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On The Wings of a Dream · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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Come Fly With Me
Sounds of chatter from down below wrenched Rainbow Dash from a shallow sleep. That meant two things. One: her mid-morning nap had become an afternoon nap. Unsurprising, since they often stretched well into the evening.

And two: Her cloud had drifted to the surface, or at least, close enough to the surface that noisy earth ponies could wake her up. Also unsurprising. That happened a lot. That was easy for any pegasus to fix; just hug the cloud you're sleeping on and beat your wings until you float to a good height. But that sounded like work. Rainbow was not about that life.

So, grumbling, Rainbow went with plan B. She dug her hooves into the poofy surface of the cloud, wadded up the cottony stuff into soft, sizable lumps, and stuffed them into her ears. Then she buried her face into the cloud again, clenched her eyes shut, and ordered herself to sleep.

It did nothing to drown out the voices – two of 'em, fillies' voices, shrill and sharp – down below.

"'Not a loser,' she says. Do you buy that, D.T.?"

"As if! She probably thinks we're stupid enough to believe anything she says."

A third voice – raspy, like broken eggshells – protested. "I didn't say that! I wouldn't – I'm not picking on you, so why do you gotta pick on––"

The shrill fillies laughed together. "I think we offended her, Spoon."

"Well, that's just what she deserves, D.T., for talking the way she does about other ponies. Callin' 'em dumb right to their faces."

"We are honor roll students. You are a blank-flank who can barely spell her own name. So you got no right to talk about us like that."

"Can't fly, can't spell, can't even get a cutie mark – no wonder you're all by yourself on a day like this. You're even too lame for those blank flank friends of yours."

They broke into laughter again, grating against Rainbow's eardrums. She clenched her teeth tight, squeezed her eyes shut tighter, flattened her ears against her skull and pressed her hooves down against them. Nothing drowned it out.

Finally, she shoved her head through the bottom of her cloud and glared down at the trio of fillies below. One of them, she recognized as one of Apple Bloom's little friends – Scoodle, or Toodleoo, or something. They'd hooked up recently, along with Rarity's little sister, uh... Sweaty Socks. Yeah, that was it.

The other two were circling Toodleoo like a pair of sharks, heads tossed back and shrieking their shrieky little laughs. Rainbow had no clue who they were, but they were getting on her nerves, with their talking and their laughter and their voices like talons on a chalkboard.

So Rainbow sucked in a breath, and shouted to shut them up.


Immediately, the noisy fillies shut up and darted back, lining up behind Noodlestew. They beamed, baring blindingly white, obnoxiously perfect teeth, so bright that Rainbow had to squint.

The third one just gaped, bug-eyed.

"Would you keep a lid on it down there?" Rainbow snapped. "Some of us are trying to nap!"

"Sorry, Rainbow Dash!" chirped one of the fillies – the pink one with the little crown thingy on her head. "Sorry to wake you up."

"So sorry," her silver-haired friend agreed. "We'll try and turn it down a skosh."

"Uh-huh." Rainbow dug her hooves into her ears, picking out the now-waxy lumps of cloud – they hadn't been working, anyway. "What're you even up to?"

"Nothin'!" said the silvery filly. "Nothin' serious. Just joshin'."

"Horsing around," said Crown Thingy. She laughed nervously. "Get it? Horsin'?"

"'Cuz we're ponies," Silvery blurted. "And, like, technically, everything we do is horse––"

"Don't explain the joke, Spoon," Crown Thingy snapped. To Rainbow, she directed another beatific smile – even her teeth seemed to shine brighter. "But, yeah, we're just playing."

They nodded in unison. Foodlebrew glanced back at them, then at Rainbow, mouth skewed in disbelief.

Rainbow narrowed her eyes. "Doesn't sound like you're joshin' and horsin' around. Sounds more like you're picking on... uh, her."

She waved vaguely at Toodles.

"Well, we're not!" Crown Thingy whined. "We're just playing – honest, we are. It's all in good fun!"

