• Published 14th Nov 2013
  • 3,160 Views, 24 Comments

What Would Big Sister Do? - River Road

The Cutie Mark Crusaders are left to ponder about the real nature of their sisters, and come to some unsettling conclusions. With Happy Ending, because everything else would be mean.

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“Do you think we’re lost?” Sweetie Belle looked around, trying to find some sort of landmark between the trees and scrubs.

“Ah know exactly where we are.” Apple Bloom narrowed her eyes in annoyance at the surrounding jungle. “It’s just that everythin’ else gets lost all the time.”

“This always happens when we want to visit Zecora!” Scootaloo complained. “Whose idea was it to go into the Everfree, anyway?”

Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom gave their friend an odd look. The pegasus filly blinked, before grinning sheepishly. “Aheheh… Sorry. I swear it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Apple Bloom sighed. “Ah know… All of our ideas seem like a good idea at first. Ah don’t understand how every one of our plans can backfire like that.”

“It’s not that bad,” Sweetie Belle tried to cheer her friends up. “We’re just a bit lost, but nothing really bad has happened. We’ll find the way back to Ponyville in no time, you’ll s–“

A low growl from behind them interrupted her and made the fillies stop in their tracks. All three slowly turned around with wide eyes and turned their heads up to look at the creature towering before them. A big manticore stood in front of them, looking down on them and baring its fangs.

The three fillies started to back away, but found that their way was blocked by a group of brambles growing between the trees. The monster slowly stepped after them, growling hungrily. The Crusaders huddled closely together, trembling with fear and closing their eyes so they wouldn’t have to look at the creature that would devour them.

“Oh, here you are.”

The manticore let out a confused yelp, turning its head towards the source of the voice. A yellow pegasus with a picnic basket stepped out of the thicket, smiling happily as she spotted the manticore. Her smile turned into a worried gasp as she noticed the Crusaders.

“Oh my… What are you three doing all the way out here? The Everfree is a dangerous place for grown ponies, and three fillies like you really shouldn’t be here, and so far off the path even. Something could have happened to you.” She looked down at the shaking fillies. “Oh, you look absolutely terrified.”

The Crusaders tried to keep as closely together as possible, looking past Fluttershy at the manticore. “B-but… what about…?” Scootaloo stammered.

Fluttershy followed their gaze. “Oh, don’t worry about him. He’s probably a bit hungry, but he’s really just a big kitty.” She snuggled into the manticore’s mane, which earned her a happy lick across the cheek from the creature.

“I met him here when we followed Nightmare Moon, you know? The poor thing had a large thorn stuck in its paw. I visit him from time to time, to make sure he’s okay.” She began looking into the basket she had brought with her. “I also bring him something nice to eat. I know how much he likes fish, and it’s hard to find any fish here in the Everfree.”

The Crusaders watched Fluttershy pull a few fishes out of the basket to feed the manticore. They were still under shock when the pegasus led them out of the woods and back to Sweet Apple Acres. They didn’t even remember talking with her and assuring her that they were fine; all they knew was that after a while they had somehow ended up at their clubhouse.

“Apple Bloom?”

“Hm?” Apple Bloom lifted her head a little to look at Scootaloo. It was the first thing any of them had said in almost an hour. After they had reached the clubhouse, the three fillies had simply collapsed on the floor. They had remained there in silence, only letting out a quiet sob and a few tears from time to time.

Scootaloo looked back at Apple Bloom with blank eyes, trying to remember what she had wanted to say. “Do… Do we have anything to drink?”

Apple Bloom stared at her for a second, then slowly rose and made her way to the cupboard. She took a bottle of water out and rolled it over to Scootaloo. Then she grabbed two more bottles, hoofing one of them over to Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo downed half of the bottle in one go and took a deep breath then stared down at the bottle in her hoof sullenly. “I’m sorry.” She whispered.

“What?” Apple Bloom looked up from her own bottle in confusion.

“I’m sorry.” Scootaloo shouted, tears welling up in her eyes. “I should have done something… Anything! But I just sat there and was scared and you almost died because of that. I… I was scared and couldn’t move and…” She began to cry. “Rainbow Dash would have done something…”

Apple Bloom watched her friend for a moment before replying quietly. “Ah know what y’all mean. Applejack wouldn’t have just sat there, either. She’s even stronger than Rainbow Da– Ah mean, she’s almost as strong as Rainbow Dash,” she quickly corrected herself, but Scootaloo didn’t show any reaction to the usually touchy subject.

