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In Over Your Head · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Rainbow Dash And Her Secret Place
It was, in a word, cool. Anything Rainbow Dash was involved with was cool by default, but this was exceptionally cool in several ways, including how shady it was. The summer sun could not fully penetrate the thick layer of apple leaves overhead from where three or four large trees had grown together at some time in Sweet Apple Acres’ history, leaving a little bark-lined pocket just the right size for a pair of pegasi to enjoy the afternoon.

“What do you think, Scoots? Is this cool, or what?” Rainbow Dash pulled a ripe apple off a nearby branch and tossed it to Scootaloo. “I’ve never told anypony about this place, not even Applejack.”

“It’s awesome!” declared Scootaloo before biting into the apple. It was sweet as sugar, still warm from the sun and just barely over the perfect ripeness for harvest. Juice ran down her chin as she finished it off in several quick bites and accepted another one with a grin.

“Yes it is. I found this place back when I first came to Ponyville. It’s always been the place I go when I want to get away from it all. I never thought I would ever share it with anypony, not even Gilda.” Rainbow Dash rummaged underneath a branch and pulled out a large cushion, which she settled down on with her guest. The light breeze through the canopy of thin branches evaporated the thin film of sweat both pegasi had accumulated through flying practice, although Rainbow had been only an inconsistent presence while Scootaloo was practicing. It had been a wonderful experience for the little pegasus, made only more wonderful by being able to spend time together with Rainbow now, even if the older pegasus was acting a little strange.

“Is anything wrong?” asked Scootaloo. “Did you get a seed stuck in your teeth?”

“No, nothing like that,” said Rainbow with a dismissive wave. “I was just thinking. I never had a little sister until now. It’s a lot of responsibility, even more than joining the Wonderbolts. I mean there’s all these cool sistery things we can do and all the stuff I need to teach you, but the one thing I think I like the best is just hanging out with you.”

“Really?” Scootaloo fairly tingled with joy and her grin reflected her happy mood. “You like hanging out with me more than even going pranking with Pinkie Pie like you did this morning?”

“Absolutely,” stated Rainbow Dash with one hoof held up in front of her. “Pranking has its place, but after adding a little pink dye to some bubble bath, there’s nothing better than spending some time with you.”

The wind gently blowing through the tree could not disguise the distant sound of Applejack shouting at the top of her lungs.

“Rainbow Dash you consarned pest! If’n I find you, I’m gonna skin you alive and use your worthless hide as a throw rug! Come out and get the whuppin’ you deserve.”

“I don’t have anything else planned for today,” said Rainbow Dash, putting a wing around Scootaloo and leaning back into the pillow. “We could just chill here if you want.”

“Get your rump out here, Rainbow,” shouted Applejack in the distance. “Ah’m gonna pound you like a… somethin’ that gets pounded into pulp!”

“Or a sleepover,” said Rainbow Dash. “What would you say to spending the night out here, Scoots?”
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#1 ·
Very light:

Very funny, but I hafta wonder what Scootaloo's even doing in this story. Without her, we could have Dash lying in her secret place, thinking philosophical thoughts--until we find out why she's actually there. But with Scootaloo, I get the feeling that Dash is planning to use her in some way, maybe as a shield she can throw at Applejack if there's a confrontation and Dash needs to make a quick exit. And that doesn't mesh with my image of Rainbow Dash. If you can convince me that Dash would do this, then that's fine. But nothing that's here now convinces me.

#2 ·
· · >>Rolo
pretty good.

I gotta agree with Baal's comment, there's too little connection between Applejack and Scootaloo to add to the comedy. it's kinda like 2 stories that gradually wind together like a rope. pretty interesting structure, but it could be strengthened.

it was a bit too rushed with explaining why AJ's angry, it could've been sprinkled throughout the story. for example, the line
“I’ve never told anypony about this place, not even Applejack.”

pays off later in a natural but funny way. I want more of that.
#3 ·
· · >>Rolo
This is cute. I'm getting a pretty strong shipping vibe, though. The personal space is just a little too invaded; the praise a little too heaped-upon. RD also seems to be making an argument for why she likes being with Scootaloo, but she never gives any reasons for it, which leads me to think it's intentionally unsaid because it's taboo (given Scoots' age, and for someone like bookplayer, also the sister-like relationship).

