Hello. My name is Scootaloo. I'm an orange filly with a purple mane. I come from Cloudsdale. Of course, that also means I'm a pegasus, but you probably knew that. I adore Rainbow Dash because, c'mon, she's awesome. I was born from the death of a filly.
Wait, did that last part confuse you? What? Do you really want to hear about this? Alright, alright. Just, uh, brace yourself. If you don't mind... it hurts less when it doesn't feel like I'm talking about myself, so this will be third-person.
A much younger Scootaloo was inside a plain wooden house in Ponyville, near a lake. The blue-grey vaporstone that made the walls was painted over inside, depicting cheerful scenes from Scootaloo's imagination.
Among these was a stickpony drawing of herself and her two parents. They were both on the Cloudsdale City Guard. Her mother, Silent Wings, was one of the rare mares in the organization. Her coat was a perfect pitch black, nearly invisible in the dark. She was known for her talent of espionage, and Scootaloo hoped to one day learn the story behind how she earned her Cutie Mark. Her father was quite the opposite. He was a strong, rough stallion with a bit of a short fuse. He had a shining white coat to constrast with his wife. Nopony knew his birth name, as he preferred to go by the simple name "Shield". It fit him, because despite his anger, he could be counted on to protect his charges.
Scootaloo jumped when she heard a voice from behind her.
"Dinner is ready, Ace," Silent Wings told her little filly.
Yes, Ace. That was her name back then: Aerial Ace. Despite not having learned to fly yet, her parents were confident that she'd grow up to be one of the fastest mares in Equestria.
"Mommy, you always scare me!" Ace complained.
"When you get all your fears out, all that's left is happiness," Silent Wings said, nuzzling Ace. The filly smiled and nuzzled her mother back, before bouncing happily into the dining room.
Shield was already in the dining room, and he smiled as his daughter entered through the doorway.
"Hey, there, Ace!" he exclaimed. He held out his arms, and she happily hugged him.
"Hi, daddy," Ace responded.
"So, what are you thinking of the vacation so far?" he asked.
"It's the best vacation ever!" Ace answered enthustiastically.
"It's only the first one you've been on, silly filly," Silent Wings said. "I've made a nice rose salad for dinner."
"I hate picking around the thorns!" Ace complained.
"I cut them off for you already," the mother answered.
The three pegasi sat down at the table and ate out of the bowls in front of them. It was a happy and peaceful scene. As they finished up, Shield spoke.
"So, Ace, did you hear about the lake monster?" he said, smiling.
"What lake monster?" Ace asked.
"Ponies say that when a foal does something bad by this lake and doesn't admit it, a giant snake will come out of the water and eat them up!" He punctuated the last few words with a scary face, causing Ace to jump in fright and giggle. "I hope you haven't done anything bad today!"
"No, daddy, I've been a good filly," Ace promised. Her father laughed with her, and nodded.
"Good. You better go to sleep now. I've got an exciting trip planned for tomorrow. You and I are going to go on a hike all the way to the other side of the lake. I know just the right path," Shield said.
"Wow! How will we get back?" Ace asked curiously.
"We're going to nail our hooves to the ground and walk the whole way," Ace said. "Think we can make it all the way around the lake?"
"I know we can!" Ace said firmly. If there was once thing she got from her father, it was confidence.
"Ok, then, you better head to bed so you have the energy tomorrow," Shield encouraged. Ace nodded, bouncing away to her room.
Later that night...
Ace was woken up in the middle of the night by her mother. Silent Wings put on a calm face as she pulled Ace out of bed, but Ace could tell something was wrong.
"Mommy, is something wrong?" Ace asked.
"No, dear, everything's fine. Come on, now. We've decided to go home early," Silent Wings said assurantly.
"Ok, I'll pack up," Ace said, yawning. "Can't we wait till morning, though?"
"No, dear, this is very important. We have to leave now," Silent Wings said. "Leave your stuff, we'll come back for it later."
Despite her young age, Ace was anything if not clever. She quickly connected dots in her mind.
"Mommy, where's daddy?" she asked suspiciously. Her mother stared at her, beaten.
"Come along, dear, we're flying. Now," Silent Wings ordered. "We're going to get to Ponyville to take off for the city."
"Yes, mommy," Ace said obediently. She couldn't help but worry about her father, though. What was wrong?
The two ponies left through the back door of the small vacation home, when Ace heard shouts and roars coming from the other side of the house. Her mother ordered her not to look back, and just keep her eyes ahead, towards the safety of Ponyville. With that final word of advice, she vanished back down the path, into the dark of Celestia's night.
Ace disobeyed. She chased back after her mother frantically, heading back down the path to the house. She peeked around the side of the house, and was utterly terrified.
