Sweetie Belle mourns the end of her future.
Scootaloo’s first day back home had barely started, and already it had been a rollercoaster.
Not that she didn’t expect this, at least partially. But she presumed it would have something to do with her new role, not some relatively minor conflict between her friends.
She tried to wipe those thoughts from her mind. All the young pegasus wanted to focus on this day was her friends, and nothing else.
But it was difficult.
She strapped her helmet on, and pulled her scooter out of the small shed. Trotting back inside, she pulled out her favourite wagon, and attached it to the vehicle.
Her front door creaked open. Out trotted a solemn white unicorn, her eyes bloodshot and her hair lifeless. All of her cosmetics had been washed off, and her coat was disheveled.
It was apparent that at this moment, Rarity did not care about her own physical appearance. She was that distressed.
“Hey Rarity,” Scootaloo said, as the unicorn slowly trotted over. “You… um… how’re ya feelin’?”
“Slightly better,” she replied. The unicorn sat on the ground and took a deep breath.
“Anything you wanna talk about?” the filly asked.
She raised her head slightly. “Yes,” the mare responded. “When did you figure all this out?”
The pegasus took a seat on her scooter and took a deep breath before continuing. “Well, pretty much immediately after Spike first told me what happened. It seemed pretty obvious.”
“Then why doesn’t he know?”
Scootaloo scoffed. “Something like that, it’s hard to figure out when you’re in it. He’s just not in the right position.”
Rarity had another question. “If you knew he wouldn’t pick me anyway… why did you want me to forgive him?”
She cocked her head to the side. “Why do you think?”
The unicorn paused for a second, before nodding in acknowledgement.
The pegasus brushed her hair aside. “I really am sorry.”
Rarity released a slight chuckle. “I know.”
An awkward silence descended.
“You know what you’re gonna do?” the filly asked.
“No,” came the simple reply. “I could fight for him. But… I’ll always know I was just his second choice. And Sweetie Belle…” The unicorn shook her head solemnly. “It would not be fair to her…” Tears hit the dirt below. “I can’t… I can’t do that to my own sister, not when I know… this. It would merely be malicious, not…”
An alabaster hoof wiped the moisture away.
“So, you’re gonna break up with him?”
Rarity thought for a second. “If I do ‘break up’ with him… Sweetie Belle will always question it. She’ll always wonder if he really wanted to be with her.” She turned her gaze to the young pegasus. “I’ll have to lie.”
Scootaloo didn’t respond.
“It’s the only way. Isn’t it?”
She scratched the back of her neck. “I guess so.”
Her eyes drifted. “I do not believe this.”
“Neither do I.” Scootaloo bit her lower lip slightly. “You gonna be okay?” the pegasus asked.
Rarity looked up. “I have to convince my boyfriend that we’re still together, while you convince him that he’s in love with my sister. Do you think I’m ‘okay’?”
“No… probably not.”
There were many thoughts running through Scootaloo’s head: There are plenty of fish in the sea. You were too good for him, anyway. Better to have love and lost, than to have never loved at all. It’ll get easier.
And she knew they were all stupid, and would only make her upset.
But one thing… one thing just might work.
Scootaloo stood up and trotted over to the alabaster unicorn, sitting on the dirt beside her.
“Take all the time you need,” she said. “I’ll talk to them, you won’t have to do anything. You can go home, relax. Try to put it all behind you.”
Rarity took several slow, methodical, deep breaths. Calming her heart, and controlling her thoughts.
It took at least a minute before she turned to the young pegasus, and said, “That will not be necessary. Only I can successfully convince Spike I forgive him, and that I’ll fight for him. And that is exactly what I shall do. For my sister, I’ll do anything.”
“But first, we shall stop at my home. I must look my best for such a performance. I also have a bottle of wine I wish to drink. Do you mind giving me a ride?”
“Yeah, sure, it’s not a problem,” she declared with a smile.
As Scootaloo took her position on the scooter, Rarity loaded herself into the attached cart.
“Oh, one more thing,” the unicorn added.
“Yeah?” the pegasus responded.
“Congratulations,” she said with a smirk.
Scootaloo smiled. “Thanks.”
With a jolt, the two began their journey.
Sweetie Belle had no idea where she was, or where she was going. She just ran. Ran as fast as her legs would carry her. She didn’t care where she’d end up. All she wanted was to be as far away from Spike, Rarity, Twilight, and Apple Bloom as possible. She wanted to be alone, and away from everypony. She just wanted to wallow in her own sadness and mourn the love she just lost.
How could this happen? How could a dragon whom she loved with every fibre of her being turn out to be such a jerk!?
He betrayed her, it was just that simple. There were no complexities, there was no minutiae. He betrayed her, and tore her heart out.
