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A Filly In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush

By SuckingSocks
Created: 2023-05-08 01:11:03
Updated: 2024-07-06 11:38:18
Expiry: Never

  1. From another prompt based on a picture in the filly thread.
  2. >>39896268
  3. >>39896287
  4.  
  5. >Another unsuccessful day of crusading.
  6. >The Cutie Mark Crusaders had spent most of it working on getting their hooficure cutie marks.
  7. >To no avail, it wasn’t their special talent.
  8. >They were finishing up their disappointing meeting in the club house before turning in for the evening.
  9. >Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo all trotted outside and left the clubhouse behind.
  10. >They all waved goodbye to each other and went their separate ways.
  11. >But after one of them was sure the others were out of sight she turned back.
  12. >It’s Scootaloo.
  13. >Unbeknownst to her friends she had been sleeping in the clubhouse.
  14. >She planned on keeping it that way.
  15. >Right as the sun and moon changed, Scootaloo darted under the changing light back to the tree playing host to her home.
  16. >An old scratchy blanket and some hay tied together with rope sat hidden in a knot at the base of the trunk.
  17. >It was all she could find without stealing from somepony.
  18. >Well it was more like borrowing.
  19. >She “found” them inside the Apple’s barn.
  20. >Technically still on their property so it’s not even like borrowing.
  21. >More like she just moved some things around.
  22. >She took her bedspread out and hid her scooter in their place.
  23. >Not that she was expecting Applejack or Big Mac to come snooping around but she’d rather not risk them spotting it.
  24. >With her things in hoof she went up into the clubhouse to lay down for the night.
  25. >There was no mattress to speak of but sometimes Scootaloo could finagle her hay pillow and blanket so she could lie on top of them while staying warm.
  26. >She moved the soapbox from the corner and set herself up.
  27. >Curling up into the corner she let the ambience of Sweet Apple Acres lull her to sleep.
  28. >At the very least the sound of wind blowing through the orchards helped her sleep.
  29. >She nibbled on her pillow as she drifted off.
  30.  
  31. —----------------------------------------
  32.  
  33. >Scootaloo had gotten pretty good about waking up early.
  34. >Earlier than the farmers who owned the land she was squatting in.
  35. >But not this time.
  36. >She had eaten too much of her pillow in her sleep and was in a little food coma.
  37. >As fate would have it, that very same morning Applebloom was planning on going to the clubhouse early to get some fresh ideas brainstormed.
  38. >Bloom had a dream about telling jokes while wearing cute dresses and thought there might be something there for a cutie mark.
  39. >They tried comedy before but being cute at the same time?
  40. >Ideas were running through her little head a mile a minute as she trotted up to the clubhouse.
  41. >She thought to herself how she can’t wait to tell the girls.
  42. >As she opened the door she saw Scootaloo still asleep in the corner in her makeshift sleeping nook.
  43.  
  44. “Scootaloo!”
  45.  
  46. >Applebloom yelled her name and rushed over to shake her awake.
  47. >Scootaloo in turn shrieked at being woken by the pony she was hiding from.
  48.  
  49. “Ah got this great idea for a new cutie mark! We’re gonna put on these frilly outfits and… Why are ya sleeping in the clubhouse?”
  50.  
  51. “I’m not- I don’t know- Why are you here so early?”
  52.  
  53. “Is that blanket from the barn? That thing is so old it could have ponypox!”
  54.  
  55. >Scootaloo in a panic throws the blanket and half eaten hay pillow out the window.
  56. >Although she gets them stuck in the frame.
  57. >She is attempting to push them out now.
  58. >Applebloom notices the chewed up straw.
  59.  
  60. “Scootaloo, are ya living in the clubhouse?”
  61.  
  62. “No!”
  63.  
  64. “Ah I mean, we’ve been to Sweetie Belle’s house all the time and we’re on my family farm right now. We’ve never been to your house though.”
  65.  
  66. >Scootaloo gives up on trying to fit the evidence through the window.
  67. >She starts to cry.
  68.  
  69. >Bloom gently trotted over to her friend.
  70. >She laid a friendly hoof over her.
  71. >Pretending like she isn't suffering from waterworks, Scootaloo sucks up her sniffles.
  72.  
  73. "Aw it's alright Scoots."
  74.  
  75. "Are you gonna tell your sister? Please don't tell your sister."
  76.  
  77. "What are ya kiddin'? This is great. It's like a never ending sleepover!"
  78.  
  79. >Scoots turns around to face the yellow filly with her back on the hey and blanket.
  80. >She wipes a tear from her face.
  81. >As she smiles, Scootaloo leans too hard against the window.
  82. >She falls through it with the scratchy mess onto the balcony outside.
  83. >It's a little loud.
  84. >Too loud actually.
  85. >The voice of a certain orange big sister calls out in response.
  86.  
  87. "Trenderhoof Ah swear to Celestia if that's you again Ah will break your horn right off."
  88.  
  89. "Quick, hide!"
  90.  
  91. >Applebloom speaks in a stressed whisper to Scootaloo.
  92.  
  93. "Huh? Is that you Applebloom?"
  94.  
  95. >Bloom throws the blanket over her pegasus friend.
  96. >She pops up from the balcony in plain sight of her sister.
  97.  
  98. "Yup! Just me!"
  99.  
  100. "What in Equestria are ya doin' out here so early?"
  101.  
  102. "Just gettin' a head start on crusadin'. Ah had this crazy dream with-"
  103.  
  104. "Oh that's alright Bloom. Ah'm just makin' sure nopony who ain't supposed to be around is."
  105.  
  106. "Uh huh. Nopony like that around. Just me."
  107.  
  108. >Applebloom waves energetically at her big sister with a nervous smile.
  109. >Applejack, with her mind elsewhere, doesn't notice her sister's fibbing.
  110. >Instead she wanders off to start her day's chores.
  111. >Once the coast is clear Applebloom frees Scootaloo from the old blanket.
  112. >She coughs and gasps for air.
  113.  
  114. "Wow that blanket really isn't great huh?"
  115.  
  116. "It's not so bad. I've gotten used to it."
  117.  
  118. "Ah could get you a nicer blanket from inside. Actually, you know who could get you the best blanket in the whole world?"
  119.  
  120. "Rainbow Dash!"
  121.  
  122. "What? No… Ah'm talking about Sweetie Belle."
  123.  
  124. "Oh yeah. Well that would have been my second guess."
  125.  
  126. >Applebloom rolls her eyes and Scootaloo playfully hits her shoulder.
  127. >She's surprised how well her friend is taking this.
  128. >Scoots wasn't exactly proud of hiding out here.
  129. >But the alternative was under a tree rather than in one.
  130. >She had some reservations about asking for help.
  131. >Even from her friends, maybe even especially.
  132. >It wasn't a very cool thing to do, asking for help.
  133. >She started to feel her eyes well up again.
  134. >But with a helping hoof from Applebloom she picks herself up and the tears disappear.
  135. >The two fillies gleefully gallop down the ramp with their stubby legs.
  136. >Scootaloo grabs her scooter out from its hiding place.
  137. >The two fillies awkwardly fit on it together.
  138. >They're too excited to get the wagon for it.
  139. >Together they zip away towards Rarity's boutique.
  140.  
  141. >Early morning Ponyville is a sleepy Ponyville.
  142. >Most mares and stallions are still sleeping at this hour.
  143. >Save for the light sleepers woken by the sounds of little wings fluttering past their doors.
  144. >Scootaloo was going as fast as she could carrying her friend.
  145. >She couldn’t wait to tell Sweetie Belle now.
  146. >The two fillies parked the scooter just outside the boutique.
  147. >They trotted up to the door.
  148. >And face planted into it, expecting it to open.
  149. >The door was locked.
  150.  
  151. “I guess the boutique is closed.”
  152.  
  153. >Applebloom looked around for something to help.
  154.  
  155. “Ah got an idea, gimme a boost.”
  156.  
  157. >The yellow filly got in position to climb a nearby tree.
  158. >Scoots understood and prepared to hoist her friend up.
  159. >After a couple falls they finally got Applebloom up high enough to steady herself and help Scootaloo up too.
  160. >Together they jump onto the roof of the boutique and clamber up to the second floor balcony.
  161. >Through a window they can see Sweetie Belle sleeping.
  162. >The window is also locked.
  163.  
  164. “Wait Applebloom. I have an idea too. Knock on the glass”
  165.  
  166. >After speaking Scootaloo plants her face onto the window with her mouth open wide on the glass.
  167. >She breathes heavily, causing it to fog up.
  168. >Applebloom shrugs and very gently… bangs on the window.
  169. >Sweetie slowly reacts in her bed to the sound.
  170. >As she turns over to face the commotion she sees Scootaloo’s face horrifically flush against her window.
  171. >The unicorn filly screams.
  172. >Her two friends almost fell off the building laughing.
  173. >Sweetie comes over to the window to let them in.
  174.  
  175. “What the heck!”
  176.  
  177. “Sweetie Belle. Ya swore!”
  178.  
  179. “Well you both really scared me.”
  180.  
  181. >The three of them stare at each other in silence for a second before giggling and hugging it out.
  182. >When they step back Sweetie is the first to ask.
  183.  
  184. “So why are you here so early?”
  185.  
  186. “Cause we gotta help Scootaloo.”
  187.  
  188. “Help her with what?”
  189.  
  190. “Maybe she should tell ya?”
  191.  
  192. >Scootaloo is looking at her hooves, fidgeting.
  193. >She had lost a bit of her nerve after actually seeing Sweetie.
  194.  
  195. “I’ve been uh, having a sleepover in the clubhouse.”
  196.  
  197. “And you both didn’t invite me?”
  198.  
  199. “Well, I uh… didn’t invite anyone. And I’ve been having it for a while now.”
  200.  
  201. “What Scootaloo MEANS to say is, she’s been living in the clubhouse.”
  202.  
  203. >Sweetie lays a hoof over Scootaloo’s shoulder.
  204.  
  205. “Why didn’t you tell us before? This is great news. It’s like we can have a permanent sleepover!”
  206.  
  207. “That’s basically what Ah said.”
  208.  
  209. >Applebloom comes up to the other side of Scoots and places her hoof over her too.
  210. >Scoots is once again getting misty eyed.
  211. >But she’s also getting better at holding back the tears.
  212. >Or maybe she’s dehydrated.
  213. >They finish their hug and step back.
  214.  
  215. "So Sweetie Belle, we were thinking ya could get Scoot a nice blanket since the one she's got is so awful."
  216.  
  217. "Oh. Well my sister is really busy with some big order. But I bet we could make one!"
  218.  
  219. "Yeah! We can make it however that way. What would ya want on it Scootaloo?"
  220.  
  221. >Scootaloo rolls back onto her hind legs and sits.
  222. >Thinking with her hoof on her chin.
  223. >Thinking way harder than she should have.
  224.  
  225. "I know! I want a big picture of Rainbow Dash on it!"
  226.  
  227. "Ya don't say."
  228.  
  229. >Applebloom rolls her eyes but smiles at her orange friend.
  230. >After some playful horseplay at Scootaloo's design request the fillies head downstairs.
  231. >Everything they needed was right here.
  232. >Too bad they weren't the best at using sewing machines.
  233. >Messing around the boutique made quite a bit of noise but Rarity never came down.
  234. >Sweetie was pretty sure she was sleeping something off.
  235. >Big orders means big stress and Sweetie knew what that meant.
  236. >They worked fast and hard on Scoot's new covers.
  237. >Scootaloo did an alright job getting the colors right.
  238. >Applebloom wasn't super helpful in the creative design but the parts she worked on were almost as proficient as Rarity's.
  239. >Anything Sweetie Belle touched was a fucking mess.
  240. >But it was done.
  241. >A token of their friendship, made together for Scootaloo.
  242. >With a crude depiction of Rainbow Dash on it surrounded by random bits of stitched together, colored fabric.
  243. >The orange filly has never been happier.
  244.  
  245. "I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT!"
  246.  
  247. >She jumped around fluttering her wings and screaming.
  248. >And finally did all the loud noise wake Rarity.
  249.  
  250. "Sweetie is that you?"
  251.  
  252. "Quick, let's get outta here!"
  253.  
  254. >Applebloom whispered as loud as she could.
  255. >Giggling, the Cutie Mark Crusaders grabbed their hard work and bolted into the front door.
  256. >Face first.
  257. >Then after unlocking the door re-bolted back towards the clubhouse.
  258. >Meanwhile Rarity, who was only half lucid, fell back to sleep.
  259.  
  260. —----------------------------------------
  261.  
  262. >The CMC made it back through early morning Ponyville with Blanket in mouth.
  263. >Although in their hurry they abandoned Scootaloo's scooter.
  264. >Huffing and puffing they collapsed on the bench close to the clubhouse.
  265. >Sweetie spoke first, having examined the blanket which was now covered in spit, dirt, leaves, and everything else they had been galloping through.
  266.  
  267. "We really need to wash this."
  268.  
  269. "Aw it's no big deal. It's just gonna get dirty again."
  270.  
  271. "But this dirty?"
  272.  
  273. "Yeah. I sleep on the ground."
  274.  
  275. >Applebloom quickly finished catching her breath after hearing that.
  276.  
  277. "Ya don't need to sleep on the ground. We can share my mattress. It's way too big for me."
  278.  
  279. "But won't it seem weird if you're sleeping in the clubhouse? Like me…"
  280.  
  281. >Scootaloo does that thing where she feels sad again.
  282. >When Applebloom gets a bright idea.
  283.  
  284. "What if we cut my bed in half?"
  285.  
  286. “I don’t… I don’t know about that.”
  287.  
  288. >Scootaloo’s apprehensiveness is mirrored by Sweetie and Bloom’s enthusiasm.
  289.  
  290. “That’s a great idea Applebloom! It’ll be like you’re sharing a part of yourself with Scootaloo.”
  291.  
  292. “Ah know right!”
  293.  
  294. “I wanna share something with her too.”
  295.  
  296. “Why don’t we just start with my bed for now?”
  297.  
  298. >Scootaloo wasn’t too keen on arguing with her friends.
  299. >They were taking all of this really well.
  300. >Way better than she had ever hoped, why fight it?
  301. >They took the blanket up to the house with them.
  302. >Sweetie planned on washing it while Scootaloo and Applebloom dealt with the mattress.
  303. >Bloom acquired a hacksaw from her sister’s tools and went with Scootaloo to her bedroom.
  304.  
  305. “So how should we do this Bloom?”
  306.  
  307. “Maybe we move it out first, before we cut it.”
  308.  
  309. “Okay!”
  310.  
  311. >The two fillies worked together tearing sheets, covers, and pillows from the bed.
  312. >It really was a big bed for just one little filly.
  313. >Good thing two of them were here to move it.
  314. >They shouldered the squeaky spring filled mattress and trotted it over to the window.
  315. >It wasn’t quite going through.
  316. >They kept ramming it into the window frame trying different angles.
  317. >The ruckus attracted Sweetie Belle who had finished her job.
  318.  
  319. “How’s it going crusaders?”
  320.  
  321. “Not well. Scoot and me ain’t strong enough to lift and push it at the same time.”
  322.  
  323. “Hmm.”
  324.  
  325. >Three fillies stroke their chins for an idea.
  326. >Scootaloo comes up with one first.
  327.  
  328. “How about Bloom and I hold it up and you ram it through?”
  329.  
  330. “Okay!”
  331.  
  332. >Sweetie’s lack of forethought and Scootaloo’s reckless behavior make for a dangerous pairing.
  333. >And Applebloom is too tired to protest now.
  334. >The two of them ready the mattress for their unicorn friend.
  335. >They count down from three.
  336. >Sweetie Belle in the doorframe rears up to gallop.
  337. >Two.
  338. >Applebloom closes her eyes while holding the bed.
  339. >One.
  340. >Scootaloo widens hers.
  341. >And Sweetie Belle takes off horn first into the mattress.
  342. >There’s a loud *thump* as she rebounds off it and slumps to the ground.
  343. >Her friends dash to her side to make sure she’s ok.
  344.  
  345. “Holy Celestia Sweetie, are ya alright?”
  346.  
  347. “I think so.”
  348.  
  349. >She rubs her horn.
  350. >It doesn’t actually hurt that much but she feels like she’s supposed to.
  351. >Scootaloo turns her attention away from her friends.
  352.  
  353. “I think we got it stuck.”
  354.  
  355. “Huh?”
