Love Triangles and Other Funny Shapes

by TheGentlemanCreeper

First published

As the new kid in school, you find yourself overwhelmed with more than just schoolwork...

(2nd Person Story starring Child-You and the Cutie Mark Crusaders)

You can't help but feel a little sad after your mother told you that you and her were moving to Ponyville; you were leaving all of your friends and family behind. But you didn't have a choice in the matter; you were along for the ride, for better or worse. You try to take solace in your mother's words:

"I'm sure you'll make all sorts of new friends."

You had no idea those new friends would get you in all sorts of trouble.

Author's Note: This was my first fic I did for the SFG when I joined and it sort of shows. It's been edited and fixed, but my style has definitely changed since then. Anyways, enjoy.

Chapter 1

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The waves churn the boat ever so slightly as you gaze out upon the open water. Your crew scurries across the deck of the ship as they prepare. Something is coming. A lone pony in the crow’s nest yells out to you.

“Cap’n! There’s a ship on the horizon!”

Your crew stops dead in their tracks and look to you, waiting for the next order. You nod once and a series of yells and commands goes through the ranks. They drop down, hiding. The lookout pony at the top of the mast yells out again.

“Cap’n! Looks like a schooner!”

You smirk as the ship comes within viewing distance, flying a flag native to Equestria, a sign of peace and good will. You continue to wave until the ship is so close, you can make out the face of the other captain, who is waving as well and wearing a big grin. The broadside hatches open, revealing at least a dozen ten-pounder cannons. You continue to smile back at the captain as you say the word.

“Fire.”

Thunderous explosions ring across the open ocean as the cannons fire harpoons, each carrying a sizable length of rope. The captain of the other ship looks at you, his jaw hanging slack.

“GET ‘EM ON A LEASH AND REEL ‘EM IN! RAISE THE BLACK FLAG AND PREPARE TO BOARD!” you scream.

All at once, your crew stands up, brandishing swords and axes. The pony in the crow’s nest tears down the flag you hung in false pretenses and replaces it with a torn, black flag with a skull and crossed bones under it. Grabbing a hanging length of rope with your teeth, you take a few steps back and run forward, letting go of the rope as you’re at the height of your swing, landing on the deck of the schooner, your boarding party not too far behind. The confused crew of the schooner looks at you in disbelief before going for their own weapons. Reaching to your side with your teeth, you grab a hold of your own cutlass and enter a fighting stance. All at once, the three charge you as they let out a rally cry. Their swings are sluggish and untrained, allowing you to block and parry each blow with skill and ease. While you have the skill, they have the numbers and begin pushing you back. Looking to your crew, you smile as you see your crew tie up the last of the rag tag fighting force who took up arms against you. All that’s left are the three in front of you. In a show of bravado, you jump into the air and grab a hold of a low hanging boom, planning on circling around and attacking them from the back. However, you begin to question the wisdom of this idea as another boom comes into view, just inches from your face. The second boom connects with your skull, knocking you to the ground as you begin to see stars.

“Wake up.”

You wonder who that just was. It sounded like a mare. But mares can’t be pirates; it couldn’t possibly be one of your crew.

“Wake up!”

Whoever it was, they were shaking you now. You try to force your eyes open, but they feel like they’re glued shut.

“Come on! You’re going to be late for school!”

Your eyes finally snap open and you look around. This wasn’t the ocean or a captured schooner. This was a room. Your room. Rubbing your eyes, you look around and realize that this is reality and you weren’t a feared pirate captain. You were just a regular colt.

“Have a good dream?” Looking up, you see your mother smiling as she runs a hoof through your mane.

“Yeah, I did. Why did you have to ruin it?” You ask, annoyed.

“Because, it’s your first day of school and you’re going to be late.”

The words click inside your head.

School

FIRST DAY

LATE

“OH GOSH OH GOSH OH GOSH!” you yell as you spring from bed. You hear your mother laugh as you barrel down the stairs.

“Breakfast is on the table and your pack is by the door. Have a wonderful first day!” She yells.

You grab the blueberry muffin and stuff it in your mouth as you awkwardly get your saddle-pack on. Moving before you think, you actually run into the closed door before opening it, only to sit there for a moment in a daze while your mom laughs again. You get to your hooves and make sure to open the door this time and sprint towards the schoolhouse as fast as you can.

“Oh hay, I hope this Ms. Cheerilee isn’t too mad that I’m late!” You say to yourself as you dodge other ponies walking through the streets of Ponyville. You and your mom moved here from Clydesdale, a small valley town nestled near the ocean. You were reluctant to leave your friends and family behind, but you knew you had to leave. Your father had been a captain of a fishing boat and made sure you and your mom always had food on the table. But then one day, he disappeared. Your mom explained that there was a freak storm out on the ocean and that your father wasn’t coming home. You had been up late last night, like every night, looking at your father’s sea charts and playing with the compass he gave you before his last voyage. Your mother had made it into a necklace so that you can ‘Always keep a piece of your father close to your heart', as she put it. You smile as you feel the cold piece of metal bump your chest as you run. The schoolhouse came into view and you start to slow down when you realize that class hadn’t even started yet. This allowed you to catch your breath and regain your composure. After all, first impressions are everything and you didn’t want to come off that you were always panting and out of breath. You made it to the threshold of the schoolhouse and let out a sigh of relief. Looking around, you find a place where everyone else had set their own saddle-packs and put it in the corner, off to the side. It wasn’t hard to find Ms.Cheerilee. Or, it wasn’t hard for Ms. Cheerilee to find you.

“Ah! You must be the new student I heard was coming today! Before you sit down, why don’t you tell the class your name?” Ms. Cheerilee said with a smile.

Looking around, you noticed that everyone else was sitting in their seats and was now staring directly at you. At that moment, it felt like you had a butterfly colony in your stomach.

“Uh…I… Umm…”

This was going to be a LONG day.

Chapter 2

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A few seconds passed before you finally got the nerve up and said your name to the whole class. There were hushed whispers amongst the others, which died down when Ms. Cheerilee cleared her throat.

“Well, what do you like to do for fun?” Ms. Cheerilee asked.

You really didn’t like all this attention. All the eyes on you felt like bugs you just wanted to swat off. Instead of making a scene, you try to answer the question.

“I like… I like the ocean. And reading maps. And using the tools.”

Ms. Cheerilee gave you a look, as did the other ponies.

“The tools? What kind of tools?” A pink earth pony asked in the front.

You smiled. All the navigation gear you find on a boat was what your dad had called ‘The tools’. He had taught you the name and how to use every single one at one point or another and could name them in your sleep.

“Oh, all sorts. Rulers, compasses, astrolabes, telescopes, sextant-“

You were cut off when a yellow Pegasus colt got up and yelled

“He said sex!”

Immediately, the other ponies joined in started laughing. Your cheeks turned bright red and felt like they were going to burst into flames any moment. All you could do was hang your head and hope that the laughter died down soon. Which, thanks to Ms. Cheerilee, ended very quickly.

“CLASS!” She yelled out. The laughter stopped dead. The class was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Everyone drooped their head a bit as Ms. Cheerilee began to chew them out.

“This is NOT how we treat a new class mate! And Half-Back! What do you have to say for yourself?!?”
The yellow Pegasus looked at Ms. Cheerilee for a second and then back to you.

“I’m sorry.” He said, half-heartedly.

You knew for a fact he wasn’t. Ms. Cheerilee turned to you and sighed.

“I’m sorry for that. Why don’t you take a seat over there” She suggested, pointing to an empty chair in the front row. Taking a seat, you find yourself in-between two fillies. To your right, there was a yellow earth pony with a bright red mane that held a large red bow. To your left, there was a white unicorn with a purple and pink mane.

“Applebloom and Sweetie Belle will help you and get you settled in if you need it.” Ms. Cheerilee said with a nod to the two fillies sitting next to you. “Now class, yesterday we were discussing the founders of Ponyville who…”

You tuned out Ms.Cheerilee, still trying to recover from that little fiasco.

Sextant? Nice choice of words, dumbo. You thought to yourself. You slipped back in your desk as far as you dared, hoping that if you made yourself look as small as possible, the class will forget about you and move on. But no such luck.

“Hey… Hey you…” You hear to your right. Looking, you see Applebloom, looking at you with a smile.
“Hey… You don’t have your Cutie Mark?” She asked.

You rolled your eyes and wonder which Princess you angered to deserve this. First you get embarrassed by one of the tools and now they were going to pick on you for being a Blank-Flank.

“Ya, what about it?” you asked, a little ticked off.

She looks past you and motions her eyes towards you. Glancing behind you, you see an orange Pegasus looking down at your side, which makes you a little uncomfortable. She then looks over to your right and motions with her head to you. The unicorn looks at your left side first and then tries to crane her neck to get a better look, but only manages to fall out of her seat and onto the floor. The class snickers at the display, but Sweetie Belle swiftly gets back into her seat before Ms. Cheerilee turns around, only to give you and the three around a puzzled look. Sighing heavily, you realize all at once that waking up was a bad idea and try to remember your dream.

* * * * * * *

“Well Cap’n, wadda we do wit ‘em?” One of your pirate crew asks. You circle the captured crew of the schooner.

“Hm. Hmm… HMMMM….” You muse. A smile creeps across your face.

“We COULD feed ‘em to the sharks!” You say, slamming your jaws shut inches away from a scared sailor’s face. “No…” You say aloud. “I have a better idea!”

Slamming a hoof down, you give the order. “Let ‘em live, but empty the larder, toss the magazine overboard, and take whatever’s valuable! Let ‘em tell the tale of THE PIRATE KING AND HIS DREAD CREW!” you yell. Your crew yells back in joy.

“We’re gonna feast tonight!” One of your crew yells as he carries a barrel stocked full of dried fruits and vegetables. You smile at the haul, but the smile turns into a look of confusion when you hear a mare yell out.

“Get your hooves off of me, you beast!”

Looking in the direction of the voice, you see two of your crew carrying a mare with yellow fur in a regal dress. Her hair is done up in a large, red bow. As she’s brought before you, you put a hoof under her chin and look up at her, her orange eyes gazing into yours. You stare into them for what seems to be for an eternity. And then she says your name. And again. And again. And again, you’re being shaken.

* * * * * *

Your eyes snap open and you look around.

“Dumb old reality again...” You say before remembering the last part of your dream. Your cheeks turn red as you look around. Applebloom is smiling at you.

“If you’re gonna fall asleep, best to do it in the back of the room.”

You smile sheepishly. “Thanks for waking me.”

She smiles back and nods. You turn away quickly, hoping that she didn’t notice your blush. “What was that about?” You ask yourself. You’ve dreamt of being a pirate before, but it never involved a damsel, especially not one in the real world. You don’t have much time to think this over as Ms. Cheerilee chimes in.

“Well class, that does it for now. You have a wonderful day!”

She didn’t even get the second sentence out before everyone started moving around and leaving. Sighing heavily, you go to the back of the room and grab your things, trying to ignore the snickers from the other ponies. Before you can make it out the door, Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, and the orange Pegasus who sat behind you call out to you. Turning around, you look at them with a raised eyebrow.

“Uhh… Can I help you?” you ask hesistantly.

The three fillies look at each other and giggle. “You don’t have your cutie mark.” The orange Pegasus says with a smirk. This was the straw that broke the pony’s back.

“I’ve been embarrassed beyond belief, fell asleep in class, and now you’re making fun of me for being a blank flank!” You yell as you stomp your hoof down.

