SWEET APPLE ACRES AT 8:00 A.M. ON SUNDAY
After spending all of Saturday inside their homes and staring longingly out of what must have been every window in their homes in between performing chores and the monumental pile of homework Ms. Cherilee had assigned them, Rarity and Granny Smith had allowed Sweetie Belle and Applebloom to go outside once again. Meeting up on the latter’s farm, the two were currently busy trotting along slowly towards the clubhouse the three of them had managed to build one summer afternoon under the supervision of Big Macintosh of course, who had come down to visit from Maretropolis.
Applebloom’s big time reporter big brother, however, was not the pony currently on both of their minds. That spot was reserved for a certain orange coated, fuschia maned pegasus friend of theirs. A so called ‘friend’ who had abandoned them and sent them both off to face the music of their decision to venture the Everfree alone, despite the fact that ‘they’ were not the masterminds behind that little trip, and she was.
This ire felt toward’s Scootaloo held even after they got over the initial shock of finding her in the clubhouse ahead of them, reading another comic book entitled, “Dial H for Hayro” that she had, undoubtedly, also borrowed from her Rainbow Maned idol.
“Scootaloo!” The two of them yelled out indignantly, causing the Pegasus filly to leap out of her seat and land unceremoniously on her back on the floorboards.
“Hehheh.” She chuckled nervously, wearing her comic book on her head as well as a forced smile. “Hi girls.”
The death glare she received from the two of them made her shiver.
“Look,” She began, rubbing her neck with a hoof and taking an interest in everything in the room but them, “I’m sorry about ditching you two the other day. I just remembered that I…uhhh…had to turn in an overdue library book or get fined fifty bits, so, I had to bolt lickity split, ya know?...”
The other crusaders continued to glare at her, eyes ever narrowing. Sweat now threatening to cascade down the fur of her face like Neighagra falls, Scootaloo quickly said, “Sooo…I felt so bad about doing it, that I went out yesterday while you two were stuck at home and got you something.”
The fuschia maned filly got up and quickly shuffled over towards a nearby windowsill, grabbing the saddlebag there with her teeth, bringing it down, and spilling out its contents onto the floor for the other crusaders to see. Said filly’s eyes widened in wonder.
“Whoa!” Said Sweetie.
“No way!” Said Applebloom.
“Way.” Said Scootaloo, allowing herself a smile and holding her chin up high.
The two other crusaders walked closer towards what lay on the ground, and held what articles pertained to them in their hooves.
“These are real, genuine nun chucks and Chineigh Mare’s hat!” Said Applebloom.
“And these are a real, genuine, Prench couture scarf and beret!” Squeaked Sweetie.
“But…how?” Asked the white unicorn.
“Yeah! There aren’t any shops I can’t think of in Ponyville that carry nothin’ like this, Canterlot’s a train or cab ride away you can’t fly, and you’re always so tight on bits!”
The orange filly smiled knowlingly. “Oh it wasn’t so hard. I just took some time out from my mourning routine to take a little visit to Prance and Haysia. Nothing big.”
The eyes of the other two widened even deeper than before.
“You don’t mean—“ They said in unison.
“That’s right!” Interrupted Scootaloo with a snap of her hoof. “I just shouted Shaza—the wizard’s—name, turned into an Alicorn, flew as fast as I could east, made a few stops, kept going, and made it all the way back to Equestria right before dinner!”
They eyes of the other two, having widened to their deepest, remained the same. Their mouths however, dropped to the floor.
The eyes of the other two, having widened to their deepest, remained the same. Their mouths however, dropped to the floor.
“No way.” Said Applebloom, quieter than before.
“Way.” Said Scootaloo, allowing herself another smile and holding her chin up again.
“But…that’s impossible.” Said Sweetie, putting a hoof up to the side of her head in thought. “In order to go all around the world that quickly, you would need to moving WAY faster than the speed of sound. Even faster than a Wonderbolt jet! Even faster than Rainbow Dash before the…you…know…”
It was Scootaloo’s turn for her own eyes to widen to their limits and for her own mouth to drop to the floor. “You…you really think I was going that fast?!”
“Maybe even faster.”
For a good long minute, Scootaloo blanked out, remaining unnaturally still and stiff as her friends tried desperately to break her out of the trance she had fallen into by waving their hooves in exaggerated fashions before her eyes. Afterwards though, a beam so bright graced her face that Equestria’s long departed monarch would have been impressed with had she been there to witness the event. Her friends though, were still rather concerned as evidenced by the manner in which they glanced at each other.
