"You gotta give a little to get a lot, Rumble." Scootaloo said with a nod. "We gotta know you're committed, know you haven't been tainted by the dark side." She mimicked the adjustment of a certain, well known tiara. "I mean, we COULD just let you in, but then you'd just kinda be there. Like...a newbie. You'd be the grunt. Think of the tests are an opportunity! You get tons of respect from us, and you get to be full fledged Cutie Mark Crusader. No prohibition period, no long term judging or nothin' like that. Just straight up C-M-C."
Satisfied with that, she looked around. "Alright, Sweetie Belle! You should give him yours first." She exclaimed, swinging an arm around the unicorn and pulling her over. She flared her wings out a little bit. The night had gotten real interesting real quick, and all of a sudden Scootaloo was all fired up. She was almost shaking with excitement, actually, which when she thought about it was weird and unsettling. Then she started to wonder if taking a sip of Miss Cherilee's coffee when she wasn't looking was such a good idea after all.
To say that Sweetie Belle was unprepared was a laughable understatement. Until five minutes ago, she hadn't even known there were going to be tests, much less that she had to think one up. But she tried to keep in step with her friends whenever she could. Solidarity, and all that! "Umm....." She said, trying to think of difficult tasks. Climb Mount Canterlot? That was dumb, when there was both a road and when Rumble could fly. Fight a dragon? She didn't think Spike would approve of that. Give Opal a bath? Come on, she wasn't that cruel. The task had to be at least semi-possible.
The tension in the room mounted as Sweetie Belle tried desperately to think of a mighty task. Sadly, she blurted out her answer before she took the time to sound it out in her head. "Your first test is to kiss a filly!" she declared. The moment she said it, she regretted it. What kind of a silly test was that? Before another foal could say a word, she hastily added, "Or you must solve this riddle and bring me this item from Sugarcube Corner!" Smooth, Sweetie Belle. She hurried to chant the riddle.
"Brown on the outside, White on the in, Whipped in the middle, And thin is the skin."
"Solve the riddle and bring me the item to prove that you're smart. That you've got the brains part. Or! You can kiss a filly to prove that you've got, um, guts! Take your pick!" Sweetie Belle tried to sound confident. There you go! Bam! Tests! Take your best shot, Rumble!
Honestly Apple Bloom had just been tossing out words when she had said there was a retirement package. She hadn't expected him to investigate any of them further. She still wasn't sure about these tests, but being a Cutie Mark Crusader was often about leaps of faith. She could understand being a bit nervous, but she would have hoped that he trusted them well enough to know that even if they said the challenges would be tough, they wouldn't actually be far out of hand. If he didn't already have that trust, why did he want to join in the first place? The organization wasn't any grander than the three of them, after all.
But then again, Sweetie Belle's challenge wasn't what Apple Bloom would have been expecting, if she had been expecting anything. As a filly, she didn't find kissing a filly all that bad, but she could guess that this would be more daunting for a boy. The riddle, on the other hand, was also pretty challenging. Maybe Sweetie Belle had been in on this challenges thing after all. She would really have to start paying attention in meetings better if they were going to set up things like this.
”Good luck,” she said to Rumble, trying to give a confidant smile both for him and on behalf of the other Crusaders. Guts and smarts were both essential parts of being on their team, so it seemed fair to her.
From what he understood about what Scootaloo was saying, if he passed the tests he would receive full membership into the group. He might still be able to get it, but he'd be at a super low rank and it wouldn't as be as good. Well he was going to get through all the tests and impress the girls!
Rumble looked at Sweetie Belle confident that he'd be able to pass whatever test she came up with. He was silent as she thought it over, possibly thinking about the cruelest tests she could make him endure. Hopefully it didn't involve Opal. The Pegasus had never had an encounter with Opal, yet, but he had heard stories. Then the filly blurted out his challenge. Rumble locked up.