"And even if it wasn't," Spoon said, a smug grin slithering across her face. "What'cha gonna do? You're not my mom. You're not her mom. You're nopony's mom."

"I could always just tell your mom what you're up to."

The look Crown Thingy gave Rainbow could've curdled milk. It certainly curdled the look on Spoon's face when she saw it. Rainbow wondered whether the filly was madder at her friend, for blurting things out so stupidly, or at Rainbow for threatening to tattle.

Crown Thingy finally snorted and gave her head a toss, skewing the crown on her head so it dangled diagonally off the side of her mane. She didn't seem to notice, though. "Whatever; this is boring, anyway. Let's go, Silver Spoon."

She trotted away, Spoon following helplessly behind her. "Did I say something wrong? Diamond Tiara? Do, uh... do you wanna do the thing? 'Bump, bump, sugar lump, rump?'

"No, Silver Spoon. I do not want to do 'bump, bump, sugar lump, rump.' Possibly ever again."

Spoon froze, gasping, and galloped after her friend, pleading and babbling for forgiveness.

Noodles just sat, alone and lost, watching the two of them leave.

That name that Spoony called after Crown Thingy – Diamond Tiara – jarred a loose memory in Rainbow's head. She seized on it before it could tumble away. Apple Bloom, freaking out over needing to impress somepony, needing a cutie mark for a party. For Diamond Tiara.

"Raaaaaiiiiiiight Naaaaayooooow!"

Rainbow snickered – those words in that voice were silly – and sighed. The filly looked unhappy, she was friends with Apple Bloom, and Apple Bloom was a cool kid, and her best friend's sister, too, which meant this kid was probably pretty cool too, and there were only a few degrees of separation between them...

...and she wasn't getting back to sleep at this rate.

Rainbow plunged through the cloud, alighting gently on all fours like a cat that could break the speed of sound and looked hot in formalwear. "You okay, squirt?"

Toodles snapped her neck around to look at Rainbow Dash. Her mouth hung open, and she stammered before responding. "Yeah. Uh. Thanks for... y'know, yeah. What you did, and stuff."

"Ah, they were tickin' me off. Good riddance." And a good thing neither of them called her bluff about tattling to their parents. They might've known Rainbow Dash by name – who didn't? – but it wasn't as if that was mutual. "I know you, don't I? You're Apple Bloom's friend, uh..."

The girl waited with anticipation – her tail even swished a bit. Rainbow started to sweat, and hoped the girl didn't notice. What the heck was she supposed to call her? She couldn't just stick with similar names, like Toodles and Noodles and Spoonleflu, not after all that.

C'mon, she thought, it starts with an S... has an "oo" in it... uh...


The girl's ears flattened against her head, and her tail flopped limply. "Scootaloo."

"Right! Yeah, that – that was on the tip of my tongue." Rainbow chuckled nervously. "'Scooter,' 'Scootaloo.' Hey, I was close. Right?"

Scootaloo's eyes were half-lidded, lips pulled down. She shrugged, mumbled an affirmative, and turned to trudge away.

Rainbow bit her lip, watching her retreat. She glanced back at her cloudy perch, so fluffy, so soft...

...Well, I should probably get up anyway. It's probably, like... two. At least.

She fluttered forward to catch up with Scootaloo, landed, and followed her abreast at a slow trot – the filly's legs weren't long enough to make Rainbow move any faster. "What're you up to, anyway, out here by yourself? Shouldn't you be hanging out with Apple Bloom and... uh... the other one?"

"Sweetie Belle," said Scootaloo tersely. "You're not great with names, huh?"

"Ah, names, dates, numbers... facts... letters. Words. Egghead stuff. Good at everything else, though, pretty much." Rainbow fluffed her wings and grinned. "So, where're your friends?"

"Do you spend all your time around your best friends?"

Rainbow paused, tilting her head thoughtfully. "I mean... kinda? Lately, anyway."