  356.  
  357. >The mattress was half-way through to the outside.
  358. >They had gotten it wedged in the frame.
  359.  
  360. “Aw crud.”
  361.  
  362. >Scootaloo got up and started pushing on it again.
  363. >It doesn’t move.
  364. >Bloom and Sweetie join in.
  365. >It still doesn’t budge.
  366. >They plop down and reflect on their poor choices.
  367. >Except for Applebloom.
  368.  
  369. “Well crusaders, in for a bit in for a bundle. Let's start sawin’.”
  370.  
  371. >Bloom grabs the hacksaw and starts working on the middle crease, just before the window frame.
  372. >The other two fillies, not really sure how three ponies are supposed to work one saw, start grabbing at the bed and pushing it back and forth to help their friend cut easier.
  373. >It’s a good thing the rest of the Apple family is so busy.
  374. >They might have a heart attack witnessing these dumb foals nearly sawing each other to get a bed out of a two story window.
  375.  
  376. >Their work is dangerous but fruitful.
  377. >Miraculously they don't hurt themselves.
  378. >The hacksaw released bits of comforter and fabric all over Applebloom.
  379. >When she got to the springs the sounds they made were loud and painful.
  380. >Less that they were cutting through metal and more like tearing and scraping it.
  381. >They were most of the way through it when the weight hanging over the edge ripped that last stretch of the bed.
  382. >With one loud thump, and three more small ones, they succeeded.
  383. >They have a little round of "woo hoos" and carry Applebloom's half back to her bed frame.
  384. >A much easier task now.
  385. >Afterwards they gallop off outside to carry Scootaloo's half.
  386. >Thankfully it didn't land in anything that would stain too hard.
  387. >As they start to shoulder it Sweetie drops her corner.
  388.  
  389. "Wait! I'll be right back."
  390.  
  391. >The two remaining crusaders look at each other.
  392. >Scootaloo shrugs and Bloom rolls her eyes.
  393. >But Sweetie comes back cheerfully with the fresh and clean blanket, purposefully raised high by her magic to keep it that way.
  394. >With everything in hoof they returned to the clubhouse.
  395. >Leaving a trail of mattress guts behind them.
  396. >With some filly-like finesse via ramming the doorway again they got everything inside.
  397. >They cleared away the remnants of her old sleeping nook and replaced it with a half destroyed bed and what looked like a half destroyed blanket.
  398. >After seeing their handiwork, Sweetie Belle and Applebloom felt like they had done a bad job.
  399. >But before their guilt could take over they were interrupted by the ecstatic screams and squeals of their pegasus friend.
  400.  
  401. “Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh! This is the nicest thing anypony’s ever done for me!”
  402.  
  403. >She tackles her two friends in a hug.
  404.  
  405. “Thank you so much.”
  406.  
  407. “Scoot… you’re… chokin’... us.”
  408.  
  409. “Oh right. Sorry.”
  410.  
  411. >She released them.
  412.  
  413. “It’s uh, not bad.”
  414.  
  415. >Sweetie spoke as she trotted over to it.
  416.  
  417. “But there’s so much more to do. You’re gonna need posters, and a mirror, and-”
  418.  
  419. “What do I need a mirror for? Saying I don’t look good?”
  420.  
  421. >Sweetie gets flustered by the accusation.
  422. >But Scoots comes in for an elbow nudge and laughs it off.
  423.  
  424. “I’m just kidding. I know my hair is pretty gross.”
  425.  
  426. >Sweetie nudges her back albeit daintier.
  427. >The two of them have a giggle over the joke while Applebloom starts sizing up the clubhouse.
  428. >She's taking measurements and moving everything around in her little head.
  429.  
  430. "Ya know puttin' things in here ain't as important as the 'here' itself."
  431.  
  432. "What now?"
  433.  
  434. "What Ah'm talkin' about Sweetie is stuff like insulation, central heatin', lights, some refrigeratin."
  435.  
  436. >Sweetie looks right through Applebloom with a vacant expression.
  437.  
  438. "What now?"
  439.  
  440. >Bloom groans and facehooves.
  441.  
  442. "How 'bout you two go into Ponyville and pick up some more things to make it… homey-er in here."
  443.  
  444. "Now that we can do."
  445.  
  446. >After a little more good natured ribbing the fillies go their separate ways.
  447. >Scootaloo and Sweetie decide to head back to the boutique first.
  448. >To get the scooter and some bits from Rarity.
  449. >This time they even remember to grab the wagon.
  450. >Meanwhile Applebloom goes to get all the tools she'll need.
  451. >Modernizing the clubhouse was gonna be a lot of work.
  452.  
  453.  
  454. >Scootaloo and Sweetie dragged the wagon through town together.
  455. >Right up to Sweetie's home, the boutique.
  456. >Right up to where they had ditched the scooter earlier.
  457. >Scoots hitched the wagon on.
  458.  
  459. "Alright, let's roll."
  460.  
  461. "Wait. I need to get some bits first"
  462.  
  463. >Sweetie went inside before Scootaloo could respond.
  464. >And she came out just as quick.
  465. >A nice, big sack of money with her.
  466.  
  467. "Where do you always get the bits for our crusading?"
  468.  
  469. "I just take them from the big pile Rarity keeps in her room. It's got some covers on it sometimes. I think she sleeps on it."
  470.  
  471. "Isn't that kind of like stealing?"
  472.  
  473. >Sweetie cocks her head back and trots past her friend to place the bits on the wagon.
  474.  
  475. "She's never said anything before. My sister is the element of generosity after all. Think of it like an allowance."
  476.  
  477. >Scootaloo adopts a confused expression.
  478.  
  479. "What's an allowance?"
  480.  
  481. “You’ve never gotten one?”
  482.  
  483. >Scoots fidgets her hooves and looks at the ground.
  484.  
  485. “Oh well, it’s like when your big sister or parents give you a little money to teach you about buying things.”
  486. >The unicorn filly looks at the bag she brought.
  487. >There’s plenty.
  488.  
  489. “Hey I’ve got an idea. What if we split whatever’s left after we finish and that can be like your allowance?”
  490.  
  491. “Wow. That seems like a lot.”
  492.  
  493. “Pish posh darling.”
  494.  
  495. >Sweetie says in a satirical impression of Rarity.
  496. >They have a little laugh about it and Sweetie nods at Scootaloo to reassure her.
  497. >Scootaloo has never been happier.
  498. >She has no idea how she’ll repay her friends after all this.
  499. >With Sweetie in the wagon and Scoots at the helm they take off with her little wings.
  500. >She knew exactly what she wanted first.
  501. >A whole set of Rainbow Dash posters to hang up.
  502. >There were the ones from the RDFC, Rainbow Dash Fan Club for the laymare, but they didn’t really belong to her.
  503. >They belonged to the club and she could rent them but that means going through this whole queue process and dealing with the treasurer which she somehow lost the last vote for and…
  504. >She’ll just get her own.
  505. >Also a pillow would be nice to have.
  506. >Maybe a custom one made with Rainbow Dash on the front.
  507. >It’d be like that camping trip, sleeping right next to her but every night!
  508. >Scootaloo was jumping in excitement while driving the scooter.
  509. >She almost crashed it, she was so distracted.
  510.  
  511. —----------------------------------------
  512.  
  513. >A bead of sweat rolls down the face of a yellow filly.
  514. >While her friends were out shopping, Applebloom has been working hard.
  515. >Putting in new walls for the fiberglass, polishing the floors, throwing down some carpets, and adding an easy access ramp to the stairs outside.
  516. >For when Scootaloo is too old to get up them properly.
  517. >Yup, Applebloom had really outdone herself.
  518. >Still need to see about getting her a fridge.
  519. >That would be expensive.
  520. >Good thing all this other stuff was layin' around.
  521. >Like the carpets she took from her and Applejack's room.
  522. >Her big sis spent most nights sleeping in the orchard anyway.
  523. >She won't miss it.
  524. >Just like she won't miss the insulation Applebloom took from that hole in the house also coincidentally where AJ's room was.
  525. >The little filly had been working harder than she ever did on her chores.
  526. >Farming apples is one thing but this was about helping a friend.
  527. >That's exactly what she told herself as stole more of her sister's things for the clubhouse.
  528. >And used her tools.
  529. >She was gonna make this the best dang treehouse in the whole of Equestria.
  530.  
  531. —----------------------------------------
  532.  
  533. "Because it's not good for you."
  534.  
  535. "But I like the way wild grass tastes."
  536.  
  537. "Please just try some."
  538.  
  539. "But it's so green and slimy looking."
  540.  
  541. "We can get some cupcakes after. If you try it."
  542.  
  543. "Promise?"
  544.  
  545. >Sweetie Belle nodded her head at Scootaloo.
  546. >Apprehensive she still was, Scootaloo stared at it in fear.
  547. >The dreaded…
  548. >The bitter…
  549. >Asparagus.
  550. >The mare peddling them had been misting them to keep them fresh.
  551. >But it only repulsed Scootaloo further.
  552. >Very slowly, she leaned forward and nibbled the tip.
  553. >She made a dramatic display of disgust as she did.
  554. >But she actually kind of liked it.
  555.  
  556. "Oh come on!"
  557.  
  558. "It's… not so bad. I guess.
  559.  
  560. >Scootaloo suddenly jumped and pointed behind her unicorn friend.
  561.  
  562. "What's that?!"
  563.  
  564. >Sweetie Belle whipped her head around and Scootaloo took the chance to quickly swallow the green stalk.
  565. >When Sweetie turned back Scootaloo was acting purposefully suspicious.
  566. >Better that her friend believes she didn't actually eat the vegetable.
  567. >Scootaloo would rather Sweetie think that she didn't eat it by acting like she did even though she really did.
  568. >Because eating vegetables wasn't cool.
  569. >And the little unicorn was a little slow so she truly wasn't sure.
  570.  
  571. "Now can we get Sugarcube Corner?"
  572.  
  573. "Hmm, ok. But let's get a bundle of asparagus to go."
  574.  
  575. >Scootaloo let out a half hearted groan.
  576.  
  577. "Fine."
  578.  
  579. —----------------------------------------
  580.  
  581. >It was late in the day, almost time for Celestia to set the sun.
  582. >Both parties of fillies had just about finished their tasks.
  583. >Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle were on their way back to the clubhouse.
  584. >A successful haul of just about everything a foal could need.
  585. >They got her posters, her custom made Rainbow Dash body pillow, and real food that didn’t come from the ground.
  586. >At least not the same ground Scootaloo was eating from.
  587. >A mirror, a brush although it wouldn’t see much use, a boombox, and some other odds and ends.
  588. >They stretched every last bit they had.
  589. >Stuff that Scoots would have gotten anyways if she kept any of her “allowance”.
  590. >Sweet Apple Acres came just into view as they got closer to the clubhouse.
  591. >They spotted their yellow friend.
  592. >Applebloom was putting the borrowed tools away.
  593. >She looked exhausted.
  594. >And she was.
  595. >There was still more work to be done on the clubhouse if it was gonna be any good for one of her best friends.
  596. >The incoming pair waved hello, dragging Scootaloo’s things.
  597. >Bloom smiled and waved back.
  598. >She was now galloping to stow the tools.
  599. >They all arrived in sync back at the base of the tree.
  600.  
  601. “Wow. Y’all got a lot of stuff. Ah hope ya know Ah didn’t get the icebox set up.”
  602.  
  603. “What’s an icebox?”
  604.  
  605. “Uh, Ah mean fridge.”
  606.  
  607. >Applebloom helped unhitch the scooter and they started carrying everything up.
  608.  
  609. “So my family likes to use a traditional one with ice and snow so we’re always havin’ to get more to keep food cold. But that’s so silly and inefficient. We could try earnin’ a lot of bits to get a magic one but they’re expensive.”
  610.  
  611. >Sweetie Belle and Bloom were brainstorming.
  612. >An excited Scootaloo in the background was tripping over herself to put up her new posters.
  613.  
  614. “What if I made one? Any unicorn could do it I bet.”
  615.  
  616. “Yeah Sweetie, any grown unicorn.”
  617.  
  618. >Applebloom lightly taps Sweetie’s horn as she remarks.
  619. >Sweetie scrunches into herself reflexively.
  620.  
  621. “Hey!”
  622.  
  623. >Scootaloo having finished perfecting the angle of her hung posters chimes in.
  624.  
  625. “You know I’ve never had a refrigerator. It’s not that big of a deal.”
  626.  
  627. “Exactly! Ya gotta have one now! What about your big sister Sweetie?”
  628.  
  629. “I don’t know about that. She’s still pretty busy and honestly not the best at enchanting stuff.”
  630.  
  631. >Her two friends plopped down to think harder while Scootaloo shrugged and went back to homemaking.
  632. >They rubbed their chins so hard they were about to make sparks.
  633. >Applebloom jumps up with her idea.
  634.  
  635. “Why don’t we ask Twilight?”
  636.  
  637. “That’s a great idea. Why didn’t I think of that?”
  638.  
  639. >Scootaloo sighed at her two friends.
  640. >Sweetie and Applebloom went over to the door and swung it open.
  641. >They were more excited than Scootaloo about getting her a fridge.
  642. >But right as they opened the door the moon rose.
  643. >They had lost track of the time.
  644.  
  645. “I guess it’s a little late huh? Why don’t we try some other time. For now I’d love to have a sleepover with my two best friends.”
  646.  
  647. “Fair enough.”
  648.  
  649. >Bloom was first to respond and shut the door.
  650. >Sweetie was taking a second to process looking back and forth at Scootaloo and the door.
  651.  
  652. “So what do y’all wanna do first?”
  653.  
  654. “Oh! Oh! Let’s talk about boys!”
  655.  
  656. >Scootaloo and Applebloom glare at Sweetie Belle as she shouts.
  657.  
  658. “Sorry. I mean, let’s talk about colts?”
  659.  
  660. >From seemingly nowhere she pulls out the latest edition of filly life and flips to a specific page.
  661. >It’s filled with bookmarks.
  662.  
  663. “It says right here that all good sleepovers have us talk about everypony we think is cute or have crushes on.”
  664.  
  665. >The three fillies gather around, sitting in a circle on Scoots’ “new” bed.
  666. >Meanwhile the perishable food they bought went neglected.
  667.  
  668. >Sweetie spread the magazine with relevant pages in front of them.
  669.  
  670. “This will be our blueprint for the perfect sleepover. ‘Step one: Talk about colts. Say who you like the most or find the cutest. Then say what you like or find cutest about them.”
  671.  
  672. “Where did ya find this magazine?”
  673.  
  674. “In a dumpster! Why don’t you go first Applebloom?"
  675.  
  676. >The yellow filly took on a pensive posture.
  677. >She hadn't had much experience with the less fair sex.
  678. >Working on a farm doesn't give a lot of time to ogle boys.
  679. >Especially since the only one around here was her brother.
  680.  
  681. "Uhh… Ah don't know. Who's that stocky colt? Green coat, short purple mane? Cucumber Seed Ah think."
  682.  
  683. >Sweetie's eyes widen and she scoffs.
  684.  
  685. "Him? You don't even know anything about him!"
  686.  
  687. "Ah don't really know anything about any of 'em. He's sturdy lookin' and that's good enough for me."
  688.  
  689. >Applebloom rolls onto her side away from her friends.
  690. >Scootaloo speaks up on Bloom's behalf.
  691.  
  692. "Well who would you pick Sweetie Belle?"
  693.  
  694. "I would pick… Dreamy… Boat."
  695.  
  696. "I've never heard of him."
  697.  
  698. "Well he's from, Canterlot, and you've never met him. We met when I was on a trip with Rarity."
  699.  
  700. "Uh huh."
  701.  
  702. "Yes uh huh. I met him in Canterlot and he's really cute and my favorite thing about him is how he sings."
  703.  
  704. "So you're telling us you met a colt in another town who we've never seen who's super cute and sings which is like your favorite thing?"
  705.  
  706. "Yes."
  707.  
  708. >Sweetie Belle stares directly into the eyes of Scootaloo.
  709. >With her smile so wide and pure.
  710. >But her eyes gave her away as they shifted around nervously.
  711. >Too bad Scootaloo was just as bad about catching lies as Sweetie was at telling them.
  712.  
  713. "Ok!"
  714.  
  715. "Your turn Scootaloo."
  716.  
  717. "Yeah. Who do ya got a crush on? Somepony real Ah hope."
  718.  