“What would they do?” Sweetie Belle looked at her two friends with big eyes. “I don’t think Rarity could have done much to save us…”

“Are you kidding?” Some of the fervor came back to Scootaloo. “She’s Rainbow Dash! She would storm right in and give that monster a buck on the nose and… and…” She paused and hesitated. “And that’s it, isn’t it? She’d just… dash in and kick anything that moves. She doesn’t have a Plan B… she doesn’t even have a Plan A. Just kicking things doesn’t always work, even I know that…”

Apple Bloom frowned. “At least Rainbow Dash would be there to help y’all…” She sighed. “Ah love mah sister, Ah really do, but… As loyal as she is to her friends, the farm is her first priority. She wouldn’t have gone into the Everfree in the first place… She might never have known if we got in danger or died…”

Sweetie Belle rested her head on her forelegs sullenly. “Rarity wouldn’t have gone into the Everfree, either. You know how she is; nothing short of the end of the world would get her into that forest, or anywhere dirty. And even if she did, what is she supposed to do. She would just… make a big drama, or pretend to faint, or… I don’t even know…”

The Crusaders kept sitting in their clubhouse in silence for another while. At last Apple Bloom spoke up.

“It’s gettin’ late… we should probably go home… before our sisters start worryin’.” She stood up and slowly went to the door, head hanging low, stopping in the doorframe without turning around. “I’ll see y’all tomorrow… Ah guess.”

Scootaloo looked around. Dark forest surrounded her from all sides, blocking any possible way out.

“Is this… the Everfree? How did I get here? I thought we didn’t want to go back here after what happened with the –“

A loud roar interrupted her. Scootaloo jumped up in surprise, quickly turning around. A manticore, even larger and wilder than the one before, stood a few feet away, baring its fangs at her.

“Aah!” Scootaloo scrambled back in panic, but bumped into a tree after only a few steps; the clearing they were on seemed to get smaller. The manticore slowly walked towards the filly, growing with every step. It opened its mouth, large enough to swallow a pony in one bite.


Something slammed into the manticore, knocking it over and sending it sliding across the ground. A blue pegasus stood where it had been, running a hoof through her rainbow-colored mane. “You didn’t think I would just watch you hurt my little sister.”

“R-Rainbow Dash?” Scootaloo stared at her idol. “What are you doing here?”

“Like I said, I’m here to protect my little sister,” Rainbow Dash replied with a confident smirk.

Scootaloo wanted to ask something, but noticed the manticore charging at the other pegasus. She could only watch as the monster slammed into Rainbow Dash, sending the mare flying into a nearby tree.

Rainbow Dash rubbed her head, glaring at the monster. “Oh, it’s on.” She got back into the air and began circling the manticore, kicking it from several sides until the beast’s scorpion tail hit her in midair, sending her back to the ground.

Scootaloo watched in shock as Rainbow Dash got back up and resumed her attacks. For a while she kept circling the manticore, taking use of every opening to slam into the beast. Time and time again the monster lashed out at her with her tail and claws, and every time the mare got back up to keep fighting.

After what seemed like an eternity, the manticore finally collapsed. Rainbow Dash poked it a few more times for good measure, panting heavily. She turned around to Scootaloo, a serious expression on her face. “Are you okay, Squirt?”

The filly stared at her with an open mouth. “Rainbow Dash, you…” Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked at the beat up mare noticing all the cuts and bruises on her body. With one leap she tackled Rainbow Dash, crying openly as she hugged the mare as tightly as she could. “Why?! Why did you do that? You could’ve… You coulda died!”

Rainbow Dash wrapped a wing around her, nuzzling the little filly. “Hey… Hey. It’s okay, you hear? I’m fine.”

“N-no, you’re nod,” Scootaloo sniffled. “You’re hurt, and it’s all my fault. You almost died because of me…”

Rainbow Dash grabbed the filly by her shoulders and pulled her off her chest to face her. “Listen, Scootaloo. Do you know why I always train so hard, every day?”

Scootaloo wiped her eyes with a hoof. “Because you want to be a Wonderbolt?”

“Of course I want to be a Wonderbolt. But I’m still young; they probably won’t let me join for another year or two, at least. And I’m practically a shoo-in, anyway; you of all ponies should know that.” She sighed. “The truth is… I’m not really somepony who plans ahead. I’m not smart like Twilight, or even just Fluttershy or Rarity. But I’m fast, and I’m strong.” She paused and knelt down to stare Scootaloo right in the eyes. “I want to protect my friends. I’m the Element of Loyalty, for Celestia’s sake! That’s why I train every day; to make up for the things I can’t do with the things I can.”