"Well, I don't. I had other stuff to do today. 'N so did they. Apparently."

"Stuff like what?"

"Hmm?" Scootaloo paused, mid-step, and turned to look at Rainbow. "Whose stuff? Their stuff?"

"Your stuff. Why would I ask about their stuff?"

"I don't know, why would you sleep until three-thirty PM on a cloud ten feet off the ground? I can't live your life; I don't know what goes on in your brain!"

"...That late, huh?" Rainbow whistled softly. "Dang. I was way off."

Scootaloo's head titled. Her eyelids twitched and spasmed. Her mouth slipped open and closed; her muzzle scrunched up. She looked like she was about to sneeze, but instead, she made a guttural sound that went something like "gyeurgh," while a full-body shudder rippled through her.

Rainbow frowned. "I don't know what that means."

"It means..." Scootaloo plopped her rump on the ground and rubbed her temples. "It means, this isn't what I thought you'd be like if I talked to you."

Rainbow puffed herself up again, smirking. "I defy expectation, it's true."

"Spectacularly." Scootaloo massaged her head for a moment, breathing slowly. "I, uh..."

She mumbled something. Rainbow cocked an ear toward her, leaning closer. "Come again?"

"...I don't have any stuff today. The other girls do. I don't. Apple Bloom has farm chores. Sweetie Belle's, I don't know, helping Rarity wash her cat? Something like that?"

Rainbow nodded sagely. "Yeah. Yeah, Rarity has a cat."

"So I went off to find something to do, and got bupkis." Scootaloo's forehead furrowed. "Actually, that's not true. I found Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon."

"Found me, too."

"For all the good that does me." The filly peeked up at Rainbow Dash. "You're really weird."

"I don't see how, but whatever. Fillies never understand grown-ups." Rainbow crept toward Scootaloo and sat down beside her. "They were bugging you about your cutie mark, right?"

"I don't have a cutie mark," Scootaloo snapped.

"Yeah, 's what I meant."

"And it wasn't just that. It was... it was everything. Everything about me. I'm not smart, I can't fly, I can't even go fast without my scooter. What kind of pegasus am I, anyway, riding around on that thing? Nopony ever looked cool riding around on a stupid––"

Her voice broke, and she clammed up, tilting her head away from Rainbow. She sniffled, shoulders shaking.

"Allergy season," Rainbow muttered. "Wish we could do something about the pollen, and stuff. Sorry."

To her surprise, Scootaloo giggled – what was funny about that?

"I don't know if you're gonna understand this," Scootaloo said, slowly. "But like. Everypony's always telling me to be patient, keep trying, never give up – all that inspirational stuff – and sooner or later, I'll find my special talent, I'll get my cutie mark, and I'll be, you know. Awesome."

"That's how that works, yeah," said Rainbow.

"But..." Scootaloo wiped at her eyes and looked at Rainbow – they were red and puffy. Allergies must've really been kicking her butt. "What if Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are right? I'm really not good at anything, and I can't see myself getting good at anything, ever. Me and Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle, we keep trying together, and we keep trying by ourselves, but nothing ever works. And what if... what if that's just how it's gonna be forever, for the rest of my life?"

A cloud passed by overhead, darkening their spot of grass. Rainbow glanced up at it, squinting – she couldn't tell if it was hers. Too indistinct.

"Why do you think I wouldn't understand that?"

"'Cuz you're so good at so many things," Scootaloo sighed. "There's no way you had this much trouble when you were my age."

"I mean... Kind of. A little bit." Rainbow shuffled her wings, suddenly feeling a surge of awkwardness. "I was always pretty fast, pretty good at flying, but it took me a long time to get good at trick flying – like, really good. I broke a lot of windows before I broke the sound barrier. Other kids in Cloudsdale, kids who were better fliers than me, used to pick on me for it."

Scootaloo gasped – actually gasped. "You got picked on? You?"

