[MLP:FiM] The End of Cutie Marks (Scootaloo-centric, with Luna, Discord)


Well-Known Member
Scootaloo is one of the most successful Pegasi of her age. Having grown up, she’s set flight records, graduated, and has even started dating. Too bad she still doesn’t have her Cutie Mark.

A late night dream-talk with Luna sets her wondering to what her true destiny in life might be.

Then Discord shows up and things get weird.

SPOILER Warnings for multiple FIMfics including
End of Ponies, Fallout Equestria, Rainbow Factory, Bad Future Crusaders, The Substitute Demon, Filly of the Apocalypse
I dreamed that night.

In the dream, I’m a filly again, just barely out of her foal years. The warm breeze tickles my nose, causing me to sneeze. The butterfly that had made its nest on my head is jolted off, its wings flapping desperately to escape the desperate motion. I would often wonder if I had become that butterfly, leaving its cocoon to be at last capable of flight, only to fly away from things bigger than me.

It was a memory more than a dream, to be honest. I’ve always had very powerful, lucid dreams, so even my memories are prone to change with the slightest nudge, like the proverb about a butterfly flapping its wings. I had never really understood it when I was younger, my mind’s eyes only focused on the gift of flight, but the disorderly moral of the tale tasted like delicious irony now.

Standing up on my hooves, I focused, and my young form changed to that of an adult, barely into her mare years. Rearing up onto my hind hooves, I made the motion uniformly understood across equine lands as ‘Giddyap!’, and brought them slamming down into the soft earth as I made a running dash, building up speed to achieve take off into the air, letting out a wild whinny at the freedom I was given in the dream.

Don’t get me wrong. I have few bad memories of fillyhood, most of them revolving around the bully pair, Babs Seed before she made her hoof-face turn, and tree sap. I had three sisters, one whom was older than I was, and the other who were my best friends. Together, I felt like we had been one big family, sisters in all but blood. We still were, even if marehood had seen us drift apart due to responsibilities and obligations.

But it was when I grew up that I finally started to fly, and fly well. Somehow, flying as a young filly always just seemed wrong to me, not the wrong of getting a cupcake when you meant to purchase a muffin, but the wrongness of the feeling of something sticking to your hair, and even when you shave your head hair and mane and body hair, the sensation still remains, an oily vagueness that just sticks with you. It was basically like tree sap for the soul.

I turned around the bend of the tall trees, finally reaching my destination. The tall pillars of Cloudsdale were always a magnificent sight. Cloudsdale’s vantage above Equestria as the city built amongst the clouds was a unique one.

I’ve been to Canterlot, where the Platinum melds together with the gothic which segues neatly into the inappropriately-named Celestian layouts before surrendering to the neo-classical and modern architecture. Canterlot defines the last thousand years of history in every inch of its making. I’ve seen the Crystal Empire, where large crystal archs curve inwards, supporting the Crystal Palace, with one great spire that I’m told was once the ritual area for the greatest magicians in Imperial history.

I’ve seen Manehatten, where a small village quickly sprung forth into a nation of skyscrapers, only a few designated historical monuments testifying to its origins. The frontier settlement of Appleloosa calls on the popular imagery of the Wild West and the rodeo, incorporating a little bit of buffalo symbolism at the same time. Even my hometown of Ponyville stands out, the thatched buildings a throwback to the Earth Pony style several centuries ago.

To me, Cloudsdale towers over all of them, both literally and metaphorically. In a sense, I pity those pegasi who grew up in Cloudsdale, only seeing their home from the outside after already living there. Every Pegasus will lay her eyes on Cloudsdale for the first time only once a lifetime, inspiring an overwhelming sense of home. If you were to ground a Pegasus and spin her around, she would naturally point towards Cloudsdale. The call of the clouds was undeniable.

When I saw Cloudsdale that first time as a filly, turning the corner after a stroll through the Whitetail Woods just outside Ponyville, all I ever wanted to do was to fly for the rest of my life.

