It has been said that if you want to learn to fly, you must first learn to fall, but every failure still brings pain. Every impact, every time I hit the ground I leave behind the hope of flying. Nothing left to do but pick up the remnants of my spirit and try again, even if it’s pointless.
“I can do this, I WILL FLY!”
I once again made my way up the cliff on the outskirts of Whitetail Woods. I didn’t go all the way up; I just went up to what remained of the ledge Rainbow Dash and Applejack broke off during the annual Running of the Leaves.
“Time to fly.”
“Oh, come on! That must be the fiftieth time I’ve tried today. No! I will fly or my name isn’t Scootaloo!”
I guess I need a new name now.
“Scootaloo! Scootaloo!” a voice called.
Huh, Applebloom? What is she doing here?
“Scootaloo! There ya are Scootaloo,” Applebloom said upon reaching me. “Fluttershy said that ya ran off this way when she was gettin’ ready t’ teach you t’ fly.”
“Uh, hi Applebloom,” I said, still unsure why she was here. “Well, um… I figured Fluttershy had already given me the advice she said I needed in order to start practicing. And I even told her where I was heading off to, so I assumed she would just catch up. What are you doing here?”
“Ah came lookin’ for you. Ya were spose t’ go gem huntin’ with me an’ Sweetie Belle, remember?”
“Oh, right. The crusade, gem hunting, Sweetie Belle’s idea. Sorry. I was trying to fly, but it hasn’t gone to well.” I said, noticing, for the first time, that I was covered in leaves and tree sap.
Applebloom looked me over “I’ve noticed. Whatcha do, jump off the cliff fifty times? Ya left a crater at the bottom,” she said, pointing to a filly sized indent in the ground.
“Fifty-three… but, yeah that pretty much sums it up.”
“Geeze, Scootaloo, are ya’ try’n t’ kill yourself! Fluttershy said she was gonna explain what she meant when y’all were just ‘bout t’ start fly’n. And she was gonna start ya off on a hill not a cliff.”
“Well… how would you know? And no, I was not trying to kill myself. I was trying to FLY!”
“Um… excuse me, Scootaloo” said a voice so quiet I could barely hear it.
A giggle accompanied the voice - a laughter I knew all too well.
I tuned out whatever Fluttershy was saying. At that moment, all I could do was stand there staring motionlessly at the source of the laughter.
“R-Rainbow Dash… Fluttershy,” I stammered “w-w-what are y-you doing here?”
I directed the question more at Rainbow Dash than at Fluttershy. I had assumed that Fluttershy had just now caught up to me to help me train; but Rainbow Dash? I had no idea why my hero was hovering beside Fluttershy… laughing… at me?
I couldn’t contain my blush. If anyone asks later, I will tell them that it was from falling so hard… or maybe not, does anypony really need to know.
After a few seconds, Rainbow Dash stopped laughing enough to say “I *giggle* ran into Fluttershy *haha*, she said she was going to teach you to fly *hahahaha*. She convinced me to tag along, *bwahaha*, for moral support… or something like that.”
I just stood there, frozen, with a troubled look on my face. I wasn’t upset with Rainbow Dash; I was upset with myself. I had let Rainbow Dash see me fail. I had let her see the filly-sized crater at the bottom of the cliff. I had let her see me standing there covered in leaves and tree sap. Now, I was worried.
What did the cyan pegasus who had been my idol for so long think of me? Was she disappointed in me? Did she think I would never fly?
Fluttershy must have noticed, because she flew up to Rainbow Dash and whispered something to her. Rainbow‘s gaze became more serious. She turned her head to the ground and landed silently.
After a moment spent making sure Rainbow Dash didn’t fly away or leave, Fluttershy walked up to try to comfort me.
“Scootaloo… are you alright?” came Fluttershy’s soft voice
I said nothing.
“Scootaloo…?” she asked again.
I remained silent.
“Scootaloo! Snap out of it!” a loud voice intruded, and I looked left to find Applebloom standing less than a foot from me. When had she moved?
Until that moment, I’d forgotten she was even here. Everything had seemed so distant, so faded… everything except Rainbow Dash.
