• Published 18th Mar 2014
  • 12,351 Views, 452 Comments

Promises - RaylanKrios

What would you do to protect someone you cared about?

  • ...

Something I really don't want to ask you

Rainbow Dash was stunned by Fluttershy’s statement. I don’t love Scootaloo. Sure, I think she’s awesome, and obviously I want to protect her, but I’d feel the same way about any filly that was being abused.

“Love can be scary Rainbow, but it’s a good kind of scary. Everypony needs somepony special in their lives.”

“I don’t need the hearts and hooves speech ‘Shy.”

Fluttershy giggled. “I don’t mean it like that Rainbow. Love teaches us about ourselves. I think this could be a good thing for you.”

“Whatever. Look, it’s late and I don’t want to wake her. Would it be ok if she crashed here for the night?”

“Of course it is. I’ll go get some spare blankets, but you’re not going home are you?”

“Well, yeah. I mean, she’s sleeping, and I know she’ll be safe here. I figured I’d come get her in the morning.” As Rainbow said those words it occurred to her that she really didn’t have a plan for what to do after she confronted Lightning Strike. If this were an errant storm cloud the solution would have been straightforward; kick cloud, cloud goes away, Rainbow goes on about her day. Problems like that were simple; she was just now getting the sense that this wasn’t one of those types of problems.

“Rainbow, that little filly spent the entire night glancing at the door waiting for you to come back. You should be here when she wakes up.” Rainbow Dash was taken aback by the insistence with which Fluttershy admonished her.

“Ok ‘Shy, you’re right. Hey, you don’t have a spare cloud lying around that I could sleep on, do you?”

“Sorry Rainbow, but the last time I brought a cloud into the house, the whole place smelled like mold for weeks. I’ll go get the blankets. They’re upstairs.” Fluttershy gently lifted the sleeping filly from her lap and set her down on the couch. Scootaloo twitched as her carefully constructed cocoon was disturbed, but she quickly re-established the couch as her new haven, snuggling into the cushion until she was just a tuft of purple mane protruding from a soft crater.

What kind of pegasus doesn’t sleep on a cloud? It’s like the best thing about being a pegasus, ‘cept maybe for flying. Ultimately, Rainbow was too tired to care that much. After the day she’d had, she would have slept on a pile of rocks and been thankful for the chance to do so. Fluttershy came down the stairs and gently draped a blanket over the sleeping filly. For her efforts she was rewarded with a soft mew.

“For what it’s worth, I can’t think of a better pegasus for her to love,” Fluttershy said, as the two ponies marveled at the sleeping filly.

“Wow..umm..I don’t know what to say, ‘Shy,” Rainbow stammered.

“You don’t have to say anything; I know a little something about what it’s like when Rainbow Dash decides to protect you.”

Rainbow blushed at the praise. “Umm you know I love you, right ‘Shy?‘”

“I know.” Fluttershy gave her friend a hug, squeezing gently. “You should get some sleep. You’ve had a long day.”

Rainbow nodded as she broke away from her friend. Fluttershy scooped up Angel and carried him upstairs, leaving Rainbow alone with a sleeping Scootaloo. Rainbow lightly brushed the purple mane out of Scootaloo’s eyes, and laid down on the floor next to the couch. The last thought she had before she fell asleep was I hope I don’t let her down.

Rainbow woke up to a curious twitch pressing against her barrel. Celestia had just raised the sun and there was a serene quality about the atmosphere. The animals that spent the day at Fluttershy’s had not yet begun to arrive and Fluttershy herself was still asleep upstairs. As she slowly opened her eyes she noticed that at some point in the evening Scootaloo had moved from her spot on the couch and taken up residence on the floor tucked under Rainbow’s right wing. Despite how terrified the filly looked yesterday, she presently looked as though she didn’t have a care in the world, nestled safely under the cyan wing. The tiny filly’s eyes began to flutter and as she opened them a smile grew on her adorable face. “Rainbow Dash. You came back,” the filly said grinning but still somewhat groggy.

“Hey there squirt. I told ya I’d be back, didn’t I?” Rainbow said in the same half awake state.

