure that the clouds are in their proper place."
Instantly, Scootaloo's face dropped. "Oh... oh, ok." Disappointed, she put her little wings away and pawed at the ground. "Um... maybe another day then?"
Applejack nudged at her cheek with her nose, smiling kindly. "My offer still stands."
However, Scootaloo covered up with a smile and shook her head. "It's fine. I should probably get home anyway."
"All right. Suit yourself. But if you ever change yer mind, there'll be a hot apple cake with your name on it." With a wink, Applejack and her sister were off towards Sweet Apple Acres. Soon after, Rarity and Sweetie Belle also left, and Rainbow Dash took off into the sky to finish her work. Scootaloo kept her smile until the last pony left her sight. Then, her face fell into a sad frown, her tail falling flat against her flank. With a sigh, she turned and went to her scooter and helmet. Looks like home was her only option now.
It took a little time to ride home, but Scootaloo didn't mind. In fact, she took longer than normal, not wanting to get home too fast. Scoot and her family lived on a hillside just off the main street of Ponyville. It was a strange looking cottage, with all kinds of pipes and chimney stacks sticking out every which way from the thatched roof above. All along the lawn were wooden wheels, gears and levers, switches and hinges, rivets and hammers and screws and screw drivers. Inside, the sounds of tinkering were always heard, sometimes well into the early hours of the morning. Dropping her scooter and helmet by the front porch, Scootaloo stepped inside.
"I'm home!" she called out. Nothing answered her but a faint hum of tools in the backyard. So, leaving her things where they were, Scoot made her way through the house and towards the back, passing the constantly cluttered cottage home, filled usually to the brim with even more odds and ends of metallic mechanisms. This was because Scootaloo's family her father and older brother were always working, and today was no different. When Scoot opened the back door to the yard behind the cottage, she was greeted by a huge burst of steam, which she coughed and waved away. Opening an eye, it fell to her father's latest work-in-progress. It was a normal, every day cart, but attached to it were so many pipes and gears and knobs that it was nearly unrecognizable.
Carefully, Scootaloo made her way out, trying not to get in the line of fire in case anything blew off or blew up. "Uh... Papa? Papa?" She looked around the thing to find two Unicorn colts hard at work, several tools floating up above them in orange and blue magic. The first looked over his shoulder. He was a rust colored pony, with a deep violet mane that spiked up along his head and neck. On his flank, two interlocking gears made up his cutie mark. He rolled his yellow eyes at Scootaloo's presence and went back to work.
"Pop, Scootaloo's home," he said in a lazy voice.
"Hey to you too, Motor Mouth," came Scoot's monotone response.
"Hm?" The older Unicorn was drawn from his invention and spotted his daughter. He was a warm, chestnut color with dark hooves. His mane was a deep cobalt blue, and bearded its way around his muzzle. His cutie mark was a simple, steel train wheel. "Oh. Scoot. You're back all ready?"
"School ended a few hours ago," Scootaloo explained.
"Oh it did." The Unicorn Papa Wheelie went back to his work. "So how was your day?" He pulled up a screw driver and started to fix something, while Motor Mouth pulled out their blueprints. Given the opportunity to talk, Scootaloo brightened and trotted over to her father with big eyes.
"Well, school was boring as ever, but afterwords, Applebloom, Sweetie Belle and me went back to our clubhouse. Cause, you know, we need to get our cutie marks and "
"Mm-hm... yeah... That's great. Motor, let me see those plans."
Scootaloo's ears laid flat as she saw her family getting distracted from her story. She ran around to Motor Mouth's side and flapped her wings rapidly, trying to catch their attention. "Oh, and guess who I saw today? Rainbow Dash! She made such a cool entrance."
"See, that shouldn't go there. It fits a whole lot better in that twelve slotted gear than the ten slotted one." Motor Mouth turned from his little sister, passing a few nuts and bolts to his father, all the while holding up the blue print. Scootaloo huffed and gave her wings a flap in frustration. Managing to crawl beneath Motor's belly, Scoot squeezed herself in between the two colts and crawled up both their sides, smiling at their invention.
"So, watchya working on, anyway?" she asked. "Anything I can do to help? Oh, can a put this here?" She clamped her teeth around a nut and tried to fit it into a place that looked like it would have worked. But Papa Wheelie instantly pulled her back.
"No!" he said quickly. "Scootaloo, please! This is a very delicate machine..." Taking the nut from her teeth, Papa Wheelie set her aside, her lower lip pouted now. "Now... what was that you were saying about today?"
Again presented with the chance to talk, Scootaloo perked up instantly. "Well, see, we were walking this tight rope, and I fell and nearly broke my neck but "
"You what?!" Well that seemed to get her father's attention. And not in a good way. Papa Wheelie set his tools aside and turned to her. Scootaloo slowly shrank at his ever growing frown. "Scoot... please don't tell me you were doing anything dangerous again!"
"W-well I... well..." Scootaloo shuffled her front hooves together. "I mean... there were pillows below us so..."
"Ugh!" Papa Wheelie put a hoof to his forehead. "How many times have I told you, Scootaloo? If you keep doing things without thinking them through, you're really going to get hurt."
"But I wasn't!" Scootaloo defended. "Rainbow Dash saved me !"
"And what if this Rainbow Splash person wasn't there?"
"You could have gotten seriously hurt, that's what."
"But Papa!" Her eyes grew bigger as she pleaded with her father. "How else am I supposed to earn my cutie mark if I don't work at it?"
