I didn’t quite hit Sonic Rainboom speeds. Doing it any way but straight down takes a lot of preparation, after all—as much as I hate to admit it, the one I did at Twilight's brother's wedding really stretched me to my limit. Besides, a massive multicoloured explosion doesn't really help when I'm trying to avoid attention. That isn't to say I didn't fly fast, though, because I really did. It’s funny how being chased by a deity can make somepony put in a little more effort.
Once I'd managed to outrun that flock of idiots—If her flight speed was anything to go by, I'd be adding Celestia to my "ponies not quite as awesome as me" list later—and I was sure that there were no other ponies in sight, I ducked back beneath the cloud layer and took a look around. I was a little surprised to find myself just outside Canterlot, but I suppose that it did make sense. After all, I’d flown as hard and as fast as I could for over an hour, and that kind of speed can really get you places.
Places that normally take a full day to reach by train and, maybe at a push, half that for the fastest fliers out there.
I briefly considered descending to the city, to find a ride home instead of flying again, but the whole place seemed pretty active. Which, now that I thought about it, also made sense. I doubt they could find their ruler that day, what with her being outside my house and all, and that was probably making more than a few officials a bit nervous. The last thing they needed right now was a mass exodus of rainbow-obsessed ponies, which is what they'd probably get if I got too close.
At least if the trip back from that Hearth's Warming Eve performance was anything to go by. I never would have thought that I'd watch an entire audience chase our train that night, and I really didn't want a repeat of that.
Besides, any other way home would still take longer than a roundabout flight. I shuddered to think of what horrors my weather team would have waiting for me if I took too long to get back. One accidental case of tapioca-flavoured rain clouds should be more than enough for any town.
With a sigh, I started on a wide flight path, circling back around towards Ponyville. It took me a good couple of hours longer to get back there and still avoid the flock, but crazy swarms of lovestruck idiots aside, I still had a job to do, and whatever it was that made them all crazy seemed to stop them from thinking straight too, since they at least rarely thought of looking for me in town.
I mean, it did stop me from being able to sleep well at night, or open my own darned door some days, but at least I could do some of my work before being tackle-hugged to the ground by five different ponies.
I finally arrived, hovering far above the centre of Ponyville. As I had expected, there were weather faults all across town: rain clouds where I had scheduled clear skies, clear skies where I wanted some minor cloud cover, and a rainbow that started at Town Hall and then suddenly cut off just over one of the hills.
This had the half-hoofed signature of a Cloud Kicker job to it. I swore then that I was gonna cut her pay.
Just as soon as I worked out a way to get to Town Hall, fill out the paperwork, take it to the weather bosses in Cloudsdale, have it approved, and then break the news to Kicker. All without being assaulted by any of those lunatics as they fell in love with me.
Yeah. Fat chance.
Before trying anything else, I did a quick check for any surprise attackers. It wouldn’t have been the first time Kicker had tried to trap me by distracting me with her shoddy attempts at weather management, but I was darn sure I’d make it the last. Finally, when I judged the coast to be clear, I started to fix the mess.
A lot of ponies seemed to think that I was really bad at my job or something. They probably saw me napping on a cloud or performing some of my awesome tricks, and just assumed that it’s all I ever do. The truth is, I was actually really good at my job. Like, too good. When I could clear the skies in a flash, it left a whole load of time for napping, or pranking, or practising my moves.
Normally, work would be a good distraction from those romance-obsessed idiots, and I’d take my time with it. Today, though, I was feeling a little bit angrier than usual.
Being chased by a goddess does that to a girl.
It wasn’t long at all before my enraged screaming stopped, and every cloud in the sky had had the living hay kicked out of it. Well, all except for the little cloud campsite outside my house that was practically a landmark in the sky by now—I was pretty sure I didn’t want to go anywhere near there, though.
In other words, I was out of work to do. I started looking around for anything else I could smack around for a bit, and noticed a grey dot on the ground, growing larger as it came up to meet me. It wasn't very long before I could just about make out who it was, and I felt a little happy to see Ponyville's goofball mailmare, Derpy. I smiled a little hopefully. She must have just finished her deliveries for the day and wanted to talk, or maybe she had a letter for me. Either way, I could use a friendly face to talk to. She’d always seemed to be able to resist… whatever it was that was going on with me.