...also I'm just pervert who sees ScootaDash in a heartbeat. Nonetheless, I think Romance is hinted at here and I'm unconvinced by the narrative that it's intentional.

The summer sun could not fully penetrate the thick layer of apple leaves overhead from where three or four large trees had grown together at some time in Sweet Apple Acres’ history, leaving a little bark-lined pocket just the right size for a pair of pegasi to enjoy the afternoon.

This kind of construction is awkward, and you have a few sentences like these. Think about whether you're saying something redundant or not when you try to add qualifiers, and don't stuff too many ideas into one line. Of course the trees grew together "at some time in SAA's history". That phrase makes the sentence awkward and confusing, whereas without it, the meaning is clear.
#4 · 1
This kind of construction is awkward, and you have a few sentences like these. Think about whether you're saying something redundant or not when you try to add qualifiers, and don't stuff too many ideas into one line. Of course the trees grew together "at some time in SAA's history". That phrase makes the sentence awkward and confusing, whereas without it, the meaning is clear.

This is very much a matter of personal preference. I actually love long, journeyeing sentences with layers of description - IF they are made to flow well and guide the reader along without confusion. The construction you pointed out is actually very well done, to my eyes, and if I were to be - or am - the author of this piece, I suspect I would be - or am - mighty satisfied with it.

That aside, it took me a bit of time to figure out why this story does feel like "2 stories that gradually wind together like a rope" (as >>Haze said). It's because Scootaloo's perspective is dropped two-thirds through. The story starts off being told through her eyes, and the subjective descriptions certainly seem to belong to her. But as soon as Applejack is introduced, it's like Scootaloo evaporates completely; the established POV character disappears from under the reader. That's why it feels like an unrelated story has suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

The story would be well-served, I think, by having a bit more of Scootaloo's feeling or thoughts, specifically about Applejack, added. Her wondering that the shouting is all about; maybe asking about it. If the author wants to keep it subtle, maybe just watching to see if Rainbow will react. Just... something there to keep Scootaloo in the story.
#5 ·
This is a lovely bit of Scootalove with a great ending, but something’s bothering me: Why wouldn’t Applejack know about the place? Even if the hollow’s only visible from the air—unlikely, given the shade—several trees growing together that form a hollow big enough for multiple ponies seem like a pretty memorable landmark, especially to a mare who names every tree.

Aside from that, cute and hilarious by turns.
#6 ·
· · >>Trick_Question
It's nice and well written but feels pretty insubstantial to me. Not much of story, more a vignette.

Scotaloo flying?

Also I wonder if you have ever seen an apple tree in your life :P Growing a hollow like the one you describe is impossible in an orchard.

A nice piece of fluff.
#7 ·
· · >>Trick_Question
I'm with Monokeras: It's nicely written, and the characters feel very real and true, but there isn't much of a story here. Also feels as though there is a pull between the presence of Scootaloo and the presence of Applejack, and neither are particularly well served as a result.

Still, if you enjoy your Scootalove, creepy undertones or otherwise, then I'm sure this one will have put a smile on your face. Thanks for sharing.
#8 · 2
· · >>Ceffyl_Dwr >>CoffeeMinion
I'm left wondering about the title being a double-entendre. :trollestia:

I don't think that's intentional, but I can dream.
#9 ·
I agree. I'm kind of partial to Scootacripple until they finally address the topic on the show.
#10 · 2
You can but hope :scootaloouncertain: Kinda feels like a missed opportunity using the word secret instead of special, if you ask me.

But since nobody is, I'll shut up.
#11 · 1
· · >>Trick_Question
I'll confess my mind went there as well.

Er, not there, but...

I should quit while I'm behind. :-p
#12 ·
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>CoffeeMinion
Not here, then? (YouTube)

#13 ·

I am continually amazed at the time and artistry that goes into the advancement of making horses kiss.

I can't get into this one, though my goodness that is smoothly animated, etc.

I'm also astonished at how faithfully that reproduces the original.
#14 ·
Overall, I was amused.

