Chapter 7: Life, Death, and The Words In Between
The cuteceanera was a blast! Sweetie had enjoyed herself thoroughly, but been surprised when Scootaloo insisted on inviting Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. Once the pegasus explained it was just so she could rub the bullies' noses in it, it made more sense. Sweetie didn't really see the need for such vindictiveness herself, but she hadn't gotten the brunt of their teasing either. Besides, if Scootaloo wanted a little bit of relatively harmless vengeance, she couldn't deny her friend that. She did wonder how many times they could tolerate hearing Scootaloo retell her story though, as the look on their faces got worse each time.
Pinkie Pie, of course, had provided cake and decorations, also volunteering Sugarcube Corner so the event could be in town. Fluttershy had brought a choir of birds and had been providing music through the afternoon. As expected, there were games, dancing, and lots of sugary delights. Everypony was having a great time... then the first notes of the Chicken Dance started to play. Many of the foals from school knew Scootaloo had often been teased and called "chicken" due to her small wings, but poor Fluttershy apparently had no idea. Sweetie knew the mare would never have played such a song if she had. Then Pinkie Pie happened.
The pink mare leapt into the center of the dance floor, somehow dressed in a chicken costume. "Come on everypony!" She cried, starting to flap and wiggle. "Do the chicken dance!"
The dull roar of conversation around the room died off, as ponies across the party all turned to look at Scootaloo, who could no longer ignore what was happening. Diamond and Silver were grinning ear to ear, ready to see the guest of honor start crying or run off. As Pinkie continued to flap, twist, and clap in front of everyone, Sweetie Belle couldn't tell for sure if she was just completely oblivious, or if the baker instead knew exactly what she was doing. Sweetie suspected it was the latter though, and felt it confirmed a moment later when Scootaloo smiled and said, "Yeah, I love this song!" before joining the giant pink chicken on the dance floor. In a matter of moments, most of the other foals and even a few of the adults had joined them, everypony flapping and shaking their rumps as the room filled with laughter. Sweetie Belle soon joined them, and was glad to see that her friend was now able to laugh and have fun with a situation that might have ruined her entire night had it happened even a year ago.
The two troublemakers left before the song was even over, stomping out the door in frustration as Sweetie watched.
The rest of the party had gone off without a hitch, cruising on into the early evening. As it wound down to just Pinkie Pie and the other crusaders, Sweetie Belle realized she should probably head home as well. Rarity had left a few hours before, after extracting a promise from Sweetie that she'd head straight back to the boutique afterwards. She said her goodbyes, congratulating Scootaloo a final time, and headed for the door. As she stepped outside, the brisk air gave her a new sense of alertness, and she noticed that Fluttershy was in the street, singing softly to herself as she was feeding—or was it paying?—the birds that had been in the choir.
The yellow pegasus had an amazing voice, and Sweetie had always been impressed with how the normally timid mare could somehow put on a show in front of so many ponies. Sweetie herself loved to sing, but the thought of doing it in public always made her nervous. The point had been driven home during the party, as she realized that she should've been first on the dance floor, supporting her friend. Instead, she'd waited until most of the other foals were already joining in.
"How do you do it?" Sweetie said, approaching Fluttershy.
"I'm sorry," the yellow pegasus said. "How do I do what?"
"Sing in front of all those ponies?"
"Oh, umm... I don't know really. I just, I want to sing, and it feels so nice to do so."
"Doesn't it make you nervous though, with everypony watching you?"
"Well, umm, it used to, but I just try not to think about it too much."
"I wish I could do that," Sweetie said, idly scraping a hoof in the dirt. "I just get so embarrassed."
"Oh, that's no good at all." Fluttershy put down her birdseed and turned to the filly. "Your sister tells me you have a lovely voice. There's no need to be embarrassed."
"I... I know. I love to sing, but, it's just hard when other ponies are watching."
"Have you ever tried music lessons? I know they helped me when I was younger."
"I thought about it," Sweetie said. "But every time I talk to Octavia, she always seems so uptight. And I don't think Vinyl would even know what 'embarrassed' means."
"Well, umm, I could always try and teach you some things. That is, if you'd like."
"Really?" Sweetie said, her ears perking up. "You'd do that?"
"Oh yes, I'd be happy too. I mean, I'm not an expert or anything like Octavia, but I could try and help."
"That would be great!" Sweetie said excitedly, then her head drooped again. "But I don't really have much allowance to pay you with."