"Yeah, by these three meatheads. 'Course, I grew up and saved the world, and they're muckin' rainbows for eight bits an hour, so... who's laughing now, huh?" Rainbow flashed a winning smile. "See, that's what you do – you grow up, get awesome, and then you go back and show your bullies how much better you are at literally everything than they are."

"Unless I never get good at anything. So, we're right back where we started." Scootaloo sighed, gesturing apathetically with her hoof. "I don't want to be the best at everything, Rainbow Dash. I just want to be good at something."

Rainbow's smile drooped and faded. Stymied, she looked away from Scootaloo. "I wish I knew what to tell you, squirt. I really..."

She trailed off as the cloud blocking the sun drifted away, and the spot where they sat brightened again. Sunlight, warm and heavy, shone down on Rainbow's eyes, and she had to squint until she could readjust. Craning her head back, she stared into the sky – not at the sun, because what was she, dumb? – almost losing herself in the bright blue...

...Oh. Hey, now there's a thought.

Rainbow hopped to all fours, quickly enough to startle Scootaloo. "Hey. You said you couldn't fly, right?"

"Yeah," Scootaloo said, pulling back warily. "I mean, if I flap my wings hard enough, I can sorta... flutter... but I can't fly, per se.

"So... you've never been flying before, right?"

"Obviously. What's your point?" She eyed Rainbow up and down. "Why are you looking at me like..."

She looked into the sky, squinted at the sun. Gradually, Rainbow's idea broke upon Scootaloo, and her eyes widened as she snapped her gaze back to the older mare. "You want to take me up there?"

"Only if you wanna." Adrenaline was starting to circulate through Rainbow; she had to stop, breathe, herself down, before her heart raced too far ahead of her common sense. "I can't solve your flying problem right away, and I can't get you your cutie mark – I couldn't get Apple Bloom hers, so I probably couldn't get you yours. But maybe I can at least, you know... give you an idea of what it's like up there."

Scootaloo blinked. "Well, I just met you, and you're... weird... but..."

"Buuuuut?" Rainbow waggled her eyebrows.

"...Buck it." Scootaloo, smiling guardedly, stepped onto all fours. "If you crash, and break all my bones, at least I don't gotta go to school."

"C'mon, me? Crash?" Rainbow chuckled, ruffling Scootaloo's mane. "I don't do that anymore, kiddo."

Practically ever. Mostly.

With a few quick strokes of her wings, Rainbow took to the air, hovering over Scootaloo. Her forelegs reached down and encircled the filly, gripping her just behind her elbows. She was light, even for a filly – even for a pegasus filly. She wouldn't need to exert much to lift her. The added weight probably wouldn't even slow her down all that much.

She was thinking of weight distribution, acceleration, thrust, wind chill. She was perfectly calm, thinking of all of it. Scootaloo, though... her heart was jackhammering. Rainbow could only guess what was on her mind.

"Let's start off slow," Rainbow muttered. She beat her wings, and they rose, together.

"Oo-ooh," Scootaloo said, when her hooves were inches off the ground. "This... this is..."

"You okay, squirt?"

"Yeah, just..." Seconds ticked by – her heart beat faster. "This is the longest I've ever been off the ground."

Rainbow craned her neck down. "Are you sure you wanna go through with this?"

Scootaloo's heart thundered at a gallop in her chest. She craned her head up, backward, to look at Rainbow Dash. Her eyes were bright, clear. She was smiling.

"Let's fly." Her voice crackled like fireworks.

And Rainbow could think of no reason not to. Powerful strokes of her wings took them up, together, higher than the boughs of the tallest trees in Ponyville. For a few moments, they hovered. Scootaloo swept her gaze across the town below, the thatched roofs and bushy green canopies, and – off in the distance – the pale blue mountains where Canterlot perched.

They hovered, until Scootaloo's heartbeat slowed.

Then Rainbow titled herself forward, and they flew.