She gave him one daunting task, and one easier task. Solving the riddle might not be so hard, especially if he ran into Pinkie Pie, or passed by Bon Bon's. Either of them could probably answer the food based riddle and get him what Sweetie Belle wanted. There was just one little problem, Rumble didn't have any bits to go out and buy sweets. He still didn't have an allowance back for his own spending money.
That left a hard task to do: Kiss a filly. Which filly though? Was Sweetie Belle using this opportunity to hint that she liked him? If she liked him, maybe they could go to Sugarcube Corner sometime for a malt... once he started getting his allowance back again. If he told Thunderlane, he might be able to borrow some from his big brother. If anything Flitter or Cloudchaser might lend him the bits... one of them might also spy on the whole thing. Thinking of the sisters and all he had listened to them talk, something came up.
Sweetie Belle has said: '...kiss A filly', not kiss her. What if one of the other two secretly liked him, and she was using this chance to help one of them? Suddenly a lot of the gossip he heard from Flitter and Cloudchaser made sense... it felt like it made sense even if he didn't fully understand stuff his foal sitters said. He wouldn't want to hurt any of their feelings by picking the wrong one in that case! What as he to do? Risk something on a one-in-three chance, or fly out to sugarcube corner and see if he could borrow some bits along the way, and not get caught by his big brother or his parents.
Sweetie Belle had suggested it, that meant it could be her. Scootaloo had told Sweetie Belle to give the first test though, so what if that meant it was here? Apple Bloom had wished him good luck and smiled. Was she being supportive, or trying to tip him off? Why did his foal sitters have to let him know that fillies could play games like this. There was only one thing to do.
Rumble walked over to the girls and rubbed one of his legs with a hoof a little sheepishly. "I haven't got any allowance so I can't go to Sugarcube Corner." he admitted. He took a deep breath to steady his nerves then quickly gave each girl a quick kiss. They had been huddled together before and hadn't spread out so it was easy to do in a few seconds. If any of them liked him he was sure to have gotten them, and maybe since he did the harder test three time that might earn him a little extra credit.
Maybe his next test would involve snow, so he could cool off his steadily reddening face. For a test though... that wasn't so bad.
"Yeah!" Scootaloo replied, purely on reflex. "Your first test is to...wait, it is?"
Well, she couldn't argue the 'brave' bit. He'd have to be pretty gutsy to kiss some random filly. And where would he even find one at this time of night? Surely he'd go for the-oh, he didn't have any bits. Well, this was actually turning into a bit of a conundrum. She WANTED Rumble to succeed and get in. She really did. It'd be cool to have him there, he'd probably have some really cool ideas for cutie marks they hadn't thought up yet. But now, with this, he might have been doomed from the-
smeck smeck smeck
Did that seriously just happen? Did he...with the...and the...And why wasn't she saying this out loud!? Her jaw worked in some manner equivalent to a fish gasping for water. Finally, she seemed to remember how to work her vocal chords, but she stopped herself short of saying something. No. No, he'd done the challenge. He'd done it out of duress. PURELY out of duress. But why had he kissed all THREE of them?
"Y-" Nope, couldn't talk yet. Still debating the possibility of throwing up. She took a deep breath to steady herself. "Hey. Yeah. Right. Um. Apple Bloom, if this was good enough for Sweetie, could you, uh...? I need to, uh..." She said rather unhelpfully. She shot her friend a look that she hoped would explain the unrest in her head at the moment. She could barely stomach OTHER ponies getting kissed. He's just committed to joining, Scootaloo. Juuuuuust committed to joining.
Apple Bloom hadn't had seen Rumble's choice coming. Surely his reason for choosing that option made sense. No money, no way to buy nuthin. But he only had to kiss one filly and he had kissed all three of them! Which now meant that whenever she told anyone about the first time a boy kissed her, it'd be Rumble. Forever. That was now a part of the rest of her life. Now Rumble was great, she had just always imagined there would have been more set up than what was essentially a dare. At least she had shared this moment with her closest friends? Nope. Nope. That was kind of weird. ”Yeah, sure. Ah mean, way to go above and beyond the call of duty,” she said, still spaced out and not totally sure what had just happened.
