Scootaloo checked herself in the mirror and took a deep breath. She regarded this Saturday as a big day for herself. She was finally going to see the Washouts live with her big sister friend and sort of maybe former idol, Rainbow Dash, who was also a master mev. The pegasus filly was both looking forward to and dreading this day. She longed to see the show, and she really believed Rainbow could appreciate what this daredevil group did. Even so, she undoubtedly offended the older pegasus friend earlier in the week. Not to mention the whole vampire thing that confused Scootaloo more than anything. Despite being told of the status, the two had barely crossed paths since, and it seemed to Scootaloo that at least one of her crusader friends, Sweetie Belle, was on far better terms with Rainbow Dash at the moment.
Firm knocks sounded from the door of her house, indicating the very pegasus weighing on her mind had arrived. Scootaloo did her best to push these anxieties aside and answered. “Hi Rainbow,” she greeted with a smile. The instant she said it, she remembered she meant to try the master title Sweetie Belle told her. “Master Rainbow.” She smiled weakly, and she felt the faint bit of rumored power.
Rainbow bowed exactly as Sweetie Belle described she would. “Hello Miss Scootaloo.” The polite air was quickly followed by a familiar, playful smirk. “Are you ready to seize the day and show me something worthwhile?”
“You bet I am!” Scootaloo beamed with suddenly renewed confidence.
With that, the two pegasi found their way to the designated place of the much-anticipated stunt show.
“Oh my goodness, there are so many ponies here,” Scootaloo noticed. “Are we even going to be able to find seats?”
“Rainbow Dash! Scootaloo!” a familiar voice called out. Twilight Sparkle waved them over where there was indeed enough space for the two of them to join her, so they did.
“Thanks, Twi. I didn’t know you were coming to see this too,” Rainbow told her.
“It was a sort of last minute decision,” Twilight began to explain. “Some of the students were talking about it yesterday and showed me the posters. Rarity said that the designs were quite eye-catching, and I’m inclined to agree. I thought perhaps it might be interesting. After all, I’ve had the pleasure of watching you perform many times.”
“The show’s starting!” Scootaloo alerted them, so they’d stop talking.
The three of them watched together as three pegasi stunt performers leaped out upon a bombastic introduction. Their bodies were fully clad in black outfits with green trim. Each figure wore a helmet covering their entire head. Observers could see that all three varied in height. Throughout the show, the stunt performers made their way through dangerous contraptions and tense situations, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats.
Scootaloo watched with eager wonder and could only grasp through her peripheral that Rainbow Dash was equally enamored. All hints of jealousy from earlier in the week seemed gone, or at least pushed aside, for now. That was enough to enjoy the show as much as she had hoped. There was one actual injury during the performance though the show itself continued undeterred. There was another close call near the end of the show as metal chopped off the small bits of a gold tail. With the stunt considered successfully done nonetheless, the audience cheered with amazement. They honored the closing of the event with stomping hooves of appreciation.
When it all died down and ponies left their seats to go home or ask for autographs, Scootaloo fixated her eyes on the performers while asking to her side, “So, what did you think, Rainbow Dash? Was it worthwhile?”
“Definitely,” Rainbow considered. “I’m especially curious about the leader. There’s something about that one.”
“Isn’t she amazing?” Scootaloo asked rhetorically.
“Let’s see if we can meet her.” Rainbow stood from her seat, intending to make her way to do exactly that.
“What? Meet her? Meet them? Really?” Scootaloo sounded nervous. “I don’t know if I can.”
“You think I got to where I am by getting all nervous and not getting done what I wanted to do?” Rainbow asked with a confident air. “I was a mess when I met Daring Do, but I still did it and got to talk to her. Turns out, she’s awesome, and she even talked to me too. We’re friends now! You don’t want to miss out, right?”
“Right.” Scootaloo nodded. “How do we approach them?”