Her mother and father were in the air, armed with their standard-issue guard spears. They were fighting a collossal serpent that was slithering around the ground, trying to snap at them with it's massive jaws. Shield dove in to stab at it's left eye, easily scoring the hit from his extensive training. In it's pain, though, it managed to bite his leg. He yelled in pain as a fang sunk in, before Silent Wings swooped in and drove her spear up it's side. It released her husband, and he pressed on despite his injury.
"Mommy! Daddy!" Ace cried out.
"Ace!" Silent Wings gasped. "Get away from here! I said to go to Ponyville!" She barely dodged another bite from the serpent.
"Ace, go to Ponyville! This is just a nightmare! You'll wake up if you escape!" Shield ordered.
He dove in for another attack, but he was too slow. The serpent bit him, and with a horrible crunch, tore an entire wing off of his body. He plummeted to the ground several feet below, crashing against a tree. He was completely unconscious. Silent Wings now faced the creature alone, having to protect both her filly and her husband.
"But I didn't do anything wrong!" Ace wailed, remembering her father's story. "Go away! I didn't do anything wrong! GO AWAY!"
Ace had made far too much noise. She was small, and vulnerable. The serpent couldn't understand her; it only saw easy prey. It slithered over quickly, until Silent Wings flew directly in front of it and chucked her spear into it's right eye. It soared through the air with impossible precision, impaling it's eyes and blinding it completely. It made a loud hiss of pain, and began to snap wildly.
"Ace, flee! Retreat! Run away!" her mother ordered.
Then, in a single, terrible moment, the serpent struck. It flailed it's tail against the unconscious Shield, and Ace heard a loud "snap" of broken bones. At the same time, it rushed out with it's head and grabbed Silent Wings in it's mouth, bringing it's teeth right through her neck.
Ace ran. She ran away, so very far. She made it to Ponyville without pursuit, and without her parents. She curled up in an alley and cried herself to sleep, knowing very well that she would never see her parents alive again.
I... I'm sorry. I didn't want to tell anypony my story. That was the night Ace died. Ace was nothing without her parents. Certainly, she survived, but it wasn't even living; it was existing.
She turned to a life of crime. It was the only way, without anypony to support her. She crept into ponies' homes at night, and stole anything she thought could help. It was mostly food and small numbers of bits, as she drank her water from the Ponyville river. Occasionally, she stole something more: a few valuable pieces of silverware, a single knife to defend herself if the serpent ever came for her, and a scooter.
One night, a whole year after the death of her parents, she heard about a boutique having brought in a huge number of diamonds recently. And that leads to the next part of our story...
This was easily one of Ace's most risky and potentially rewarding robberies ever. She'd managed to break the seals on a lower window of Carousel Boutique with her knife, which she put back into her saddlebag of thievery tools. She slid the window open quietly, and slipped into the store. She considered herself lucky that she was the daughter of what used to be the stealthiest mare in Equestria, but she refused to think about her parents.
She crept about the bottom floor, where, she suspected, she could find the diamonds amongst the rest of the gemstones. She'd made sure to find out where the owner, named Rarity, kept the gems: behind a locked closet door.
That was no issue for Ace. She took a set of lockpicks from her saddlebag and set to work on fidgeting with the locked closet door. After the whole last year of thievery, she was an expert at lockpicking, and easily opened the door.
There were several chests inside the closet. She opened one, finding blue gemstones inside. She closed it; that wasn't her objective. She opened another to find green, and then a third contained yellow. She pulled out the fourth and final chest, and cautiously opened it...
"Who are you?" asked a small voice behind Ace.
She yelped, and instinctively flung her head into her saddlebag. Whe she looked behind her, she had her knife in her teeth menacingly. There was a white unicorn filly in front of her, who jumped backwards when Ace bore the weapon. Ace took it out of her mouth and held it with her hoof to speak.
"Who am I? Who are you?" she asked, pointing her knife at the filly. The unicorn shrunk, and was shaking. "Don't you dare scream for help. Not a single sound. Just tell me who you are."
"I-I'm... S-Sweetie... Belle..." the unicorn answered, backing away from Ace. "Please don't hurt me... Are you the thief?"
"Yeah, I'm the thief. And if you even think to tell anypony, I will come back for you, and I will not hesitate to use this knife," Ace growled. "Where are the diamonds?"
"D-diamonds?" Sweetie Belle asked, confused and frightened.
"Yes. Big, shiny, clear. Brought to the Boutique today. Where are they?" Ace pressed, still aiming her knife.
"M-my sister... kept them with her... she said they were... t-too valuable..." Sweetie Belle stammered. "I can take you to her... if you promise not to hurt us..."
"Adult unicorn?" Ace asked. Sweetie Belle nodded. "No, too risky for her to see me. Full-grown unicorns are far too slippery. You will get the diamonds, and bring them to me. Alone."
"Can I at least know who you are?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Why the hay would I let somepony know my name? In case you haven't noticed, I'm a criminal. Go get the diamonds, now," Ace demanded.