He was a bastard, and at that moment, that was all the reason she needed to hate Spike.
But she didn’t. She couldn’t. And that just made it all hurt even more.
Noises. Random noises. Voices? It didn’t matter. None of it mattered. She just ran. Ran as quickly as she could.
Saline stung her eyes. She could see nothing. But she didn’t care, she just ran.
Suddenly, a pressure on her flanks. A vice, holding her back. She couldn’t run. She stopped.
She cried in despair, and collapsed on the grass beneath her hooves, allowing the tears to fall.
More noises, hoofsteps, voices. What were they doing?
“… didn’t do a thing!”
“Is she alright?”
“I don’t know.”
Raising her head, Sweetie Belle wiped the tears away, and turned toward the voices.
“Sweetie Belle!” Applejack cried. “Are you alright?”
Her throat would not obey her commands. So the young unicorn merely shook her head.
“It could’ve been a lot worse,” Rainbow Dash explained. “You need to be more careful, next time I won’t be there to stop you.”
The unicorn buried her head in her hooves, as her eyes continued to gush.
“Ow!” the pegasus exclaimed.
A shifting in the grass. “Somethin’ wrong sug’?” the farmer asked.
Sweetie Belle nodded.
“You wanna talk about it?”
She shook her head.
Silence. A shuffling of hooves.
“You wanna come inside?” Rainbow Dash asked. “Applejack’s got hot chocolate!”
She lay there, motionless for several seconds, before eventually nodding in the affirmative.
“Great! Here, let me help you!” The weathermare reached down and lifted the young unicorn, who grabbed onto her neck, which quickly became soaked with tears.
“Okay,” Rainbow Dash said, slowly floating toward the farmhouse. “So, you do have hot chocolate, right?”
Twilight wandered down the streets of Ponyville, searching for a missing unicorn.
The librarian knew she messed up. Her plan to get Sweetie Belle to forgive Spike had backfired so tremendously, that it felt like a bad joke she failed to get.
But it was worse than anyone else knew. For Twilight knew exactly where the dragon’s heart truly lay; with Sweetie Belle, the one who now hated him.
Spike didn’t love Rarity. Twilight knew that from day one. If he did, he would have never said ‘yes’ to Sweetie Belle. He would have never fallen for her at the carnival. He would have never allowed the charade to continue for as long as it did.
He thought he loved Rarity. That was the problem. He confused attraction with love. A superficial emotion with one that permeated the soul. That was why she knew his relationship with Rarity would never last, regardless of Sweetie Belle’s involvement.
But now, Spike’s first real chance at true happiness was gone, and it was all her fault.
“Twilight!” The sound of an orange and white blur flying past the unicorn, too close for comfort, knocked her out of her thoughts, and off her hooves.
The scooter skidded to a stop, and two familiar friends quickly disembarked.
Scootaloo ran toward the unicorn, shouting, “Twilight! Twilight! Twilight!” She was still wearing the same dress she wore earlier in the day, which struck the unicorn as slightly odd. But there were bigger problems to worry about.
“Twilight!” she shouted again, very much out of breath. “Where’s Sweetie Belle? Didn’t you go after her?”
“Uh… yeah… I did.” the unicorn responded.
“Well, where is she?”
“Um… well… she… ran off.”
“Rarity!” Twilight exclaimed. “Are you alright? I know this may be difficult, but just remember, your friends are here for you.”
Scootaloo raised an eyebrow.
“I’m fine, Twilight,” the fashionista responded. “All thanks to Scootaloo here.” She rubbed the top of the filly’s head.
“Alright, Rarity,” the pegasus said, restraightening her mane. “What do you mean, ‘she ran off’?” she continued, back on the original track.
“Is she alright?”
Twilight finally decided to answer. “Well, we were talking, and I pretty much told her everything.”
“So,” Rarity responded. “You did know everything.”
The librarian grinned sheepishly. “I’m sorry, Rarity. I should have told you a while ago.”
The designer released a small smile. “It’s alright, Twilight. There was nothing you could have done. Do not worry about the past.”
“Rarity,” Scootaloo interjected. “Focus.”
“Oh, right! Sweetie Belle!”
“Uh, yeah!” Twilight continued. “So, I told her everything I knew, and I tried my best to get her to forgive him, but… I think it just made her more angry.”
Rarity was taken aback. “How angry?” she asked.
“Well, um… do you want her exact words?”
“She said, you warned her about colts like Spike, and that she’ll never forgive him.”
“Oh… this is a disaster.”
“What? Wait, why?”
“Twilight!” Rarity exclaimed, grabbing her friend. “Those two belong together! They are in love!”
“What? And you’re okay with that!?”
“Of course not!” She released the librarian. “But my love for Spike must remain secondary to my sister’s happiness.”
