In Equestria, legend tells of a pony, all the colors of the rainbow, who will grant the wish of a pony whose heart is true. Tread lightly, though, for it is not a wish to be made without careful consideration.
The Rainbow Pony will grant a wish only if the wisher completes a unique task. Suffice it to say, these tasks are not what you’d expect.
If the Rainbow Pony gives you something wrapped in noctis wings, you will automatically know your task— words need not be spoken.
Some say that the pony’s colors on the outside compensate for the darkness on the inside, so think carefully before you attempt your task…
“…No pony that has received the noctis-wing package has ever attempted theirs.”
Rainbow Dash looked at her audience as she finished her short tale. Mixed expressions crossed the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ faces.
“Ah don’t think that’s the kinda myth we could really bust…”
“It sounds more like an old ponies’ tale than a legend, anyway.”
“Sorry, it’s the only one I know off the top of my noggin. And far as I know, it’s no ponies’ tale— my granddad used to claim that we’re descendants of the Rainbow Pony, so I’ve heard that story a thousand times. All the others are just ghost stories.” Rainbow Dash shrugged, then turned to Scootaloo and tousled her mane. “Was that too much for ya, squirt? It’s no ghost story, but it’s still a little creepy. I don’t wanna go giving you nightmares again.”
Scootaloo slowly shook her head as she stared off into space.
“You kids could probably get some other myths and legends from Twilight. Try talking to her if you’re looking for myths to bust. Catch ya later!” Rainbow called, as she headed into the clouds for her daily nap.
“Err, I don’t know if Twilight would know those kinds of myths. I get the feeling she’d only know about myths like, well, stories
, like the one Rainbow Dash just told us,” Sweetie Belle said.
“Yeah, yer prob’ly right,” Apple Bloom sighed. “Maybe myth-bustin’ ain’t the best way t’ get our cutie marks anyway. We haven’t had any luck.”
“Well, except for trying to clean Rarity’s couch with a horseshoe,” Sweetie interjected. “That didn’t work at all, but it didn’t get us any cutie marks. You got any other ideas, Scoots?”
“Uh-huh,” Scootaloo replied, still staring into the distance.
After a few moments of silence, Sweetie Belle asked, “Well?”
“Huh? Well what?” Scootaloo said.
Apple Bloom sighed. “Ya zoned out, didn’tcha?”
“Uh, I guess so, yeah.”
“Hey, wait— I remembered another one,” Sweetie Belle said. “Somepony at school claimed that a duck’s quack doesn’t echo. That wouldn’t be too hard to test.”
“Sounds kinda silly t’ me,” Apple Bloom replied, “but it wouldn’t hurt to try.”
Unfortunately, Fluttershy wasn’t too keen on the idea of bringing one of her ducks into Ghastly Gorge. Unable to think of any other myths worth testing, the Crusaders finally headed home— as usual, without cutie marks. Scootaloo’s constant staring into space didn’t help them come up with any other ideas, but had Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle known of her internal dilemma, they would have agreed that her zoning out was warranted.
That evening as she fell asleep, Scootaloo finally made up her mind.
Rainbow Pony, I wish I could fly. I’ve been trying really hard, but I just can’t do it. Maybe you can help. I’ll try anything, just help me fly. I want to fly with Rainbow Dash. I want to fly…
As she rested at the base of a tree in a secluded area of the park, Scootaloo mulled over the last few days. All her attempts at flight had led her into the dirt, and the latest crusade had ended poorly— Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle had both been grounded.
Attempting myth-busting on their own clearly wasn’t a good idea, but they did learn a few things. Sweetie Belle proved that freezing candles didn’t make them burn any longer, and Apple Bloom found out that putting a wooden spoon over a pot of water doesn’t always prevent it from boiling over. Unfortunately, neither attempt led to the earning of a cutie mark— only punishments for playing with fire.
Thus, with no recent fire-related shenanigans to be grounded for, and her idol taking her daily nap, Scootaloo sat resting under the trees. She figured maybe Rainbow Dash’s naps helped with her flying ability. It certainly couldn’t hurt, and if nothing else, at least she’d be well-rested.
A light rustling behind her drew Scootaloo out of her slumber. She opened her eyes and turned to look for the source of the noise. Despite the grit in her eyes, the prismatic tail retreating into the trees caught her attention.