“Way to make a pony feel welcome.” With that, you storm out of the schoolhouse, but before you can even get a foot down the road, they start chasing after you. You break into a full gallop, having reached your breaking point reached. You blink back tears as you wonder why this was happening. Why your dad had to disappear, why you had to move, why they made fun of you, and most importantly, why this Pegasus was now sitting on your back.

“Hey you! Get offa me!” you yell as you buck around violently.

The Pegasus stays on and tackles you to the ground. “My name isn’t ‘Hey you!’” she says. “It’s Scootaloo and we’re not making fun of you! See?” She says as she points to her friend’s sides.

You blink a few times, trying to wrap your head around it. They both had blank flanks and you wagered a guess that Scootaloo didn’t have one either, which was proved right when she got off of you and joined the three.

“Then why are you chasing me?” You ask.

“Well duh!” Applebloom says, helping you up. “You were running.”

“Not only that,” Sweetie Belle chimes in “but we want you to join us!”

You blink a few times, still lost completely. “I don’t follow.” You say, shaking your head.

The three fillies grin from ear to ear, take a deep breath and yell

“THE CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS!”

Chapter 3

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You blink a few times before responding, wondering if this was some sort of joke. “The what?”

“The Cutie Mark Crusaders!” Apple Bloom says with just as much enthusiasm as before.

“We’re going to discover our hidden talents!” Sweetie Belle chimes in.

“And earn our Cutie Marks!” Scootaloo finishes.

You can’t help but feel that they rehearsed this before, probably in front of a mirror, since they were now posing. “I really don’t know…” you say tentatively.

“Oh come on! There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain!” Scootaloo says.

You make a face, still not knowing what to do. The thought of getting your Cutie Mark had crossed your mind before, but it never had really bothered you to the point that you turned it into a quest like these three fillies had. Sure, it got annoying when your friends back in Clydesdale would bust on you about being a blank flank, but… You couldn’t finish the thought. Apple Bloom was now looking at you with those big, soulful eyes. She wasn’t even saying anything. She was just looking at you. But the look said it all and you finally caved.

“Alright, alright. I’ll join.” You say, blushing. “Just stop with the look.”

All three girls jump up and down and squeal with delight. “Apple Bloom, you have got to teach me that look! It’s up there with The Stare.” Sweetie Belle says as she tries to give an intimidating look before cracking up.

“Well… I’d better get home first,” you finally say “My mom is probably wondering where I am.”

The three fillies perk up. “Alright then! Meet us at Sugar Cube in an hour!” Scootaloo says. “We’ve got a plan!”

Your three new friends run off towards Ponyville leaving you confused. And flustered when Apple Bloom stops and turns back to you, giving you a wink. You don’t really know what to do, so you end up standing there with a goofy smile on your face. You think a lot about the day on the way home and when your mom asks you how it went, you decide to leave out some parts you’d rather forget. When you get to the part about Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo your mom only sits there and smiles when you describe each one. After having some lunch, you decide to pour yourself into your dad’s maps again. You thought it would help clear your mind, but it doesn’t. You keep coming back and back again to her. Why did she make you feel so …weird? Sighing, you look at the clock on the wall and realize that it’s time to start making your way to Sugar Cube Corner.

“Where are you going?” Your mom asks as you make your way to the door.

“I’m going to go and meet up with my friends.” You reply nonchalantly.

“See, I told you would make some friends. What are their names?”

“Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo,” you say as you try to make your way out the door again.

“Those are girls’ names...” she says with a growing smile.

“Uh... Yeah. Is that a problem?”

Your mom shakes her head, her smile still growing. “Oh no, not all… You just have fun on your date, Casanova.” She says with a giggle.

You blush heavily and stomp your hoof “MOOOO~M!”

You leave before she could say anything else and hope that your blush is gone before you make it to Sugar Cube Corner. Fortunately, you were able to turn your mind back to the maps.

I wonder if I can use the tub tonight and try to recreate the ocean currents. Then I can-

Your thoughts were cut off when you felt a series of hooves grab you and drag you into an alleyway across from Sugar Cube Corner. In a panic, you start struggling and flailing around. Your hoof connects with something and you hear an audible. “OW!” The hooves let go of you and turning around, you see Scootaloo giving you a dirty look while Apple Bloom consoled Sweetie Belle, who was rubbing her nose and on the verge of tears.

“Oh my gosh!” you yell out “Sweetie Belle, I’m so sorry! I didn’t know it was you guys! Are you okay?” You ask, hoping the unicorn wasn’t about to start crying.

“Ya…” she says with a sniffle “I told you it wasn’t a smart idea to scare him like that!” she tried to say. It more or less sounded like she had a nasty head cold. You can’t help but still feel bad and offer another apology.

“Really, I’m sorry. I’d never do something like that on purpose.” You say with a smile.

She smiles back. “Oh, I know that. You’re way too nice to be a bully.”

She not only surprised you with those words, but with a hug. You can’t help but feel your whole face turn red.

“Alright then!” Scootaloo says with new found confidence, causing both you and Sweetie Belle to jump back from each other.

“Mr. and Mrs. Cake are in Fillydelphia for a cooking contest an’ Pinkie Pie is heading over to Sweet Apple Acres in a bit.” Apple Bloom says. “Mah sister’s gonna teach her some Apple Family recipes. Once she’s gone, we’re gonna go in there an’ do it.” You blink a few times and raise a hoof.

“Uhh… What is it we’re going to do exactly?” You ask.

“We’re going to make some sweets!” Sweetie Belle says happily “Nice and safe! Not like last time…” She shivers slightly.

You raise an eyebrow and begin to regret agreeing to all of this. “What do you mean ‘Not like last time?’”

“How was I supposed to know that the cannon was going to explode like that?!?” Scootaloo yells as she throws her hooves up into the air “The pony I borrowed it from said it worked like a charm.”

Applebloom scowls “Scootaloo, that pony had three legs an’ was burnt worse than one of my Auntie Oops’ pies. ”

“Your point?” Scootaloo asks before realizing what Applebloom was getting at. “Oh. Okay, not my best moment. But hey at least we test fired it first.”

What did I get myself into?

There was no going back now, though. The three fillies drag you with them as they move across the streets of Ponyville, trying to remain hidden. Once you finally make it to the back door of SugarCube Corner, you and the three fillies sneak into the shop unnoticed.

“So, what are we making?” you ask.

“Well, last time I tried to make cupcakes, it didn’t go so well...” Apple Bloom said, a little disheartened.

“Why not candy?” Sweetie Bell suggests.

“Why not? It couldn’t be that hard, could it?” you say encouragingly. Maybe this wasn’t going to turn out so bad after all.

“OOH! OOH! Can we make bubblegum?!?” Scootaloo asks excitedly “I LOVE bubblegum!”

“Are there any recipes around here?” Sweetie Belle asks, looking through some drawers.

“Over here! Hmm… Candy, candy, cand- Ah!” Apple Bloom exclaims. Pulling out an index card from the box, she shows you a simple recipe.

“Ya, we can do this!” you say happily “We’ll have bubblegum in less than 15 minutes with this!”

* * * * * * *

You never believed so much could go wrong in such little time. But there you were. Suspended from the ceiling by a giant wad of gum. Where did it go wrong? When Apple Bloom used too much gum base? When Scootaloo tried to fix this by adding more syrup? When Sweetie Belle thought that doubling the temperature would balance everything out? Or when you got distracted when Scootaloo licked some of the gum sweetener that you got on your neck and you let the mixture expand into the giant mass that now held you in its gummy grip.

Yeah, that last part seems about right.

“How should we get him down?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“We could use apple butter. When I got gum stuck in my mane last week, apple butter got it right out.” Apple Bloom suggested.

“We could eat it.” Scootaloo said as she jumped up and took a bite out of mass you were stuck in.

“MMM! Thif if rolly goob!” Scootaloo tried to say inbetween chews.

As you stared at the floor, you began to wonder why your life has gotten so complicated. And how in the world you were going to explain to your mom that you got gum over 80% of your body.

Chapter 4

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“What if we froze it?” Sweetie Belle asks “Rarity got gum on her coat once and froze it. It just broke off.”

Apple Bloom raises an eyebrow. “I didn’t know Rarity chewed gum.”

“She doesn’t. That’s why she freaked out and screamed for ten minutes first.” Sweetie Belle says, sounding almost a little ashamed. Sighing, you tried to calm yourself down.

Don’t get mad… Don’t get mad… Wait, then get even. You think as you feel your anger starting to grow.

Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom debate whether to cover you in ice or smear apple butter on you while Scootaloo happily chewed away at the gum. Before the debate could turn into an argument, the sound of the front door closing makes all of you stop dead.

“Quick! Get me down!” you hiss as you flail your hooves around.

“There’s no time!” Apple Bloom says as she throws the sticky pot into a nearby cupboard.
Sweetie Belle starts putting away the ingredients you used and looks up at you. “Just hang in there!” You stop flailing around and stare daggers at her.

“Oh right,” she says with a nervous chuckle “sorry, wrong choice of words.”

“We have a plan!” Apple Bloom says, trying to dispose of the last of the evidence. Scootaloo had ripped the gum off of the walls and had stuffed it into her maw, which now looked like it held a piece of gum the size of your head. She simply nodded quickly and helped the others clean up quickly before leaving out the back door. Before you could call out to them, a pink earth pony with a mane that looked like cotton candy had entered the kitchen. You immediately froze, hoping that Pinkie Pie didn’t notice you. She looked around the kitchen, her eyes darting back and forth. Her face bore an almost predatory look, as if hunting for something.

“I know you’re here.” She finally says. You fee; the breath catch in your throat and wait for her to look up and turn you over to the Ponyville Police for breaking and entering. Instead, she opens the fridge and pulls out a plate of cupcakes and grins from ear to ear.

“There you are!” she yells happily. You don’t know how, but she manages to shove the whole cupcake into her mouth and swallow it whole. She eats two more cupcakes like this before she stops and sniffs the air.

“Why do I smell gum?” she asks aloud. Getting up, she begins sniffing the kitchen all over, without looking up, thankfully. She finally stops and begins rubbing her nose furiously. “Oh, don’t tell me I got gum stuck in my nose again!” She says, obviously annoyed at the idea. You watch as she leaves the kitchen and hear her thunder up the stairs, saying something about needing a crowbar. Sighing, you wonder how you’re going to get yourself out of this sticky situation. Playing back what you just thought, you actually want to punch yourself for such a horrible pun.

“Hey!” Whipping your head around, you see Apple Bloom standing in the door way with some rope in her mouth. “Catch!” She yells quietly.

The rope hits you in the face, but you manage to grab a hold of it with your teeth. “Now don’t let go!” Giving a nod, you begin to feel yourself being pulled from the gum, slowly but surely. With a final yank, you fly out the back door of Sugar Cube Corner and land in a bush.

“See, I told ya we had a plan!” Apple Bloom says with confidence over you. You flail around and get yourself to your hooves. You’re mad. No, you’re beyond mad. Your father had a word for this feeling. A word your mom didn’t like you to use.

The three fillies stare at you, all of them waiting for you to say something, but you don’t. The only thing in your ears is Scootaloo smacking her gum.

You try to find the right words. Well, you had a few choice words you wanted to use, but the last time you used those words, your mom had tanned your hide raw.

“That was just crazy!” you finally say “I mean, I was just hanging from the ceiling by a wad of gum!”

