Sweetie Belle and Rarity think about the future, as Scootaloo begins her plan to help Spike make the biggest decision of his life.
Sweetie Belle’s eyes were directed at the counter before her. Her jaw hung loose, as she tried to process the scene.
Pound Cake looked down, floating just above the filly’s head, with a stare that seemed to shoot straight through her.
Pumpkin merely held a curious look, as she watched her twin brother.
A bell rang behind the white unicorn. But she paid it no mind.
“Sweetie Belle!” A voice came. Hoofsteps resonated through the room, growing louder and louder. “I’m so glad I found you.”
A purple blob entered her field of vision. But she didn’t shift her gaze.
“Sweetie Belle?” Twilight asked. “Are you-” she stopped. Unsure of how to continue. “You wanna talk?”
She lowered her head, as her eyes began to water once again. The faint sound of her quiet sobs bounced off the walls.
The elder unicorn straightened her stance, and rubbed the young filly’s back. “It’s alright Sweetie Belle. Go sit down, I’ll get us some tea.”
The young filly trotted in the general direction of the nearest table, her head held low.
Twilight tried to hold up her end of the bargain. She quickly trotted into the backroom of Sugarcube Corner. Only to find herself encased in a blue aura, as she floated back into the dining hall. She received a dirty look from the young pegasus, and a cheeky smile from the young unicorn, who dropped her, unceremoniously, on the wooden floor.
“Oh, come on!” she cried.
Rarity’s eyes were trained on a bookshelf across the room, as she sat beside a simple round table in the Ponyville Public Library. Across the table beside her, staring at her, was the dragon she loved. He had explained everything. Every single event that had happened over the past month.
She wanted to feel hurt, she wanted to feel anger, she wanted to feel confusion, she wanted to feel something. But she didn’t. She just felt numb.
She couldn’t speak, she couldn’t even think. She just stared at the shelf across the room.
“Rarity?” came a voice.
She didn’t know what to say, she didn’t know what to do, except…
“Please, say something.”
She stood on all four legs, and without a word, trotted straight for the front door, and left.
Spike tried to run after her, but a yellow hoof held him back. Apple Bloom merely shook her head.
The young dragon felt helpless, and hopeless. He didn’t know what to do, or what he could do. He just sat there, in the Ponyville Library, alone.
A tapping sound came from behind him. “So, that’s the whole story?” Scootaloo asked, her hoof resting on the maple table.
“Yeah…” Spike explained, melancholically.
The young filly looked pensive. “That’s strange,” she said. “I um… I’m gonna hit the washroom.”
As Scootaloo trotted out of the room, her thoughts were racing. Theories popped in and flew away almost as quickly, and all revolved around one thought.
After closing the door behind her, the young pegasus turned on the tap and rubbed her face with warm water.
Looking at her reflection, she simply said, “Please not one of them. Please let this just be a coincidence.”
“Oh, don’t worry, it is.” A familiar voice came from the washtub.
“AHHH!” She screamed in shock.
Apple Bloom knocked three times on the bathroom door. “Scootaloo!” she said. “You alright? I thought I heard a scream.”
“I’m fine! I’m absolutely fine! Don’t worry! I’m fine!” her friend responded between heavy breaths.
“Then why’d ya scream?”
“I… um… slipped. I’m fine! It just startled me.”
“You slipped?” She asked skeptically.
“Yeah. Now can you leave me alone!? I deserve a bit of privacy!”
“Alright.” The earth pony was still skeptical, but decided to leave her friend be. As long as she was alright, that was all that mattered.
Apple Bloom trotted into the main sitting room, and Spike remained in the position she left him.
“So…” the young filly asked. “Whatcha gonna do?”
“Run away,” he responded. “I hear Manehattan’s nice this time of year.”
“Spike,” she replied. “I’m sure everythin’ll be alright. You just need to-”
“Who wants cupcakes!” screamed a bubbly voice from the library’s kitchen. Pinkie Pie hopped out with a tray of multi-coloured cupcakes in her hooves. “Aww,” she said. “Where is everypony!?”
“Rarity left, and Scootaloo’s in the bathroom,” Apple Bloom explained quickly.
“Awww… Now what?”
“Hey, Pinkie,” the dragon replied. “Your parents work on a rock farm right?”
She nodded vigorously and released a smile. “It’s actually not far from here.”
“Aaaaoh!” he moaned in despair, burying his face in his arms.
The bathroom door slowly creaked open, and an orange head peeked out.
Apple Bloom trotted over. “Scootaloo! Is everythin’ alright?”
“Oh, it’s um… It’s fine,” she responded.
The earth pony peered past her friend, and forced the door open. “Why is there a large red box in the bathroom?”