Jumping up to follow, Scootaloo cried, “Rainbow Dash! I thought you were napping! Hey, Rainbow Dash! Wait! Can you— aww…”
Scootaloo groaned and sank to her haunches. Having lost sight of her idol, Scootaloo turned back to her napping spot to resume her rest, only to find it occupied…
…by a curled set of noctis wings.
Twilight sat in the Friendship Castle’s library, reading the latest Daring Do book for the third time. She had just finished chapter thirteen, when she heard three slow knocks on the front door.
After traversing the hallway, Twilight opened the door to find Scootaloo, an empty saddlebag upon her back. “Hi there, Scootaloo! What can I do for you today? Were you looking for some solo Twilight Time? I heard Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle wouldn’t be coming for a few days.”
“A-actually, I w-was wondering if you had any books on m-myths and legends,” Scootaloo stammered.
Twilight lit up. “Of course I do! Come this way.” As she and Scootaloo walked down the hall, Twilight continued, “It’s nice to see you’ve taken an interest in reading. I can’t remember the last time you took something out of my stock, if ever.”
“W-well, there’s just something I w-want to look up.”
As she led Scootaloo towards the library, Twilight looked at her and asked, “Are you okay, Scootaloo? You seem a bit uneasy.”
Scootaloo shook her head quickly. “Oh, n-no! I’m fine!”
Twilight cocked a brow. “Well, okay.” When they entered the gigantic library, which had numerous Daring Do posters on the wall, courtesy of Rainbow Dash, Twilight led Scootaloo to a corner. “Here’s a little reading nook if you’d like to just sit here and read. There’s a whole encyclopedia on Equestrian legends and mythology on the far wall over there. Would you like some help finding something?”
“Alright. I’ll be at the front if you need me.”
“Okay. Thanks, Twilight.”
“You’re welcome.” Twilight smiled as she turned and walked back to the front of the library. “And Scootaloo, thank you for not calling me ‘Princess.’ It’s nice to see somepony listens.”
Scootaloo forced a smile. “Oh, uh, n-no problem!”
As she walked away from the young pegasus, Twilight’s smile faded. Something’s definitely going on in that filly’s head… As she made her way towards her desk, she heard a thump and a light clatter. “Scootaloo! Are you okay?” she called from behind the Biology shelves.
“Yeah, I’m fine! Just a big book!” Scootaloo shouted.
“Alright, then. You can just leave the book when you’re finished— I’ll put it back for you.”
“Thanks!” Scootaloo called. She sighed as she heaved the huge ‘R’ encyclopedia back to the reading nook. She flipped through the first pages and murmured to herself, “Rainbow… Rainbow Origins… Here it is, ‘The Legend of the Rainbow Pony’…”
Twilight looked up when she heard a loud sigh from the reading nook. Moments later, Scootaloo came trotting out from the corner. She seemed relieved, for some reason.
As she approached Twilight’s desk, Scootaloo smiled and said, “Thanks a lot, Twilight. I have to admit, that’s the first time reading a book has made me feel so good.”
Twilight wasn’t sure if she should feel insulted, but she decided to let it go. “Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Is there anything else you need?”
“No, that’s it. Thanks. And thanks for offering to put the book away for me. That thing is heavy!” Scootaloo laughed.
Twilight chuckled back, “Yes, encyclopedias usually are. Have a good day, Scootaloo! Stay out of trouble!”
“Thanks, Twilight. You too, and I will!” Heading out of the library, Scootaloo added, “Oh, by the way, Twilight— I think that book is outdated.”
“Huh?” When Twilight looked towards the door, she found Scootaloo had already shut it behind her. She scratched her head. “Since when does mythology get updated?”
Making her way back to the reading nook, Twilight found the encyclopedia; Scootaloo had left it open. Twilight read to herself aloud, “The Legend of the Rainbow Pony?” She chuckled. “I bet Rainbow Dash told her she was legendary. It wouldn’t surprise me.” Twilight closed the book and returned it to its proper shelf. As she turned around and headed back to her desk, she thought, Doesn’t explain why she was so jittery, though…
Passing through the rows of books, Twilight spied something on the floor, and picked it up in her aura. Is this what caused the clatter earlier? Scootaloo must have dropped it. It looks… Twilight inspected the small, off-white object closely. Wait, this looks like… Twilight turned back to the book she had just replaced and took it off the shelf. What was she reading?
