After a huge stint with their role models, the CMC decide that to learn their special talents, they have to take their search out into Equestria. They meet new friends, save many lives, and become an inspiration. This is the last crusade.
Apple Bloom argues with Applejack Scootaloo fights with Rainbow Dash Sweetie Belle disagrees with Rarity
After a near-terrible accident the CMC are shut down by those closest to them. They agree that in order to find their special talents, they need to go on their own adventure. On one last crusade.
Written during Season 4. Special thanks to Lord-Commander for being my editor!
"Do you realize what could've happened?! Sweetie you simply must think of the consequences of doing something so foolishly reckless!" Rarity walked back and forth around the marble floor of the boutique, while Sweetie Belle sat on the stairs. Every sad little attempt to defend herself was interrupted by Rarity's endless scolding.
"I mean seriously! What do you think would've happened if Scootaloo was killed? Did you three think about that? I bet you didn't! All you three care about is your silly little crusading to the point where you don't even look after your own well being. It's over Sweetie Belle. I'm sorry." Rarity stopped her pacing and focused her gaze on the little white unicorn. Sweetie was looking at the floor, trying to tune her big sister out the best she could.
"Did you hear me? Sweetie Belle, are you even listening?!" Rarity stamped her foot hard against the ground and demanded the little crusader's attention. Sweetie finally looked up, tears welling up in her eyes.
"I said it's over Sweetie Belle. You and the girls are not to crusade any longer. I'm going to speak with Applejack and Rainbow Dash tomorrow and we are going to end this."
Sweetie's eyes widened, glossing over as they produced more tears.
"NO! Rarity please you can't! It's the only thing we've got! We have to find out what our special talents are and we can't do that if we don't crusade! Please Rarity!" Sweetie finally mustered up the courage to say something, hoping to Celestia that Rarity's threat wasn't serious.
"My decision is final Sweetie. There is no way I'm going to promote reckless behavior that can get you all killed. All we have is each other Sweetie Belle... and I can't lose you. Mother and Father... they would nev--" Rarity didn't get a chance to finish her sentence. Sweetie Belle jumped down the steps and started yelling at the dress maker, her voice cracking as it raised in volume.
"DON'T TALK ABOUT THEM LIKE YOU KNEW THEM! YOU NEVER SPENT TIME WITH THE FAMILY! YOU NEVER CARED TO! THEY TOLD ME I COULD BE ANYTHING, AND THAT CRUSADING WOULD BE ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO FIND OUT MY TALENT!"
Rarity tried to speak, but Sweetie Belle was on a roll now.
"THEY LOVED ME! THEY LOVED YOU! BUT DID YOU EVER SHOW THAT SAME LOVE BACK?! NO!! ALL YOU CARED ABOUT WERE YOUR STUPID DRESSES!"
"Sweetie Belle! That is quite enough!" Rarity was trying her hardest to stay calm.
"NO! I WON'T LET YOU TAKE AWAY THE ONLY THING WE HAVE! MOM AND DAD SUPPORTED ME AND I WON'T LET YOU TAKE THAT AWAY!" Sweetie Belle let the tears flow freely, not holding in her emotions any longer.
"SWEETIE BELLE, THAT IS ENOUGH!" Rarity's yell shocked the filly. She backed up slowly, till her hind hooves hit the stairs. Rarity used her magic to rip the Crusading cape off of Sweetie Belle's neck. Looking right into Sweetie's eyes, she pulled the red fabric in opposite directions. Sweetie watched in horror as her big sister tore the cape in half, right down the middle. As each thread was torn, Sweetie felt as if a part of her heart was torn with it. She started to sob as she turned and clumsily ran up the stairs.
"I hate you! I wish it had been you!" She shouted as she fled into her room. Rarity flinched as the door upstairs was slammed.
"I'm... s-sorry Sweetie." Her eyes too were slowly beginning to shed tears. She looked down at the now ripped cape and regretted her actions instantly. Slowly she backed away from the cape and turned to face the side wall. Directly in front of her face was a picture of her parents. Her father had a hoof wrapped around her mother... they both smiled at the camera as they leaned over the rails of the cruise ship they were on, a cruise ship that never came back.
"Maybe it should've been me." She reached her hoof up and gently touched the frame hanging on the wall. "Oh Mother, Father. I need you more than ever," she whimpered softly, lip quivering as she started to cry. "Why did you leave me?"
"Apple Bloom are ya even listening to what we're telling ya? Applejack looked down at her sister sitting in Granny Smith's rocking chair. "Well are ya?"
"Yes big sis but you don't understand! It was just an accident! We didn't mean for Scoots to get hurt, we just wanted to try and earn our cutie marks!" Apple Bloom urged her family to understand, but they simply would not have it.
"Y'all coulda died out there Apple Bloom! We've already lost too many members of this family, and we can't go and lose anymore! Right Big Mac?" Granny Smith turned and looked to the big red farmer stallion, who looked just as mad as everypony else.
"Eeyup!" He firmly replied.
"Big Mac not you too! Please guys don't make me stop being a crusader! It's the only way to find out what my special talent is!" Apple Bloom begged her family further. Applejack stomped her hoof on the ground, hard. Applejack was strong, so her hoof hitting the ground was not quiet.