That didn’t exactly happen, unfortunately. It took me years to progress past hovering into the stage of full flight, putting up with taunts from others, and watching classmates many seasons younger than I achieve flight with ease. With the encouragement of my three sister figures, however, I finally achieved it.

I sighed. The glorious sight of Cloudsdale, the roaring waterfall pouring from one end creating a trail of dense mist underneath as the cloud city continued moving, could only keep me aloft for so long. Feeling the heavy emotions that were settling over, threatening to clip my wings of freedom, I slowly glided down, setting down at the edge of the Whitetail Woods.

Cloudsdale was a source of some of the best times of my short life. It was where I had gone for a flight training camp on the cusp of marehood, one of the oldest ones there, but in the end one of the most talented. It was where my coltfriend and I had gone on our first date, an awkward one that had ended up with the two of us making a mess in our Rainbow Snow Cones, but a warm memory in retrospect. It was where I had achieved my first flight record. However, Cloudsdale was also a reminder of what I hadn’t yet obtained.

“What ails thee, fair Scootaloo?”

My ears perked up, almost cat-like, a trait my coltfriend had teased me over on a few occasions, along with my tendency to lick the hair of my fetlock. That was a voice I could identify all too easily, a testament to the shared acquaintance I had had with the pony since I was a filly. “Princess Luna?” I asked aloud, knowing the Princess of the Moon was liable to stay hidden. She loved being cryptic sometimes, and I wouldn’t put it past her to take ages to show up.

She surprised me tonight, as a mass of writhing shadows appeared, forming a gelatinous blob before taking an equine shape, forming the corporeal Princess Luna, all in less than a second. “Yes, Scootaloo. It is I.”

Princess Luna had, for a long while after her return from exile in the form of Nightmare Moon, had troubles adapting to the modern vernacular. The nocturnal half of the Equestrian diarchy was much better than that first Nightmare Night, but Luna still had an odd fancy way of speaking, even in casual conversation. Despite the all-distracting verbal tic, I endeavored to answer her. She had helped me from a nightmare when I was a young filly, after all. “Oh, this isn’t a real nightmare, Princess Luna. It’s just, well…I’m a grown filly now, and still…” I let my gaze trail off to my flanks.

I always liked the colour of my body fur. A rusty orange, it was a clear day when the sunbeams caught it just right, and that was when my coltfriend claimed he first truly fell in love with me. By moonraise, it resembled more a burnt orange, relaxing to the eyes in the less-intense light of Luna’s moon. I will admit that I had perhaps been a bit narcissistic at times when faced with a mirror. My purple mane hair draped down over my orange body fur was one of the little things in life I could be vain about.

The only real problem with the orange of my fur was that it was uniform across my body. Even on my hindquarters, where there should have been an identical mark on either side.

“When I was young, I had Cutie Mark envy,” I admitted. Luna had at one point seen the dreams of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, but I had no way of knowing if she recalled those. She must have visited thousands of nightmares. “Me and my friends were the last blank flanks in our age group in Ponyville, and we were desperate to get our Cutie Marks.” I pawed at the ground with one hoof. “Apple Bloom was the first to get hers. It was the happiest day of our lives to date, but Sweetie Belle and I were anxious to get ours as well.”

Sometimes, a pony just needed to be able to talk with somepony else listening. To my delight, Luna was fulfilling the latter role with a purpose. “Sweetie Belle got hers a month later, leaving me the odd one out. I thought maybe the talent I had with a scooter would get me it. No luck there. When I finally flew unaided, not hovered but actually flew for the first time, the second thought I had after getting over the high, the rush of flying, was to check for my Cutie Mark. Even then, I still had nothing.”

She spoke again at last, breaking up my monologue. “Then you broke some flight records, I hear.”

I nodded, “Yes. Rainbow Dash was the greatest. I could never hope to beat her in raw speed. The Sonic Rainboom is hers and truly hers alone.” I grimaced, thinking of the searing pain of torn wing muscles when I had attempted it. It made me wince even now, thinking of how Princess Twilight Sparkle had used the analogy of tearing paper apart in explaining what I had done. Some images just weren’t meant to be thought of. “But I trained, and I struggled, and I tried hard. I quickly found out I was meant for long-distance flying.”