Twilight turned back to the page Scootaloo had left the book open at.
THE LEGEND OF THE RAINBOW PONY
While its specific origin is unknown, the legend of the Rainbow Pony is said to originate from an early Pegasus tribe, before Equestria’s foundation. Originally thought to be an old ponies’ tale, the story of the Rainbow Pony turned into legend when pegasi began telling of events similar to the tale happening in real life. The legend says that ponies ‘whose hearts are true’ may make a wish for the Rainbow Pony to fulfill. However, before their wish can be granted, they must complete a unique task assigned to them by the Rainbow Pony. Ponies learn of this task when they receive an item wrapped in noctis wings— it is said that the task is never explained, but that they simply know what it is when they receive the item.
Twilight cocked a brow. “This sounds ridiculous. Where did Scootaloo hear about this? Is Rainbow Dash trying to prank her? That would be pretty mean.” Scratching her head, she continued reading…
The Rainbow Pony has never been fully seen—it is assumed to be a pegasus due to the story’s origin—but the subjects of all accounts mention that a prismatic tail vanished from their view just before they received their package, thus leading to the legend’s title. All recorded ‘sightings’ of the Rainbow Pony had similar factors. The noctis wings the subjects received their items in appeared to have been genuine. While there seemed to be no sign of forced or surgical removal, nopony knows if the wings were taken from a live noctis pony. The items the subjects received were all, to their shock, a pony’s bone…
Twilight’s eyes widened as she looked at the object in her aura. She was right— a pegasus’s wing digit.
…The bone each subject received was somehow related to their wish (e.g., a pony who wished for financial assistance received a navicular bone, likely relating to the phrase ‘itchy hoof’). Finally, and possibly the most important, all subjects refused to reveal or attempt their ‘assigned’ task.
Twilight’s brows furrowed. Scootaloo wouldn’t tell me what was bothering her. Is there some truth to this?
The tale of the Rainbow Pony lasts in today’s legends, but no new accounts have been recorded for centuries.
Twilight’s eyes bulged. Is this what Scootaloo meant by outdated? Did she—
While some believe that, should it exist, the Rainbow Pony had dark intentions, compensated for by its bright colors, Equestrian philosophers believe that the supposedly dark implications of the tasks are a message to the wisher— that they must face the trials or tribulations they are meant to face, instead of attempting to take a shortcut by making a wish. Given that the tellers of all the accounts refused to even share the task they were ‘assigned,’ it can only be assumed that the tasks are intentionally so horrifying or costly to them that they would not dare attempt them, and instead be forced to face their hardships head-on. All accounts confirm that no subject attempted their supposed task, and no harm ever came to them for it.
A strong message given through potentially controversial means, the legend of the Rainbow Pony is still commonly told amongst pegasi to this day.
Twilight sighed and shut the book. “Somepony has some explaining to do.”
Landing on the occupied cloud, Twilight stirred the slumbering pegasus from her sleep. “Rainbow Dash, we need to talk.”
“Hmm? What about?” Rainbow Dash asked, propping herself up and rubbing her eyes.
“Did you tell Scootaloo the legend of the Rainbow Pony?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah. The Crusaders were trying to bust myths, but I don’t think that was the kind they meant. S’ the only one I know, though— family tale and all.”
“Yes, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle are grounded because of that crusade. You know, faking that a myth is true wouldn’t have helped their cause. That one in particular isn’t funny. You really worked Scootaloo up,” Twilight explained.
“What are you talking about?”
“And where exactly did you get your hooves on a wing digit?”
“What?” Rainbow Dash cried.
Twilight held up a small object. “This, Rainbow. Scootaloo dropped it at the library. This is a real bone. So help me, if you actually found real noctis wings—”
“TWILIGHT, STOP!” Rainbow cut her off. “A-are you telling me Scootaloo actually found that?”
Twilight let out a huff. “Yes, Rainbow. I understand encouraging Scootaloo to work hard on flying and not take shortcuts, but why in Equestria would you plant something like—”
Rainbow shoved a hoof in Twilight’s mouth. “Twilight… I didn’t do that. If Scoots found that somewhere…”
Twilight’s eyes bulged, then she took a deep breath. “Well, at least she’s relieved…”