• Published 11th Apr 2013
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The Many Uses of a Brush - Crimson Brush



A store that sells designer and custom hairbrushes opens in Ponyville with a very peculiar owner.

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Chicken Butt

The Many Uses of a Brush
Chapter 4: Chicken Butt


The next few days passed with little event. Rarity had been true to her word and, thanks to her effusive praise of Crimson Brush’s wares, she had pending orders for several brushes. Some from the Ponyville locals, a few from Canterlot, and even one from a boutique in Manehattan. Aside from the brush orders, though, Crimson had more or less been left to her own devices. Not that she minded, since it at least gave her some time to finish arranging the shop displays and back rooms to her liking.

Of course, there had been that one rather interesting afternoon when an earth-pony couple had walked in and, after a few discreet words, had purchased one of her crops from the “special products” room. Amusingly enough, the very same crop Twilight Sparkle had helped her “test” a few nights earlier, though of course Crimson kept that bit of information to herself. She also couldn’t help but be amused at how the petite, cherry pie-colored mare very obviously wore the horseshoes in their relationship, as it were. The big red stallion had been very quiet and reserved, but she could tell he had a big, gentle heart.

Crimson was in her woodworking shop, working on that custom order from Manehattan, when the bell over her shop’s front door rang to tell her that someone had just walked in. She sighed softly, put down her tools, and walked out to the counter. “Welcome to Crimson’s Brushes, how may I help you?” she said warmly as she came out of the workshop, looking left and right for the customer who had just entered. After a few steps, though, she stopped in confusion, tilting her head curiously. Nopony seemed to be there. Could the wind have simply blown the door open for a moment and set off the bell by itself, perhaps?

Then she heard a soft cough coming from lower to the ground, on the other side of counter. She looked over the edge, and smiled as she saw the cute pegasus filly standing there. “Oh! There you are, little one,” she chuckled. “Welcome to my shop. Are you looking for something?”

The filly shuffled her hooves awkwardly for a moment, then rubbed a front hoof over her shoulder in obvious discomfort. Her wide, light-purple eyes looked as though she were on the verge of tears, as she tried to force herself to speak. “I... I heard you... um... make brushes for... stuff...”

Crimson walked around the counter and bent down to put herself the filly’s height so they could talk. “Well, yes, I do make custom hairbrushes, little one,” she said. “What’s your name, sweetie?” she asked, giving the filly a gentle, encouraging smile to try to put her more at ease. She had a feeling the little filly had gotten herself in some sort of trouble.

The filly blushed deeply as she was called ‘sweetie’. “Its... um... Scootaloo, but most people just call me Scoots,” she said.

“Well, ‘Scoots’,” Crimson said gently, placing her hoof onto one of Scootaloo’s, “did your mother send you here to pick out a brush?”

Scootaloo shook her head and looked down at the floor. “No ma’am. I... I wanted to get one myself. For my big sister.”

Crimson smiled as she began to understand the situation. The pegasus filly had obviously done something wrong, and was feeling very guilty. “Does your big sister care about you a whole lot, little one?”

Scootaloo started to nod, then stopped and bit her lip uncertainly. “I hope so... I’m not so sure anymore...”

“Oh, I’m sure she does, sweetie,” Crimson said, rubbing the filly’s head reassuringly. “I’m sure she couldn’t help but love such a sweet little filly.” Scootaloo glanced up and gave Crimson a weak smile, hoping her words were true. “You really love your big sister, don’t you, Scoots?” Crimson continued.

Scootaloo actually gave a small grin and an eager nod at that. “She’s the greatest! She’s been trying to teach me how to fly... though it isn’t going so well. But she rarely gets upset at me. I mean, I guess she does get kinda impatient at times, but she’s still the best!”

Crimson chuckled softly, happy to see a bit of life coming to the somber filly. “She sounds wonderful, sweetheart. So tell me, what can I do for you?”

Scootaloo looked up and bit her lip again. “I... I don’t have a lot of bits... just what I’ve been saving. But I really, really need a brush!” She reached into her small, worn saddlebag, pulled out an even smaller coin purse, and pulled it open to show Crimson Brush its contents. Six bits and a lollipop.