Apple Bloom giggles. “Ya, that was pretty funny.”

You start to toss around the idea about running away right now and never looking back when something behind Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle gets your attention: Scootaloo and her giant bubble. She apparently worked the gum enough to get a bubble going and blew it so large, it was almost as big as she was.

“Uhh...” is all you can say before the bubble pops with a loud explosion, showering Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo with ABC gum. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle glared at Scootaloo as they try to scrape the gum off. She gives the two a gummy grin. “Sorry.”

“Heh…” The three fillies look at you. It starts as a chuckle but quickly turns into a full on roar of laughter. It becomes contagious as the three fillies look at each other and join in. You and your friends laugh for what feels like ages. When you finally calm down, your sides hurt and your eyes are moist. Using a gummy hoof, you wipe away the tears and breath a side of relief.

“Okay. THAT was funny.” you finally say “Come on. Let’s find a way to get this gum off.”

Sweetie Belle frowns. “We can’t ask my sister. She’s spent the day locked up in her shop, trying to fill this huge order that came in from out of town.”

“Well what do we do now?” You ask.

“Oh! Oh! We could-“ You cut Apple Bloom off, knowing what she was going to suggest.

“And don’t say apple butter!”

She seems disappointed. What was with her and apple butter? Her eyes widen and she smiles.

“What about Twilight? She’s really good with magic!” Apple Bloom suggests.

Scootaloo nods her head quickly. “Ya! It’ll come off easy with a little magic!” She says in between chews.

You shrug. “Why not? Lead on.”

You follow the three fillies to the Ponyville library. You remember seeing it on the way into Ponyville when you first arrived and had made a mental note to check it out as soon as you could. But with everything going on, from the introduction fiasco to the Cutie Mark Crusaders, you had completely forgotten. Reaching out with the only hoof that doesn’t have gum on it, you knock on the door.

“Hold on! Hold on! I’m coming! Keep your saddles on!” You hear a young voice from inside call out. When the door opens, you have to do a double take. Standing before you was a purple and green dragon, just a bit taller than you. This was the first time you had ever seen a dragon, so you were at a loss for words.

Especially when the dragon starts cracking up.

“What happened to you guys?” He asks, still smirking.

Apple Bloom sighs. “It’s a long story Spike. Can you just get Twilight? We need some help.”

“Sure.” Spike says. “She’s in her lab. Just stick around!” he says with a laugh before slipping inside.
The four of you don’t have much to say, so all you can do is wait around and listen to Scootaloo smack her gum.

“Scootaloo, could ya close your mouth when you chew? It’s getting really annoying.” Apple Bloom says, putting emphasis on “really”

Scootaloo scowls at Apple Bloom for a moment before smacking her gum at a much faster rate, really trying to annoy her.

“Why you… C’mere!” Apple Bloom yells before tackling Scootaloo. They roll around on the ground for a few minutes before the door to the library opens.

“Ponies, Ponies, a little order here?” A female voice asked behind you. A violet unicorn stands in the doorway, looking at you four with a raised eyebrow. “What…” She shakes her head and sighs. “Nevermind. I don’t want to know. What did you need?” She asks.

You wave a hoof at the gum covering most of your body. “If you could just…” you allude. She gives you a smile and shakes her head. “Alright, alright. I can take a hint. Let me try something…” Her horn glows with a violet light before you and the three fillies are hit by a cold, stiff breeze that permeates you to the core. Your teeth immediately begin to chatter, but you smile as you see the gum break apart and fall on the ground. Giving a shake, the rest comes lose. “T-T-Thanks.” You manage to sputter out.

“ah ongue!” You hear one of fillies call out. Scootaloo stands there with her tongue hanging out; the gum she had been chewing frozen to it. “eh ah ahh!” she yells as she shakes her head back and forth.

“Here lemme help.” Apple Bloom says as she grabs a hold of the chunk of frozen gum. “I’m gonna pull it off, okay? On the count of three.” Scootaloo nods and braces herself. “One… Two…” Apple Bloom give a devilish grin, as she rips it off before the next count. Scootaloo’s eyes go wide and she yells at the top of her lungs as she holds her tongue.

“Hey, hey, easy now, it’s over.” You say, trying to comfort her.

“No! ‘he wipped mah ‘ongue off!” Scootaloo says, her hooves over her mouth.

“Come on, let me see.” You say.

Scootaloo runs up to you and opens her mouth. Her breath still smells sweet like bubblegum. Other than a little red spot, it was in tact.

“Come on, you’re fine. Don’t be such a baby.” Scootaloo looks at you and sticks out her sore tongue at you.

“Alright, well, I’m heading home. It’s getting late.” Sweetie Belle says.

“Ya, and it’s almost time for dinner!” Apple Bloom says as she trots off.

Scootaloo decides that speaking isn’t such a good idea at the moment and just smiles at you. You smile back, waving them all off as they head home.

“Well, you sure are the popular one?” Twilight teased. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you around here.”

“Ya, I just moved in. I meant to stop by earlier, but things got a little crazy.”

Twilight cocks her head at you. “Stop by? For what?”

“Well this is a library, right?” You ask.

“Oh. Oh!” Twilight realizes what you’re after. “I usually don’t get a lot of ponies stopping by after books. What do you want to read? The Pony Went Over the Mountain? The Three Ponies? The Little Pony That Could?” She suggested, bringing a pile of children’s books, naming the titles. You shake your head, feeling a little insulted, but not surprised that she would suggest children’s books. You were still a kid, of course.

“I was actually hoping you had something on ocean currents around Equestria.”

She’s a little taken aback at your request, but she gets the idea.

“Here we are!” She says, levitating a book in front of you. The title read “Ocean Circulation, Volume 1”

The book was pretty thick, but that didn’t stop you. “Thank you! I’ll get it back when I’m done!” You say as you hurry out the door, the book balanced on your back.

It didn’t take long for you to get home. Your mother was waiting for you, drinking a cup of tea. “Welcome home,” she says as you wipe your hooves off “have fun with your date?”

You blush, but don’t let it get to you. “I’m going to my room. Call me when dinner’s ready.”

The book was getting heavy and you wanted to get it off your back, not just for relief, but also to see inside. Setting it on the desk next to your maps, you crack open the book and begin flipping through the pages. You stopped when you finally found it. A map that matched one that belonged to your father. The one in the book had very detailed drawings of the currents swirling around in the open ocean. Immediately, you begin to make notes on the map and compare them to the ones you already owned You only took a break when your mom brings up your dinner and fall asleep just as the sun began to rise.

Chapter 5

View Online

It was a perfect score. You and your crew couldn’t believe their eyes when you made your way into the heart of the ship. Gold, silver, and other riches beyond belief. You sit on the throne that feels like it was made just for you and look to your crew. “We did it boys! We’re kings among kings! Weigh anchor and set sail! Set a course for port! Time for some shore leave!”

The crew gave a cheer and proceeded to their posts. All but one mare. “C’mere, Ms. Bloom. Pop a squat!” You say as you slap your thigh. The yellow mare walks towards you, wearing a seductive grin.

“You know captain, I didn’t think this pirate life would be for me…” She said as she sat down on your lap. “But you make a convincing argument.” All you could do was smile as she snuggled up to your chest and wrapped her forelegs around you. She felt so warm… so soft...so good. You put a hoof under her chin, just as you did when you first met her. But there wasn’t resentment in her eyes this time. Those eyes were filled with a love that melted your heart. You both began to move closer to each other, your faces inches from each other. In one fluid motion, you lock lips, sending a surge of electricity through your whole body. You feel her tongue trying to push its way into your mouth and you gladly welcome it. She breaks the kiss and smiles as she licks her lips.

“Say it.”

You know what she wants to hear and you roll your eyes. “How many times do I have to say it before you believe me, mare?” You ask as you wrap your hooves around her, bringing her closer. Giggling she traces a hoof around on your chest. “How many stars are in the sky?”

Shaking your head, you break down and say it. “I love you.”

She smiles at the words and kisses you again. “Say it again.”

Tackling her to the ground, you embrace her and roll around in your ill gotten booty. “I love you.” You say.
You say it again and then the whole boat starts to shake.

* * * * * * * *

Or to be more precise, your entire bed. “Mom!” You yell as you throw off the covers. “What are you-“

Blinking a few times, your brain tries to process the sight before you. “Apple Bloom…” You say, just above a whisper.

“Good morning!” She says as she hops down from your bed. “Sleep well?”

Looking outside, you realize the time. “OH NO I’M GOING TO BE LATE AGAIN!” You yell as you try to take off down the stairs, only to run into your closed bedroom door.

This is getting old… You think to yourself as you get up in a daze.

“What are you freaking out about this time?” Apple Bloom asks. “It’s Saturday!”

It takes a while for the word to click with you before you let out a sigh of relief. “Oh thank Celestia. I thought… Nevermind. Apple Bloom, do you mind telling me what you’re doing in my house?” you ask.

“Well, Sweetie Belle is acting as a model for her sister and Scootaloo took off, yelling something about hanging out with Rainbow Dash. So I thought I’d come here and hang out with you.” She explains.

“Oh, I see. What about my mom? What did she say?” You ask.

“She lemme in an hour ago. She said she had to go shopping and told me where your room was.” You look at Apple Bloom puzzled.

“What did you do for an hour? Watch me sleep?” you ask, jokingly. Apple Bloom blushes and looks away. It looks like you hit the nail on the head.

“Uhh, so. What’s all this stuff?” She asked, pointing to your desk, obviously trying to change the subject.

You had left the book on ocean currents out and one of the maps on your corkboard was littered with tacks. “Just some work I was doing last night. Nothing really that interesting,” You say, looking over the points “I’m trying to figure out where something would go if you dropped it in the ocean. But it’s boring. Why don’t we head out and do something?” You ask, trying to find some excuse to get Apple Bloom out of your room.

“Well, what do you have in mind?” She asked as you walked down the stairs. You opened your mouth, only to be stopped by your own rumbling stomach.

Apple Bloom giggled “Hungry? Why don’t ya come to Sweet Apple Acres? Granny Smith had some apple pies in the oven ‘fore I left. They’re probably done by now!” Smiling, you follow Apple Bloom out the door.

“That would be great!” Your mom had brought home some apples from Sweet Apple Acres a few days ago and the thought of using apples that delicious in a pie made your mouth water.

“Great! Follow me!” Apple Bloom said before galloping off.

When you two finally make it to Sweet Apple Acres, you’re out of breath and even hungrier than before. If Apple Bloom is tired, she’s hiding it well. “Hi Big Macintosh!” Apple Bloom says as you pass a large red stallion. He gives you a nod and continues on his way.

“Hiya Applejack!” Apple Bloom says to an orange mare carrying a bushel of apples. She sets it down and looks both of you over. “Heya Apple Bloom. Who’s this wit ya?” She asks.

“This is ma new friend I was tellin’ you about. I offered to feed him some a Granny Smith’s pies. I hope ya don’t mind.” She explains. Applejack looks you over and smiles. “Why shucks, go on an’ help yerself!”

“Thanks a lot! I can’t wait!” You say excitedly. Making your way into the Sweet Apple Acres homestead, the smell of baked apples hits you, instantly making your mouth water. Apple Bloom leads you into the kitchen where you find an elderly mare in a rocking chair. She squints in your direction. “Eh, wass that? Who’s there?” She asks.