”So for my challenge, you'll need to uhh,” she thought, which had been made more difficult by the results of the last challenge. ”So that one was about guts or brains and you went with guts cuz you had'ta,” she said, filling in time by repeating what had already occurred, ”So naturally mah challenge is about virtues too.” That was all the stalling she could justify. It was challenge time.
”Ah want you to prove your humility,” she said, tossing it out there, ”You said why we should let you in, why you're a good candidate... Well what do'dya got to work on?” It seemed decent enough as a challenge. It was just words she was asking for, not something too grand. But they could be hard words for the proud. Pride was something she personally knew pretty well. ”As Crusaders, we tend to share a lot of our weaknesses too. They're a part of who we are.” Hopefully Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo thought that was an okay way to go.
Sweetie Belle was startled into silence for a moment, but only a moment. Then she grinned brightly at Rumble. "Woohoo! Way to go Rumble!!!" the unicorn filly declared, proudly. "That really must have took a lot of guts! I'm satisfied!" It didn't bother her in the least that Rumble had chosen them to do his kisses on. Rarity had told her that such things don't count as kisses unless both ponies are doing the kissing. In that respect, kisses couldn't be stolen unless you secretly wanted them to. Which was a good thing, she thought. Because if you tried to steal them back, how would you ever know if you were taking or giving a kiss?
Glancing at Scootaloo's spaced out face and Apple Bloom's mind blown blankness, she realized that her friends were rather frazzled. Her enthusiasm subsided, just a little, into more appropriate levels. She hoped that they weren't mad at her, or had hard feelings and more importantly, that they wouldn't hold it against Rumble for trying to do a good job on her test. "A-Anyway! G-Good Job, Rumble! Lots of guts! I don't think anyone can wonder if you've got the stomach to be a Cutie Mark Crusader now!" Sweetie emphasized the word stomach for Scootaloo's sake. She looked like she was going to be sick to hers!
When Apple Bloom suggested her trial, a recitation of Rumble's faults, Sweetie Belle studied the foal with a serious expression. That would be a trial of brains, wouldn't it? Rumble didn't have many faults that she could see, except for a tendency to over-use the same excuses for not turning in his homework to Miss Cheerilee!
NAILED IT! Sweetie Belle was excited about the test, Apple Bloom was left speechless, and Scootaloo was even stupefied by it! None of them screamed, yelled, or hit him, so he must've done well. Not well enough to get a kissing cutie mark though. If he had gotten a cutie mark one of them would have mentioned it. He still didn't know if any of them like-liked him though. Flitter and Cloudchaser might be able to give him some insight later, or Thunderlane.
Rumble was pumped and ready for the next challenge. He knew he could pass it! As soon as he heard what it was his brain suddenly shut down. List his faults? Did he have faults? Up until now he had thought of himself as pretty awesome. He was friend with a Wonderbolt, he knew a cool Griffon, his big brother was super awesome. Way more awesome than Rainbow Dash. So what did he have to work on?
"Uuuhhh..." he started blankly trying to think and buy himself some time. "I need to work on my spin outs. I got flung by a tornado once and it took a long time to land safely and get back." Gilda had said he'd needed to work on those. What else did he have to work on? "and umm... I don't do my homework a lot." He was always getting looks from Cheerilee because of that. What else did the teacher reprimand him on...
"OH! I'm really stubborn sometimes. You all know how long me and Scootaloo could go at each other on who's better: Thunderlane, or Rainbow Dash." They hadn't done it in a while, but there had been times where it'd seem like they'd never stop. "And umm... sometimes I get distracted easily and go off on tangents. It's hard not getting sidetracked sometimes. I had Twilight help me with a report once and we ended up talking about a ton of other things."