"No Apple Bloom! We are taking the Clubhouse down tomorrow and telling Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle that this silly Crusading business is over! You and the other girls are to earn your cutie marks just like everypony else: by being patient!"
Apple Bloom hopped out of Granny's chair "No Applejack ple-" she started.
"Apple Bloom enough! That is that. I will pull that clubhouse to the ground myself RIGHT NOW if you don't stop! Now go to your room. There has been enough for one night." Big Mac finished, to the surprise of everypony. Apple Bloom began to tear up. She angrily left the living room and ran up the stairs, quickly fleeing down the hall till she swerved into her room and slammed the door. She threw herself on her bed and cried into her pillow. Right beside her bed on her nightstand was a picture of Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and herself standing near the Apple family pie eating contest. That day they had tried to earn their cutie marks in pie eating. They looked so happy. Looking at the picture only made her cry harder.
"I'm sorry girls."
Back downstairs Applejack stood near the fireplace.
"Are we making the right decision here?" She questioned. Big Mac and Granny Smith looked at each other and nodded.
"Yes Jackie. We can't allow them to..." Granny slowly nodded off to sleep, as soon as Big Mac noticed her he gently tapped her shoulder with his hoof. She awoke with a start. "Huh? Zap apples don't come for another few months. Why are you yelling at me! Wait... what was I saying?" She softly mumbled to herself as she tried to get back on track. Big Mac and AJ rolled their eyes.
"Oh yes, we can't allow them to get hurt! Why your Mama and Papa left y'all in my care and I intend to keep y'all safe!" At that last word Granny raised a hoof in the air, but it quickly fell as she fell asleep once more.
AJ chuckled softly. Big Mac lifted Granny and laid her on his back. He moved towards the rocking chair, and with the help of his sister, they gently placed her in it. AJ grabbed a blanket folded on the sofa and layed it over Granny Smith. They both kissed her on the forehead and snuck out the creaky front door that led out onto the patio. The sun had just finished setting, its last bit of light fading behind the mountains in the east. The moon steadily rose in the west and in its light the orchard glowed beautifully.
"Big Mac, we should start working on taking the clubhouse down. If we try and do it tomorrow, Apple Bloom will throw a fit."
Together they headed out into the Orchard towards the Cutie Mark Crusader's clubhouse. Applejack felt a small pain in her heart. She remembered when she gave it to the little fillies... but the crusading was getting too dangerous; Scootaloo almost died. Apple Bloom or Sweetie Belle could've been seriously injured. She looked up and saw two shooting stars fly over her head. She silently prayed to Celestia and Luna and thanked them for keeping the fillies safe. But as she continued to think about the crusaders, she realized that without the clubhouse they would have nowhere to meet and play and have fun. Her mind continued dwelling on such thoughts until Big Mac nudged her. AJ looked up and saw the clubhouse sitting firmly in its tree.
"We've got a long night ahead of us," she whispered sadly
"Rainbow Dash, I'm sorry! We didn't realize the scooter couldn't handle the winds! If I had been the one driving it then I'm sure it would've been fine, bu–" Scootaloo couldn't say much else, Rainbow Dash was already too mad to let much else be said.
"It doesn't matter who drove the scooter! It was dangerous! You know I'm all for daring tricks and cool stunts, but this was crossing the line, into just plain reckless! You could've died Scootaloo! One day, I'm not gonna be around to catch you and if I don't, then who will?!" She flew above Scootaloo's head and talked down directly at her. Scootaloo hated being talked down to.
"I'm not a little filly anymore Rainbow! You can't just control what I can and can't do!" She replied to the cyan pegasus, who frowned at Scootaloo. Rainbow landed directly in front of her.
"I can if I'm your legal guardian. Wanna know what else I can do? I can shut the crusaders down. This has gone on too far and for way too long. Sorry Scoots, but that's it. Your crusading days are over." She turned and started to fly to up to her room. Scootaloo couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her mind raced. She had so many things she wanted to say, but didn't know which one to pick.
"No Rainbow Dash! The girls and I love crusading! We can be less reckless I promise!" She hoped Rainbow would soften up to her as she had in the past, but to her dismay Rainbow didn't fall for it this time.
"Sorry squirt, but in the morning I'm going to AJ's and Rarity's and telling them it needs to end. You're not gonna be risking your lives for cutie marks." Rainbow flew up to her room and closed the doors. Leaving the orange filly alone in the living room of the large cloudhome. Scootaloo had tears start to form but she quickly blinked them away.
"No, it's not gonna just end like this." She trotted over to the window in the kitchen that overlooked all of Ponyville. "We are gonna get our cutie marks. No matter what we have to do." She trotted up the stairs to her room. She wanted to ignore looking into Rainbow's room as she passed it but with the door being opened just a crack, she couldn't resist herself. She peered into her adopted sister's room and saw her sitting on her bed holding a photo frame, crying silently as she looked at it. Scootaloo recognized the frame and knew what photo it held... the day Rainbow adopted Scootaloo they took a picture to immortalize the moment. Scootaloo's tears were coming back and this time she let them flow.