“Uhhh…you okay there Scoots?” Asked Applebloom, worriedly.
“Okay?” Asked Scootaloo. “OKAY!?”
Faster than a streak of lightning, she grabbed both of her pals and held them in a tight embrace, crushing them with the utmost sense of friendship. “I’m better than okay! WAY better! I’m—I’M—“
“—Ec…static?” Interrupted Sweetie, in between gasps for air.
“Yeah! At least…I think.” Scootaloo said, putting a fetlock to her chin in thought. “What does that mean again?”
“I…think...it mean…so happy…you can…barely…errr…breathe…” Said Applebloom.
“Oh.” Said Scootaloo. “If that’s true, then YEAH!”
Dropping her close friends unceremoniously to the floor, the fuchsia maned Pegasus put on a determined look on her face, threw a hoof high into the air and proclaimed, “Girls! We’re going to spend today seeing just how far we can go in our new bodies! Cutie Mark Crusader Alicorns, away!”
Rearing up on her hind legs, Scootaloo galloped as fast as she could out the door, leaving behind Sweetie and Applebloom to catch their breaths on the floor as ragged heaps. A few moments later, the over-eager filly stuck her head through the doorway and said, “I hope you guys still aren’t ticked off about what happened on Friday. I really am sorry that I had to leave you two like that.”
“Uhhh…” Moaned Applebloom, adjusting to her cheeks returning to their normal, non-bluish color. “Long as you don’t ever hug like that again, I think we’re fine.”
“Great!” Beamed Scootaloo. “Then get up and let’s roll out guys! Times a’ wastin’!”
With that, she zipped out the door again. Not far behind her were two rather exhausted looking ponies, letting out one sigh of exasperation each in perfect synchrony.
NOT LONG AFTERWARDS…
After a few minutes of trotting (which, in reality, was more Scootaloo galloping and her friends slowly trying to catch up), the trio was far enough into the Everfree that they felt secure enough that no pony would be around to hear the thunder and see them transform.
Bouncing gleefully up and down around her rather pooped looking fiends, Scootaloo said, “Alright! Let’s do this!” Stopping, she turned towards the sky, barely visible beneath the leaves and branches of the enchanted forest and shouted, as loud as her little lungs could carry, “SHAZAM!”
The consequential and literal bolt of lightning struck and transformed her into her older, goddess self. Two more shouts, and the other crusaders joined her in Alicornhood.
“Alright girls!” Scootaloo said, slapping her two front hooves together in a commanding manner. “First things first: we’re gonna start by seeing just how strong we are!”
She swiftly pointed a hoof at the former earth pony of the group and barked out, “Applebloom!”
Taken slightly aback by her friend’s tone and volume, the yellow mare replied, “Yes?”
“How much can you lift normally?”
“Uhhhmmm…” Began Applebloom, racking her brain with a hoof to her chin. “…Twenty pounds…I think?”
“Good! Sweetie Belle!” She said with a snap of her hoof, turning it slightly to the right.
“Uhhhmmm…that depends.” The White filly responded.
“Whattya mean” Asked the yellow Alicorn.
“Well…are we going by Equestrian, Griffonian, Minotaurian standards or metric?” She asked at a rapid fire pace, placing a hoof to her chin in thought. “Because I think I can lift fifteen pounds, twenty-three point five, six, six, six, one yuons, zero point one musclepowers, and six point eight, zero, four kilograms respectively.”
Staring at their Unicorn friend with their jaw dropped so low to the ground that a frog found refuge into each of their mouths, Applebloom and Scootaloo shook their heads, spit-out the slimy amphibians, appraising Sweetie with confused looks.
“Whoa! Since when do ya know all that?” Asked the yellow Alicorn.
“Yeah! I mean, I knew you were a bit of an egghead, but THAT was sometimg…A LOT…uhhh…MORE eaggheadier.” She said, mulling it over, before stomping a hoof on the ground, powerful enough to crush the small rock lying there, with certainty. “Yeah! Sounds about right.”
“Humph! It’s just the wisdom of Star Swirl. Don’t you possess it?” Said Sweetie, crossing her forelegs over her chest and keeping balance by fluttering her new found wings. “Furthermore, I prefer to be referred to as a mare of great sophistication and not an “egg-head” like you’ve so rudely suggested.
“Pfff…more like a dictionary…” Said the orange Alircorn with a roll of her eyes.
