Some ponies called it the Regret.
Their death had been predicted millenniums ago, by their parents and grandparents. But their death date was so far away, the Princesses didn't think too much about it. But as it drew near with each passing century, they knew they needed to tell their people.
And tell them they did.
Why didn't you tell us sooner? We could have prepared some Doomsday Plan! We could have changed the future! Why are you dying? This doesn't make sense! How can you die? How do you know? How did your parents know?
"I can't remember. I can't remember."
How could you not tell us?
We trusted you.
The first to go was Princess Luna. A minor cold, they said, probably not what would kill her. Her death would come soon, but not yet, they said.
Princess Celestia felt herself growing weak. The sun was harder and harder to raise with each passing day. The ponies knew that if Princess Celestia died as well, it was the end for them. They huddled in cramped spaces around the fireplace in the morning, the sun now too dim to sustain them, while convincing their distraught children that no, Princess Celestia was not going to die, and everything would be fine.
Scootaloo knew better, and thought that anyone with half a brain would know as well.
Many hoarded food and firewood in preparation for their goddess' passing. A select few indulged in forbidden rituals in a desperate attempt to revive the sun, but it was all in vain. Pegasi cleared the sky to let every single trace of sunlight that still shone on the doomed land through the clouds and into the eyes of worried ponies, who knew it was simply a matter of time till this luxury would be taken from them.
The name 'Regret' soon struck as ponies lamented over the things they could have done before their whole world started to crumble. All the wonders they could have brought, and all the fame they could have acquired. They had not an idea when their princess would die, and not an idea of how much time they had left. They couldn't diminish their regrets.
And yet, the biggest regret in the entire Equestria was the only one that Princess Celestia had as she passed away.
She did not make time on the day her sister died to walk next to her in the Palace Gardens one last time.
When Princess Celestia was about to die, she was surrounded by the Elements of Harmony. Orders were given. They were to lead as the new deities, to take Princess Celestia's place. Using an incredible amount of magic which she had been harboring for the important moment, she entrusted the six the power to raise the sun and moon at will.
Then she fell, never to move again.
At that moment, a horrifying chill ran through the entire Equestria in a blast of unimaginable power. Thousands of ponies froze to death in an instant, not having predicted the Chill.
That was what it would be called. The Chill.
The Elements were hit by the brunt of the Chill and sent flying. Even though they were Elements and much more stronger than normal ponies, they would have to be quite lucky to survive the horrendous cold, especially having been hit by it at point-blank range.
The first Chill didn't kill too many ponies compared to the second, colder one.
Scootaloo wasn't sure how much time passed between the first and second Chill. She was passing in and out of consciousness, her body freezing and stuck in a semi-comatose state. When she drifted into full consciousness for the first time, she instinctively tried to flap her wings-
-and she realized she could no longer feel them.
She screamed. Or rather, she tried to scream. She felt warm hooves cradling her and looked up to see Nurse Redheart. Her tears fell onto Scootaloo's face as she tried to comfort the now grounded Pegasus filly.
Scootaloo fought hard. She kicked and she struggled against the mare, trying to get away and find her family. And her friends- where was Sweetie Belle? Where was Apple Bloom? She exhausted herself quickly and gazed up at Nurse Redheart again. The mare explained how the second Chill completely decimated Ponyville and Cloudsdale, and there was little chance to see her friends ever again.
The nurse held Scootaloo close as she cried.
When she fell asleep and woke up, she saw the strong sun shining its rays onto the barren land- it was just like old times. Scootaloo was trapped in blissful memories for a moment, grinning like and idiot and forgetting all the horrors that happened.
But for Nurse Redheart, the sun had come too late.
Scootaloo set her eyes on the frostbitten bodies of many unfortunately ponies and the pieces of ice still melting on the stronger buildings not blown over by the blast from the two Chills. She set her eyes on the dead plants that spanned for miles and miles, not a single green leaf having been spared.
It was only then did she think about how hard Nurse Redheart was shivering.
Scootaloo shouldn't have been alive. The fact that she survived even without her wings was a miracle in itself. Nurse Redheart had protected her from the cold with her own body heat at the expense of her own life.
Scootaloo cried again.
After the two Chills, the orange filly wandered Ponyville without any destination in mind. She took refuge in the Mayor's place, helping herself to the uneaten food left in the shelves, having been conserved to feed Ponyville after Princess Celestia died for around a year or two while they were recovering from the damage.
Obviously, no one anticipated the Chills.
There was a surprising lack of bodies in the Mayor's large home. Two employees in the living room, a frozen chef- that was all. The Mayor was nowhere to be seen.
Scootaloo paid no mind to them. She had lost all traces of hope the new sun had given her.
She found Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle's body near the ruined Sweet Apple Acres, the panicked look on their faces obvious as they had tried to find something before the first Chill struck.
Were they trying to find her? Scootaloo would never know. She simply closed their eyes and gave them the best burial her weakened body could give.
She could almost feel Sweetie Belle turn in her grave as Scootaloo let tears escape from her eyes once more.
The Pegasus pledged to not cry again.
Scootaloo didn't know how much time had passed when she saw a peculiar sight. When what should have been nighttime came, the sun began to set- then rise again. And set. And rise.