"Please forgive me Rainbow Dash... Don't hate me... Just please," she whispered as she slowly pulled her head out and scurried to her bedroom. Scootaloo had a lot of planning to do.
Present Day Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle looked awful. None of them had been getting much sleep. The thought of their beloved club being torn apart led to losing sleep. They nodded off consistently in class to the annoyance of Cheerilee.
"Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo! Wake up! You know there is no sleeping in class! Did you three stay up late crusading last night?" She softly hit each of the ponies' desks and woke them up. Before any of them could respond to Cheerilee Diamond Tiara took it upon herself to answer.
"No Ms. Cheerilee, haven't you heard? The Cutie Mark Crusaders got shut down Friday night. Their silly clubhouse was torn down and everything!" She snickered at the three fillies, nudging Silver Spoon so she'd join in. "I guess this means they'll always be BLANK FLANKS!" the two bullies started to laugh rudely, quickly being cut off by Cheerilee.
"Girls that is enough." She turned her attention to the ex-crusaders. "Girls, is this true?" She asked them kindly.
"Yes..." the three responded in perfect unison.
Before Cheerilee could say anything else, the school bell rang, and all the fillies and colts sprang up from their desks quickly and evacuated the class. But before the crusaders could leave Cheerilee called to them. "Girls, stay for a moment?"
With a slight groan the three fillies turned and met Cheerilee at her desk. "Yes Ms. Cheerilee?" they again spoke in total sync. The school teacher smiled.
"Girls, I know how important crusading was to you... but maybe it's for the best. A cutie mark is something a pony learns over time. It's not something you can just learn overnight. If you want to find something to do, you can always rejoin the Foal Free Press! You three were amazing column writers for it after that whole Gabby Gums incident. Otherwise, I'm always here if you need to talk." She smiled again and wished them a great day. The fillies returned the farewell with little enthusiasm. They slowly shuffled out of the class and over to the dirt road.
Sleepiness was wearing them down as they walked, causing them to bump into each other constantly and walking down the wrong paths consistently.
"This sucks," Scootaloo put plainly. Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom nodded softly
"Well... I guess it's a good thing the crusaders had one last crusade planned before it all ended," Scootaloo smiled deviously, awaiting a reaction from her friends.
Apple Bloom turned and saw ten different Scootaloos. "Another what?" she blinked hard several times, trying to wake herself up. Sweetie Belle faceplanted into the dirt, her blank flank still raised up.
"A last crusade?" she asked, her voice muffled due to her face's connection with the earth. She started to snore softly only a few moments later.
"Sweetie, get up. We've got a lot of things to do before we go!" Scootaloo trotted over to the white unicorn and tried helping her up. Sweetie didn't budge as she continued to sleep.
"Go where? Scootaloo, what are you talking about? What last crusade? The clubhouse is gone and you know our sisters won't let us go anywhere; you know Rainbow won't let you go anywhere!" Apple Bloom moved forward to help Scootaloo raise Sweetie from the ground.
"Look we can't just let the crusader's end now! We have dedicated so much of our time and energy into finding our special talents and you ponies are just gonna let our big sisters tell us what to do? Come on fillies! Have a little more backbone!" Scootaloo urged her comrades to understand. Apple Bloom's heart raced slightly.
Can we seriously just... leave?
Sweetie was finally up on all fours. "What's going on?"
"We are going on an adventure crusaders!" Scootaloo proudly exclaimed.
"Yay! Wait an adventure? Where?" She looked confused.
"To wherever we could think of! Think about it girls, all the crusading we've done has been within Ponyville's limits, and we haven't found our special talents, right?" Scootaloo asked.
"Yeah...?" the other crusaders answered back.
"Then let's leave Ponyville! Let's go to Manehattan and get Babs and go on the most ultimate crusade ever: the last crusade to get our cutie marks!" Scootaloo hopped up on a tree stump and raised a hoof high into the air!
"Scootaloo... you haven't really thought this through have you?" Apple Bloom teased. Sweetie Belle joined in. "Yeah, and it's not like we have any idea how to get around Equestria! We don't have a map or any idea of what to do!"
"I guess it's good we are friends with the local librarian," Scootaloo winked at her friends, who smiled in return.
Sweet Apple Acres, A few hours later Applejack held a rag close to her face, often using it to wipe the moisture that dripped down her forehead while she worked. She looked over at what they had built so far. The wooden structure stood two stories tall; and was being painted by Rainbow Dash at the moment. So far, Rainbow had nearly finished its red coat, and was about to start adding the blues. Rarity walked around the building and placed flowers in pre-dug little holes. She hummed merrily for a second before speaking up.
"Girls, I'm so glad we decided to do this for the crusaders. They can keep crusading as long as they are more careful, and allow us to supervise them. And imagine their surprise when they see this! This new clubhouse is quite lovely. I even finished making the Cutie Mark Crusader flag!"
"Yeah, great idea Applejack. I might've been a little too hard on Scoots, so this will definitely make up for it."
"I know, I felt so terrible listening to Apple Bloom cry these past few nights. Plus, she looks pretty awful since she ain't been sleeping."
"Neither has Sweetie."
Applejack took a swig of her water cooler before she walked to the last glass window pane that needed to be put in. She gently lifted it up, immediately feeling some weight taken off because of Rarity's magic assisting her.