"You wait like everyone else, that's what. Now I don't want to hear another word about this cutie mark nonsense! I swear, Scoot, sometimes you are the most impatient little filly I've ever seen..." With nothing else to combat with, Scootaloo lowered her head in shame, sitting with her tail curled around her hooves. Papa Wheelie let out a sigh and sat in front of her. "Scooter... You've got to stop being so rash all the time. These things don't come on demand. You have to let them happen naturally. Like me." He pat his daughter's head, causing Scoot to peek up at her father. "You think I would have finished the first ever self-sustaining train engine on my model toy set if I rushed?"
Scootaloo pawed at the ground, looking off to the side. "No..."
"That's right. I let it come naturally. And you need to do the same." He gently touched her chin, causing her to look up. "You'll grow up, Scoot. Don't rush it." This lovely father-daughter moment would have been absolutely perfect, had the ground not started to rumble. Both Scootaloo and Papa Wheelie turned to see the experimental car start to shake. Motor Mouth was quickly hammering in bolts to try and keep it stable.
"It's too top heavy!" he exclaimed to his father. Papa Wheelie quickly wrapped a layer of magic to keep it from falling, which did its job, letting both father and son breath a sigh of relief. Scootaloo, looking between them, rushed forward with a hammer in her mouth.
"Can I halp!?" came her muffled voice. A muffled voice which distracted Papa Wheelie from keeping his spell active. What was even worse was that when Scootaloo rushed forward, Papa Wheelie immediately saw a tool box laying in her path. He raised a hoof and tried to call out to her, but one second too late. Her little legs tripped over the box, and down she came tumbling, rolling like a boulder towards the unstable wheel of the experimental cart. Motor Mouth and Papa Wheelie could do nothing but watch in horror as their work came tumbling down into a pile of spare parts and splintered wood. When Scootaloo's head popped out of the rubble, her heart sank, helplessly surveying the damage she caused. "Um..." She tried to put on the most innocent smile she could. "Whoops?"
"Nice going, Scootaloser!" came her brother's angry voice. "Now we're weeks behind! We're going to have to rebuild the entire thing!"
"I just wanted to help," Scoot argued back. A wrap of blue magic took ahold of her as her father picked her up from the damage and set her aside. Papa Wheelie then turned to her, a stern look on his face. Scootaloo hunkered down, guilty and apologetic. "I'm sorry, Papa... I just "
But Papa Wheelie turned from her. "Scootaloo, please go inside where you won't be in the way." Those words hit her like a ton of bricks. Her wings and ears drooping, Scootaloo quietly made her way back into the house and up to her room.
That night, as Scootaloo got ready for bed, she plopped onto her mattress with a heaving sigh. Her eyes trailed around her tiny room. It was a small space up near the attic. Most might see it as a terrible place for a room, but Scootaloo wanted this particular space for a reason. The window she had not only looked over all of Ponyville, but parts of Cloudsdale and, off in the distance, Canterlot Castle. Countless nights, Scootaloo would sit by her windowsill, counting the stars and dreaming about the days ahead. Around the room itself was very akin to the rest of the house. Messy with a purpose. Along her walls sat posters and pictures (most of which she drew herself) of Rainbow Dash. Some Wonderbolt posters sat along side those, as well as mock-ups for the Cutie Mark Crusaders' themed logo. On the floor sat bean chairs and rag dolls that Scootaloo made herself, stacks of paper and crayons, and pictures upon pictures of what Scootaloo's cutie mark might look like.
Keeping her candle lit, Scootaloo sat up in bed and leaned on the windowsill. As promised, it was a windy evening in Ponyville. Clouds were taking their final places in the night sky. She watched as the Pegasus ponies put each one just right. One particular blue Pegasus caught her eye. Even in the darkness, Scootaloo could spot Rainbow Dash simply by how she flew. Another sad sigh escaped her.
"I wish I could live with you," she muttered to herself. "Every day would be awesome. And you'd listen to what I'd have to say, and we'd talk all night, and you'd teach me all kinds of tricks... You'd teach me how to fly... It's not like anyone here would miss me. Or even notice I'm be gone..." Ears folding down, Scootaloo sadly watched as Rainbow Dash put her final cloud into place and then vanished into the gray puffs. Suddenly, an idea struck her, and her head shot straight up. "Wait... that's it... that's IT! I'll go live with Rainbow Dash! She'll love having me around. We'll be like sisters! Oh but wait..." She looked to her own, tiny little wings. "How do I get up there...?"
A muted boom answered her and Scootaloo jumped, rushing to her door and opening it. Coughing and coming up from the basement, Papa Wheelie and Motor Mouth appeared, their manes charcoaled and sticking straight up. Clearly, there was a bit of a mishap with one of their inventions.
"Ok..." Motor coughed for a moment or two before shaking himself off. "Rebuilding the engine as a powder-base didn't work. Check."
Papa Wheelie coughed a bit more before nodding in agreement. "Come on... let's clean up." Watching her family walk out of sight, Scootaloo's eyes drifted over to the open door. Almost all of her father's inventions were down there. Once or twice, she had been invited to see, but not often. She wondered... Carefully, Scootaloo tip-hooved her way down the stairs and eyed the two Unicorns around the corner of the bottom step. Currently, they were wiping the soot off their faces. With the running water covering any noise she might make, Scoot found the perfect opportunity and quickly dashed down into the basement.
It was dark, with a few flickering candles keeping things semi-lit. Even more clutter sat within the dark basement. Half finished gadgets and half started gizmos. Papa Wheelie never seemed to take a break from his inventing, and it showed in his workshop. Scootaloo carefully and quickly poked her nose around the mountains of stuff, before spying what she needed. Her eyes lit up and her smile widened.
"Another job well done, eh Tank?" Rainbow Dash, having finished her job for the day, came home to her pet tortuous who sat on a specially made, magical platform to keep him from falling through the clouds. Taking a hoof full of greens and carrots, she placed it in front of her pet and then gave his shell a fond pat. Tank smiled slowly, thanking her for dinner, before munching down on his vegetarian cuisine. Rainbow, meanwhile, fluffed her cloud bed to just the right amount of fluffiness, before hunkering down to sleep. "Night... I'll see you in the morning, Tank..."