“HUH?” the pegasus asked, nervously. “Oh, it was in there when I got in!” she explained, trotting into the main sitting room.
Apple Bloom raised an eyebrow. “What?” she said, following the pegasus.
“It was there when I got in. I trotted in and there was a big wooden box taking up half the room. Wow, that was terrible.”
“Ooo! What is it? What’s going on?” Pinkie Pie asked, in her usual excited tone.
“There’s a giant red box in the bathroom!” the young pastry chef explained.
“Alright, look,” Scootaloo explained. “I know this seems strange, but that’s only because it is. And I promise I’ll explain everything later. Alright?”
“What? No! Tell us now!”
“I can’t, there are more important things to deal with!”
“Well… I have a plan to save Spike’s love life!”
“OO!!” Pinkie screamed. “What is it!? What is it!? What is it!?”
“Two steps!” she explained, turning toward the silent young dragon. “First, I’m gonna talk to them, I’m sure I can convince them to forgive you.”
Spike hung his head.
“Second, You and I will work to find out, by the end of the day, who it is, beyond any doubt, that you love!”
“Scootaloo, we’ve all been trying to do that for the past month.” Apple Bloom explained. “Why do you think you can do it in less than a day?
“Because I’m awesome!” She brought a hoof to her chest, and a smile to her lips. “Now, I gotta get my scooter!” she trotted into the sitting room and through the door. “I’ll be back before you know it!” she said, closing the door behind her.
Apple Bloom acted fast, pushing the giant box into the sitting room.
“Apple Bloom, don’t,” Pinkie said.
“If I don’t look, the curiosity would drive me nuts,” she explained, trotting around the box.
The box itself was only slightly bigger than Apple Bloom; Large enough to fit one small pony. It was a dark red and wooden. But the clasp holding it closed was what surprised her the most. It was made of gold. Not brass or something similar, real solid gold.
She was an earth pony, she knew metals.
The filly put a hoof to the clasp, and… nothing. “It’s locked?” she said, raising an eyebrow.
“Okay, then I guess you’ll have to forget it,” Pinkie responded.
“But how!? There’s no keyhole!” the filly shouted, incredulous. Something strange was going on.
Twilight and Sweetie Belle sat quietly. The librarian slowly sipped her tea.
The young unicorn mindlessly shifted the handle of her cup, as the liquid within leached various chemicals out of the tea bag.
Normally, Twilight Sparkle loved silence. She relished it. But this silence ate at her. It gnawed at her very soul. Because she knew what it meant. She opened her mouth when-
“Does he hate me?” Sweetie Belle asked.
Twilight was taken aback. Hate? “No,” she declared. “Of course not! Why would you-”
“Because he was with Rarity when he should have been with me.” Her eyes started to water. “Why couldn’t he stay with me?”
“Oh, Sweetie Belle.” She trotted around the table, and gave the young filly a gentle hug. “It’s okay, it’s not that.”
A slight sniffle sounded.
“It’s just… he loved you too much.”
“Wait…” her voice was shaky. She pushed the librarian away. “What!?”
“Well… he said he didn’t know who he wanted to be with, but…” she looked down, and tried to give a reassuring smile. “Maybe I should start from the beginning.”
Rarity did not know where she was, nor did she care. After Spike explained everything, her entire body went numb. She didn’t know where her legs took her, as they seemed to move on their own volition. It was not something in her control, and she didn’t care.
In some obscure and isolated corner of Ponyville, few ponies were around. Her legs gave out beside some anonymous building, and the tears flowed.
The pain was unbearable. It was as if her heart had been physically ripped out. And because of that, she finally understood what that word meant.
It always seemed bizarre to her. That such a feeling could be described in such a way. She always thought it was just ponies being unnecessarily overdramatic. But now, she understood exactly why they called it ‘heartbreak.’
She had no idea how much time had passed, as time felt like it had no meaning. But she did feel the tears start to ebb as the sun’s warmth was cut off. She could hear a quiet shuffling of hooves next to her, but was afraid to look up. She just wanted to stay there, until the pain stopped, or she turned to dust, whatever came first.
“Rarity?” a familiar voice spoke. Was it…?
She twisted her head just slightly, as a single eye emerged just over her foreleg. A naturally reassuring smile appeared before her. Her forelegs were folded, and her dress was appropriately spread behind her, so she wasn’t laying on the hem.
“Do you need anything?” Scootaloo asked, in the calmest and quietest way she could.
The unicorn buried her face. “Go away,” she said, her sobs building again.
“Um… I really can’t.”
“Do it anyway,” her muffled voice stated.