"Thanks Rarity, couldn't have done it without y'all."
The three mares stayed hard at work to complete the new clubhouse. There were more windows, more space and more comfortable furniture. Rarity even managed to flirt her way into getting a few discounted sofas from Davenport's Quill and Sofa Store. About twenty more minutes passed as the hardworking older sisters finished the last of the touch ups. Rarity presented the Cutie Mark Crusader flag to Rainbow, who flew up to the top and placed the metal rod into it's placeholder. She pulled on the small string that held the flag rolled up. As the flag unraveled, it started to catch the wind and soon waved beautifully. The fabric Rarity used almost glowed in the sunlight. The flag itself was red, with the Cutie Mark Crusader insignia sitting proudly in the middle.
"Ta-da! Congratulations girls, we are gonna make three fillies so very happy!" Rarity exclaimed, her eyes starry and filled with pride.
"Alright! Let's go!" Rainbow took off low to the ground towards the north apple field trail. Only to force herself to a stop in front of Twilight Sparkle.
"Hi Rainbow Dash!" Twilight smiled at her pegasus friend. "What are you doing?" She looked past Rainbow and saw the newly erected Cutie Mark Clubhouse in the clearing.
"Oh my goodness! That is so beautiful!" She saw Rarity waving at her and returned the gesture. It wasn't until she noticed Applejack that she felt something was wrong.
"Applejack? What are you doing here? You should be at the Train Station with the girls, or you'll miss the train!"
Applejack quickly trotted up to Twilight rubbing that last little bit of sweat off her brow before putting her hat back on. "What train?"
Rarity spoke up. "The girls? Which girls? Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy?"
"No! The crusaders!" Twilight said with another bright smile.
Rainbow flew up behind Twilight and joined Rarity and Applejack as they responded to Twilight all at once.
Scootaloo flew down a small hill, the feeling of the wind in her mane motivating her to go faster.
"Hey Scoots, can you slow down? We are trying to get our supplies organized here!" Sweetie Belle shouted over the rushing winds.
"Ugh, fine." Scootaloo slowed down the flapping of her wings, thus slowing down her scooter. After a year or so of tugging the little red wagon her friends sat in, her wings had grown strong. While riding her scooter she could pull the wagon and still go fast. There were a few saddle bags on the wagon so the extra weight hindered Scootaloo's speed, but they were already on the outskirts of Ponyville, so she wasn't too worried.
"Whoa! Hey Scootaloo, stop right here!" Apple Bloom exclaimed. Scootaloo did as requested and hit the brake. The scooter came to a clean stop on the last hill inside Ponyville's limits. They could easily look down and see the entire town. The sun had started setting by this point and its glow made all of Ponyville look beautifully orange. Sweetie Belle smiled and waved at the town.
"Goodbye Ponyville!!" She yelled loudly. "Hey Scootaloo, when will we come home?" She curiously asked her pegasus friend.
"Well Sweetie Belle... Until we get our cutie marks I don't think we'll be coming back. Did you guys leave letters?" she asked. The others nodded. "I guess that's it then. I'm gonna miss Rainbow Dash, but we've got to do this! One last crusade! We'll venture all over Equestria!" She jumped into the wagon and pulled out the map they got from Twilight's house. "First stop? Manehattan! Come on girls, we need to pick up our other crusader!"
The girls all whooped in excitement. Apple Bloom raised one hoof in the air, and waited for the other girls to join her. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle copied the gesture and together they did their trademark hoofbump.
"It's time for an adventure!"
Scootaloo strapped her blue and yellow wonderbolt themed helmet on, and tightened her kneepads before wrapping her hooves around the handle bars of her scooter and taking off away from Ponyville, ready to head through the Everfree Forest and out on the adventure of their lives.
The three fillies didn't know what awaited them out in the world. They didn't know they would experience adventure, and tragedy, nor did they realize they would be inspirations to all...
What they did know, is that they were gonna find their purpose, no matter what.
The Cutie Mark Crusader's last adventure begins now.
"Well how was I supposed to know that they weren't telling the truth?!" Twilight shouted from behind the three mares that raced towards the Ponyville Train Station. Surprisingly, Applejack and Rarity held the front, galloping at hat and horn to each other. Rainbow Dash, on the other hoof, had taken to the skies and streaked brightly overhead towards the station.
"Rainbow! Go stop 'em!" AJ shouted in between her panting breaths. The pegasi heard her friend's call, and shot forward, leaving a bright trail behind her in the fading light.
Rainbow pushed herself hard. She hadn't flown with this type of desperation since the Best Young Fliers Competition. The memory of that day was clear in her mind for a moment. She remembered when the wings Twilight made for Rarity had burst into flames due to the increased amount of stress she had put on them; flying into direct sunlight didn't help either. Rainbow flew so fast to catch Rarity she performed a legendary Sonic Rainboom. The thought of Scootaloo and the other girls running away pushed Rainbow to fly at those speeds, but she was steadily approaching the station and was forced to slow down.