Apple Bloom looked around. Dark forest surrounded her from all sides, blocking any possible way out.

“Sweetie Belle? Scootaloo? Where are you? Why am Ah back in the Everfree? Ah didn’t –“

A loud roar interrupted her. Apple Bloom jumped up in surprise, quickly turning around. A manticore, even larger and wilder than the one before, stood a few feet away, baring its fangs at her.

“Aah!” Apple Bloom scrambled back in panic, but bumped into a tree after only a few steps; the clearing they were on seemed to get smaller. The manticore slowly walked towards the filly, growing with every step. It opened its mouth, large enough to swallow a pony in one bite.

“Oh no, ya don’t!”

An orange earth pony jumped between her and the monster, spinning around and bucking the manticore straight in the face and driving it several steps back.

“S-Sis’? What are you doin’?” Apple Bloom looked up at her in shock.

Applejack turned back around to the manticore, standing between it and her little sister. “Y’all better think twice if you want to attack little fillies. Ah ain’t afraid of y’all, and Ah’ve stood mah ground against worse monsters.”

The manticore growled angrily, but seemed to shrink down a little. It stared at the two ponies for a moment, and then slowly walked backwards towards the edge of the clearing where it turned around to disappear between the trees.

Applejack watched it retreat before turning around to her sister. “Are you okay, ‘Bloom? That thing didn’t hurt y’all, did it?”

Apple Bloom shook her head rapidly, still trying to find her voice. “What… What are you doin’ here? Ah thought you’d be on the farm, workin’. Ah mean…” Her ears drooped down. “The farm’s your life… You and Big Mac are always workin’.”

Applejacks forelegs wrapped around her, pulling the filly into a tight hug. “Is that really what y’all think?” She lifted Apple Bloom’s chin with a hoof, looking her right in the eyes. “Now listen, that farm is mah home, but it ain’t mah life.”

“Of course it is!” Apple Bloom protested. “Takin’ care of the apple trees is even you’re special talent. Ah see y’all bucking apples somewhere in the orchard every day.”

Applejack sighed, nuzzling the little filly. “Apple Bloom, do you remember what Ah told y’all and your friends, about the time Ah went to Manehattan?”

“You lived with Aunt and Uncle Orange, right? Y’all got homesick and went back to the farm after a while, and that’s when your Cutie Mark appeared.”

For a moment Applejack didn’t reply. “Ah was away from mah family for weeks back then. Aunt and Uncle Orange are mah relatives, too, but… they just weren’t mah real family, ya know? Ah just couldn’t bear it. Mah special talent ain’t just the farm… It’s keeping close to mah family, too. Every one of y’all is more important to me than any old apple tree could ever be, and that’s the honest truth, ya hear?”

Sweetie Belle looked around. Dark forest surrounded her from all sides, blocking any possible way out.

“Where am I? This looks almost like that spot in the Everfree where we –“

A loud roar interrupted her. Sweetie Belle jumped up in surprise, quickly turning around. A manticore, even larger and wilder than the one before, stood a few feet away, baring its fangs at her.

“Aah!” Sweetie Belle scrambled back in panic, but bumped into a tree after only a few steps; the clearing they were on seemed to get smaller. The manticore slowly walked towards the filly, growing with every step. It opened its mouth, large enough to swallow a pony in one bite.

“Don’t you dare lay one of those dirty paws on my sister!”

The manticore hesitated and looked around in confusion. A white unicorn with a purple mane stood a few steps away from them, trembling slightly.

“Rarity?” Sweetie Belle squeaked. “Run away! It’s going to eat you, too!”

Rarity didn’t listen, instead taking another step towards them while the manticore watched her curiously. “I’m not going to run away and leave my sister behind. You should better get away from her, or I’ll fling you away from here myself.”

The beast narrowed her eyes at her, letting out a threatening growl.

Rarity flinched a little, but didn’t budge. “Y-you think you’re really scary, don’t you? I’ve dealt with the Canterlot nobility and even royalty. I can deal with somepony like you, and I’ll say it again…” Her horn began to glow and flames burst out of the ground around her. “Get away from my sister!”