Crimson looked at the coins, and then back to the little filly, who once more seemed on the verge of tears. “I think six bits will be plenty, sweetheart. You can keep the lollipop,” she teased, trying to lighten the mood a bit. In truth, it was barely enough for what she would normally charge for even the simplest, plainest brush, but she couldn’t refuse the desperate look in the orange pegasus filly’s eyes. Whatever it was Scootaloo had done, it was clearly tearing her up inside. “What would you like on it, dear?”

Scootaloo’s mood seemed to lift immediately. Her eyes brightened, and she actually leaped up to hug the zebracorn tightly. “Ohmygosh thank you so much! I... um... just a... y’know, normal brush is fine,” she said, hesitantly. “Maybe, um... kinda like... that one?” she added, nodding towards a rectangular-bodied brush in the display counter. “But not, y’know... fancy or anything,” she added hastily. Scootaloo was young, but not naive; she knew that fancy hoof-made items like this didn’t come cheap. Crimson was obviously doing her a huge favor by letting her have what she needed for so little money, and the last thing Scootaloo wanted to do was press her luck by asking for too much. “But, um... can you... put a message on it? Please?”

Crimson was a bit taken by surprise at the hug, but smiled warmly and wrapped a hoof around the filly. “Of course, sweetheart. What would you like it to say?”

Scootaloo pulled herself in closer, to whisper into the older mare’s ear, before releasing her and stepping back. She blushed deeply and shuffled her hooves as Crimson jotted the message down on a piece of paper.

“Yes, I can do that for you,” Crimson said kindly. “Bring your big sister by in an couple hours, and I’ll have it ready for you. How does that sound?”

Scootaloo gulped nervously, having not really expected to have it so soon. But she gave a nod in agreement, then quickly fled from the shop.

Crimson shook her head and chuckled softly as she made her way back to her workshop. Such an adorable little filly, she thought to herself. I wonder what she did...? Poor dear obviously feels so terribly guilty about it, whatever it is... She couldn’t help but be amused by the situation, though. It was rare enough that a foal came in to pick out a spanking brush for themselves, unless their mother or father made them do it as a part of their punishment; she couldn’t recall a colt or filly ever having come to her to buy one on their own initiative before!

She moved her current project off to the side of the table, then took a moment to study the various brush blanks she already had made up. A particular piece caught her eye and, after tallying up the costs in her head, she decided she could afford to let the little filly have this one. Even though she knew Scootaloo would be every bit as grateful to get a brush made from one of the plainer, and much cheaper oak-wood blanks next to it, it went against Crimson Brush’s grain to do anything less than to give every customer a brush as unique as they were, even if that customer was a guilty young filly with only a few paltry bits to spend. And this particular piece would suit her so perfectly...

The decision made, she floated the wooden blank over to the bench, and began working on the new brush. She carved the wood into a simple broad, rectangular shape with a curved handle and rounded edges, shaped to fit comfortably into a hoof, then sanded and smoothed it down to a fine finish on all sides. Next, a light oil rub and a bit of magic, to bring out the purpleheart’s rich, deep natural color, only a few shades darker than the filly’s short, boyishly-cut mane. After that, a magically-sharpened cutting tool to engrave the words she’d been given into the backing, using simple block letters to make it look as though the words had been written by a school-age filly...

After a moment’s thought, she mixed up a bit of resin with some colored pigments, to match the filly’s candy-orange coat, then worked the resin into the engraved lettering. Another slight push of magic helped the resin to solidify nearly instantly, and she set about sanding the lettering down and applying layers of clear varnish on top, until not even the most sensitive hoof could detect the edges of the lettering against the wood. Mindful that the brush was probably going to be used by a pegasus, she added a removable synthetic-leather hoof-strap to make it easier to hold onto, then flipped the brush over to start working the bristles into the wood. “Her big sister must really mean a lot to her if she’s willing to do this,” she said to herself as she worked.

Finally, the brush was done. She looked up at the clock, and nodded in satisfaction as she saw that little more than an hour had passed since she’d started. She placed the brush in a plain pinewood box, then carried it back out to the front of the store to wait for Scootaloo’s return.

