To the offices of the Canterlot Department of Magical Intervention,
My baby dragon, Spike, visited House of Enchanted Comics recently and picked up a copy of Power Ponies. What drew him to that particular shop was his belief that the word "Enchanted" described the quality of the comic books sold there. But as it turned out, the comics sold there are, quite literally, enchanted. Perhaps he should have been better informed, but the fact that there was confusion at all obviously means that there is a serious problem here---a problem that I want this department to look into.
Yesterday, I was horrified to discover that Spike was being sucked into the comic book. My struggle to pull him out ultimately failed, and resulted in myself and my five friends being sucked in along with him. We filled the roles of the Power Ponies, the superheroes of the comic book and obtained their powers. At first it seemed something like a game. We decided to just go along with it, not that we really had a choice in the matter since there didn't appear to be any way for us to leave the comic of our own will, and that's just another problem to be addressed.
The goal was to defeat the villain of the comic, called the Mane-iac. Once we did that, we would be released. However, the comic thrust us into a confrontation with her right at the start, before any of us had a chance to get used to our new superpowers. Therefore, our initial attempt to defeat her ended in failure. Our second attempt wasn't much better, and ended up getting us captured. Spike avoided capture and was able to save us, but not before we had to stand, frozen stiff, locked in a cage and forced to listen to this deranged mare talk about her plan. She was going to fire this enormous and apparently lethal energy ray thing at us, and would soon fire it upon the rest of the fictional, comic book city. Needless to say, that was when the whole thing really stopped feeling like a game. The "Mane-iac" sure lived up to her name quite well. But what really made me angry was when she said that Humdrum, the character Spike was filling in for, was "utterly useless", and since he was busy trying to save us, he heard every word that she said about him. And he did NOT need to hear all that, especially after how disappointed he was to find out that he was Humdrum in the first place.
Anyway, the "utterly useless" Humdrum managed to save us before she could fire the energy ray, and we were finally able to defeat her, which, admittedly, felt quite good after what she put us through. Fortunately, the comic did indeed let us out after she was defeated, and we returned to our normal selves.
From what Spike tells me, this only happened after he read a bit of text on the last page of the comic that was so small he needed a magnifying glass to see it. What I'm concerned about is that he had absolutely no warning beforehand that this would happen. There was apparently no warning label on the comic, and whomever sold it to him couldn't have been bothered to tell him about it, either. Also, because I am quite familiar with enchantments myself and am aware of just how dangerous they can be, I get the feeling that if he hadn't saved us when he did, I wouldn't be here right now to write this letter. This is why I'm making a request that the Department of Magical Intervention evaluate this particular shop and determine whether or not the comics sold there are actually safe for ponies, especially kids, to buy.
And if they are safe, then I think that there at least needs to be a way to exit them at any time, not just when the requirement is met. Furthermore, I would certainly like their comics to now feature a warning label, as well as a sign at the shop's window or on the outside explicitly stating that the comics are literally enchanted. There is absolutely no reason why there should have ever been any confusion over this, and it needs to be rectified before this can happen to anypony else.
Princess Twilight Sparkle
Twilight folded her letter up and placed it in an envelope, prepping it for the mail pony who would arrive within the hour. Spike came downstairs carrying two other comic books he had bought from the shop: The Wonderfillies and The Adventures of Captain Starhoof.
"Umm...Twilight," he said apprehensively, as he shifted his eyes from side to side and scratched the back of his head. "I...I think there actually might have been a warning label on the comic..."
"What?" Twilight turned towards him with a somewhat menacing look in her eye.
"Well, I'm not positive. But...there was a page that credited the writers and the artists right at the beginning. I think there might have been a little note there that I didn't see. I went back to check before we left the castle, but I couldn't find the comic book anywhere."
Twilight shook her head.
"Well, a 'little note' isn't a good enough warning label, anyway. It should have been right on the front cover in plain sight. And those two other comics you bought clearly don't have a warning label on the cover, either."
Spike looked down at the comic books in his hands and frowned.
"Still, is it really necessary to take them back? The Power Ponies comic was fine until I read that tiny message on the last page. And I was really looking forward to reading Captain Starhoof..."
"Sorry, Spike, but I don't want to take the chance," said Twilight. "I don't trust these so-called 'enchanted' comic books. I keep wondering what would have happened if we hadn't come across you at the very moment you were being sucked in. If you had been sucked in any earlier, we never would have been able to find you, and.....and I don't think I would have been able to handle that..."
Spike dropped his head. "If had just known what kind of comics the shop actually sold, none of that would have happened. I'm really sorry, Twilight..."
"It wasn't your fault, okay?" Twilight said, lifting his head with her hoof. "I don't blame you. Just please, don't read those comics on your way back to Canterlot. Don't even open them. Do you think you could you do that for me?"
