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She awoke in the same bed; cool sweat covered her from the intensely real dream that still lay fresh in her mind's eye. Her mind started clearing the remaining fog from its corners and informing her of the current day ahead. With a little discomfort she hopped out of the small cot, pulled the covers off and grabbed the bottle Fluttershy gave her. The weight of the glass and what it held assured her that it was real, and with it her dreams.
It took only a few minutes to set the room up as it had been before and hide her presence. The same boring routine; get up, stretch out, fold, clean, cover, hide. Double checking with a quick sweep that nothing lay out of place in the small room she couldn't help but smile, today would mark the beginning of her training. While she knew the mix wouldn't actually change her, having it make up for her less than ideal diet reassured her.
The confident filly trotted briskly out of the clubhouse to the nearby stream to wash a bit and clear her mind. This. This moment, this routine, all of it was the best part of her day. The leaves from the surrounding orchard crunched lightly under her, she took in the feeling for what felt like the first time, suddenly noticing the beautiful place she had found shelter in. Her and Applebloom would often visit this stream after a busy day after dropping Sweetie Belle off to relax a little. The morning sun shown through the endless rows of apple trees that caught the breeze and held the fresh air and taste of apples on the back of your her with each calm breath. When she was here she didn't have to worry, she didn't care where her troubles were hiding or feel the pit in her stomach. Everything here was fresh, beautiful and it all belonged together.
Today the pegasus settled for a quick dip. She slid under the water's surface and let the carry her with the help of her wings for direction, in a way she loved swimming, in the stream flight was just a splash away. Fun ending she did her best to wash up before heading to Rarity's to get some breakfast with Sweetie Belle. The unicorn foal never thought to ask why she came so often and Rarity was always too busy to care, it was perfect for Scootaloo's on-the-go lifestyle.
Skidding to a halt in front of the lavish boutique Scootaloo popped her helmet off and let herself in. Noting the level of smoke emanating from the kitchen since her first visits she trotted in and took a spot at the small table.
Sweetie Belle noted her guest and spun from the counter carrying a few containers of various punches.
"What's your poison?" she asked with a grin. Scootaloo withheld her desire to take the question literally, glancing toward the counter.
"Uh, just water today. You didn't... burn it... did you?"
Sweetie scowled and returned to the sink. She was quiet, Scootaloo hated it when she got quite.
"Hey Sweetie Belle. You know I was just kidding right?"
No reply, the unicorn filly filled the glass and returned, handing it to the pegasus with a smile.
"...right?" She looked wearily into the clear liquid. Nothing seemed off, no smell, no color.
"What's wrong Scootaloo? You chicken?" She giggled, not breaking her stare. "Not afraid of a little water are you?"
Suddenly Scootaloo felt less thirsty.
During the quick "meal" Scootaloo had her first taste of the herbs and mix. The taste would take some getting used to, leafy and dry with an assortment of aftertastes that held onto her tongue.
'This feels great!' she thought to herself buzzing through town on her faithful scooter, the drink had given her a new level of energy she was not used to, she felt focused and alert to everything around. The way the ground would rock her scooter slightly, the smell of the wind as it picked up the various favors of vendors and treats. With no effort at all she zipped through ponies, always comming just close enough to avoid the next. This was speed, this was power and this was awesome. It wouldn't take long to build up the necessary strength for flight. Much faster than the previous estimate if she really pushed herself.
Today was great and today it seemed that, for the first time, everything she dreamed of was suddenly in reach.
* * * * *
Rainbow Dash was leaving her floating home to practice in the park when a lone letter caught her attention. Its envelope was a light shade of blue with a familiar emblem sealing it, a long bolt of lightning, wide wings on either side giving it an easily recognizable source. Her eyes widened, today might finally be the day. She carefully opened the letter, not wanting to damage the envelope and slipped out the paper inside.
"Dear Rainbow Dash,
Congratulations! You have been selected to perform an audition before a predetermined set of judges for your place in the Wonderbolts. The scores of this event will be in basic areas if skill, control and strength as determined by Wonderbolts standard regulation. Due to your position in the best young fliers competition and yur numerous past achievements you have been upgraded to preferred selection, preferred selection candidates are brought in only through unanimous vote. The Chief of Air Training has selected you personally. This selection allows you to skip the prescreening process of recruitment. Upon a successful audition you will be called to the Wonderbolts headquarters to spend five days with the team, here you will observe their routines during mid-season.