She dove, angling toward a thick straw roof; she pulled up effortlessly, drinking in Scootaloo's delighted peals of laughter. She swept past a second-storey window sill, rustling a dozen windchimes and sending half as many pinwheels spiraling in her wake; the angry chattering of the mare who lived there was lost in the wind whistling past Rainbow's ears. She turned, and banked, and streaked toward the Golden Oak Library. There was a window, thrown open, and a second on the far wall behind it.

Rainbow licked her lips, and held her back legs arrow-straight, as she hugged Scootaloo tight against her barrel. Like a bullet, they shot through the window; Rainbow caught a quick glimpse of Twilight Sparkle, and thought she heard a shouted reprimand, before they emerged from the tree and left it far behind.

The rest was a blur – every turn, and dive, and loop, and spin, and pirouette, all bled together in a seamless, adrenaline-fueled haze. They slalomed between houses and skimmed at right angles over the brick facades of schoolhouses, the stucco walls of the more to-do manors, and criss-crossed their way through streets and alleys and homes.

And in her hooves, Scootaloo stretched her forelegs ahead, spreading her stubby little wings as wide as they would go.

Secure in Rainbow Dash's grip, Scootaloo flew, and laughed all the while.

Finally, sharing the sky with nopony but the clouds, Rainbow paused to catch her breath. Off in the distance was Canterlot, and even though Rainbow knew, somehow, that they were nowhere near high enough, much less close enough... she wanted to think she could reach out and touch the tippiest-top of the tallest spire.

She felt Scootaloo's heartbeat beneath her hooves, and craned her neck down to look at the filly. "How're you doing down there, squirt?

Scootaloo met Rainbow's gaze. Grinning, she panted out something. Rainbow just had no idea what it could have been.

Me too, kid, she thought.

"Maybe we oughta take a break, huh?" Rainbow selected a particularly plump and fluffy cloud, sailed toward it, and dropped Scootaloo onto its surface; she landed with an oof and an adrenaline-soaked laugh.

Beside her, Rainbow landed, smirking. "Good times?"

"The best. The best." Scootaloo beamed at Rainbow Dash. "I... that was the most amazing thing I've ever..."

The raw enthusiasm in her voice – the sheer joy of flight. Rainbow was well acquainted with that. She'd flown more times than she could ever hope to count since before she was Scootaloo's age. Not once had it ever lost its luster – the feeling in Scootaloo's voice was the same one Rainbow felt, even then and there, on that cloud.

And then Scootaloo's face started to fall – and then she stared, downcast, at the wispy surface of the cloud.

Rainbow's ear twitched. "What's the matter, kid?"

Scootaloo shook her head. "I can't do this by myself, Rainbow Dash. I just – I'm grateful, I'm so grateful for today. But now that I've done it, now that I've flown with you, all I can think of is..."

"...What you're missing out on," Rainbow finished.

Scootaloo nodded, timidly. She peered over the edge of the cloud, and gasped softly. "Uh, Rainbow..."

"What?" Curious, Rainbow Dash peeked over the edge...

Rainbow contrails were stitched across Ponyville, through every street and alley and home they'd flown through. Apparently, they'd gone through every window in Golden Oak, because there was a knot of Rainbow cinched tightly around its trunk and boughs.

"Ooooohh... shoot," Rainbow hissed. She rubbed the back of her head sheepishly. "Yeah, maaaaybe I overdid it down there a little."

That was enough to win her a little bit of a smile from Scootaloo. "Gee. You think?"

"Heh, well. Uh. Think of it as a learning experience?" She matched Scootaloo's smile. "Y'know, if you're gonna fly, um... do so responsibly. And try not to annoy your friends and your neighbors in the process."

Twilight's gonna kill me.

"Learning experience, huh? Was that what this was? A flying lesson?" A guarded sort of hope crept into Scootaloo's eyes. "Think we can do it again sometime?"

Rainbow, caught off guard – she hadn't meant to suggest that – ran a hoof through her mane. "Well... I dunno, squirt. I'm not sure I'd make such a good teacher. I tried to teach Fluttershy to cheer, once, and it..."