“Yes,” Luna nodded. “We – my sister and I, that is – had heard how you were the first to complete the Crystal Empire – Canterlot route in under four hours, and the only pony to last through the entire inaugural Grande Colte Caneighdian Death Flight.”

I smiled in reminiscence at that. I had an offer from the mailponies’ guild after the first, and then an Academy offer from the Wonderbolts after the second for when I came of age. Years of hovering and running around with the girls had given me more than second burst of wind. I seemed to be inponyly capable of enduring long flights.

“And that’s just it, isn’t it, young Scootaloo?” Luna asked. “Even with all that you have done, you still have no Cutie Mark. It feels like you are still a filly, does it not?”

I returned the nod from earlier, sitting down on my plot. I realised with a startle that I had morphed back into my form as a filly. My control over my lucid dreams was nowhere near as powerful as to call myself a Dreamwalker like Luna was nicknamed, capable of entering the dreams and nightmares of others, but I thought I was better than that. I guess my mood right now and Luna’s words had made me turn young in body once more.

“Yes,” I said. “I went so long without a Cutie Mark that my Cutie Mark Envy faded away, but now that I’ve done beautiful things, magnificent things, things that other ponies praise me for…I just don’t know what my purpose in life is. I enjoy these things, so why don’t I have a Cutie Mark?”

Princess Luna extended out a hoof and squeezed my shoulder, and for once in a long time I felt at peace. I had poured out my heart to another pony who seemed to naturally empathise. It wasn’t near the same situation, but I suppose I had felt something like what Luna had when she was being overshadowed by her elder sister, frustrated by the ponies sleeping when the sun went down. Her night truly was a thing of beauty, the sky the canvas she painted her web-like pattern of stars all spun around the focal point, the luminous moon.

“I’m afraid you might never know, Scootaloo,” Luna replied. “It is very rare, but I have seen ponies grow into their full marehood who did not have their Cutie Mark. You might never know your true destiny.”

“Oh-ho-ho! I wouldn’t say that, Princess Luna!”

The two of us froze, and we both shook off the paralysis that had infected us, the infestation of spores being rejected. It was an odd voice. The tone was a deep baritone, but it also seemed to be like many voices put together, each one a fraction of a note out of synch. It almost sounded like the alien Queen that had invaded the royal wedding I had been in attendance at when I was younger. If I remembered rightly, her name was Queen Chrys-

Discord! What are you doing in young Scootaloo’s dream?!” Princess Luna barked, the famed ‘Royal Canterlot Voice’ in action. Being a dream, the Voice seemed to be targeted at the dream intruder, and I thankfully wasn’t thrown off to the side by the sheer force behind the voice.

There were very few entities I was afraid of. Discord, the Lord of Chaos was one of them. Even reformed, he could still be a menace with his antics. I only had to remember the prank he had played on us in the Canterlot Boutique shortly before the first Grand Galloping Gala we three Crusaders had attended. However, I stood my ground when he appeared. I had no idea if the rumours that he could smell fear were true, but it seemed entirely plausible when it came to Discord. 

“For shame, Lulu!” Discord said, the odd out-of-sync tone of his voice gone as he appeared in the flesh. Perhaps that wasn’t the best phrase given this was a dream, but I digress. “I thought you attended to the nightmares of your little ponies! This looks more like your sister’s idea of Boringville, Lamestria.” His one horn sprouted a wooden sign that said ‘Population: Snoozing’. Even as I repressed the fear deep inside me, I still had to hold in a snort at the joke.

“Discorrrrrd,” Luna growled again, her eyes narrowing to slits. “You know you aren’t supposed to be in somepony’s dreams unless you’ve been given explicit permission beforehand. And don’t call me Lulu!” She snapped at the end.

“Oh Loony, don’t be so upset, you know I’d never do something like that!” Discord replied, even as his midsection turned see-through, showing that he had crossed his fingers behind his back. “I just couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with Scoots here, and her despair over her lack of a Cutie Mark!”