"Scootaloo when I find you, you're gonna be in huge trouble!" muttered the pegasus to herself as she touched down on the train platform. Rainbow glanced over her shoulder and noticed that Rarity and Applejack were too far behind to wait for. She gave an impatient snort and took off into the station in a quick trot. Rainbow Dash glanced around the small station for any sign of the missing fillies. Nothing gave any clue away that they were there, and she hadn’t seen any sign of them from the air either, meaning...
“They’ve got to be on the train,” she said out loud. A quick peek around revealed the was conductor nowhere to be found, allowing her to briefly sneak on the train. She trotted inside and started to look around for Scootaloo and the others. Rainbow carefully walked down the aisles of the train car, inspecting each passenger and the luggage before continuing on. She peered down into each seat, hoping to see one of the Crusaders sitting comfortably in one of them. She was starting to get more frustrated with every row she cleared.
"Oh, Hey Dash!”
The cyan pegasus spun around, thinking it could be Scootaloo, but was disappointed to see that it was only Berry Punch.
"Oh, uhh. Hey Berry. Have you seen Scootaloo or any of her friends on the train?" asked Rainbow Dash.
“Nope, sorry,” replied the magenta Earth pony with a shake of her head. “The last time I remember seeing them was yesterday.”
"Tickets? May I see your tickets please?” called out the train's conductor as he entered the car. “Tickets!"
Rainbow quickly muttered her thanks, and casually dipped out of the exit on the opposite side before the conductor reached her, asking her for a ticket she never purchased. As she exited the train she caught sight of the others arriving at the station, and quickly trotted over to them.
"Rainbow Dash... where... are... the girls!?" Rarity asked between gasps for air.
The pegasus shook her head. "They weren't in the passenger car! But, I've been thinking... How would they have even gotten tickets to ride on the train in the first place?"
“Nopony here, is going to buy three fillies a ticket for a train,” said Applejack. “Could have disguised themselves, ah guess.”
"Twilight?” asked Rarity, the unicorn having finally gained full composure of herself. “When you saw the girls, what else did they happen to mention before leaving the Library?"
Twilight took a second to think back. "Well... they mentioned needing a few books on the different landmarks in Equestria, a book on camping... a book on... Archeology around Equestria... and... a... map?" The alicorn paled as she realized how much of a hoof she had given to the Crusaders. "Oh no."
"Consarn those girls!” shouted Applejack as she turned to bolt back the way they came. “Come on they couldn't have gone too far!" Applejack turned, preparing to run off towards the Everfree when Twilight stopped her.
"Wait!” said Twilight as her magic wrapped around the farm pony’s tail, preventing her from leaving. “As they were leaving I heard Sweetie Belle mentioning she had to stop by the boutique! Maybe they’re still there!"
Rarity perked up when hearing this. "I'll head to the boutique immediately! Perhaps everypony else should go check their homes in case they decided to stop there too? We might be able to stop them before they even get a chance to do something reckless!"
"Sounds like as good of a plan as any,” replied Applejack. “Uhh, Twi? Sweet Apple Acres is pretty far from here. Think ya could just teleport me on over?"
"Yeah, let’s go!" said the alicorn princess as her horn started to glow a warm magenta. “After checking out your houses, lets all meet up at the library afterwards. I'll be there soon!”
Applejack got a little closer to Twilight, while the others took a small step back. Twilight's horn started to glow a bright magenta colored aura. Following an intensely bright flash, both ponies were gone. Rainbow turned to Rarity.
"Good luck Rarity, I'll see you at Twilight's in a bit!" said Rainbow as she launched into the air and blasted off towards her cloud home. Even though Rarity had witnessed Rainbow's skill at flying for years, it was her speed that never ceased to amaze her. She quickly realized that she had a task to follow and had no time for daydreams.
"I'm coming Sweetie Belle!" she shouted as she ran out of the station, and back into Ponyville to find her beloved sister.
Scootaloo rested her head on the scooter's handlebars, and stifled a massive yawn. She reached up and rubbed her face with a hoof and tried focusing on the dimly lit trail in front of her. Her constant nodding off made it nearly impossible for her to keep herself, and the wagon on the trail. The rocks on the side of the small road would force the scooter to bounce rapidly, which would in turn force Scoots awake, only for her to readjust the scooter, and the process to repeat itself.
"Are we... at adventure yet?" asked Sweetie Belle in the middle of a massive yawn. Apple Bloom’s only reply was the soft snoring from the side of the wagon.
"No Sweetie, we’re still in the Everfree Forest." Scootaloo replied to the sleepy unicorn, fighting back another yawn. "We probably should've gotten some sleep before leaving home. I guess we were a little too excited... right, Crusaders?" She waited a moment for the response from her friends; but was gifted nothing but silence. Frowning, she hit the brake on her scooter before dismounting it and turning to face the wagon. The sight she came to face only released a sigh from her. The unicorn had placed her head on Apple Bloom’s barrel, and had fallen asleep just as fast as the little farm pony had.
"Awh man. Looks like we should probably find a place to sleep." Scootaloo did a quick spin looking around in every direction seeing nothing but darkness, trees, and more darkness. "Um. Not here though." She jumped back on the scooter, flipped the kickstand up and flapped her wings to get them moving again.