Scootaloo nodded happily and snuggled closer to her honorary big sister. The two pegasi cuddled for the next hour as they dozed in and out of consciousness. The day’s momentum eventually got the better of them, and they were forced to acknowledge the cruel truth that perhaps it was time to wake up. Rainbow Dash gently extricated herself from the tiny filly, and began to take inventory. She was a little stiff from not sleeping on a cloud. As she flexed her wings she felt some residual soreness, but nothing that she couldn’t work out with a few wing ups and a lap around the field. Far more troubling was what she was going to do about the filly sitting on the couch. I made her a promise. But unlike a promise to not crash into the library any more, she had no idea how she would possibly keep this one.

As she was considering what exactly her next move was, Fluttershy came floating down the stairs, her ever present pet bunny in her arms. “Morning girls, did you sleep ok?”

Scootaloo nodded happily. Rainbow Dash made an exaggerated show of her discomfort, “I’m telling you ‘Shy, cloud beds.”

“Well, maybe I can make it up to you with breakfast.”

“You’re in for a treat, kid. ‘Shy makes the best hash this side of Cloudsdale.”

“I love hash, my dad taught me how to make it before he…” Scootaloo’s voice trailed off.

“Oh, that’s wonderful. Why don’t you get started, and I’ll come join you in a minute.”

The distress that flashed across Scootaloo’s face disappeared as quickly as it arrived and the tiny filly hurried to toward Fluttershy’s well stocked kitchen, her wings buzzing furiously.

“How do you do that ‘Shy? You always know just how to make anypony feel better.”

Fluttershy shrugged, “It’s a gift.” If any other pony had said that Rainbow would have accused them of bragging, but coming from Fluttershy it was just stating a fact. “Have you thought anymore about what you are going to do?”

“Yeah, I didn’t come up with anything. I need to talk to Twilight. Do you think you can watch Scootaloo for another few hours?”

“She’s a wonderful filly. I’d be happy to.”

“Great, and ‘Shy? Please keep her safe, ok?”

“Wild dragons couldn’t drag her away.” A look of fear flickered across Fluttershy’s face as she pictured actual dragons knocking on her front door. “Dragons aren’t going to come looking for her, are they?” Rainbow shook her head as Fluttershy let out a relieved sigh. “Good. But you are staying for breakfast first.”

“ ‘Shy-”

Fluttershy’s voice took on a motherly tone, “Rainbow, you are no good to anyone if you run yourself ragged. Now you are going to sit right here while Scootaloo and I make breakfast and then you are going to eat it. Twilight will still be there afterwards.”

Rainbow Dash knew it was pointless to try and argue with Fluttershy when she went into caregiving mode, and truthfully she really did love Fluttershy’s hash. The primrose pegasus used to make it for her all the time when they were in flight school, but despite numerous attempts, Rainbow Dash couldn’t seem to replicate the recipe in her own home.

As Fluttershy guided Scootaloo around her kitchen, the gravity of her situation began to sink in. Rainbow couldn’t help but think that anypony else would be better suited to be Scootaloo’s protector. Fluttershy clearly knew how to keep the little filly from crying. Twilight was a princess, so she could simply declare things, and they would happen. Rarity may not have had any formal power, but she knew a lot of well connected ponies. Rainbow had no doubt that, if she wanted something, Rarity would figure out a way to get it. Applejack had neither power nor connections, but she had an earnest stubbornness, and refused to accept defeat. Pinkie Pie...well Pinkie Pie was Pinkie Pie. Nopony wanted to see what she was capable of when she was angry. Rainbow had gotten a quick glimpse of what had happened when Pinkie thought her friends had abandoned her, and that glimpse alone had convinced her that Pinkie was not a pony to be trifled with. But what can I do? Sure she was a great flyer but that didn’t seem like it would be useful in this situation. She would have kept on brooding but a cheerful voice from the kitchen told her that breakfast was ready.

The three ponies ate breakfast while Scootaloo kept asking Fluttershy about all the animals that came to her place. Rainbow was grateful for the diversion because it meant that she didn’t have to tell the filly that she had no idea what she was going to do now. True to her caring nature Fluttershy could tell what was bothering her cyan friend and offered her a respite.

“Hey Scootaloo, I have a lot of animals coming over today and I could really use some help. Do you think you could stay for a few hours?”

“Sure. Is that ok Rainbow?”

