“Our True Colors”
by Donny’s Boy
Synopsis: Scootaloo has never really cared much for Pinkie Pie, and she definitely doesn’t like the way Pinkie calls her hero “Dashie.” But for some strange reason, Pinkie seems fixated on her and insistent on meddling in Scootaloo’s life. Whether Scootaloo likes it or not.
“You with the sad eyes, don’t be discouraged.
Though I realize it’s hard to take courage.”
--Cyndia Lauper, “True Colors”
“You’re a ward of the state, now.” The large stallion, dressed in heavy plated armor, wore a perfectly blank expression on his broad, serious face. “Please come with us, miss, and we’ll take you to the orphanage in Fillydelphia so that you can--”
The little filly didn’t wait to hear any more.
From behind, she could hear the shouts of the officials as they gave chase but she ignored them. She focused instead on running as fast as she could, faster than she’d ever ran before in her entire life, as the world around her melted into a blur of indistinct colors and shapes. She could sense the grown-up ponies catching up, and she dodged left and right as they tried in futility to grab her.
She was lucky that only earth ponies had been sent for her, though. She wasn’t at all sure if she would have been able to stay ahead of pegasi. And, of course, unicorns would have been able to just freeze her with their magic.
It was the only lucky thing that had happened to her lately.
The road came into view on the horizon, foregrounded against a bleak gray sky. She was starting to flag a little--the last few days had been gruelling, emotionally and physically--but she pushed herself onward. Tried to find a second wind. And then, when she spotted something on the road up ahead, she grinned ever so slightly and did find that second wind.
A merchant cart. Attached to a pegasus. Who looked about ready to take off.
The filly felt the wind whip through her mane as she headed straight for the cart at a full gallop. The pegasus was facing away from her and, when she finally reached the cart, she slipped in with all the silence and stealth of a ninja. The cart was filled with boxes and books and crates--and a blanket. She quickly pulled the blanket over her head, hiding, and peeked out the back of the cart.
Her pursuers were still coming, but they seemed tired. Too tired to still be yelling.
The filly held her breath.
Just as it seemed the mean government ponies would nab her, the cart began rolling. It picked up speed, faster and faster, until at last it took to the air. Half terrified and half amazed, the filly stared down at the other ponies trapped down on the ground, as they began gesturing wildly and shouting something. But she was too far away to hear what they were shouting. The pegasus didn’t seem to hear, either.
She waited until she was high enough that the ponies chasing her looked no bigger than ants, and only then did she let out the breath she’d been holding in. All at once the adrenaline drained out of her system, and she felt very, very tired.
Resting her head on one of the boxes in the cart, she allowed herself to shut her eyes. She told herself she was just giving them a brief rest, just for a few minutes, but soon she was asleep and dreaming.
She dreamt of beautiful rainbows, spanning across the sky in seemingly endless arches, and of impromptu parties held in silos that smelt of rocks and wood and vanilla-frosted cake.
“Hey! How come we never have sleep-overs over at your house?”
Applebloom stared at her expectantly, patiently, while Sweetie Belle chewed on a muffin. The sounds of Sugar Cube Corner--customers chatting, the front door bell tinkling as it opened and closed, Pinkie Pie singing loudly as she pushed a mop around the bakery’s main floor--all faded into the background as Scootaloo fought down a sudden surge of panic.
“Yeah!” said Sweetie Belle through a mouthful of muffin. “We should have our next sleep-over at Scootaloo’s place!”
The young pegasus’ mind raced.
Then, she almost laughed as a brilliant thought came to her. “You can’t!” she blurted out. Then, a bit quieter: “I mean, you can’t. ‘Cause I’m a pegasus pony, and I live in the clouds.” She nodded with deep satisfaction at this answer. “That’s where pegasi live, y’know. Clouds. Where earth ponies and unicorn ponies can’t go.”
“Oh,” said Sweetie Belle, pouting.