For a while, Scootaloo was able to keep a great pace through the forest, but soon her yawns turned into nodding off and eventually the young filly dozed to a stop and toppled over. Her body numb, and her mind swimming in dre-
Scootaloo jumped up at the unknown sound.
"Wh-what was that?" she whispered, glancing around the darkened forest. Nothing was moving around them, and she could still seeing her two friend tangled all over each other sleeping. She dismounted her scooter and trotted past the wagon. Squinting to try and focus her vision a bit more into the darkness. After a moment of nothing suspicious she shrugged and turned back towards the path in front, slowly moving towards her scooter.
"Huh, guess it was just my imagina–"
Scootaloo whipped her head around quickly... and found the source of the terrifying noise.
In the shadows behind the wagon; were three pairs of glowing green eyes.
"TIMBERWOLVES!!" Scootaloo yelled aloud, not sure what purpose yelling actually would serve. One thing was certain, it woke up Sweetie Belle.
"AHHH!! RARITYIDON'TWANTTOUSESOMUCHSHAMPOO!!" She screamed as she sat up, mushing her hoof right into Apple Bloom's face.
"Ugh go back to sleep Granny Smith, the Zap Apples aren't coming yet." Apple Bloom pushed Sweetie's hoof away and rolled over, falling back to sleep.
Sweetie Belle's face went from displaying fear to showing confusion. "Scootaloo what are you yelling for?" She asked her Pegasus friend. Scootaloo didn't have time to respond.
The little orange filly leaped to her scooter and begun flapping her wings as fast as possible, causing the white unicorn to topple backwards in the wagon. Scootaloo turned her head and looked behind her, hoping maybe the Timberwolves wouldn't attempt to chase due to their quick escape.
Running away however, only turned it into a game for the Timberwolves. The three wooden monsters chased after the Crusaders. They snarled and howled as they inched closer and closer, Sweetie Belle looked back and gasped when she noticed how quickly one Timberwolf was approaching their wagon.
Apple Bloom still snored as she leaned over the side of the wagon. Sweetie was astonished that all the yelling, snarling, and bouncing hadn't woke her up yet. Her astonishment turned to fear as the closest Timberwolf was practically right on top of Apple Bloom. The Timberwolf snapped down at the little yellow filly, but only managed to yank on her bow with its teeth.
"What in tarnation?!" she shouted from the sudden flare of pain that awoke her due to her bow being pulled. The filly was still groggy, therefore hadn't really come to realize the situation they were in. “Scoots, what in the blazes are yo–" she looked up at where her hair was being pulled on from, and found herself looking right into the bright emerald eyes of the creature preparing to eat her.
"TIMBERWOLVES!!" She yelled as she reached her hooves up to undo the bow.
"WE KNOW!!" Her friends yelled back.
"WELL GO FASTER!!"
Apple Bloom hung on tight, trying to avoid allowing the monster to pull her out of the wagon. She was losing her grip, and began to slide out. Sweetie leaped forward and grabbed her friend by the hoof to keep her in. The unicorn filly reached forward and fumbled with the bow as the wagon bounced and jerked along with the trail until she was finally able to loosen it.
The Timberwolf yanked hard on the bow and it completely detached from Apple Bloom's mane. The sudden removal of the bow caused the Timberwolf to stumble off the trail and vanish into the woods with a loud crash.
“Sweetie!” called out Apple Bloom, as she steadied herself on the wagon. “We need to find a way to keep’em away from us!”
“Ah don’t know! Look in our bags for something!”
Apple Bloom turned her attention back to the Timberwolves, and watched them in horror as they slowly got closer. Scootaloo was moving too fast for her to just reach out and break a stick off a tree, she’d probably get thrown out of the cart, but…
The farm pony leaned out of the side of the wagon and looked ahead. In the distance, she found just what she needed.
“Sweetie, we can use these!” Apple Bloom scooped a few the rocks up from the road as they bounced along, several of them the size of apples. However, the silence from her unicorn friend was unsettling. “Sweetie?”
The filly turned around and froze. Right before her was the green, glowing eyes of a Timberwolf, its massive jaw twisted into something that passed for a grin. As is climbed into the wagon it released a powerful roar from its jaw, a roar that would give Apple Bloom nightmares for weeks.
The little crusader closed her eyes and could feel the horrid breath of the creature wash its disgusting warmth all over her coat. She figured death was near, and only wished she could see her sister one more time. Instead of a sharp pain and an introduction into nothingness, came a dull, but ringing thud. With caution, she opened her eyes and saw a frying pan, wrapped in a light green aura, smack the Timberwolf in the face again.
“You, stay away from her!” squeaked the unicorn filly as she brought the frying pan down again, knocking the Timberwolf off the wagon. The two watched as the wolf bounced down the trail and crash into a few of its brethren. To the two fillies' disbelief however, more wolves had joined in the chase as it went on; now five Timberwolves right on their flanks.
Apple Bloom leaned over the side of their fast moving wagon and scooped a few of the passing rocks up, and lobbed one at a nearby wolf. She was rewarded with the explosion of wood as the rock obliterated the monster. Sweetie Belle swung the frying pan as hard as her magic would let her at another one that was getting too close for comfort.
