Chap 5 - Big Things, Small Beginnings
Scotlyn walked through the many stands around the stadium, looking for something that peaked her interest. She would need something to occupy her attention for the next 2 hours after all. However, there was nothing that really stood out to her. There was some games here and there as well as a few attractions, but nothing that spoke "awesome" to her.
She sighed, "What to do, what to do?"
"Step right up, step right up folks to Phred and Phil's world renown ball tossing game." 2 twin brothers said simultaneously as they stood in front of a booth. They were almost identical, white and red streaked hair with pistachio colored eyes. The only distinguishable feature avaible was that Phil had a mustache and Phred's face was clear. Both didn't Iook that old, they looked like they were still in high school in fact.
"World renown huh? What's the game?" Scotlyn asked.
"Simple. You get 3 hard balls little lady and you have to hit 3 of those glass plates with the hard balls."
"Hit all 3 shots and you can have one of our fabulous prizes."
The brothers explained as they displayed their prizes to her. Their were the usual prizes you'd see at a fair. Stuffed animals and shiny toys, there was also a guitar and other instruments along with jewelry but what caught her attention was a scarlet colored motor scooter. Since she couldn't fly yet, Scotlyn got around using a scooter, Raine's suggestion. She loved riding scooters and was really good too, trying to emulate her sister by performing daredevil stunts and tricks with it. Back at home, everyone in the town nicknamed her Scootaloo. But her scooter was old and worn down. If she won this new one, she'd be ecstatic.
"You're on!" she declared.
"Great! That'll be 2 bits."
Author's Note: (1 bit = 1$)
Scotlyn dug into her pocket and felt an abundance of money. Knowing she'd have to end up waiting for her sister and Florice to finish the written exam, their parents gave Scotlyn some money to help endure the wait. Scotlyn handed the brothers 2 gold coins. Phil gave Scotlyn her ammo and Phred set up her targets.
"This should be a piece of cake." Scotlyn said as she threw the first ball.
"Direct hit!" Phred declared when the first ball smashed through its target.
Scotlyn aimed the second ball and let it fly.
"2 in a row! One more and we'll have ourselves a winner." Phil said.
Scotlyn aimed the third shot and flung the ball towards the final plate. She stared it down as flew across the air, a smile on her face, believing she had just won herself a new scooter. But to her surprise, it flew right past the third plate.
"Huh?" Scotlyn blinked when she missed the target.
"Ooooh, tough luck kid. 2 out of 3 unfortunately won't cut it." Phil said to her.
"Must have slipped off my fingertips." Scotlyn said to herself.
"Would you like another go?" Phred asked her.
"Of course! I'll nail it this time."
She gave them another 2 bits and the brothers set the plates up again. Scotlyn threw the first ball, it hit. She threw the second ball, it hit. This time she took a deep breath and aimed her third shot precisely.
"NOW I've won a new scooter!" she declared when she threw the hard ball. It looked perfectly aimed as if it was gonna crash into the dead center of the plate...if it traveled far enough. The ball made a quick plummet before reaching the plate.
"What?! How did that-"
"Looks like this little lady doesn't have as much arm power as she thought."
"No way! I threw it will almost everything that I've got!" Scotlyn cried in disbelief.
"Really? Well why don't you take another crack at it?" they suggested.
"I will, in fact, I won't leave until I win that scooter!"
"Hmm, I already ate food, what else to do now for the next hour and a half?" Bella asked herself as she walked through the fair, "Huh? What's over there?"
There was a group of people watching something and she couldn't help but see what it was. As she approached, she heard a male voice say, "Aw, attempt number 58, still can't seem to hit that third plate little miss."
Bella made her way to the front and saw a girl with pink hair lying with her face flat on a stand. There was a small stack of bits on the stand as well.
"So, would you fancy a 59th attempt?" they asked.
She slowly raised her head and stared at the both of them with an unmistakable frown of disdain on her face.
"That would be nice and all...but you guys took all of my money." Scotlyn said through gritted teeth.
"Ooh too bad so sad."
"Try again next time."
"Now hold on just a second, there is no way you are telling me that for 58 straight times I was able to hit the first two strikes and then miss the third. That doesn't add up at all!"