"Oh, you don't have to pay me," Fluttershy said. "I couldn't imagine taking bits for something that's only a hobby!"
"Are you sure? I mean, Octavia charges quite a few bits for her lessons, and... Wait! I know!" Sweetie again perked up. "I'll help you with your animals. Feed them, clean out cages, whatever you need!"
"Oh my..." Fluttershy said, taken aback by the filly's enthusiasm. "Well, yes, I suppose that would be okay. Besides, I'm sure all the sweet little animals would love to hear you sing as much as I would."
The filly ran and wrapped her legs around Fluttershy's neck. "Oh, thank you so much, Fluttershy!"
Rarity had been thrilled when she heard Sweetie would be taking lessons from Fluttershy, and not just "crusading" all the time. Not that she disapproved of her sister's friends, but a little time spent on a more focused activity should mean at least a bit less property damage to the boutique—on average—than the usual adventures.
More importantly, Rarity knew that Sweetie had a real talent for singing, and recognized that Fluttershy was the perfect pony to help her be confident using it. Rarity had chuckled at the thought; who would've suspected just a few years ago that Fluttershy would be teaching confidence? Sometimes it really amazed her how many ways her friends had grown over the past few years together. Friendship really was magic at times.
As the weeks went by, Apple Bloom couldn't be happier with things either. The fact that Scootaloo had gotten her mark, despite being a golem, meant she was sure to get her own as well. On top of that, Scootaloo herself was more fun to be around. Now that she'd conquered her dream, she'd cut back on the books and studying. She talked frequently about her theories, and spent plenty of time in flight practice of course, but it'd become a hobby, rather than an obsession. As such, the trio went back to their more adventurous ways, with Scootaloo pushing the others harder than ever so they could get their own marks.
Apple Bloom was happy to go along just for the adventure and excitement of course. Sweetie Belle however, had begun to realize that the "try everything" approach wasn't really how ponies found their true talents, and that their adventures in that department weren't likely to yield results. Still though, she was perfectly content just to be around her two best friends, and didn't really care if she had to wait a year—or even ten years—to get her mark.
Over at the library, Twilight Sparkle continued her research on the fillies' nature as best as she could. She'd exhausted all the useful books in her own library, as well as those in Canterlot. Her studies now came in punctuated bursts, whenever new books arrived by request from far off libraries around the world.
The unicorn had also spent a fair bit of time studying the theories Scootaloo had developed for supersonic flight. It was really quite impressive, as the filly seemed to solve by intuition problems that Twilight would've spent days just building mathematical models for. Even once she understood the math completely, Twilight still had a hard time believing Scootaloo had actually flown above the atmosphere. Not that she doubted the filly—or Luna's corroborating testimony—it's just that it was, well... too amazing for her mind to properly accept. Ever since the filly had described the experience, Twilight couldn't get the image out of her head—a curving planet, surrounded by stars at midday, sun and moon both in perfect clarity. It was hard to think of a more beautiful vista.
Twilight felt she'd always imagined grander things than most other ponies, and she'd spent years gazing at the stars, the moon, and the rest of the night sky. Yet it'd never really occurred to her that a pony could actually fly up and touch it! But apparently it was possible, and she knew she wanted to see it for herself, even if that meant carving a big chunk of time out of her schedule to join Rainbow Dash in the daily flight lessons Scootaloo had offered the two.
The lessons were difficult, for both her and Dash. Twilight had never been the most athletic pony, and the levels of effort that were required made for a regular struggle. At least the theory side of things was something she could comprehend though. Rainbow Dash seemed to have the opposite problem. The physical fitness side of things was not a challenge, but the complex theories and magical finesse required continued to frustrate the pegasus. Scootaloo had joked one day that if they could just combine their talents, they'd have it down in a heartbeat. To Twilight's credit, she'd only seriously considered the idea for less than a minute before dismissing it—and the sort of spell required—as too dangerous.
As for Pinkie Pie... well, there was that incident with the duck and the rubber hose, but for the most part, she was just happy that all her friends were happy.
"I still can't believe ya didn't get yer cutie mark!" Apple Bloom said, after she and her friends found each other amongst the crowds outside the show.
"Yeah, Sweetie," Scootaloo added. "You were totally awesome up there! You totally should've gotten your mark for that!"
"Thanks, girls," Sweetie Belle said. "I don't mind though. I had so much fun doing it, that's what matters."
"Yeah, not to mention you got first place! Those lessons with Fluttershy really paid off."