The manticore backed away from the flames, quickly fleeing into the jungle. The flames around Rarity died as she walked over to her sister.

Sweetie Belle watched her with wide eyes. “Rarity! How did you…?”

The mare chuckled softly. “Oh, if there’s anything I know it’s how to make an entrance… I’ll admit I was worried for a moment that it would call the bluff. Oh, well…”

“But… Why did you do that?” Tears welled up in Sweetie Belle’s eyes. “What if it hadn’t worked? You… you could have died!”

Rarity interrupted her, pulling the filly into a tight hug. “You could have died, Sweetie Belle. That thought is much more horrible to me.”

“But… but… I’m always getting in your way at the boutique, aren’t I? I’m making a mess and causing trouble and… I thought you hate having to take care of me…”

“Oh, Sweetie Belle…” Rarity sat down, hugging the filly even tighter. “I couldn’t ever hate having you around. You’re my little sister.”


“Sweetie Belle, listen to me. Do you know where I get all my ideas for the dresses I make?” The filly shook her head, looking at her sister in curiosity. Rarity looked back at her with a serious expression.

“I get the inspiration from the things around me; the adventures I’ve experienced, my friends, my family… But I haven’t ever met a pony who was half as inspiring and wonderful as you.” Rarity nuzzled her sister softly. “You are my inspiration, Sweetie Belle, you’re my little sister and I love you more than I love anypony or anything else. Don’t ever forget that.”

Scootaloo opened her eyes, feeling the bed under her. The room around her was still dark, it was probably sometime after midnight. She thought about the dream she had had, wondering if Princess Luna had anything to do with it. It probably didn’t matter in the end. Either way, she really felt a lot better than she had this afternoon.

She closed her eyes again, squirming herself deeper into the covers with a smile.

Apple Bloom stared at the ceiling, thinking about the weird dream. She wasn’t sure how much of what she had dreamed was really true, but she felt better than she had this afternoon, calmer.

A light sound caught her attention and she turned her head to the side, watching the door open slowly.

Sweetie Belle rubbed her eyes sleepily. It was far too early to be awake, but she couldn’t sleep after the dream she had.

She took a moment, pondering what she should do now. Then she slowly rolled over to the edge of the bed and stood up.

Rainbow Dash groaned, keeping her eyes closed as she tried to get back to sleep. She could still feel the memory of pain all over her body, from the cuts and bruises she had gotten in that stupid dream. She didn’t even know why she had dreamed something like that in the first place.

The mare let out a content sigh as she finally drifted back to sleep, leaving the last traces of pain behind. Dream or not, she didn’t regret what she had done. There was no way she could just watch when one of her friends was in danger.

Rainbow Dash yawned. Maybe tomorrow she should visit the Squirt… no, Scootaloo… and spend some… time… with her...

Applejack sat in her bed, considering her options; Even for a farm mare like her it was far too early to be awake. Still, she didn’t feel like she could go back to sleep right now.

With a determined grunt she got out of the bed and quietly made her way down the hallway, stopping in front of the door to Apple Bloom’s room. She pushed the handle, making sure to make as little sound as possible. She opened the door a crack and peeked inside.

Apple Bloom was lying awake in her bed, looking back at her. “Applejack?”

Applejack opened the door the full way, walking up to her sister’s bed. “Ah’m sorry, ‘Bloom. Did Ah wake you up?”

“No, Ah just had a bad dream…” Apple Bloom rolled over onto her back, looking at the ceiling. “Sis’?”

“Yes?” Applejack sat down at the edge of the bed, gently ruffling the filly’s mane with a hoof.

Apple Bloom stared at the ceiling for another moment. Then she squirmed out from under the covers, wrapping her front legs around her sister. “…Ah love you; you and Granny Smith and Big Mac. Ah just wanted y’all to know that.”

Rarity lay in her bed, pondering the dream she had just woken up from. She had no idea why she would dream something like that, even if Sweetie Belle did seem a little out of it that evening.


Rarity turned her head. Sweetie Belle was standing in the doorway to her room. The little filly trotted over to her bed, looking at her with wide eyes.

“What’s wrong, darling? Did you have a nightmare?

The filly didn’t reply. Instead she climbed onto the bed, laying down beside Rarity and hugging her through the covers and slowly closing her eyes. “You’re the best sister I could ever wish for.”

“Oh, Sweetie Belle…” Rarity looked at her little sister; the filly’s breath was already slowing down as she fell asleep next to the mare. “Never change…”