Scootaloo stared down at herself silently. Regret flooded her as thoroughly as the tears that slid down her face. "There was so much I was gonna do
I never found my special talent in life and earned my cutie mark
I never thought it would end like this. Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, and I were all going to do it together. This is a nightmare
" The thought quieted her. This was a nightmare and that was all that it could be. She rounded on the mare, eyes narrowed. "This is messed up, ya know that?! What gives you the right?! Why?!"
It had been countless centuries of the same question. The mare closed her eyes and thought for a moment, wondering how she still never quite had a good answer. After a moment her eyes opened and extended one of her wings as if to beckon the filly near. "I wish I had a better answer, but this isn't a nightmare, Scootaloo. You
you fell asleep and the temperature dropped so suddenly. There was nothing anypony could have done
" As she spoke she slowly came closer, the heartache in her eyes deepening as, as countless times before, the filly began to beg.
"NO!" she screeched, rearing and striking the mare with her front hooves. "No, please! Please, I'll be anything you want. I'll never break any of Rarity's form models, I'll never sneak cupcakes at Sugarcube Corner, I'll even go back to the orphanage
" The momentum in her voice waned into sobs as she felt her front legs collide with the old mare's body. The mare didn't cry out in pain or try to defend herself. What she did was much worse, and Scootaloo broke into fresh sobs as the mare tucked her wing over her broken body and lowered her head to gently nuzzle her muzzle. "I'll do anything
I don't want to die
Quiet dominated the small room. The only sounds were that of Scootaloo, quietly crying into the coat of the mare. Occasionally the mare would softly shh or soothe her, but otherwise said nothing. The filly was right in that it was not fair. To have lived alone for so long and to perish alone without purpose to life was cruel. It was also why she was here.
It was a long time before Scootaloo found her voice again. Turning to look at her body, she addressed the mare. "What happens now?" She turned her gaze up at the ancient Alicorn and tried to quell the tremor in her voice, "Am I going to hell? I never
I never found my special purpose
I never did anything with my life
The last thing I did
" She bit her lip and took a moment to collect herself again, fresh tears breaking. "I told Applebloom I was going to be first to find it and we got in an argument. That's the last thing I ever said to one of my best friends
The filly looked up at the mare, but it hadn't been she that had spoken. Her eyes widened as the sickening realization sunk in and she turned to face the door. Applebloom stood there and she could hear Sweetie Belle following not far behind. They had only just bounded in and hadn't spotted her yet, but the yellow filly persisted unaware of what had happened. "Scootaloo, ya sleepy slowpoke - didja forget about the meetin' today?" Sweetie Belle squeezed in and shot Applebloom a reproaching look before looking around the room. It was still only just morning, but finally she found her friend in the corner. "There you are! Why're you still asleep? That's unusual for you, Scoot, usually you're the first one up!"
Applebloom rolled her eyes and smiled. "Guess Ah`m gonna be the first tah get mah cutie mark than, huh Scootaloo?" She tossed her scarlet mane and grinned wider and approached her still sleeping friend. "But seriously - yah gotta get up now Sc-
" Only once she got close did she go quiet.
That was enough to worry Sweetie Belle. Neither of her friends was ever this quiet normally. "Applebloom?" she queried, taking a step toward her. Her friend didn't say a word, but sank to her haunches, eyes still transfixed on Scootaloo. The beginnings of panic started to sneak in, but she forced herself to move to her friend's sleeping form and gently place a hoof on it. "Scootaloo
it's time to get up
" Ice met her touch. The velvety coat was now rigid and cold and her frame hard from the onset of rigor mortis. "Scootaloo
this isn't funny
please get up
wake up! Wake up! Please!" Her voice rose in volume and pitch as she began to shake her friend, screaming louder and louder to arouse deaf ears that could not hear her. Finally there were no words, just a wordless wail of horror and grief as she began to choke on her own tears.
Then pain. Pain erupted in her jaw and she reeled, stunned into silence. Applebloom stood over her, tears steaming down her face as she fought to regulate her breathing. She looked up at her silently, but the question was almost audible in her face. Why? Applebloom took a deep breath before helping her to her feet and gently sitting her down. The emotions still ran too high for her to form words, but Applebloom had somehow found them.
"Stay here with Scootaloo. I'm gonna go get mah sister. Stay here
j-just in case
in case she
" No. She couldn't lie to her only remaining friend. She couldn't paint a pretty picture with Scootaloo's blood to make it all better. She took a step back and then turned and ran, yelling back, "Stay here!"
Sweetie didn't need to be told that now, not once or twice more. Turned back to look down at Scootaloo and lay down beside her, trying to warm her with the heat from her body. "H-hush now
t-to lay your sleepy head
" she softly sang, before breaking into tears anew.
And all the while Scootaloo hid her face in the mare's chest, unable to stand as her body convulsed with sobs. Far off she could still hear Applebloom calling for help. She could still hear Sweetie Belle trying to wake her. Only then did she know they could not
for she could never wake up again.