Closing her eyes, Rainbow curled up and was about to get some sleep, when a noise made her ear flicker. She tried ignoring it, but the noise got louder and louder, to the point where she couldn't keep her eyes closed. Popping them open, she sat up and looked beyond her bed where the noise was coming from. It was a constant squeaking, like a rusty bike petal, and the sound of someone panting. Soon, the clouds in Rainbow's floor parted, and up came Scootaloo riding in a ridiculous contraption. The best way to have described it was a bicycle with no wheels, and instead a propeller jutting high above the rider. Sweating and panting, Scootaloo pedaled like her life depended on it, which kept her afloat.
"H-h-hi, Ra-a-ainbow D-Dash!" she gasped.
"Scootaloo?! Wha... what is that? What are you doing here?"
"I-isn't it o-obvious? I-I-I'm here to see you! EEP!" Her back hoof accidentally slipped, and down she went a few inches before pedaling even faster to rise back up. She gave an awkward smile to Rainbow Dash, who simply blinked in shock.
Shaking herself out of it, Rainbow snatched Scootaloo off of the thing, sending it cascading back down to the ground. Their eyes widened as a faint crash followed by a some dog barks were heard after. Glancing at each other, Rainbow set Scootaloo down on the cloud beside her with a frown.
"Why the hay do you want to see me? And why so late at night?
"Easy," said Scootaloo proudly. "I want to live with you!"
Rainbow's eyes widened, her wings sticking straight up in surprise before her eyelids drooped into a sarcastic poker face. "Kid," she began simply, "I'm flattered, really, but at some point, there has to be a line. You can't live with me."
Pushing out her lower lip, Scootaloo flattened her wings and plopped her flank down. "You don't understand, Rainbow Dash! I'm tired of living in Ponyville where I can't do anything right! I need to be where I belong."
"Sorry to hear that, but how is this my problem?"
"Because you're my hero!" Rushing forward, she put her front hooves on Rainbow's front legs, her eyes getting bigger by the second. "I know for a fact that if I live with you, you can teach me how to fly!"
Rainbow pushed her away. "Teach yourself."
"I can't! Not on my own!" She tried jerking forward a second time, but Rainbow kept her at an arm's length distance by keeping her front hoof planted firmly on Scootaloo's head.
"Then get your family to do it!"
Scootaloo stopped struggling and turned from her. "They can't. They're a couple of Unicorns. Besides, they don't want me anyway. I don't belong in there. Not at all!"
Rainbow scoffed. "I don't buy that for a second! Listen Scoot, I know that you probably don't think you fit into your family, but they're still you're family. You can't just run away without telling them and expect me to adopt you. Now, get on my back and I'll fly you back home before your dad notices..." Rainbow Dash pulled out her wings, ready to take Scootaloo home, but a whimper caught her attention. Blinking, she looked down to the tiny Pegasus, and realized the incredible puppy face she was being given. It struck her enough to flinch, but she tried putting on a firm face. "Come on, that stuff doesn't work on me." Somehow, Scootaloo's eyes only got bigger, her pupils twinkling brutally. "Quit it! I'm not letting you " Her speech stopped the minute she saw tears well up in those big eyes of hers. Finally, Rainbow Dash let her head fall, sighing in defeat. "Fine. I'll go make you a bed."
"Yay!" Scootaloo began to hop around happily through the cloud bank as Rainbow molded her a small bed, similar to her own, out of cumulous. "I get to live with Rainbow Dash~ I get to live with Rainbow Dash~!" She rushed over as Rainbow put the final touches on her cot. "I can't wait to start flying lessons with you!"
Rainbow stopped herself from rolling her eyes before turning to her. "Fine. I'll teach you to fly, too." She pointed her hoof at Scootaloo's nose. "But don't you expect me to go easy on you. If you want to train with the best, I expect a 110% effort out of you, are we clear?"
Far from being intimidated, Scootaloo put on a huge, bigger-than-her-face smile and hugged the hoof she was being threatened with. "You got it!" she sang. Hopping up to give Rainbow a second hug (this time around her neck) Scootaloo bounced into bed and yawned widely. Now that the excitement was wearing down, she was starting to get terribly tired. Within the first five minutes, she was out like a light.
Rainbow Dash stood there, a quizzical look on her face. She and Tank shared a glance before Rainbow put on a slight smile. "Eh. I'll humor the kid for a little while. What could it hurt, anyway?" Turning back to Scootaloo, her smile warmed. Leaning down, she bit part of the cloud bed and pulled, forming a blanket to cover the little Pegasus. "Night, kiddo." Scootaloo gave no answer, and Rainbow Dash was fine with that. Turning, the blue Pegasus flew to her own bed and laid down in it.
Tomorrow was going to prove an interesting day for both of them.
Slowly that morning, the sun began to peak its way over the tops of the grassy hills to the East, signifying a brand new day. While the residents of Ponyville decided to sleep in for a couple extra hours, up in Cloudsdale, things were already buzzing with activity. There was going to be a light drizzle that mid-morning, and so they needed to quick in order to make the schedule. Luckily, it was Rainbow Dash's day off. Which was why, as Scootaloo slept soundly in her bed, she was awoken by someone lifting her up by her tail.
Instantly, she awoke, her hooves flailing in mid-air. "W-woah!" Looking up, she saw that Rainbow Dash was holding her upside down by her tail. She brightened. "Oh! Morning."