  719. "Well it's hard to pick just one. Soarin is-"
  720.  
  721. "Hold on there Scoots, how 'bout ya stick to colts our age."
  722.  
  723. >Scootaloo shrugs.
  724.  
  725. "In that case there's Blade Runner for starters. His hair is a little goofy but he sure can skate. And that one time he shined my hooves. Looking at him down there. That was pretty awesome."
  726.  
  727. >Some blush starts to form on Scootaloo's face.
  728. >She rocks back and forth as she remembers the sight of a colt at her hooves.
  729. >He was at her beck and call, ready to do anything she said.
  730. >Now she was on her back, hugging herself at the thoughts in her head.
  731.  
  732. "Get a hold of yourself Scoots."
  733.  
  734. "What? When I start thinking about colts, I get all warm and fuzzy inside."
  735.  
  736. >Applebloom snickers at Scootaloo.
  737.  
  738. "In a cool way I mean. Like whenever I think about Rainbow Dash but different I guess."
  739.  
  740. >Sweetie and Applebloom cock their heads and look at each other with smug faces.
  741. >While Scootaloo keeps rolling around with herself.
  742.  
  743. "Oh! And there's this one he's got wind blown black hair and a gray coat. He can be such a rebel. I mean he's kind of a jerk. But he's also a really, REALLY good flyer and-"
  744.  
  745. >Scootaloo was now fully splayed out on her back.
  746. >Her front hooves sliding down her side reaching for her…
  747.  
  748. "Scootaloo what are you doing?"
  749.  
  750. >Sweetie asked, concerned and uncomfortable.
  751. >She and Bloom were trading stares with each other and Scootaloo's sudden lack of shame.
  752.  
  753. "Yeah, you're actin' like a barn animal and not the ones who talk."
  754.  
  755. "What do you mean? You don't get like this when you think about boys- I mean colts?"
  756.  
  757. "Well yes sometimes. But I don't… it's not… you can't just do that in front of somepony."
  758.  
  759. "Why not?"
  760.  
  761. "Didn't your mom or pa ever teach ya not to?"
  762.  
  763. >The question completely reversed Scootaloo's demeanor.
  764. >From spread out to curled up with her front hooves held up to her face.
  765. >She might have even shown some water works if today hadn't been so emotionally exhausting.
  766.  
  767. "No."
  768.  
  769. >Her response made the clubhouse the quietest it had been since they first renovated it.
  770. >Applebloom's first instinct is to lay a hoof around her moping friend.
  771. >But her second instinct is that she's still uncomfortable having almost witnessed her flick the bean.
  772. >Friendship is all about compromise.
  773. >So she scoots a little closer but does not touch her.
  774.  
  775. "Well ya know, hmm. How do Ah put this? It's like this. That's the kind of thing that the pigs or Winona do when they wanna have babies."
  776.  
  777. >Applebloom looks to Sweetie for some back up.
  778.  
  779. "I don't know anything about pigs or dogs but this one time I went into Rarity's room and she yelled at me to get out because she was doing 'adult mare stuff'."
  780.  
  781. "So I shouldn't do 'that' in front of other ponies because it's adult animal stuff?"
  782.  
  783. "Well that don't sound right does it?"
  784.  
  785. >The three of them awkwardly sat around.
  786. >None of them really knew what to say.
  787. >None of them had ever had "the talk" from their parents.
  788. >So where was a filly to go when she wanted to learn something?
  789.  
  790. "Why don't we just ask Twilight tomorrow? I bet she knows how to explain it."
  791.  
  792. >Scootaloo's lack of shame gave her the bright idea.
  793. >And the others didn't know what else to say but,
  794.  
  795. "Yeah!"
  796.  
  797. >None of them stopped to think about their idea and why it might be stupid.
  798. >But when do they ever?
  799. >They just kept moving on with the rest of their sleepover.
  800. >Full of much less provocative activities.
  801. >Braiding each other's manes, pillow fights, and discussing the advantages of a democratic republic versus a monarchy.
  802.  
  803. —----------------------------------------
  804.  
  805. >The sun rose over the horizon as the moon set.
  806. >Another perfect morning in Equestria.
  807. >And two of the crusaders were awake for it all.
  808. >Only one of them had slept very well.
  809. >On half a bed with the little ponies, only Scootaloo got a good night's rest.
  810. >For her this was the best sleep she's ever had.
  811. >Applebloom felt it was only half as good as usual.
  812. >And Sweetie Belle felt like a fucking mess.
  813.  
  814. —----------------------------------------
  815.  
  816. >The sun rose over the horizon as the moon set.
  817. >Another terrible day in Equestria.
  818. >Despite her cheerful attitude, Twilight Sparkle had this constant looming dread.
  819. >As if something catastrophic and life changing was about to happen.
  820. >Like her house getting blown up.
  821. >She hadn't even crawled out of bed before there was a pounding on her front door.
  822. >Oh Celestia, she thought, please be literally anything but a world ending problem.
  823. >She trotted past Spike, still sound asleep through the noise.
  824. >Or at least pretending to be.
  825. >Twilight started to slowly open the door when it swung open slamming into the wall.
  826. >It's the sisters of her friends.
  827. >And Scootaloo.
  828. >Oh no.
  829.  
  830. "TWILIGHT!"
  831.  
  832. "Do you three have any idea what time it is?"
  833.  
  834. "Can we ask you a favor?"
  835.  
  836. "You're going to anywa-"
  837.  
  838. >The Crusaders stormed into the library past Twilight before she could finish.
  839. >Twilight loved the library.
  840. >She did not love living in a public library.
  841.  
  842. >The three members of the public exercising their rights to use the government building circled around Twilight behind her.
  843. >She hadn’t even had her daily morning hayburger.
  844. >This had better be good.
  845.  
  846. “So what is it?”
  847.  
  848. “Can you enchant a fridge for us?”
  849.  
  850. “Sweetie Belle, what do you need a fridge for?”
  851.  
  852. >Applebloom butted in as the most proficient at not telling lies.
  853. >Or telling the truth.
  854.  
  855. “We need it for the clubhouse! Ya know, for uh… cold cider.”
  856.  
  857. >Twilight knew that if she pressed further they would keep her away from bed and breakfast longer.
  858. >They’re not my kids, she tells herself, just do it for them and let their parents deal with them.
  859. >She told them she’d do it if they would come back later in the day, much later, and began magic pushing them out the door.
  860.  
  861. “Wait there’s more!”
  862.  
  863. >Scootaloo was sabotaging Twilight’s morning now.
  864. >There is absolutely nothing that Scootaloo could say that would make Twilight change her mind about throwing them out.
  865. >Gently of course.
  866.  
  867. “We want to ask about adult mare stuff.”
  868.  
  869. >Twilight stopped.
  870.  
  871. “You… you want to learn something?”
  872.  
  873. >The three of them shake their heads in unison.
  874. >Twilight looks out her open front door.
  875. >Twilight looks toward her kitchen.
  876. >She leviates the trio back into the main room.
  877.  
  878. “Alright.”
  879.  
  880. >With laser-like focus Twilight started pulling all kinds of books and diagrams from the shelves around her.
  881. >She set the chalkboard, laid out the material, and fixed herself a cold hay patty.
  882. >Twilight clears her throat.
  883.  
  884. “Now the first thing a young filly will start to notice as they grow older is restlessness, sudden temperature changes, and an urge to get close to stallions while presenting oneself.”
  885.  
  886. “Twilight?”
  887.  
  888. “Once the urges grow too strong you’ll-”
  889.  
  890. “Twilight!”
  891.  
  892. >Scientific volumes that were floating around the mare as she read to the fillies fell to the ground.
  893.  
  894. “Yes, Scootaloo?”
  895.  
  896. “We just wanna know why we can’t rub ourselves, down here.”
  897.  
  898. >Scootaloo starts to go towards her nethers again to help visualize her question.
  899. >Twilight gives her a thousand yard stare.
  900. >The Crusaders look around the room, at each other, and their would-be teacher.
  901. >Sweetie waves her hoof in front of Twilight’s face.
  902. >...
  903. >Twilight snaps out of it and starts orbiting dozens of books around herself.
  904. >Reading them as fast as she can turn the pages.
  905. >She keeps muttering to herself about sexual freedom in non peer reviewed books.
  906.  
  907. “I can’t find any objective evidence about this subject. Or at least no one is willing to write about it.”
  908.  
  909. >The girls cock their heads crooked.
  910. >Scootaloo speaks up.
  911.  
  912. “So what does that mean?”
  913.  
  914. “It means I can’t tell you exactly why but… This is something parents should really be talking to young fillies about. Not me.”
  915.  
  916. “Well my mom and dad are always on vacation.”
  917.  
  918. “My parents are…”
  919.  
  920. “Twilight my ma and pa are dead.”
  921.  
  922. >Scootaloo appreciated Applebloom’s candid attitude.
  923. >Because she really didn’t want to talk about her situation.
  924. >She cantered over to Twilight and reared up, putting her front hooves on the purple autist.
  925.  
  926. “Please Twilight, there’s no one else we can ask about this sort of stuff!”
  927.  
  928. >Twilight pondered on that statement.
  929. >The only other role model Scootaloo has is Rainbow Dash.
  930. >And Dash would be way worse at teaching these foals than she could be.
  931. >Honestly, what's the harm in a little off the cuff teaching?
  932. >No literature or material to fall back on.
  933. >It’s exciting even!
  934. >Twilight was silently having this dialogue in her head, but still expressing as if it was out loud.
  935. >The Crusaders were only slightly concerned as their would-be teacher mimed a conversation to herself.
  936.  
  937. “Alright, alright. I guess we’ll start the way I was taught.”
  938.  
  939. >Scootaloo clapped her hooves together and raced back to her seat.
  940.  
  941. “So it all started back in Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. Moon Dancer and I were having a debate about usage of magic based soil.”
  942.  
  943. “What does this have to do with-”
  944.  
  945. “We were also sitting on a couple of very smooth fence posts.”
  946.  
  947. —----------------------------------------
  948.  
  949. >It had been a long day of learning for the Crusaders.
  950. >With a little heavy lifting thrown in for Scootaloo's apple crate turned magical refrigerator.
  951. >They felt they learned a lot from Twilight.
  952. >A short, 'don't masturbate in public because it makes other ponies uncomfortable', would have been enough.
  953. >Any adult could give them that half assed response and they'd accept it because an adult said so.
  954. >But Twilight never half asses anything.
  955. >She spent hours going in depth about the history of sexual stigmas and freedoms in Equestria, intertwined with anecdotes from her own life.
  956. >The trio of fillies waved goodbye to their teacher and took their new appliance with them.
  957. >They made their way back for the clubhouse.
  958.  
  959. "I don't get it."
  960.  
  961. >Sweetie was confused.
  962.  
  963. "Why is it called a dental dam if it doesn't go in your mouth?"
  964.  
  965. "Ah'm still wondering about when Twilight shoved the-"
  966.  
  967. "Apple Elizabeth Leslie Vanderhoove Bloom!"
  968.  
  969. >Applejack stood in their path, blocking it even.
  970. >She did not look pleased.
  971. >Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle dove for cover behind some bushes.
  972. >Applebloom swallowed the little saliva she had in her mouth before the moisture drained from her face.
  973.  
  974. “Where have ya been all day missy? Ah KNOW ya ain’t tryin’ to play hooky with your chores.”
  975.  
  976. “We were, Ah mean I was…”
  977.  
  978. >The filly was about to get cooked.
  979. >Scootaloo, thinking on her hooves, and not with her brain, shouts from her hiding place.
  980.  
  981. “TWILIGHT!”
  982.  
  983. “What in tarnation?”
  984.  
  985. “Right! Ah I was visiting Twilight for a lesson.”
  986.  
  987. “A lesson in what?”
  988.  
  989. >Unfortunately for the fillies this was one of the few adults in Ponyville who didn’t have some sort of brain damage.
  990. >Applejack was about to investigate the talking bush.
  991. >It probably wasn’t that big of a deal if the other two were caught hiding but to Applebloom’s young mind it was like signing a permanent lease for Tartarus.
  992.  
  993. “Private mare stuff! Touchin’ yourself!”
  994.  
  995. “SHE DID WHAT NOW?”
  996.  
  997. >AJ’s coat turned from orange to red.
  998. >She reared up and steam bellowed from her nostrils
  999. >She no longer cared about the mystery of the talking bush.
  1000. >Like a bullet train she took off.
  1001. >A mare on a mission.
  1002. >A mission to buck Twilight’s ass.
  1003. >Meanwhile Applebloom wiped the sweat from her brow.
  1004. >That was a close one.
  1005. >She almost got in trouble!
  1006. >But it’s Twilight’s problem now.
  1007.  
  1008. “That was a close one. We almost got in trouble.”
  1009.  
  1010. “Scoots can ya read my mind or somethin’?”
  1011.  
  1012. “What?”
  1013.  
  1014. “Nevermind. Let’s go install your new refrigerator!”
  1015.  
  1016. >Scootaloo and Sweetie clambered out from the bushes.
  1017. >Cleaning the twigs and brush from their manes, they join Bloom’s side again.
  1018. >In a cheerful bliss they continue on their way.
  1019. >Unaware of the ass whooping they just set in motion.
  1020.  
  1021. —----------------------------------------
  1022.  
  1023. >BOOM
  1024. >BOOM
  1025. >CRASH
  1026.  
  1027. “I’M GONNA LAY YOU OUT”
  1028.  
  1029. >Applejack was so mad she forgot her accent.
  1030. >The door to the library wasn’t locked but she still forced it open.
  1031. >Twilight was laying on the ground reading an issue of Filly Life.
  1032. >Smiling.
  1033. >That stupid bitch.
  1034. >AJ leapt from the threshold at her friend.
  1035. >She was ready to kill her.
  1036. >But Twilight was a unicorn.
  1037. >AJ was stopped in the air and levitated.
  1038. >Still, somehow, almost breaking free.
  1039. >Her hooves and muzzle were repeatedly breaking free of the spell.
  1040. >If only slightly.
  1041.  
  1042. “Sweet Celestia, what’s gotten into you?”
  1043.  
  1044. “IT’S WHAT YOU GOT INTO!”
  1045.  
  1046. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
  1047.  
  1048. “YOU FILLY FIDDLED MY SISTER!”
  1049.  
  1050. “What are you, oh! You mean the lesson I gave her and the rest of the Crusaders?”
  1051.  
  1052. >Applejack was now frothing at the mouth, filled with bloodlust.
  1053.  
  1054. "What's the big deal? I just taught them about the history of why not to commit public masturbation."
  1055.  
  1056. "What now?"
  1057.  
  1058. >AJ was starting to calm down.
  1059. >Her white hot rage now only a simmering distaste.
  1060. >Twilight felt safe enough to let her friend down, just not too close.
  1061.  
  1062. "Are you alright?"
  1063.  
  1064. "No Ah'm not. Ya can't just talk to foals that ain't yours 'bout that sorta stuff."
  1065.  
  1066. "I could never turn away fellow seekers of knowledge."
  1067.  
  1068. "Oh yeah? What about Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo's parents? How do ya think they feel 'bout this?"
  1069.  
  1070. >Twilight gives her a smug, condescending smile.
  1071.  
  1072. "Have you ever met them?"
  1073.  
  1074. "Uh, well no. But Ah bet Rarity and… Rainbow Dash would have a problem with it. And Ah'm gonna go get them right now and we're gonna give ya one heck of a earful."
  1075.  
  1076. >With that same signature arrogant look still on her face Twilight opens the door for AJ.
  1077. >She stood outside, beckoning Applejack to lead the way.
  1078. >The farm pony was going to anyway but now she felt like Twilight was telling her instead of the other way around.
  1079. >Begrudgingly, she did follow Twilight outside but trotted in front of her.
  1080.  
  1081. >First they go to talk with Rarity.
  1082. >Applejack thinks to herself that if anyone can understand it would be Rarity.
  1083. >Being the only one of their friends who actually cares for somepony as a guardian, not just a bunch of pets.
  1084. >At the very least she’ll say it’s unladylike.
  1085. >When they arrive Twilight pulls another smug face as she trots ahead of AJ.
  1086. >She gets to the door first to knock.
  1087. >AJ rolls her eyes and stands next to her.
  1088. >Some hushed whispers come from the other side of the door.
  1089. >It starts to creak open.
  1090.  
  1091. "It must be the latest Filly Life manifesto."
  1092.  