“Absolutely squirt.” She looked at Fluttershy with a look of sincere gratitude and the yellow pegasus smiled in return. “I need to go run some errands. Y’know, boring type stuff. I’ll see you when I get back.” She felt bad about lying to Scootaloo, but part of protecting somepony meant that sometimes you had to shield them from the truth.

Rainbow Dash flew over to the library that doubled as Twilight’s residence hoping that her friend had a better idea about what to do then she did. If anypony knows what to do, it will be Twilight. Reading all those books has to count for something.

When Rainbow Dash flew in through the library window Twilight was holding a piece of parchment with a worried look on her face. Wordlessly, she handed it to Rainbow. The parchment read:

My faithful student,

Captain Strike has just informed me that you have ordered that his foal be removed from his home. He further claims that you publicly and falsely accused him of foal abuse. These are very serious allegations and I hope you would know better than levy such charges without evidence. Captain Strike has been a loyal guardstallion for many years and I trust him as much as I trust anypony. You will return Scootaloo to Captain Strike’s care immediately. Your heart was in the right place, however your actions were unbecoming of a princess. Foal Protective Services will conduct an investigation into Scootaloo’s living situation but until they find cause to remove her from her mother’s care she will remain at home as it should be.

Princess Celestia.

Rainbow started to shake as she read the letter again, hoping to find something she missed. “No Twilight, no. I won’t let them take her. I WON’T LET THEM!” At the thought of Scootaloo going back to live with Lightning Strike she began to grow hysterical.

“Rainbow calm down.”

“You didn’t see her Twilight. You didn’t see how scared she looked.”

“I believe you Rainbow, but I have to be able to tell Celestia something other than ‘Scootaloo said so.’ Did you see him hit her? Were there any bruises on her?”

“No Twilight, he’s a very careful monster. That’s why I ha-why we have to protect her.”

“Where is she now?”

“She’s with Fluttershy.”

“Ok, go get Scootaloo and take her to your house. Wait for me there.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Something incredibly stupid, but it will only work if Scootaloo is at your house.”


“I need you to trust me, Rainbow”

Rainbow Dash wasn’t sure she had ever flown as fast as she did between the Golden Oaks Library and Fluttershy’s cottage on the edge of town. When she got there she was relieved to see Fluttershy performing her usual administrations to her animals while a happy looking Scootaloo darted around her asking questions and trying to help.

“Rainbow! You’re back early,” the excited filly exclaimed.

“Uh, yeah. I decided I’d rather spend the day with my favorite filly then do some boring old errands.”

“Cool. Me and Fluttershy were just going to feed the chickens. Wanna come?”

“I have a better idea. How ‘bout you come home with me and we play battleclouds.” As she spoke to the orange filly, she shot Fluttershy a look that could only mean “I need to get Scootaloo out of here immediately”.

Scootaloo jumped up and down, her tiny wings buzzing with excitement. Suddenly she stopped. “Umm, do you still need my help Fluttershy?”

“Oh, I think I can manage from here. Thank you. You were a big help, Scootaloo.”

The tiny filly wrapped her forelegs around Fluttershy. “Thanks for letting me sleep here, and for breakfast.”

Fluttershy smiled one of her impossibly warm smiles at the tiny filly hugging her leg. “It was my pleasure, Scootaloo. You should go with Rainbow Dash now. Oh and she always plays one of her clouds on D1.”

“Great. Thanks ‘Shy,” Rainbow said with mock sarcasm in her voice, but sincere gratitude in her eyes. Fluttershy knowingly smiled back. Rainbow leaned down and Scootaloo climbed onto her back again, using the prismatic mane as half pillow half safety harness. Because Rainbow’s house was on a cloud, it had a tendency to drift around. Today it was hovering near Rainbow’s favorite practice field; as an added bonus the ponyville barracks, and by extension Lightning Strike, were clear on the other side of town.

Unsure of exactly when Twilight would be meeting them, the two ponies settled in for a few games of battle clouds. Despite Fluttershy spoiling her not so secret strategy, Rainbow continued to use D1 as her base of operations. Halfway through the duo’s third game there was a furious knocking on the door.

“Rainbow, it’s me. Let me in.”

As Rainbow opened the door, Twilight rushed in and frantically pushed a piece of paper and quill at her. Scootaloo sat on the floor, apparently confused by Twilights sudden appearance.