Personally, I was starting to think it was those eyes. She probably couldn’t even see me properly.
As she got nearer, though, I noticed a couple of things. Namely, the basket of muffins balanced on her head, the heart-shaped card in her mouth, and that look in her eyes. It looked like Derpy had fallen for it, too.
And by "it", I mean "me".
Time to leave again. It was coming up to nap-o'clock anyway, so I flew on out of there—no need for evasion, Derpy had trouble flying in a straight line anyway—and towards my favourite land-based napping spot.
In case you ever need somewhere to lie down, Sweet Apple Acres is a great place to catch some Z’s. If there aren’t any clouds available because your local weather manager bucked them all into oblivion in a fit of rage, I mean.
I swiftly flapped my way towards the back of one of the Apple family's larger groves, and, after a quick scout around to make sure nopony was looking, I darted through the leaves of what looked to be little more than one more apple tree in the sea of hundreds that surrounded it, but was in fact my home away from home. Applejack usually found my napping spots within a few days and had an awful habit of bucking me out of them when I was in the middle of a great dream. Obviously, though, recent events meant that I had to get a bit more stealthy. I’d struck a gold mine with this one: there was almost enough leaf coverage to completely hide me from any nosy ponies, it had already been bucked clean of apples by the time I got to it, and it was in one of the furthest groves from the farm itself. All of this added up to the peace and quiet that I really needed at times like these.
I shook the waiting blanket off to one side to get rid of the leaves and bugs that had made it their home since I’d last visited. I then carefully set it back down in the crook of two thick branches to make it as comfy as possible, getting it just right. Then I collapsed onto it. Sure, it wasn't a patch on a cloud, but it would do for me.
A stretch, a sigh, and I closed my eyes.
You know when you try to sleep, and your mind drifts? It just sort of throws up loads of memories, thoughts and other junk to keep you busy. Yeah, I was getting a bit sick of that. Every time, it was the same thing, flashing before my eyes. Everything about this whole... "problem" came back up to mock me.
I met Twilight for the first time. I watched six mares approaching a crumbling castle. I remembered the fight with Nightmare Moon. I became the Element of Loyalty all over again, and It was somehow still as awesome the fortieth or so time I re-lived it.
It was ever since that night that things had changed.
It had been barely noticeable at first. I mean, ponies were already in awe of me—and who could blame them? So a couple of them started going a little overboard, so what? It wasn’t like I didn’t already have a fan club. I could deal with a little more attention.
At least, I had thought I could.
It just kept building. And building. And building. Before I even knew it, it was like everypony in the whole freaking town was looking at me differently, staring at me with… that look. Their eyes slightly glazed over, their mouths twisting into a dreamy smile. It was downright creepy.
I had gone over every reason for it that I could come up with by this point. Was it Twilight Sparkle’s fault? Had some magic spell of hers done this? It was definitely a possibility. After all, she’d pretty much done the same thing to her Smarty Pants doll, with that "want it, need it" spell. Besides, this whole situation had started since she moved to town. Didn’t seem too likely, though, from what I went through after that Heart’s Warming Eve pageant at Canterlot, in Dodge Junction, and even with those changeling freaks. They had all wanted a bit of me, too. Every time, the same problem, the same look. Sure, Twi’s powerful and all, but I doubt she could affect the entire world.
Or… maybe it was a love poison? Someone had infected the water supply for Ponyville, Canterlot, even the whole of Equestria, and they’d all been drinking loco juice? Again, sounded possible. Maybe it was spread in the rain, since all of that came from Cloudsdale? But then again, wasn’t that supposed to make them fall in love with just the first pony they saw or something? I’m awesomely fast, I know, but I can’t be everywhere.
Ideas kept throwing themselves around my head, just like they had done every other day. Was it some of Zecora’s mumbo-jumbo? curses or not, she was still a little creepy. Was it the Element of Loyalty? Was it Discord? Was it aliens? Was I really just that awesome?
I never got an answer, of course. All I knew is that for some reason, ever since that battle with Nightmare Moon—ever since all of these zany adventures I've been having with my friends began—something… or someone… wanted me to be in some kind of relationship with pretty much everyone that I’d ever seen. It was like some outside force had decided to pair me up with absolutely every creature that they could think of.
It even got to Gilda, for crying out loud, and she’d been in town for barely a week before I had to beat her away with a stick after Pinkie’s little party.