• Published 26th Jan 2012
  • 13,322 Views, 606 Comments

Transcendence - Corejo



Scootaloo learns the wonders of flight.

  • ...
46
 606
 13,322

XII - A Push in the Right Direction

A Push in the Right Direction

Left. Right. Left again. Scootaloo rolled her pencil back and forth between her hooves for the millionth time. It made a loud, skittering sound across the wooden desktop, only muffled as it passed over her notebook paper.

Ms. Blackboard said something at the front of the classroom, and the filly sitting beside Scootaloo answered. Scootaloo glanced absentmindedly at her teacher. Ms. Blackboard was really getting into whatever she had drawn on the board. Was that supposed to be Equestria? Scootaloo let out a sputter. Who cares?

Her eyes wandered to the clock on wall. Five ‘til three. She sighed.

Another pencil roll, and her attention shifted to the sheet of paper on her desk. Blank. Bland. Uninteresting. Just like the rest of the day would be.

She rolled the pencil again. A simple time wasting activity that she was pretty good at. At least that was one thing she was good at.

The thought brought a scowl to her face. She stamped her hoof down on the rolling pencil, sending a loud crack through the classroom. She ignored the many curious looks she received.

Scootaloo laid her head on her desk. Another day wasted. Another afternoon awaiting the same fate. She sighed and looked down her nose at the pencil.

It laid still on the paper, point-forward. Its sides were marred with scuffs, scars, and bite marks, and she followed them up the pencil with her eyes. They weaved an intricate pattern that wrapped around the pencil and eventually ended at its point, which was blunt, dull beyond effectiveness. She looked at her right hoof and sighed again. Just like her.

Her hoof, wind-shorn and raw from months of failure, laid on her desk, limp. Cracks spidered along her whitened hooftip, and wind-sores lined the base of her fetlock. It hurt to walk on. It hurt to use. Hell, it hurt to even look at.

All this to make a sonic rainboom.

She remembered the Wonderbolts tryouts, looking up in excitement as Rainbow Dash lit up the sky. That amazing ring that bloomed like a flower in the summer sun. A faint smile upturned the corners of Scootaloo’s mouth. She had to make one.

If you want me, come and get me.

Scootaloo cringed. She refocused her eyes on her hoof, but looked away in disdain. A sonic rainboom. Like that’ll ever happen.

She flicked her pencil again. Maybe she would have to settle for a pencil-rolling cutie mark.

The school bell rang.

“Alright, children, don’t forget to study for your geography quiz tomorrow,” Ms. Blackboard chimed.

Scootaloo rolled her eyes. Geography shmeography. She had more important things to worry about. Screw school. She donned a tattered blue and yellow scarf, a token of her father’s bygone days as a Wonderbolt. Favoring her injured hoof, she stepped out into the mid-December air alongside Applebloom and Sweetie Belle. The frozen ground crunched beneath their hooves as they made their way through the snow-swept streets of Ponyville.

“Brrr! It’s c-c-c-cold!” Sweetie Belle said.

Yer cold?” Applebloom asked in disbelief. ”How in the hay are ya cold? Yer more bundled up than a polar bear in a sweater factory.”

“Hey! No I’m not!”

“Are, too!”

“Am not!”

“Are, too!”

“Well, at least I’m wearing something!” Sweetie Belle said, pointing at Applebloom’s hand-me-down jacket. Scootaloo shut out the rest of their bickering.

In time, they arrived at the elm in the meadow, which had become their unofficial gathering place. Scootaloo looked up at the tree, whose leafless branches bent low under the weight of winter.

“Hey, Scoot, ya gonna get started?” Applebloom asked.

Scootaloo stared upward, glassy-eyed, and sighed. Let’s get this over with... Again...

She removed her scarf before dragging herself above the clouds. Though the sun sat warm overhead in the crisp blue sky, it did nothing to lighten her mood. It may as well have been as grey as the clouds below. She fell through the thick layer of clouds, toward the frosted landscape.

One. Two. Three. Four. Each dive resulted in the same backlash, each attempt more pathetic than the last.

She caught herself among the clouds after the tenth rejection. Come on! Why can’t you do this? Another dive. Another denial. She glared at the grey fluff that rolled silently below, concealing the force that denied her her prize. Rainbow Dash did this. I can—no, I have to.

A grunt of frustration preceded her next dive. The cone sharpened, and her heart gave a flutter. She strained as hard as she could. This is it! The earth reached up, as if to catch her, but stopped. It retracted and shrank into the distance, taking her hopes with it.

The sound barrier launched her back into the sky, where she righted herself to charge the earth again in a blind rage. What the hell is wrong with you!? The wind howled in her ears, but was a mere whisper compared to the torrent within her head. Why haven’t you done this yet? You’re worthless. Tears blurred her vision. And you want to beat her... pathetic... absolutely pathetic. She beat her wings furiously, but the ground neither halted its ascent, nor did the cone narrow about her. She tried to pull out of the dive, but landed at an angle, rolling violently across the meadow.

Scootaloo staggered to her haunches, and her wings fell limp at her sides. She trembled with rage, eyes clenched shut. Tears stole the warmth from her face as they trickled down the tip of her nose. Why can’t I do this?