  1093. >When Rarity sees her two friends the door slams shut.
  1094.  
  1095. "Run!"
  1096.  
  1097. >Suddenly fillies with red bands around their front legs start pouring out of windows and the backdoor.
  1098. >Overdramatically, they squeak and squeal as they make their escape.
  1099. >Rarity reopens the door to AJ and Twilight, while the ruckus is still happening around them.
  1100.  
  1101. "Rarity."
  1102.  
  1103. "Yes Applejack?"
  1104.  
  1105. "Did ya know that our friend Twilight here taught our little sisters about,"
  1106.  
  1107. >AJ quickly sweeps her head side to side before leaning in.
  1108.  
  1109. "Masturbation?"
  1110.  
  1111. >Rarity turns her head back to look at the mess her boutique is in after being evacuated.
  1112. >Then back forward again to see the little splattering of children zig zagging away from her home.
  1113. >Her expression is that of somepony being ticketed for jaywalking after committing murder.
  1114.  
  1115. “Is that all?”
  1116.  
  1117. “HA!”
  1118.  
  1119. >Twilight guffaws from behind the orange pony.
  1120. >AJ narrows her eyes at her fashionista friend.
  1121.  
  1122. “What do ya mean ‘Is that all’? Twilight exposed our sisters!”
  1123.  
  1124. “All the better I say. Our mother is never around and I was personally dreading having to give her the ‘talk’ myself. Thank you dear Twilight.”
  1125.  
  1126. “I’m always happy to teach an eager and young mind.”
  1127.  
  1128. “Do y'all not hear the words comin’ outta your mouths?”
  1129.  
  1130. >Rarity shrugs
  1131. >Twilight smirks.
  1132. >Applejack swears.
  1133. >After some huffing and more curse words under her breath, such as “shucks” and “shoot darn it”, AJ comes behind Rarity and starts shoving her with head.
  1134.  
  1135. “Where are you taking me you brute?”
  1136.  
  1137. “Ah never thought Ah’d say this but Rainbow Dash is my only hope. We’re gonna go see what she thinks.”
  1138.  
  1139. “What does Rainbow Dash have to do with any of this?”
  1140.  
  1141. “Because Twilight, she’s Scootaloo’s big sis.”
  1142.  
  1143. >Twilight scoffs at the idea.
  1144.  
  1145. “Well she’s close enough.”
  1146.  
  1147. >Applejack just needed somepony on her side.
  1148. >The side of not telling little fillies about that one time you rubbed your coochie.
  1149.  
  1150. —----------------------------------------
  1151.  
  1152. >Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle were filling the crate-fridge with all the food they bought yesterday.
  1153. >They were too excited to accept that most of it had spoiled.
  1154. >Somepony is going to be very sick though if they pour a bowl of cold cereal.
  1155. >Applebloom was busy applying another layer of paint to hide the sections of wall she installed the borrowed lining from AJ’s walls.
  1156. >What an industrious little thief.
  1157. >They were all enjoying themselves, having their mashed up sleepover/housewarming party.
  1158. >But somewhere deep down Scootaloo knew something was going to go wrong.
  1159. >It always does.
  1160. >But existential dread is for adults.
  1161. >Scootaloo, instead, whips a fastball at Sweetie Belle with some strawberries.
  1162. >The food war commences.
  1163. >Coincidently on the other side of Ponyville, the adults were doing the same thing.
  1164.  
  1165. —----------------------------------------
  1166.  
  1167. >Another apple whizzes past the cloud Rainbow was sleeping on.
  1168. >AJ seemed to have an unending supply to throw.
  1169.  
  1170. “For the love of Celestia would ya just wake up!”
  1171.  
  1172. “She could probably hit Dash square in the head if she tried bucking instead of throwing.”
  1173.  
  1174. “Ah heard that Twi. Ah’m not trying to give her a concussion.”
  1175.  
  1176. >Another apple misses.
  1177. >Twilight dramatically sighs then levitates the cloud down to eye level.
  1178. >Rainbow Dash isn’t sleeping.
  1179. >She’s just reading Daring Do.
  1180.  
  1181. “What? Rainbow Dash why didn’t ya answer me?”
  1182.  
  1183. “Because you really need to work on your throwing leg.”
  1184.  
  1185. >AJ rolls her eyes then runs her hooves down her face.
  1186. >Stretching out her features as she stretches her patience.
  1187.  
  1188. “Dash.”
  1189.  
  1190. “Uh huh?”
  1191.  
  1192. “Twilight has taken your adopted ward’s innocence.”
  1193.  
  1194. “My what?”
  1195.  
  1196. “Scootaloo.”
  1197.  
  1198. “Oh right. Back door or front door?”
  1199.  
  1200. >Applejack thinks about that for a second.
  1201. >Rarity blushes.
  1202. >Twilight is unmoved, stoic even.
  1203.  
  1204. “What uh, what do ya mean by that?”
  1205.  
  1206. “You know, like…”
  1207.  
  1208. >Rainbow Dash rears up on her hind legs and positions her free ones in front of her groin and behind.
  1209. >She jokingly sways her hips back and forth, smashing them into her hooves.
  1210. >All while rocking her head to and fro’ respectfully with silly half closed eyes and a bitten lip.
  1211.  
  1212. “Sweet Celestia, neither! Ah mean Twilight taught my sister and your ward about sex.”
  1213.  
  1214. “I also taught Sweetie Belle.”
  1215.  
  1216. “Yes thank you again for that darling.”
  1217.  
  1218. “Is that all?”
  1219.  
  1220. >Rainbow Dash nonchalantly blows air out her nose snickering and goes back to laying down with her book.
  1221. >Rarity giggles at the same word for word response she gave.
  1222. >AJ stuffs her face into the dirt and screams.
  1223. >She slumps her backside and goes limp on the ground.
  1224. >Twilight comes close and lays a hoof over her.
  1225.  
  1226. “It’s alright Applejack. I know your views might not be as progressive as ours but if it really bothers you so much I promise not to disclose any sexual knowledge to your sister.”
  1227.  
  1228. >Applejack whispers, “Little late for that.”
  1229.  
  1230. “Applejack Darling, she who is resistant to change is destined to perish.”
  1231.  
  1232. “Uh huh.”
  1233.  
  1234. >AJ stands back up, wiping the soil from her face.
  1235. >She is not pleased.
  1236. >She grumbles at her friends and flashes her hooves at them, pointing to her eyes in an “Ah’m watchin’ you” gesture.
  1237. >Then she trots off.
  1238. >All this degenerate behavior has distracted her from the farm.
  1239. >Rarity looks toward the orange pony as she leaves, feeling a little guilty.
  1240. >The other two just shrug and return to what they were doing.
  1241.  
  1242. —----------------------------------------
  1243.  
  1244. “HAHAHA! I AM THE LORD OF ALL MAGIC!”
  1245.  
  1246. “Take cover!”
  1247.  
  1248. >In the ongoing food war Sweetie had the advantage.
  1249. >Using her magic to sling perishables at a much higher rate of fire than the other two crusaders.
  1250. >Who were taking cover behind the clubhouse's podium.
  1251.  
  1252. >Applebloom and Scootaloo were about to lose their defensive hold.
  1253. >When a stern but motherly voice called out to them.
  1254.  
  1255. “Applebloom, are y'all friends up there with ya?”
  1256.  
  1257. >The three fillies freeze in place, a mushy apple falls to the ground mid throw.
  1258. >Bloom cartoonishly licks her face clean in one fell swoop, eating up all the fruit slop.
  1259. >Belle and Scoots frantically wave their hooves at her to go to the window.
  1260. >She does.
  1261.  
  1262. “Uh. Yeah?”
  1263.  
  1264. “Ah need to talk to y’all.”
  1265.  
  1266. "Whaaaat, what do ya mean 'y'all'?"
  1267.  
  1268. >Applejack doesn't dignify that boldfaced lie with a response.
  1269. >Just a stern look from under her hat.
  1270. >She's not asking for permission to come up and talk to them.
  1271. >Just getting their attention ready.
  1272. >She does at least knock on the door but comes in anyways.
  1273. >The clubhouse is a mess from the food skirmish.
  1274.  
  1275. “Heh, havin' fun in here?"
  1276.  
  1277. >The fillies do not believe this is what AJ wants to talk about.
  1278.  
  1279. "So Ah heard y'all had some questions about, 'adult mare stuff'?"
  1280.  
  1281. >The Crusaders sit down feeling as though they are guilty.
  1282.  
  1283. "We're really sorry sis. We promise we'll never do it again."
  1284.  
  1285. "No it's alright Ah just don't think y'all really heard what ya need to hear. So go ahead and ask whatever ya want."
  1286.  
  1287. >Unabashedly, Sweetie asks right away.
  1288.  
  1289. "Why do they call it a dental dam?"
  1290.  
  1291. "Ah don't rightly know what that is."
  1292.  
  1293. "Why does everypony get super uncomfortable when I try touching my adult mare parts?"
  1294.  
  1295. "Because you're only supposed to do that sorta thing in front of somepony ya trust very much. There's ponies out there who would take advantage of ya otherwise."
  1296.  
  1297. "But I trust Sweetie Belle and Applebloom."
  1298.  
  1299. "Well it's uh, that's because, it's a kind of special trust only a mare and a stallion can share."
  1300.  
  1301. "Really? Cause sometimes I wanna trust Rainbow Dash!"
  1302.  
  1303. >Scootaloo rears up on her hind legs and starts gesturing almost identically to how Rainbow did earlier.
  1304. >Applejack grabs her by the shoulders and lets her down gently.
  1305.  
  1306. "Don't do that."
  1307.  
  1308. "Do what?"
  1309.  
  1310. "Everything you just said and did."
  1311.  
  1312. >Applejack removes her hat to wipe the sweat from her brow.
  1313. >Placing it back on her head she lets out a dramatic yawn.
  1314.  
  1315. "Would ya look at that sun, 'bout time to settle down don't y'all think?"
  1316.  
  1317. >She gives a little tussle and ruffle of the three fillies' manes.
  1318.  
  1319. "For now why don't y'all just ask me from now on wherever ya have these questions. But uh, not now."
  1320.  
  1321. "But-"
  1322.  
  1323. "Ah said not now. Just write 'em down or somethin'."
  1324.  
  1325. >The three fillies groaned and nodded their heads.
  1326. >Not like they really needed to know more after Twilight's in depth lesson.
  1327. >With their submission AJ was satisfied.
  1328. >She said her goodnights and left for the house.
  1329. >Thinking that they must be having another sleepover.
  1330. >They seemed to be doing that a lot latel-
  1331.  
  1332. "WHAT IN CELESTIA HAPPENED TO MY WALL?"
  1333.  
  1334. —----------------------------------------
  1335.  
  1336. >A few weeks go by since the awkward conversation between Applejack and the Crusaders.
  1337. >In that time the clubhouse had been hooked up with a few more creature comforts.
  1338. >Most of which were hidden away for the currently ongoing official Rainbow Dash fan club meeting.
  1339. >Scootaloo did leave out the Mare-ster Coffee.
  1340. >Plus the air conditioner, can't really put that away.
  1341. >And there's no way they couldn't use the new speakers.
  1342. >So everypony could enjoy the new official Rainbow Dash theme song Scootaloo had been working on.
  1343. >Most of the lyrics consisted of rhyming "awesome" with whatever she thought up at the time.
  1344. >Such as stalk some.
  1345. >Rock some.
  1346. >And other meaningless bullshit.
  1347. >The meeting went over their usual motions.
  1348. >They were all talking about how great Rainbow Dash is, who thought she was the greatest (Scootaloo), and the topic of the month.
  1349. >What does her deodorant smell like?
  1350. >A raspy voice from the window called out “I don’t use any.”
  1351. >The foals thought it strange that it was phrased in first person but all agreed.
  1352. >Without a second thought they move past it.
  1353. >After they finish gushing over their local super star the fillies and colts funneled out of the clubhouse.
  1354. >A certain eavesdropping blue and incredibly speedy pegasus hovers above.
  1355. >Rainbow Dash had been enjoying spying on their meetings for a while now.
  1356. >She watches the foals leave, waiting for her favorite little squirt to exit too.
  1357. >But Scootaloo doesn't.
  1358. >A few minutes go by, a few more.
  1359. >Five, ten.
  1360. >Dash is getting impatient.
  1361. >She was in a good mood and was gonna treat her biggest fan to the privilege of watching her practice some new tricks.
  1362. >Rainbow flew low, stealthily down to the window.
  1363. >Inside she could see Scootaloo, just hanging out.
  1364. >The place had already been cleaned from the meeting.
  1365. >Cleaned.
  1366. >Except there was actually more stuff put out.
  1367. >There was a radio now, playing some jazz music.
  1368. >She had a little makeshift kitchen setup with a microwave going.
  1369. >A bed too, half of one anyways.
  1370. >And Scootaloo, who was cuddling with a mare-sized pillow decorated with an image of her peeping tom.
  1371. >Dash was somewhat aware of the level Scoots idolizes her.
  1372. >This however, she was not aware of.
  1373.  
  1374. "Oh Rainbow Dash, you're so awesome for carrying me up to your house in Cloudsdale and letting me sleep in your bed with you. It's so cold by myself in Ponyville."
  1375.  
  1376. >Scootaloo was really snuggling that pillow.
  1377. >Some world class nuzzles and squeezes from her little legs.
  1378. >Dash thought it was almost cute this fantasy she was watching.
  1379. >Scootaloo then started grinding against the body pillow.
  1380. >And kissing it.
  1381.  
  1382. "Oh Rainbow Dash…"
  1383.  
  1384. >The blue pegasus started to think she shouldn't be seeing this.
  1385. >At that moment Scootaloo retrieved another large pillow, hidden behind her mattress.
  1386.  
  1387. >It was also a stuffed effigy of Dash.
  1388. >Except this one had a crudely drawn mustache.
  1389.  
  1390. "What's that Mr. Rainbow Dash? You and Mrs. Rainbow Dash wanna be my parents? And you both also wanna be my coltfriend and marefriend?"
  1391.  
  1392. >Scootaloo had a look of ecstasy as she gripped both pillows and rolled them on top of her, covering her face.
  1393. >Dash had a wide-eyed, serious expression.
  1394. >She was one hundred percent sure she wasn't supposed to be seeing this now.
  1395. >Thinking back to that conversation Applejack had with her about innocence lost or whatever.
  1396. >Rainbow was starting to think maybe Scootaloo took Twilight's not the other way around.
  1397.  
  1398. "Scootaloo! Hey Scootaloo!"
  1399.  
  1400. >Startled by somepony yelling while she was invading Scoot's personal time, Dash bolted off in a hurry.
  1401. >The startlers were Apple Bloom and AJ.
  1402.  
  1403. >Applebloom was hauling some tools and materials in a filly-sized cart behind her.
  1404. >Her sister had figured out a while ago just who destroyed the exterior of the house.
  1405. >She also put the little yellow culprit to work fixing it.
  1406. >But in a way AJ was thankful.
  1407. >That impulsive bout of vandalism revealed more damage to the siding of the family house.
  1408. >Leftover from the parasprites perhaps.
  1409. >Scootaloo and Bloom had been putting in the time to help fix it in exchange for some bits.
  1410. >At least for Scootaloo, Applebloom was still working off the damage she initially caused.
  1411.  
  1412. "I'm coming!"
  1413.  
  1414. >Unlike her hero, Scootaloo was not spooked by somepony calling her name while she was enjoying her private time.
  1415. >She calmly restashed her special filly time pillows and went outside.
  1416.  
  1417. "All finished with your meetin' Scoots?"
  1418.  
  1419. "Oh yeah I finished alright."
  1420.  
  1421. >The two fillies laughed at each other's double entendre.
  1422. >Applejack simply ignored them at this point.
  1423. >Thinking to herself, why couldn't they just write sappy love notes and pass them in class?
  1424. >Or be afraid of cooties or something.
  1425. >At least they had finally stopped asking random townsponies their dirty questions.
  1426. >If they could just keep it to each other she could deal with that.
  1427. >AJ was also getting distracted by the windows on the clubhouse.
  1428.  
  1429. "Are those curtains the ones missin' from my room?"
  1430.  
  1431. >But when she turned around the little troublemakers had already scrammed.
  1432. >She just rolled her eyes and went to do her own chores.
  1433.  
  1434. —----------------------------------------
  1435.  
  1436. >Applebloom wipes the sweat from her brow and lets out a sigh of relief.