“Sign this now! Scootaloo, go upstairs and don’t come out until I say so.”

“Twi what-”

“Just sign it!”

The urgency in Twilight's voice convinced Scootaloo that now was not the time to ask questions. The filly ran upstairs as fast as her tiny wings could carry her, and the two ponies downstairs heard a door slam. Rainbow Dash quickly scribbled a signature at the bottom of the page. No sooner had she handed the page back to Twilight when four pegasus stallions led by Lightning Strike kicked open Rainbow’s door. Lighting Strike was in full guard uniform and wearing a necklace that Rainbow could only assume allowed him to walk on clouds. The guards were in full tactical gear and carrying a set of very threatening looking spears.

“Rainbow Dash, you are under arrest for foalnapping. You will hand over the filly and come with us,” one of the guards said, as Lightning Strike looked on with a wicked grin.

“Wait, what? Foalnapping?!”

Twilight calmly placed a hoof on Rainbows shoulder, “I’m sorry captain, but you don’t have any jurisdiction here.”

“I am a duly appointed officer of Celestia’s guard. My jurisdiction is all of Equestria.”

“We’re not in Equestria. As of ten seconds ago, this cloud and anything on it has been declared the sovereign territory of Dashville. And this,” Twilight held up the parchment now bearing Rainbow’s signature, “is a signed non aggression pact between Equestria and Dashville.” She handed it over to Lightning Strike for inspection. “You will notice that it has been signed by representatives from both Equestria,” she pointed to herself, “and the sovereign republic of Dashville. So, unless you are authorized to start a war on Celestia’s behalf, you will order your guards to stand down at once,” Twilight finished her explanation with a smile.

Lightning Strike fumed with anger, growling loudly. The parchment was indeed a certified document from the Equestrian government declaring the cloud and any property on it under the jurisdiction of the newly formed kingdom of Dashville. Furthermore, the non aggression pact signed by both a princess of Equestria and the monarch of Dashville prohibited any Equestrian soldiers from using any force while in the territory, or against any citizens or guests of the new republic. Any violation of this treaty would result in an immediate court marshal for the offending officers. To add insult to injury, as the aggrieved party, the sentence would be decided by the Dashville government. Despite the fact that everypony knew this was a spectacle, the fact was that the treaty was legally binding. “This is a mockery of justice!” the aggravated captain spat out.

“Captain, I believe that you and your colts are invading my country. So as empress of Dashville I kindly request that you get your sorry flanks off of my cloud,” Rainbow said with a triumphant smirk.

“You heard the empress. Sorry colts, there’s nothing you can do here,” Twilight said with an equally satisfied grin.

“This isn’t over! You can’t hide behind the princess forever!” Lightning said shaking with rage.

Rainbow Dash just scowled at Lightning Strike, “Get out.”

Realizing he had been beat again, Lighting Strike stormed out of the house, his colts following him.

“Twilight! That was brilliant!” Rainbow said as she enveloped Twilight in a hug after the door had closed.

Twilight let out a deep breath as she gently pushed Rainbow off of her, “Rainbow, that was a stunt. It bought us maybe one day before Celestia declares the whole thing null and void.”

Rainbow’s face fell as she realized Twilight hadn’t miraculously solved all her problems. “She’s going to be mad at you, isn’t she Twi’?”

Twilight shrugged, “If she didn’t want me using royal authority, she shouldn’t have made me a princess. Let me worry about that. ”

“Look Twi’, I’m sorry I got you involved in all this. I didn’t know who else to go to.”

Twilight shook her head “You have nothing to be sorry about. You’d do the same for me.”

“You know I would. But Dashville, Twi’? Really? You gave me a kingdom and you couldn’t call it something cool?”

“Oh gee, I’m sorry Rainbow Dash. The next time I stretch the limit of my royal authority to declare your house a sovereign territory, I’ll make sure I name it something cooler.”

“Eh, I guess I can forgive you just this once.” The two ponies burst out laughing as the absurdity of their situation hit them. “Hey Twilight, wanna swing by Rarity-opolis later?" Rainbow said in between bouts of laughter.

Twilight tried and failed to contain a second round of giggling. “Sure. Maybe a delegation from Pinkie-town can send us some cupcakes for our summit.”

