The Golden Crusade

by TheGreatEater

Chapter the First

It was the day after the events in Twilight's basement, where Discord, of all beings, helped Twilight undo the chaotic mess caused by Scootaloo's magic flare. But after sleeping it off, Scootaloo awoke feeling on top of the world, while simultaneously feeling as if she got run over by Pinkie Pie, hopped up on a mountain of sugar and a gallon of Red Bull... Something nopony in Ponyville ever wanted to witness again after the last time she managed the feat on a dare.

Scootaloo was pondering this complete oxymoron of sensations when Raindrops’ head peaked through the door. "Hey, sleepy head! How are you feeling?"

"Meh... Is it weird to feel totally amazing, yet feel like you got ran over by a Pinkie Pie mainlining sugar?" Scootaloo asked.

"Twilight said something similar... But where did you hear about mainlining?"

"Oh, some stallion was saying that ‘he’d bet his favorite lucky horseshoes that Pinkie Pie mainlined sugar every morning’, and that's why she was so hyper."

"Oh, really?"

"Yep! But when I asked Pinkie, she just laughed and said she's high on life... And mountains of frosting... Then she started looking like Twilight does when she gets a new book... It was... Something?"

Raindrops couldn't help but hide her giggle behind her wing at the comment. "Well, Pinkie is Pinkie. But we wouldn't want her any other way, now would we?"

"Nope! Pinkie's awesome. Even Dash says so, and if Dash says something, then it has to be tr-Owww! Why do my head and wings feel like they're going to fall off?"

"Twilight said you might feel like that. Don't worry, it's just magical overexertion. It happens to almost all magic users when they're starting off. Here, I brought you some soup."

"Thanks, Ms. Raindrops," Scootaloo said, sniffing the bowl of noodle soup, "And not just for the soup. You really went out of your way to help me."

"You're welcome, Scootaloo. I just hope I can help you find a family every bit as special as yourself," Raindrops replied with a gentle smile, as she watched Scootaloo eat her brunch.

"So, I have good news," Raindrops told Scootaloo after she was done eating.

"What?" Scootaloo asked, tilting her head to the side.

"Other than some slight malnutrition, which should get better in a few weeks time, and after Twilight did... Whatever she did to you, you're a healthy pegasus filly, and I think now that your blockage is gone, you should be able to get airborne with a little bit of training."

"Do you think Rainbow Dash can teach me?" Scootaloo asked, hopping up and down in unbridled excitement.

"We can see," Raindrops said with a smile, "But today, you need to rest. Twilight said that'd be the best thing for you. If you like, I can see if I can get your friends to come visit you."

Scootaloo deflated at that and sighed, "Yeah, sure. Ummm... Thanks again, Raindrops."

"You're quite welcome. Do you need anything before I head out?"

"Nah! I'm good," Scootaloo chirped less enthusiastically than before as she snuggled under her blankets.

"Well, I'll be back soon. Anything in the fridge is yours to munch on if you need it."

Raindrops felt a little bad about just leaving her, but Twilight said, after magical overexertion, Scootaloo would go through bouts of deep sleep, followed by bouts of manic energy that landed with a crash. The best thing to for her was plenty of rest to let the body recover. So, with Scootaloo hopefully asleep, and hopefully not casting lightning on anything not fire retardant, she'd be fine.

Her first stop was the Carousel Boutique, being the closest. Inside, Rarity lay sobbing on her fainting couch, surrounded by a proverbial fortress of ice cream tubs. Worse yet, her mane wasn't coifed! Approaching her as she would a skittish animal, she tried coaxing Rarity. "Rarity, what's the matter?"

"He left, and only left a letter," Rarity sniffled, as yet another spoon of ice cream was shoveled into her mouth. Raindrops was almost hypnotised by the sight of it, like looking at a trainwreck or a horrifying accident about to happen. Or like when Applejack was hogtied by Trixie's rope... I wonder if that's where she got that fetish?

Shaking herself to get herself able to speak, "Who?"

"Spike!" Rarity wailed melodramatically, "We talked, and instead of staying around, he left!"