The Princess seemed to be holding her anger in fairly well, but I was curious myself, and couldn’t help but ask, “Discord, do you know something about my Cutie Mark?” The enthusiasm I had thought vanquished over ever getting it had revived, like the old mythical tale of the minotaur who had died for the sins of minotaurkind, only to come back to life three days later.

“Scootaloo, be careful!” Princess Luna warned me, turning around.

“Know something?” Discord seemed rather good at acting insulted. I had seen him be jealous once over Fluttershy inviting somepony other than him to the Grand Galloping Gala. If I was as good at telling a draconequus’ emotions as I was with ponies, he was faking his indignation. That, and the rather casual manner in which he was suddenly leaning on my shoulder clued me in. “Why, dear Scooterloo, I created the Cutie Marks magic in the first place!”

What?!” For once that night, Luna and I were as one, and both of us looked at one another again before turning back to Discord. Despite her dark blue fur that got progressively darker as the middle of the night approached, I could still tell she had a light blush. She was the first to speak again. “So it is true then, Discord? My sister and I have badgered you for years about this. Oh, you better not by lying now just for another game, or else there won’t be any mooncakes for the next month!” Luna punctuated these remarks by angrily stomping the ground in front of her several times.

Discord furiously shook his head, “Luna, on the honour of your mooncakes, I mean, on my honour, I swear I’m telling the truth. Satisfied? Good.” Turning around to face me, he asked, “Tell me, Scootaloo. You did a flight ultramarathon, right? Did you ever consider giving up during the race?”

It was a rather normal question. The only thing that really made it odd was who was asking it. Figuring there was no point in lying, I answered in the affirmative. “Many times. Halfway through the race, every breath I took was painful. My wings were burning shortly after that, and I resorted to gliding multiple times to rest. Every time I got close to the ground, it was a struggle to flap my wings again and continue flying.”

“Uh-huh,” was all the dragon-pony-hybrid-thing had to say as he took a tiny magnifying glass out of nowhere, no smaller than the size of one of his claws, before the glass progressively got bigger and bigger, until it was the size of my head. Peering through the magnifying glass, he sarcastically remarked, “Well, no Super Mare here! Just a normal Pegasus, of the chicken variety.”

“Hey!” I barked at him, climbing onto my back hooves. “No chicken comments!”

He scrambled back a little bit, putting his magnifying glass away…somewhere…and put his hands up in a gesture of surrender. “Maa, maa, everyone’s a critic.”

“Discord!” Luna sharply interrupted again. “Is there a purpose here? You said you were the origin of Cutie Mark magic.” Perusing her own flank, she said, “Even when my sister and I were growing up, Cutie Marks were ancient then. Just how far back do they go?”

“Who cares?” Discord shrugged his shoulders, seemingly of a desire to annoy the Princess as much as possible that night. “What I do know is that her Cutie Mark won’t appear except under the right circumstances.”

For many seconds, I could see the light at the end of the dark tunnel that seemed to be my life. At the beginning, it was like a cramped crawlspace. The presence of friends had given me breathing room, enlarging it to a comfortable hallway before it narrowed to a cave shaft in my Cutie Mark Envy. My success with flight had opened it up to a gaping corridor like those in the Princess’ opulent castles, before narrowing again with this latest bout of Envy. Throughout it all, I had continued walking, unaware of my own destiny, but determined to never stop until I could open the door at the end, the purpose of life within my grasp. And then…

“What’s the catch?”

Initially, I thought those words came from Princess Luna. Then I realised they had come from me. Looking over, however, I saw Princess Luna had come to a similar conclusion. There was something Discord was keeping from us.

“Oh, nothing much,” Discord said, a globe of the world with all the known lands suddenly appearing in his paws. He then tossed it over his shoulder, the globe shattering on impact. “All it requires is a little bit of this, a little bit of that, you know, some good old fashion blood, fire, chaos, glory, death.”