  1437.  
  1438. “That was a close one, again. She almost caught us, again!”
  1439.  
  1440. “Maybe we should stop taking stuff from your big sister?”
  1441.  
  1442. >Sweetie Belle spoke as she popped out from the cart Bloom was hitched to.
  1443. >An obvious idea she offered.
  1444. >And obviously ignored.
  1445.  
  1446. “Hi Sweetie Belle.”
  1447.  
  1448. “Hi Scootaloo.”
  1449.  
  1450. >The three of them exchanged a little hoof bump in greeting.
  1451. >After some light horseplay and giggles they all got to work on the house.
  1452. >Scootaloo was happy to share the money she earned with Sweetie.
  1453. >In exchange, Sweetie was happy to stop stealing so much from her Rarity.
  1454. >Carefree they toiled away.
  1455. >Work didn’t feel like work when you were with your friends.
  1456. >At least to Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle.
  1457. >Applebloom was doing most of the heavy lifting but she enjoyed working with her hooves anyways.
  1458. >Thank Celestia too, there’s no way her unicorn and pegasus friend could do this on their own.
  1459. >They were enjoying their time together, accomplishing something, earning for themselves.
  1460. >It had been, in fact, the primary source of new furnishings and such for the clubhouse.
  1461. >Aside from stealing from Applejack that is.
  1462. >Some of the other foals in their class were noticing all the cool stuff at the clubhouse.
  1463. >During Rainbow Dash Fan Club meetings and all colts and fillies coming to them with problems.
  1464. >Word was getting around.
  1465. >It was making the CMC seem cool for how tricked out the clubhouse was getting.
  1466. >But somepony was noticing something else.
  1467. >Somepony who gets jealous easily.
  1468.  
  1469. —----------------------------------------
  1470.  
  1471. >Another day was coming to its end and the Crusaders were saying their, “See ya later alligators”.
  1472. >Sweetie left first and Applebloom and Scootaloo went through their routine to hide Scoots’ presence from the rest of the Apples.
  1473. >An extremely loud and over dramatic goodbye ensued.
  1474.  
  1475. “Wow Applebloom! I sure did have a lot of fun with you today but now I will go home to where I live in Ponyville and not here.”
  1476.  
  1477. “Gee Scootaloo, Ah had fun too. Please get home safe to your house in Ponyville and not here.”
  1478.  
  1479. >Then they would hug while staring directly at Applejack’s window.
  1480. >Quietly snickering to each other, thinking they’re so clever.
  1481. >Bloom would go back to her house while kicking strategically placed noise makers, pots and pans and dinner bells.
  1482. >She would be a distracting nuisance while Scootaloo, who had taken her scooter out of sight, did a sneaky u-turn through some bushes.
  1483. >All of this could be easily seen.
  1484. >Scootaloo took the ramp up tonight feeling extra tired.
  1485. >She really appreciated Bloom putting that in now.
  1486. >A cold glass of milk and some leftover hashbrowns from her fridge before settling in for bed.
  1487. >After finishing her food she laid down to sleep.
  1488. >Being alone here, practically outside in the dark, still scared her.
  1489. >It also gave her a lot of time to think, a lot of time to dwell on things.
  1490. >That paranoia slinked its way back into her mind.
  1491. >Feeling extra spooked, Scootaloo turned on her Official Rainbow Dash Lamp.
  1492. >Nope, she was still scared.
  1493. >Better turn on the Official Rainbow Dash Neon Night Light too.
  1494. >In reality she was just stalling.
  1495. >The lights didn’t really help quell her thoughts.
  1496. >But what choice did the little filly have?
  1497. >Living alone.
  1498. >Scootaloo gripped her Rainbow Dash pillows tightly as she drifted off to sleep.
  1499.  
  1500. >There’s a noise from outside.
  1501. >Scootaloo shot up from her covers.
  1502. >She slammed her back against the wall beneath the window.
  1503. >Menacing whispers circle around the walls.
  1504. >They surround her.
  1505. >What they’re saying can’t be made out.
  1506. >Then a sharp whistle pierces through and the whispers stop.
  1507. >Somepony knocks once on the door.
  1508. >Scootaloo dives behind the podium but it disappears.
  1509. >The terrified filly scrambles to hide, but everything seems to fade away when she gets near.
  1510.  
  1511. >It feels like the world is falling apart and all that's left is the bones constricting around her.
  1512. >Her hooves hide her away.
  1513.  
  1514. "There is no need to hide from me, young Scootaloo."
  1515.  
  1516. >What felt like suffocation turns into warmth and gentle cradling.
  1517. >The moonlight shifts and illuminates Scootaloo and her midnight visitor.
  1518.  
  1519. "Princess Luna? Aww not again."
  1520.  
  1521. "I did not think you would be so averse to seeing me."
  1522.  
  1523. >Luna descends from the moon as is her usual dream-scape entrance.
  1524. >Her hooves make the sound of wind through a forest as she lands.
  1525. >Scootaloo shakily stands herself upright to meet the princess.
  1526.  
  1527. "Oh crud, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that."
  1528.  
  1529. >The scared filly covers her mouth.
  1530.  
  1531. "I'm sorry for saying crud. I just said it again. I'm sorry for saying crud again. I mean I'm sor-"
  1532.  
  1533. >Luna suppresses a snicker.
  1534. >She approaches Scoots and nuzzles her forehead, silencing her.
  1535.  
  1536. "I understand what you mean little one. It is my duty to protect all of Equestria from their nightmares, but I would not be directly intervening unless there was more going on than a scary dream."
  1537.  
  1538. "Yeah. That."
  1539.  
  1540. >Scootaloo sighs and slumps down.
  1541. >Luna tangentially lays a wing over her, just a little but also just enough.
  1542. >Scootaloo sniffles holding back crocodile tears.
  1543.  
  1544. "What is it that makes you so distressed?"
  1545.  
  1546. "Uh… I don't know. The last time you helped me it was because I was scared in real life."
  1547.  
  1548. "And are you not?"
  1549.  
  1550. "No way. Everything has been awesome since… since I started improving the clubhouse."
  1551.  
  1552. "The one in which you are currently sleeping?"
  1553.  
  1554. >Scootaloo doesn't answer.
  1555. >She felt ashamed to be caught in her lies.
  1556.  
  1557. "But "everything is awesome" hasn't always been the case."
  1558.  
  1559. "Well no."
  1560.  
  1561. "You have not had much fortune in your life Scootaloo. The more one has the more they are afraid to lose it."
  1562.  
  1563. "Is it normal?"
  1564.  
  1565. "Most assuredly. It is called paranoia."
  1566.  
  1567. >Scootaloo picks herself up out of her slouch.
  1568.  
  1569. "So I'm gonna be alright?"
  1570.  
  1571. "Once again, most assuredly."
  1572.  
  1573. >Scootaloo hugs the princess.
  1574. >In a most unprincess like way, Luna hugs her back.
  1575. >Luna begins to drift back to her place with the moon when Scootaloo brazenly interrupts her.
  1576.  
  1577. "Wait, if it's so normal, why did you have to come tell me that?"
  1578.  
  1579. "Because Scootaloo, something tells me no one else would have."
  1580.  
  1581. >With her final words she was gone.
  1582. >Leaving the orange pegasus in a much more soothing dream than before.
  1583. >A now fully lucid Scootaloo wasn't ready to wake up though.
  1584. >The revelation that this was HER dream struck.
  1585. >For what it's worth, Scootaloo wanted to fly in it.
  1586. >And maybe there could be Rainbow Dash there.
  1587. >With her fantasized mustache sporting Mr. Rainbow Dash too.
  1588. >Scootaloo was going to soar carefree of her paranoia tonight.
  1589.  
  1590. —----------------------------------------
  1591.  
  1592. >It's another beautiful early day in Ponyville.
  1593. >Celestia raises the sun perfectly.
  1594. >The light shines through the windows of a small filly's bedroom.
  1595. >A delicate perfect yawn escapes from her.
  1596. >She lifts her perfect covers perfectly off herself.
  1597. >And perfectly graces the floorboards with her hooves.
  1598. >She trots over to her door and slams it open.
  1599. >Smushing an eager and ready to attend Silver Spoon.
  1600.  
  1601. "Good… morning… Diamond Tiara."
  1602.  
  1603. >The offending earth pony filly, Diamond Tiara, coughs up some morning phlegm and spits it out.
  1604. >Intercepted by Silver Spoon with a trash bin swiftly escaping her prison between the door and the wall.
  1605. >A trash bin that was in another room.
  1606. >Her desire to please was faster than any other pony.
  1607.  
  1608. "Good morning Silver."
  1609.  
  1610. >Diamond Tiara starts trotting down her hallway.
  1611. >Perfectly one might say.
  1612. >As she moves through her hallway Silver is lightning quick around her, pampering her best friend.
  1613. >Brushing her mane.
  1614. >Brushing her teeth.
  1615. >Licking the ground where her hooves made an impact.
  1616. >And storing that spit in the trash bin with the rest of her collection.
  1617. >The only place Silver didn't follow her to was the bathroom.
  1618. >Instead she waited patiently outside the door.
  1619. >Diamond was a high maintenance filly so Silver, naturally, felt obligated as her best friend to help.
  1620. >Silver had already taken care of her morning routine long before Diamond was awake.
  1621.  
  1622.  
  1623. >When Diamond exits the bathroom Silver is again struck by the door.
  1624. >Almost like she does it on purpose.
  1625. >Diamond was looking like her prim and proper self now, no bedmane or bad breath.
  1626. >She let out a wide yawn and went downstairs for breakfast with Silver in tow.
  1627. >Planting herself down to eat with her muzzle deep inside an issue of Filly Life.
  1628. >Silver was lightning quick positioning everything just so for her friend.
  1629. >Moving her chair, opening the magazine, adding the finishing touches to the small banquet she prepared for Diamond.
  1630. >Sliced fresh fruit, fried flapjacks, chocolate chip golden waffles, hoof-shaved hash browns, crepes, egg whites served scrambled, cold oats in milk, and some fat-free buttered toast with the crust cut off.
  1631. >Diamond picks up the magazine so it stands upright blocking the huge spread from her vision and only takes the toast.
  1632.  
  1633. “Silver, would you get me something to drink?”
  1634.  
  1635. “Yes of course Diamond Tiara.”
  1636.  
  1637. >The gray filly shudders a smidge.
  1638. >Returning with a pitcher of orange juice and a glass to be filled.
  1639. >Diamond doesn’t even thank her.
  1640.  
  1641. “You know that magazine is full of anti-Celestia propaganda.”
  1642.  
  1643. “I just read it for the funnies.”
  1644.  
  1645. “But think of the kind of damage that spreading this sort of anti servant mentally could cause!”
  1646.  
  1647. “Uh huh. Yeah.”
  1648.  
  1649. >Diamond takes a big bite out of her toast.
  1650.  
  1651. >The gray filly watches as each morsel gets ground between Diamond's teeth.
  1652. >She slowly, patiently waits for her friend to finish eating.
  1653. >Tiara takes a few more bites but doesn't finish it.
  1654. >Picking up her own dish and taking it to the sink.
  1655. >With Spoon right behind her who dives head first after the leftovers to savor the last few bites herself.
  1656. >She wasn't even hungry.
  1657. >The rituals of an early morning come to an end and the two fillies leave for school together.
  1658. >Other foals cower in fear as their hooves clop on by.
  1659. >Even a few grown ponies too.
  1660. >When they reach their teacher Ms. Cherilee's class the other students are chatting amongst themselves.
  1661. >When they approach the mingling foals they're still not paying attention to Diamond and Silver.
  1662. >A raised eyebrow, a slight scowl.
  1663. >Diamond is visibly upset, only slightly on the outside.
  1664. >But on the inside, she's absolutely seething.
  1665. >She's a composed filly though.
  1666. >She always knows how to get the attention she wants.
  1667. >No, the attention she deserves.
  1668. >She struts up to the others and Silver circles behind.
  1669. >A maneuver they've practiced before.
  1670.  
  1671. "So like I was saying, the new dress my daddy bought me is so chic."
  1672.  
  1673. "Wowsers I sure would like to see that!"
  1674.  
  1675. >Silver responds wearing a fake mustache and what her and Tiara would describe as, "poor pony clothing".
  1676. >In a flash she's back next to her snobby pink friend, leaving behind her disguise.
  1677. >The false stache and clothes don't even hit the ground first.
  1678.  
  1679. "Like, it's so chic. There's nothing like it in Ponyville."
  1680.  
  1681. "Ah huh. Oh yeah."
  1682.  
  1683. >Diamond stands so proud and full of herself, sure that this will work.
  1684. >But nopony turns their head.
  1685. >She scrunches her nose and mouth in anger.
  1686.  
  1687. "My daddy also bought a new pool with a built-in bar and surround sound system!"
  1688.  
  1689. >The other colts and fillies just do not care.
  1690.  
  1691. "AND COMPLIMENTARY GOLD DIPPED HOOF JOBS!"
  1692.  
  1693. "Really?"
  1694.  
  1695. "Of course not Silver, don't be stupid. I'm just trying to get their attention."
  1696.  
  1697. >Only two ponies were paying any mind to Diamond Tiara's frustrated rambling.
  1698. >Her friend who was quivering at being demeaned.
  1699. >And a grown stallion with a washed out gold coat who starts coming over gleefully.
  1700. >He, however, caught the attention of a nearby policemare.
  1701.  
  1702. "Hey! Not you again!"
  1703.  
  1704. >The two grown ponies chase each other off.
  1705. >Leaving the snobby pair of fillies to themselves again.
  1706. >If her classmates wouldn't listen to her then she'd listen to them.
  1707. >They made a sort of circle that was hard to break into.
  1708. >So Diamond went underneath, crawling on her belly between the other foals' legs.
  1709. >The chatter was becoming clearer.
  1710.  
  1711. "And have you seen the built-in bar?"
  1712.  
  1713. "Forget that, have you heard the surround sound system?"
  1714.  
  1715. "Hey do you guys feel warm?"
  1716.  
  1717. >The warmth in question was Diamond Tiara.
  1718. >She was absolutely fuming now, steam coming off her.
  1719. >The absolute, CELESTIA DAMNED AUDACITY.
  1720. >Some other pony was moving in on her turf.
  1721. >Said turf being impressing ponies with material things.
  1722. >But who?
  1723. >Who was this stupid little around pony?
  1724.  
  1725. "She really is so cool and interesting and smells good too."
  1726.  
  1727. "Yeah, Scootaloo is so awesome!"
  1728.  
  1729. "Her!?"
  1730.  
  1731. >In her rage, Diamond rises exclusively from below.
  1732. >Knocking back a few of her classmates and lifting one fully up by her shoulders.
  1733. >The indignity of it, Scootaloo is a blank flank!
  1734. >How is any of this possible?
  1735. >The filly still being carried around Diamond doesn't seem to even notice her predicament.
  1736. >But somepony's arrival makes her scramble off landing on her face.
  1737. >It's her.
  1738. >Scootaloo and her cutie mark-less friends.
  1739. >All the little ponies rush to surround them, completely ignoring a still seething Diamond Tiara.
  1740.  
  1741. "I think you smell good Diamond Tiara."
  1742.  
  1743. "Shut up Silver."
  1744.  
  1745. —----------------------------------------
  1746.  
  1747. >An average school day in Ponyville is eight hours.
  1748. >Which is four hundred and eighty minutes, minus thirty for lunch and recess.
  1749. >And for four hundred and eighty minutes Diamond Tiara watched Scootaloo.
  1750. >All her attempts to distract the other ponies with her boasts and undermining mockery had no effect.
  1751. >So she resorted to her plan B.
  1752. >Stalking, or a mobile stakeout as she would call it, to find dirt she could blackmail with.
  1753.  
  1754. >Her earlier efforts to manipulate her classmates to do it for her wasn’t very effective.
  1755. >At the bare minimum she was able to at least procure a camera from Featherweight.
  1756. >How hard could taking a good photo be anyways, she didn’t need him.
  1757. >Donning their best disguises, fake mustache and hat combos, DT and Silver expertly track their mark from bush to bush.
  1758. >Or as expert as they thought.
  1759. >Diamond, never doing anything for herself, constantly stumbles and falls trying to dive into bushes.
  1760. >Silver Spoon could have pulled off a stealthy stalk but preferred to follow DT’s example and mucked it up on purpose.