"Hit 2 but miss the 3rd?" Bella said to herself, "Why does that sound just like..."
"You been playing some type of game with me? I want that scooter and since I already basically gave up enough money to buy it, I'll get it if it's the last thing I do!"
"Well 1, you are the one that's been playing the game, not us missy."
"2, if you want the scooter, you'll have to win it fair and square."
The brothers looked at her with satisfied smirks. Scotlyn wanted to open her mouth to retort but found that no words would exit. Bella spoke out though.
"Hey, I want to play."
The three looked at her when she said this.
"Oh, looks like we have a new challenger Phil."
"Seems so Phred. Looks like the failures of another won't hold the eager back Phred."
Bella smiled innocently, "I just want to see if I can hit all 3, it can't be that hard right?"
"Oh, you'd be surprised little miss." They replied simultaneously with a low chuckle."
Bella took her place in front the stand and Scotlyn tried to warn her as she handed over her 2 bits.
"Don't waste your time. These guys rigged this so that it's impossible for you to win."
"Maybe...or maybe they just need someone to see through their tricks."
Bella aimed the ball at the first plate and then threw it with all her might. The ball skimmed the side of the plate, making it spin before falling to the floor and smashing.
"Oh, that was a really close shot. Gonna need to be better than that if you plan to hit the other two." Phred smirked at her.
"Well my aim isn't exactly the best, so why don't you take my next 2 throws?" she turned towards Scotlyn.
"W-wait! You can't-"
"What's the matter? Is there a problem with me giving my shots away to someone else? Is it against the rules or something?" Bella asked with a confident smile.
"No but uh..."
"I'm sure everyone here wants to see her get another shot at it. Why not give the people what they want?"
The crowd instantly began to agree with her and demanded Scotlyn be given another chance.
"...Alright." Phred swallowed nervously.
"If the people want it...who are we to deny them." Phil added hesitantly.
"Alright, that got me a little excited. I definitely have to win now. I wouldn't be able to bear to look my sister in the face if I told her I couldn't beat a stupid carnival game." Scotlyn said as she took the 2nd ball out of Bella's hand. She made no hesisitation and flung the ball directly at the next plate, smashing it with ease. The crowd cheered and both brothers continued to sweat when she picked up the third ball. Scotlyn ltook a deep breath and exhaled. She locked her eyes on her 2nd target.
"That scooter is mine!" Scotlyn yelled as she threw the hardball with all her might. It made contact dead smack with the center of the plate which exploded into hundreds of pieces from the force.
"I hit it? I mean, I hit it!" Scotlyn rose her fist up in victory and everyone cheered, "I'll take the brand new red scooter please."
"Wait, wait, I'm afraid we can't do that." Phil said quickly.
"Because, you 2 did hit 3 targets to win the game but for someone to claim a prize, the deal was for them to hit 3 targets. As it stands, she hit 1 and you hit 2 so no prize." Phil said cunningly.
"Smart thinking brother." Phred whispered to him.
"What?! That's a bunch of bologna!" Scotlyn protested.
"Sorry but the rules are the rules." Phil said with his arms crossed.
"Well it must be a good thing for you guys that your rules make sure you don't lose any money whatsoever doesn't it?" Bella said.
Everyone turned towards her.
"And what exactly do you mean by that?" Phil and Phred challenged.
"Hey, throw this at any other plate and try to hit it." Bella handed Scotlyn another ball.
"Uh okay, but I'm not sure where you are going with this."
Scotlyn threw the ball with the same accuracy as the last 2 shots...or at least thought she did. It completely missed its target!
"What? How? I was just spot on a minute ago."
"It's because those 2 cast a spell on you." Bella declared while pointing at the brothers.
That caused panic to fill their faces again, "W-we have no idea what you are talking about."
"Yes you do. The spell makes it so that whoever attempts the game always misses every third throw. I know because my sister uses a similiar spell, the same one actually on multiple occasions when sewing to make sure she doesn't mess up a pattern, like when she is seaming, every third seam has to be a French one rather than a double. With the spell, she instinctively does it. You made it so that every 3rd throw we take, we instinctively miss. You 2 are nothing but lousy con artists." she pointed at them accusingly.
