• Published 9th Jul 2019
  • 3,215 Views, 570 Comments

Scarlet - Skijarama

Forced to leave her peaceful hometown and flee for her life alongside a mysterious orphan filly named Primrose, New Equestrian war-veteran Scarlet Frost will have to use every resource at her disposal just to stay alive.

  • ...


The fireplace in Scarlet’s kitchen had been lit, filling the interior space with a gently-flickering orange glow. Primrose was seated at the table, her eyes watching with anxious anticipation as Scarlet studied her glass-peppered hoof. The white noise of the rain was now accompanied by the snapping and spitting of the fire and the low, aetherial hum of the unicorn’s magic as she carefully extracted each piece of glass from Primrose’s hoof one at a time.

“Okay, last one. It’s big,” Scarlet muttered before using her magic and pulling the next and final shard away with a quick flick. Primrose barely even winced, the most intense reaction she had given to the process so far. Scarlet briefly looked at her before quickly levitating over a roll of bandages from the table and binding the hoof in it. “There, you should be fine.”

Primrose withdrew her hoof and looked over the bandages, her face expressionless. She turned the limb over several times before setting it down and lowering her head in a small nod. “Th-thank you, miss…”

Scarlet was quiet for several seconds, just staring at the filly. Primrose had been remarkably cooperative with every request Scarlet made of her since being found in the cellar. She had barely uttered a word, and the composure she displayed from having shards of glass pulled out of her leg was more than a little impressive.

“You’re welcome,” she eventually said before folding her hooves in front of her on the table. “You were very brave. I’ve known full grown stallions who were wailing for their mommies over less than that.”

Primrose didn’t say anything. A heavy silence fell over the two, disturbed only by a low rumble of thunder outside that made the windows rattle in their frames.

Scarlet leaned forward, her expression curious. “Now, then… where’s your home? I imagine your family must be worried sick about you,” she asked while searching her memory for anypony she knew who may have looked similar. Swanrun was a big city, but she at least knew the faces.

Before she could find anything in her memories, though, Primrose looked down, her matted mane falling in front of her face and hiding it from view. “I don’t have any family,” she whispered solemnly, her ears drooping to rest flat against her head.

Scarlet’s eyes went as wide as saucers, and her jaw fell partially open. She was quiet for a second before finding her voice. “What do you mean?”

“I don’t have a family,” Primrose repeated, her voice louder than before.

“You’re an orphan?”

Primrose nodded before looking up at Scarlet again. Her eyes were still distant and almost devoid of emotion. Almost. There was something there, now, and Scarlet knew it all too well. Pain.

She sighed and looked down. “I see… what about friends? Do you have anypony in this city who would be willing to look out for you?” she asked, leaning back and running a hoof over her face.

Primrose shook her head but said nothing.

Scarlet let out a heavy breath and looked up at the ceiling, wracking her brain. This was not what she had been expecting to come home to after her first day back at work, and it was one of the worst things she could have stumbled upon. “Are The Five testing me?” she wondered to herself before taking a deep breath and collecting her thoughts.

She leveled a firm look at Primrose, a plan coming to mind. “Alright… You can stay here until the storm passes. But once the rain is gone, I’ll be taking you to the nearest orphanage. Do you understand me?” she explained simply, her tone leaving no room for argument.

Primrose was quiet for a moment, then nodded her head again. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Good,” Scarlet rose from her seat and turned for the various cabinets and cupboards that hugged the wall. “Now, would you like something to eat? With how skinny you are, I imagine you must be hungry.”

Primrose’s ears lifted at the notion of food, her eyes latching onto Scarlet intently. “Um… if it isn’t too much trouble for you,” she answered, a tiny bit of energy seeping into her previously monotone voice.

Scarlet shook her head. “It’s no trouble at all. I have some… excess food laying around. Might as well make sure it doesn’t go to waste,” she said before pulling open one of the cupboards and retrieving a healthy red apple. She set it down in front of Primrose, smirking in amusement as the filly eyed it like a chest of platinum bits. “Go ahead and start with that. It should hold you until I can throw together something more substantial.”

Primrose gingerly took the apple in her hooves, her eyes wide. Then, with a lick of her lips, she bit into it with a loud crunch that echoed in the room.

Maybe half an hour later, Scarlet had thrown together a pot of bubbling soup and served both herself and Primrose a bowl, the two eating in relative quiet. The filly had been seemingly stunned when she saw the food and all but drooled at the smell. Scarlet found the sight endearing, but also saddening. How long had this poor filly gone without a good, home-cooked meal?

For that matter, with how dirty and rugged she was, Scarlet had to wonder how long it had been since Primrose even had a roof over her head to shelter her from the elements. How long had it been since she had bathed herself? How long had it been since she had a home to call hers? Had she ever had one?

By the time Scarlet was halfway done with her bowl, Primrose was greedily and sloppily polishing off the bottom of hers with a frenzy of licks, desperate for more. When it became apparent there was none left, she hesitantly set the bowl down and looked sheepishly up at Scarlet. “Uhm… thank you for the meal, miss. It tasted good.”

“You’re welcome,” Scarlet responded simply after swallowing another spoonful of her own. “And my name isn’t ‘miss.’ It’s Scarlet Frost.”

Primrose dipped her head. “It’s nice to meet you, Scarlet,” she said before looking down into her bowl again, her muzzle scrunching up into a solemn frown. “Um… uh… is there more soup?”

Scarlet didn’t answer verbally. Her horn sparked to life with amethyst magic. She levitated Primrose’s bowl over to the cauldron above the fireplace, refilled it, and brought it back to the table. All the while, she delighted in the wide-eyed look Primrose was giving the floating dish.