  1761. >If almost everypony wasn’t ignoring her right now they might have even noticed her and Silver’s ruckus.
  1762.  
  1763. —----------------------------------------
  1764.  
  1765. “Have ya’ll noticed Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are following us?”
  1766.  
  1767. “No? Do you mean those two new fillies I’ve never seen before?”
  1768.  
  1769. >Scootaloo gestured her hoof over to the awfully hidden DT and SS.
  1770. >Sweetie Belle glanced in the respective direction and looked puzzled.
  1771.  
  1772. “There’s been ponies following us?”
  1773.  
  1774. >Applebloom decided now was a good time for her hoof to get acquainted with her face.
  1775. >Violently, disappointingly acquainted.
  1776.  
  1777. —----------------------------------------
  1778.  
  1779. >The two snobby fillies continue to follow the Crusaders.
  1780. >Although Applebloom keeps looking over her shoulder, Scootaloo assures her there’s nothing to worry about.
  1781. >They follow them back to Sweet Apple Acres.
  1782. >Up to the clubhouse.
  1783. >Diamond and Silver climb a nearby tree to gain a better look.
  1784. >Silver Spoon promptly positions her back for DT to use as a step ladder.
  1785. >Diamond does not help her friend up.
  1786. >This selfish neglect thrills the tiny gray pony.
  1787. >She scrambles up the tree by herself to join DT who is waiting and watching through the clubhouse window.
  1788.  
  1789. “What are they doing?”
  1790.  
  1791. “They’re just… lounging. Reading Filly Life I think.”
  1792.  
  1793. “The traitorous degenerates.”
  1794.  
  1795. >They watch the Crusaders for a while.
  1796. >Sweetie, Bloom, and Scoots spend their time reading their magazines, explaining to Scootaloo why the latest thing she showed a townspony about her private parts was a bad idea, and making plans for new ways to get their cutie marks.
  1797. >The pair of peeping Toms come down with a case of heavy eyelids.
  1798. >They're about to fully drift off when finally some juicy material catches their ears.
  1799.  
  1800. “Y'all there's no way we're fittin’ that.”
  1801.  
  1802. “Alright I got an idea. Applebloom you grab it and Sweetie Belle can hold my mouth open.”
  1803.  
  1804. >Silver Spoon, who is obviously more excited, clambers over her friend to see what's going on.
  1805. >In her haste she knocks Diamond Tiara and herself out of their vantage spot.
  1806.  
  1807. “What's the matter with you?”
  1808.  
  1809. “I'm so sorry Diamond Tiara. I just- I just really needed to see.”
  1810.  
  1811. >Wet sloppy sounds were coming from the clubhouse now.
  1812. >Coughing, gagging, the Crusaders were making quite a lot of noise.
  1813. >While the one step above upper middle class fillies awkwardly and hurriedly clambered up the tree and each other.
  1814. >Diamond had a smug grin on her face.
  1815. >About time she got some real dirt on these blank flanks.
  1816. >She aimed the camera out of focus at the Crusaders.
  1817. >Sweetie Belle and Applebloom were trying to force a comically sized cob of corn down Scootaloo's throat.
  1818. >Scoot however, is unable to keep it down.
  1819. >She ejects it from her mouth.
  1820.  
  1821. “Stop stop stop! I can't take it anymore.”
  1822.  
  1823. “Ah don't think we're gettin’ our cutie marks for the corn eating contest.”
  1824.  
  1825. “Dumb corn. I was so sure after Deep Throat got her cutie mark from eating.”
  1826.  
  1827. “What was it ya’ll heard about her cutie mark again? She got it from sucking a banana through the peel?”
  1828.  
  1829. >Scootaloo retrieves the saliva covered corn and munches on it normally.
  1830. >Sweetie smiles and looks right through Applebloom.
  1831.  
  1832. “I heard she sucked a whole bunch!”
  1833.  
  1834. >Diamond and Silver Spoon were about to give away their cover.
  1835. >The urge to laugh at Sweetie Belle’s naive innocence was too strong.
  1836. >But they were saved by somepony coincidently doing the same thing as them.
  1837. >Rainbow Dash who had mastered the art of spying on Scootaloo and holding in her laughter elbowed the two sneaking fillies.
  1838.  
  1839. “Can you believe these kids?”
  1840.  
  1841. >Rainbow was snorting and wheezing to herself, expertly containing herself.
  1842. >While they were saved from their own laughter, the sudden appearance of this grown pegasus shocked Diamond and Silver enough to lose their balance again and fall from the tree.
  1843. >Again.
  1844.  
  1845. “Where did you come from?!”
  1846.  
  1847. “Oh. I was hovering above your tree. Nopony ever looks up.”
  1848.  
  1849. “Is somepony there?”
  1850.  
  1851. >The crusaders finally noticed this time and came to the treehouse window to inspect the area.
  1852. >Rainbow Dash had already rocketed away leaving the two fillies outside to scramble for concealment behind their tree.
  1853. >They hid with their hearts nearly breaking through their chests.
  1854. >A few moments go by.
  1855. >Diamond and Silver hear the three Crusaders crunching the brush underneath as they come close.
  1856. >They're about to be spotted.
  1857.  
  1858. “Applebloom! It's time for supper!”
  1859.  
  1860. “Okay! Comin’ Granny!”
  1861.  
  1862. >Saved by the geezer.
  1863.  
  1864. “Alright I gotta go. Ah’ll bring ya back somethin’ Scootaloo.”
  1865.  
  1866. “Thanks.”
  1867.  
  1868. >The three filly friends exchange their goodbyes, hug, and head home.
  1869. >One goes towards the Apple house.
  1870. >One goes back towards town.
  1871. >And one goes into the clubhouse again.
  1872. >This turn of events isn't lost on Diamond Tiara.
  1873. >She makes her way back into the branches above, aided by standing on Silver’s back.
  1874. >She watches through the window once more.
  1875. >Scootaloo's by herself in there, not leaving.
  1876. >Why isn't she leaving Diamond thinks.
  1877. >DT and Silver Spoon keep watching and waiting, expecting her to leave.
  1878. >Time goes by, Applebloom keeps her word and comes back with some food.
  1879. >Bloom stays with Scootaloo while she eats, then leaves and says goodbye for the second time.
  1880. >More time passes.
  1881. >As things get less interesting for Silver they become more interesting for Diamond.
  1882. >Scootaloo washes up with her Film and Flam patented Rainwater Catcher Plumbing Automater™.
  1883. >She puts on her Rainbow Dash nightcap, getting into her bed with her Rainbow Dash pillows.
  1884. >Of which Diamond doesn't understand why one has a mustache.
  1885. >And she goes to sleep.
  1886. >Silver has also gone to dreamland by this point, but not Diamond.
  1887. >Scootaloo was squatting in the clubhouse.
  1888. >DT was running scenarios, leverage, anything in her little filly brain to work this.
  1889. >A homeless foal?
  1890. >Somepony might take an issue with that, send her away to be properly taken care of.
  1891. >How unfortunate that Diamond would be the pony to learn this secret.
  1892. >She took her pictures, sloppily but incriminating.
  1893. >All through the night till morning she watched and captured blackmail.
  1894. >Her especially favorite ones were in the early hours when Scootaloo woke up.
  1895. >Scootaloo took a lot of care to hide traces of her living there.
  1896. >Now it meant nothing.
  1897. >With her work concluded Tiara collapsed, rousing her friend in the process.
  1898. >Silver was pleasantly surprised by her wake up cuddles even if unintentional.
  1899. >But this is no place for her queen to sleep.
  1900. >She didn't see a sign of anypony and so, carefully shouldered her friend down the tree.
  1901. >Diamond will be able to celebrate her victory after she's had a well deserved nap at home in her own bed.
  1902. >With Silver also in her bed.
  1903. >Or maybe just the floor.
  1904. >Silver mulls over her options as she trots them both home.
  1905.  
  1906. —----------------------------------------
  1907.  
  1908. >The next day at Ms. Cherilee's class two fillies are absent.
  1909. >Not that anypony noticed so far.
  1910. >They are all still enamored by Scootaloo's mature bachelorette lifestyle.
  1911. >”Wow Scootaloo you're so cool! And I bet Rainbow Dash would marry you and let you join the Wonderbolts if you asked her!”
  1912. >Scootaloo might be embellishing her memory a tad.
  1913. >She was daydreaming while Ms. Cherilee was giving a lecture about the dangers of rebellious republics.
  1914. >Something to do with a popular magazine company.
  1915. >Scootaloo wasn't really paying attention.
  1916. >She couldn't wait for the bell to ring.
  1917. >Applebloom and Sweetie Belle were gonna help her figure out how to install a Jacuzzi.
  1918. >Finally, an inquisitive pony looks around.
  1919.  
  1920. “Have y'all seen Diamond Tiara or Silver Spoon?”
  1921.  
  1922. “You know, I couldn't quite put my finger on why I was having a really great day!”
  1923.  
  1924. >Bloom and Belle are shushed by their teacher for interrupting.
  1925. >They muffle their snickering.
  1926. >The rest of the school day passes without much else.
  1927. >When the foals are let out the Crusaders are brazenly chatting amongst themselves.
  1928.  
  1929. “This Jacuzzi is gonna be so awesome!”
  1930.  
  1931. “Jacuzzi? Now what the hay are ya talkin’ ‘bout? I said ‘smoothie’. Ya know? Like a blender.”
  1932.  
  1933. “We'll be able to party with some real studs with that Jacuzzi.”
  1934.  
  1935. “Yeah. Studs like Rainbow Dash!”
  1936.  
  1937. >Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo are totally oblivious to Applebloom’s collection.
  1938. >They were too busy fantasizing about all those “studs” they know.
  1939. >Like…
  1940. >Uh…
  1941.  
  1942. “You won't be smoothing any studs, blank flanks.”
  1943.  
  1944. >The Crusaders were ambushed from behind by Diamond Tiara.
  1945. >With Silver Spoon directly behind her hyping her up with oooh's, yeah’s, and aggressive hoof gestures insinuating the blank flanks had now fucked up.
  1946.  
  1947. “Whatta y'all want?”
  1948.  
  1949. “Oh it's not what I want. It's what Scootaloo wants.”
  1950.  
  1951. “Yeah, what Scootaloo wants!”
  1952.  
  1953. >Diamond shushes her friend’s yes-mareing.
  1954. >Silver is just thrilled seeing DT be so assertive and dominant.
  1955.  
  1956. “There's nothing Scootaloo could ever want from you bullies.”
  1957.  
  1958. “You said it Sweetie.”
  1959.  
  1960. >Applebloom and Sweetie Belle were eager to defend their friend.
  1961.  
  1962. “Oh well I guess if Scootaloo doesn't want to hear what I have to say then maybe somepony else will.”
  1963.  
  1964. “You said it Diamond Tiara.”
  1965.  
  1966. >DT and SS turn around and begin strutting away.
  1967. >A simple maneuver but one sure to work on Scootaloo's paranoia.
  1968. >Diamond knows it won't take more than a few feet before a certain scared filly changes her mind.
  1969.  
  1970. “Wait!”
  1971.  
  1972. “That's what I thought. Come along now and we'll talk.”
  1973.  
  1974. >Scootaloo grumbles and starts to follow the two menacing fillies.
  1975. >Her friends try to but before they can take one hoof forward they're swiftly stopped by Silver Spoon.
  1976. >Diamond does the talking.
  1977.  
  1978. “Ahem. Just Scootaloo.”
  1979.  
  1980. “No way we're lettin’ y'all do that.”
  1981.  
  1982. >Scootaloo looks at her friends.
  1983. >She looks at Diamond.
  1984. >She’s scared to be on her own, but even more scared of DT.
  1985.  
  1986. “I'll be fine girls. I can take care of myself.”
  1987.  
  1988. >Diamond Tiara “ahem”’s louder and with more coughing and phlegm.
  1989. >The two Crusaders give their third a concerned look.
  1990. >Scootaloo gives them a reassuring smile and wink.
  1991. >It is obvious to all that she doesn't believe in it.
  1992. >Scoots follows the bully pair just out of ear shot behind the schoolhouse.
  1993. >They have devious, smug smiles when they look at her.
  1994. >The anticipation is killing Scootaloo.
  1995.  
  1996. “Will you just tell me what I ‘want’ already?”
  1997.  
  1998. “Hmm. Isn't it obvious? YOU want to cancel your Rainbow Dash club meetings. YOU want to stop bragging about your poor hovel. YOU want to do everything I tell you to do.”
  1999.  
  2000. “Why in the name of Celestia would I want to do any of that!?”
  2001.  
  2002. >Diamond moves in close, whispering distance.
  2003. >A chill runs up Scootaloo's spine and she quivers.
  2004.  
  2005. “Because I know your secret. I know you're a disgusting, deplorable homeless filly.”
  2006.  
  2007. >Scootaloo recoils away from Diamond, but she’s walled off by Silver standing from behind.
  2008.  
  2009. “And not only that, you're helpless too. Just imagine what a policemare would think? A foal living on her own, squatting in a tree? Why, anypony would be compelled to do the right thing and take you away for your own good. You could end up in a home far away from here.”
  2010.  
  2011. >Diamond and Silver flank Scootaloo from both sides.
  2012. >Diamond is practically burying her muzzle into Scootaloo's ear.
  2013. >Silver is sweating from excitement.
  2014.  
  2015. “And you'll never see your lame friends again.”
  2016.  
  2017. >Diamond twirls away and turns her back to Scoot.
  2018. >Who is terrified on the verge of tears.
  2019.  
  2020. “Unless you do everything I say. It's what you want after all.”
  2021.  
  2022. >Scootaloo drops to the ground and hides in her hooves.
  2023.  
  2024. “I'll take that as a yes. I'll let you enjoy the rest of the day at least. Aren't I so merciful?”
  2025.  
  2026. >Diamond gives a haughty laugh and a mane flip towards the crying filly.
  2027. >She takes her exit.
  2028. >Silver copies the movements and gestures of her friend.
  2029. >With an added deep, inhaling whiff of Scootaloo.
  2030. >Aww, the sweet smell of suffering.
  2031. >After which Silver scurried off to catch up with Diamond.
  2032. >Leaving a defeated, hopeless filly behind.
  2033. >Scootaloo was indeed feeling defeated and void of hope.
  2034. >For a few moments she succumbed to it.
  2035. >Then she thought, what would Rainbow Dash do?
  2036. >Rainbow Dash would get back up and be loyal to her friends.
  2037. >No price is too high for them.
  2038. >So she picks herself up, wipes the tears from her eyes, and returns to her friends.
  2039. >They're still where she left them, patiently waiting for her.
  2040. >Just standing there.
  2041. >Staring off into the void.
  2042. >Confidently, she trots over and prepares to explain to them.
  2043. >The truth.
  2044.  
  2045. “So I just totally told those bullies off!”
  2046.  
  2047. “R-really?”
  2048.  
  2049. “Y-yeah.”
  2050.  
  2051. >Applebloom doesn’t seem entirely convinced.
  2052. >Sweetie Belle does.
  2053. >Separately they both decide it’s best to trust your friends and don’t press Scootaloo.
  2054. >Which suits Scoots just fine.
  2055. >She would do anything to keep her friends but would rather they didn’t know how much of a coward she was.
  2056. >At least as she perceives it.
  2057. >Diamond did say she has the rest of the day to enjoy.
  2058. >So she would enjoy it with her best friends.
  2059. >Acting as if nothing was wrong, the Cutie Mark Crusaders trotted off together to their clubhouse.
  2060.  
  2061. —----------------------------------------
  2062.  
  2063. >Mornings in Ponyville are still sleepy for most.
  2064. >Especially this early, so early the sun has yet to rise.
  2065. >Not even the Apple family is up this early.
  2066. >There is a little pony up this early though.
  2067. >It’s Silver Spoon.
  2068. >She is violently shaking Scootaloo awake.
  2069.  
  2070. “Wake up new me.”
  2071.  
  2072. >Scootaloo screams
  2073.  
  2074. “Stop screaming!”
  2075.  
  2076. >Silver stuffs a hoof in Scootaloo’s mouth, gagging her.
  2077.  
  2078. “I’m going to take my hoof away and you’re going to be calm ok?”
  2079.  
  2080. >Scootaloo nods her head.
  2081. >Silver pulls her hoof away.
  2082. >Scootaloo almost screams again but covers her own mouth.
  2083. >Silver rolls her eyes and sighs.
  2084.  