After minutes of battle, the sun finally set. Scootaloo felt the similar nighttime cool- not the terrible cold they had experience on nights preceding Princess Celestia's death.
Scootaloo slept immediately upon finding a bed, too tired to continue for the day.
She was found by scavenging survivors after around a week of living without purpose in the desolated town. She recognized none of them; it was obvious not a single one was from Ponyville. They had left their own destroyed towns in search for supplies and other survivors, only to end up in a place in an even worse state.
They proceeded to tear the remains of Ponyville apart, scavenging for any remnants of food to sustain themselves before they can continue on their journey. They cared not about the thawing bodies they trampled over, or the pained cries of the injured ponies behind them. While following the group as the unofficial new member, Scootaloo saw many ponies missing legs, stumps where horns should be and several lucky Pegasus who had been visiting other cities with similar blackened wings.
Many had other body parts rotting or no longer connected to their bodies, the cold having claimed them.
There was one Earth Pony filly with a golden mane, around Scootaloo's age. Maybe younger, even. She had lost three of her legs, struggling to drag her body across the ground to keep up with the group, them being her only hope of survival.
And yet, no one stopped to help her. Not even Scootaloo.
She knew that the filly would die sooner or later anyway. It was no use.
The group's aura of 'Everypony For Themselves' had quite an affect on Scootaloo. She became more vicious in protecting the food she had gathered for herself, and whenever she told other ponies of some useful supplies she had located the orange filly always hid a generous fraction of said supplies for herself first. She had found her old scooter and tattered schoolbag. It would have to do for carrying stuff around before she found something larger and less riddled with holes.
The only thing the group was really good for was company, and not the very good kind.
There was gossip, though. That there were new deities, and they didn't get along well, hence the irregular setting of the sun every night. Or that the Princesses had been revived and were fighting over the throne again.
Apart from the matters dealing with deities, there was also talk about other survivors. Gangs in Fillydelphia. Cannibals in Hoofington. Mass suicides in Trottingham.
Complete silence in Canterlot.
Wake up. Find food. Eat food. Follow. Find survivors. Sleep.
That was the new daily routine for not just Scootaloo, but pretty much the rest of the group.
Eventually, the group settled down near Ponyville, seeing that it was far more peaceful compared to other areas in Equestria. Scootaloo was assigned to cleaning. Every day, she would sweep away trash and remnants of food to a corner of the settlement, a corner which was always full of rats.
She normally did this with two other fillies, or colts. She got close to the first two she was assigned with- Golden Hope and String Feathers. Scootaloo chatted with them everyday, shared food with them, laughed with them...
...and when they died, Scootaloo cried.
She wasn't silly enough to repeat her mistake. Scootaloo no longer socialized with anyone; the pain of them leaving her life would be too great. The two new fillies died soon too, and then the next two. Scootaloo was beyond caring.
Wake up. Clean trash. Find food. Eat food. Follow. Find survivors. Sleep.
Many died of disease or malnourishment, slowly wasting away till their ribs held their skin weakly, till one could see their heart beat in their chest. But Scootaloo had a secret. She had a secret to survival.
Scootaloo had managed to shake off any illness afflicted on her, and while food was a problem, she was just a tiny bit underweight. Scootaloo dared to eat the rats that were always near the trash pile, with the occasional dog or two. Ponies were not meant to eat meat, but Scootaloo had heard about manticores and lions living off meat quite comfortably. The first time, she threw up all over the place, but hunger overtook aversion and she tried again.
And again. And again.
Only rats, Scootaloo thought. Only rats. Stick to only rats. They were easy to kill- grab them by the nail and whack them on the ground. Scootaloo was horrified of herself the first time she killed one, but it soon became yet another part of her routine.
Wake up. Clean trash. Find food. Kill prey. Eat food. Find survivors. Sleep.
But then, dogs were then added to her menu. Buck limits, she was too hungry to think of them. She preferred rats though- easier to find, and kill. Dogs fought and bit back. Their blood got everywhere too. Scootaloo had underestimated their will to live- the first time she tried to kill a dog, it took a full hour to finally crush its windpipe and finish the damn thing off.
Scootaloo knew that ponies were herbivores, and meat would not settle well in their stomach. But Scootaloo had heard of her Pegasus ancestors eating birds, and Earth Ponies once farmed chickens for their meat and eggs. They were capable of ingesting meat if they had to.
Well, that explains how cannibals could survive.
Scootaloo wondered how the dogs and rats were always so pleasantly plump, despite there being meager amounts of food for the ponies. Then, when she decided to investigate, she found the answer quickly.
In one dog's stomach was an entire unicorn horn, an eyeball and a torn piece of skin with a Lyre cutie mark barely recognizable imprinted on it.
No one could know how she managed to stay so healthy. While desperate, the ponies have been living in utopia for a long time. This sort of thing would be seen as monstrous, and Scootaloo knew she would be banished- or worse, word would spread and her valuable food source would deplete.
With new blood staining her hooves nearly everyday, Scootaloo found it hard to wash it off each time.
She was now a changed filly. A omnivorous freak who still had no cutie mark. A killer who hated socializing. A determined survivor, surviving for... why?
Why was she so intent of living?
Scootaloo didn't know. She really didn't. In was buried in her subconscious, though still enough to egg her on.
She would get her answer soon enough, though.