The entire crowd frowned at them and they both knew that their little gig was up.
"Ahehe well Phil, it seems we've be made."
"I believe its time we make a strategic retreat Phred. Ahem, here's your scooter Missy and we bid thee adieu."
They placed the scooter down in front of Scotlyn as if to appease the angered crowd, tipped their hats, then a green aura surrounded them and they, along with their stand vanished in a flash. The crowd cheered and then began to disperse.
"Hey you, you're awesome. Thanks for your help. Without it, I would have never won this new scooter." Scotlyn thanked her.
"Don't mention it. What they were doing was wrong, anyone else would have helped too if they picked up on it." Bella replied.
"That's the thing, no one else picked up on it. You must be really smart,"
"Well, I try to take after my sister." she smiled, "My name is Bella."
"Scotlyn Bowens, but most people call me Scootaloo."
"Well only because I'm the absolute best scooter rider in all of Equestria." she boasted.
"Oooh, so that's why you wanted the scooter so bad. But aren't you a Caelum? Why not just fly?"
A cloud seemingly appeared over Scotlyn's head and her confident demeanor immediately plummeted.
"Ah what's wrong? Was it something I said?" Bella fretted.
"Oh its nothing. Just that...I can't fly yet." she confessed.
"Huh? Don't feel bad. I can't use much magic yet either. Its a strain just to do a basic spell." Bella said trying to cheer her up.
"Wait are you serious? But you just knew so much about that spell just a minute ago."
"Because I love watching my sister practice magic. I try to help her sometimes but she doesn't really let me anymore because I usually mess things up anyway since I can't fully do magic yet." she admitted kind of embarrassed, "So I just watch her do it instead."
"Wow, that means me and you are alike." Scotlyn said excited, "A Caelum who can't fly yet and a Magus who can't use magic yet, we should totally be best friends!"
"Uh...okay sure. My sister wanted me to make friends while I was here anyways."
"I'm guessing you sister's taking the exam too?"
"Yeah and she hellbent on getting accepted into one of the academies here in the capital." "Well my sister Raine is going to get into Sky Nebula Prep." "You sound pretty confident in her." "That's only because she is in fact the most awesome person in all of Equestria. There's no way they turn her down." Scotlyn said proudly.
"You must really look up to her, like I do to Rarity." Bella said as she looked towards the stadium, "I wonder how's she doing…"
Then she heard a low growling noise and turned her attention back to Scotlyn, who was holding her stomach.
"Oh man, I'm really hungry all of a sudden. Hey Bella, you wouldn't happen to know anywhere good to eat around here would you?"
"There's an outdoor breakfast diner next to the stadium. I just ate there, their waffles are really good."
"Really?! Well then what are we waiting for, let's...wait." Scotlyn paused mid sentence. "What's wrong?"
Scotlyn was on her hands and knees, her mood completely down.
"I forgot, I just blew off all my money…"
"Don't worry," Bella smiled, "I'll pay for you."
Scotlyn's eyes glowed as she jumped up in excitement, "Really?"
"Yeah sure. It's what my sister would do."
"You're the best Bella, after Raine of course. C'mon, let's go." Scotlyn grabbed her arm and sat on her new scooter with Bella behind her, her arms wrapped around her waist.
"Wait, we don't have helmets." Bella protested.
Scotlyn revved up the new motor scooter and the engined roared to life, "Helmets are for chumps" she smirked. Then without any further hesitation, she sped off. Bella let out a startled scream and held on tightly for dear life.
Bella sat at a table, her hair a little frizzy from the ride but she seemed mostly okay. Scotlyn was stuffing her face with waffles and orange juice. Bella looked around and saw numerous aspiring highschool freshmen and sophomores sitting, looking extremely depressed. The ejections from the exam weren't anything new but never had their been so many. It left her feeling uneasy.
"Hey Scotlyn, aren't you the least bit worried about your sister?" she asked Scotlyn as she chugged down her glass of orange juice.
"Aah, that was a good breakfast. What did you say Bella?"