"Morning schmorning. It's time for training!" came the response. Setting her down on all four hooves, Rainbow Dash stood in front of her, chest puffed out and a serious look on her face. "Now!" she said sternly. Scootaloo quickly stood straight, ready for any instruction she would receive. "Today, we'll be covering Flight 101. The basic stuff. But just because it's basic doesn't mean it's going to be easy." She leaned down. "So I want no slacking, or this entire training session is over. Are we clear?"
"Yes ma'am!" said Scootaloo.
"I said... ARE WE CLEAR!?"
Pulling her head up, she smiled. "Good. Let's get started then, shall we?"
They left Rainbow's home and headed for the practice pitch. An obstacle course of clouds floated above them, a few young fillies and colts trying their stuff in races and trick practice. Rainbow Dash blew a whistle shrilly, making Scootaloo jump a foot in the air, only to land flat on her face. "AttennnnHUT." Scootaloo scrambled to stand up straight yet again. "The first thing you need to know about flying is that it takes guts."
"Guts. Got it!"
"You need to know that you are soring hundreds of feet into the air, and if a single thing was to go wrong, you could end up plummeting to your doom!"
Scootaloo's face faltered a little bit, but she cleared her throat and straightened back up. "R-right!"
"Know that everything in your life depends on those wings of yours. And if you make one mistake - " She leaned in close. " - just ONE, you could end up never flying again!"
Scootaloo hunched her shoulders, her hooves scooting in close together. "E...ever?"
"EVER!" That made Scootaloo's big eyes squeeze into little tiny pupils, her knees starting to shiver. Paying no mind, Rainbow Dash lifted her head back up and smiled. "So! Ready to get started?" Scootaloo could give no response but a small nod of the head. "Great! Let's get started with some wing warm ups." She spread her four hooves out as she stood, her wings out and stretched. "Here's a simple warm up that I learned in basics. Up, out, in. Up, out, in." She began to move her wings as such, repeating her phrase over and over again.
Scootaloo breathed a sigh of relief. "Well this seems easy enough." She began to mimic her idol, going in the easy pattern of wings up, wings out, and wings in. Rainbow saw her progress and grinned.
"Perfect. Now, as we warm our wings up, we also need to warm up the rest of our bodies. Our legs are some of the most important part of flying, other than the wings themselves."
"Yup! If we don't have our legs cocked right, the wind will catch them and we'll go spinning out of control. So, we need to make sure our legs are disciplined and focused. So, while we do our wing ups," they had yet to stop, "we also do leg ups!" As their wings kept in motion, Rainbow Dash began to stretch out each opposite leg per cycle. So at first, she stretched out her front right and back left, and when the second "up" came around, she stretched out her front left and back right. "Give it a try. And remember, don't stop moving!"
Scootaloo blinked several times, trying to watch both Rainbow's wings and her hooves. "Uh... yeah, sure." This was just basic stuff, right? She could do this. At the next "up," she stretched out her right front and back left, holding it for three beats before switching. She lit up. "Hey! I did it!"
"Good job, kid. Now keep it up! Up, out, in, switch! Up, out, in, switch!" Nodding, Scootaloo did her best to keep up, but the further she went, the more difficult it became. Was she supposed to move her right hoof next, or her left? And which side? Whoops, she lifted two of the same side! Not good, get back on track! And now she was going off beat, lifting only one at a time at a rapid pace. She tried watching Rainbow Dash, but it only confused her more. Rainbow made it look so easy! Oh, and her wings. She was forgetting to move her wings!
"Let's step it up! Go a little bit faster now! Up out in switch! Up out in switch!"
Oh dear sweet Celestia! Scootaloo practically ran in place, her body parts moving in all different directions at once. Her balance shook and her muscles quaked from the pacing. If she didn't stop now, or slow down, she was going to
"U-UWAH!" As though her legs were fed up with her, Scootaloo finally lost her balance and wound up falling face first into the cloud bank below. With her head submerged completely in cloud, she looked like a strange, orange and purple potted plant. Rainbow paused in her own warm up and tried to stifle a snicker. Reaching over, she pried her student from the clouds and dusted the fine beard she now had away.
"Well... I think that's about warmed up enough. Let's move on."
Down in Ponyville, the light drops of rain made faint pitter patter noises along the thatched roofs, awaking its residents with light, somber tapping. In his room, Motor Mouth snored away, laying belly up along his mattress. His room was messy and reeking of "teenaged colt." Posters of rock bands and famous actors and pin-ups of pony models sat all along his walls (he had a bit of a crush on Fleur di Lis and hid most of her magazine interviews under his bed). Like Scootaloo, Motor also had a mode of transportation; a large skate board sat propped at the edge of his bed, flames painted on the top half of the board. In his sleep, his back hoof twitched, knocking it over and causing it to clatter. The noise woke him up and his head shot into the air.
"Wassat?" he said drowsily, looking around. A knock was heard outside his door.
"Motor, it's time for breakfast," came his father's voice. "Go wake your sister. Nicely, please." Huffing, Motor Mouth stuffed his head beneath his pillow, not wanting to get up just yet. "Now." Hearing his father's firm tone, the colt groaned in frustration and slipped out of bed. Yawning, Motor left his room and made his way up the stairs to the small attic door.
"Hey, up." He pounded his front hoof on the door. No response. Frowning, he banged again. "Get up, you little hayseed! Time for breakfast." Again, no response. Not even the sounds of rustling. Frustrated, Motor knocked the door open and looked around. "Hey, Scootalos-" He froze, gasping. Scootaloo was not in her bed. Terror seized him and he looked around frantically. "Scoot? Scootaloo!" He rushed in and looked under the bed. "Lil' sis? Hey, where are you?" She wasn't under the bed, she wasn't in the closet. Motor really began to sweat it now. "Oh no... Oh no no no no!" Rushing from the room, he nearly toppled down stairs and into the kitchen where Papa Wheelie was just putting omelets onto the table. "She's gone! Scootaloo is gone!"