But - 'sweet as sugar' in relation to an apple is kind of weak. I mean, of course it's sweet as sugar. Apples are full of sugars. There's almost certainly a better turn of phrase to use you, rather than stating the obvious.
#15 · 1
Not bad. Mildly amusing and it shows off an interesting relationship between Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo. I'll second a lot of the other's when they say they get a slight shipping vibe at first, which struck me as a tad odd.

And I suppose that RD didn't really have to tell AJ about her secret hideaway, since it's apparently not quite as secret as she would have liked.... ;>
#16 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>Trick_Question
Rainbow Dash and Her Secret Place - Special mention. Really, with this audience, I would think the author would be a little more careful about how RD and her (ahem) little sister act in a quiet place away from prying eyes. To implement BB’s suggestion, switching the last two lines of dialogue from RD to Scoots would help dampen that pedo vibe, as well as giving RD a final line of dialogue at the very end to the effect of being a good role model for her little sis.
#17 · 1
Since I've otherwise crashed the comments section here without adding value:

Right now I don't think there's enough context to the story for it to quite stand on its own. Notably, it seems to lack clear details about the nature of Scoots & Dash's relationship, other than an allusion to their recently becoming sisters. Was that through formal adoption or a more ad-hoc type thing? This becomes still harder to pin down at the end, where I'll echo >>georg's thoughts about tweaks that would keep the tone more consistent.

I also found Applejack's lines to read very much like something an OTT Looney Tunes-type character would say, which feels off for her character, though I suspect may be an intentional reference. This decreased my overall enjoyment of the story quite a bit, because it creates more tonal ambiguity; what seems like this peaceful moment between the pegasi may actually be motivated by Dash wanting to hide from AJ for some unknown reason. That could be played for laughs, but right now the piece as a whole is pulling more toward cuteness and feels. (I think?)

In summary: I don't know what this is meant to make me feel, and I find it hard to connect with with it on the basis of the various things it does make me feel. However, I think this could clean up well by maintaining a sharper focus. Because it does manage to be emotionally evocative throughout, which is definitely a positive quality.

Tier: Not on my slate, but would have been "Needs Work"

(Also, >>Trick_Question, that song's been stuck in my head for the last day and a half now. It's catchy as all get-out. Fie upon thee!)
#18 ·
That presupposes the vibe wasn't intentional, and I'm not convinced of that. There are other nonsexual shipping-related themes in the story.
#19 · 1
Why is Scootaloo here? The two pieces of this story – sharing the place with Scootaloo and Applejack having been pranked and looking for revenge – don’t really fit together.

There’s some cuteness here, but the story does not mesh as a piece.

Also, Applejack's lines weren't quite funny enough, or Applejack enough in the case of the "pound you into pulp" bit.
#20 · 1
Yep, I’m the author of this fine piece… I mean story. Darnit, the dirty just snuck in thru the back door on this… Ok, I’m not normally this bad with innuendo on stories involving young fillies and older ponies who take them into private areas… Really, the pedo vibe just snuck in while I wasn’t looking, and I had no intention of writing it with anything more than a little sister-big sister relationship. It’s going up on my collection page in a few minutes, just as soon as I get a break.

Anyway, RD takes Scoots to her private thinking (and escaping from prank consequences) spot for a little bit of sisterly bonding. Multiple trees growing together is called inosculation, and it can happen with apple trees, particularly in rubbish heaps where discarded bits of trees get thrown, and since the orchard has spots where the ponies don’t harvest (i.e. the fruit bat area), it was the perfect spot for RD to hide out after pranking Applejack pink. The story is written in two layers, with the top one being the two pegasi enjoying some sisterly bonding (not perverted, as I had originally implied and so many dirty-minded people naturally assumed), and the bottom one being a background event where a totally peeved pink Applejack is looking for a little revenge while RD waits for her to cool off.

It may be a long wait, but Scootaloo is willing to chill in the tree with her hero as long as it takes, and you should admit a little bit of jealousy here too. After all, who among us would not like to spend a lazy summer day in the orchard, chilling with the coolest pony in Equestria.

Chill, dudes