“Discord!” Luna barked again, seeming to finally lose her patience. It was a good thing she had done it, because I was left speechless. I felt if I had a mirror before me, I might see my fur turn white, giving truth to that old expression.

The man of the dream-hour turned to me, and pulled me in close. His mismatched eyes disgusted me when he wasn’t trying to be funny in a nice way, but I stood my ground and didn’t allow him to peer into me, window through window to the soul, and see the fear that was Scootaloo.

“You’re a fighter, Scootaloo,” Discord at last said. “More than that, you’re a survivor.”

He stood up completely, pacing back and forth before facing us two ponies again and continued talking. “Any pony can stand up and fight back against hardship, but you’re more than just a hoof above the rest, you’re several hooves above just about anypony else. Say I was to intend to conquer Equestria again.”

“Not happening,” Luna hissed, but said no more, entranced by the Lord of Chaos.

Discord waved her off, “Hypotheticals, my dear Mooncake. Hypotheticals. In any case, you and your sister would no doubt try to stop me, as well as the Elements of Harmony. Assume I defeated both of you. Chaos would rule Equestria again, and Harmony would have to go boo-hoo bye-bye! A few ponies might struggle to challenge me, and I’d kick them to the curb just like that,” He said, making a kicking motion with one of his mismatched legs.

He spun around, pointing a finger at me, “But you! You’d fight me to the bitter end, eye, tooth and hoof! You’d find a way. Maybe you’d rally ponies to your cause and fight back with an army, or maybe you would go it all alone.” His beard suddenly grew longer, just in time for a claw to come up and scratch it, before twirling it around the individual digits. “It’s been so long since I’ve actually killed a pony, I can’t honestly recall it. For ages, it’s been about me attempting to discord somepony. Fluttershy was the last pony who really gave me any pushback, and even she folded easily once I got a bit more forceful.”

I chanced a look at Luna. She seemed as hypnotised as I was, absorbed into Discord’s rant. “Somehow, I think if I tried to discord you, it would never take. You’d push and struggle and I would have to break one of my few vows for a more permanent solution. Or maybe if I did discord you, you’d find a way to break out on your own. Faust knows it’s happened before, but I can count on one paw how many times it’s happened!” As he held his right paw up, one claw disappeared, then another, leaving him with just two remaining. “Yep, still on one paw!”

“So what would my Cutie Mark be, then?” I asked, breaking the spell he had put us under long enough to ask.

Discord slapped his hands against his head, “Oooh, your Cutie Mark! Maybe a mushroom cloud, or perhaps a Discordium atom! Oh, oh, I know! Maybe it’ll be three triangles orbiting a circle all in another circle!” he snapped his finger and a strange symbol appeared in the air, of three triangles at a sixty degree angle to each other around a circle, with the inner corner of each triangle grooved off in an arc. They were all in another larger circle itself.

“A what?” I had no idea what the last two were about at all, and despite the best attempts of Cloudsdale’s gardeners, they haven’t yet been able to grow fungi up there.

“Or maybe,” Discord said, suddenly in between me and Luna again, hugging the two of us close together, “It’ll be a cockroach.”

Now a cockroach I knew. “Ewwww,” I said, wrinkling my nose. “Why would you say that?”

“It’s simple!” Discord said, throwing the two of us, still wrapped together, off to the side. Awkwardly, I disentangled myself from Luna’s limbs. Trust me, the only time you ever want to be entangled with another Pegasus is when being intimate, because trying to extract four sets of hooves and two sets of wings is a menace. “Cockroaches are notorious for surviving everything!”

“I still don’t see what that has to do with me!” I shouted, getting a little bit angry finally, converting the nervous energy in me to something of equal energy but a different form.

“Oh, please!” Discord blew a raspberry. “Time takes strange turns. That’s the fun of chaos! If there was no chaos, there would be no Cutie Marks, and you’d all be like that maniac Starlight Glimmer’s followers were!”

“So that’s why he created them,” Luna mumbled under her breath, “Why am I not surprised.”