“Come again?” Asked Sweetie Belle, hoof around her ear. “It sounded like somepony’s a bit jealous that they don’t seem to be as easily able to access the vast repository of knowledge bestowed to us.”
Gritting her teeth, Scootaloo said, “Nooo…I’m just angry that somepony’s transformation seems to turn them into the biggest, heaviest, and most boring dictionary I know.”
“Mare of sophistication.” Said Sweetie, humorlessly, eyes narrowing.
“Dictionary.” Responded Scootaloo just as humorlessly, eyes narrowing.
“Mare of sophistication.” Said Sweetie again; voice raised slightly, eyes narrowing even more.
“Dictionary.” Said Scootaloo again, voiced raised slightly and eyes even more narrowed.
With a sense of detached morbid curiosity, Applebloom watched the back and forth exchange between her two dearest friends, head and eyes swiveling back and forth as though automatic, as it grew increasingly more heated.
“Dictionary!” Yelled Scootaloo, right into the unicorn’s face.
“Mare of sophistication!” Yelled Sweetie Belle, right back into the Pegasus’s face.
The two butted heads with a “boom!” powerful enough to create a shockwave of air that blew away debris for a good ten or so feet and scarred a dozen or so birds out from their perches on nearby trees. Maintaining the teeth-bared press against the other’s forehead, both Alicorns were so tunnel-visioned by this point, that they didn’t notice Applebloom move right next to them and cough into her hood, until the cough sounded like a serious illness that should probably have a look taken at by Nurse Redheart.
“WHAT!?” The two infuriated Goddesses exclaimed towards their yellow friend in unison, heads turned to face her.
“Ummm…when do we stop the arguing and get back to the training? This whole trip into the forest was fun and all up and till that there point.” She said, a confused expression on her face.
The other two sighing out their frustrations, Sweetie Belle said, “Fine. But let this be the final time I ever listen to the words “dictionary” EVER be directed towards me as an insult from her.” She said, fore hoof snapping in Scootaloo’s direction. “I get enough of that particular adjective as well as others from Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiarra in class as a normal, not as sophisticated, unicorn filly. Right Scootaloo?”
“Yeah sure, whatever. It’s cool.” The orange Alicorn said, casually dismissing her friend’s concerns with a few waves, much to her apparent chagrin. “Anyways, like I was about to say before somepony here went on a wild and crazy tangent—“
Sweetie Belle silently and gracefully face-hoofed.
“—I can lift a good fifty or so pounds with these nine inch pythons—“ Said Scootaloo, before standing on her hind-legs and placing a quick smooch on both of her forelegs. “—As my normal, loveable, and athletic self.” She finished with a satisfied smirk on her face.
“Yes…before she falls down to the ground and has to have somepony help her back up I suppose…” Muttered the white Alicorn under her breath.
Not hearing her friend’s jab (or at least, pretending not to have heard it), Applebloom said, “Golly Scoots! How’d ya reckon that much? I’m an earth pony, and even I can’t lift that much weight normally!”
“Eh, it’s nothing big. I just have the best trainer in the whole wide world.” Said Scootaloo with faux humility.
“Iron-Will?” Asked Sweetie Belle with genuine curiosity.
“No…” Said Scootaloo with a playful shift of her eyes to the right.
“Roid Rage?” Asked Applebloom.
“No…” Replied Scootaloo with another such shift.
“Oh oh oh! I know!” Replied Sweetie Belle, bouncing up and down excitedly, waving her right fore hoof around in the air as though she were in class.
“Uhmmm…yes, Ms. Belle.” Said Scootaloo, in an imitation of their teacher that would have made Ms. Cheerilee proud.
“Is it famed Europonyian body builder, Arnolda Schwarzagermane? Ten time winner of the Ms. Universe award and famed multi-million bit action star!?” Asked Sweetie Belle with excitement in her voice.
“Tsk—tsk—tsk…” Said Scootaloo, shaking her head with a smile. “My trainer isn’t any of those ponies slash plus one Minotaur. My trainer is a three time winner of the best young flier competition, two time receiver of a junior Olympic medal, made the Wonderbolt’s draft pick, AND has the totally epic honor of being the fastest flier in all of Equestria!”
“Spitfire?” Asked Applebloom, dumbfounded.
“Soarin?” Asked Sweetie Belle, equally so.
After making her hoof meet her face, Scootaloo said, “You guyyysss! Rainbow Dash!”
Blinking owlishly, the other Alicorns said, “Ohhhhh…” in realization at once.