“Hold on!” shouted Scootaloo as she took a hard right on the trail. The wagon lifted up on two wheels as it slide around the corner with the scooter. The wolves, not expecting the quick change in course slid right past the turn, which for a moment led the Crusaders to believe they had escaped their pursuers. However a series of howls informed them otherwise as the pack burst through the treeline.
The danger they were in was fueling Scootaloo's adrenaline. she flapped as hard as she could. The possibility of dying at the claw of the wolves as one thing, but she in no way wanted to receive the scolding she’d get from Rainbow Dash if the pegasus ever found out about this. She lowered her head slightly, and narrowed her eyes.
Rainbow Dash may be the fastest flier Equestria has ever seen, but nopony can beat Scootaloo on land when she's riding her scooter.
"Hang on girls!" she called back to her friends as an idea popped into her head. “This is going to be just like Daring Do and The Griffon's Goblet!”
“Ya know those are just stories, right?” Apple Bloom called back as she chucked another rock. “She ain’t real!”
“Just hang on!”
The scooter-wagon combo slid without effort around the next bend, and approached the edge of a small cliff, spread out below the fifty foot drop were deeper, and darker forests. The following pack slowed down out of a mix of curiosity and necessity, due to the trail becoming too narrow to operate in the frenzied attack pattern that so clearly defined the wooden creatures.
But they were equally unwilling to let their meal go so easily.
The foremost Timberwolf raced ahead of the pack, dodging rocks from the screaming earthpony in the wagon, and gave a final lunge in an attempt to catch them.
He fell short, but not enough to miss the wagon.
The Timberwolf’s front claws smacked the back of the wagon with enough force to cause it to jump in the air, but it landed wrong. Instead of landing neatly back on its wheels, it crashed on the front axle, violently jerking the little cart from side to side until one of the wheels caught a rock edge.
The wagon immediately went airborne again, and the fillies inside could no longer feel the metal beneath their hooves. It smacked down again, but this time it slide partially off the trail and hung over the edge. The resulting force caused the fillies to bounce around and slide against the back.
“Apple Bloom!” cried Sweetie Belle as she tumbled over the back of the wagon.
“Sweetie!” The farm filly lunged forward and caught her friend by the hoof
“Just hang on, Sweetie!”
“LIKE I WAS GOING TO DO SOMETHING ELSE!?”
Apple Bloom bit back a sarcastic response and fought to try to pull the unicorn back into the wagon. All their saddlebags decided to try and help too, because they all shifted and now pinned the earthpony against the edge of the wagon.
The action was taking its toll on Scootaloo. The entire weight had moved to one side and she was putting more energy into keeping the scooter and what was left of the wagon on the trail, rather than move forward.
“What are you guys doing back there!” yelled Scootaloo as she risked a look back. Sparks fountained from the metal of the wagon was grinding on the rock, and she could just make out her white unicorn friend dangling for her life. Scootaloo gritted her teeth and changed her style. Instead of flapping as fast as she could with short, fast strokes, she started doing longer, powerful strokes.
There was no way she could fling the wagon back onto the trail, which meant that they had to go down.
Scootaloo took a deep breath, and drove her scooter off the edge.
Adrenaline slowed time, and the sound of her breath drowned out the screams of her friends. She could hear her heart pounding in her chest as the front wheel of the scooter dropped towards the forest below. As the wagon was the heavier item, it was the one falling first, causing her to be backwards in the free fall. It wasn’t a problem for the little pegasus though, as the same idea was in one of her stunt moves she liked to do back home when the canal was dry. Just larger scale.
Scootaloo rotated her scooter around and shifted her body down so she was now pointing at the rapidly approaching ground, and gave several powerful flaps with her wings. Pretty soon, Scootaloo was in front of the wagon and had the orientation back to normal, with the exception of falling. The pegasus kept her wings extended and leaned her body weight to one side to guide the falling scooter-wagon train to her next target; a dead tree.
The dead tree was a light grey, and sticking up out of swamp water at a lazy angle the resembled a C. It would work for a landing, if she had the wings of a fully grown pegasus. However, landing wasn’t her goal, it was the opposite; to keep going. At the bottom of the tree was a large gather of mud a roots that gave as perfect as a ramp as she could hope for.
The scooter touched down gently on the tree, but the wagon bucked with such a force from its occupants and supplies that Scootaloo nearly lost her grip and almost got thrown off in the process. She bit off a few choice words that she had heard Rainbow Dash use a few times when things went weird or “sideways” as she would say.
The Crusaders found themselves sailing in the air again as they left the impromptu ramp of the tree. Scootaloo was ready for this landing and pulled on her handlebars in order to pull off a smoother landing. Because of the weight, she felt the wagon touch the ground first and then her own scooter, and skid to a stop. She gave herself a smile and a loud victory shout.
“Crusaders! Did you see th-” In the wagon was some sort of pile of ponies and saddle bags. She watched as one of the saddlebags shifted and Apple Bloom’s head stuck out, shooting the other filly a glare of death, of which Scootaloo couldn’t help but laugh at.
“Ah swear, Scoots, if ya ever, ever do that again, Ah’ll kill ya,” huffed the earth pony. A white hoof broke free of somewhere underneath the pile and shook in agreement.
The sound of howls in the distance stopped Scootaloo’s remark of them at least being alive. “Shoot, I thought we lost them.”