Representatives will arrive in 1 month for the audition, it is recommended this time is spent organizing your routine and checking the list of requirements included. We look forward to observing such a well-known pegasus in action. Happy flying and as always Good Luck!
-Fleetfoot, #4, B-Squad.
The rainbow maned pegasus could barely contain the torrent of emotion in her as she reread the letter and list of flight requirements, most of it she could do on any normal day without much thought, others she would have to practice a bit more but overall looked to be as simple as show up, show off and go home. Of course there was an area for improvisation in which recruits could show specific skill they had. She could think of at least 3 tricks she would throw into that, sealing her dreams with style and speed.
She tucked the letter safely inside her cloud home and took to the sky, if she had a month to practice she was going to make the most of it, nothing would get in her way now, not when she was already so close.
For both of Ponyville's elusive Pegasus ponies the last few weeks had been the hardest personal training sessions they had ever pushed themselves through, although they were each unaware of the others doings for some time.
Scootaloo had poured all of her extra time into special stretches and work she had picked up from more than just a few books on the subject in order to strengthen her unshapely wings and help them mature. Twilight had been extremely supportive in her trauning, it seemed the unicorn always had a book to turn to and it seemed to be working, at each side of her small form the appendages were proportional to her own body as they would be to a full grown mare, they were something she could be proud of for once. Instead of small and weak they were wide and much stronger. She had just recently gained the ability to accelerate and maneuver safely and was testing her limits on height when she found suitable time. The mix Twilight had given her had been working wonders, she was more confident than ever. Even her friends were beginning to notice the new Scootaloo, although her flank was still barren of a proper cutie mark she looked mature and gave a radiance that no pony would be able to pass unnoticed.
Rainbow Dash had an equally fulfilling few weeks as she had practiced the routine she would use countless times, starting with the basic requirements she found ways to make them her own, adding style and daring tactics to the bland list of simple maneuvers. She even found herself wondering why they would place such basic moves in an audition, was she really good enough to find them second nature where others might see them as a challenge? The thought excited her more; she was in peak shape, rainbow mane glistening in the warm sun, her lean muscle shaping her body into perfection, neither too big nor too small in stature. She greatly anticipated her next move as she prepared herself for the day that would change her life, one way or the other.
"Today..." she said, grinning confidently into an iced mirror floating in her cloud home. The letter hanging from its corner had served as a reminder every day that she would be the best. Her auditions were later today; the judges would be flying in to determine if she indeed had what it takes.
"Today..." Scootaloo said to herself as she sped through town toward a familiar but previously unreachable building hanging majestically in the sky, the home of her idol. Today would be the day she showed Rainbow Dash the new Scootaloo, and today she would finally be noticed.
"I know I could impress her if I got the chance..." The orange filly was nearing her destination.
"I know I can blow them away if they gave me a shot..." The rainbow maned pegasus thought to herself as she stepped outside.
"And now I have that chance!" They simultaneously thought as the day was beginning.
Scootaloo approached the cloud home of her hero and saw Rainbow Dash standing on the doorstep looking as confident as ever. She hopped off the small scooter and called up to the older pony. Catching her attention Dash looked down on the grounded filly with a smirk, caught in a moment of her own confidence. Scootaloo continued to call up to the mare, her efforts failing she decided to show Dash rather than tell her of her accomplishments and spread her wings. Flapping powerfully she managed to lift herself and begin a circling ascent to the cloud home. Dash was slightly taken back by the new ability and was entertained at the fillies attempt to reach the right altitude.
After a few minutes of circling and ascending Scootaloo reached the spot where Dash was patiently standing, a grin still on her muzzle.
"Wow kid, I didn't think you'd make it."
"I've been practicing!" Scootaloo announced, displaying her wings proudly. Dash inspected the appendages; they were larger than previous encounters if she remembered correctly, finally being used for lifting and not pushing a scooter.
"It's a start, I guess. You got a long way to go squirt."
"Well, actually I... kinda wanted to talk to you about that." she said nervously, pawing at the soft cloud.