“It’s me, Granny Smith. I brought my friend with me.” Apple Bloom says cheerfully. “Get real close. She can’t see that well anymore,” she whispers “she’s blind as a bat.”

“This bat’s eyes may be going, but her ears are as sharp as ever!” Granny Smith exclaims.

You move up slowly to her and stop when you’re at least a half a foot away from her. She looks you over a second before her eyes go wide and her mouth goes agape.

“V..Vang? Is that you?” She asks.

“Uhh, no, I’m sorry. Who’s Vang?” You ask.

Granny Smith just stares at you. “Yer the spittin’ image of ‘em. Could he…Boy! Where you from?” She asks sharply as she looks you over.

“I’m…I’m from Clydesdale, why?”

Granny Smith remains quiet for a long time. Apple Bloom moves next to you. “Granny Smith, are you okay?” She asks.

A smile goes across Granny Smith’s face. “That ol’ seadog.” She says under her breath with a chuckle. “Come on. Sit down and grab some pie. That’s what you’re after, isn’t it?” She asks. You and Apple Bloom grab a plate from the counter and Granny Smith uses a spatula to cut you and her a large piece of pie. Taking a bite, you start to fill the hole in your gut, but something is still nagging you.

“Uh, Mrs. Smith? Who’s Vang?” you ask.

Granny Smith sighs and looks out the window, her stare going on for miles. She doesn’t say anything for what feels like the longest time.

“He was my first love,” she finally says “Clydesdale wanted to do business with the Apple Family way back when. I was to go and settle the trade agreement. I just turned old enough to start doing some serious business for the Apple Family.” She says before getting lost in her memories. You and Apple Bloom remain quiet, waiting to hear what she says next.

“The deal was struck pretty quickly and it benefited both parties, so everyone was happy. I didn’t have to go back for a week, so I started exploring Clydesdale. It was such a beautiful place.” She says with a sigh “I spent most of my time down by the docks, watching the boats come and go. That’s when I met him. A stallion, just a bit older than me, never took his eyes off of me as the boat came ashore. He was just the first mate of this little fishing boat back then and was on shore leave. Next to your grandfather, he was the most beautiful stallion I ever laid eyes on.” She says as she nods to Apple Bloom. “The one thing I’ll never forget about that stallion was his eyes: Sharp, that seemed to go right through you.” She said before drifting off. She snaps back when you clear your throat and continues the story. “He confessed to me out on the open water in his captain’s boat. He promised to tear the heavens down and give it to me if I just said I loved him,” she sighed heavily “But things were different back then for the Apple Family. I wanted to say I did, but I was already arranged to be married. I broke his heart...” Granny Smith said sullenly. “I left Clydesdale that day and didn’t come back for years. When I finally did, I found out Vang had met a mare that loved him and even had a colt.” She smiled fondly. Looking at you, she points at the compass around your neck. “I got him that on our first date. So tell me now, how are those two seadogs?” She asked.

It finally clicked in your head. You grabbed the compass and looked it over. There. You knew that words was familiar. The word ‘Vang’, carved right into it.

“My grandpa retired from the fishing business,” you explain. “He mostly spends his days watching the boats come and go. He said he would have kept doing what he loved if it wasn’t for his other love.”

“And what was that?” Apple Bloom asked.

“My grandma.”

Granny Smith nodded. “Sounds like Vang... But what about his colt? Your father?”

The smile slips off of your face and you look at the ground.

“My dad… My dad went out to sea and never came back…” You bring yourself to say. The words feel like broken glass in your mouth and leave a lump in your throat. Both Apple Bloom and Granny Smith gasp.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.” you hear Apple Bloom say, trying to console you. You do your best to hold back the tears.

“I’m sorry for opening old wounds,” Granny Smith says “Vang told me that he would raise his son right so he could have his own family. Looking at you, I’m say he did good.” That did it. The dams burst and you begin to cry openly. The only other time you have cried like this was when you first learned your father wasn’t coming home. As you began to think that the pain would never go away, you feel a pair of hooves wrap around you. Opening your eyes, you see Apple Bloom holding onto you, shedding her own tears.

“Please don’t cry. I’m here for you.” You put your own hoofs around her and just sit there, embracing each other. The tears stop. “T-Thanks…” You say sheepishly. “I guess the pain never goes away…” You say with a sniffle.

Apple Bloom looks up to you with her big, orange eyes. Without a word, she places a kiss on your cheek. You blush heavily and smile. “Thanks… I-I needed that.”

“Anytime…” Apple Bloom says.

Granny Smith chuckles. “Oh to be young and in love.” Apple Bloom blushes heavily and gets up.

“It’s nothin’ like that! It’s just-just that he needed it! If I lost anyone like that, I’d want a shoulder to cry on!” She says defensively, but her red face gives it all away.

Wiping the tears from your face you smile at Apple Bloom. “And I’m grateful.” You turn to Granny Smith. “Thank you again for everything, but I think it’s time I got home.”

Apple Bloom gets up and follows you. “Let me walk with you.”

The walk home was a little longer than you remember but you’re happy when you finally make it. All you want to do is lie down and get some rest. Looking at Apple Bloom, you smile. Thanks to her, you learned more about your father and that you have a friend you can always count on.

“Well, thanks again Apple Bloom. For everything. I don’t even know how I could repay you for all you’ve done,” you say.

She looks at you sheepishly and then at the ground. “Close your eyes.” She finally says.

“Uhh, why?” You ask. “You want to know how to repay me? Then close your eyes.” She’s blushing very heavily. Closing your eyes, you wait there for a few seconds. You feel her breath on you first. Then you feel something warm and wet touch your lips for just a few seconds. Opening your eyes, you see Apple Bloom’s face was less than an inch away from yours... “Did you-” Was all you could make out before she turned around and galloped home. You stood there for a few minutes in a daze.

Did she just kiss me?

Chapter 6

View Online

It was Sunday night and you hadn’t seen hide, nor hair of Apple Bloom all day. You started to think she was purposely avoiding you. “Well, when she wants to talk, we’ll talk.” you muse aloud as you turn the page of Ocean Circulations. You really weren’t reading the book however. Your mind was going back to that kiss. It was short and sweet, but made your whole body tingle. Sighing, you realize that you can’t get any work done like this and decide to go to bed early this time. Unlike the past few nights, you didn’t have any dreams this time and this made you a bit sad. You were actually starting to enjoy them. Your mom had worked late last night and slept in, leaving you to make your own breakfast, consisting of daisies between two slices of toasted wheat bread.

With nothing much else to do before school started, you decided to wander around Ponyville to get a feel for it. A familiar voice gets your attention as you round a corner.

“YA! Nailed it!” Scootaloo says as her scooter touches down on the ground. Her purple mane was stuffed into her helmet, so you almost didn’t recognize her. She, however, smiles as you approach.

“Hey! Wanna see something cool?!?” She asks excitedly.

“Sure.”

She smiles at your answer. “Awesome! Check it!” She crouches down on her scooter before jumping into the air with it and spinning 360 degrees before landing in the same position she started in. You clap your hooves together in applause and Scootaloo takes a bow. “Thank you, thank you. So, you need a lift to school?” She asks.

You think about it for a second before shrugging. “Sure, why not?” You ask.

Scootaloo hopes off of her scooter and motions for you to get on.

“So, how is this supposed to work, with the two of us?” You ask. Scootaloo gets on behind you and wraps her hooves around your waist. “Just steer. I’ll take care of the rest.” She says. You blush at the feeling of her this close to you. “Alright, I’m ready.” You say nervously.

“BLAST OFF!” Scootaloo began flapping her wings as fast as she can. You have trouble keeping yourself on a straight path, but you finally get the hang of it and like the feeling of the wind in your mane. You’re almost sad when you see the schoolhouse approach and feel Scootaloo slow the scooter down. “Well, we’re here!” She says with a grin as she lets you off.

“That was pretty fun!” You yell with a grin.

Scootaloo smiles back. “Ya, that was! I thought we were gonna crash at that last turn! My heart was beating so fast! We should totally do that again!” You notice Scootaloo’s cheeks are flushed, but you write it off as the adrenaline rush.

Scootaloo looks behind you and smiles. “Hey Sweetie Belle! Hey Apple Bloom!”

Turing, you see the two fillies and smile. “Hey girls. How are you doing?” You ask.

Sweetie Belle smiles “I’m doing great! Rarity needed me to model for her and she said I was so helpful!” She began to go on about something, but you became distracted. Apple Bloom kept looking away from you and was blushing heavily. “Apple Bloom, are you okay?” You ask.

She jumps and fumbles for the right words. “Uh, I-I-I’m fine! Really! Fine!” She says with a forced smile. “I’ll see you in class!” She yells before running away.

Scootaloo raises an eyebrow. “What is wrong with that pony?” She asks.

It was like that through the entire class. Apple Bloom was so nervous and jumpy around you. She had even dropped her pencil and screamed in fright when you tried to give it back to her. At the end of the class, you made your move and confronted her. “Apple Bloom, this is ridiculous. You nearly hit the ceiling during class. We really need to talk about this…Us.” You say, feeling awkward as Apple Bloom looked for the nearest escape route. Sighing, she looks at you with her cute orange eyes. “I know… It’s just, I don’t know what to do or say. I really need ta get my thoughts in a row.”

You begin to frown as a begin thinking of the worst. “Apple Bloom… I’d never force you to do something that you didn’t want to do. I just don’t want you to stop being my friend. You mean a lot to me.”
Apple Bloom blushes heavily, but smiles shyly. “T-Thanks. It means a lot to me, too. I-“ Apple Bloom was cut off as Scootaloo budged in-between you two. “Come on! We’ve got some crusading to do!”

Apple Bloom jumps back and starts freaking out again. “I uh got some stuff to do actually! Apple Jack wants me to help her! Ya! Out in the field!”

Scootaloo looks a little down. “Aww… That stinks. Well, have fun!” Scootaloo yells as she waves Apple Bloom off.

“What do we do now?” Sweetie Belle asks.

Scootaloo jumps into the air. “I’ve got it! Meet me at the lake in an hour! I got to get some stuff!”
Scootaloo jumps on her scooter and takes off before you can say anything.

What was that all about?” you ask Sweetie Belle.

She shrugs. “I guess I’ll see you there.”

You really didn’t have anything else planned today, so you decided to go find this lake Scootaloo was talking about. Asking around for directions, you were directed to an unnamed lake a mile down the road. It was pretty big and you couldn’t help but throw caution to the wind and go for a swim. Getting out to the center of the lake, you take a deep breath and sink down. After a minute of sinking, your lungs start to ache and you decide to not risk going down any further. Surfacing, you take a much needed gulp of breath and get back to shore. “Deeper than it looks…” You gasp out.

After shaking yourself dry, you curl up by the shore and decide that now was a great time to take a nap.

Drifting off to sleep, you started to dream again.

“Cap’n! Cap’n! Wake up!” Your eyes snap open as your midshipman shakes you.

“You better have a good reason for waking us up or I’ll keel haul ya!’ You yell.
“No he won’t.” A voice says to your side. “I will.” Apple Bloom threatens as she rubs her eyes. The midshipman swallowed the lump in his throat and finally spoke up.

“T-There’s a ship on the horizon!” Sighing, you get out of bed, still dressed in your pajamas. “And you seriously couldn’t handle this without me?” You grumble “Just wave the jolly roger and they’ll go running! Works every time.”