"Alright, I won't," Spike said with disappointment in his tone. "I'd better get going, then."
"Okay," Twilight levitated her letter just above his head. "Mind putting this in the mailbox?"
"No problem!" Spike exclaimed as he grabbed the letter.
"Thank you, Spike. See you later."
"Bye!" he said, and headed out the door.
Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle solemnly entered the library minutes later.
"Hi, girls," Twilight said upon seeing them, taking their solemn expressions to mean that gem-mining was yet another unsuccessful cutie mark crusade. "Still no luck?"
"Nope," Sweetie Belle shook her head.
"I see. So what's next?" asked Twilight.
"Actually, we're just here to return the book. We're takin' a break from the crusadin' for now," explained Apple Bloom.
"Oh. Well alright, then," Twilight lifted the book from Apple Bloom's saddlebag and returned it to its proper place on the bookshelf. "So...still no Scootaloo, huh? You girls are still friends with her, right?"
Apple Bloom opened her mouth, but any words she was about to speak failed to make it past her throat.
"We're still friends," answered Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom nodded uneasily.
Twilight raised an eyebrow suspiciously.
"Well, I'm just wondering why she never comes by anymore. Besides, don't you girls usually get around with her scooter? It's got to be a long walk here from your clubhouse, right?"
"Yeah, it is," said Apple Bloom irritably, having now had to walk from the clubhouse to the library for the fifth time in a week.
"So then why doesn't she come here with you so that you don't have to walk?"
Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle looked at each other nervously, contemplating how they should answer. Their nervousness did not go unnoticed by Twilight.
"Is it...something to do with me?"
The two fillies looked at each other even more nervously, still without the slightest notion of how to respond.
"She's not...mad at me or anything, is she?" asked Twilight, now that her previous question had been answered by their lack of a response.
"No, she's not mad. She said that she doesn't hold it against you," Sweetie Belle answered, and received a swift kick in the knee and a glare from Apple Bloom, letting her know that she said too much.
"She doesn't hold what against me?"
Apple Bloom contorted her face and sighed in a way that sounded more like a groan.
"Well, it's all out in the open now! Might as well just tell her."
"Well...umm...," Sweetie Belle started anxiously, hoping that Apple Bloom would finish. However, Apple Bloom simply stared at her coldly, with no intention of saying anything more. Sweetie Belle had been the one who made the slip, and now she would have to be the one to betray the trust of her friend. Twilight now stared at her with a worrisome expression.
"Uhhh....Scootaloo's kind of upset because you can fly."
Twilight shot her a perplexed look but said nothing, as though waiting to hear something more.
"Uhhh...yeah," Sweetie Belle shifted her eyes uncomfortably. "That's it."
"I--I don't understand," said Twilight. "Rainbow Dash can fly, too. She's not avoiding her, is she?"
"Well, the thing is....Rainbow Dash was born with wings. You weren't. And she kinda finds it a bit unfair that you learned to fly so quickly while she still can't," explained Sweetie Belle.
"Oh...," Twilight was hit almost instantly with feelings of sorrow.
"You see..," began Apple Bloom. "...two weeks ago when we were practicin' on our routine for the Equestria Games, Scootaloo got to thinkin' that we would never win if she didn't fly. Rainbow Dash snapped her out of it, but Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon still keep teasin' her because she can't fly. And I guess that's why you bein' able to fly is gettin' to her."
Twilight sighed. Though she knew that she wasn't at fault, she couldn't help but feel a sharp sting of guilt.
"But like I said, she doesn't hold it against you," said Sweetie Belle, fearing that they may have upset her. "She's not blaming you because she can't fly. She just...I don't know."
A brief silence followed, with Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle reflecting on their guilt.
"She didn't want us to tell you this...but maybe I actually did," said Sweetie Belle regretfully. "She's really down right now and we're worried about her."
Apple Bloom nodded.
"So where is she now?" asked Twilight.
"Umm, back at our clubhouse."
"Your clubhouse, huh?" Twilight rubbed her chin. "You know, I don't think I've ever been there before. Applejack told me a long time ago about how well you girls spruced it up. How's about we head on over there right now? You know...so I can finally see how good a job you did on it?"
"Uh...I dunno," said Apple Bloom nervously. "Scootaloo kinda doesn't wanna see you at the moment..."
"Who said anything about seeing Scootaloo?" Twilight grinned feverishly. "I'm just going to see how well you girls fixed the place up."
Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle looked at each other, exchanged smiles, and nodded.
"Well in that case, we'd be happy to show you our clubhouse, Twilight," said Apple Bloom.
"We'll lead the way!" said Sweetie Belle.
"Why thank you, girls," Twilight chuckled. "Let's go."