It wasn’t too long of a wait before she heard the familiar chiming of the front-door bells. She looked up with welcoming smile. “Welcome back, little filly,” she said warmly as she saw the same orange pegasus filly coming through the door. She looked behind her to see what she assumed was the filly’s big sister; a cyan pegasus whose mane and tail held the colors of the rainbow, looking around with a bemused expression as if she had no clue why she was here.

Crimson raised a brow at the older pegasus’ expression, then glanced back down to Scootaloo and saw that the younger filly was leading the rainbow-maned mare by the hoof, practically dragging her along. She also couldn’t help noticing the false smile on the filly’s face, or the way her worn saddlebag was hanging heavily to one side, clearly holding much more than just the few bits she’d been carrying earlier. She hasn’t told her what happened yet, Crimson Brush thought to herself with some concern. I hope you know what you’re doing, little one...

“I have your purchase right here, sweetheart,” she said, putting her warm smile back in place. “Or should I be giving this to your big sister?”

The cyan pegasus looked at her for the first time and grinned a bit. “Oh, we’re not really related. This little brat’s like, my number-one fan, or something,” she said, ruffling the filly’s mane affectionately. “Name’s Rainbow Dash! Fastest flyer in all of Equestria. Nice to meet ya!”

Crimson laughed a bit to herself as she considered this new pegasus. Not the humblest mare I’ve met, that much is certain! she thought to herself, even as she gave a small bow. But she does seem to have a reason for her confidence, if the filly is that enamored with her. Somehow, Scootaloo didn’t strike Crimson as the type to put up with unjustified arrogance in a pony, though she couldn’t quite put a hoof on what gave her that impression. “The pleasure’s mine, I’m sure.”

Scootaloo released Dash’s hoof and walked up to the counter, fishing her six bits out of her worn saddlebag and passing them over as Crimson gave her the pinewood box. “Thank you, ma’am,” she said politely, handing the box with care.

Crimson gave the filly a concerned, but warm smile as she gave her the package, then looked up at Rainbow Dash. “If you need some privacy, that room is available,” she said, waving a hoof toward the unlocked door to her right.

Rainbow looked from the owner to the door, tilting her head curiously, then looked down at Scootaloo and smiled with that same air of bemused impatience she always seemed to carry. “What’s this all about, squirt?”

Scootaloo tried her best to keep the smile on her face as she took the rainbow mare’s hoof once more, leading her towards the back room as she spoke. “C’mon, Rainbow Dash! There’s something I gotta show you.” Her voice seemed joyful to the untrained ear, but Crimson could hear the tension behind it.

Rainbow Dash, though, didn’t seem to notice anything amiss. She just chuckled at the little fuzzball and followed along. No idea where she gets her impatience, she thought to herself humorously, her curiosity growing as she walked through the door. As soon as she caught sight of the room’s contents, though, she stopped in her tracks, her face contorted in confusion at what she saw inside. She recognized the purpose of a few of the items displayed. Her parents had spanked her frequently as a little filly, and the pillow on the floor was all too familiar for her. “Uh... Scootaloo? What exactly are we doing here?”

Scootaloo’s face fell a bit, knowing she had no choice but to come clean now. She closed the door behind them, then walked in front of her idol, nervously fidgeting in place. “I... I need to... to tell you something...” she began, trying to keep the fear out of her voice.

Rainbow lifted a brow curiously at this sudden change in her “number-one fan’s” demeanor. This nervous, fearful fidgeting wasn’t like the daredevil tomboy filly’s usual attitude at all. “What’s up, squirt? If you did something, you should just let it out,” she said, trying to sound reassuring, but it still came out more impatiently than she’d intended.

Scootaloo squeaked a bit and nodded. She handed the cyan mare the pinewood box she’d bought outside, and waited for Dash to open it before saying anything more.

Rainbow opened the box curiously. Inside lay a rectangular mane-brush made of polished purpleheart wood, facing bristle-side up. Her eyes widened a bit as she saw the hoof-strap on the “wrong” side of the brush, and it quickly dawned on her exactly what it was for. She placed the box down beside her and looked back to Scootaloo, silently demanding an explanation as she regarded the orange filly with a steady gaze.