But Applebloom was shaking her head. “Nuh-uh! We can, too! Twilight can do cloud-walkin’ spells.” She nudged the unicorn with her shoulder. “My sister said that’s how they all got up to Cloudsdale to watch Rainbow Dash in the Best Young Fliers competition.”
Wide-eyed, Scootaloo swallowed and struggled to think of a back-up plan. It was hard, though, as blind terror started creeping its way up her spine.
“Why don’t you girls have your sleep-over here at Sugar Cube Corner?”
The three fillies looked up at the sudden intrusion of a fourth voice. Pinkie stood right beside their table, having seemingly materialized out of thin air, the way she always did. The older pony wore a broad, friendly smile, which she turned towards each of the three fillies in turn. Scootaloo frowned as Pinkie’s eyes came to rest on her in particular. Maybe it was just paranoia, but she always felt that Pinkie was paying more attention to her than she did to Sweetie Belle or Applebloom, and it weirded her out a little. Actually, it weirded her out a lot.
“I dunno, Pinkie,” the young pegasus said slowly, trying to keep the unease out of her voice. “We don’t wanna, y’know, be any trouble. Or anything.”
The other two fillies looked at Scootaloo as though she’d been replaced with a pod-pony.
“Oh, don’t be silly! It’s no trouble at all!” Pinkie beamed. Then, lowering her voice and winking, she added, “And you know what? I bet that Rainbow Dash would just love to come help me keep an eye on you girls.”
Oh, that was a dirty, tricky, unfair move to make. Scootaloo bit her lip, feeling torn. On the one hoof, Rainbow Dash. On the other hoof … Pinkie Pie. It was a dilemma. It really, truly was.
“Aw, c’mon, Scootaloo!” Applebloom gave her a playful shove. “Say yes! It’ll be fun!”
Grinning, Sweetie Belle nodded her agreement.
Scootaloo finally sighed in defeat. “Oh, okay. Fine.”
“Whee!” Pinkie Pie clapped happily before reaching out to pat all three of the girls on their heads. “Oh, this will be the best slumber party ever! Just give me a few days to get everything set up, okie dokie? I need to ask Dashie about when she can come over to help.”
Scootalo winced at the odious and disrespectful nickname “Dashie” but chose not to respond otherwise. Instead, she rested her chin on the table while Applebloom started babbling about slumber party plans and Sweetie Belle continued chomp away on her muffin. Feeling suddenly and irrationally peevish, Scootaloo glared as Pinkie bounced away to resume her mopping and singing.
In return, Pinkie shot the pegasus a smile over her shoulder as she left, but it was a weird smile. A knowing smile. But just what Pinkie Pie knew was something Scootaloo couldn’t even begin to guess.
The little filly woke up as soon as the pegasus’ cart landed on firm, solid ground. Once the cart rolled to a complete stop, she slowly lifted the edge of her blanket. She glanced around and took stock of her situation.
There were little houses and shops all around, with ponies milling here and there. Then, down the street a ways, she spotted it--a building in the shape of a giant cupcake, reaching up into the sky like a beacon of pure, sugary hope. She grinned, just a little weak grin, but she grinned.
The giant cupcake meant that they’d landed in Ponyville, and she liked Ponyville. She’d come here every so often with … with her … She frowned and pushed away the intruding thoughts. Best not to remember right now. Best to just focus on looking for shelter.
Cautiously, the filly snuck out of the cart and darted into a nearby alleyway before the cart’s owner could notice anything amiss. She slunk along the ground quickly, searching for somewhere to hide, somewhere safe. After a bit of poking around, she located an empty, overturned apple barrel, and she crawled inside.
It was almost cozy. She felt a deep sense of satisfaction in her accomplishments for the day.
As she settled into her new-found home, she was startled by a sudden rumbling in her stomach, reminding her that she hadn’t had a bite to eat since last night’s dinner. Frowning, she wondered how she was going to find something to satisfy her hunger. She hadn’t had time to grab any snacks or bits from her house before the government ponies had come.
She sighed softly. It was going to be a long day and probably an even longer night.