Twilights laughter caused Rainbow to laugh even harder, “and of course we’ll need a representative from Apple…loosa to join us.

“There already is an Appleloosa.”

“New Appleloosa then.”

“New Appleloosa it is.”

After another minute of riotous laughter the two ponies began to calm down. “Hey how’d you know Lightning Strike was going to try an arrest me?”

“I didn’t, but I figured that if you weren't a citizen of Equestria then Celestia couldn’t actually order you to hand Scootaloo over to that creep. And if whatever country you were a citizen of happened to have a non-aggression pact then Lighting couldn’t take her either. I’m just lucky I saw them heading over here and got here first.”

“Let it never be said all your reading and stuff didn’t come in handy.”

“Does this mean you’ll stop calling me an egghead?”

“Sorry Twi’ no can do. You’re just too adorkable.” Both ponies giggled at Rainbows well-known characterization of Twilight. “Seriously Twi, what are we going to do?”

“I’ve been thinking about that. FPS won’t remove a filly from her home without evidence, and we can’t arrest Lightning Strike without any evidence either, so we have to prove that he’s been abusing Scootaloo”

“How do we do that?”

“We need Scootaloo.”

“No, Twi, ….just no. I’m not putting her through that.”

“Rainbow I don’t like it either, but if we can’t prove that she’s being abused FPS will take her back to live with Lightning Strike.”

“It’s not fair Twilight. She shouldn’t have had to go through it in the first place and now you want to make her remember it.”

“You're right it’s not fair, but I’m out of ideas here. We need Scootaloo’s help to prove that she’s being abused.”

Rainbow Dash sighed, “Let me talk to her first.”

Rainbow Dash slowly walked up the stairs of her house to her bedroom. It was the only door that was closed so she assumed that it was a safe bet that’s where Scootaloo had hidden herself. She slowly opened the door, “I heard his voice. Is he gone?” came a shrill voice from under the bed.

“Yeah kid, he’s gone. You can come out now.”

Scootaloo ran out from under the bed and leapt up into Rainbows forelegs, the force of her jump pushing Rainbow back a step. Rainbow cradled the tiny filly as she gave her a few moments to enjoy her relative safety.

“Hey, listen Scoots, Twilight and I are trying really hard to make sure that Lightning Strike never hurts you again …but we need your help.”

Scootaloo began to tense up, “What can I do?”

“I gotta ask you something I really don’t want to have to ask you. I need you to show me and Twilight exactly where he hit you.”

Scootaloo swallowed a lump in her throat. “I don’t want to. Please don’t make me.”

For the second time in as many days, Rainbow could feel her heart break at a plea from the small filly in her forelegs. And, for the second time in as many days, she was to forced deny that plea despite every instinct she had screaming for her to say yes. Rainbow hugged the filly tightly against her chest, trying to choke back her own tears.

“Believe me, if there was any other way…” Rainbow whispered into the filly’s ear.

Scootaloo looked up at Rainbow Dash. “Why are you crying?”

“Because this isn’t right Scoots. You shouldn’t have to do this.”

“You’d do it; you’d be brave. I can be brave too,” Scootaloo said quietly.

Scootaloo wrapped her forelegs around Rainbows neck and the cyan pegasus carried her down the stairs where Twilight was waiting. When the duo reached the bottom of the stairs Rainbow Dash gently set the filly down in front of Twilight.

“Did Rainbow explain what we’re going to do?” Twilight asked gently.

Scootaloo nodded. “She said you need to know where Lightning hit me.”

Twilight nodded in return. “When you get hurt, your body heals itself. That healing is a type of magic. All magic leaves a residue, so if the injuries are…severe enough… I should be able to see the residue with a magic detection spell.”

“So you can tell every injury I’ve ever had?”