Scootaloo was too nervous to realize Rainbow hadn’t seen the writing on the back. She took a deep breath, then rushed into her explanation, her words coming out almost too fast for her mentor to comprehend. “I took it to get it polished, but then when it was done, I thought it’d be cool to wear it while I practiced my tricks, but then I took a really big fall! I was okay because I’m so used to falling and stuff, but...” Her voice trailed off into a small, fearful whisper as she reached into her worn saddlebag, and pulled out the object she’d been carrying. Or the remains of it, at least.

Rainbow Dash’s eyes grew as big as saucers as she saw what was being held in front of her. Right in front of her was the golden pendant she’d received at the Wonderbolt Academy. The one thing she treasured more than anything else she owned... broken into three pieces. Her mind raced as the room and the brush suddenly made perfect sense to her – but rather than understanding, her face was twisted in rage. If her eyes hadn’t already been a shade of red, they would have been, as she reached down and slipped her hoof into the strap on the brush. “And you think that I’ll just give you a few swats, and that will fix things?” she said, in a dangerously calm voice that was somehow more venomous than anything Scootaloo had ever heard.

Scootaloo’s eyes grew even wider than Dash’s as she heard the anger in her idol’s voice. Rainbow Dash angry with her? Yelling at her? That, she’d been prepared for. But that frighteningly-calm tone told the young filly that the older mare was more than just angry... she was furious. A part of her screamed that this wasn’t right, that she should try to hide or run away while she still had the chance. But she stood there anyway, tears filling her eyes, and accepted her idol’s rage. She had done something horrible to the one she cared about most, the one mare who was more important to her than anypony else, the one she looked up to and wanted to be like... the one who’d taken her under her wings, and whose approval meant everything to her. She knew, deep down, that she deserved Dash’s anger. She only gave a small nod in reply as she put the broken pendant back in her bag and stared down at the floor, humbled and afraid.

Dash didn’t seem to notice the filly’s fear, as her rage blinded her to anything else but the broken memento. “Fine. You want a spanking so bad... Bend your flanks over that stool. NOW!!” she said, shouting the last word in tone that left no room for questions.

Scootaloo jumped at the order, and ran immediately to do as she was told. It never even occurred to her to hesitate or disobey. She laid across the stool so her flanks were right at the edge, assuming the classic position every foal dreads as she wrapped her hooves around the legs of the stool to brace herself. She was too scared to even think of looking back at the one she had angered so much. She had been spanked before, though never more than a few swats, so she knew what was coming, and knew she deserved it... but that didn’t stop her insides from turning into a cold pit of fear as she heard her mentor’s hoof-falls behind her, coming closer. Her crushing guilt was the only thing keeping her in place as she slowly moved her tail to the side, leaving her flanks bared to whatever punishment her “big sister” felt she deserved.

Rainbow Dash seemed to be running on autopilot as she slowly walked toward the frightened young filly. All care gone from her eyes as she stood over the bared and vulnerable rear end bent over the stool. She stared down at the orange pegasus filly, then at the brush strapped to her hoof, still oblivious to what was engraved on the flat side. She raised the brush high into the air, then brought it down against Scootaloo’s left flank, swift and hard. The sound was like a thunderclap, echoing off the walls. The brush wasn’t large, but it was solid, easily covering one side of Scootaloo’s flanks as it flattened the cheek firmly under the blow. Purpleheart wood was dense and unyielding, and when Dash brought the brush up for another strike, there was already a pink glow visible underneath Scootaloo’s orange fur just from that one swat. She didn’t even notice, though, as she brought the brush down again and again with no less force. Her mind didn’t even comprehend what was happening, as she paddled the poor filly’s rump soundly.