“But that’s the problem Cap’n! The ship is flying their own jolly roger!” Your eyes go wide, realizing why your midshipman was so freaked. Pirates didn’t get along with anybody. Not even other pirates. “Man your stations!” You yell. “We’ve got company! Get the cannons ready!” You say with a sinister grin. “I want to give ‘em a warm welcome.”

“Uh, Cap’n?” One of your crew squeaks.

“What is it now?” The sailor pointed at you and you finally realize that you’re still in your pajamas. You hear Apple Bloom laugh as she steps out of your cabin. “Maybe it’ll confuse ‘em.” She teases. You can’t help but laugh.

“Maybe.”

You didn’t give the ship any chance to turn and unload their own cannons. “Fire!”

The cannons unleashed the harpoons, latching onto the enemy ship. “REEL ‘EM IN BOYS!” Apple Bloom yells. You smile and give her a peck on the check. “That’s my girl!” You yell proudly.
The ship began to get dragged towards you, but it managed to shift to its side and open fire with its own cannons. “DUCK!” you yell.

You hit the deck and feel a cannon ball whiz over your head. Normally, this would scare you, but all you could do was laugh. “IT FEELS LIKE A KEEPER! LET’S LAND THIS BABY!” You yell.

You jump back as you feel something else fly over head. “That’s no cannon ball.” You say as you look up.

An orange Pegasus with a purple mane done in dread locks stares down at you, laughing. “So this is the best the captain can muster? Some rope and a pirate in P.J’s?” She laughs again.

“I AM the captain!” You yell. You whistle to your crew and they throw you a cutlass, which you catch in your mouth. The Pegasus unsheathes her own cutlass and charges at you from the sky, ready to clash metal with me-

“Come on! Wake up! I need your help!”

You bolt upright and look around. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle stood over you. Scootaloo set a large saddle-bag down in front of you. “Get up, lazy bones! We got a ramp to build!”
“Ramp? A ramp for what?” you ask.

Scootaloo looks at the lake and points across it. “I’m gonna jump the lake!”

You blink a few times, waiting for the punchline, but it didn’t come. “Are you serious?”

Sweetie Belle shakes her head. “I tried to talk her out of it the entire way here! She’s dead set on jumping it!”

“Scootaloo… Are you 100% serious about this? You do know you could get really hurt?”

Sweetie Belle sighs. “I tried to tell her that, too.” Shaking your head, you begin looking out on the lake.

“You’d still do it even if I say no, so I might as well.” You say, finally breaking down.

Scootaloo jumps up and down. “Yay! Mr. Tinder let me have a bunch of planks we could use! I’m going to go get them!”

“I guess I’ll work on the design.” You say as you start to draw some sketches in the dirt.

Scootaloo took off on her scooter, leaving her wagon behind. Sweetie Belle looks at you, worried. “What’s wrong?” you ask.

She shakes her head. “I don’t know. I got a real bad feeling about this and I can’t shake it. She’s going to be okay, isn’t she?”

You smile and nod. “Sure. Scootaloo knows what she’s doing.” Sweetie Belle lets out a sigh of relief and began clearing a spot for the ramp. You didn’t want to tell her that you had the same exact feeling.

It took a few hours, but the ramp was built. You were actually impressed by it.

“Okay!” Scootaloo said as she laid out a piece of paper. The title read “Operation Swan Glide” and the entire thing was drawn in crayon. “I’m going to go WAY back so I’m going fast enough as I hit the ramp. Once I hit the ramp, I’ll spread my wings as far as I can so I can get enough wind under them and glide to the other side of the lake. Simple!” She says clapping her hooves together. The stick figures she drew of herself were pretty comical and you couldn’t help but snicker, which sent the wrong message to Scootaloo.

“You don’t think I can do it, do you?” She asks angrily. You open your mouth to apologize, but you get a better idea.

“No, I don’t.” She looks at you, her face something mixed between anger and hurt. “So why don’t you get on that scooter and prove me wrong?” You say with a sly grin. It seems to finally dawns to her; you swear you saw a fire ignite in her eyes.

“You just watch me.” She says before getting on her scooter. You and Sweetie Belle back up a fair distance back, making sure not to get in her way. Scootaloo puts on her helmet and knee pads and makes everything is secure. She takes off at incredible speeds and hits the ramp in no time. She flies into the air and extends her wings. She looked so amazing as she flew through the air, but Sweetie Belle pointed out your worst fear.

“She’s not going to make it!” She yells. It was true. She started coming down and coming down fast. She flapped her wings furiously, but they weren’t strong enough to carry her yet. She hit the lake with sickening smack that made your stomach drop to your hooves.

“SCOOTALOO!”

It took you a moment to realize that the pony screaming her name was you and that you were now galloping as fast as you could. Before you knew it, you were already swimming across the lake to the spot where Scootaloo fell. Taking a deep breath, you started swimming down into the lake, looking frantically for her. In the murky depths, you see a shape and reach for it, dragging it to the surface. It was indeed Scootaloo, but she was unconscious, knocked out from the drop. Using your free hooves, you began to paddle your way to shore with Scootaloo in tow. Sweetie Belle helped bring her to dry land, but she said the words you didn’t want to hear.

“SHE’S NOT BREATHING!”

Oh Celestia, what do I do, what do I do? You ask yourself frantically. Time seemed to slow down.

There was nothing in the world except for you and Scootaloo. And in that instant, you remembered something. Something your father had shown you a long time ago.

“You see son, even sailors can drown, no matter how well of a swimmer you are. Honey, could you come over her for a moment? I want to show our son the kiss of life”

“Eww! Kiss?”

“Oh now, don’t be like that. You’ve seen your father and I kiss all the time.”

“Ya, but I always have a hard time stomaching it.”

“That’s enough out of you, boy! This is really important! You can save somepony’s life with it. Baby, can you lie on your back for me? Thanks. Alright, first thing you want to do is make sure they’re on their back.”

You roll Scootaloo from her side to her back.

“Okay, next, take hoof and firmly push down on their chest and count each time you push.”

“One…Two….Three…” You counted aloud as you pressed down on Scootaloo’s chest.

“Not too hard, you don’t want to break their ribs. Okay, once you reach ten, stop and tilt their head back.”

You grab Scootaloo’s head and gingerly tilt it back.

“Now, put your mouth over theirs like you’re kissing and exhale twice into their mouth.”

You let out two breaths and go back to pushing her chest. “Come on!” you yell “COME ON!”

With a final push, Scootaloo starts coughing and choking on the water in her throat. Learning her forward, you strike her on the back to force the water out.

Sweetie Belle was in tears by this point. “OH THANK CELESTIA, YOU’RE ALIVE!” She yells.

Scootaloo looked at you, utterly confused.

“You gave us both a scare. I really thought we had lost you there.”

She finally realizes what happened to her. Wrapping her hooves around your neck, she cries into your chest. “T-T-Thank you! T-Thank you so much!” She wails.

You hug her back and rock back and forth. “Please, don’t. I goaded you into it. It’s my fault.”

“N-N-No, it’s m-m-my fault! It was stupid and dangerous and I knew it! But I did it anyway!” She cries.
You didn’t say anything, but continue to hold her.

“I’m going to get someone to help!” Sweetie Belle yelled, wiping away her tears. A look of panic went across Scootaloo’s face. “No! Please! Don’t tell anyone!” You stop holding Scootaloo and make her face you. “You almost drowned, remember?!? Please, just the let somepony take a look at you! Just to make sure you’re okay!” She looked away from you and cried. Bringing a hoof to her cheek, you make her look at you in the eyes. “If not for you, then for me?” You ask.

She nodded and held onto you tighter. “Okay… Okay… But I-I want to wait here…With you…”

“Sweetie Belle, go to the Hospital and tell them where we are and what happened. I’ll stay here and watch over Scootaloo.” Sweetie Belle gives you a nod before galloping off.

Scootaloo calmed down and stopped crying, but didn’t say anything for the longest time.

“My scooters at the bottom of the lake, isn’t it?” She finally asks.

“We’ll get someone to fish it out later.” You assure her.

“What are we going to use for bait?” She asks. You look at her before bursting out in laughter.

You let out at a sigh of relief when you see Sweetie Belle come down the road with an adult in tow.

“I came as fast as I could!” A white mare with a cutie mark of a red cross says.

You help Scootaloo to her hooves and let the nurse look her over. “Take a deep breath.” She says as she presses a stethoscope to her chest. “And out. And another deep breath.” The instructions cause Scootaloo to go into a coughing fit for a few seconds, giving the nurse a scare. “You sound like you’ve still got some water in your lungs, but otherwise, you seem to be fine. However, I want to take you back to the Ponyville Urgent Care for overnight observation.” Scootaloo looks at you and for a moment and then to the nurse. You think she’s going to argue that she’s fine, but she doesn’t.

“Can he stay with me?” She asks as she tries to hold you closer.

The nurse smiles softly. “Of course he can.”

She nuzzles up to you and smiles. “Thank you.”

Chapter 7

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Scootaloo was sad when you had to leave, but she understood that you couldn’t stay the entire night. She was grateful though that you were there to help her explain what had happened. Her parents weren’t mad at her, just scared.

“It was stupid of me. I should have listened to my friends, but I didn’t. I’m sorry.” Scootaloo had said, scared that they were going to lock her up and never let her outside again. Her parents were just thankful that she was alive and okay. They knew she learned her lesson and you could see that. However, when they pulled you aside, you started to think they were going to come after you with the police or a lawsuit for endangering their daughter like that. It was the opposite, however and you were shocked when Scootaloo’s mother hugged you and said how grateful they were that their daughter had such an amazing friend to look out for her. You were a little embarrassed and tried to tell them that it was nothing and that anyone would have done the same, but they wouldn’t hear a word of it.

“Her unicorn friend told me you were off, like a bolt of lightning the second she hit the water.” Scootaloo’s father had said, shaking your hoof. “I owe you a debt of gratitude that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay. Thank you.”

Scootaloo made you and Sweetie Belle promise that you wouldn’t tell anyone what happened and begged her parents to do the same. Nurse Redheart told you there was doctor-patient confidentiality, so she couldn’t tell anyone if she wanted to. You were happy, even if you didn’t know what she meant.

When you finally made it home, your mother was waiting for you. She was angry that you were so late in coming home, but when you got inside and explained everything that happened, she could only look at you fondly and smile. “You’re father would be so proud of you.” she said.

You let out a long yawn and decide it’s time to go to bed. Turning out the lights and covering up, you don’t as much fall asleep as pass out.

The next morning, your muscles ache all over and you still want to sleep, but your mother is calling you.

“It’s time for breakfast!”

Forcing yourself out of bed, you make your way down the stairs and join your mother at the table.
You really don’t talk about anything but thank her for the breakfast before you leave and make your way for the schoolhouse. On the way, you meet up with Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle. Sweetie Belle was telling Apple Bloom what had happened. You really weren’t listening to what they were saying since you were there, but instead focused on Scootaloo. She hadn’t said anything or even looked at you since you arrived. “How are you feeling?” You ask her.

She turns to you and gives you a cold glare. “I’m fine.” she said before huffing off. You wanted to chase after her, but decided against it.

“Is she okay?” Apple Bloom asks.

You shake your head. “I hope so.”

Ms. Cheerilee was just about to start class when you, Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle walked in. She looked at you three annoyed that you were late and opened her mouth to say something. She stopped however and stared at you. “I’ll let it slide this time, okay?” She says with a smile. You begin to wonder how the news of this was spreading and if it was going to stop, for Scootaloo’s sake.