Scootaloo sat alone in the clubhouse once again, a steady stream of tears leaking from her eyes. Scootaloo Time; her time alone. The time she needed. The time to think---to get over it. But that was still going to take a while.
"Stop crying," she said to herself. "Just...stop."
Why did it have to hurt so much? How much Scootaloo Time would be required to get over this? She knew that it couldn't last. Eventually Twilight was going to find out that something was wrong with her. And it certainly wasn't fair to her friends that they were forced to keep walking to and from the library just because she didn't want to see her. But she just couldn't...
Scootaloo flapped her wings slowly. Everything would be so much better if these stupid things could just get me off the ground, she thought.
Scootaloo suddenly heard the door open from behind her. She stopped flapping her wings and quickly wiped her eyes.
"Hi there, Scootaloo."
Scootaloo froze in place, realizing that the voice she just heard belonged to neither Apple Bloom nor Sweetie Belle. She turned around slowly to see Twilight walking inside.
Her eyes widened and throat went numb. Twilight closed the door behind her and began looking around the room.
"Wow. This really is a nice place you girls have. I think I would have loved to have something like this when I was a filly. Quiet and secluded. You really couldn't ask for a better place to read."
Scootaloo said nothing.
"I guess you girls really did do a great job fixing this place up. It looks great."
Scootaloo swallowed hard, regaining her will to speak.
"They told you..."
"Don't be too mad," Twilight replied, still looking around every corner of the clubhouse. "They didn't mean to tell me. It just kinda slipped. But that was only because I was asking about you. Sooner or later, I was going to realize that something was going on with you, Scootaloo."
Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle sat outside, understandably hesitant to see their pegasus friend.
"Well, I---please don't take this the wrong---I kinda...," Scootaloo stammered. There simply wasn't any nice way of saying that she didn't feel like seeing her. Twilight frowned.
"I know you don't really want to see me, but those two fillies outside are very concerned about you, Scootaloo," she said. "And to be honest, so am I."
"I just...I need....time," sighed Scootaloo, shifting her head to the side.
"I know I can't understand how you're feeling, but you're my friend, and after I learned how you feel, I just had to come see you."
Scootaloo sighed again. The notion that a princess of Equestria considered her a friend barely resonated with her.
"Was flying really that easy for you?" she asked silently, kicking at the floor.
"If you're talking about my coronation, I'm not really sure where that came from," said Twilight. "Maybe it was just enthusiasm or excitement, but I wasn't able to fly like that again. Not without a whole lot of practice."
Scootaloo didn't respond, but shifted her head once again so that she was looking at Twilight's hooves directly in front of her.
"Was flying easy for me?" she continued. "Well, why don't you ask the bird whose nest I crashed into, the tree trunks I smacked into, the clouds I plowed through, and the ground I drilled into? Rainbow Dash really gave me a lot of help, but I'll never be as good a flyer as she is. You still look up to Rainbow Dash, don't you, Scootaloo?"
She immediately nodded, and Twilight suspected that she manged to find the key to get her to open up.
"Do you know just how highly she thinks of you? She even told me once that she sees a lot of herself in you. Rainbow Dash, one of the best flyers in Equestria sees a lot of herself in you, a pegasus who has yet to fly. That's saying quite a lot, don't you think?"
Scootaloo's eyes met Twilight's for the first time.
"You're very lucky that somepony who you admire and look up to also admires you. Not many kids your age really have that, you know?"
"I know," Scootaloo diverted her eyes again. "But no matter what happens, no matter what my cutie mark ends up being, I'm still going to be expected to be able to fly...and what if I still can't?"
"Well, I'm not expecting you to fly," Twilight shook her head. "Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle aren't expecting you to fly. And flying obviously wasn't a requirement for flag-carrying at the Equestria Games like you thought, was it?"
"Flying has no bearing on who you are, Scootaloo," Twilight continued. "It doesn't have any bearing on who I am, either. All I would expect from you, and all anypony would expect from you, is for you to be who you are. And who you are is an incredibly talented filly who is more cared about than she probably even realizes."
Scootaloo fell silent, taking in her words. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle peeked cautiously through the window.
"You want to know something?" Twilight spoke again after a few silent minutes. "You probably won't even believe me when I tell you this, but when I was just a bit younger than you, I was into scooting, just like you are."
Scootaloo's head shot up, her mouth agape with surprise.
"It's true. Just ask my brother, Shining Armor, or his wife, Princess Cadence. You remember them, right? You were a flowerfilly at their wedding."
Scootaloo blinked and shook her head rapidly, as though reeling herself in from some life-changing news.
"But you're not....you're into books and magic and stuff. Why would you have been interested in scooting?"