“Why can’t I do this!?”

She beat the earth into submission with each word. A twinge of pain stung her right forehoof. Red graced its blurry orange and mingled with the snow. Humiliating.

“Scoot?” Applebloom asked softly. “You alright?” She approached to put a hoof on her shoulder, but Scootaloo shied away.

“I can’t do it...”

Applebloom stepped back in shock. “Wha—of course you can! You’ve been workin’ on this for months! You can’t just give up now!”

Scootaloo remained silent. She sniffled before standing up to gather her scarf. “I just... can’t. I’m a failure.”

“Come on, Scoot! Don’t talk like that!” Applebloom said as she stepped in front of her. “Just like my sis always said to me when I learned how to buck apples. Defeat ain’t failure ‘til you stop tryin’.” Applebloom looked her dead in the eyes. “You’re. Not. A failure,” she commanded with sharp jabs of a hoof.

Scootaloo shouldered past her. “Just leave me alone.”

Applebloom’s mouth hung agape. “Wha-Scoot, come back here!” She trotted to catch up. “C’mon, Scoot, can’t you just try a few more times?”

“No.”

Applebloom sighed. “Scoot, just one mo—”

“Just leave me alone!” Scootaloo rounded on her, eyes ablaze. Applebloom recoiled. “It’s been four months, Applebloom! Four! Months! And nothing’s happened! I’ve been out here every single day! Have you seen any sonic rainbooms? No! I’m tired of it!” She turned back toward Ponyville. “I’m done.”

Applebloom stared in disbelief. “So... so that’s it... just like that, you’re givin’ up?”

“Shut up,” Scootaloo said, not bothering to look back.

“Scoot, can’t you jus—”

“No.”

Applebloom huffed. “You get back up there and try again!”

Scootaloo glared over her shoulder. “Make me!”

“Fine!” Applebloom lunged, tackling Scootaloo to the dirt.

“Get off me!” Scootaloo yelled. She kicked Applebloom hard in the chest. The blow sent her tumbling over backwards, but she was on her hooves and diving atop Scootaloo before she could fly away.

Sweetie Belle looked pleadingly between the two. “Guys, stop it! This isn’t helping!” Neither of them listened. They tumbled through the snow, hooves flailing and teeth gnashing.

“I said get off me!” Scootaloo threw a wild backhoof that caught Applebloom square in the face. She cried out in pain, but retaliated with a kick to the stomach that launched Scootaloo into the side of the tree. Scootaloo crumpled into a ball, wheezing for the few precious bits of air that would fill her lungs.

Applebloom pinned her down and whipped her scarf off of her. She spit it to the ground and stamped a hoof on it. “You ain’t goin’ nowhere ‘til you get back up there an’ try again.”

Scootaloo gazed up at her friend. Her mane was a mess, her bow was torn, and a bruise was forming beneath her eyes. Scootaloo glanced away in shame.

Applebloom stepped back, allowing her to stand. Scootaloo staggered to all fours and looked her in the eyes. Applebloom glared at her not with anger or vengeance, but with hard expectation—harsh but empowering. Scootaloo let it fill her.

Composure returning, she took to the skies and circled about. The wind stung like icicles on her cuts and bruises. It drew away the pain and anger that had boiled over moments ago, evaporated to leave her with the thoughts that mattered. She was gliding down from the mountain again. The wind tugged her skyward.

Alright, here we go. The clouds melted away as she rose through them. Damp with cloud vapor, her coat frosted over in the freezing wind. She brushed away the ice crystals on her face and gazed at the clouds below. They dared her to try again. They dared the wrong pony.

This time, Scootaloo dove, but instead of concentrating on the sonic rainboom, she filled her mind with Applebloom’s soul-piercing stare. Every crevice resonated with its power.

The cone formed and stretched about her. Tears formed in submission to the wind tearing at her eyes. Color flecked the edges of the cone as it tapered to a needlepoint. Traces of static coiled around her. Just a little more! Come on, wings!

The ground grew dangerously close, but she pressed on. The cone’s tip began unravelling. This is it! Her lungs burned like a stoked furnace, and her wings screamed for an end to their torture, but she continued unfazed. Almost there! The tip became a single thread, and pulled taut against her hoof. She eyed it with lust as it quivered in vain resistance.

Time stopped, and her heart beat victory.

Scootaloo grinned triumph, watching it thin out, hairlike, but the ground suddenly came into focus. She let out a gasp and pulled out of the dive, feeling the blood rush to her legs. Branches lashed at her as she crashed through the elm and across the meadow.

Worried cries echoed off the trees, scrapes bled, and her body ached, but none of it mattered. She was already in the sky once again, mind whirling a mile a minute around a single thought.

It frayed.

The sky was still a dull grey, unmarred by the myriad colors of a rainboom, but it no longer clutched at her heart like the looming shadow it once was. Scootaloo looked down at her friend with a smile, and was returned with one of pride. Thanks, Applebloom.

[Author's Note: Thanks to Cassius for his review of the original write, and that of Belligerent Sock for that of the rewrite.]

[Onward and Upward!]