"Oh. Um. Okay." The light left Scootaloo's eyes – and whether she was doing so on purpose or not, she was twisting a knife right into Rainbow Dash's heart. The same impulse that hit her when she was Scootaloo, dejected and alone, hit Rainbow again.

"I mean, I'm not saying no, exactly. Just, I've never really been a teacher before. I don't know if I can do all that for you. But, if you ever want a quick lesson, or some advice, or you just wanna come back up to the clouds for a while, I'm your mare." She paused, smiled slightly, hoped Scootaloo matched it. "What do you say?"

To her delight, Scootaloo smiled back. "How could I say anything but yes?"

"Then it's a deal." Rainbow stood, stretched her legs, and sighed. "Well, I should probably get back down there and start apologizing. You know, again. Great hanging out with you, squirt – you're a pretty cool kid."

With a final wave, she backflipped off the cloud, and dropped like a meteor. Then her wings snapped open, caught a gust, and Rainbow streaked away.

It took her another moment to realize her mistake and backtrack to the cloud, where a bemused Scootaloo stood, waiting.

"See," Rainbow said, as she fluttered down to the ground with Scootaloo in her hooves. "This is why you probably want another flying teacher. There're better ponies for that than me."

"Teachers, probably. No better pony than you, though."

Rainbow Dash's eyes stung. Stupid allergies.

And as they neared the ground, met by a crowd of decidedly unhappy-looking homeowners, another thought crept into Rainbow's mind.

I really hope nopony thinks I tried to kidnap this kid.
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#1 · 1
First read of the day! We're off to a great start!

To start, I like the emotion you put into this piece! To some, it may be mundane, but to me, it is refreshing to go back a couple seasons. The problems Scootaloo faced have a tendency to sucker punch ya in the feels.

Which, you got me! Bonus points considering I got less than an hour sleep last night and now I want to review this morning. Heh, good combo, amiright? :pinkiecrazy: .

Just a matter of minor things I picked up on:

"Raaaaaiiiiiiight Naaaaayooooow!"

I got a little confused who was saying this. It might be Rainbow, considering her inner thoughts are voiced in italics later on. But it was odd that it is a quotation, (meaning it is actually said) and in italics.

Another thing: Scoots went from a elated state of adrenaline back to her depressing reality. Considering she hasn't experienced flying of this caliber before, don't you think it would take some time for it to wear off?
...but that's just my opinion. For sake of keeping the reader engaged, it is nessecary to tweak a couple things. So, take this with a grain of salt.

But, all in all, great read!
Thanks for writing this piece!
#2 · 1
My biggest problem with this fic is simple: from the moment Scootaloo is left alone with Rainbow Dash, everything plays out exactly as you'd expect it to. Scootaloo has insecurities around flying and talents, especially compared with Rainbow Dash, and Rainbow and she bond and do something nice together. Scootaloo even gets a flight with her! And most of it is presented as an easygoing casual chat between them with no major obstacles they don't surmount by talking it out.

I haven't done a tally or anything, but at least in broad strokes, this feels like the vast majority of Scootalove fics ever written. Barring a few minor garnishes and embellishments, there's not much deviation from the template, and the reason that's a problem is because it doesn't make the fic stand out in any interesting or personal way. Compare this, say, with Illusion and Dream and The Scootaloo Switcheroo. At heart, both are about Scootaloo's insecurities and touch upon her relationship with Rainbow Dash, but the former has a surreal dream element throughout and a different thematic focus on fantasy escapism, and the latter has Scootaloo's ambivalence causing a winter-themed apocalyptic disaster while Rainbow has to confront Scootaloo's mistakes and wrongdoing tactfully. To put it bluntly, they do something different with their core premise. They combine it with more unlikely or uncommon elements to give it a new spin, which affects the style and direction of their respective stories.