The unicorn paused, his eyes growing big and the pan slipping from his magic hold. "What?" It clattered to the floor by his hooves. "What do you mean, she's gone?"
"I mean she's gone! Vanished, poof, no longer there! Papa... Papa, I think she got foalnapped!"
"That's not possible! We would have heard something if someone came in the house that late." Now both unicorns were starting to feel fear. "I... at least I think we would have! You didn't hear anything last night, did you?"
"N-no! Not at all! And we saw her go to bed."
"W-well... Well maybe she's downstairs!" Both of them rushed down into the basement. "Scootaloo!" they called. "Scoot! Where are you?" They looked through the jungle of inventions, trying to find their youngest family member. They knocked over gizmos and pushed aside gadgets, searched through thingies and tore apart thingums, but to no avail. That is, until Motor trampled over something small and light. He quickly picked it up, noticing his sister's writing on a piece of paper.
"Pops!" he called. Papa Wheelie rushed back to his son as the letter was held up. Written in crayon, it read:
I'm borrowing the whirly gig. Don't worry, I'm going someplace safe. Someplace where ponies actually listen to me.
Dropping the letter, the unicorns both looked at each other, flabbergasted. Motor was the first to speak. "She... she ran away!"
"Why would she do this?" Papa Wheelie once more picked up the letter and re-read it. "Wasn't she happy here? Why would she do this to me?"
Suddenly, their hysteria was interrupted by the ringing of their doorbell. Hope shot through them. "Scootaloo!" they both said in unison. Rushing up, they were all to eager to open the door. However, their brimming faces were met with a stone faced construction pony wearing a hard hat. Instantly, their hope was smashed, and their ears drooped.
"Hey," he grunted. "Is this thing here yours?" The two turned to see something that made their faces pale. It was the whirly gig that Scootaloo had used to escape to Cloudsdale, and it was smashed to bits. If Scootaloo was riding that... who knew what could have happened to her?!
Without a word, the two colts rushed from the door and ran past the construction pony, heading straight for the center of Ponyville. They were going to find their little Scooter if it was the last thing they did.
While the rain continued to pour down in Ponyville, up in Cloudesdale things were bright and sunny, with a sheath of cloud for a solid cover for training grounds. Which was exactly where both Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash happened to be at the moment. After warming up, Rainbow Dash thought it best to move from warming up to the real training portion of her "ultimate flyer" program. And it was here where she set Scootaloo up in front of a strip of runway.
"I think we've warmed up enough," the blue Pegasus concluded. "It's time for your first course. Are you ready?"
"Yes!" Scootaloo beamed.
"Good. Because we're not going to get anywhere if you can't even get a hoof off the ground. So in this exercise, you're going to take off on your own!"
Scootaloo's pupils shrunk immediately, and she looked up with trepidation. "U-uh... are you sure? I mean, I can barely keep balanced when I'm in one place!"
"I'm sure, kid," said Rainbow Dash. "It's the only way you're going to have enough control over yourself to maintain flight." Her words were quickly accompanied with the shrill shriek of the whistle. "On your mark!" Scootaloo quickly got into position. "Get set!" Her flank rose as her legs prepared to launch. "GO!"
Scootaloo took off running as fast as she possibly could. The clouds were surprisingly unhelpful as she ran. Mainly because there wasn't much for her hooves to grasp onto with each trot. But she pushed through. As her legs pumped, so did her wings. Like the rapid rush of a hummingbird, Scootaloo's wings began to flap as hard and as quick as they possibly could. She shut her eyes and grit her teeth, the wind knocking back locks of hair from her sweating head. She pushed and pushed and pushed, until Scoot realized that her hooves were no longer touching cloud. Eyes popping open and legs still running, Scootaloo turned to look at her back, realizing that she had, in fact, picked herself up in the air.
Unfortunately, not for long. Just as Scootaloo gave a happy gasp of surprise, she felt gravity weighing in on her plight, and down she went, screeching to a scathing halt into the clouds. Popping her head up (which now looked like a marshmallow) Scoot looked past the skid marks and at a disappointed Rainbow Dash. Quickly, Scootaloo shook the cloud from her face and rushed back to her.
"Let me try again!" Scootaloo begged. "Please! I'll do it right this time!" And so, with her leg muscles tensing, Scootaloo was off a second time. And a third. And a forth. With each attempt, the end result was generally the same. A face full of cloud and an overwhelming feeling of shame. Finally, after twenty attempts, Scootaloo was stopped before she could try for a twenty first time, her breathing labored and her coat lathered with sweat. Rainbow Dash put a hoof on her head as she lugged herself to the start of the landing strip.
"Kid," she began slowly. "Maybe you should go home."
"No!" Scootaloo insisted. "Please, Rainbow Dash! You can't send me away! Not now!"
"You're not used to something like this. If we keep going at this rate, you'll get way too tired to even do anything."
"But I'm sooo close!"
Rainbow Dash frowned. "No you're not," she said bluntly. "You're no closer than you were yesterday. Now look..." She lowered her head a bit to level with the filly, who at this point was biting back bitter tears. "I can push and train you as much as I can, but the fact is, everyone learns at their own pace. Besides, there's stuff I gotta get done today, too. And the more time spent here is just time wasted out of my day."
Scootaloo shut her eyes and shook her head. "I'm not going back."
With an aggravated sigh, Rainbow Dash put a hoof to her face, rubbing her forehead in frustration. "Let me guess. Because you don't fit in and because they don't understand you. You know, every family has their problems, Scoot. But it doesn't help if you run away from them."
"But Rainbow Dash..." Scootaloo turned to her, tears actually falling now. "They don't care about me. Not at all."