"Well, I wanted to try something new, like how you girls try all sorts of new things to get your cutie marks. But, unsurprisingly, I was terrible at it. I crashed almost every time I gained even a little speed, and usually ended up hurting myself in some way. Only in my wildest, craziest dreams could I even have imagined being as good as you are. If I had known you during that time and saw how good you were with a scooter, I would have been quite envious of you."
"Really?" Scootaloo asked, feeling somewhat flattered.
"Oh, absolutely. I've never seen a filly more skilled with a scooter than you are. You impressed Rainbow Dash, didn't you? And believe me, she's not that easily impressed, especially by things that don't fly. I ultimately gave it up because I eventually accepted that it just wasn't for me. Why do you think I'm always telling you girls to stick with what you know best when trying to get your cutie marks?"
"The point is, you may not be able to fly yet, Scootaloo, but you still have so much going for you. You have two friends who deeply care about you, you have a mentor who thinks the world of you, and I still stand by what I said the first time I met you. You're very lucky that you're still in the process of discovering who you are and who you're going to be. And with a pony like Rainbow Dash as your mentor, you really don't have anywhere to go but up. And there's absolutely nothing anypony can say to change that fact. And as for flying, all I can say is keep on waiting for your turn. I truly believe it will come one day, just like your cutie mark."
"You....you really think so?" a smile involuntarily spread its way across Scootaloo's face.
"Of course! But don't just take my word for it..."
Twilight's horn illuminated and the clubhouse door magically opened to reveal a certain rainbow-maned mare standing just outside.
"R-Rainbow Dash!" Scootaloo instinctively jumped up, her wings flittering wildly. Twilight grinned at her reaction.
"Scoot, Scoot, Scoot..." Rainbow Dash shook her head. "Didn't we just have this kind of conversation not too long ago?"
"Uhhh...oh...yeah...," she said hesitantly, as though embarrassed.
Rainbow Dash approached her, rubbing her hoof against the top of her head.
"You just don't get it, do ya, Scoot? You're the coolest, most awesome little pony I've ever met, and flying has nothing to do with that."
Scootaloo chuckled, her cheeks flushing bright red.
Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle nervously entered the room, unsure if she would be angry with them. However, Scootaloo rushed over and pulled them into an embrace. How could she possibly be mad at them now?
"You girls are my close friends," said Twilight, as Scootaloo released them. "If there's anything you ever need, I'm always here for you."
Sweetie Belle glanced at her saddlebag sitting in the corner of the room.
"Umm, Twilight, do you think you could teach me how to do a levitation spell?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Of course!" Twilight exclaimed. "Gosh, Sweetie Belle, I could have taught you how to do that a long time ago. You could have been well on your way to getting a cutie mark in magic."
Sweetie Belle's eyes twinkled.
"A cutie mark in magic?! You mean you can actually get a cutie mark like that?!"
"Well, I did," Twilight pointed out.
"Oh, yeah!" Sweetie Belle suddenly remembered Twilight's cutie mark story.
"D'you know anythin' about potion-makin'?" Apple Bloom asked. "I still think I may have a knack for it. I've tried to practice with Zecora, but her recipes are kinda complicated."
"Potion-making, huh? Sure, I'll teach you everything I know. We'll start with plant potions. They're really simple. "
"Great!" Apple Bloom said excitedly.
"Is there anything you would like to learn, Scootaloo?"
Scootaloo thought for a brief moment, rubbing her chin.
"I've got it! Mechanical work!"
Twilight cocked her head and looked at Rainbow Dash, who was clearly just as confused as she was.
"Yeah! Remember our golden apple float at the Summer Harvest Parade? I was the one who did most of the mechanical stuff on it! That's definitely something I could get a cutie mark for!"
"Alright, Scootaloo, I'll assist you as much as I can with that. But I think we'll start with simple assembly and disassembly before we move to something as complex as that," she said. "From now on we'll meet at the library once a week for an hour, and I'll help you improve your skills in these areas. We'll see if they lead to your cutie marks or not, but I'd just be honored for the chance to share what I know to your bright young minds. We'll meet every Wednesday after school. Does that sound good?"
"Sounds great!" said Apple Bloom.
"Yeah, thanks, Twilight," said Sweetie Belle.
"We really appreciate it," said Scootaloo.
"No problem, girls," Twilight smiled. "We'll call this little time together....Twilight Time."
"Twilight Time!" the Crusaders exclaimed in unison.
"I guess I'll see you girls on Wednesday, then" she said.
"Umm, Twilight?" Scootaloo scratched the back of her head. "Thank you. And...I'm really sorry for avoiding you all this time."
Twilight smiled. "You're quite welcome, Scootaloo, and I forgive you. Oh, and the clubhouse really does look great, girls."
As she and Rainbow Dash left, The Cutie Mark Crusaders shared in a group hug. Scootaloo Time was over. Twilight Time was about to begin.