“Uh, thanks.” You say as you sit down at your seat.

“Okay class! Today we’re going to be doing math that’s a bit harder, so get your notebooks out.” Ms. Cheerilee said, trying to make math sound exciting. As you reach under your seat to grab the notebook you stashed there, you feel a hoof connect with your temple. “Ow! Who-” Scootaloo was looking down at you, both literally and figuratively. She still wore that scowl she had before. “ScootaOW!” you begin to say as her hoof connects with your head again. Bolting up, you look at her, hurting physically and emotionally. “What did I do?” You ask. She doesn’t say anything, but continues to stare at you. Sitting down you wonder what you did to deserve this kind of treatment. Scootaloo kept up the barrage of kicks to your back all through class, even after Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle asked her to stop and Ms. Cheerilee told her to stop. When the class ends, Scootaloo runs for the door. You run after her and manage to block the doorway. “Scootaloo, please! Just tell me what’s going on!” You plead. Scootaloo looks at you, her eyes beginning to well up with tears.

“Sco-HUMPH!” Scootaloo had punched you in the chest, knocking the wind out of you, causing you to crumple to the floor. She jumps over you and bolts out the door.

“What is WRONG with her?!?” Apple Bloom asks as she helps you to your feet.

“It looked like she was going to cry.” Sweetie Belle says with a twinge of sadness in her voice. Taking deep breaths you look at the two fillies.

“I’ll… I’ll see you two later.” you gasp out. “I’ve got something I need to take care of.”

You run out the door before giving Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle a chance to ask you anything. One of your friends was mad at you and you needed to set it right. “What do I do to make her stop hating me?” You ask yourself as you wander the streets of Ponyville. “She just ran off before…” A light goes off and you figure it out. “Her scooter!” You yell before galloping off to the lake.

Standing at the water’s edge, you relive those moments in which you thought your friend was dead and that you were to blame. Taking a breath, you dive into the lake and begin making your way to the spot where Scootaloo fell. Taking one final gulp of air you let yourself sink down.

I’ve got a minute of air in me, maybe a minute and a half at most, you think as the water starts to get darker and darker. Seeing anything in this was near impossible. How you found Scootaloo in the first place was a miracle, but finding her scooter was going to be impossible. You touch bottom finally and squint in the darkness. Groping around, all you can feel is seaweed. You hurry back to the surface, relishing the taste of fresh air. You don’t give yourself much time to rest, taking in another deep breath and going down again.

You repeated this process for hours until your lungs ached from the strain. You almost give up as the sun goes down, but convince yourself to take one more dive. You feel yourself land on something as you hit bottom. You grab it and swim for surface thinking “This better not be another stick…”

Breaching the surface, you look at what you’re holding your teeth and almost drop it as you smile. You had found her scooter.

Maybe she’ll stop hating me if I give her this… Or at least kick me less you think as you surface

Getting it to the shore was a whole new challenge, however and you almost let go of it out of exhaustion multiple times. But you hold on and collapse on the shore with it. “I…I…I did it…” you pant out. Opening your eyes, you find Scootaloo looking down at you.

“Why did you do that?” She asked with a scowl.

You get to your hooves, only to have your knees buckle out from under you. “I thought… I thought you were mad at me for something. I wanted to make it up to you.” Scootaloo didn’t smile or thank you, like you thought she would. Her face didn’t change, but her eyes began to tear up. “Why are you doing this to me?” she asks. You get to your hooves again and start to panic.

“What? What did I do? What am I doing wrong?” you ask frantically, hoping to find some way to please her.

Her tears started flow more freely. “I-It’s not what y-you’re doing wrong. I-It’s what y-y-you’re doing right.”

You let your mouth go agape and you shake your head. “What are you talking about?” you ask, puzzled.
Scootaloo stands there and doesn’t say anything for a long time. Then she finally breaks down.

“You’re so kind and nice to me! You’re so selfless and cute and wonderful and every time I think of you, it makes me feel so weird! And I’ve never felt this way before!” she yells in between sobs “You’re the one doing this to me and all I want to do is hit you and make it stop!”

Without warning she starts pounding on your shoulders as she cries. Instead of running from it, you stand there and take it, letting her vent all of what she’s feeling. She hits you for a minute straight until a hoof connects with your face and busts open your lip. Pain shoots through your entire face, make your eyes well up with tears. She looks at her bloody hoof and your equally bloody lip before crying even louder.

“I’M SORRY!” she cries “I’M SO, SO SORRY!”

You wrap your hooves around her and embrace her like you did after the incident with the lake and in the hospital. She simply cries into your chest and you let her, ready to comfort the filly for as long as it takes. Her tears stopped eventually, but you remained silent for what felt like hours. Risking it, you ask her.

“Do you feel better now?”

Scootaloo shakes her head. “No…I don’t know.” you hold her tighter and watch the sun go down.

“I’m sorry. For everything.” Scootaloo says “I’m sorry for risking my life stupidly like that… I’m sorry for hitting you… And I’m sorry for being such a crybaby.”

“Scootaloo, you’re the strongest pony I know. And you just proved it.”

“What do you mean by that?” Scootaloo asks, wiping away her tears.

“My mom tells me that the greatest sign of strength is admitting weakness. You’re strong, Scootaloo. You’re great and you’re talented. Don’t let anybody tell you differently,” you say with a smile.

Scootaloo blushes heavily and looks you in the eyes. You didn’t expect it when she placed her lips on yours and kissed you, which sent a shock through your whole body.

Scootaloo pulled back from the kiss and smiled.

“Now I feel better.”

Chapter 8

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You, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle walked through Ponyville with your heads hung low. All of you were covered in tree sap with clumps of saw dust and twigs stuck to it. Apple Bloom sighed aloud.
“Looks like woodcuttin’ ain’t our special talent neither.”

“Well I didn’t think it would be in the first place.” you say, trying to dig an acorn out of your mane.

“Well I didn’t think Mr. Tinder could move that fast!” Scootaloo said with a chuckle. “Did you see the look on his face when the tree started to fall?” She put her hooves on her cheeks and made a startled expression, trying to recreate Mr. Tinder’s terror.

“At least it wasn’t as bad as our last fiasco when we tried to renovate that abandoned house.” Sweetie Belle said.

“Ya, I’m still hurting from that.” You say, rubbing your back gingerly.

A look of panic shoots across Scootaloo’s face. “I said I was sorry! How was I supposed to know that ONE beam was holding up the entire house?”

“I was only joking. Learn to take a joke, why don’t you?” you say with a playful push.

“So, you’re feeling better now?” Apple Bloom asks. You give her a nod and tap on your back.

“That medicine you brought over really did the trick. Thanks a lot, Apple Bloom.”

Apple Bloom smiles shyly and blushes. Walking over to a nearby water barrel, you and the fillies dip your hooves and begin to wash yourself off.

“So, I guess we should be getting home by now.” you say aloud as you get the last of the sap off.

“Aww, I was actually having fun. Do we have to?” Scootaloo says, nearly begging.

“Ya, we haven’t hung out like this in long time, you know with school and applebuck season and whatnot.” Apple Bloom says, disappointed.

You see a flash of inspiration goes across Sweetie Belle’s face. “What if we had a sleepover!” she says excitedly.

“You mean like camping?” you ask.

“Ooh! Let’s do that!” Scootaloo says. “We can roast marshmallows and tell scary stories! My dad has a tent we can use!”

“Uhh… Yeah, we can do that.” Sweetie Belle says. You notice she’s forcing a smile, but don’t say anything about it.

“Alright!” Apple Bloom declares. “It’s decided. Let’s meet up at the hill outside Ponyville. I’ve got food covered. Scootaloo’s got the tent. Sweetie Belle, can you get sleeping bags?”

Sweetie Belle thinks for a second and nods. “Yes, I’m pretty sure Rarity has something we can use. What about you?” Sweetie Belle asks, turning to you.

You think all the bases are covered, but a lightbulb goes on upstairs. “I’ll take care of entertainment.”

Without a word, the three fillies nodded and scattered. You run off as well and make your way to the library. You let yourself in and startle Twilight. “Wha-What are you doing?!? You could at least knock, you know!” She says as she hides the book under the desk.

“Sorry Twilight. I need a book that has scary stories. The girls and I are going camping.”

She nods and points you to the horror section. There, you grab the first book you see, which has the title “101 Spine-Tingling Stories”

“Alright, thanks Twilight!” you say as you run out the library door. Twilight thinks you’re out of earshot as you close the door, but you hear her flip through pages furiously before giggling. “Oh Nathaniel, you animal, you.” Deciding to pick up the pace so she doesn’t think you’re spying, you ran home, wanting to let your mother know where you are going and more importantly, pick up your telescope. There was supposed to be a full moon tonight and the weather team had made sure there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

Walking through the door, your mother smiles and gives you a hug.

“Hi honey, how did it go?” she asked with a snicker. You regret telling her about the Cutie Mark Crusader’s exploits, but she thought it was cute that you were trying to find out who you are and couldn’t help but laugh at some of the crazy antics.

“We almost crushed Mr. Tinder and Mr. Tinder’s house with a tree.” you say nonchalantly as you head upstairs.

As soon as you’re in your room, you can hear your mom cackling. “I won’t be sleeping here tonight.” you call down. She stops laughing and pokes her head into your room. “Oh come on now! Just because I find it funny doesn’t mean you have to get all upset about it!” she says teasingly. Putting your telescope into your saddle-bag, you shake your head.

“No, I’m just going to go camping with my friends. I wanted to let you know, I hope that’s okay.”

Your mom nods and gives you a peck on the cheek. “Have fun. I know you’ll be responsible.”

You smile at her. “Thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

It didn’t take you long to find ‘the hill’ as Apple Bloom had described it. It was at least a half a mile from the lake, which you hoped didn’t make Scootaloo uncomfortable. You couldn’t believe it had already been a week since it happened, but Scootaloo was still having nightmares about it.

You finally come across the gang, who were already trying to get the campsite set up, but failing at it miserably. Scootaloo did indeed have a tent, but had gotten tangled up in a mess of rope, while Apple Bloom was rubbing two sticks together to get a fire started, and going nowhere fast. Sweetie Belle just looked back, trying to give them advice to help. You laughed aloud, which got their attention.

“What’s so funny?” Apple Bloom asks defiantly.

“Just calm down everypony. I got this.”

You start with the tent and walk over to Scootaloo and untangle her from the mess of rope.

“Stand back and hand me things when I ask for them.” you tell her. She nods without a word and you begin to get to work.

The tent went up quickly and actually looked good. It was more than big enough to hold all of you.

“Okay! Now onto that fire!” you say as you walk over to an exhausted Apple Bloom who had whittled the two sticks into nubs trying to get a spark.

“Scootaloo, can you go find a bunch of rocks?” you ask her, which is received with a puzzled look.

“Why rocks?” Apple Bloom asks, trying to figure out what she did wrong.

“It’s just so we don’t burn down half of Ponyville. And Apple Bloom, this would have never stayed lit. It’s still green. Look around for wood again, but this time, get the stuff on the ground. The dryer the better.”

“Ohhh, I get it.” Apple Bloom says, realizing her mistake before trotting off to get more firewood.

Sweetie Belle stared at you, a confused look on her face. “How did you know all that?” she asks.