Rainbow Dash felt something hit her at those words. To be honest, it made her uncomfortable. "That... oh, come on, that can't be true." She tried awkwardly laughing it off, keeping away from staring too long at those tears. "They're your family. They have to care about you. It's like... a rule or something."
But Scootaloo shook her head. "They don't," she continued. "My brother hates me and my papa doesn't care enough to even listen to me. Unless it's to get me in trouble." She sniffed and wiped her eyes with her front leg. "They've always hated me."
"Oh come on! They can't hate you." Rainbow Dash quickly thought of something and smiled. "What about your mom? I'm sure she loves you to death!" Scootaloo's big eyes cut Rainbow's words short. Clearly, that was a bad way to phrase it. Rainbow felt her shoulders slump, her ears tilting backward a bit. "Oh... kid, I'm... I'm really sorry. I didn't know."
Wiping her eyes clean, Scootaloo turned from Rainbow Dash, sitting on a small tuft of cumulus. "I didn't know her all that well," she explained. "And Papa... he gets too sad if he talks about her. All I know is that she was a Pegasus. So... so maybe if she was still around, she'd be able to teach me." Her little face twisted into a melancholy frustration and she beat the cloud beneath her with her front hoof. "It's not fair!" she moaned. "It's just not fair! If she was here, I know she could teach me! And now you - !" Scootaloo turned to Rainbow Dash, brokenhearted and threatening tears again. It felt like someone was squeezing Rainbow Dash's heart to the size of a grape.
"A-ah ha!" Rainbow quickly caught herself with a laugh and put her hooves on Scootaloo's shoulders. "Hey! You don't think I meant that stuff about wasting my time, did you?" Scootaloo put her face in her hooves. Panicked, Rainbow tried harder, leaning in towards her. "Look, come on, don't be sad! I-I was just testing you!"
Scootaloo slowly picked up. "Testing me...?"
"Yup!" Jumping into the air, Rainbow Dash hovered as her wings flapped steadily beside her. "I just wanted to make sure that you were serious about my program!"
Buying the line instantly, Scootaloo stood up straight, quickly wiping her face yet again. "Oh, I do take it seriously! Totally seriously!"
"Good! Because I think you're ready now for the next part of our training."
The filly's eyes grew with her smile. "Really? What's the next part?"
Rainbow threw her front legs into the air. "MORE WARM UPS!"
This was accompanied by a miserable moan from the Pegasus beneath her.
The rain was coming down harder now. But that didn't stop Papa Wheelie or Motor Mouth from running from house to house, asking every pony through Ponyville if they'd seen their little Scootaloo. But with each new pony asked, the answer was the same. No one had seen hide nor hair of the little filly since the day before. No one noticed her walking around in town, and no one in the hospital reported an injured Pegasus being admitted from any kind of fall. By the time noon hit, neither Unicorn had a bit of food in their stomachs, a moment to rest, or the mindset to care. All that filled their heads was the thought of getting Scootaloo home, safe and sound.
"We've checked everywhere!" said Motor helplessly. "Where could she have gone? You don't think she left Ponyville, do you?"
"There's no way. Scootaloo's not that reckless... is she?" A whole new wave of fear overtook them. Papa Wheelie quickly shook his head and then steadied it with his front hooves. "Ok... ok think. Her note said she would be going somewhere safe. Somewhere where ponies actually listened to her."
"Oh! What about her friends' houses? I bet we haven't checked there yet!"
"Great idea! Now let's - !" Papa Wheelie's speeched stopped before he made a single step forward. Blinking, he looked around him, before he realized he had no idea where Scootaloo's friends lived. "Uh..." He scratched his head. "Her friends... her... her friends..." He furrowed his brow, but could draw up nothing but blanks. "Motor, what were the names of her friends again?"
"I don't know," said Motor Mouth frantically. "What, do I look like a mind reader?"
"Well she was always talking about them, wasn't she? Now think!" He sat in a puddle, though he barely noticed, his mind too full of thoughts. "One of them started with an 'S.' Was it... Sundae... no... Sugar Sweet? No, no, that's not it..." A whole new realization came over him, followed quickly by a wall of misery. "Oh... Motor Mouth. She's right! We really haven't been listening to her, have we?"
The young colt looked about ready to lose it, belly down in the mud and grass with his hooves over his face. "This is horrible! Why, Scoot, why!? We'll NEVER find her!"
"Oh... um... excuse me please..."
Both Unicorns lifted their eyes to see a soaking wet Fluttershy timidly looking at them. Though she herself was drenched to the bone, she held her wings up over a small family of field mice. "Um, I'm sorry to bother you... But uh, I need to get into Rarity's boutique and, uh..." Papa Wheelie and Motor Mouth both looked at each other and then turned behind him. Indeed, their mental break down was happening on the doorstep of Rarity's shop. They got out of the way for the yellow Pegasus as she kindly thanked them. Papa Wheelie even held open the door. "Oh, thank you so much..." They watched her enter as Rarity greeted her.
"Oh darling! You're all wet! Here, we don't want you catching cold!" Glancing at one another, Motor Mouth and Papa Wheelie decided to step inside themselves. At least there they could have their breakdown out of the rain. As they closed the door behind him, they watched as Rarity magicked over a towel to place on Fluttershy's head, while Sweetie Belle brought over a small parcel as it balanced on her flank. "Now, I do hope these raincoats will fit your friends. I made sure to double check all my seams for this project!" As the box was opened, Rarity revealed to Fluttershy four teeny tiny little raincoats, perfectly fashioned for a family of field mice.
"Oh, they're lovely Rarity. You did a fantastic job."
"Thank you, thank you." Her blue eyes then went from Fluttershy to the two sopping wet Unicorns standing blankly at her doorstep. "Um... Fluttershy, dear, would your other friends like a towel or two?" The offer was probably due to the disapproving glance at their muddy hooves.
