• Published 26th Jan 2012
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Transcendence - Corejo



Scootaloo learns the wonders of flight.

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II - First Flight

First Flight

Few things could wake Scootaloo early. If she wanted to sleep in, she slept in. But today, Scootaloo didn’t want to, despite how early it was; today was special.

She leapt out of bed, ran to the hallway, and toward the living room, where her scooter waited beside the front door. Walking it outside, she gave its well-worn frame a smile as it squeaked with every turn of its wheels.

“Just one last ride,” she said to her friend. She started her wings and took off.

Two years to the day it had been since it first served her, and it had served her well. Scootaloo thought of everything that had happened since her arrival in Ponyville: meeting Rainbow Dash; the return of Princess Luna; wrapping up winter; and most importantly, her two best friends, Applebloom and Sweetie Belle.

It was to Applebloom’s house she currently rode. Though she always knew how to brighten Scootaloo’s day, it was not so much to see her as it was Rainbow Dash. According to Applebloom, she would be moving clouds over all of Sweet Apple Acres.

Scootaloo was on a mission. For two years she had known Rainbow Dash, but never found the courage to ask her to teach her to fly. What if she said no?

A bump in the road sent Scootaloo off-kilter and a bolt to come loose from the scooter’s axle. She compensated with a burst of her wings, then stared at the bolt as it disappeared in the dust behind her before turning ahead knowing there was no going back. Especially since the large barn of Sweet Apple Acres appeared around a bend of apple trees, big and red.

She laid her scooter and helmet beside the barn door before looking to the sky to see nothing but endless blue. A sigh escaped her. Of course she was too early. Rainbow Dash always slept in on Saturdays, something she should have remembered before waking so hurriedly herself.

“Scootaloo, is that you?” came Applebloom’s voice from behind.

Scootaloo turned to see her friend emerge from around the corner, wearing the smile that always made her day. Though she had seen it many times before, Scootaloo’s eyes gravitated toward the dark red toolbox on Applebloom’s flank. It always made her long for her own cutie mark, especially after Sweetie Belle got hers, too.

“What in tarnation are you doin’ here?” Applebloom asked.

“I remembered you said Rainbow Dash would be here today, so I was gonna see if she could help me finally get my cutie mark.” She looked at her flank and frowned.

“But Scoot, you’re amazin’ on your scooter. You sure your talent ain’t sumthin’ to do with that?”

Scootaloo rolled her eyes. “I’ve been riding around on that thing for two years, Applebloom, and I still don’t have my cutie mark. There’s no way it’s my special talent. Besides... I’m not that good at it.”

Applebloom gave her a level stare.

“Applebloom, y’out here?” Applejack rounded the corner. Her expression was of curiosity, which changed to surprise, then quickly to a smile. “Well I’ll be, if it ‘aint Scootaloo. How ya been?”

Scootaloo bounded toward her, a huge smile on her face, wings buzzing. “When’s Rainbow Dash getting here?”

“What? Oh, uh... well I’d reckon that’s her right there.” She pointed a hoof at a quickly growing blur on the horizon.

The streak of blue took form as the one pony Scootaloo wanted to see most. Rainbow Dash swooped toward the ground and pulled upward into a twirl before landing amidst them. Her eyes were closed in her too-cool attitude, and her grin matched it. She ran a hoof through her mane, cocking back her head as she did so to half-lid her eyes at Applejack. “I heard somepony needs a little help with her gardening.”

Scootaloo mouthed a “wow.” Rainbow Dash was so awesome.

A slight tilt of Applejack’s head preceded an arched brow. “An’ I heard somepony else needs help wakin’ up on time.” Her voice was flat, almost irritable. But how could anypony be irritated by something as cool as that?

Her mouth moved to form more words, but they were soundless. Scootaloo’s mind had shut them out to become a torrent of things to ask Rainbow Dash but didn’t know how. She sat rigid, a bead of sweat forming on her brow. Finally her mouth opened to speak, but she was cut short by a gust of wind that knocked her over backwards. A quick shake of the head and a glance at the sky told her that Rainbow Dash was already hard at work. She sighed at the lost opportunity to ask.

A hoof gently rested itself upon her shoulder. Scootaloo turned to see it belonged to Applebloom, who wore a soft smile and gave a gentle, reassuring shake.

“She’ll be done real quick. You can ask her then.”

Appreciative, Scootaloo smiled back. She really did have the best friends she could ever ask for.

Looking back to the sky, she watched the remainder of Rainbow Dash’s meshing of clouds into a dull, grey blanket. When finished, Rainbow Dash landed beside Applejack, and the two snickered together.

Scootaloo felt the sudden nudge of Applebloom’s hoof against her back. She clenched her teeth, eyes widening. “Wha-what are you doing?” She dug her hooves into the ground in resistance.