"We always knew ya liked singin'," Apple Bloom said. "But once ya started those lessons, it really looked like that just had to be yer true talent! Then tonight... first place at the spring talent show an' everything. I was just certain ya were gonna have yer mark after that standin' ovation."
Sweetie smiled, her friends' unwavering support warming her heart. While she was really and truly content just to enjoy herself, Sweetie did have to admit that she had thought the same thing herself, just for a moment. Just that one perfect moment, as she held that long, final note, the crowd rising and stomping in uproarious applause, the spotlight shining on her alone. Just for that moment she'd thought maybe, just maybe, she'd turn around and find her cutie mark. But apparently it wasn't meant to be, and that really was okay. First place, as Apple Bloom would say, was nothing to shake a stick at, and she meant it when she told her friends that the enjoyment she got from singing was really what mattered.
In the months since she'd started lessons, Sweetie had managed to overcome her stage fright, and the confidence she found felt wonderful. Not that confidence was all Fluttershy had taught her. The pegasus was actually quite musically adept, and had helped Sweetie improve in many technical aspects as well. Sweetie had never realized just how complicated vocal lessons could actually be, but she'd learned to love every minute of it as she practiced with Fluttershy and her animal choirs. She'd come to enjoy the time spent with the animals as well, quickly realizing why Fluttershy adored them so much. Getting first place felt great, Sweetie wouldn't deny that, but it also felt great being able to thank the pegasus in front of everyone. It had been a cliche thing to say, but Sweetie really was sincere when she'd told the crowd that she would never have been up there without Fluttershy.
"Come along, Sweetie!" The trio were interrupted by Rarity. "Time to go home!"
"Aww..." Scootaloo said. "I wanted to go celebrate!"
"It is a school night, dear, and even first place isn't going to excuse Sweetie from finishing her homework. I'm sure your own parents might have similar feelings, hmm?
Scootaloo nodded in acquiescence.
"You can all celebrate tomorrow," Rarity promised.
"Yeah! We'll have a party tomorrow!" Scootaloo declared, before looking around suspiciously when nothing happened. As nothing continued to happen, the others began to do the same. Then, when they'd almost given up...
"Did... somepony... say... par...ty!" gasped a bedraggled looking Pinkie Pie, legs splayed at the edge of collapse and feebly attempting to blow on a party horn.
"Pinkie?" Rarity said. "What's wrong, dear?"
As she worked on catching her breath, the party pony counted categories on her hooves. "So that's three places... and a runner up... in nine categories... plus six... special recognition awards." Pinkie leaned in toward Rarity and the three fillies. With shifty eyes and a conspiratorial whisper she asked, "Do you have any idea how many parties just got declared in the past five minutes?"
"Forty-two?" Scootaloo said, not missing a beat.
Pinkie quirked her eyebrow in thought, and began quickly tapping her hooves in a recount. "Oh no!" She cried, coming up short. Before they knew what happened, the remaining ponies could hear a party horn bleating from the far side of the crowd. Rarity chuckled softly. "She never changes, does she?"
The next day, the Cutie Mark Crusaders had met up in town and were heading toward their clubhouse.
"I still say we should've had a real party," Scootaloo said, a dejected tone in her voice.
"Aww, you heard Pinkie," Sweetie said. "Forty-two parties is too many, and I don't really need one. I just want to hang out with my friends."
"Okay, fine," Scootaloo said. "But I still got you a surprise!"
Sweetie Belle wasn't sure what to expect.
"Okay, close your eyes," Scootaloo said, as the trio came to the clubhouse entrance. She put her forehooves on Sweetie's back, guiding her up the steps and into the clubhouse. "Okay, open them!"
Sweetie obeyed, and found herself staring at the far wall of the clubhouse.
"Tada!" Scootaloo said, hovering just off the floor to gesture at a crudely built shelf. "I figured we needed a place to display all our trophies!"
Apple Bloom and Sweetie looked at the single trophy on the shelf, from their disastrous group attempt at a rock music show. The thing had been tossed around the clubhouse quite a bit as they continually rearranged the place for new projects, and had certainly seen better days. It did look kinda better up there, Sweetie thought, if a bit lonely.
"So?" Scootaloo asked, impatient. "What do you think?"
"Yeah, I like it," Sweetie said. "I can get mine and put it up there too." It wouldn't be too hard to talk Rarity into letting it go, she thought.
Rarity, proud of her little sister—perhaps more proud than Sweetie herself—had insisted on putting Sweetie's award from last night on the mantle at the boutique.