I think as a first response, that's what you really need to do here. Give a familiar story a shake-up. Scootaloo figuring out from Luna's enigmatic hints that she needs to moderate her escapist tendencies, that's different. Scootaloo doing a deal-with-the-devil that she regrets the frozen fallout of, that's different too. Scootaloo getting bullied and Rainbow cheering her up isn't really different enough, even with a few interesting embellishments on the periphery.

Now, I'm not saying there aren't any little twists and turns here and there, just that they're too little to shake my feeling of "been there, done that": Scootaloo shows a little more sarcasm and sass than expected, and Rainbow's complete inability to even remember her name fits well with the kind of undeveloped personality she had back in Season One. Best part was Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon changing their behaviour the instant Rainbow told them to shut up, if only because those two interacting directly with Rainbow Dash was something strongly different and fresh that isn't done very often.

Emphasize, capitalize, or logically develop those odder elements more, and I think you might be well on your way to improving this story greatly. On the plus side, there's nothing offensive or wrong about the story either (apart from an unironic use of "Buck" for a slang profanity, but that's my pet peeve, so I'll disqualify it as a petty consideration), and there are worse things than a story being just okay or meh. Occasional error notwithstanding, the prose seemed fine enough. And if only as a cookie-cutter kind of niceness, the story is at least nice in tone. It's not like it made me regret reading it. Strictly speaking, though, I think it could be a lot better, especially as a competitor that needs to stand out and do its own thing.

I don't know if this is helpful to you as a review, and I don't want to be discouraging at all. Just honest and pragmatic. From my point of view, this is a fundamental issue to tackle. I would strongly recommend that "add a twist to an old idea" point for future consideration.
#3 ·
This story is a column A and column B sort of thing. Stuff I liked and stuff I didn't.

Let's start with not-so-liked: The dialogue is a bit clunky. The characters felt like their traits were coming on a little strong, and it seemed, to me, that they were talking too much. The dialogue is given a lot of control over the plot here, but that sometimes makes it feel like the characters are just expositing to each other. And in a story about insecurity, having the characters dump their problems on each other in order to keep things moving comes off a little weird.

That, and I wasn't the biggest fan of RD's characterization at the beginning of the story. She's very, very meatheady about what's going on. I get that she's lazy and forgetful, but her disregard for the bullying happening in earshot is a little over the top. Who knows? Maybe I like her too much to think she would ignore cruelty, even if it is childish cruelty. But hey, maybe it's an opportunity to have her try and do the right thing, only for it to not come off like she hoped. That's very RD. Or maybe she just sees a selfish opportunity to gain a fan. That's also her thing…

But for the good stuff? The flight scene. Really top-drawer; your descriptions are great, it's heartwarming, I was into it. Only thing I would note is maybe make it less about Dash, and more about Scootaloo. It's her moment after all. Lines like this:

Off in the distance was Canterlot, and even though Rainbow knew, somehow, that they were nowhere near high enough, much less close enough... she wanted to think she could reach out and touch the tippiest-top of the tallest spire.

If you change that Rainbow to a Scootaloo, and really jump into her perspective for this whole flight, you'd have something special.

That's really all I have to say here. Sure, it's not the most innovative story, and you might not rank so highly for that reason, but credit where it's due for succeeding in what you set out to do. Tightening up the dialogue and weaving it into your great narration, and you'd have a great story. Maybe not a unique one, but a great one all the same.

Thanks for submitting! Best of luck in the voting.
#4 ·
This story pretty much does everything right. The prose is great; I'm loving the voicing and the third-person Dash. And I have to say, it's refreshing to get such a chronologically early story these days. I can't even remember where the show actually first had Dash and Scootaloo share a scene, so it's really inspired that you decided to fill in the blank of their unseen first meeting. Great stuff!

Now, I'll be a bit blunt and say that despite the novelty of the premise and the excellent construction, I'm having trouble with the payoff. Specifically, because I can't help but to feel that I've read a lot of stories just like this one. You've decided to play things pretty by-the-book, and while that does infuse this story with a intangible sort of nostalgia, it also makes it difficult to really grab my attention.