“Of course!” she responded with pride, before quickly shifting to sorrow. “Also, Spike and I have no future, regardless.”
“What exactly did you say?” Scootaloo asked.
Twilight’s gaze drifted. “Uh… well, I summarized the past month for her. Told her all about how she asked Spike out after he’d already started dating you.” She pointed toward her friend. “I also told her the story about how you convinced him to ask her out, and… well, you know how Rainbow started flirting with him?”
“Yeah, I was there. She was pretty drunk.”
“You sure that wasn’t just ‘Rainbow’?” Rarity asked.
The filly ignored her. “Did you tell her about how he reacted to that?”
“What? Oh, yeah, how he didn’t take it well, and rejected it outright?”
“The ‘every mare in town’ comment?”
“Yeah, mentioned that. I think that’s what ruined it.”
Rarity’s attention was caught. “How?” she asked.
“Well, since dragons are naturally monogamous, she was probably angry that Spike went against that.”
The two ponies stared at her for several seconds. “What?” they said in unison.
“She was angry Spike went against his instincts.”
“Of monogamy?” Scootaloo asked.
A hoof hit her face in exasperation. “You told her dragons are monogamous?”
“And where exactly did you hear that?”
Twilight was befuddled. “Um… I just presumed…”
“Rule number one when dealing with inter-species couples: Take their natural intuitions into account, and don’t get them wrong! That’s how most conflicts are created!”
“Dragons aren’t naturally monogamous, they’re naturally polygamous!”
“What? Why do you say that?”
“Because that’s what the book says!” she exclaimed, pulling a hardbound book out of her saddlebag.
“Alright!” Rarity exclaimed. “Enough! Twilight, do you know where Sweetie Belle ran off to?”
“No,” she replied. “I have no idea!”
“In that case, I’ll have to find her my own way.”
“What? Why?” Scootaloo asked.
“Because, I should convince my sister to forgive Spike,” the unicorn explained. “Such a situation is much more perilous. Scootaloo, I’ll leave the rest in your capable hooves.”
“Not a problem,” the filly replied, with a salute.
Without another word, Rarity trotted away; leaving the two ponies behind.
“This book is in Tronese!” Twilight exclaimed.
Sweetie Belle slowly sipped the mug of hot cocoa in her hooves. It raised her spirits only slightly.
Applejack sat at the table patiently, waiting for the ideal moment to ask a very crucial question.
She placed the cup down with a clunk, and the farmer asked, “Feelin’ better?”
Sweetie Belle looked up, then down again, and shook her head.
“Wanna talk about it?”
She shook her head again.
Rainbow Dash scooted closer to the filly. “Can you at least tell us what’s eatin’ you?” she asked.
She shook her head one more time.
“Can I guess?”
Sweetie Belle didn’t respond.
“Great! Okay!” the pegasus brought out her pensive look, and briefly stared into the distance. “Is it about Apple Bloom?”
“That’s a ‘no,'” she interpreted. “Is it about… your cutie mark?”
No response… again.
“Is it… is it about your sister?”
The unicorn flinched slightly.
“Rainbow!” Applejack scolded.
“What? I think I’m getting close!” the pegasus rebutted.
“Look, Sweetie Belle, if you don’t want to tell us, that’s fine,” the earth pony explained. “We don’t need to know anything you don’t want us to.”
Then the words just fell out of her mouth, without a thought. “It’s about Spike,” she explained.
“Ooo!” Rainbow replied. “What about him?”
Sweetie Belle hesitated slightly, rubbing her hooves together before continuing. “Me and him… we’ve been dating for the past month.” Her voice started to choke. “But today, I found out he was also dating Rarity behind my back.” The tears flowed once again.
“Oh, Sweetie Belle,” Applejack responded, embracing the young filly. “It’s alright. Everythin’ll be alright.”
“Why did he do this?” she cried between tears.
“I don’t know,” she replied. “I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“But he did! He did!!!”
“But that makes no sense!” Rainbow explained. “Why would he go after you two, after turning me down?”
Applejack shot her friend a look that said, ‘Shut up, Rainbow.’
The pegasus complied.
Suddenly, and without warning, Sweetie Belle’s horn started to glow brightly, and faded just as quickly.
The distraction managed to silence the filly’s sobs, as she asked, “what was that?”
The two non-unicorns shrugged.
In Ponyville’s town square, surrounded by shoppers and commuters, one unicorn was oblivious to the crowds, and focused on her work.
Rarity’s horn was aglow as she methodically moved it around, pointing the appendage in every conceivable direction.
Eventually, one particular corner of the town drew her attention. She smiled and ended the spell, before trotting in the direction of Sweet Apple Acres.
The day was looking up.
The author would like to personally thank Periphery for all his help in preparing this chapter for publication.