Rainbow grabbed Scootaloo without a word and flew toward where two of the Washouts finished giving autographs. Of the two, one was a tall purple-coated mare with a white mane and tail. The other was a short, red stallion with an orange mane and tail. Before Rainbow could step forward and introduce herself, the third member flew in to land with a powerful gust of wind. She removed her helmet to reveal a pony who Rainbow Dash actually knew.
“Lightning Dust?!” Rainbow asked in shock.
Lightning Dust herself saw Rainbow call her name and came closer to see the other pegasus muzzle to muzzle. “Rainbow Dash?!” she asked in shock as well.
“Scootaloo,” the young pegasus filly offered her name between them. “Hi,” she managed to wave with a nervous smile.
“Rolling Thunder,” said the tall pegasus mare. Rainbow and Scootaloo turned their heads to see her.
“Short Fuse,” the short stallion offered.
“We’re called the Washouts because we all used to be Wonderbolts until we got ‘washed out’,” Rolling Thunder explained without being prompted. They were introducing each other, so it seemed fitting to her. “I got booted out of Wonderbolt Academy cause of ‘flagrant disregard for hazardous weather’. Pssh. If doing barrel rolls through nine-hundred million volts of electricity in a raging thunderstorm is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.” She grinned fiercely.
Scootaloo grinned in turn at that thought.
Rainbow barely paid any mind to that and looked at Short Fuse with a small nod. “What’s your story?”
“Anger issues!” he snapped at her and lifted off the ground in his fury. “Get off my back!”
“Uh, okay,” Rainbow responded awkwardly. She looked at Lightning Dust.
“And of course you know how I washed out already,” Lightning told Rainbow with a glare.
“You two know each other?” Scootaloo asked with an amazed smile. “That is so cool!”
“Your friend,” Lightning Dust gestured to Rainbow Dash with her right forelimb, “got me kicked out of the Wonderbolts.”
“Oh, that’s uh, less cool,” Scootaloo frowned at first and then tried to smile with little success.
Rainbow returned the glare at her former teammate.
“And it was the best thing that ever happened to me!” Lightning suddenly grinned, lifting into a hover. She flew over and wrapped her left forelimb around Rainbow’s neck in a partial hug, then tapped her right hoof to Rainbow’s chest. “Great to see you wing pony,” she said.
Rainbow’s expression remained annoyed as she dusted off where the hoof touched her.
Lightning Dust ended her embrace, backing away a little, while keeping her left hoof trained on Rainbow Dash’s shoulder. “I heard you’re a full-fledged Wonderbolt now.” She concluded her touch and glided to the side of a table where Short Fuse stood on Rolling Thunder’s back, giving the purple-coated mare a massage.
“Yeah, well, I’m still—” Rainbow began.
“Mad at me?” Lightning asked with a smug smirk. “Look, was it wrong of me to endanger the lives of your friends? Yeah, but hey, now I only endanger these knuckle-heads.”
“Heh heh,” Short Fuse chuckled and followed with a begrudging, “Don’t call me ‘knuckle-head,'” between clenched teeth near the end of his chuckle.
With ears folded down, wide eyes, a raised eyebrow, and frown, Rainbow hardly looked amused, still thinking of what her friends went through.
Scootaloo herself simply smiled and pulled out a photo to approach Lightning Dust.
“Come on,” Lightning said, “You know you miss me,” as Rainbow now glared. Lightning meanwhile gave the photo an autograph and started to address Scootaloo. “Me and her? We blew every pony out of the sky.” She returned the photo and lifted into a proud hovering flight.
“Really?” asked an impressed Scootaloo.
“Actually, yeah, really,” Lightning faced the young filly between her flying. “All that wind was totally dangerous, but we had fun, right? Two fastest times on the Dizzitron.” She folded her forelimbs and closed her eyes with pride.
At last, Rainbow loosened up some as she started a hover too with a smirk to remind Lightning, “If I remember correctly, I had you beat by half a second.”
Lightning pointed back with her left hoof, smiling as well, “Only because when I went, I cranked up the dizziness factor.”
