• Published 26th Jan 2012
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Transcendence - Corejo



Scootaloo learns the wonders of flight.

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XVI - Unretainable

Unretainable

Scootaloo sat on the town hall’s porch, tapping her hoof against the hardwood. A cold wind blew through her coat. She shivered, pulling her Wonderbolts scarf close around her and ruffling her feathers. It was far too cold for a Spring afternoon. It should have warmed since Winter-Wrap Up. She huffed loudly to make up for the fact that no pony could hear and sympathize. And maybe ask why she was sitting there all alone. Then possibly ask why her father was taking so damn long to get off work.

She frowned at the large double doors of the town hall. He never worked this late.

A grandfather clock within chimed the half hour. Scootaloo groaned. “Hurry uuuuup...” Another wind blew across the porch and swept a dusting of snow in her face, as if to chastise her impatience. She groaned again. There wasn’t enough time to be sitting around waiting for him.

Fed up, Scootaloo peeked inside a window. The word “chaos” came to mind at the sight of dozens of ponies running helter-skelter, stamping and signing and rolling and sorting hundreds of papers, but her father wasn’t among them.

She stomped toward the door to knock as hard as she could and vent her annoyance. Her knocks made little noise on the fine, solid oak, which didn’t help her frustration. “What’s taking so long!?”

As if on cue, the door opened, and out stepped Tyco, saddlebags bulging. Papers forced themselves against the straps like inmates trying to break free of their cells. He had a look of mild surprise when he saw her.

“What took you so long?” Scootaloo half shouted, half whined. “You’re always done by five. I’ve been waiting out here forever!”

“I saw you from the window,” he said levelly. “You got here ten minutes ago. And you know Town Hall’s a public office, right? You’re allowed in out of the cold.”

Scootaloo glared at him. He really needed to stop acting so matter-of-factly sometimes. “Can we just go already?”

Tyco stepped off the porch. “Not just yet. I have to take this stuff home so I can work on it tonight.”

Scootaloo raised an eyebrow. Take work home? But home was for not-work. That’s why he went to work to work. Right? She glanced over her shoulder at the window, at his saddlebags, then hopped off the porch to follow beside him, eyes still glued to the rolls poking out the flaps. “Why do you have to work at home?”

“Because we’re really busy this time of year. Lots of work to do, so I’m taking some of it home.”

“What kind of work?”

“Tax reports, mostly.”

“Why’s that so important?”

“Because it keeps the roof over our heads.” He chuckled.

Scootaloo looked up. “What roof?”

Tyco blanked. “Uh, nevermind.” He cleared his throat. “Anyways, the mayor is a very timely pony, so she’s really up about getting these done quickly.” They stepped up to their door, Tyco fumbling for a key that dangled from his saddlebags.

“But you’ve never brought this stuff home before.”

He fit the key in the lock while managing to drop only a half dozen rolls of paper. “Yeah, I know. Stamps’ daughter’s getting married in Manehattan this weekend, so I agreed to help with his share in exchange for some time off next week.”

He opened the door, and they stepped inside. The belt around his waist fought with him as he tried to undo it. When it gave, he lifted the saddlebags from his back and dropped them with a loud thud on the living room floor, then sighed in relief.

“But why?”

“Because we’re ponies. We help each other when we need it, even if we don’t want to. Doesn’t matter how big or small the problem is—we just do. Life happens, Scoot, and we work around it. I’ll try not to let it get in the way of your practice time these next few days. Besides, your practice is especially why I agreed. We’ll need all the time we can get as the seasons change.” He smiled at her, and a few rolls took that as cue to fall out of the bag. He chuckled. “Well, you ready?”

Only for forever! Scootaloo was out the door before he had a chance to blink. “Come on, dad, let’s go!”

“Haha, alright, I’m coming, I’m coming.”

They flew to the meadow at a brisk pace, mostly because Scootaloo desired making up for lost time. Her energy flowed to her father, and before long he had built a storm cloud that would have cowed the most experienced weather pegasi. It began to rain in thick sheets, and thunder boomed over the din.

“You ready?” he asked.

A single, resolute nod was her only answer as she stared up at the monstrosity. Courage carried her toward it, and practice along its underside. The engulfing fire felt numb after months of experience, if only slightly. The days since her first attempt were filled with it, and it grew on her, almost like a friend. It was a welcomed pain—just as that of the mach cone so long ago, and its prize just as hard to reach.