"Uhh... No need," Scootaloo said, as she pulled the award out of a box in the corner.
Sweetie glared the obvious, unspoken question at her friend.
"Remember when I said I forgot something and dashed off for a moment on the way here?"
Sweetie continued to stare, causing Scootaloo to blush with embarrassment as she continued. "So, yeah... I might've actually gone back to your sister's place and snagged this, then stashed it here."
"Does Rarity know you took it?"
"I left a note?" Scootaloo said, uncertain if that counted.
Sweetie sighed, then smiled. As usual, she couldn't stay mad at her friend, and the pegasus had done it with the best of intentions. "Alright, I'll tell her later."
"Well, go on then!" Apple Bloom said, nodding at the pegasus. "Put it up there."
Scootaloo grinned, hovering higher and placing Sweetie's trophy on the shelf, twisting it back and and forth several times, trying to get just the right angle. "There," she said, making one final adjustment. "Perfect!"
As she said it, the single, impatiently pounded nail on one end gave way, and the shelf collapsed. Scootaloo grabbed for the nearest trophy, but missed. Apple Bloom dove for the other, but came up short as well. Sweetie Belle, however, managed to catch both in her field before they hit the floor.
"Wow, umm... those things must be heavier than I thought!" Scootaloo said.
Apple Bloom just rolled her eyes. "Don't worry," she said with a sigh, as she took the surprisingly lightweight trophies from Sweetie. "I'll fix it later." Placing the trophies in the corner farthest from the dangling shelf, she amended under her breath, "Like I always do."
Sweetie Belle actually heard the last bit, and tried to suppress a giggle. For all that Scootaloo had learned, she still couldn't hit a nail to save her life. Apple Bloom made eye contact with the giggling unicorn, and then started laughing herself. Scootaloo, meanwhile, was sure she'd missed something, and demanded to be let in on the joke. The situation escalated from there, back into the normal chaos that tended to surround everything the trio did, and they spent the next bit of the afternoon joking, laughing, and planning future adventures.
The chatter was interrupted by a loud boom and a falling shelf.
"What was that?" Scootaloo said.
Apple Bloom didn't even turn to look. "Sounds like yer trophy shelf finally gave up for good."
Then there was another boom, and all three of the ponies felt the clubhouse rattle.
"I only built one shelf," Scootaloo said, standing up. The other two got their hooves under them as well, and walked out to the porch. Another booming thud was followed by the distant sound of Winona barking.
"Somethin' ain't right!" Apple Bloom said. The barking was coming from the far east part of the orchard, toward the border with the Everfree, and she stared hard in that direction.
"You two coming or what?" Scootaloo said, already hovering over the bottom of the clubhouse steps as they heard another thud. The other two looked at each other, then turned and trotted down the steps, following Scootaloo off into the orchards.
"Come on, come on!" Scootaloo said, flying backwards and trying to speed up the two land-bound ponies. Sweetie and Apple Bloom were galloping as fast as they could without tripping over the various roots and branches the winter had left scattered between the trees. The barking and the thuds had gotten louder as they approached, and then Apple Bloom thought she could make out hollering up ahead as well.
"That sounds like Applejack," she said.
"What do you think is going on?" Sweetie said between breaths.
They didn't have to wait long for an answer though. As the trio came to the top of a low ridge, they saw it, and came to a stop trying to contemplate what was before them. There, down in the next shallow valley, was the biggest timberwolf they'd ever heard of. Applejack had told them all of the giant, amalgamated, wooden canine Spike had rescued her from, but this one looked to be ten times that size at least. Running between its massive paws and snapping jaws they could see Applejack and Winona as well. Another earth-shaking thud rumbled across the valley as the thing's massive paw slammed down again, just missing Applejack.
Scootaloo didn't hesitate, dashing over the rise and down, before looking back to see who followed. Sweetie was hot on her tail, but she was surprised that there was no sign of Apple Bloom.
"I'm comin', sis!" The determined shout came from in front of her, the earth pony already well ahead of the world's fastest pegasus. Scootaloo felt bad she'd doubted her friend for even a second, and sped up to join her.
As the fillies got closer, they could see the battle wasn't going well. Applejack was barely dodging paws and teeth as they tried to crush her, and only very rarely getting in even a single kick. The kicks themselves seemed to do nothing, which was saying something when they came from a pony who could uproot trees with her strength. Then she slipped.