“With even the slightest change of events, the future could have been very different. For example, in one future an unknown enemy might have caused a magical catastrophe that kills every living pony, and even their close relatives!” Discord pulled open a paper screen from his hammerspace, with the silhouette of a pony, a zebra, a donkey, and what looked at a guess to be a hippogriff, the hybrid offspring of rare pony-griffin couples. Each of them had a red circle around them with a red slash mark, a symbol understood to mean a negative. “Well, all except for one pony, who survives for over twenty five years in the hazardous wasteland left behind after the sun was destroyed and the moon crash-landed into the earth, eking out a living despite the death of all her friends.”

“What.” The scenario he had described was just so unbelievable I couldn’t even muster a question mark to it.

“Oh! Or maybe it won’t be so bad, in that everypony except for you will disappear and you’ll be subjected to an eternal day, quite naughty of your sister there miss Lovegood! There’ll be a lot of blood and tears and magical barriers but through cleverness you might still find a way to reverse everything!”

“Or maybe the apocalypse will happen, and you’ll survive, but decide you’ll serve a higher purpose in death rather than struggling to life. You’ll sacrifice the last of your health to make a recording that will no doubt encourage ponies in the future to rebel against a tyrannical Pegasus dictatorship that exiled your precious Rainbow Dash and sent an assassin after her.”

My mind buzzed, and I felt faint at the possibilities of what-could-have-beens that Discord was describing. “Cloudsdale would never-“

He continued on, crowding out my feeble attempts at talking. “Then of course there are all the futures where Twilight Sparkle turns evil!”

Princess Luna was finally roused back to action at those words. “Twilight Sparkle would never be evil!” She said, mustering up a defense that she knew was merely spirited.

Discord’s nose grew, and grew, and grew until it was so long its sheer mass tipped the rest of Discord over, leaning against the end of his nose. Squeezing his nostrils right next to his face, the excess nose came clean off, before dispersing into a small amount of mist. “Maybe not in this reality anymore, but need I mention her fascination with the Want-It-Need-It doll?”

Luna was visibly taken aback, as she tucked her wings in in visible reproachment. “We…er, I admit that it could have happened at one point.”

“Exactly!” Discord said, holding up an umbrella. I looked skywards, leery for anything to indicate sudden rain in her dream. The waterfall from Cloudsdale was the only source of precipitation I could see, and the cloud city was moving away from the conversing three in my dream. “But let’s assume she did! She would take over Equestria all too easily with a sneak attack on the other three Princesses. Nopony would expect it from her! Young Scootaloo here might take time to rouse to action. Usually she’d still be young, and nobody could expect a filly to fight! But when she grows up, she would be a force of action. If she had a crippled wing and was missing an eye, she would still be a force of nature against evil Twilight’s forces. In another world, where Twilight might have been possessed by a Nightmare parasite instead, lil Scoots here would still be fighting strong even into her fifties, when other ponies would be settling down for retirement.”

A dead lightbulb appeared above the draconequus’ head, then turned on. “Aha!” Discord snapped his fingers again, turning around to look at Cloudsdale. He stated positioned that way, before his head, and only his head turned completely around. “Sometimes you even survive the Rainbow Factory, an unheard-of feat.”

“Huh? What about the Rainbow Factory?” I barely even understood what he was talking about, and his body facing one way while his head was looking this way left me feeling a little bit sick.

“Never you mind that,” Discord waved my question away. “Maybe just refrain from eating any more rainbow snow cones.”

For once, I got angry. “Have you been spying on me?” I let out the best snarl I could at Discord.

Discord’s pupils widened, then they continued widening until his eyeballs were all but pupil. This action I at least understood, the fight-or-flight reaction of many creatures involving the dilation of the pupil. I also understood he was mocking me. “If I didn’t know how much potential you had to have to toughen up and become more than a nuisance, I might have actually found that cute! At least you're not an orphan here, or else you'd be extra difficult to put up with!” His pupils got pinprick small in a split second, and he looked at his arm. “Oh, never mind me, look at the time, I gotta go! Hope that answers your question, Lula! Maybe I’ll tell Sunflanks more about Cutie Marks on our date! Say hi to Dragonmaster Alex for me!” With another snap of his fingers, Discord was gone. His arm had been bare.