"Well, so many kids got ejected from the stadium this year. Most siblings would be worried but you seem so nonchalant."
Scotlyn grinned, "That's cause I have nothing to worry about. Like I said before, Raine is the most awesome person in Equestria. There's no way she got ejected."
"I wish I had your confidence."
"I'm sure your sister is still in too but if it's bothering you that much, we can always go and check."
"Well, I guess since we have nothing else to do now."
As the two got up to leave, they heard a girl's voice call out, "Free apple tarts!"
"Free food?!" Scotlyn chimed
"You just ate half a dozen waffles!" Bella cried.
Bloom stood by a small stand with some boxes on one side and a plate of apple tarts on the other.
"C'mon up folks and try out some of Sweet Apple Acre's World Famous Apple Tarts. Samples are free and if you like the sample, you can by a box full, only 5 bits. These are the last boxes of the day, so c'mon, hurry up now."
The sale was going good. After Apphia went in to take the test, the plan was for Bloom to go and meet their relatives living in Canelot who ownef a stand. Before arriving in the city, Apphia shipped a bunch of apple tarts from the farm to those relatives for Bloom to sell today. Originally, Bloom started of with 50 boxes of apple tarts, but in a short time that was reduced to a mere 4.
"Can I get a free sample?"
Bloom turned towards the voice, "Why sure-wait a minute?" she paused when she looked at the girl real good, "You're one of the girls from earlier who nearly knocked me and Apphia over!"
"Huh? Don't know what you're talking bout but about that free sample."
She reached for a tart but Bloom pulled the plate away.
"Uhn uhn, we don't sell no apples to the disrespectful, least not til they apologize."
"Apologize for what? I don't even know you! Now let me get a tart!"
Bloom stuck her tongue out at Scotlyn as she held the plate away from her. A vein of frustration appeared on Scotlyn's head.
"So that's how it's gonna be is it?"
"Eeyup. Unless y'all got a problem with it?"
The two stared down, both with stubborn looks on their faces.
"Ugh guys...its just apple tarts." Bella tried to calm them down.
"Huh, what's with the ruckus?"
They both broke off their stare down to see a guard standing next to them looking rather confused. He was dark skinned and had blue hair and they could tell he was a council guard because of his get up.
"She started it!" they accused each other.
Shia sighed, "You 2 remind me of my younger brother and sister, bickering and then being real quick to place the blame of the argument on each other. Can you try not to make a huge scene, I have enough to worry about as is."
Shia rubbed his head and stared ahead looking in distress.
"What's the problem mister? You look like something's really bothering you, maybe we can help." Bella said.
"Hey, since when do we help random strangers?" Scotlyn protested.
"It's what Rarity would do." Bella replied.
"My big sister Apphia is always looking to help people in need. Shows how kindhearted you are.' Bloom remarked.
"I'm a very helpful and caring person, just like my big sister Raine! How can we help you sir?" Scotlyn pushed her aside and stood in front of him.
"I doubt you 3 kids can help me much...but then again do I have much options? Can't tell anyone else really. Information spreads like wildfire once among highschool students and most adults would make an unnecessary big deal about it." he sighed again, "Why'd she go and run off, this'll not only make her look bad but me as well. She can be so childish at times."
"Oh you're looking for someone?" Bella asked.
Shia turned his attention towards the 3 eager girls again. They looked like they were in middle school, but it was sad to admit enlisting in their help was his best option. Adults or teenagers couldn't he trusted with the info and the other guards would probably laugh at and chatise him for letting the whole ordeal happen. Kids however are able to keep their mouths shut if given the right motive and wouldn't make his next couple of months at work a nightmare.
"Alright, you can help me, but only if you swear to not tell anyone else about all of this."
The 3 nodded.
"My name is Shia Sparks, most people higher up know me as "Shining Armor" of the Council's Guardsman and personal Guard of council member Solisia Stellar."
"Wow! Really? That's so cool, you're an actual council guard and a personal guard of a council member at that! Where is Solisia? Can we meet her?" Scotlyn exclaimed.
"Well you see, that's the problem...Solisia is missing."