The fillies' eyes all went wide as they saw the wolf's paw connect. It swatted Applejack like a gnat. The fillies heard the sickening crunch even over their own galloping hooves. The mare was sent flying into a nearby boulder, her body wrapping partly around the rock like a wet noodle, ending in another awful crack as her skull made impact. Applejack slid to the ground, limbs at impossible angles, and didn't move.
Apple Bloom screamed, charging the giant beast with tears streaming from her eyes. In her wake, large swaths of grass withered and died instantly where her hooves touched the ground. Reaching the wolf, she leapt, kicking, bucking and punching every bit of timber she could. At each impact, green bits of leaf would shrivel, twigs would dry up and fall, and the larger trunks and branches would form knotholes of rot. The beast was huge though, and the angry little pony could barely even reach its ankles.
She didn't care though. Apple Bloom would take the thing apart inch by inch if she had to. So she kept kicking, kept bucking, and kept pouring all of her anger and hatred into a furious whirlwind of hooves, pausing her attack only long enough to dodge when the thing tried to swat at her or take a bite.
Apple Bloom didn't know it, but Scootaloo had rushed to attack as well. The pegasus soared all around the head and shoulders of the timberwolf, taking shots at its tender ears, eyes, and nose whenever she could manage. Unlike Apple Bloom though, she didn't seem to be able to do much more than annoy the creature. Still, she figured that if she could at least keep its attention, then it would have less of a chance of hurting her friends. Unfortunately, only a minute or so into the fight, it seemed to realize what she was doing, and focused back on the troublesome filly at its paws.
Stepping to the side as the timberwolf swatted at her yet again, Apple Bloom didn't see the root sticking out of the ground, and found herself tripping. She managed to roll out of the way just in time, but before she could stand, another paw was coming down directly on top of her and there was no way she could dodge it.
Opening her eyes, Apple Bloom found the woven tree trunks had stopped just above her, the telltale blue glow of Sweetie Belle's field saving her life. She rolled out from under the paw as the creature stomped again in the same place. She was sick of this, and had an idea. Leaping onto the toes, she quickly scrambled up to the thing's ankle. There she punched a forehoof into the wood, causing it to rot and crumble. This gave her a place to grip. Doing the same with the other forehoof, she started to climb.
Meanwhile, Sweetie Belle stood just beyond the range of the enraged timberwolf. She was keeping a close eye on her friends, and using her magic to tangle and restrain the wolf wherever she could. She saw that Winona had gone to Applejack's side as the fight moved down the valley slightly. That meant the dog and Applejack were out of range of the battle—at least for the moment—letting her focus her energy solely on protecting her two friends. That was good, as preventing Apple Bloom from being crushed had taken an incredible amount of energy indeed. The beast had the mass of an entire forest, considerable inertia, and gravity on its side. It also refused to give up.
Scootaloo was running out of ideas. She could still distract the timberwolf with a solid hit to a tender area, but it was expecting those now, and came pretty close to chomping her last time she dove at its face. Maybe she could do some damage if she came in at supersonic and cracked the barrier next to its ears or something, but she could just as easily end up hitting the thing and flattening herself as well.
Apple Bloom wasn't faring much better. She'd made it halfway up the creature's front leg, but then it started trying to shake her off. Her hoofholds were good, but the sheer size of the thing meant it could bring an amazing amount of centrifugal force to bear as it swung the massive limb back and forth. Apple Bloom could only hold on, hugging her body tightly to the wood. Unfortunately, the rotting continued as she did, the entire section between her hooves splintering and coming free on an upward swing.
Sweetie gasped as she saw Apple Bloom go flying. Thankfully, Scootaloo saw it too, diving to catch her friend as she sailed down the valley. Sweetie saw the two disappear behind an outcropping, and galloped in pursuit to make sure they were okay. She found them, safe, but shaken from what had apparently been a crash landing.
"That was close," Scootaloo said, gasping for air.
"Yeah, thanks," Apple Bloom said, getting back to her hooves. "Why won't that thing go away? We gotta get it outta here somehow and get back to my sister, but I can't do more than dent it."
"Well, at least you can dent it," Scootaloo said, still out of breath. "It barely notices anything I hit it with."
The conversation was interrupted by an earth-shaking growl and a series of thuds. Turning to look, the fillies saw the timberwolf rounding the bend in the valley, stalking towards them.
Apple Bloom charged again with renewed anger. "Why won't you die!"
Scootaloo dusted off as well, still out of ideas, but ready to do what she could.