"Umm... Spike? As in, the baby dragon Spike?" Raindrops asked hesitantly.

"Honestly, Raindrops, we aren't that far off in age, it's not like he wasn't a full grown dragon before, and he's worked adult jobs before, so it's not like I'm looking at ponies half Sweetie's age. I told him I needed to think about it, and he’s gone!"

"What's there to think about? Sure, he technically is old enough to leave his home, and live on his own, at least until the laws change in a two years, if Parliament and the Princesses can hammer all the bugs in the bill, or if they can keep from scrapping the bill like they have for the last eight years.

"But still, he's your sisters age," Raindrops sighed, " I get it, dragons age differently than ponies, and even now there are ponies of that age difference who date. Even if there is scientific evidence that ponies that age don't have fully developed brains, not to mention the social stigma attached, it's not my place to tell you who to love. I actually came here for a different reason, and for what it’s worth, regardless of what you choose, you're a good pony and I wish you the best."

"Thank you, and you're right, it's not like I entertain notions of doing untoward things with my sister and her friends, or do things with her that a big sister shouldn't. I simply find Spike to be a chivalrous gentledrake that's been attempting to woo me for five years now, but that age thing is one of the things that I worry about. So what might I help you with?"

"Well, Scootaloo is suffering from magical overexertion, and I was wondering if Sweetie would be willing to spend the night to keep her company? I'm actually planning on getting all the Crusaders under one roof, so that they can hang out and talk after such an eventful weekend."

"Oh, you're actually volunteering for a Cutie Mark Crusader Sleepover? Brave mare, but yes, that'd be agreeable. Shall I pick her up tomorrow afternoon? Or will you be bringing her home after school?"

"I'll bring her back after school ends. If that's alright with you?"

"Perfectly splendid. I'll let her know, and then well ... as you can see I'm a very busy mare."

Raindrops could have sworn the floorboards were starting to creak and threaten to give way to the raw weight of food surrounding Rarity. "Yeeaaah! I can see that. Well I got to go talk to the other crusaders. You wouldn't know where Pipsqueak lives, would you?"

"Not really, but I'm sure Pinkie Pie would know. She knows everything about everypony in Ponyville."

With a final farewell, she left to roundup the other Crusaders.

It was a few hours later where she made her last stop to roundup the Cutie Mark Crusaders for an impromptu sleepover, "Hey Ditzy, are you home?" Raindrops called.

She heard a muffled, "In a minute!" from upstairs followed by the sound of flapping. Ditzy opened the door quickly. "Hey Raindrops what do you need?"

"Scootaloo is suffering from magical overexertion," Raindrops answered, only to be interrupted before she could finish explaining.


"Oh, it's something unicorns get when they cast too much magic at once, or too powerful a spell."

"Ah! So how'd Scoots get that then? She's not secretly a princess, is she?"

"Ha! No, she's not, but apparently she can cast spells like one. Still not sure on how that works. But she's resting today, so I thought I'd give her a little sleepover with her friends. Is it alright if Dinky and Mango come over?"

"Um, let me ask Holly... Come on in," Ditzy said, waving her in with a wing.

Ditzy's house wasn't luxurious by any definition, but it was the very definition of homey. Simply walking on the old oaken floor boards, soaking in the ambience of the stucco walls with numerous family portraits hanging on them, filled any visitor with a welcome feeling of warmth.

Raindrops stepped into the open living room, seeing Mango Dash and Dinky sitting on the couch, reading one of Rainbow Dash's 'officially sponsored' comics featuring the Elements' exploits. Raindrops chuckled as she remembered Mare-Do-Well part two, when Rainbow Dash let her merchandise get to her head. After that, her friends set her up as one of the three main public faces of the elements when merchandising things. In Twilight's words, she needed a 'creative outlet'.

Raindrops had to wonder just how 'official' such stories were. She really doubted that Rainbow Dash 'Dragon Kicked’ a dragon in the face, before giving Fluttershy the confidence to make the same dragon cry. She asked Fluttershy about it once, and only got a shy squeak and a blush for her answer. And Applejack wouldn't stop laughing when asked.