Scootaloo fell away from the cloud, shaking off the static of yet another failed attempt. She grumbled. Gathering the lightning was simple now—instinctive—but there was something about the idea of containing it that lost her. It was too wild and powerful to control. Her father had shown her many times, but she simply couldn’t follow through. The reason why gnawed at her.

Speed was her game, as proven by the rainboom. Her discipline, however, left much to be desired. Luckily for her, she was made of persistence—or felt as much, anyways. So naturally, she tried again. And again. And again.

“You’re getting better at it,” Tyco said after a dozen more tries.

“I don’t feel like it.”

“You might not feel like it, but it’s true. Before you know it, you—ahh!” Residual static shocked the hoof he had extended to hug her. He chuckled casually, but Scootaloo knew him well enough to know he was blushing beneath his coat. “Before you know it, it’ll be just as easy as that rainboom of yours.”

They shared a smile.

“Besides, since you’re getting better at it each try is taking longer, so there’s that, too. Come on. Time’s a-wastin’.”

Though happy for the compliment, she frowned. Less practice wasn’t something she looked forward to. He was right though, time was wasting. Without a second thought, she dashed toward the cloud.

Like clockwork, she looped over backwards, drew her legs in tight, and grazed her wings along its underside. She could have closed her eyes if she wanted, as the lighting built, but she braced herself for the coming struggle. It seeped in through the pores of her skin and sunk its teeth deep into every muscles of her being.

She hurtled toward the earth like a meteor, muscles tensed to retain its power, eyes blinking away tears that obscured the ground below. Just a little farther. The lightning’s dance within became more chaotic. Just a little. It tore at her skin from the inside like knives carving their way out. She twitched in response to the pain, and the lightning fizzled out in a shower of sparks.

With just enough time to pull out of freefall, Scootaloo landed on the snow-crusted earth, then stamped it with a hoof.

Tyco landed beside her. “Scoot, what’s wrong?”

She sighed. “I don’t know. I haven’t gotten any farther in the last two months.”

“What do you mean? You’re doing great! Don’t you see how easily you get right into it? You just gotta keep at it like you did your rainboom.” He put a hoof over her shoulder. “You’ll get it in no time.”

Though she wanted to believe him, Scootaloo wasn’t so sure. She knew how overly supportive he could get, especially when considering variables like the rain. Whether or not his gibberish about rain and retention was to be believed made no difference. His storms always poured the same, making his efforts for comfort in that regard moot.

On all others, though, his case fell short of convincing. The beginning was easy, not the ending. Somehow, he just didn’t see that. Whether it was that she couldn’t do it or was simply doing it wrong, she couldn’t tell. All she knew was that she hadn’t.

Maybe she was doing it wrong. What a great feeling that was after so many practices. All for nothing! She started for home.

“You’re done already?” Tyco asked.

Scootaloo didn’t bother replying. She flew home, head hung low. It was her sonic rainboom all over again—those eternal days and nights out in the meadow beating her head against a wall in hopes it would eventually tumble down. Though it did, and she had overcome such a great obstacle, this was different.

She never expected lightning calling to be so tedious, so exact. Her dreams and his stories made it sound like a clap of the hooves. Fighting it head on, though, was an entirely different matter. This wall was taller, thicker. It didn’t budge, unlike the last. And that one only budged because she damn near killed herself doing so.

The precision this one would take was beyond sight, a mountaintop hidden in the clouds. But she needed to do it, had to. There wasn’t time for wussing out.

That thought hit her like a punch to the gut. The little motivation she had left to fly that day evaporated. She landed on their doorstep, a complete failure.

She tried the door handle, but it was locked. A grunt escaped her before a hoof rested itself on her shoulder.

“Hey, come on. It’s alright.” her father cooed.

In no mood to listen, she looked away until he opened the door. She dragged her hooves across the living room, toward her own.

“Scoot.”

She stopped, staring at the floor.

“We’ll try again tomorrow, okay?” His voice was soft, assuring.

A moment passed. Scootaloo nodded. They would try again tomorrow.

Author's Note: Thanks to Belligerent Sock for his review of this chapter.]

[Onward and Upawerd!]