  2085. “Your new life starts now. We’ve gotta get everything ready for Diamond Tiara to start her day. I had to take time coming over here so you’ve only got five minutes to get ready.”
  2086.  
  2087. >Scootaloo awkwardly stumbles on three legs instead of removing her hoof from her mouth.
  2088. >Leaning on anything close by she styles her mane away from her bed head.
  2089. >Somehow it looks even messier after she fusses with it.
  2090. >She slowly takes her hoof from her mouth in the same way somepony might open a bottle of recently shaken soda.
  2091. >Can't brush her teeth while gagged.
  2092. >The bristles are less than a dick-width from her teeth but she is yanked away by Silver Spoon.
  2093.  
  2094. “Alright we’re outta time. Start heading to town and I’ll meet you.”
  2095.  
  2096. “But-”
  2097.  
  2098. >Scootaloo is cut short again as Silver throws her out the door.
  2099. >She groans and starts heading down.
  2100. >Sounds of Silver cleaning and moving things fade away as Scootaloo gets further from home.
  2101. >She’s just about into the actual limits of Ponyville when she stops.
  2102. >Scootaloo doesn’t actually know where Tiara lives.
  2103. >Turning around to go back to the treehouse, Scootaloo comes face to face with Silver.
  2104. >She reflexively covers her mouth to muffle her scream.
  2105. >Again.
  2106.  
  2107. “I hid your squalor for you. You can thank me by not freaking out at me every time.”
  2108.  
  2109. “I don’t know where Diamond lives.”
  2110.  
  2111. “First of all, you will refer to her as Diamond TIARA.”
  2112.  
  2113. >Scootaloo rolls her eyes.
  2114.  
  2115. “Secondly, just follow me. You better remember this because I’m not fetching you tomorrow.”
  2116.  
  2117. >Silver doesn’t wait for a reply from Scoots.
  2118. >She immediately starts trotting away, presumably towards Diamond’s house.
  2119. >Scootaloo wished she thought of some sort of cool comeback.
  2120. >Something to hold onto her defiance.
  2121. >She blows a silent raspberry at the gray filly’s back.
  2122. >Then she starts following.
  2123. >A few minutes go by.
  2124.  
  2125. “When we get there we must be quiet but quick, precise yet profound.”
  2126.  
  2127. “What does that mean?”
  2128.  
  2129. “Ugh. It means it is impossible for lesser ponies like us to even understand what or why Diamond Tiara could be hungry for. So we must cast a wide net to even come close to her wants and needs.”
  2130.  
  2131. “So we make a bunch of food that she doesn’t even eat?”
  2132.  
  2133. “Yes.”
  2134.  
  2135. “That’s stupid.”
  2136.  
  2137. “You’re stupid!”
  2138.  
  2139. >Silver stops to turn to Scootaloo.
  2140. >An expression of frustration turns to guilt.
  2141.  
  2142. “I’m… I’m sorry. That was brutish of me.”
  2143.  
  2144. “Um, it’s alright. Let’s just go already.”
  2145.  
  2146. >They awkwardly carry on without saying another word until reaching their destination.
  2147. >Diamond lives in a big fancy mansion, including a gate.
  2148. >Silver waves Scootaloo over to give her a boost.
  2149.  
  2150. “Don’t you have a key or something?”
  2151.  
  2152. “You know, Diamond Tiara did offer but I declined. Now give me a hoof.”
  2153.  
  2154. >Scootaloo performs an expert facehoof.
  2155. >But she still comes over to assist Silver climbing the gate.
  2156. >Silver returns the favor from the top and both fillies pull each other over the edge tumbling into the hedges.
  2157. >They brush themselves off and go towards a window.
  2158.  
  2159. “Let me guess, you don’t have a key for the front door?”
  2160.  
  2161. “No but I make sure to leave this unlocked.”
  2162.  
  2163. “Then why don’t you just leave the gate unlocked?”
  2164.  
  2165. “Don’t be silly.”
  2166.  
  2167. >To Silver it makes perfect sense.
  2168. >She enters the house like a burglar with Scootaloo behind.
  2169.  
  2170. “You know how to cook right?”
  2171.  
  2172. “Oh yeah, totally.”
  2173.  
  2174. >Scootaloo grips a meat mallet.
  2175. >By the wrong end.
  2176. >Now it was Silver's turn to facehoof.
  2177. >She would have gotten up way earlier if she'd known Scootaloo needed to be taught servants’ skills.
  2178. >Silver goes down a list of things that should be easy enough for Scootaloo.
  2179. >Strawberry cream filled French toast?
  2180. >She can't do that.
  2181. >Quiche Lorraine?
  2182. >Can't do that either.
  2183. >Halloumi and Zucchini Frittata?
  2184. >Scootaloo mocks Silver Spoon, placing her hoof over her head with a, “durr, I don't know.”
  2185. >Silver groans and gives her two slices of bread.
  2186. >Not even she could screw up toast.
  2187. >But she wouldn't be making it for a while anyways.
  2188.  
  2189. “Ugh, just hold stuff for me when I tell you.”
  2190.  
  2191. “Alright.”
  2192.  
  2193. >Scootaloo does not have her heart in that response.
  2194. >Regardless, Silver sets to work on the rest of the dishes.
  2195. >For somepony who Scootaloo expected never did anything for themselves, Silver was rather adept at what she calls servant work.
  2196. >Scootaloo almost felt sorry that all this hard work was going to waste.
  2197. >But not so bad that she wasn't still malicious.
  2198. >Holding things awkwardly for her chef, purposely being slow or not hearing instructions.
  2199. >Despite this, they finish in time before Diamond wakes up.
  2200. >With everything spread out and ready, including the controversial Filly Life issue, they head upstairs.
  2201. >Silver looks at the door to Diamond Tiara’s bedroom, knowing what's to come.
  2202.  
  2203. “Scootaloo, place yourself… here.”
  2204.  
  2205. >Silver guides the pegasus filly to her usual spot.
  2206. >Right where the door would usually hit.
  2207. >Silver starts to feel something inside her.
  2208. >Guilt?
  2209. >No of course not.
  2210. >But maybe it's pity.
  2211. >Which is basically the same thing.
  2212.  
  2213. “Actually, go to the other side. That's my spot.”
  2214.  
  2215. “Whatever.”
  2216.  
  2217. >The gall of this filly.
  2218. >Just as Silver was trying to help her.
  2219. >The door swings open and hits Silver.
  2220. >Now Scootaloo was feeling something.
  2221. >Guilt possibly?
  2222. >No way, these ponies were blackmailing her into indentured servitude.
  2223. >It's gotta be pity.
  2224. >She may be an uptight snob like her friend but maybe it wasn't all Silver’s fault.
  2225. >Maybe she's just as manipulated as Scootaloo is.
  2226. >Silver peels away from the door and signals Scootaloo with a hoof gesture.
  2227. >She meant to inform Scootaloo, “Watch me”.
  2228. >Diamond exits her room and like every morning hacks and coughs up her morning ick for Silver.
  2229. >The three start trotting down the hallway and Scootaloo is impressed.
  2230. >She's never seen anypony move that fast except for Rainbow Dash.
  2231.  
  2232. >She can’t believe all the things Silver does for DT.
  2233. >She would almost be impressed if she wasn’t holding both of these fillies in contempt.
  2234. >They all follow each other downstairs and Diamond sits down to eat.
  2235. >She picks the toast again.
  2236. >The agony Silver is experiencing could distort spacetime.
  2237. >Scootaloo hadn’t had anything to eat yet and Diamond wasn’t going to eat anything else here.
  2238. >Why let it go to waste?
  2239. >She reaches for a plate of french toast.
  2240. >*SLAM*
  2241. >Diamond shot a look of daggers at Scootaloo as she brought down her hoof.
  2242.  
  2243. “The servant does not eat before or with the master.”
  2244.  
  2245. >There’s a tinge of disgust in her voice.
  2246. >Scootaloo notices that Silver isn’t eating either.
  2247. >For once in a while, Diamond ate her whole slice of toast.
  2248. >Slowly.
  2249.  
  2250. “The first thing you’re gonna do is stop inviting everypony in our class over to your hovel. No more parties, no more club meetings.”
  2251.  
  2252. “No way! I could never cut the Rainbow Dash Fan Club out like that.”
  2253.  
  2254. “Well it’s either that or off to the poor house.”
  2255.  
  2256. “But I-”
  2257.  
  2258. “And don’t talk back to me.”
  2259.  
  2260. >Diamond takes another bite.
  2261. >After eternity passes watching this pink filly eat she finally gets up to leave.
  2262. >Silver hangs back.
  2263.  
  2264. “Did you really need that one spelled out for you?”
  2265.  
  2266. >Scootaloo looks numb.
  2267. >She is incapable of handling her situation.
  2268. >Silver grabs a pancake.
  2269.  
  2270. “Just eat this. Don’t mess up next time. You made her eat the whole thing.”
  2271.  
  2272. >Silver begrudgingly munches on what would have been DT’s food.
  2273. >She scorns Scootaloo for messing up her attempt to eat toast that had touched Diamond Tiara’s lips.
  2274. >But they still need to eat.
  2275. >She assumed Scootaloo had never had food of this quality, so she should be thankful.
  2276. >Scootaloo was just happy to eat something.
  2277. >She’d be even happier if despite her anxiety she could hold it down.
  2278. >They eat in silence.
  2279. >Diamond pokes her head back into the room.
  2280.  
  2281. “Hello! Let’s go!”
  2282.  
  2283. >Silver leaves her breakfast on the table and motions for Scootaloo to follow.
  2284. >Scootaloo complies.
  2285. >The three fillies trot together to school.
  2286.  
  2287. “You can hang around with us for today.”
  2288.  
  2289. “Oh I can? No thanks I’d rather-”
  2290.  
  2291. “You must have misheard me. You WILL hang around with us for today. Until I decide otherwise.”
  2292.  
  2293. >With Diamond at the front of the pack Scootaloo opens her mouth and raises her hoof to rebel.
  2294. >Silver, trotting next to her, lowers Scootaloo’s hoof and shakes her head in disagreement.
  2295. >She’s got a lot to learn.
  2296. >They continue in silence the rest of the way.
  2297. >When they arrive Diamond lights up, boasting to everypony.
  2298. >With no more competition it's easy to sway the fillies and colts to her side again.
  2299. >Now that Scootaloo is another pony under her hoof.
  2300. >But somepony still remembers Scootaloo.
  2301. >Two someponies.
  2302.  
  2303. “Scootaloo? What are ya doin?”
  2304.  
  2305. >Diamond is distracted, soaking up the attention she craves.
  2306. >Scootaloo shuffles over to her friends.
  2307.  
  2308. “Uh. What's up?”
  2309.  
  2310. “What do you mean ‘what's up’? First this mornin’ Ah couldn't find ya and now that I do you're hanging around those bullies.”
  2311.  
  2312. “Oh them? They're hanging around ME.”
  2313.  
  2314. “What does that even mean?”
  2315.  
  2316. “Oh Sweetie Belle, it means uh…”
  2317.  
  2318. >Scootaloo starts to feel the pressure.
  2319. >She really should have planned ahead.
  2320. >Maybe if she wasn't rudely awakened before Celestia had even thought of raising the sun.
  2321. >Scootaloo tries to play it cool.
  2322. >She leans on Applebloom while addressing them both.
  2323.  
  2324. “Well you know how Diamond gets. She just can't handle somepony else having the spotlight so I'm letting her hang out with me. Letting some of my cool rub off on her.”
  2325.  
  2326. >Sweetie shrugs her off as Applebloom gives her a doubting glare.
  2327. >The orange filly gulps.
  2328.  
  2329. “Totally.”
  2330.  
  2331. “Well I guess that makes sense. Diamond Tiara is the jealous type. But why would you help her?”
  2332.  
  2333. >Both of her friends stare down Scootaloo as she slightly retreats her head.
  2334.  
  2335. “Just following those friendship lessons?”
  2336.  
  2337. >Their stares become smiles.
  2338. >Sweetie speaks.
  2339.  
  2340. “Yeah that makes sense”
  2341.  
  2342. “Uh huh. But I'm still working with her right now so why don't you let me fly this one solo for now?”
  2343.  
  2344. “Are ya sure?”
  2345.  
  2346. “Totally.”
  2347.  
  2348. “Well, Ah guess we'll see ya later then?”
  2349.  
  2350. >Scootaloo frantically nods her head and takes off back to her captors.
  2351. >She wipes a sweat bead from her brow thinking she's in the clear.
  2352. >But Diamond finishes with her classmates and turns the corner of her eye to Scootaloo.
  2353.  
  2354. “Smooth moves blank flank. I can't wait to see how you break it to your fan club.”
  2355.  
  2356. >Diamond Tiara trots away with a smug expression as Cherilee calls her students in.
  2357. >Silver follows close behind.
  2358. >Scootaloo fights the urge to cry as she lags along too.
  2359. >It was one thing to hurt her, but the fanclub?
  2360. >There's no way she could let down the Dashers and Dashettes.
  2361. >No matter what Diamond says she can't do that to the club.
  2362. >She sucks it up.
  2363. >Trotting to her seat, she thinks to herself, I'll just have to be clever.
  2364. >Maybe some help from her friends?
  2365. >She can just play it cool and they'll help her pull something off.
  2366. >If they could just distract DT and Silver.
  2367. >Her train of thought is interrupted by Cherilee starting the lesson.
  2368. >She's prattling about some history lesson.
  2369. >Something about the roots of an anti-Celestia rebellion and media companies.
  2370. >It barely takes her away from her planning.
  2371.  
  2372. —----------------------------------------
  2373.  
  2374. >The colts and fillies are sent out for recess.
  2375. >A scared orange filly is wracked with guilt.
  2376. >But she knows her friends will be there for her.
  2377. >That's why she has to lie to them to protect them and the Official Rainbow Dash fan club.
  2378. >Diamond hasn’t been able to torment her in the middle of class.
  2379. >So it can't be long before she starts up again.
  2380. >Scootaloo looked around for her fellow Crusaders.
  2381.  
  2382. “Scootaloo? We need to talk.”
  2383.  
  2384. >The voice of Sweetie Belle came from right behind her.
  2385. >She turns to face her two friends.
  2386.  
  2387. “Oh, hey. What's up Swibble?”
  2388.  
  2389. “When have you ever called me that?”
  2390.  
  2391. “Um. Like, all the time.”
  2392.  
  2393. “Scootaloo, we know you're hiding something.”
  2394.  
  2395. >Scootaloo’s muzzle scrunched up.
  2396.  
  2397. “I don't know what you're talking about. I just need your help with something.”
  2398.  
  2399. >Sweetie Belle leans in close.
  2400. >She cranes her neck in closer.
  2401. >She stares Scootaloo down, eye to eye, their pupils nanometers apart.
  2402.  
  2403. “Alright I believe you.”
  2404.  
  2405. “Really?”
  2406.  
  2407. “Really?”
  2408.  
  2409. >Both Scootaloo and Applebloom responded.
  2410. >Although one in surprise and the other in disappointment.
  2411.  
  2412. “Of course. You're our friend and you need our help so let's help you.”
  2413.  
  2414. “Okay. Yeah okay. I've just had my hands full with Diamond Tiara and SS. Would you um, maybe go distrac- hang out with them for a bit?”
  2415.  
  2416. “Is that all? Easy as pie. Come on Applebloom.”
  2417.  
  2418. >Sweetie smiles as she nudges Bloom to follow her.
  2419. >Applebloom obliges with reservations.
  2420. >She whispers under her breath.
  2421.  
  2422. “Sweetie Belle? Ya know she's lyin’ right?”
  2423.  
  2424. “What I know is that our friend needs us right now.”
  2425.  
  2426. “Ah guess so, but did you notice she called Silver Spoon ‘SS’?
  2427.  
  2428. “Hmm?”
  2429.  
  2430. >Applebloom sighs.
  2431.  
  2432. “But ya do know she's lyin’?”
  2433.  
  2434. >Sweetie Belle doesn't reply while her and Applebloom go hunt down Diamond and “SS”.
  2435. >Leaving Scootaloo to spread the word of her secret meeting.
  2436. >Like a clandestine revolutionary she makes her way to each of the members.
  2437. >Passing notes, passing whispers, talking in code that nopony understands so she has to explain it to them plainly anyways.
  2438. >She bumped into another filly doing the same tactics.
  2439. >She was wearing a red band around her front leg.
