A sense of peace and tranquility overwhelmed R.T. as he joyfully flew through the skies, at a pace so fast that even he, himself, couldn't believe it. His eyes were beginning to sting from the air, but none of that mattered.
He was ecstatic - the air rushing through his mane, the momentum forcing his cheeks to pull behind him, the wind beating against his skin, and a large smile on his face. As he began to soar through the air at speeds he thought impossible to accomplish, everything around him became a blur, and the noise of clouds bursting into vapour and rain was drowned out by the wind. Out of nowhere, a series of waves began to appear around him as he looked around.
"Could it be? Am I actually creating a SONIC BOOM?!?!" he screamed to himself, completely unable to hear anything but wind. He pushed himself further and further, realising that he was so close to being the second currently living pegasus to ever perform a sonic boom of any sort, next to Rainbow Dash.
But instead of the sonic boom he was expecting, he found himself falling while still moving at the same speed as before. What he didn't notice, though, from his glee-filled mind feeding him all sorts of fantasies, was that his wings were gone.
Not retracted, not hiding, but actually gone. He began to fall - so fast that he screamed out in horror, with an extremely terrified expression over his face. His life began to flash through his eyes. Equestria was getting closer and closer, and there wasn't anything he could do to stop himself.
Tears streamed out of his eyes as he knew that this was it; his life was over. He began to see tiny figures in the distance, as he realised he was heading straight for Ponyville. So now, not only would he die from the fall, but his friends could see his liquefied remains plastered across the street too. For a short second, he heard people scream out, presumably due to them noticing him, as he slammed straight into the street.
Ponyville, Earlier That Morning...
"GAAAAAAAAH!" R.T. yelled, as he jumped straight out of his bed, landing on a tabletop that, luckily, had nothing on it as he used it to rest his forehooves against while staring out the window.
His body was persperating so much, it turned him into a lighter shade, as he pulled himself off the table and towards his bed. He began to sob for a short period of time. Usually, R.T. wouldn't cry at the occasional nightmare - but this was a recurring one, and it felt so real. So real, in fact, that he was seriously considering getting help.
He sat there for a few minutes, as his face became more and more damp from the collection of tears welling up in his eyes, before deciding to go for a walk. As he left the comfort of his bedroom, he descended down the wooden flight of stairs leading to the living room, which only contained a table, an empty bookshelf and a chair, as he walked around to the front entrance.
He opened the door to be greeted with a light sprinkle of rain. "Ugh... rain." he mumbled, as he looked to his left and noticed his hoody sprawled across a desk. His face lit up slightly, as he lifted it off of the desk and pushed his forelegs into the openings, before rearing up on his hind legs to let it go down to his flank, covering his cutie mark.
He leaned against the wall and used both front hooves to wrap the hood over his head, as he left the house, closing the door behind him. After a couple of minutes of walking to wherever his hooves took him, he heard the sound of someone being attacked in an alleyway. Wondering what was going on, he quickly rushed into the alleyway to find a large thug attacking somepony. "Wait, is that..." he muttered to himself, before he realised that it was Sparky.
The sky was, again, sunny and blue, devoid of clouds. The Weather Patrol always did a great job. Flame, Sparky, and R.T. were all sitting down at a table outside the café, as R.T. explained the events that transpired earlier that morning.
"...and so that's how I saved Sparky from getting pummelled by a thug, thanks to my awesome skills!" he boasted proudly.
Sparky grinned. "Yeah, sure, you're the king of the world R.T. But thanks for saving me." Sparky leaned over next to R.T. and hugged him tightly, as he began to blush.
"Sparky, you're embarrassing me!" he said childishly, as she released him. Flame chuckled, along with Sparky, before a look of curiosity dawned upon his face.
"So are you two... y'know..." He trailed off, before R.T. realised what he was talking about.
"Oh, no, not at all. We're just friends." he said. "Although, with that unicorn magic of yours..." he joked. This time, it was Sparky who blushed, her cheeks becoming a rosy red, as she giggled at the thought.
Flame looked at the position the sun was in - quite close to the middle of the sky, from his perspective.
"Hey, Darkly would be back by now... So I guess I'll leave you two to it. I, on the other hand, have an old friend to catch up with!" he said, as he ran off vigorously.
Sparky looked back at R.T. as she asked him if it was "that nightmare?". R.T. simply nodded, trying not to think about it.
Flame galloped through Ponyville, trying to remember his way to the park as he passed the market.
His first impressions of Ponyville were that it was a very friendly place - aside from that one thug that R.T. stopped, but he said that "he didn't look like he was from Ponyville at all, likely just stopping in at the inn here".