Sweetie Belle walked back upstairs quietly. After a few minutes, Ace started to get impatient and suspicious. She'd probably woken her sister up, and they were hiding the gemtones right now. She should have known not to trust the unicorn. She growled, and brandished her knife as she made her way to the stairs.
She was proved right about Sweetie Belle having woken her sister up, as she noticed a full-grown white unicorn at the top of the stairs. Sweetie Belle was cowering behind her, although the older mare seemed to have a calm, amost regal appearance. She was wrong, however, about them hiding the diamonds. The mare was holding a large wooden chest in the air with her magic as she descended the stairs, keeping her eyes trained on the orange thief the whole time.
"Put the weapon down, thief. I will not have bloodstains on any of my garments," Rarity ordered. She may have had a calm tone, but Ace was capable of sensing when somepony was angry, and this mare had a tranquil fury.
Ace wasn't stupid enough to face a unicorn in full-on combat, especially not during this mission, when just the knowledge of her robbery attempt to get her thrown in jail for a very long time. She slowly put the knife into her saddlebags and backed away.
Rarity and Sweetie Belle reached the bottom of the stairs, and the wooden chest came down in front of them. It was unlocked with Rarity's magic, showing a dozen lights reflected by the clear gemstones. Ace's eyes twinkled at the sight.
"As I understand it, you broke into my store in an attempt to find these, and made no less than a death threat to my sister," Rarity said, in the same calm but terrifying voice.
"Yeah, I did. And revenge isn't going to change that, so don't even bother. Call the police on me, and I will come back out of jail to make good on that threat," Ace challenged.
"Your name, now," Rarity demanded. "The more we know about you, the easier this is. It won't change the outcome of this for you if you let us know who you are."
Ace paused. On one hoof, she certainly didn't want to give her name away to the unicorns. But on the other hoof, an alias would help her to get out of this, possibly unscathed. Her mind immediately went to her favorite stolen item.
"I'm Scoot... aloo," Ace lied. Rarity raised an eyebrow in disbelief, but nodded.
"Where do you live, Scootaloo? We might as well know, since we've got you here," Rarity asked.
"I don't have a home, and I like it that way," the newly-dubbed Scootaloo answered. This was yet another lie, or at least the bit about liking it was.
"I see. And last question: are you willing to make a trade?" Rarity asked. Scootaloo looked confused.
"A trade for what?" she asked.
"Give us your knife, so that you can't hurt anypony with it. If you do so, you can have half of the diamonds, a bed for the night, and a warm meal in the morning," Rarity promised. Scootaloo's jaw dropped. She just suddenly decided to give him diamonds, and let him stay in her home? She couldn't help being a little suspicious of the offer.
"Lemme guess. This is all one big trap so you can keep me here until the police arrive. I mean, really. You're just going to give me half the diamonds, and let me, a known thief, stay in your home that's filled to the roof with gemstones? How stupid do you think I am?" Scootaloo asked.
"I have no intentions of such. I am not trying to bring harm to you, I am trying to help you. Sometimes, generosity can mean much more than any other gesture," Rarity said. She brought a diamond out of the box. "There are 20 diamonds in this chest. 10 of them are yours, if you just slide your knife over. It is valuable enough that you can stop stealing, and buy yourself a proper education and enough food to last you 3 months."
Sweetie Belle gave Scootaloo a pleading expression, though Rarity simply gave a smile. Scootaloo stayed her hoof for a good minute, but then sighed. Her knife slid across the floor to the unicorns, and Rarity nodded.
"Thank you, Scootaloo," Rarity said, walking over.
He backed away, but relaxed then she merely nuzzled the orange filly. It reminded her of her mother's embrace, and tears came to her eyes. Just this once, she would remember. Just this once.
On that night, I was born. I threw away the name Aerial Ace for good, and took on the name Scootaloo. I managed to avoid stealing one thing from the Boutique that night. With the diamonds Rarity gave me, I managed to do exactly as she said: I managed to buy a year of education at the school house, and food enough to keep me alive. I made friends with Sweetie Belle, despite my rough meeting with her. When my money ran out, Rarity was always happy to show even further generosity, no matter how much I didn't deserve it. It was like that one act of kindness wiped away my problems, and I became a good filly again.
Rarity is as good as a mother to me now, and I guess this is sort of related to why I like Rainbow Dash, too. She reminds me a lot of my dad: strong, confident, and protective. One day, if I ever learn to fly, I promise I'll be like her, in Dad's honor.
I still haven't told my friends about my parents, or the dead filly named Aerial Ace. Sweetie Belle and Applebloom know that something is wrong about my past, but they're kind enough to never ask. Maybe I'll tell them someday. Maybe someday, I'll let them know about the old me. Someday.
That's me. I hope you can forgive me for what I've done. I'll... I think I'm going to go see Rarity, and thank her again.