  2440.  
  2441. “Hey fellow freedom fighter. How goes the good fight?”
  2442.  
  2443. “What are you talking about?”
  2444.  
  2445. >Just then, the policemare came into view.
  2446. >The red band filly reared in surprise.
  2447.  
  2448. “The red dawn strikes the sun comrade!”
  2449.  
  2450. >She scurried away.
  2451. >A confused Scootaloo brushes it off and continues spreading her secret meeting.
  2452. >She reaches out to each and every pony in the club.
  2453. >They were to have a secret meeting at night.
  2454. >She had prepared this whole story about how rival fanclubs were spying on them to steal their…
  2455. >But none of the club members even asked why there was a time change.
  2456. >One just said her mom can't make snacks this time since she'll be asleep.
  2457. >With her message delivered Scootaloo quietly reintegrated herself with her friends and captors.
  2458.  
  2459. “And it's super important that the sleeves are huge and bigger at the end!”
  2460.  
  2461. >Sweetie Belle had been telling Diamond and Silver the inside scoop on the latest high fashion trend from Canterlot.
  2462. >JNCO styled jean dresses.
  2463.  
  2464. “Are you sure? Sounds like a bold faced lie to me.”
  2465.  
  2466. >It was a bold faced lie.
  2467.  
  2468. “Definitely. And don't forget the sequins.”
  2469.  
  2470. “Man those Canterlot mares sure do come up with crazy ideas.”
  2471.  
  2472. >Scootaloo said as if she was there the whole time.
  2473. >Before any further questioning could take place the schoolhouse bell rang out.
  2474. >The little fillies and colts groaned as they returned inside.
  2475. >Sweetie Belle gave a reassuring smile to Scootaloo as they went in and separated.
  2476. >Apple Bloom was still unsure but followed closely behind, also giving a smile to her pegasus friend.
  2477. >For most of the students nothing was very different.
  2478. >They thought about what flavor of cupcake they'd eat when they got home.
  2479. >For Scootaloo though, she felt as though there were two sets of daggers scraping and working their way into the back of her head.
  2480. >One from her friends or more specifically Apple Bloom.
  2481. >The other from Diamond and Silver.
  2482. >She has to go to sleep at some point, Scootaloo thought.
  2483. >She'll have her moment under the cloak of night.
  2484. >Nopony was going to take away the Rainbow Dash Fanclub from her.
  2485. >The day crawls to its end.
  2486. >Ms. Cherilee sends the little foals away.
  2487. >Applebloom and Sweetie think about questioning their friend again.
  2488. >But she's already off with her captors.
  2489. >The orders Scootaloo receives are physically undemanding but demeaning.
  2490. >Such as being told to lay her tail over puddles and mud so as not to let filth touch Diamond Tiara’s hooves.
  2491. >Though she could just walk around them.
  2492. >Scootaloo accompanies them shopping, being forced to wear ill-fitting clothing for Diamond’s amusement.
  2493. >Diamond even tells her to eat a bug.
  2494. >The joke is on her though.
  2495. >Scootaloo would have eaten the bug for nothing.
  2496. >DT grows tired.
  2497. >She needs her beauty sleep.
  2498. >Scootaloo’s last duty for the night is to walk her home.
  2499. >At least this time Silver and Scoot don't have to hop the gate.
  2500. >Diamond lets out a dramatic yawn at her front door.
  2501.  
  2502. “Well. I guess you're free to go.”
  2503.  
  2504. “Ugh, finally.”
  2505.  
  2506. “Oh ho don't get uppity with me. You're done for today. I'll expect you back in the morning to make my breakfast with Silver.”
  2507.  
  2508. “But I-”
  2509.  
  2510. “You really need to work on your back talking.”
  2511.  
  2512. >Diamond leaves Scootaloo behind as she and Silver go into her home.
  2513. >Silver gets intimately close with her friend, slouching her neck so she can look up at Diamond Tiara.
  2514. >Her voice becomes breathy and heavy.
  2515.  
  2516. “I love the way you handled that.”
  2517.  
  2518. >The door shuts tight.
  2519. >Scootaloo stands alone, outside, in the dark.
  2520. >Her burdens feel heavy.
  2521. >But she also feels excited.
  2522. >Sneaking around at night, even just to spite Diamond would be enough.
  2523. >She grins smugly.
  2524. >Until she realizes the gate is locked and she must climb it again.
  2525. >Darn.
  2526.  
  2527. —----------------------------------------
  2528.  
  2529. >Two foals wearing hoods approach each other in the dark of night.
  2530. >One lights a lantern close to their face.
  2531. >They wave high at each other.
  2532. >They lift up their hoods which in the light are Rainbow Dash Official Brand wigs.
  2533. >They’re meeting with the rest of the club on the outskirts of town to have their Official Rainbow Dash Secret Club Meeting™.
  2534. >All the fillies and colts have assembled with Scootaloo getting ready to lead the meeting.
  2535. >She doesn’t have her podium to make a standing speech in front of everypony.
  2536. >So instead she hides behind a tree and some bushes to at least appear for the club.
  2537. >Her head is full of talking points.
  2538. >The theme song she’d been working on was finally ready to debut.
  2539. >Scootaloo is about to trot out.
  2540. >A ghost taps her rear.
  2541. >She turns around to see Silver Spoon, Diamond, and one of the club members ashamedly looking down at their hooves.
  2542. >Diamond speaks in a violent whisper.
  2543.  
  2544. “Just what do you think you’re doing?”
  2545.  
  2546. “I… I… I…”
  2547.  
  2548. >Scootaloo’s eyes darted between Diamond and the fan club member.
  2549. >She feels nauseous.
  2550.  
  2551. “You are going to go out there and tell them that your meeting is canceled. You’re going to do it right now or a little birdie is going to alert the Foal Protection Services!”
  2552.  
  2553. >Her eyes shrink.
  2554. >Her breathing gets heavy as she hyperventilates.
  2555. >Diamond is getting impatient.
  2556. >Scootaloo keeps looking back at the club member.
  2557.  
  2558. “I’m sorry.”
  2559.  
  2560. >Their voice triggers a response in Scootaloo.
  2561. >She takes off into the woods.
  2562. >A trail of crushed leaves and tears is left in her path.
  2563. >Not the reaction Diamond wanted but her point was made.
  2564. >She groans at the slightest perceived hindrance.
  2565. >Diamond and Silver start trotting away.
  2566.  
  2567. “Uhm, what about the club?”
  2568.  
  2569. >The meek traitor interrupts.
  2570. >Diamond groans a second time.
  2571. >Harder even.
  2572.  
  2573. “I don't care. You tell them.”
  2574.  
  2575. >She and Silver make their exit for real this time.
  2576. >The guilty member stands around awkwardly, not sure what to do.
  2577. >The chatter coming from the rest of the club quiets down as no pony knows what's going on.
  2578. >Eventually, everypony goes home.
  2579.  
  2580. —----------------------------------------
  2581.  
  2582. >It's afternoon in Ponyville, outside the Crusader Clubhouse.
  2583. >An extremely responsible and well meaning adult is instructing two upstanding fillies.
  2584.  
  2585. “Don't be afraid to use your teeth. Really yank on her mane.”
  2586.  
  2587. >It was Rainbow Dash, feeling spiteful.
  2588. >She was well aware of the events from last night involving her fan club.
  2589. >After all, she did spy on every meeting.
  2590.  
  2591. “What about after Ah get ‘er on the ground?”
  2592.  
  2593. “Then you stomp on her ribs!”
  2594.  
  2595. >The fillies, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle, were taking well to said instructions.
  2596. >They were tired of taking the high road with Scootaloo.
  2597. >Rainbow Dash wanted to help out her clingy, self appointed little sister.
  2598. >She couldn't directly intervene though.
  2599. >Rainbow was a believer that you've gotta stick up for yourself.
  2600. >And if not then at least your friends could.
  2601. >Although she mostly wanted to get away with beating the snot out of some kids.
  2602. >Fucking uppity brats shit on her fanclub.
  2603.  
  2604. “And remember, no matter what happens?”
  2605.  
  2606. “Oh! You never told us anything!”
  2607.  
  2608. “That's right my little bruisers.”
  2609.  
  2610. >Rainbow Dash brushes up against Sweetie’s side and gives her a playful noogie.
  2611.  
  2612. “Alright so here's the plan. You're both gonna stand riiiiight here and stomp your hooves and say something cool. Like uh…”
  2613.  
  2614. “Your reign of terror is at an end and I am its reckoning!”
  2615.  
  2616. “I would have gone with, ‘I'm gonna punt your cunt, slut’ but whatever floats your boat kiddo.”
  2617.  
  2618. >Sweetie Belle seemed to be dissociating and just smiled and nodded.
  2619. >Apple Bloom wasn't paying attention either.
  2620. >She was practicing the takedowns Rainbow Dash showed them in her head.
  2621. >One hit, Diamond goes down.
  2622. >Two hits, she's already on the ropes.
  2623. >This was gonna be a massacre.
  2624. >Like when AJ drowned Winona’s litter.
  2625. >Rainbow taught them how to walk the walk and talk the talk.
  2626. >All Sweetie and Bloom had to do now was jump their friend's captors.
  2627. >If things got too hairy Rainbow Dash would be watching to back them up.
  2628. >Their plan was to catch them in the morning on their way to school.
  2629. >It would even give Scootaloo one more chance to come clean and ask them for help.
  2630. >Speaking of the devil, she arrives with the setting of the sun.
  2631. >Rainbow once again takes off to hide and spy on children.
  2632. >Scootaloo's stride is sluggish, slow, downright sad and pathetic.
  2633. >Her head held low, she glances up to see her best friends waiting for her.
  2634. >In an instant she perks up for them.
  2635.  
  2636. “Yo! What's up ‘Saders?”
  2637.  
  2638. >Apple Bloom grumbles and sticks her hoof into her face.
  2639. >Sweetie Belle approached Scootaloo, hugging her side.
  2640.  
  2641. “Scootaloo, you're our best friend.”
  2642.  
  2643. “Yeah I know. You're my best friends too.”
  2644.  
  2645. >Apple Bloom joined Sweetie on Scootaloo's other side.
  2646.  
  2647. “And if there was ever anything ya thought ya had to hide from us, ya could tell us.”
  2648.  
  2649. “Oh pshaww. I know that too.”
  2650.  
  2651. >Apple Bloom glares at her pegasus friend.
  2652. >So does Sweetie Belle.
  2653. >They both lean in, eye to eye with Scootaloo.
  2654.  
  2655. “Well I guess maybe there might be something that's bugging me.”
  2656.  
  2657. “Ya don't say.”
  2658.  
  2659. >Sweetie Belle drops her glare to adopt a more friendly expression.
  2660.  
  2661. “Is it maybe about Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon?”
  2662.  
  2663. “It… it might be.”
  2664.  
  2665. “Uh huh?”
  2666.  
  2667. >Sweetie and Bloom sound in unison, moving in closer.
  2668. >The hair on their faces nearly touching Scootaloo’s.
  2669.  
  2670. “She's just so… needy?”
  2671.  
  2672. “Huh?”
  2673.  
  2674. “Yeah she's so needy! It's almost sad really. But it's also really exhausting so I'm just gonna get some sleep. Good night!”
  2675.  
  2676. >The words sprint out of Scootaloo's mouth.
  2677. >She acts similarly and gallops away from her friends.
  2678. >Up into the clubhouse where she dramatically snores loud enough for her friends to hear.
  2679. >Even Sweetie Belle’s innocence isn't strong enough to ignore this.
  2680. >She raises a hoof in anger, glaring at the treehouse.
  2681. >Apple Bloom lowers her friend's vulgar gesture.
  2682.  
  2683. “Save yer energy. We'll help her out tomorrow. Whether she likes it or not.”
  2684.  
  2685. >Sweetie Belle grumbles but listens to Bloom.
  2686. >They say their goodbyes, parting ways for the night, and signaling to where they think Rainbow Dash is.
  2687. >Who went to sleep approximately thirty seconds after she took off to hide.
  2688.  
  2689. —----------------------------------------
  2690.  
  2691. >Early morning Ponyville is not a sleepy place.
  2692. >It's full of little ponies galloping and sneaking and spreading sedition.
  2693. >It's full of hiding ponies too.
  2694.  
  2695. “Are ya sure they come this way?”
  2696.  
  2697. “They have to.”
  2698.  
  2699. >Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle, respectively, were whispering in wait for Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon.
  2700. >Neither of them had gotten much sleep.
  2701. >Getting up extra early was paramount in getting the jump on the bullies.
  2702. >They were jittery and punchdrunk.
  2703. >All the better, they were less likely to lose their nerve.
  2704. >Hungry for blood.
  2705. >Some other ponies were hungry as well.
  2706. >Five, irresponsible adult mares.
  2707. >In a different hiding spot that had a vantage of the two crusaders and their battleground, they were bickering.
  2708.  
  2709. “Rainbow Dash this is barbaric.”
  2710.  
  2711. “I know. Isn’t great Twilight?”
  2712.  
  2713. “Put me down for ten bits on Sweetie Belle going down first.”
  2714.  
  2715. “Sweetie? She’s a total wuss. You should bet on Silver. Now there’s a fighter, total psycho. I bet she might even take an ear.”
  2716.  
  2717. “Rainbow Dash darling! That’s my little Sweetie you’re talking about. Where you see a delicate flower I see an eloquent fencer.”
  2718.  
  2719. “Sorry Rarity. She’s a marshmallow chump.”
  2720.  
  2721. >Rarity’s cheeks turn red.
  2722.  
  2723. “Oh yeah? Well how about you put your bits where your mouth is? One hundred bits to see my precious Sweetie Belle stomp those fascis- I mean fillies into dust!”
  2724.  
  2725. >Rainbow Dash snickers to herself.
  2726. >She was keeping a clipboard ledger of her friends’ bets.
  2727. >Most of it was doodles and crudely drawn pictures of herself with big bags of money.
  2728.  
  2729. “What in tarnation do y'all think yer doin’?”
  2730.  
  2731. >Rainbow groaned at Applejack’s nails-on-chalkboard-like entrance.
  2732. >Pinkie Pie swiftly and moderately intervenes.
  2733.  
  2734. “WE ARE HERE TO WATCH THE GRASS GROW!”
  2735.  
  2736. >Applejack looks confused as Dash replies to Pinkie in a sing-song voice.
  2737.  
  2738. “And what makes the grass grow?”
  2739.  
  2740. “BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD!”
  2741.  
  2742. >All five of Applejack’s friends nod in agreement.
  2743. >Even Fluttershy who has been quiet thus far.
  2744.  
  2745. “You too Fluttershy?”
  2746.  
  2747. “Oh! Um, well. Rainbow Dash said that I shouldn’t stop them from fighting because it would be as if she never defended me from my bullies. I couldn’t take that away. Then maybe Dashie and I wouldn’t be friends!”
  2748.  
  2749. >Fluttershy shudders at the thought.
  2750.  
  2751. “Also those bullies might beat me up…”
  2752.  
  2753. >Fluttershy’s last comment is barely heard.
  2754. >Pinkie, Twilight, Rarity, and Fluttershy continue to talk amongst each other.
  2755. >Comparing and talking smack about their respective bets.
  2756. >Dash throws an arm around Applejack.
  2757. >The orange mare blushes.
  2758.  
  2759. “Hey AJ.”
  2760.  
  2761. “Hey Dash.”
  2762.  
  2763. “So if you’re here to shut this down, why are you back here behind the bushes instead of talking to your sister?”
  2764.  
  2765. >Applejack scrunches her muzzle.
  2766.  
  2767. “Oh Ah plan to give her one mean son of a gun tongue lashing. Ah know Ah raised her better than this. But…”
  2768.  
  2769. “But?”
  2770.  
  2771. “But Ah also didn’t raise no yella belly. I’m gonna watch her smash that Diamond’s face in then tell her why it’s wrong.”
  2772.  
  2773. >Rainbow Dash has a smile from ear to ear.
  2774. >With a raised eyebrow she angles her head to achieve maximum smugness.
  2775. >She waits expectantly.
  2776.  
  2777. “Alright! Give me fifteen on Apple Bloom to put Diamond in the ground.”
  2778.  
  2779. “Attagirl.”
  2780.  
  2781. >Rainbow Dash scribbles more on her ledger.

Writing For Yourself

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Mac 'n' Cheesy Marble

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Untitled Battered House Anon

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