Twilight shook her head, “No, the residue fades after a while. The more severe and recent the injury the easier it is to detect. Here, I’ll show you. Remember when Rainbow broke her wing?” Twilight’s horn flared up and the bone connecting Rainbows wing to her barrel began to glow. Rainbow winced as the memory of how it felt when she crashed into the ground surged to the forefront of her consciousness. Twilight continued with her demonstration, “That was a pretty big injury, and Rainbow’s body had to work very hard to heal itself. That’s why her wing lit up. When I was a foal I skinned my knee.” Twilight’s horn began to glow again but her knee remained its usual lavender shade. “That injury was pretty minor. It hurt, but it didn’t do any real damage, and it was a long time ago. That’s why nothing happened. Any magical residue from that injury is long gone.” There was a faint note of pride in Twilight's voice. Not that she was glad to be doing this, but explaining magical theory was her favorite pastime. Even under terrible circumstances, she couldn’t help but enjoy the chance to share some of her knowledge a little bit.

Scootaloo, however, had noticed Rainbow’s wince, and began to grow scared. “Is this going to hurt?”

“It may sting a little bit,” Twilight said as gently as possible.

“I’ll be right here. Ok squirt?” Rainbow said as she gently squeezed Scootaloo’s hoof.

“Rainbow, you need to give her some space. Your body could mess with my spell. Whenever you’re ready Scootaloo,” Twilight said, mentally reading the spell she would need.

Rainbow retreated to a spot behind Twilight as Scootaloo bit her lip and nodded. “Sometimes he uses a piece of hose to hit my back.” The filly sat on her haunches and turned around. Twilight's horn began to glow and a faint pattern of ugly looking crosses began to appear on Scootaloo’s back as the filly let out a small whimper, but the pattern faded away as quickly as it had appeared.

“It’s not enough,” Twilight said, clearly distraught by the implications of the marks that ran up and down the filly.

“How can that not be enough?!” Rainbow screamed, the panic in her voice growing.

Twilight tried to keep her voice from breaking. She didn’t like what was going on anymore then Rainbow Dash did, but it needed to be done, and Rainbow’s being mad at her wasn’t going to change that fact. “Because it’s not! Hoses don’t do enough deep tissue damage to leave a residue. I need a more severe injury to prove anything.”

Scootaloo turned around raised her right foreleg.” Sometime he hits me here”, she said pointing to the space connecting her leg to the rest of her body.

Twilight winced preemptively and drew in a sharp breath. There were several nerve clusters in that area, and because it was hidden, any bruises that did form would be almost impossible for another pony to see if they weren’t looking for them. If you wanted to cause a lot of pain without anypony knowing, that was as good a place as any to aim for. Her horn began to glow again, and Scootaloo howled a pain filled sob, but her fur remained un-illuminated.

“Let me see the other side,” Twilight said as she gritted her teeth.

Scootaloo trembled as she raised her left leg. Twilight’s horn again flared up. The filly let out a sharp wail. This time a faint line began to glow just under the recess between her leg and her body.

“Cracked rib,” Twilight whispered.

Scootaloo sat there whimpering loudly as Rainbow ran over and wrapped the filly in a warm embrace. “It’s ok kid…it’s ok. I’m so proud of you,” she whispered into Scootaloo’s ear as she ran her hoof through the soft purple mane. “We’re done here,” she said as she turned to Twilight and fixed her friend with a look that left no doubt about what she would do if Twilight proceeded with her examination.

Twilight nodded. “It’s a start. I’m going to write to FPS. You should stay here with Scootaloo. As long as you stay on the cloud, Lightning can’t do anything.”

Rainbow nodded, giving the tiny filly in her forelegs a quick squeeze. “Why don’t you go get washed up, and when you get back I’ll make us a pair of my world famous ice cream sundaes.”

Scootaloo smiled through her tears and hurried off to the bathroom to wash her face. As soon as she was out of earshot Rainbow turned to Twilight. “I’m going to kill him.” she said with absolute certainty in her voice.

Author's Note:

And that's chapter 2. First off a big thank you to everyone who liked, commented and/or favorited chapter 1. By far the most common feedback seems to be, wow Lightning Strike is a jerk, I hate that guy, which is good your supposed to hate him. If I got any comments along the lines of "Gee what's RD's problem, that LS guy seems pretty cool" I'd be worried. If you're wondering about my process I write a chapter and then I send it over to Silver Blade and eggynack so that you guys can read what I've written. So if you really enjoyed this go give them a thumbs up or something. As usual here's my friendly reminder that all authors love feedback. So if you feel like it please leave some. (Unless you just want to call me names, there's enough of that on the internet) Oh and because I'm curious can anyone guess the origins of my username?

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