As the park entered his vision, he slowed his pace down to a trot. He walked up to Darkly Vision's house and was pleased to see that the note was gone, indicating that he must be home now. He began to walk up the stairs, but stopped when he thought about what he was going to say, and how much he's changed since he last saw him.
Flame drew in a sharp intake of breath, and exhaled loudly, before knocking on the door. As he waited nervously, he heard crashing noises and grunts from a... A mare? Last time Flame checked, Darkly was a stallion. The mare trotted to the door, before opening it.
"HelloooooOOAH! Flame, is that you?!?!" the mare exclaimed, before leaping into Flame, causing the both of them to tumble down the small set of stairs leading to the door. As Flame attempted to sit up, his body aching, the mare began to speak once more.
"Wow! I just went to Fillydelphia to see you, and you're already in Ponyville! Wow, this is so great- Wait, that must mean you MOVED HERE!??!? Your parents said you moved, but that they couldn't tell me where-"
She was cut off by Flame, who placed one of his forehooves to her mouth, shushing her as he began to get more and more annoyed by her.
"Okay, FIRST, where's Darkly Vision, and SECOND, who are YOU?" Flame inquired, before releasing the mare's mouth from his grip. She laughed.
"Oh, silly, I'M Darkly Vision! I just got zapped by some magic on the way back from Fillydelphia - which was my choice, by the way, since I got a thousand bits out of it - and now I'm a mare for a week! And you know what the surprising thing is? It actually feels REALLY NICE!" she exclaimed in a single breath.
Flame simply looked at her in astonishment - he could tell, now, that this mare was Darkly. She had the same features as Darkly - dark white fur, hazel eyes, and an unkempt long mane and tail... as well as the same old "Darkly Personality".
Flame noticed the colour of her mane - brown, something that Flame hadn't seen in a while, since he... well, she always made sure that her mane was a different colour every now and then, using magic.
"So, what's been going on since I last saw you, Flame? No, wait, don't tell me - just come inside because I want to sit down while I hear this!" she said, as she jumped almost ten feet in the air through an open window into her house. Flame was used to her doing that kind of stuff.
Flame walked inside the house, closing the door behind him. He sat down on a chair next to Darkly, her face in a very wide, enthusiastic grin as she was ecstatic to see her best friend, as he told her what's been happening over the last five months.
Darkly held Flame in a tight embrace. She was feeling awful about the stuff that Flame had to go through over the past five months, and just felt that she had to do something, no matter how small it may be.
As they sat there in each other's arms for a minute, Flame stifling back tears, Darkly tried to lighten the mood.
"Just remember that I'm not your marefriend, so don't try anything funny!" she joked. Flame giggled.
"Yeah, that would be really awkward in a week or so when you're back to being a stallion." he said, as they released themselves from each other.
"Oh, I should really show you your room!" Darkly said.
Flame's eyes widened. "Wait, so I'm actually living here?" he asked excitedly.
Darkly giggled. "Of course you are, silly, you're my best friend! I'd LOVE to have you here!" she said. Flame grinned, as he looked around to actually examine the room he was in.
There wasn't much at all, like Sparky's house - most of the things you'd find would be in Darkly's room. There was, though, three chairs, a table and a cabinet, along with a window.
"Well, are you gonna sit around there all day, or go see your room?" Darkly inquired, as Flame got up, following the energetic unicorn up the staircase infront of the main door. As they entered a hallway with four rooms, he felt confused as to what room was what.
"It's the last one on the left." Darkly said, as if she read his mind. Flame nodded, and headed to the last door on the left. As he opened it, he didn't quite see the normal kind of bedroom he was expecting, but instead, a bathroom.
"Uh... I'm sleeping... in a bath?" he said. Darkly began to burst out into tears, seemingly overreacting to Flame's assumption.
"N-No, that's just the bathroom!" she laughed. Flame's face flushed out of embarrassment, even though it was only him and Darkly there. As Darkly began to regain her composure, she stumbled backwards into a door.
"Oh, you live here in this room!" she said enthusiastically. Flame just looked at her, and began to chuckle. It was going to be fun hanging out with his best friend again, even if she might be a mare for a while.
Ponyville, Later That Night
R.T.'s vision slowly began to come to him. He attempted to look around, but couldn't distinguish anything... not with a blurred vision, anyway. He realised that he was lying down on the floor, but where exactly he was, he couldn't tell.
The white maned pegasus attempted to get up, before realising that he couldn't lift a hoof, likely due to being tied down. R.T. began to panic. He'd just woken up some place, with nopony in sight, and couldn't move.