“Must have been before the accident at the weather station…” Whispered Sweetie into Applebloom’s ear.
“Quiet! She’ll hear!” Whispered back the yellow Alicorn.
Turning back to face their friend, Scootaloo took stock of their large and incredibly forced looking grins and said, “Anyways…yeah. She and I have been workin’ on my fitness for about a month now, and I gotta say: though the cardiovascular exercises with her are killer, I’m getting into the best of my life,” with another satisfied smirk. “Now that we all know what we can do without our powers, let’s see what we can do with them!”
Turning around and facing an oak tree with such grim determination that it would have shied away were it to possess a face and legs, Scootaloo wrapped her now enormous forelegs around its trunk and, in a single motion, pulled the massive piece of foliage out from the ground, snapping up some of its roots and kicking up a surprising lack of dirt as she managed to balance, quite easily, on her hind legs.
“Whoa!” All three of them shouted out all at once.
“Hey Sweetie Belle!” Called out Scootaloo. “Think you can use that ginormous brain of yours to figure out how much this thing weighs just by looking at it?”
“Hmmmm…let me see…” Pondered Sweetie, placing a fetlock to her chin.
With her other hoof, the white Alicorn made motions as though a chalkboard was right in front of her, floating leisurely with her wings. Finally arriving to a conclusion after all of five seconds, she said, “I believe that tree to be in possession of a mass equal to five tons Equestrian, give or take a few ounces.”
“Really!?” Asked the other two.
“This thing doesn’t even feel like what a foam ball would to me as a filly!” Said Scootaloo, excitedly.
“Ooo Ooo! Let me try!” Said Applebloom with equal enthusiasm.
With a heave that would seem mighty to an onlooker ignorant of her true strength, but that was really as casual as lifting up a can of soda, Scootaloo tossed the great oak towards her friend, who managed to catch it easily on her own fore hooves.
“Wow! You were right there Scoots!” Said Applebloom, experimenting with her strength by tossing the five-ton hunk of wood a few feet into the air with but a single hoof. “This thing’s even lighter than what an Applebloom would be to me if I was filly right now!”
“Hey Sweetie Belle!” Said Scootaloo, turning towards the white Alicorn. “Just how tough are Alicorns supposed to be, anyways?”
The former unicorn blinked once, Owlishly.
“Really? You don’t know?” She asked, confused. “I would have suspected that even an academic slacker such as yourself would have stayed awake for that part of Ms. Cherilee’s lecture a few weeks ago, given just how many of those kiddie books you indulge yourself in.”
Ignoring Sweetie’s back hoofed comment about one of her favorite past times, Scootaloo said, “Oh yeah? Why’s that?” as calmly and nonchalantly as she could.
“Because, in that part of class, we learned historical accounts about how Luna, Celestia, and Nightmare Moon had supposedly been capable of casually defeating flights of elder dragons single hoofedly and bench pressing entire mountains off the ground.”
“No way!” She Scootaloo, fore hooves pressed against the sides of her face.
“Well…some of those accounts are a bit…iffy to be polite about it, but, at the very least, it can be deduced that the average Alicorn can hurl around boulders the size of school carriages all day without getting tired, and can withstand the force of such objects colliding with them all day without serious injury occurring.”
At this, a devious smirk slowly spread to encompass Scootaloo’s face.
“Reallyyy…” She said, head turning back around towards Applebloom, still tossing up the oak, leisurely. “Interesting.”
Eye’s suddenly widening with the realization of what her orange coated friend was about to do, Sweetie Belle said, “Scootaloo…don’t…you…dar—“
Faster than she could finish, Scootaloo flew towards the nearest oak, ripped it from the ground and, like a baseball but, used it to hit a clueless Applebloom from right under the tree she was playing with, and send her smashing into the trunk of another, upright one, a dozen or so feet away.
“What did I just—“ Began Sweetie, with a look of indignation on her face.
Before she could finish however, Scootaloo swung right back around and slammed Sweetie Belle herself into the trunk of a tree with the oak she had rooted out.
Spitting out splinters that had managed to enter her mouth, Sweetie, firmly embedded in the trunk, said, “Oh! It! Is! ON!” prior to removing herself and ripping up the tree she was slammed in with her for hooves, holding it over her head like a hammer ready to bring down divine vengeance upon her friend’s head.
“Uh oh…” Muttered Scootaloo out loud.
“Uh oh is correct, Scootaloo.” Said Sweetie Belle, icily.
“Wait!” Cried out the orange Alicorn, dropping her tree and waving her hoofs up defensively. “Can’t we talk about this!?”