They both laughed, and Scootaloo watched them with a truly mesmerized smile while they both touched back down to the ground at the same time.
“Yeah, well I’m glad it all worked out,” Rainbow said and then admitted with a compliment, “Your show was pretty dynamite.”
“Want to know the secret?” Lightning Dust put a wing around Scootaloo. “We basically ignore everything the Wonderbolts ever taught us about safety.”
Scootaloo continued smiling, utterly enamored. The smile disappeared as a familiar sky blue wing embraced her as well while Rainbow Dash said, “Well, we do have safety rules for a reason.”
Lightning leaned in and touched a wing to Scootaloo’s neck. “Don’t listen to her kid, all their ‘rules’,” she made a mock air quote with her wing, “are just ways of keeping their little club exclusive, so they can feel good about themselves.”
Scootaloo watched the two adult mare pegasi return to glaring at each other and arguing with curious wonder.
“It’s not about making anypony feel bad,” Rainbow Dash defended. “It’s about finding the best fliers,” she said as she flew upward for emphasis of her statement. “The best of the best,” she declared with a proud smile in her hover, oblivious to the lamenting expression on Scootaloo, who had not been able to fly no matter how hard she tried all her life.
Lightning Dust stepped forward and said, “I started the Washouts because I believe anypony can be the best of the best.”
Scootaloo blinked, stepped forward as well and quietly gazed on with a smile of admiration at those words.
Meanwhile, Lightning grew thoughtful with a sly smile. “You know, Rolling Thunder is going to be out for awhile.” She gestured to her other two teammates where Short Fuse was still massaging Rolling Thunder’s back, but now they both sat upright.
The other Washout mare explained. “During the show, I caught the old hind leg in the crushinating jaws of Smash-a-Lot, patent pending,” she said with a friendly wink.
Lightning Dust approached Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo, looking at Rainbow Dash directly. “There’s a spot on the team if you want to join up,” she offered with an inviting smile.
Scootaloo smiled and gasped, prancing in place with her excitement, looking at Rainbow with hopeful eyes.
Rainbow smiled proudly. “I appreciate the offer, but I’m already a Wonderbolt.”
“I’ll do it!” Scootaloo volunteered with eagerness. “Can I do it?”
Rainbow firmly placed her right hoof on Scootaloo’s head. “Let me think? No,” she said with a disapproving frown.
Annoyed, Scootaloo bat her away. “I wasn’t asking you.”
Rainbow Dash blinked, still frowning but with a quiet air, more hurt than angered or the disapproval from a second before.
Scootaloo blinked and looked at Lightning Dust with big, hopeful eyes.
“Aw, you’re cute,” Lightning said, “but technically you haven’t washed out of the Wonderbolts, which is kind of our thing.”
“And also,” Rainbow walked toward them, “noooooooo,” she stretched her word of denial with protective emphasis.
“What if I joined and dropped out super quick?” Scootaloo offered.
Both Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust chuckled at that.
“I’m sorry kid,” Lightning said, shaking her head.
Rainbow just sighed and looked to the air with a half smile and roll of her eyes.
“What? I don’t get it.” Scootaloo was confused.
“First off, you’re too young to join,” Lightning pointed out.
“Secondly, you’d have to apply to the academy,” Rainbow continued.
“Third, you’d have to get accepted and then you’d have to drop out to wash out,” Lightning finished. “I’m talking about performing tomorrow. You can’t go and join the Wonderbolts for five seconds today to join the Washouts while we’re in town.”
“Not a cool thing to do either,” Rainbow muttered.
“Oh please please please!” Scootaloo begged. “Make an exception. You just said ‘anypony’, right?”
“Hmm, I did, didn’t I?” Lightning considered with a smile.
Rainbow Dash stared at her icily.
The other pegasus mare noticed. “I think your friend wants to have a talk with you first. Come and see me later; we’ll talk shop. I need to know what you can even do.”