As his vision began to correct itself, he examined the room. Everything was dark, except for light from a lamp illuminating the small area he was tied down to, and a wooden table.
He noticed a figure in the shadows. Watching him. R.T. tried to ask what the hay was going on, but as he tried to open his mouth, he felt nothing. Almost as if he... oh no.
R.T. quickly realised that somehow, he didn't have a mouth anymore. Muffled screams began to erupt from him, as the figure emerged from the shadows, revealing itself to be... Rainbow Dash?!?! Relief swept over R.T. - she must've been here to save him!
But those thoughts quickly faded, when an evil smile appeared on her face as she picked up a knife from a nearby wooden table. She slowly made her way towards him, teasing him with the knife even, as she began to rest her haunches on his stomach.
R.T. began to sweat nervously, intense fear festering inside him, clearly visible to the pegasus on top of him.
Rainbow Dash only said one thing. "Wake up". She stared into his eyes, as she held the knife high up into the air.
R.T. began to emit more muffled screams, screams of panic, as she thrusted the knife deep into his cheeks. While he expected to be killed, surprisingly, he felt nothing more but a slight sting, as he looked back up and saw Rainbow Dash, not sitting but standing above him, and without any kind of sharp weapon, as he noticed a dark blue sky above her.
"Finally, you're awake." Rainbow Dash said. "Sorry about hitting you in the face - but nothing else was working."
R.T. sighed with relief - Rainbow just saved him from a horrible nightmare, and she didn't even know it.
"That's... alright." he said, still very shaken. He'd never had a nightmare that anyone else was a part of.
Rainbow sat back down next to him, as he was still lying down, before doing the same alongside him.
"Bad dream?" Rainbow said. R.T. simply nodded. Rainbow didn't prod any further - she knew that these nightmares came to him from time to time.
"So just what were you doing sleeping out here in the first place?" she asked. "I didn't picture you for the type to be sleeping on clouds, especially the larger ones."
R.T. looked at Rainbow, noticing that she was on a cloud. Obviously, this meant he was too.
"Not really any reason... I guess I was just relaxing. I must've passed out." he said. The two of them looked out into the night sky for a few minutes. Rainbow was the first to break the silence.
"Rave, I talked to one of your friends, Sparky... She said you had the same dream last ni-"
R.T. cut her off quickly. "No. What I just had was... It was way different." he said, as he gazed into the sky.
"How different?" Rainbow asked. R.T. took a deep breath, deciding not to tell Rainbow a certain thing.
"I woke up... in the middle of a room. It was completely dark, except for a lamp shining down on my face... I saw a figure of some sort. Leering at me. I tried to ask what was going on, but my mouth... it was gone. The figure then walked up to me, grabbing a knife on it's way, sat on me, and sliced me open... well, almost, but you woke me up right before that." he explained.
A look of distress dawned upon Rainbow Dash. She didn't like seeing R.T. this way.
"Rave... Look, if you want, you can stay at my place for the night, I guess." she offered. "It wouldn't be too hard to make one of the rooms a temporary guest room."
R.T. smiled. "Thanks... but I'll have to pass. I think right now, I just need to be alone for a while..." he said. Rainbow nodded.
"It's getting late... I was just heading over to mine before I noticed you." Rainbow said, as she sat up, and turned to R.T. as her wings shot out. "Be careful, Rave. Seriously. I'm getting worried about you, and I know I'm not the only one." she said with caution in her voice, as she set off to the skies.
R.T. simply wondered about his life, and the direction it was heading in... For all he knew, he might've been going insane.
Ponyville, The Next Morning
The sunlight shined dimly in Flame's room, with only a small opening through his curtains. He'd woken up half an hour ago, but he didn't feel like getting up. No, the warm embrace of the bed was too much for him to resist.
As he snuggled into his bed, Darkly quietly opened the door.
"Flame, are you awake?" she whispered. Flame gave her a lazy nod.
"Oh, good, because I made you some breakfast!" she said happily, as Flame looked at her. Darkly pulled a tray out of... well, it looks like she pulled it out of the thin air behind her.
As she bolted over to the bedside table and gently placed the tray there, she smiled at him. Flame sat up.
"Thanks for that... But, uh, why? I don't recall you being the 'caring' type." he asked.
"Oh, I don't know - I just had a strange urge to, that's all!" Darkly replied, before trotting out the door, humming a tune. Flame smiled. He got to laze around in bed all morning, AND get treated to a free breakfast.
"I can already tell life is going to be good here." he said to himself, before examining the tray's contents.