I took a few deep breaths, not quite dropping into the meditation I had learned to deal with pre-race nerves, but sufficient enough to get over Discord. It mostly worked. “Is Discord always like that these days?” I asked Princess Luna, standing beside me with a bemused look, my voice slightly growling. Mostly.

“He has better days,” Luna said. I wasn’t quite sure if that was a defense. She eyed me curiously, making pointed glances at my blank flanks. “What Discord said was rather interesting, young Scootaloo. Half-truth upon Discordisms, but no outright lies.”

“Can you trust that?” I asked her, still a bit wary of him.

Luna paused, her mouth wide open, then smiled. Even during the daytime of the dream, there still seemed to be moonlight that cast its radiance down upon her, making her smile glitter like the twinkling stars of the night sky she represented. “Confident enough to prepare something more that could save us from an apocalyptic future like the ones Discord described. Tell me, Scootaloo, did you know that I was thinking about teaching a new apprentice?”

I don’t know how to describe my feelings right then and there. I think it would have been impossible to describe the overwhelming feeling of rightness that had set in, like a soap that could remove the greasy taint clinging to my sense of self. But there really was only one appropriate answer for the Princess then, a hallmark to the past as much as it was a herald to the future.

“Cutie Mark Crusaders Post-Apocalyptic Survivors Yay.”

I honestly figure the Cutie Mark Crusaders will get their Cutie Marks during the Season 5 Finale with Starlight Glimmer’s return. I mean, c’mon, a pony who steals other’s Cutie Marks? That’s the perfect opportunity for three blank flanks to step up!

Anyways, the idea for this fic started from a comment chain on one of the chapters of ‘The Substitute Demon’ on FIMFiction after Scootaloo appears, when I made the comment that Scootaloo seems to have a knack for surviving apocalypses and dark futures, and even going above just trying to survive to actually fighting back. After a short chain, this idea and FIMfic was born. I could have included a couple of more FIMfic scenarios that Discord describes, but after a while I decided to wrap it up.

This fic had two aborted starts. I usually write in third-person (or third-pony as the case may be) style, but decided on writing this story in first-person instead. It actually got completed, so that’s something. I had a few ideas for Scootaloo that I ditched for the sake of brevity, but they may be recycled for later stories. Her being a long-distance endurance flier was something I did to set her apart from Rainbow Dash, while still making her great in her own right as a flier.

Discord originally was not in this story. However, after plotting out the meeting between Luna and Scootaloo, I ran into a roadblock as I wanted Scootaloo to have an idea of what her Cutie Mark MIGHT be, given her consistent failures, without actually just giving it to her. Discord was an easy way to both feed the answer to her and someone who could easily dream-crash the conversation between Luna and Scoots.

Halfway through I thought, “How would Discord know what Scootaloo’s Cutie Mark really be like?”, then decided, “Maybe Discord CREATED Cutie Marks?” He gives a little bit of a hint as to why he did it (hint: chaos! Just look at the antics the CMC go through to get theirs), but the rest is kind of a background fill-in-your-headcanon deal. Similarly, I won’t say who Scootaloo’s coltfriend was, that’s just a background teaser.

The ending, on the other hand, I had planned out from the start. I figure Princess Luna is genre-savvy enough that when Discord flat out says there’s a pony who’s a fighter that would survive most apocalypse-level events and continue to try for a better future instead of just laying back and giving up, that she’d take the opportunity to train that pony up as a contingency measure (and it wouldn’t matter that Scootaloo is a Pegasus as opposed to a unicorn). Goodness knows they’ve only had at least four big-name villains on the show (re)appear all within a short period of time already. Who knows, Princess Scootaloo? Scootacorn? Maybe. This is just a one-shot though, not a sequel. 

The ‘Grande Colte Caneighdian Death Flight’ is named after the Grande Cache Canadian Death Race, a 125-km ultramarathon.