The first 1/3 is fairly commonplace stand-up-to-bullies fare, which well-executed, but I think we can both agree that it's not the point of your story. The next bit is where a lot of payoff is happening, where Dash gives bad-but-actually-pretty-good life advice. It's nice, but I can't help but feel like it doesn't quite do anything that pony fic-writing gestalt hasn't already done before. And the last bits, with the flight itself, is a sugary endcap. It's like dessert—highly, highly enjoyable, but you'll have to seek substance elsewhere.

So in the end, I think this story does exactly what it's trying to do. And maybe I'm being unfair, because I think if I read this story 7 or 8 years ago, I'd have an absolute blast with it. But as I'm reading it today, the themes it touches do feel familiar, in a way that ultimately detracted from my personal reading experience.
#5 ·
Methinks your voice got mixed in with the characters' voices quite a bit there. "Just joshin", "got no", "bupkis", etc. All very out of place, and honestly out of character.

Other than that, this interpretation of season 1 RD as a socially oblivious jock is very interesting, it also feels very cynical. The whole first third of this story feels cynical, obviously and it's so jarring to go from that to the touchy feely stuff. Tonal whiplash is real and should probably be watched a bit closely.

It's a very solid story, mechanically, I mean. Not too many grammatical mistakes except for the aforementioned "got no" said by Diamond Tiara. It also fits the prompt in a very different way from the other stories, which is refreshing.

It was a nice read with some problems, but good nonetheless.
#6 · 1
One thing I often try to get writers to pay attention to is the first line, where you need a good hook. This one isn't bad, with some curious action going on that I want to stick around and see what's going on.

I like the character voicing right away. The narration sounds like Dash, with one tiny, nit-picky exception, and that's semicolons. That's another thing I'll point out to writers often. Dash is effectively your narrator, so she's the one choosing to use semicolons. That means she must be comfortable doing so and inclined to in this casual setting. Does that fit your idea of her character? It might. She is becoming more well-read, but it's still something that often doesn't sit right with me. Similarly, Dash calls herself things like "the older mare" in a few places, which doesn't make sense for the perspective.

The joke about horse puns is maybe a bit meta? I don't mind it, but historically, that earns you a lot of disdain from the voters.

I wonder why these girls are so apologetic toward Dash at first, and then they become hostile to her. I don't understand that change of heart. And I guess I'm a little surprised Scootaloo is willing to be this open around Dash, considering they've never formally met and she's self-conscious around her idol.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here, but you have the CMCs knowing each other before Dash knows who Scootaloo is. Does that mesh up with canon? I don't remember well enough to say, but I'll assume it does.

I like this story, but it doesn't leave a big impression on me, and there are two main reasons. One, the parting line is a kind of weird change in tack from what had been going on before. It's not something Rainbow had even considered before, or that she'd unknowingly foreshadowed or something. It just kind of comes out of nowhere. It's funny, I'll give you that, but it doesn't feel like it's tying a bow on the end of the story, more making a sharp left turn to a dead end.

And second, as others have said, this is a story that's been told countless times already, without adding much new to it. You do have a bit of a different angle in that it's the first time they're meeting, but at this point (in canon even) it's not clear how famous Dash is or if she's famous at all, so it could have a big effect on how touching (or creepy) it is that Scootaloo is already obsessed with her. A little more of that background might help.

There definitely is an audience for these. I know people who will gobble up any Scootalove story they can get their hands on, and this would stand out as a better-written example than most, and good writing can just make a story stand out in general. But a "their first meeting" plot is a fairly minor tweak on a long-lived fandom standby. If that's the only new thing you're going to bring to the table, it'd pay to accentuate it all you can. You have some pretty normal "getting to know you" moments, so make them abnormal. Make the story stick in my head because you did something I wouldn't have expected.