Her answer coming in the form of an increasingly growing, tree shaped shadow obscuring her, Scootaloo managed to role off to the side just as Sweetie Belle’s weapon came down on the spot she used to be, hard, with sufficient force to cause the tree to ‘explode’ for lack of a better term, as well as plant poor Applebloom (who was caught in the radius of where the large oak would land) a few feet into the ground.
Hearing the yellow Alicorn’s half yelled, “Ah!” moments before her attacker struck the ground, Sweetie Belle put both of her fore hooves to her mouth in shock and said, “Oh my gosh! Applebloom! Are you okay!?”
Coming from some distance behind her, she heard another voice say, “Eh! She’s probably fine!”
Turning around just in time to see Scootaloo flying at her with a rather large boulder in her hooves from deeper in the forest, her ears picked up the orange Alicorn say, “But you won’t be when I’m through with you!” with a wicked grin on her face.
Making a small and timid, “Meep!” Sweetie Bell dashed off to the sound just quickly enough to avoid Scootaloo’s boulder toss, grabbed her tail with her teeth, and threw her far into the morning sun.
“I could say the same thing to you, you little ruffian!” She yelled out with a smug smile.
Said smile however dropped from her face the moment she heard Applebloom free herself from the splintered wood she was underneath and uproot another nearby tree with her fore hooves, yelling all the while and fixing Sweetie with a stare as she hovered above the ground.
Frantically trying to calm her enraged apple picking fried by waving her fore hooves and shaking her head well…frantically…Sweetie cried out, “Applebloom! Wait! I was trying to strike Scootaloo, not y—“
The sound of whooshing air filing her ears as she ducked Applebloom’s swing with her makeshift oaken bat cut her off. Realizing that trying to talk reason into the yellow Alicorn at the moment would lead to her getting a mouthful of splinters, Sweetie Belle did what any sensible person with the power of flight would do in this situation, and flew as fast as her godly wings would allow her, which turned out to be much faster than she had anticipated if the fact that she quickly managed to break the sound barrier was any indication.
So surprised was she at this most sudden of accelerations, that she barely managed to avoid Scootaloo’s buck from impacting upon her forehead. Looking back though, she did manage to make out her two friends colliding with each other in the air with looks of surprise on their faces. Feeling the resulting shockwave blow her mane back and cause every tree for hundreds of feet around sway violently in the hurricane like gust, she closed her eyes and shouted, “Ha! Let it not be said that my powers do not grant me grace to rival that of Sele—“
Her boasting came to a sudden and abrupt end when she looked back to her front and saw a rapidly approaching Cliffside. Only having time enough for her eyes to grow as wide as dinner plates, she crashed against the rock, embedding herself within for all of three seconds before the series of spider-web like cracks she had caused grew prodigious enough for gravity to allow her to fall back down to the ground with a colossal chunk of stone close above.
“Ouch...” She muttered, the lower half of her body pinned down beneath the rock she had managed to shear off from the cliff.
Using her hind hooves for leverage, with surprisingly little effort required on her part, she managed to haul off the debris from herself and stood triumphant…for all of about five seconds before her knees became like noodles and she found herself back on the ground once more, her world spinning.
Shaking her head clear, she managed to prop herself up against the chunk and mutter out, “Oh! I think I require apt medical attention…”
She was soon brought out of her daze when she saw Scootaloo drop from the sky and land so gracefully amongst the grass that not a single blade was disturbed until after she had landed before her. She wished she could say the same for Applebloom, who crashed through the tree line shouting, “Look out below!” before cratering the ground where she landed rather undignified next to the orange Alicorn.
Quickly leaping to her feet and shaking off as much dirt as she could, Applebloom and Scootaloo looked at Sweetie Belle, the cliff, exchanged glanced with each other, and looked back to her.
“Did you do all that?” Asked Applebloom, pointing a fore hoof to the cliff.
“Do you feel ok?” Asked Scootaloo.
“For the most part, aside from some rapidly retreating dizziness…yes, actually.”
At this, Sweetie Belle’s oldest friends, her most trusted and dearest of compatriots exchanged sly looks at each other that they mutually shot her with.
“Great!” They said in unison, before picking up the nearest fragments of the boulder Sweetie had found herself beneath with their teeth, that look of theirs never once faltering.
Sighing and mentally preparing herself for the onslaught to come, Sweetie placing a hoof to her cheek and said, “Darn. I was afraid you’d say that.”