Shaking out of his daze, Papa Wheelie stepped forward. "No, thanks," he said quickly. "Actually, you wouldn't happen to know about where Scootaloo might be?"
"Scootaloo?" Sweetie Belle was the first to react, zipping forward with worry on her face. "What? What about her? What happened? Is she ok?"
"That's what we're trying to find out," said Papa helplessly. "Are you her friend from school?" Sweetie nodded.
"She ran off!" Motor Mouth said dramatically. "Gone without a second thought!"
"Oh... That's awful." Fluttershy put her hooves to her mouth, Rarity accompanying her with a gasp.
"We've tried everywhere but we have no idea where she could have gone!" Papa Wheelie took a step forward, begging someone to help them. "Do any of you have an idea? Any idea at all?"
"Why would she leave?" Sweetie Belle asked in surprise. "What happened?"
Both father and son lowered their heads in guilt. "It was our fault," Papa admitted shamefully. "She tried to tell us something yesterday, and all that mattered to me was that she broke something she was trying to help fix."
"I can't take it!" Motor put his arms over his head in despair. "My little sis... All alone. Cold and hungry and afraid!"
"If only we knew where she'd go..."
There was a pause as the two wallowed in their grief and self loathing. However, they were interrupted by a high pitched: "Well duh. Isn't it obvious?" Both heads snapped to Sweetie Belle's voice. "She'd go to Cloudsdale."
"Huh...? How do you know that?" Motor asked.
"Well her idol lives there, of course. Or at least, she sleeps there." Blank stares accompanied this statement. "Rainbow Dash." More stares. Sweetie Belle frowned in annoyance. "You guys really don't listen, do you?"
Papa Wheelie shook it off. "Ok then, she's in Cloudsdale. But how are we supposed to go get her? It's not like we can fly."
"I can go get her if you'd like..." Fluttershy stepped forward, smiling sweetly. "Rainbow Dash is a friend of mine. I'm sure she'd help me find her."
"Oh would you? Thank you, thank you so much!" Papa Wheelie practically kissed her hooves, but Fluttershy simply kept her smile, and then promised to do her best. After which, she took off easily and headed for the clouds.
"...15...16...17... Come on, put a little more effort into it!"
Scootaloo groaned, her front legs circling the air helplessly. Since she was too small to do proper wing-ups, Rainbow Dash had her laying along her back, pushing herself up backwards with her wings. It wasn't working out too well. Scootaloo gave two more pushes, but on the twentieth shove, her body gave out and she collapsed against the cloud below her. Rainbow was right about one thing. Scootaloo wasn't at all used to this kind of rough workout. With only half the day gone, Scootaloo was exhausted. But as tough of a trainer as Rainbow Dash was, she wasn't so far gone that she didn't realize when some pony needed a break when she saw it.
"That was great. Time for a five minute breather." All this really did was give Scootaloo a good reason for not moving, which her body thanked her for.
"Oh, Rainbow Dash, there you are..." Upside down, Scootaloo watched as Fluttershy approached Rainbow Dash with a concerned look on her face. "I just came from town. You haven't seen Scootaloo!" Realizing quickly what her worry was about, Scootaloo tried to bury herself as fast as she could into the clouds. But it was too late. The two Pegasus ponies approached her, and Rainbow pulled her up to face the music. Fluttershy quickly explained what was happening.
"Your father has been so worried," she said. "He and your brother have been looking all over for you! They're so worried that you're hurt or sick or something..."
Rainbow Dash frowned and turned to Scootaloo. "Is that enough proof for you, kid? I think it's time you went home."
Scootaloo looked between the two of them, and then slowly split the cloud beside her. Looking down into Ponyville, she couldn't see much. They were too high up. She bit her lip in thought. "They're... really looking for me?"
"Oh yes," said Fluttershy. "Absolutely! They've been running around all morning in the rain "
Both Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash flinched in surprise. "Good?" Rainbow repeated. "Don't you think that's a little harsh?" But Scootaloo turned away, an angry scowl on their face.
"They wait until I'm where they can't see me, and then they pretend to care?"
"Oh, but they aren't pretending," Fluttershy implored. "Really. They really, really miss you and want you home."
"Well then they can keep on missing me. I'm never going back!"
"That's it!" Rainbow insisted. "You've worried your family plenty, Scootaloo. It's high time you went home!" When Scootaloo wouldn't budge, Rainbow Dash sighed and moved closer. "Do you really think your mom would want you to stay away like this?"
At mention of Scootaloo's mother, her head whipped around and pure hurt flashed across her face. "You... you don't know anything about me! Quit acting like you do!" Rainbow was shocked to hear this sort of defiance, but found no words to argue back. "I was stupid to come here and think that at least somepony cares about me! I guess I really am just a waste of your time..." Without another word, Scootaloo rushed off, wanting nothing more than to be alone.
Rainbow Dash gave Fluttershy a hapless glance and then sighed. "I'll go talk to her. You just... tell her dad to wait up, ok?" The yellow Pegasus nodded and the two parted ways. It didn't take long for Rainbow Dash to find her little student. Scootaloo was in Rainbow's room, laying against Tank's platform and watching him eat with a melancholy gaze. It didn't help that a rogue rain cloud had found its way above her head, darkening her mood. With a frown, Rainbow swatted it away and then sat beside the orange filly. Scootaloo passed her a glance before completely hiding her face in her front legs. Rainbow wasn't the best with this whole sort of sharing-healing-touchy-feely stuff. Especially when dealing with little kids. But she guessed she'd try her best.
"You know... I wasn't always the greatest flyer ever."
"That's a lie," Scootaloo mumbled.