But it had to be false that Rainbow Dash saved Discord from a Jabberwocky with an army of angry rodents, and Discord promised her three wishes. I mean, there's artistic license, and then there's just dream fulfilment.

She was shaken out of her thoughts when a disheveled Holly came trotting down the stairs. Raindrops felt her wings fwomp, as a blush painted her cheeks. "Sorry, I wasn't interrupting anything was I?"

"Nothing that we can't pick up later. You want to give Scootaloo a sleepover?" Holly chuckled.

"Um... Oh! Yes! I came to ask if it'd be alright if Mango Dash and Dinky come over for an impromptu 'Cutie Mark Crusader Sleepover'?" Raindrops replied, flustered, as she futilely tried to get her wings under control.

"It's no problem for me. What about you?" Holly smirked.

"I'm fine with it Sweetheart, and Raindrops, we're friends right?" Derpy said consolingly.

"Like you have to ask!" Raindrops squeaked.

Trotting over to Raindrops, Derpy asked, "So when's the last time you, you know?"

"Umm... ‘You know’ what?"

"Had some 'adult fun' with another pony?" Ditzy said, giggling.

"Oh... I haven't really had time to ever really do... Well, you know, that... Kind of... Thing. And I'm sorry about the wings, they have a mind of their own." Raindrops’ reply came muffled as she tried using her teeth to pull them down. Why isn't this working? Come on, wings. You've seen more risque things in... Oh no, there they go.

Ditzy and Holly laughed at Raindrop's pterection. Ditzy finally caught her breath enough to comment, "Sorry, Dropsy. We're not laughing at you, we're laughing at the situation. We have some ice packs in the freezer, those are useful in these situations. And I agree, Holly looks stunning."

"Sorry," Raindrops squeaked.

"No offense. We know you're a good pony, and these things happen. I'll just take it as a compliment."

Raindrops nodded as she scurried to the kitchen, and looked for the ice pack. Several embarrassing minutes later, Ditzy walked in, "So Dropsy, how've you been? We haven't talked in awhile."

"Other than embarrassing myself so much that I'm surprised I didn't melt into a pony puddle? I’m doing well. Scootaloo is an amazing little filly, and I look forward to getting her a new home. I just hope that whoever takes her in can give her the love she deserves."

"I'm sure you'll do fine. You always have a way of finding good homes for the little fillies and colts that wander into your life. Heck, it's how Sparkler came into our lives, so I can't thank you enough." Ditzy said wistfully.

"It was my pleasure. Oh, and Ditzy... Can I ask a huge favor?"

"Sure, what do you need?"

"Well... I might, maybe, have a date this Wednesday. Can you look after Scootaloo while I'm out?"

Ditzy gasped out loud with the force of five Pinkie Pies and a side of bookgasming Twilight, "You have a date!"

"Yes... Maybe," Raindrops blushed.

"I don't know why anypony would want to date me. I'm kind of boring, but it feels nice," Raindrops admitted.

"You, boring? I don't thinks so. You're a good mare, and I'm happy for you. So who's the lucky pony?"

"Cloud Kicker."


"I know her reputation, but she's really a sweet mare. And she's the one who got me here to Ponyville, and hooked us up as friends."

"I know. She's much better than the reputation she's earned, but... I don't know if I can give her the bestie talk."

"Bestie talk?"

"You know, 'if you hurt my friend I'll drop a piano on your head and make sure you get signed up to all the worst spam mail in Equestria' speech. You really don't have that many ponies to do that for you here in Ponyville. But she's my friend too."

"It's all good. She knows how to treat a pony nice."

Ditzy blushed at that. "She does. Well, anyways, I don't think it'll be a problem. Just promise to tell me everything, okay?"

"Okay, and Ditzy?"


Raindrops stood up and wrapped her second oldest friend in a tight winghug. "You're the best friend a pony can ask for. Thanks."

"You're welcome. I'll see you when you drop off my two special muffins at home. And don't forget to make sure to remind Mango, no martial arts moves in the house. She keeps on forgetting."

"How bad is it?"

"Rainbow Dash is her martial arts trainer."