“Well, could you at least move away from my front stoop? I kinda wanna get inside.”
Her head popped up. She looked at the building she landed in front of. This was Scootaloo’s house!? She turned to the young pegasus, and couldn’t help but laugh.
Scootaloo joined in. “Wanna come in?” she asked.
As Rarity got to her hooves again, she wiped the tears from her eyes and simply said, “Please.”
They continued to giggle just slightly as Scootaloo opened her front door, and led the unicorn in. “After you,” she said.
“Thank you,” Rarity replied, as she entered the home.
Scootaloo looked to the sky. “Seriously?” she asked with a raised eyebrow, before slipping inside.
“So it was all my fault,” Sweetie Belle said.
“No, it wasn’t,” Twilight replied. “You had no way of knowing this would’ve happened.” She paused slightly. “It’s Spike’s fault he didn’t say ‘no.'”
Her head popped up.
Silence descended once again.
Several framed photos hung from the walls, all featuring members of Scootaloo’s family. Vacation photos; professional photos; even photos from the crib of the newest family member, a purple pegasus, who was still under a year old. But Rarity had forgotten her name.
“So… What brought you back so early?” Rarity asked.
“Oh, uh… it’s hard to explain,” she said. “Can I get you anything?”
“No, that’s alright. Where are your parents?”
“Uh, they’re still in Neighton. I didn’t want them cutting the family vacation short.”
“Oh… I see.”
Rarity followed the young filly into the living room. Where Scootaloo dropped her saddlebag, and sat on one of the many cushions covering the floor.
The unicorn followed suit.
“So,” Scootaloo asked. “How’re you feeling?”
Rarity’s head bowed, and tears began to slowly drip down her face.
Scootaloo’s head bowed with a sigh.
“What should I do?” The young unicorn asked.
Twilight looked up from her tea. “I don’t know, but I think you should forgive him.”
Sweetie Belle’s eyes widened in shock. “Forgive? How can I do that? What if he does it again!?”
She released a slight chuckle. “I guarantee that won’t happen. Spike learned his lesson.”
A bit of rage entered the filly’s eyes. “Not yet,” she said.
Dropping the teacup with a clatter, Twilight acted fast. “Sweetie Belle, I’m telling you, Spike’s been suffering a lot since this whole thing began. He’s been kicking himself more than you know.”
“He betrayed me,” Rarity replied.
Scootaloo’s gaze snapped up.
“How could this happen?”
The young pegasus scratched her head. “It’s just a series of horrible coincidences. Bad timing all around.”
“I don’t know what to do. I’ve never been more afraid in my life. How could he do this to me!?”
“Hey, he never wanted to hurt you,” she calmly explained. “Look at it from his perspective, he was just confused.”
“It’s not that simple, Scootaloo,” Rarity explained.
“Well, it can be,” she replied. “I mean, I doubt he enjoyed it.”
“How can you know that?” Sweetie Belle asked.
“Why do you say that?” Rarity asked.
Twilight released a sigh, “Alright, maybe I should start from the top.”
Scootaloo released a soft smile, “Well, because of what happened a few months ago.”
The streets of Canterlot were cold and dim. The sun had set hours ago, leaving only the moon to illuminate the empty boulevard. This did not bother Scootaloo. Unlike most ponies, she truly loved the night-time. The beauty of the sky at that hour was unparalleled. Just looking up could enthrall somepony for what would feel like hours. And on the right night: days.
But at that moment, the sky was a non-issue. For she had more urgent priorities. Scootaloo was alone.
Somehow, her friends, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle, had disappeared. Possibly during the incident in the alleyway.
Who knew a tramp would get that angry over nothing. Literally, nothing; they did nothing.
So, as she wandered the streets, Scootaloo kept her eyes and ears open for any sign of life.
It wasn’t long before she found herself in a small plaza, a tiny fountain churned before her.
Trotting up to it, she looked down at her reflection, and smiled. She never thought one could look cool in violet
Suddenly, her ears picked up a noise. Down one dark street, just below the sound of splashing water, she could hear ponies talking and chatting joyously.
As good a lead as any, she took advantage and followed the road.
A minute later, Scootaloo emerged in a small, moonlit park. Blades of grass fell beneath her hooves as she trotted along, looking for some sign of life. The park was empty.
The sound came again, hitting her right ear. She turned and trotted over a hill, finding herself looking over a secluded area of the park, with three ponies, plus one dragon, laughing away.
Rainbow Dash, from her perch high up in a nearby tree, still wearing her bridesmaid’s dress but having lost her headgear, was the first to catch sight of the young filly.
“Scootaloo!” she cried, waving a hoof in the air.