The beast swept another massive paw at Apple Bloom, and Sweetie grabbed it in her field, slowing it just enough that Apple Bloom could dodge. As she did so though, she didn't see the massive jaws bearing down from above her own position until the last moment. Sweetie leapt backwards, but the wolf managed to snag her left front leg in its teeth, yanking her into the air after it made contact with flesh.
Sweetie felt herself being tossed like a rag doll as the creature shook its head back and forth. There was pain, something very rare to the magical golem. That pain was getting worse, which was even rarer. She heard herself scream, some part of her surprised by the noise, almost like it came from somewhere outside herself. Then something gave, and the unicorn found herself weightless.
Opening her eyes, the world seemed to move in slow motion. She was high above the timberwolf, thrown free when her lower foreleg had ripped loose. Looking down at the limb, she saw it ended just below the elbow, glowing blue droplets running over the bent and twisted metal protruding from the stump. There was pain, yes, but a strange calmness as well. Pain was there to let her know she was injured, but that was all. It was just a situational notification, not something to worry about now that she was aware of the injury.
Looking back to the ground below, she realized there was quite a large fall scheduled in her future. Scootaloo was buzzing the wolf's head still, but after a relative moment, she looked up and saw Sweetie, changing course to head her way. That seemed like a waste of time to the unicorn though, and she teleported herself to the top of the outcropping below, instead of waiting on the seemingly slow pegasus to catch her. Arriving, Sweetie balanced on her three remaining hooves and surveyed the ongoing battle.
Scootaloo looked surprised, seeing only a blue flash in the sky where her friend had been. It only lasted a fractional second—or a lingering moment for Sweetie—though. Scootaloo had reaction times in a league only Rainbow Dash could match, and quickly recognized the teleport for what it was. As such, she turned and rapidly found Sweetie perched atop the rocky outcrop. The pegasus's face took on a look of horror though, once she realized her friend had lost a leg, and flew to check on her.
As Sweetie watched, Scootaloo forgot completely about the timberwolf, pausing midair in shock for a moment, before flying directly toward her. The wolf didn't forget though, and lunged, jaws open, ready to snap upon the distracted orange pegasus. Sweetie looked down to the creature's feet as well, seeing that Apple Bloom still seemed determined to get stepped on, attacking the paws of the creature to little effect. And the wolf itself was no less stubborn, she realized.
All timberwolves were known to be vicious, but could usually be scared off without too much effort. This one was relentless though, never mind enormous. It may have already killed one pony, and it didn't look like it would stop until it had killed Sweetie and her friends as well. Even if they ran, Sweetie imagined that the creature would only end up hurting some other pony instead. On top of that, until they got rid of it, there was no way to get help to Applejack.
Looking up again, Sweetie saw that the massive jaws were just now closing above and below the oblivious Scootaloo. No, there was no other choice. She had to stop this timberwolf, and it wouldn't stop until it was dead. With her mind made up, Sweetie Belle struck. She formed a razor sharp field, instantly shearing the creature's head in two right in front of its "ears." Momentum still carried the closing jaws together, but detached now from the creature, they crashed together just behind the escaping pegasus. Sweetie saw that her strike had been clean. The glow of life in the creatures eyes winked out even before the jaws had collided, meaning she hadn't caused any extra suffering to the beast as she ended its life. She felt Fluttershy would respect that.
"What happened?" Scootaloo said, landing next to Sweetie Belle.
"It wasn't going to give up," Sweetie said, feeling the universe speed back up around her. "So I stopped it."
"Yeah, but..." Scootaloo wasn't sure to make of that, then remembered. "Oh my gosh, Sweetie, your leg!"
"It's okay, it doesn't hurt much."
Scootaloo looked down at the injured leg. Only a drop or two of blue could be seen on the ground below the stump. That was good, she thought, right? She didn't know a lot about first aid—and even if she had, she doubted it would have much to stay about ponies with metal skeletons—but not bleeding profusely was probably a good thing. "If you say so, Sweetie."
"Trust me Scoots, I'm fine. We should see to Applejack, though," Sweetie said, before teleporting herself back to the initial scene of the fight.
Scootaloo felt the pit of her stomach drop as she remembered what she'd seen happen to Apple Bloom's sister. She sped toward the boulder where they'd last seen Applejack, and caught up with Apple Bloom along the way. Flying overhead, she could hear the galloping earth pony repeating a tearful prayer to whatever powers might be listening. "Please be okay! Please be okay! Please be okay!"
I know, I know! What a horrible place to end a chapter!
Just imagine how bad it was before the story was complete and you couldn't just click right to the next chapter!