Apple Bloom hadn't really had much in mind when she had blurted out her challenge. It wasn't the product of long hours of thought and crafting. She likely would have accepted practically any answer that seemed to take the question seriously. If he had said something like, 'my only fault is being too flawless,' that might have come across poorly. But other than that, she didn't plan on being very picky. If nothing else, it might help them know when to suggest he wear a helmet. They had learned the value of those more than once. Knee pads, too. Cutie Mark Crusadering was not meant to end in broken bones or bleeding.
As it turned out, he was able to pull out some pretty good statements. Apple Bloom wasn't a Rumble expert, so most of it, well really all of it, was news to her. She did feel a bit closer to him now, which was good. If nothing else, she could feel a bit proud of herself for that reason. Especially since she had been pretty sure that he was closer to Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo than he was to her. Now they at least had this moment between them all. She'd make sure to be ready to return the favor if he asked her to. Fair was far.
”Spoken like a pony of true humility!” She said happily, ”You pass mah test!” She said in congratulations. Hopefully he didn't feel too bad about revealing all of that. Her intention had not been to ruin his mood or any other energy that they had going on here. ”Just one more and you've done 'em all,” she added, trying to be a little more reassuring about it all. He was moving through them well, so she probably had nothing to be worried about.
Alright! No more messing around. No more playtime. Scootaloo psyched herself up and shook off the remainder of her daze from the……EVENT. She nodded to herself once she heard that Apple Bloom accepted the admission of weakness. She didn’t mind it herself, either. It was a good one, to be sure. He’d gone above and beyond the call.
At least, for that test.
“Alright, Rumble,” She said, stepping proudly over to their snack cart. ”You got through the easy stuff, but I’m not nearly as lenient.” She looked through, lifting her head up and peering over the foodstuffs. Finally, she seemed to find what she was looking for and pulled it out of the stack. She walked over to their table and slid onto the center of it…..
Crispy Apple Turnover she could find in the cart. She gave a little bit of a smirk and stepped back. ”Rumble, we gotta go look in to something. My task for you is very simple. All you need to do...is not eat this turnover until we get back. Got it? Do. Not. Eat. It.” She nudged her friends out the door, closing it behind them. Then, she poked her head back in for a sec. ”Not one bite!” She closed the door again.
Outside, she sat down in front of the other two crusaders. ”...We gotta get him a cape.” She watched the clubhouse to make sure he wasn’t listening in. They didn’t have a backup cape in there after that...thing. Last time. With the thing. And the grounding. Mostly of her. Though to be fair, it was probably her fault. ”And we should probably double time it. I’m not sure how long he can last in there. That’s a REALLY good looking turnover.”
"A cape? Oh... Right!" Sweetie Belle echoed, glancing at her own with a sinking feeling. She tried to remember what Rarity was making lately. It was Winter though, and the fashions ran a lot more to wools and fleeces. "I can make one pretty quick, if I have a machine... but..." She hesitated. "I'll have to check Rarity's to see if she has the fabric we need, especially the special gold silk for the lining. That stuff takes forever to make, you know."
She brightened, though "Luckily, I do have a spare patch in the guest bedroom though." She admitted. It had come off of one of her old spares that had gotten a little too full of tree sap to be cleaned. And the skunk-juice hadn't helped, either."So if I can find the materials, I can make one up in no time!" She skipped down the ramp from the clubhouse and hopped into the sled Scootaloo had brought as though she were expecting a ride. Because she was! "So! Onward to Rarity's!"
Rumble raised an eyebrow at the prospect of Scootaloo being less lenient than the other two. In his opinion the other two had some tough challenges for him. What was Scootaloo's going to be? Why was she at the snack cart? Was she so hungry she needed to get some nibbling in now? All would be revealed soon.
Scootaloo placed her snack on the table for everyone to see. Then she purposed the test. All he had to do was stay there, and not eat a Turnover? Easy. He was a fan of grapes, and jams. No sweat. "Ha. This'll be easy!" he announced with confidence.