“C’mon Scoot, just go ask her already! You wanted to shoot us out of a cannon, but you can’t ask her to teach you to fly?”

“B-but that was different!”

Applebloom huffed, then, after a moment, approached Rainbow Dash. “Hey, Rainbow Dash, I just wanted to let you know that Scootaloo has somethin’ important to ask you.”

Scootaloo shot upright in dismay. Traitor!

“What’s up?” Rainbow Dash asked while walking toward her.

“Uh...” Scootaloo’s mind floundered, and she glanced at her hooves. Applebloom slid to her side to gave an enthusiastic nudge and nod of the head. “Well, uh... I kinda wanted to ask you if you’d, um... teach me how to fly.” Her face screwed into a half-wince as she looked up at Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash blinked once. “Wait. You want me to teach you... how to fly?”

Scootaloo shrank to the ground. She had been dreading denial all morning. Now that it was happening, it hurt more than she thought possible.

“I get to teach somepony how to fly? This is gonna be so awesome!

Scootaloo perked up. “Y-You really mean it?”

“You betchya, pipsqueak,” Rainbow Dash gave a powerful grin. “In fact, why don’t we start later today? I know just where to begin. Go home and psyche yourself up, I’ll meet you by the fountain where we first met in an hour.”

At that moment, Scootaloo’s smile couldn’t have stretched further if it had tried. She dashed to her scooter, mounted it, and was off in a blur. Turning her head, she saw Applebloom and Applejack waving, Rainbow Dash still grinning. She waved back before leaning into her race home with renewed vigor. A wide grin swept across her face, and her mind clouded with a swirl of thoughts revolving around one thing: learning to fly.

≈≈≈×≈≈≈

Prisms danced in the mist of the marble fountain where Scootaloo sat waiting. It was warm for a spring morning, something she was grateful for. If it were any colder, she didn’t think she would be able to wait any longer without freezing. Actually, she could have for Rainbow Dash. But the thought was unnecessary as the sound of flapping wings and landing hooves caused her to turn.

“You must be excited if you’re here this early,” Rainbow Dash remarked. Scootaloo nodded her head vigorously, forcing Rainbow Dash to smile. “Alright, lets get going! Think you can keep up with me on that rusty, old thing?” She pointed at the scooter, her smile changing to one of more mischievous design. Scootaloo read her expression and returned it. She hopped on the scooter and beat her wings in challenge.

“Hah! That’s what I like to see!” She bent low to the ground. “Ready? One... Two... Three!” A surge of wind sent Scootaloo back on hind wheels and furiously beating wings to stay upright. Back on all four, she was off in her own whirlwind of dust.

Rainbow Dash led her west over the river and through the streets of Ponyville, rolling through the air and laughing all the while. Now and again, Scootaloo would spot her glancing over her shoulder, a hint of surprise and approval both in her eyes and the smile that flashed beneath them. Rainbow Dash sped forward to thread the opening of a hitched vegetable stall and immediately turned to watch.

Scootaloo knew what she wanted. Intent on succeeding, she angled to meet the stall, leapt, and buzzed her wings for air time. “Perfect” came to mind when she landed on the other side. The pony towing the stall yelled something at her, but his voice was quickly forgotten when Rainbow Dash laughed and looped back into the race.

They blazed a trail into the country that quickly led them to the foot of a mountain. A very big mountain. Scootaloo had only seen it from Ponyville, never having a reason to stand where she did and gawk at its stature. It had the illusion of tapering to a point.

“Wait here while I go look for a way up,” Rainbow Dash said. She zipped around the far end of the cliff face, which left Scootaloo alone with her thoughts.

Finally flying! Surely this would be exciting. Rainbow Dash always knows how to do everything awesomely!

Rainbow Dash reappeared around the other side of the mountain and landed beside her. “Oooon second thought, I’ll just fly you up.”

Before Scootaloo could comprehend what was happening, she felt herself lifted off the ground. She landed on a soft, warm surface that seemed foreign, yet distantly familiar, and her helmet slid down over her eyes. Upon removing it, she realized that she was on Rainbow Dash’s back.

Rainbow Dash readied her wings. “Hold on tight.”

Scootaloo did, and was met with a sensation she never thought existed. The upward force of lift off pressed Rainbow Dash’s back into her stomach. An odd weightlessness that came and went with each upstroke of her wings carried Scootaloo out of her comfort zone, yet into a far more wonderful one.

The ground fell away into the distance, the cliff face followed in tow, and the summit became clearer every second. Turning about, she saw the road they had followed and the surrounding forest losing its detail.

“You know, for a little squirt, you’re kinda heavy,” Rainbow Dash said between breaths.