Plastering a smile on her face, she ran up to group. “Rainbow Dash!” the filly responded in kind.
“Scootaloo,” Twilight exclaimed. “What are you doing out here?”
“Uh…” she replied sheepishly. “I got a bit lost.”
“Lost?” Spike asked, leaning against the tree with an untied bow tie hanging awkwardly from his neck. “How could you get lost in Canterlot?”
“You may not know this, little guy,” Rainbow explained from above. “But this city’s a bit of a maze.”
Fluttershy nodded in agreement. “All the streets look the same. If it wasn’t for you and Twilight, who knows where we’d be.”
A small laugh tremored through the group.
“What are you guys doing out here anyway?” Scootaloo asked.
“Oh,” Twilight explained, gesturing toward the tree. “We’re just keeping an eye on Fluttershy’s birds.”
She directed her gaze upwards, and suddenly noticed that, in the branches above, Rainbow Dash was surrounded by a flock of multi-coloured songbirds.
“They needed some exercise,” the caretaker explained. “And it’s such a beautiful night, I just couldn’t let them stay cooped up inside the castle.”
“Yeah,” Rainbow mused. “It is beautiful, isn’t it?”
Her gaze extended into the distance.
“Are you alright Rainbow?” Twilight asked.
“Huh?” she asked. “Oh sure, of course!”
“It’s just… you’ve been acting a bit strange all night.”
The pegasus found herself taken slightly aback. “It’s the alcohol,” she said. “I had a lot to drink.”
“No,” Twilight rebutted. “I’ve seen intoxication, and there’s something else. What is it?”
She brought a hoof to the back of her head. “Well,” she explained. “It’s just… I don’t know, I’ve just been thinking.”
“What’s wrong?” Scootaloo asked with genuine concern.
Rainbow looked down on the young pegasus, and realized quickly, this young filly would not judge her.
She released a breath of air, and took another in. “Well… I’m a bit jealous of them.”
Twilight and Fluttershy shared a look. “Who?” the unicorn asked.
Rainbow sighed. “‘The happy couple,'” she said in an almost-mocking tone. “I just… I never had that.”
Fluttershy jumped to her hooves in shock. “Never!?” she cried with genuine bewilderment.
“Yeah, you’ve never been married,” Twilight deadpanned. “We kinda knew that Rainbow.”
“No, I mean, I’ve never had a coltfriend,” the weathermare explained, slightly annoyed. “I just never had the time. Never really felt the need before.”
“Oh, Rainbow, it’s not that big a deal,” Twilight said, smiling. “I’ve never had a coltfriend either.”
“Yeah, but you’re… you…” Rainbow explained. “It’s just, I kinda want that now.”
Fluttershy’s mind raced in confusion. “But… what about that colt you took to prom?” she asked hesitantly.
Her eyes went wide. “Oh… yeah… him.” She released a nervous laugh. “He… wasn’t actually my coltfriend, we were just… I mean he was around- he was my cousin.” Rainbow hung her head in shame.
“You had a fake coltfriend?” Spike asked incredulously.
“Well, I couldn’t go to prom alone, I’d look like a complete loser.” Her eyes snapped to her closest friend as she said, “Uh… no offense.”
It was rare to see Fluttershy genuinely annoyed.
Rainbow responded with a sheepish smile.
“Well,” Twilight responded. “If it matters that much to you, maybe you should do something about it.”
She stared at the unicorn for a full second before crying, “You’re right! Hey, Spike! You wanna catch a movie!?”
Both Canterlotians stared at the pegasus for several seconds before simultaneously bursting into laughter.
Rainbow was taken aback by their reaction. “Hey, I’m serious!”
“Oh, come on Rainbow,” Twilight cried between breaths. “You can’t be that desperate.”
Spike’s laughter stopped suddenly, “Wait, what’s that supposed to mean!?”
“Yeah,” the pegasus explained. “Spike’s a real catch.”
“Well, it’s not that Rainbow,” the unicorn explained between giggles. “It’s just… you’re not exactly his type.”
“Oh, yeah,” she said, slightly annoyed. “I forgot, he’s more into prissy white unicorns. Come on little guy, you can aim higher than that.”
Spike’s eyes went wide. “Twilight…” he said, an angry tremor in his voice.
“I didn’t say anything!” the unicorn cried, holding up her hooves.
“Oh, come on, everypony already knows you have a crush on Rarity!”
“Spike has a crush on Rarity!?” Scootaloo asked.
“Well… almost everyone,” she smiled sheepishly.
“Rainbow,” Twilight responded, subtly silencing the pegasus.
The young filly sauntered toward her nervous friend. “So, you have a crush on Rarity?