Scootaloo cried out in pain as she felt the brush coming down on her upraised flanks so much harder than she’d ever been spanked before. She’d been in tears even before the first swat had fallen, but the fiery pain blossoming across her hindquarters with every clap of the hardwood brush had her crying openly by only the third swat... howling by the sixth... and sobbing by the tenth, her small body heaving with deep, wrenching sobs of pain and shame and guilt, hot tears dripping down her cheeks to the floor below, while she clutched the stool as if her life depended on it. The pain only served to further drive home just how upset her idol was with her, and how badly she’d hurt the cyan pegasus she adored, and that in turn only worked to further strengthen her guilty resolve as she tried her hardest to stay still for the punishment she knew she deserved. I deserve this... she thought to herself through her tears. I... I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, Dash, I deserve this, I deserve every bit of it, I’m sorry, Dash, I’m...

“...SORRY, I’M SORRYYYYY!” she sobbed, trying to beg for her idol’s forgiveness in between her cries of pain as the brush set her rump on scorching, blazing, searing fire with every stroke.

Rainbow Dash could hear the filly’s cries and sobs, and almost stopped herself as she began to realize what she was doing. Something inside her at least managed to make her lessen the blows a bit, but she was still far too upset to just let it go. A small thought in one corner of her mind did scream at her to snap out of it, that Scootaloo had been punished more than enough... but it wasn’t enough to snap her out of her anger, and the brush continued to rain down its painful vengeance across those very sore flanks...

After nearly five minutes had passed without relief, Scootaloo lay spent and limp across the stool. No longer able to fight the throbbing, unbearably-intense pain in her backside, she just lay there and cried. Unable to form words, or even think about her own guilt anymore, she just lay there, accepting the pain of her mentor’s wrath... knowing deep in her heart that she deserved every last bit of the punishment she was receiving, and holding on to a small hope that her pain would somehow repair the damage she had done to their relationship with such a stupid, thoughtless stunt.

As Rainbow Dash raised the brush high, into the air for yet another thunderclap stroke, a small glint of light caught her eye. She blinked in confusion as she looked toward the source, and saw that the light had reflected off what appeared to be writing on the backside of the brush, just barely visible as she held it poised to strike Scootaloo’s burning-red flanks once more. Curiosity subsiding her anger for a moment, she turned the brush over to read what it said.

I’ve always been scared I could never live up to your name. Now, I only fear losing you.
Your Chicken, Scootaloo.

Dash’s eyes widened with realization, as memories struck her like a brick wall.

\/ * /\ * \/ * /\ * \/ * /\ * \/ * /\ * \/ * /\ * \/ * /\ * \/

It was her first training session with her “li’l sister”, the orange pegasus tomboy filly she’d taken under her wing. She’d brought Scootaloo up to a very high cloud and placed her on the edge, then hovered in the air next to it. “Go on kid,” she’d encouraged. “Just jump towards me! I’ll catch you if you fall. I am the fastest flyer in all of Equestria, after all!”

Scootaloo had peered over the edge of the cloud, then fallen down clutching the cloud like a lifeline. “I can’t!” she had screamed. “It’s too high!”

But Dash hadn’t really noticed her fear, and had only laughed it off with her usual boastfulness. “What are ya, a chicken?” she had teased.

The look she’d received from the pegasus filly that day was so fierce it had actually taken her aback. “I’m not a chicken!!” the little filly had screamed, and had actually leaped at her before realizing she was still in the air. The next thing either of them knew, Scootaloo was plummeting towards the ground, screaming for her life as she flapped her wings for everything she was worth in a futile effort to keep herself from falling. Rainbow Dash had instantly shot down like a rocket and caught her in her hooves, then taken the terrified little filly back down to earth.

“What was up with that, squirt?” she had asked, only a little concerned.

“I hate that name...” the little filly had finally managed to say, once she’d stopped shaking long enough to realize she was safely on the ground...

\/ * /\ * \/ * /\ * \/ * /\ * \/ * /\ * \/ * /\ * \/ * /\ * \/

As Rainbow Dash shook the memories away and looked back down at the brush, she realized just how much guilt the little filly must have felt to have come up with that, and just how much the little squirt must truly love her to call herself by that hated word. Her eyes teared up as she looked back down at her “li’l sister”, then widened in shock as she saw just how red Scootaloo’s flanks were. Her orange hindquarters had been turned a furious shade of deep scarlet, and the filly was just lying there limply across the padded stool, her small body shaking from the intense, throbbing pain in her backside as she sobbed and hiccuped brokenly, seemingly not even aware that the spanking had stopped.