Scootaloo frowned. She didn’t want to be a burden. “Oh, uh, well, we can practice somewhere else if you want.”

“Hah! You say that like I ain’t tough enough.” True to her word, Rainbow Dash’s strokes became more powerful. Startled, Scootaloo gripped tight to her neck, but once used to it, relaxed. Rainbow Dash’s movements were rhythmic, fluid like a lullaby. Already lying down, she closed her eyes and wrapped Rainbow Dash in a hug.

“Hey, we’re here.”

Scootaloo looked around to see they were on a circular, rocky plateau. The peaks of nearby mountains jutted above its far side in jagged points. Struck by the loneliness of her surroundings, she hopped down to let it sink in. A strong, frigid wind swept through her skin as she looked over the edge of the cliff. Far below, the road they had followed formed a hairline sliver amidst the vast landscape. Scootaloo’s eyes shrank to pinpricks.

“Rule number one: always keep your cool,” Rainbow Dash said.

Easy for her to say. Did she realize how far up they were?

“Rule number two: flap your wings rhythmically and efficiently. Only exert yourself on the downward motion, don’t waste your energy buzzing your wings like you do when you’re on your scooter.”

A lump formed in Scootaloo’s throat as a small puff of cumulus drifted lazily below.

“Today we’ll just work on your ability to glide, so learn to spread your wings and get familiar with using them for flight.”

“Um, Rainbow Dash? I’m not so su—”

“Rule number three: have fun!!!

Scootaloo felt a sudden jab at her flank and the sound of her hooves scraping rock. Weightlessness enveloped her, and her bowels rose into her stomach. Mind caught up with reality while body went rigid.

She was falling.

Adrenaline surged through her as she thrashed about. She gasped for breath, her heart racing in fear of the distant earth that rose to meet her. The wind roared in her ears as she screamed in terror. She shut her eyes, afraid of the inevitable.

“What the heck are you doing?”

Scootaloo opened her eyes to see Rainbow Dash falling beside her, forehooves crossed in indifference.

“Stop freaking out. Calm down.”

Scootaloo nodded after the message sunk in. Tremors still ran through her, but she relazed her body and concentrated on her purpose. Slowly, she tucked into a passable nosedive. Rainbow Dash followed suit.

“Good. Now what?”

Scootaloo probed the question. She was falling faster than ever, yet she suppressed her instinct to panic, determined to remain calm. Her thoughts landed on the answer as she opened her wings. But it felt different. She spread them wide, away from her body, slicing the air around her rather than holding them open behind herself like she did on her scooter. As awkward as it felt, it seemed right.

She craned her neck back, slow and steady as she watched Rainbow Dash with unblinking eyes, and her body naturally followed. Wind filled the underside of her wings, spreading her feathers to their fullest. Rainbow Dash again mimicked her. A wide smile grew on her face as quickly as the wind’s roaring faded. “What’re you staring at me for?” She spread her hooves out below.

Scootaloo looked down at the earth, and her heart nearly stopped at its majesty.

Green farmland stretched out in the valley below like a patchwork quilt, treelines and tiny wooden fences sewn between them. Rivers and streams and lakes spilled into and across its seams and stitches, twinkling in the brilliance of the sun. They trailed off like little threads of silver to disappear beneath misty-blue mountains that stood tall and proud at the edge of the world.

Overhead, clouds drifted like silent sentinels of the sky. Their edges were wispy, little hands reaching out for her to grasp and call friend.

A light breeze kissed her cheeks and swept through her mane. Its chill filled her lungs fuller than ever before.

Her smile spread from ear to ear. At that moment, she could have died happy.

Scootaloo landed on the path in a fluttering canter, the feeling of weightlessness lingering in her limbs. They wobbled beneath her as she circled about to take in the sights and smells of the the trees and lush grass that lined the path.

The excitement in her chest trembled its way to her mouth, which failed to contain it. She leapt into the air. “Yes!”

She closed her eyes to listen to her heartbeat. It was loud in her ears like the beating of timpani drums. Steadily, it faded, and she drew a long sigh. Though she welcomed the feeling of firm ground beneath her hooves, she turned to look at the mountain, wanting again to feel the sensation.

Rainbow Dash landed beside her. “Nice job, Scoot, you’re a natural.” Pride gleamed in her eyes, and also her smile.

Scootaloo couldn’t help but blush. Hearing those words come from Rainbow Dash herself was a dream come true.

On the high of triumph, she looked back at the mountain, at its peak that sat high above the world, and smiled. For it was hers.

[Author’s Note: Thanks to Belligerent Sock for his great review of this chapter. Rarely can it be said that a sock was ever as helpful (and docile) as this one. I may be spending too much time on Tumble-Dry Low, but his sock-based humor is starting to rub off on me...]

[Onward and Upward!]