His face turned a bright red. “Yeah.”
“For how long!?” She asked with a smile.
“Uh…” Spike idly rubbed his claws together. “Since we moved to Ponyville, really.”
“Aaaaand!?” she said, her voice gaining an odd inflection.
“And… what?” he asked, confused.
“Did you ever do anything about it?”
“Uh… no, not really.”
“Well, why not!?
“She’s right!” Rainbow exclaimed. “You should ask her out! She’d be crazy to say ‘no.’ Strong little guy like you can get every mare in town if he wanted.”
Spike stiffened like a board, and his eyes went wide.
“Rainbow,” Fluttershy interjected. “Um… I think you had too much to drink.”
“And you had too little!”
“Spike?” Scootaloo asked, noticing the dragon’s demeanor.
His eyes started to blink rapidly. “Huh?” he asked, coming out of a daze. “Sorry, it’s just… every…” Spike visibly grimaced.
“What does this have to do with anything!?” the white unicorn interjected.
“I was just getting to that,” her companion responded.
“What’s wrong, Spike?” Twilight asked.
“Nothing, I just… was weird,” he explained. The young dragon took a deep breath and said, “Yeah, that ain’t happening.”
“What?” Scootaloo asked.
“Every mare in town? No!”
Rainbow looked down and scoffed. “Well I didn’t mean it literally.”
Deciding to move the conversation along, the young pegasus simply said. “So, you gonna tell her?”
Spike was shocked. “No!” he said. “I can’t, I’d be too embarrassed.”
From a few feet away, a soft voice resonated. “If you love someone, follow your heart. ‘Cause love comes once, if you’re lucky enough.”
Everyone turned to look at the yellow mare.
“It was a poem I heard from a friend,” Fluttershy explained. “If you have the chance, you should take it.”
“But I don’t have the chance,” he explained. “What if she turns me down?”
“Then you know,” Scootaloo said simply. “Right now you don’t.”
Silence descended on the group, as Spike thoughts streamed.
“You really think I should?” he asked.
She nodded vigorously.
“So,” Rainbow interjected. “I guess that’s a ‘no’?”
“I… don’t understand,” Sweetie Belle stated.
“What are you trying to say?” Rarity asked.
Scootaloo leaned forward. “I looked into Spike’s eyes. The thought of being with ‘every mare in town’ frightened him. There’s no way he’d do this intentionally. It’s just not who he is. Now, I don’t know why he thinks that way, exactly; Because that sorta runs counter to dragon culture.”
“I think dragons are naturally monogamous,” Twilight explained. “There’s no way he’d do this intentionally.”
The young unicorn shifted. “What?” she said, in a pained tone.
Scootaloo quickly pulled a book from her saddlebag. “I found this when I was in Neighton,” she explained. “‘An Analysis of the Intricacies of Dragon Society.’ Apparently they do a lot of research on dragons over there. I wanted to give it to Twilight to put in the library, but it’s in Neightonese, so… I’ll probably need to translate it.” She smiled.
“What does it say?” Rarity asked.
“A lot, but regarding this? They’re… polygamous… very polygamous… uncomfortably polygamous.” Her nervousness resonated across the room.
The unicorn was confused. “But how do they-?”
“They don’t care.”
“No dragon would do this intentionally,” Twilight explained. “It’s just a terrible misunderstanding.”
Sweetie Belle gazed down at her teacup. “Rarity always told me to watch out for colts like that,” she explained. “They would cheat on you, and lie to you.” Tears started to brew again. “I thought Spike was different… But he’s worse.”
“Which is why they have so many rules regarding mating, to bring a bit of order to it. Spike never heard those rules, so he probably made up his own. I think one of them is having only one partner.”
“He’s subconsciously fighting his own instincts. It’s not his fault.”
“He had every reason not to do this, but he did it anyway!” the heartbroken filly screamed.
“So, you’re saying I should just forgive him?”
“… Yes,” she said simply.
“I’ll never forgive him!”
Knocking over her teacup, she ran out of the shop at a full gallop, leaving the stunned unicorn behind.
Twilight turned to look at the counter. Two foals quickly averted their gaze, and started whistling.
“I’m not so sure,” Rarity responded. “After all, why would he do this in the fir-”
Suddenly, her eyes went wide in shock. She turned to look at her winged companion.
They both knew the truth. They both knew more about Spike than he did. They both knew exactly whom he was going to pick. And it broke Rarity’s heart.
“He doesn’t truly love me,” she said. “Does he?”
“No,” Scootaloo said, melancholically. “I-I don’t think so.”
The pain in her chest grew. She collapsed on the floor beneath.
“Oh dear,” Twilight said.