"No, it's true. I mean, sure, I earned my cutie mark way before my other classmates. And, I mean, yeah I hit a sonic rainboom twice in my lifetime..." Rainbow quickly caught herself and changed her cocky tone. "I mean..." She cleared her throat. "Sure I'm good now but I didn't always start off that way. It wasn't until I actually went to Flight Camp that I really started getting good." Spotting her pet, she pat his head. "And Tank and I didn't always like each other, either. Plus, it was hard at first figuring out a way to keep him up here in Cloudsdale with me."
"So what's your point?"
Smiling meekly, Rainbow put a bit more food for her tortoise before resting her elbows on the platform. "My point is, you're never great at something when you try it the first couple of times."
Scootaloo lifted her head up. "That's why I want to stay here and practice flying! I'll never get good at it if I don't!" A blue hoof on her head made her pause.
"I mean your family."
Rainbow nodded. "It might take a hundred tries. Or a thousand. Or even a million. But if you keep trying, eventually your family will come around. Especially since they already love you."
Scootaloo looked nervously off to the side. "But what if they don't?"
"They do. Trust me on that, kid." Suddenly, she laughed. "What, you don't think you're the only kid who has family troubles, do you? Have you seen the way Rarity and Sweetie Belle fight? Applejack and Applebloom can get on each other's nerves too. And don't even get me started on Pinkie Pie's family."
Scootaloo gave this a bit of thought, staring at the slowly masticating turtle in front of her. "So... what you're saying is... I need practice being part of a family."
"And lots of it. It's just like flying. If you don't practice, you won't be able to do it at all."
Scootaloo stared at her idol as a smile broke out on her little face. A whole new admiration came from that look, and was a resounding reminder of why she adored Rainbow in the first place. Without a warning, Scootaloo threw herself into Rainbow Dash's arms, giving her the tightest hug she could muster, which Rainbow happily reciprocated.
Rarity stared with apprehensively at the steadily growing mountain of tissues as the sound of a loudly blown nose filled her entire boutique. Motor had just used up the very last sheet in the box, blowing his nose and practically sobbing all over the place. "Oh Scooter! I'll never call you names again! Oohhhh ho ho!" Awkwardly, Rarity gave a little pat to his shoulder and then pulled out a garbage bag and broom, quickly working on cleaning up the mess of used tissues.
"Why did we let this happen?" At this point, Papa Wheelie was talking to himself. He sat by the window, staring into the clouds above. "I've been so wrapped up in my work that I never... never let her know how much I appreciated her." A hoof came to his face and he let his ears lay flat on his head. "I'm the worst father in the world..."
"I wouldn't say that."
All heads turned as Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo stepped into Rarity's boutique. They were sopping wet, but smiling and happy. Seeing each other, Scootaloo rushed to her father's side, but never got there. Half way to him she was tackled and trapped into a huge bear hug by her brother.
"SCOOTER!" he wailed. "OH SCOOT! WE WERE SO WORRIED ABOUT YOU! I SWEAR I'LL NEVER PICK ON YOU EVER AGAIN! I'LL BE A BETTER BROTHER, I PROMISE!" His pleas stopped, however, when he heard the snickers he brought on by a certain little white Unicorn. Embarrassment flooded him as he realized just how emotional he was being and quickly set her down, clearing his throat. "I mean uh... Yeah. Good to have you back..." Instead of being laughed at, however, Motor Mouth was given a huge hug back.
"Scootaloo..." Her attention was then turned to the sorrowful, regretful face of her father. Leaving Motor, Scootaloo rushed to Papa Wheelie's arms and threw her own around his neck. They embraced before Papa pulled back a bit, letting Scoot rest on his front leg. "We're so sorry. The both of us. I promise you that I'll always remind you how important you are to this family. Just... please don't do that to me again."
"I'm sorry too, Papa. I won't... And I'm sorry I broke one of your inventions."
That got a laugh from Papa. "Oh Scootaloo... It's just a thing. It doesn't matter." Motor Mouth joining them, the three locked legs in a group hug, finally glad to be together again.
"Oh, look!" Fluttershy's excited voice broke their hug as she pointed to the sky. "It's stopped raining!" Right on schedule, as always. But that wasn't all. As the gray clouds parted, a faint rainbow was painted along the clear blue sky, letting the rest of Equestria know that Cloudsdale had done its job. The little group of ponies admired it before Papa Wheelie noticed something. The three of them were no longer hugging. Despite this, Scootaloo was still at eye-level with both Papa and Motor.
"Scoot... Scootaloo! You're flying!"
"What?" Scootaloo blinked in surprise and then stared at the ground, which was a few feet below her. With shock on her face, she looked between the floorboards and her wings, which were going at a hurried, rapid rate to keep her airborne. Then, pure, innocent joy flooded her face as she held her hooves up to it. "I... I am! I am! I'm flying! Rainbow Dash, Rainbow Dash! Look!"
"I see, way to go!"
As the others congratulated her, Scootaloo did a celebratory flip in the air, which only knocked her balance out of whack and sent her tumbling to the floor. She would have hit it, if Motor Mouth and Papa Wheelie hadn't caught her at the exact same time. All three smiled simultaneously and had one more laugh before deciding to head back home for the day.
Dear Princess Celestia,
It's not always easy being in a family of misfits. In fact, sometimes it can be downright frustrating when you feel like you don't belong. A lot of times, even the simplest things can be the most challenging because of it. But just like anything in life, everypony has to practice at it before any family problems can actually be resolved. As hard as it may be, when that love shines through, it always turns out to be worth it. One of your youngest subjects learned that today. As for me, I'll be keeping a close eye on her for you. Make sure she's doing her best to keep things working with her family. And some day, I know they'll be cheering her on right along side me when she becomes the best pony she can possibly be.