“Be careful. It’s hot,” she warned as she set it back down. Primrose did not seem to register the warning, however, and immediately shoveled another spoonful of delicious soup into her mouth.

Eventually, Primrose finished her second bowl of soup, while Scarlet was still on the last fourth of her own. The filly gave off a satisfied sigh, then reached down next to her chair to lift up her saddlebags. Scarlet raised an eyebrow with curiosity. That feeling only became more intense when Primrose withdrew a most peculiar item from the left pouch.

It was a lamp, not unlike what one may expect to see in a story about wish-granting genies. However, instead of being made of finely polished gold or some other precious metal, it was roughly carved from blue crystals of the same variety used in the Arcane Lamps that lined the streets of Swanrun. Primrose held the lamp close to her chest and closed her eyes, humming quietly to herself.

Scarlet blinked. “Primrose… what is that?” she asked after a moment, pointing her spoon at the lamp.

Primrose looked down at it, then up at Scarlet. She tightened her hold on it protectively, her ears drooping. “It’s… it’s a family heirloom,” she explained simply, her voice going back to the empty monotone she had started with.

“A family heirloom…?” Scarlet echoed, shocked. Something like that was not only rare, it was probably very valuable. Who were Primrose’s parents if one of them had that to pass on?

Primrose nodded and said nothing more, her eyes closing again.

Scarlet felt herself starting to ask another question about the lamp, or about Primrose’s family. But, in the end, she elected to hold her peace. It would not do to get invested in the orphan’s personal struggles now, she decided.

Time began to pass, and the rain did not let up. If anything, it only got heavier, drenching the world in moisture. Thunder was booming more frequently, now, making the whole world shudder and shake with every flash. Scarlet and Primrose were still in the kitchen, the former standing by a window to observe the weather, while the latter kept to herself at the table.

Scarlet winced as another flash of lightning spread across the heavens, and not even a second later, the near-deafening boom of thunder slammed into her eardrums at full force. The window in front of her rattled and shook under the noise.

“...It’s not getting lighter,” Primrose suddenly spoke up from the table, her voice quiet.

Scarlet sighed and nodded her head, disappointment written on her face. “You’re right. It may carry on well into the morning.”

She turned away from the window to look at Primrose. The filly was staring back at her, a worried look on her face. “So… what’re we gonna do?” she asked, her hooves fidgeting over her chest. “I don’t wanna be out in the rain again…”

Scarlet sighed and looked outside again, trying to assess her options. She didn’t exactly have many of them, and none of them were exactly pleasant. She could either take Primrose to the orphanage through the dark and the rain, but the chances of them being accosted by a streetside thug were higher than was appealing. There was also the problem that getting the attention of anypony who worked there would be difficult.

She could kick Primrose out and let her fend for herself. Scarlet quickly sent that idea from her mind with a bitter shake of her head. She was tired and not interested in caring for a foal for any longer than necessary, but she wasn’t cruel or heartless. She had standards, she had morals…

And right now, those morals were pointing her towards the third, and almost least desirable, option. Scarlet struggled with the decision for several seconds before turning around and making her way for the door to the front room. “If the rain doesn’t let up, then I guess you can stay the night. I have a…” she stopped mid-speech, her face twitching. She sucked in a breath through her nose before continuing. “I have a guest room that you can use.”

Primrose eyed Scarlet curiously, her head tilting to one side. “Oh, uh… that’s kind of you, but-”

“No buts,” Scarlet cut her off with a shake of her head. “I’m not letting an innocent filly wander around Swanrun at night all by herself. It can be dangerous out there at this hour.”

Primrose clamped her muzzle shut and slowly nodded her head in understanding. “Okay. Thank you, Scarlet.”

Scarlet looked away. “...Think nothing of it. Now come on. Let me show you where you’ll be staying,” she commanded simply before stepping out of the dining room.

Primrose came trotting out after her a moment later, her saddlebags nestled on her back. Scarlet gave her a sideways glance to make sure she was following, then led the way up the stairs and into a hallway. There were three doors, two along the left wall, and one against the right. A window sat against the far wall, letting in a faint hint of the light from the street lamps outside.

Scarlet paused in front of the first of the two doors on the left, her eyes lingering on it. She took a deep breath, then stepped aside. “This is the room. Go ahead and get comfy. I plan on turning in soon myself, and I don’t want you running around when I’m trying to sleep,” she instructed.

Primrose glanced up at her for several seconds, a thoughtful look on her face. It was getting to be just a little creepy when, finally, the filly pushed the door open and stepped inside. Scarlet was still for a second, then reluctantly turned to look inside as well.

It was a fairly small bedroom, all things considered. A bed rested against the left wall, while a chest of drawers sat directly across from it. In the far wall from the door was a window with old linen curtains pulled over it, blocking out the purple light from outside. A nightstand sat beside the bed with several underused candles resting on top.

Aside from that, though, there was nothing in the room. No decorations, no miscellaneous items. It was just the bare necessities for a sleeping space. Primrose gave it all a wide-eyed look before turning back to Scarlet and smiling. “It’s very nice… thank you, Scarlet.”

Scarlet shook her head. “It’s nothing. Go ahead and get some rest, and try to keep it down. My room is the next door down the hall, and the bathroom is against the other wall,” she explained before backing out of the room.

Primrose’s smile withered away, and she lowered her head. “Oh… alright. G’night, Miss Scarlet,” she called out just before Scarlet closed the door with her magic.

She stood there for several moments, her face tense, and her posture rigid. Slowly, agonizingly slowly, she sucked in a deep breath, then let it out in a heavy sigh. She shook her head and turned away from the door to head for her own room. “...Goodnight,” she whispered under her breath before disappearing into the confines of her room, closing the door behind her.