“My dad used to take me camping at the end of the week. He never really taught me, I just picked it up and learned more after each trip.” you say with a modest smile. Sweetie Belle doesn’t say anything but stares at you with admiration. It finally got awkward around the five minute mark. “Uhh, Sweetie Belle, do you mind getting the bedding laid out in the tent?” you ask. She snapped out of her daze and blushed.

“I, uh, sure! Yes! One moment!” she said before running off.

“I got the rocks!” Scootaloo said as she balanced a stack of rocks on her back before letting them fall before you.

“And I got the wood!” Apple Bloom announced, carrying more than enough firewood. She looks at the sticks and stones, puzzled. “But what do we use to light it?” she asks.

You reach into your pack and pull out a box of matches. Apple Bloom scowls.

“I COULD’AVE THOUGHT OF THAT!” she yells.

Before you knew it, the fire was roaring and all four of you were roasting marshmallows. The sound of the crackling fire was hypnotic and the starry night was just beautiful.

“I have to ask…” Sweetie Belle starts, getting everyone’s attention. “Why do you act so grown up all of the time? I mean, it’s not a bad thing. It’s just…weird.”

You sigh and look up at the stars before answering. “Before my dad d…” you stop. It suddenly got harder to talk. “Before he…”

Apple Bloom scooted next to you and leaned on you. “It’s okay.” she says in a soothing tone. You don’t know why, but just those two words calms you down and make it easier for you.

“Before he disappeared,” you finally manage to say “He would tell me ‘Son, you’re the man of the house while I’m gone.’ before going out to sea. He said that it meant I had to be strong and brave so I can look after everyone I love. I guess I really won’t be a kid until I see him again.” you say. Taking your eyes off of the stars, you look at the three fillies, who were apparently touched by the story. “Come on now! None of that! We’re here to have fun! How about a scary story or two?” you ask, bringing out the book you borrowed from Twilight.

“Okay, but not too scary.” Sweetie Belle cautions. Giving her a nod, you begin.

“This is a true story, told by an anonymous pony,” you begin “While I was still working my way through college, I used to babysit for some extra money. On one night, I was called over to look after two sleeping fillies. Their parents told me to call them if there was any trouble and that they’d be back in a couple hours. After they left, I went upstairs to check in on them. Sure enough, they were sleeping. But the thing that bugged me was the clown statue in the corner of the room. It was bright and colorful, sure, but it was also creepy. Like it was watching me,” you look up to see the three fillies on the edge of their seat, waiting for you to continue “I tried to push it to the back of my mind, but it kept bugging me. So I finally decided to call the parents. They asked me if there was a problem. I told them that their kids were still sleeping, but that the clown statue was giving me the creeps. They didn’t answer for a long time. I thought they hung up until they finally spoke up. What they said horrified me. ‘Get the kids out of there and call the police. We don’t have a clown statue.’”

You closed the book, a little creeped out by the story yourself. Scootaloo was doing her best to keep her composure and Apple Bloom was fidgeting in her seat. Sweetie Belle was lying on the grass and had her hooves over her ears. Getting up you walk towards Sweetie Belle.

“Hey Sweetie Belle, are you okay?” you ask as you go to place a hoof on her shoulder. As soon as you touch her, she jumps into the air and screams at the top of her lungs, making you, Apple Bloom, and Scootaloo scream as well. Sweetie Belle tries to look everywhere at once and is freaking out. She’s babbling and not making any sense, but is obviously scared. Without a second thought, you embrace her.
“Hey, hey, hey. It’s okay. It was only a story. Nothing will hurt you, I promise.” you say. She starts to calm down and you let go of her. “Better?” you ask.

She nods. “Yes… I’m sorry.”

Scootaloo shakes her head. “Don’t be! That was a really scary story! It was real freaky!"

“Yeah, let’s not read anymore or I’ll be having nightmares.” Apple Bloom says sheepishly.

You agree with them, not being a particular fan of scary stories anyway, and put away the book. “I brought my telescope with me, too. Want to do some stargazing?” you ask, holding it up. Sweetie Belle smiles.

“That sounds great.”

Chapter 9

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“You see, that’s the Pegasus constellation.” you say, pointing to a group of stars. “I don’t see it.” Apple Bloom said, squinting. “It’s right there, Apple Bloom, see? These stars are its wings, those are its body and head, and here are its legs.” Sweetie Belle says as she traces the stars with her hoof.

You, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle had found a cliff that was perfect for stargazing. All four of you huddled together as you and Sweetie Belle pointed out constellations. You were really surprised that she knew so much about the stars and even more so that she knew the story behind each one, something that you never bothered to learn.

Scootaloo let out a long yawn and got up. “Well, I think I’m going to hit the hay.” she says as she walks back to the camp site. Apple Bloom gets up as well. “Yeah, I’m tired too. You two coming?” she asks.
“I thought I’d stay out for just a bit longer.” you say as you focus your telescope. Sweetie Belle nods. “Me too.”

“Alright then, but don’t stay up for too long. We’ve got school tomorrow.” Apple Bloom says before joining Scootaloo.

You and Sweetie Belle sat there, just looking up at the stars without a word.

“How did you know so much about the stars?” you finally ask, breaking the silence.

“I’ll tell you if you tell me.” Sweetie Belle retorts.

“My dad used to take my mom and I out on the ocean on nights like this and just look at the stars. My mom loves the night sky and the moon when it’s full like this,” you laugh under your breath “I remember when my dad said he would throw a rope around the moon and bring it down for my mom. She told him not to, because she didn’t want to rob anyone of something as beautiful as the moon.”

“Aww, that’s so sweet,” Sweetie Belle said “As for me, I always liked looking at the stars at night when I couldn’t sleep. They’re just so pretty and soothing and sparkle like diamonds.”

A chilly wind washes over you two and Sweetie Belle starts to shiver. Wrapping a hoof around her shoulder, you draw her closer and share your body heat with her. “Beautiful…” Sweetie Belle muses a loud.

“It is a beautiful night.” you say.

You notice Sweetie Belle blush as she fidgets around in her seat. Before you can ask her what’s wrong, she opens her mouth and begins to sing.

So tired, it's the sky that makes you feel tried
It's a trick to make you see wide
It can all but break your heart in pieces

Staying back in your memory
Are the movies in the past
How you moved is all it takes
To sing a song of when I loved
The Prettiest Star

One day though it might
as well be someday
You and I will rise up all the way
All because of what you are
The Prettiest Star

All you can do is look at her in amazement as she finishes. “Sweetie Belle, that was beautiful. I never knew you could sing so well.” Sweetie Belle blushes heavily “It’s nothing, really. Rarity likes to listen to the guy who sings that song. I’ve heard it enough times that I’ve learned it.”

“Either way, it was very nice. Who did you say sings it?” you ask.

Sweetie Belle shrugs. “I don’t know, but I think Rarity has a crush on him. She’s even got a full body poster of the guy.” she says with a laugh. You and Sweetie Belle remain silent for a while before she speaks up again.

“I’m not really that tired, do you want to go for a walk?” she asks.

You shrug. “Why not? There’s more than enough moonlight so we won’t get lost. Lead on.”

You and Sweetie Belle find a path into the forest. Sweetie Belle points up to the night sky with a smile on her face. “Look at the birds flying around!”

“Uhhh, Sweetie Belle, those aren’t birds” you say as you squint into the darkness. “Those are bats.” The color drains from Sweetie Belle’s face and is followed by a loud scream, causing the bats overhead to swarm around you. Sweetie Belle runs off in a direction and you run after her, calling her name. She runs into a cave without a second thought. Going in after her, you find her in the back, her eyes closed and her whole body trembling. You put a hoof on her shoulder. “Swee-“ the moment you touch her, she screams at the top of her lungs, making the whole cave shake. In an instant, the whole cave begins to shake and make chunks of rock fall from the ceiling.

“SWEETIE BELLE WE HAV-“ you begin to say as a rock hits you on the head. The cave shakes again and causes the mouth of the cave to become buried in rocks. When the shaking finally stops, you see Sweetie Belle running around the cave frantically. “WE’RE TRAPPED! OH DEAR CELESTIA, WE’RE TRAPPED!” she yells. You grab a hold of her and make her focus on you.

“Calm down! We’re fine!” you say.

“But we’re trapped!”

“We can dig our way out.”

“What if we run out of air?” Sweetie Belle asks frantically as she starts to breathe faster.

Looking around, you notice it’s much brighter than you think a cave in would be and see a hole in the ceiling, at least twenty feet up. “We’re fine. We just have to get to work.” You say as you walk over to the pile of rocks. Grabbing a loose one, you push it out of the way and to the back of the cave. Sweetie Belle watches you do this a few times before joining in. She has a harder time than you do, but manages.

“I’m sorry for getting us into this mess. I feel horrible.” Sweetie Belle says, beating herself up about the whole thing.

“Don’t be,” you grunt as you move another rock “If I didn’t point out that those were bats, you wouldn’t have freaked.”

It doesn’t help Sweetie Belle that much and she continues to sulk.

“I got to say, though, I’m impressed.” you say aloud.

“About what?” Sweetie Belle asks.

“You brought down an entire cave with a scream. You have a powerful set of lungs!” you say with a laugh.

Sweetie Belle tries to keep a straight face, but bursts out laughing. “Yeah, I guess I do.” she says.

You and her laugh for a bit before getting back to work.

After an hour of work, you had put a dent into the pile of rubble. You stand back to take a look at the work so far. “Another hour, maybe two and we’ll be able to get back and get some shuteye before breakfast.” You say with confidence. You blink a few times as your vision goes hazy for a second and turn to Sweetie Belle.

“How are you holding up?” you ask.

She smiles fondly at you. “Great, thanks to you. I probably would have given up at the beginning if you weren’t here. Thank you for looking out for me.”

“Oh come on, I’m only doing what you do.” you say, receiving a puzzled look from her.

“Like when the tree started to fall over and I didn’t notice it. You pushed me out of the way and saved me. You’re always there for not only me, but Apple Bloom and Scootaloo as well. You’re really something Sw-“ you stop as the whole world begins to spin. You can barely hear Sweetie Belle call your name out over the buzzing in your ears. Your knees buckle out from under you and you hit the cave floor.
“You’re bleeding!” you hear Sweetie Belle call out before everything goes dark.

* * * * * * * *

“Ah, good, you’re awake.” you hear a mare’s voice say. Opening your eyes, you find yourself in what looks like a small hospital. A white unicorn standing over you, her purple and pink mane stuffed into a nurse’s habit. “Your crew brought you in from off the ship.” she says in a soothing voice.

“My crew?” you ask as you rub your head. The unicorn nods.

“Yes, they said you were attacked by pirates, but you managed to drive them off. That was a brave thing to do.”

Getting to your hooves, you rub your head. “No… No. I was hit by a rock in the cave in…Nurse-“

Looking around, you’re surprised to find her gone. You make your way for the door and walk through, only to fall forward and grab onto the edge. There was nothing outside the door, just black, empty void. Suddenly, you find that the hospital room is gone as well and that you’re now falling and falling fast. Looking down, you see the world form below you. As if guided by some unseen hand, you begin to move towards a Hospital building and phase through the roof. You hit the bed of a sleeping patient with extreme force and-

Your eyes open. Looking around, you find yourself in Ponyville Urgent Care. Sleeping by the side of your bed was Sweetie Belle, who was covered in dirt and dust.

“Ah, good, you’re awake.” Nurse Redheart said with a smile.

“What happened” you ask as you rub the side of your head and find a layer of bandages.