“Huh... Applebloom?” I asked while still coming out of shock.
I looked over to Fluttershy, then to Rainbow Dash, who was looking up only slightly. She noticed my now fully conscious gaze and looked back down.
After a second, Rainbow Dash said, “Maybe I should just go. I’ve caused enough damage already.” She turned toward Fluttershy as if seeking support or permission.
Fluttershy just shook her head and addressed Rainbow Dash in a stern voice, but still with an edge of kindness. “Rainbow, I think it’s better if you stay here. You are the element of loyalty… and that is something greatly needed right now.”
Rainbow flew up to me, head still hanging low.
“Sorry, kid,” she said “I didn’t mean to laugh at you. Fluttershy was telling me what advice she managed to give before you dashed off to try it yourself… and without the proper context it could end very badly… though you probably already know,” she winced, eyeing a few telltale bruises, then the crater Applebloom had mentioned earlier.
By then, I had gained enough control over myself to speak.
“What is the proper context?” I asked, hoping it wouldn’t make me look too dumb.
Fluttershy was first to speak. “Scootaloo, I told you that if you want to fly you need to first learn to fall.” This much I already knew.
Applebloom chimed in next “Looks t’ me like ya’ve been doing a great deal of fallin’.”
Fluttershy shot her a warning stare, and she fell quiet.
“You need to learn how to control your fall, then you can take the next step to learning to fly,” the soft-spoken pegasus instructed.
“What do you mean ‘control your fall’? I haven’t exactly been jumping of cliffs without trying to teach myself how to fly, you know.”
“What I mean is, you need to slow your descent… try spreading your wings in the air.”
“But I’ve already tried that. I’ve been flapping my wings in mid-air since I got here,” I grumbled. At this point, I was starting to get annoyed.
“Flying isn’t all about flapping, silly.”
“Then what is it about?”
“Sometimes you just need to spread your wings, and let the wind carry you.”
“How is that going to help? I can’t lift myself off of the ground by just spreading my wings.”
“Kid,” sounded the voice of Rainbow Dash, who was a few feet away. “Flying is much more than flapping and getting off the ground, although those do play their part, most of the time flying is just gliding from one spot to the next and flapping only enough to keep you airborne.”
I had noticed that. When a pegasus was low to the ground, they would flap their wings more than if they were soaring in the sky. But I was low to the ground, shouldn’t that mean I needed to flap more?
“So, I just need to practice gliding?”
“For now… yes,” said the sweet voice of Fluttershy.
“Alright then, I’m gonna try right now!”
As I turned to leave, I heard a familiar voice behind me.
“Applebloom? You said you were going to find Scootaloo so we could go gem hunting,” Sweetie Belle said in a high-pitched whine.
“Oh, right… sorry Sweetie Belle, I got distracted with Scootaloo repeatedly jumpin’ off a cliff an all,” replied Applebloom.
I had already started climbing the cliff, and I was about halfway up.
“WHAT!? That’s crazy!” Sweetie Belle sputtered, looking up at me almost at the top of the cliff, not just the low part I had been practicing on. I was going all the way up. “Get down from there before you kill yourself” Her eyes then fell upon the filly-sized crater from my previous attempts.
I ignored the resounding chorus of “Scootaloo! Get down here!” from everypony waiting below.
I knew I had to do this and I had to do it now.
I stepped up to the ledge and gave myself a countdown.
I stepped off the ledge and started falling. I noticed Rainbow Dash rushing toward me, but she stop mid-air, when I started gliding.
I got to about the ledge that I practiced on earlier when I was so overcome with the joys of flying, or gliding, that I forgot to keep my wings spread at my sides. I let my wing go up above me, and I began to plummet. Instead of spreading my wings again I did exactly what I was not supposed to do, I started flapping them like crazy.
This is my first story and I hope I did well on it. Please leave an honest review in the comments section below, and don’t forget to rate it. I may be getting ahead of myself here, but I plan to make this a series of short stories about teaching Scootaloo how to fly (then I will try to move on to Sweetie Belle and her magic, no promises here) stay tuned for the sequel ‘Gliding through dreams’.