I’ll catch you if you fall...

For a moment, Dash just stared at the brush in her hoof as though it were a venomous snake, as it finally began to sink into her what a big mistake she had just made. She threw the brush aside and quickly, but gently, picked the sobbing filly up into her hooves, squeezing Scootaloo tightly against her. “I’m so sorry, squirt... I’m so sorry...!” she repeated over and over, her breath catching raggedly as she began to cry along with the filly she held cradled in her forelegs.

Scootaloo squeaked in surprise as she felt herself being lifted up off the stool and into Rainbow Dash’s embrace, to be hugged so tightly. She could barely make out the words being spoken to her through her own broken, hiccuping sobs... but the feelings were there. She wrapped her hooves around Dash’s neck and hugged her as tight as she could, both of them sobbing their worries and guilt away in each others’ embrace...

“I’m so sorry, squirt...”

“I’m... s-sorry... hic... Rainbow... D-dash...”

A good half-hour passed before they both stopped crying enough to just lay there, hugging each other warm and close, with love and forgiveness...

“You forgive me, squirt?” Dash finally asked.

Scootaloo grinned up at her mentor, with a cocky look not unlike the the ones her mentor so often gave. “No problem... I can take it!”

They both shared a laugh together as they finally let each other go. It took everything Scootaloo had to keep from wincing or crying out when just the act of standing up on her hooves again reignited several fiery little jolts of pain in her burning-hot flanks, and Rainbow Dash felt a guilty twinge in her heart as she saw how much pain the pegasus filly was still feeling from the harsh spanking. Something in Scootaloo’s eyes, though, told Dash not to say anything. Right now, Scoots needed her idol to see that she was still the tough, fearless little tomboy she’d taken under her wing, and Dash couldn’t help sensing that it would hurt the filly’s pride far worse than the spanking had hurt her flanks if she thought Dash thought she wasn’t tough enough to take it...

Never let ‘em see you sweat, right, squirt? Rainbow Dash thought fondly, as she retrieved the brush from where she’d thrown it and put it back in its box. Okay, Scoots... I’ll pretend I don’t see you sweating, so my “li’l sister” can walk out with her head high. ‘Cause that’s what I’d want to do, too. Aw, Scoots... I’m sorry...

She started to pass the brush box over to Scootaloo, but the orange filly shook her head. “You keep it... you never know when I might need my ‘big sister’ to help me again,” she said with a wry, embarrassed giggle.

Dash laughed easily, and gave Scootaloo a warm smile and a nod as she tucked the box under her left foreleg. “Count on it, Scoots. Someone’s gotta keep my little sister in line, right?” she teased. “C’mon, kid. Hop on my back. I got some ice cream at home, and we’ll see if we can’t fix that pendant, huh?” Then she grinned and winked at the filly. “Plus, I can tell ya from experience...” she said in a softer tone, leaning in close, like one sister sharing a deep, dark secret with another, “A nice, soft, cool cloud under your butt will feel pretty sweet right now...” Chuckling at Scootaloo’s wide-eyed look of surprise, she added, “What? You think you’re the only filly who ever got her flanks scorched ‘cause she did something dumb?”

Scootaloo smiled hesitantly, then broke into giggles as her idol shared that memory with her. She leaped up on the older mare’s back, hugging her neck, grinning happily as Dash carried out of the store. “You really are the greatest big sister ever, Rainbow Dash!”

Crimson looked up from the counter as the two pegasus “sisters” came out of the back room and walked past her, giving her only a slight nod of acknowledgment as they left, already deep in their own conversation. She noticed the deep, burning-red glow from the filly’s backside, but she could feel the warmth and love that had grown between the two, and chuckled softly at Scootaloo’s last words as the pair flew off into the sky.

“Perhaps that mare isn’t the most ideal role model,” she said to herself, as she closed up shop for the night, “...but I think they’ll do just fine.”

Author's Note:

Sorry for the harsh spanking in this chapter... but I felt it was in character for Rainbow Dash. She rarely stops to calm or think things through.

Hope the resolution helps alleviate some of the hate I'll get for this chapter.

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