Nurse Redheart looked at Sweetie Belle and smiled. “This little girl saved your life. She said you and her got caught in a cave in and that you hit your head. You passed out halfway through trying to dig your way out and she dug the other half. Her and her friends dragged you from that cave all the way here. You’re lucky, too. You’ve got a nasty concussion that needed some stitches and probably going to end up with a scar. I’d thank her, if I were you.” She tells you before walking off. Looking at Sweetie Belle, you can’t help but feel so grateful to the young filly. Placing a hoof on her head, you stroke her mane softly, causing her to wake up. She looks at you, surprised.

“You’re awake!” she yells out as she wraps her hooves around you “I was so worried!” she plants her lips onto yours and kisses you deeply. She stops suddenly and a look of panic washes over her.

“I…Err… Uh…I’m sorry for being-” you stop her and kiss her back. She blushes heavily and looks at you, dumbfounded.

“Thank you.”

Chapter 10

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This portion of the story will be told in narrative form, not 2nd person for the purpose of exposition.
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Sweetie Belle walked out of the hospital room in a daze. Her heart was aflutter with new and strange emotions she’s never felt before, all for the colt that was in that room. She found herself in Ponyville Square, washing the dirt off of herself in the same barrel that they used so many times to clean after their misadventures. Sweetie Belle chuckled, thinking back to how he was running around; doing everything he could to stop the tree from falling. She blushed heavily as her mind wandered back to him and the kiss. She smiled, happy that she not only got to kiss him, but he kissed back. She tried to remember when she exactly fell in love with him, but couldn’t settle on a single point when it happened and chocked it up to ‘love at first sight’.

The school day passed and Sweetie Belle missed it without much regret. She was still confused about these new feelings she had and decided to ask the one person she knew could help.

“Well…I, uh…What was the question again?” Rarity sputtered out before almost sewing her hoof to the dress.

“I said, what does it mean when you love someone?” Sweetie Belle asked again.
Rarity put down the dress and cleared her throat, hoping to buy enough time to come up with something. She never expected be having the love talk today.

“Well, when you love someone, they make you feel… Special.” Rarity said more confidently as the words came easier.

“Like you are the only one who matters in the world and will do whatever they can to make you feel happy. And when two ponies feel love for each other, there’s no greater feeling in all of Equestria.” Rarity says with emotion. She stared at Sweetie Belle.

“Why? Have you found that special pony in your life?” Rarity asked with a tease. Sweetie Belle blushed heavily and gave a nod. Rarity gasped and smiled. “Oh Sweetie Belle, I am ever so happy for you! Who’s the lucky colt?”

Sweetie Belle’s entire face goes red as she begins to tell the whole story. By the end of it, Rarity is tearing up and wiping away her tears with a handkerchief. “That’s so sweet… Well Sweetie Belle, I see only one possible course of action!” Rarity says defiantly. Sweetie Belle cocked her head, not seeing where Rarity was going with this.

“You’re going to declare your love to him!”

Sweetie Belle began to panic “Wh-What if he says he doesn’t love me back? Or he says he hates me or-“ Rarity put a hoof over Sweetie Belle’s mouth.

“Sweetie Belle, if you are to ever get anywhere in life, you have to put those doubts behind you. Now go out there and bear your heart to him.” Rarity said as she pointing towards the door. Sweetie Belle took a deep breath and put on a look of determination. “Alright.” and with that, she galloped off to find him.

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You, Apple Bloom, and Scootaloo left the hospital that afternoon, relieved when Nurse Redheart told you and your mother that you were ready to be discharged. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo were waiting for you in the waiting room.

“We thought we’d stop by and see how you were doing.” Scootaloo had explained. As you made your way out of hospital and into Ponyville square, you see Sweetie Belle running towards you.

“Well there ya are! Ms. Cheerilee was wondering where you were, but we didn’t tell her-” was all Apple Bloom could say before Sweetie Belle collides with you and kisses you deeply. “I love you!” she exclaims.

This display leaves Apple Bloom and Scootaloo stunned.

“Now hold on there! You can’t love him!” Apple Bloom yells as she stomps her hoof. Sweetie Belle looks to her friend, confused. “And why can’t I?” she asks.

Apple Bloom blushes but stands her ground. “Because I love him!” she declares.

Scootaloo scoffs. “That’s nice and all, but I’m the one who loves him, not you two.”

The three fillies glare each other, their gazes full of hate. Without a word, they pounce on each other and roll in the street, mane tugging, name calling, and biting.

“STOP IT!” you yell. They stop fighting and look at you.

“Well then, why don’t we let him decide?” Sweetie Belle says as she gets up, looking to you.

Apple Bloom nods. “Yeah, but we already know he’s going to choose me.”

“Says you, sister. I’m obviously the best choice here.” Scootaloo says as she leans in closer to you.

“I…I…Uh…” was all you could stammer out. “Umm…. I mean….”

“WELL?” Scootaloo asks angrily.

Apple Bloom looks at you with the same stare she gave you when she asked you to join the Cutie Mark Crusaders “Who’s it gonna to be?”

Sweetie Belle bats her eyelashes and says your name “Please…” she says softly.

Without a word, you gallop off as fast as you can, leaving the three fillies standing there, confused and disappointed. “After him!” Apple Bloom yells. You round corners and do your best to lose them. Ducking inside Sugar Cube Corner, you look at the window and hope that they didn’t see you.

“You lost him!” Scootaloo yelled at Apple Bloom.

“Well you’re the one who said he came this way!” Apple Bloom exclaims.

Sweetie Belle throws her hoofs into the air and groans. “I can’t take this anymore! You two ruined everything! You’re the worst friends ever!”

Scootaloo gasps and narrows her eyes. “Well if that’s the way you feel, then I guess I’m not your friend anymore!”

“The same goes for me! I never want to see either of you again!” Apple Bloom yells. “The Cutie Mark Crusaders are done!”

The three fillies run off in opposite directions, leaving you in the kitchen of Sugar Cube Corner. In an instant, you collapse to the floor and begin crying. You felt horrible that you couldn’t say anything to them, but how could you? No matter what you do, someone is going to be hurt. You continue to cry until you feel a hoof go through your mane. Looking up, you see the pink pony with the cotton candy mane looking down at you. “There, there. Tell Aunty Pinkie Pie what’s wrong.” You snivel as you get to your feet and are guided to a chair by Pinkie. She brings over a plate of cupcakes and two glasses of milk. Taking a cupcake, you take a bite, but don’t feel much like eating right now.

“So why were you crying?” Pinkie Pie asks, her voice sounding so soothing. You wipe away your tears and look at her. Sighing, you put your head onto the table. “It’s really complicated…” you mumble.

“So?”

Looking up at Pinkie Pie, you find yourself telling her the entire story.

“I mean, I love all of them. They all mean something to me. If I tell one of them that I love them, then the other two will be hurt forever… What should I do?” you ask.

Pinkie Pie smiles at you fondly and pats your head. “You are WAY too young to be involved in a love triangle this complicated… Wait. Would it be a love triangle?” she asks herself. “Triangles only have three points. There are four people involved, so wouldn’t be like a love square? But then again, there’s a lot of hate going around…Hate rhombus is a better term for your predicament.”

You look at Pinkie, completely confused. She sees your puzzlement and shakes her head. “Right, sorry. I got distracted there for a second. Anyway, there’s nothing written anywhere in Equestria that says you can love one and only one pony.” she says as she pops a cupcake into her mouth.

“What do you mean?” you ask.

“It means just that, silly!”

You can’t believe how easy she’s trying to make it sound. “But… But what do I do? How do I do it?” you ask.

Pinkir Pie puts a hoof around your shoulder and brings close. “Okay, this is what you’re going to do…” she says before whispering her plan into your ear. You smile as you begin to understand what Pinkie Pie is getting at. You bound for the door, but turn to her before leaving. “Thank you so much Pinkie.”

She smiles. “No problem. Now we’re even-stevens.” she says. You cock an eyebrow at her. “Even for what?” you ask.

“For when you four blew up that batch of gum.” She says nonchalantly. Your ears go back and you grimace.

“Uhh, sorry about tha-Hey. How is it that we’re even now?” you ask. Pinkie Pie smiles at you fondly.

“What can I say? I’m a sucker for romance. Knock ‘em dead Casanova!”

And with Pinkie Pie’s words of encouragement, you set off, hoping to make things right.

The afternoon came and went and the sun was setting. You were now waiting at the lake for them to show up. You could only hope that Pinkie’s friend, the mail pony with the strange eyes, delivered the letters on time. As the sun began to set, you saw them. Apple Bloom approached from the east, Scootaloo from the north, and Sweetie Belle the west. They all converged on you and then looked at each other.

“What are THEY doing here?!?” they all say simultaneously. Sure enough, they got your letters. Personally addressed to each pony, telling them to meet you by the lake at sundown.

“Girls.” you said, trying to get their attention. They were arguing again, as they did back in the square.

“Girls!” you say louder this time. Their response was to yell louder at each other.

“GIRLS!” you scream. This finally gets their attention.

“WHAT?” they yell simultaneously. Now that all eyes were on you, you felt nervous and wanted to run again. But you couldn’t, not without fixing this. You clear your throat and take a deep breath.

“I’ve made my decision.” you finally say. The three fillies tense up.

“Who is it?” Apple Bloom asks.

“Ah ah ah! I’m not telling until you promise me something. All of you.” you demand. They wait for you to say something and take this as a sign of their understanding.

“No matter who I choose, you will respect my choice and accept it. That’s all I want.” you say.

“…Fine. I’m cool that.” Scootaloo says.

Sweetie Belle nods. “I can respect your wishes.”

Apple Bloom just smiles. “Go ahead.”

“Apple Bloom., you were there when I needed somepony to lean on and a shoulder to cry on. You’re always trying to make everypony happy and that’s just what you did for me.” Apple Bloom blushes heavily and traces a hoof in the grass.

“Oh, it ain’t nothing. I’m just happy you pic-“

“I’m not finished yet.” you say, interrupting her.

“Scootaloo, you’re so headstrong and always moving forward so much that it rubs off on me. If you weren’t here, I probably wouldn’t have found the courage to say these words.” Scootaloo rubs the back of her head.

“Oh come on now, I just-“

“Still not done yet.” you say, interrupting again.

“Sweetie Belle, you’re always looking out for me and the others and tell us what’s best, even if we don’t listen. You went above and beyond the call of friendship and saved my life. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.”

You finished your speech and looked at the three fillies, who were still confused.

“If it isn’t Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, or me, then who is it?” Sweetie Belle asks. You feel tears of joy as you reach out and grab all three of them into a big hug.

“You haven’t figured it out yet have you, you silly fillies? It’s all of you! I love all of you! There’s no way I could break any of your hearts, even if Celestia herself told me to! You’re all so wonderful and unique and make me feel like the luckiest colt in the world!”

Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle are stunned.

“I…I never thought of it that way.” Scootaloo says, choking back tears.

Apple Bloom hugs back and smiles. “I’m okay with this, as long as you all are.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry for being so mean! Will you two ever forgive me?” Sweetie Belle pleads as she holds her friends tight.

“We were the mean ones! Let’s never fight again!” Scootaloo says, joining in.

“The Cutie Mark Crusaders are back together!” Apple Bloom pronounces.

“With a boyfriend.” Sweetie Belle says, prompting all of you to laugh aloud.

And that’s all you did until sunrise. Hold each other and laugh until the sun came up on another beautiful day in the land of Equestria.