“They’re Timberwolves,” squeaked Sweetie Belle as she finally wiggled her head free. “They aren’t going to give up that easy!”
“That was easy?”
“Just get going, Scoots!” shouted Apple Bloom. The pegasus again shot forward like a rocket, causing the fillies to get squished underneath their bags in the back again just as they were nearly untangled.
The Timberwolves green eyes could be seen in the shadows behind the crusaders. It wasn't long before they were fully visible in the dim light under the trees, and were gaining on the little wagon. Scootaloo had to push her wings harder than ever before, closing her eyes to try and focus more on flying then anything else. Her wings were moving like the engine of a machine, causing the scooter's speed to be instantly doubled, almost as if it was powered by magic. Slowly, but surely, she started inching her way from the predators. Soon the Timberwolves were ten feet away... then twenty feet away. They didn't give up the chase, however they howled sadly that their food might be getting away.
But this could only last so much longer. Scootaloo was tiring out. Her wings were incredibly sore and she didn't think she could maintain this speed for much longer. She closed her eyes and hoped for a miracle, because in a moment they would be completely out of luck.
"Look! The Castle!" Sweetie Belle shouted desperately. Her voice forced Scootaloo to open her eyes. Scootaloo smiled at the sight of the Forest's end and the looming castle ruins coming into sight. As soon as she entered the clearing she slowed down to prepare to ride over the rickety bridge that sat between the crusaders and the ruins of Celestia's old castle.
"Hang on girls!" She commanded to her friends, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom nodded while grabbing the side of the wagon. The Timberwolves were approaching once again but Scootaloo starting forcing herself faster once again.
"Girls grab something sharp from our bags and get ready to cut the ropes!"
"CUT THE WHAT?!" Sweetie Belle yelled, voice cracking stronger then usual. Scootaloo ignored the unicorn and hoped Apple Bloom understood what to do. As they started to cross the bridge Scootaloo looked down over the side of it. Memories quickly came back to her from a few nights before... If Rainbow didn't catch her as she fell... she shuddered the thought, and refocused her attention to the situation at hoof. They reached the end of the bridge and Scootaloo came to a stop right beside the pillars the bridge's ropes were tied to. As she turned she saw Apple Bloom produce a pair of scissors out of her own saddlebag.
"Quick Apple Bloom! Cut the rope!" Scootaloo shouted. She looked up at the other side of the bridge and saw the Timberwolves starting to cross it. They would be on the Crusaders in a matter of seconds.
"APPLE BLOOM CUT IT!"
She snipped the rope many times but despite being old, it held strong. The Timberwolves were halfway across by now.
"Come on you dumb rope come on..."
She pushed the scissors hard against the rope and it finally gave away. The bridge completely turned on its side, forcing the Timberwolves to slide off and fall down into the chasm below. They howled and whined as they fell, but when they hit the ground the girls no longer heard a peep.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders let out a big sigh. Each one of them falling to the ground, taking a moment to breathe.
"Scootaloo... this crusade isn't exactly going as you planned it so far is it?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Well not exactly... but it's only just started," She panted softly. After a moment of rest she rose to her hooves and flexed her tiny wings, they were unbearably sore. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle stood up as well, glancing over at the large and ominous castle ruins spread out before them.
"Hey... you know what," Scootaloo started, "I think I've got some good news!" She trotted to the wagon. and after a moment of digging through her orange and pink saddlebag she pulled out the Equestrian map.
"Look, if we had gone ALL the way around the forest it would take us forever to get to Manehattan! Thanks to those stupid Timberwolves now we just have to go through the castle and through a little more woods and we'll be on the other side!" she proudly rolled up the map and casually tossed it back into her back. "Crusaders, we've got ourselves a shortcut!" Scootaloo stood tall and triumphant, but when she turned her attention to her friends, she found Sweetie Belle asleep next to the wagon, and Apple Bloom trotted to the other pillar that held up the bridge. She rolled her eyes and chuckled softly. "Oh come on guys we really should keep...." She let out a yawn, "going so we can... ugh. I'm tired." She trotted over to the little unicorn and gently attempted to lift her up.
"Come on Sweets get up! At least get in the wagon!"
Sweetie must've heard Scootaloo subconsciously because without opening her eyes she stood up and threw herself in the wagon.
"Alright, one down..." Scootaloo did a one-eighty and turned to face Apple Bloom.
Apple Bloom stood by the rope with her scissors and was rubbing the dull blade against it. She slowly nodded off as she tried to finish the other rope off.
"Apple Bloom what are you doing?" Scootaloo asked her curiously.
"Just making both sides match." She answered back tiredly. After a minute of cutting, the rope snapped and the bridge in its entirety fell against the opposite side of the chasm. Apple Bloom waddled back over to Scootaloo. "There... I got it." She handed Scoots the scissors and then got into the wagon. She laid down next to Sweetie, and slowly drifted back into a peaceful sleep.
Scootaloo smiled. "Sleep tight Crusaders... we got a long day tomorrow!" Scootaloo hopped on her Scooter and using a hind hoof slowly pushed herself and her friends to the crumbled entrance of Celestia and Luna's old castle.