"See you three in a bit. You can bet that the pastry will still be there when you get back." Scootaloo must have had a screw loose somewhere if she thought this would be difficult. The only hazard would be is if Winnona showed up and munched on it, but that was prevented by them closing the door on their way out. He had nothing to do but kill time now. "Wonder if they have a deck of cards somewhere..."
Scootaloo blinked at Sweetie's sudden ride 'request', then grinned and hopped on her scooter. "Alright!" she exclaimed, flaring her wings and digging her hoof into the ground. "Hold on tight! Away we go!" Sweetie wanted a ride? She'd get a ride. With a mighty kick and a buzz of her wings, the scooter-led wagon zipped off into the dead of the night, passengers (hopefully) holding on to something.
It wasn't really that far to go to get to Rarity's, and Scoots made the trip in record time. She skidded sideways to a halt, which probably wasn't the best of plans as the wagon skidded as well, jackknifing around and pulling the back end of the scooter further than the front had gone. The resulting, unexpected jerk took the poor little pegasus by surprise and yanked the scooter out from under her hooves, at which point she landed on her backside with a bit of a fwump. But, more importantly than any minor physical injury to herself, they were there! They'd need to act quickly. Scootaloo had been worried the whole way here: She herself had been thinking about that turnover. Perhaps...perhaps she had been a little too cruel in her stalling technique. She bit her lip, deciding to attribute the hope that he didn't cave to pressure to her want for him to join the Crusaders, and ignore the part of her that wanted to have a piece of that turnover herself......
It felt wonderfully exciting, being out and about in the middle of Luna's night, zipping along at high speeds! The world was asleep and dreaming around them. Sweetie Belle felt deliciously important and a little naughty, like she was doing something mischievous, or was keeping a secret. She wondered if that was an indicator that she was meant to be a super secret agent. Reins Bond. No, Agent 00Belle. Or maybe it would be better to be a cat burgler. No! Better yet! A Jewel thief.
Her fantasy of sneaking into Canterlot Castle and purloining Celestia's crown jewels, however, were cut short when Scootaloo skidded to a stop. A little too sharply, too, for Sweetie Belle was thrown out of the wagon and into one of Rarity's rosebushes. It broke her fall, of course, but the thorns pricked even more sharply than her conscience. She didn't really want to be a bad pony!
Carefully and quietly, she detangled herself. It was late, and Rarity was not at her best when woken or kept awake by noise. She wouldn't really mind Sweetie Belle borrowing some gold silk, the filly was sure, as long as they didn't bother her with the getting. "You okay, Scootaloo?" she whispered, for she'd noticed that Scootaloo had also landed a bit roughly, and without a rosebush to cushion her.
Rumble buzzed his wings in boredom as he looked around the clubhouse. This was going to be a good long wait. Scootaloo was fast, but Rumble knew even he would take a while to get to Carousel Boutique and back by air. Being able to avoid pesky things like buildings and crowds made traveling faster. The girls shouldn't have to deal with any crowds though since it was getting late, and they definitely wouldn't have to deal with clouds.
The gray Pegasus stopped in his pacing as it hit him. He'd never seen Scootaloo fly. She buzzed around on her scooter all the time, but he'd never seen her buzzing about off the ground. There were so many games at school where that would have been an asset, and she had remained ground bound. He'd have to ask her when she got back.
In the mean time he was still at a loss as to what to do to pass the time. If he was going to be a Crusader he was going to be in the clubhouse a whole lot. So far he had only seen the front room, and it looked like there was a second floor. It was settled, he would busy himself by exploring the clubhouse to see where everything was!
The Fun Has Been Doubled! is a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic moderate-to-advanced forum roleplay. Set after the events of the fifth season, we currently have no overarching plot. Instead, we simply have created the world of Equestria for you as a giant playground to have fun in and to explore the magic of friendship. Canon characters and original characters are available for you to play as, both ponies and non-pony species alike! Just remember that we are account-per-character and we'll be fine!
So why don't you stay for a while, look around, and let us know if we should get a welcome party started for you.