"I'm a little busy kid, what's on your mind?"
"Oh um... I was thinking you could... teach me? You know, like how to fly like... well, you!" she managed, choosing her words carefully not having thought about what she would like to say before. Dash chuckled to herself, catching the fully off guard with a slight sting.
"I'm not gonna be around long enough for you to fly like me. Sorry, but can't help ya Scoot." Dash said, not intending to sound as harsh as the words came out, forgetting the filly was unaware of her later audition and planned acceptance to leave for training. Scootaloo took it harder than meant, she felt her chest tighten and her wings clasped her sides, pointing her head down awkwardly.
"Oh... I'm sorry I bothered you. I'll go." she turned and lept off the clouds, forlorn. 'I can't believe I thought she would just accept me now, what has she ever done for me?' she thought to herself. 'I show her, I'll be better! She thinks she's so great. What does she know!' tears were burning at the edges of her speeds as she reached the ground and flapped hard, forgetting her scooter there she shot across the ground nearly knocking Twilight over as she darted back to her clubhouse.
The determination she felt previously withered in comparison to her new goals. Reaching her clubhouse she grabbed her few possessions, scattering the rest haphazardly across the small room. She scribbled down a small not to her friends to find and darted out again, she wouldn't be meeting up with Sweetie Belle or Applebloom today for crusading, or ever again for as far as she was concerned.
* * * * *
Rainbow Dash watched the filly dart away, impressed with her speed at first but strangely upset that she had left in such a hurry. Still not realizing how her words must have fallen on the unknowing filly's mind she decided to push the thoughts away and focus on her day. She had a few Judges to impress today and a new life to start. Leaping from her cloud home, skating off of the few clouds hanging as if they were ice and making her way to the spot where she could meet the judges.
She rested in the large open field, surrounded on many sides by trees but far large enough for her to be evaluated today. The anticipation of the event had her arriving long before needed, but being early could only help her she found. Eventually she saw a group of 3 pegasus ponies heading to a small booth set up previously for them to watch from. She hopped up and trotted in front of them as they got situated. Standing as proudly as she could while they made their initial findings, working out the finer bits of paperwork quietly without looking up to her.
"Miss. Dash I presume?" one of the stallions asked barely looking up from the paper he held.
"Yep, that's me!" she replied grinning in anticipation. Her heart rate increased as she prepared for the event, she made sure to warm up and stretch prior to their arrival.
"I've heard much about you." he continued, she wasn't sure if that was good or bad just yet. "So, let's see if you've got what it takes hmm? The team seems to think highly of you."
"Really!?" she didn't mean to say out loud, quickly catching herself and coming under control.
"Yes, but I assure you, we are not as easily impressed Mrs. Dash. You may begin when ready." he finished, lifting a quill in hoof and waiting with the other judges.
Dash walked a few paces away, steadying her nerves again and preparing for the heavily practiced routine. She spread her wings and counted down in her head before lifting herself off the ground and bolting high into the sky. She rounded off the speed test, swiftly dodged a series of pre-placed obstacles and punched clean holes through a set of clouds for effect as a stream of water was caught behind her. She turned again and focused toward the judging booth before spreading her wings wide as an air brake, stopping herself as the small drops collided with her wings and back, creating a rainbow over her head, the same move she had tried with Trixie before. The judges wrote a few things down as she lifted away for the next phase of the test. She gained altitude and tucked her wings at her sides. Going into a graceful free fall she counted with her eyes closed, forelegs tucked against her chest and waiting for the right time to stop the fall or risk colliding with the hard ground. Spreading perfectly she pulled out and gave them a super speed trot, grinning slightly at the 3 pegasi, who were too focused to grin back, writing more down. She finished quickly, working through a few more small routines and landed safely before them. Luckily she had avoided attempting a sonic rainboom, for failure could have ruined the audition and success may have uprooted a few trees.
"Well done Mrs. Dash" the judge said with the same unknown tone in his voice.
Rainbow Dash did her best to look unfatigued and smiled back with a nod of thanks. "We will evaluate your results as well as previous testing from your flight school; you should receive notice in a very short time."
Confident with her performance she left for home and what she felt to be a well-deserved dandelion sandwich to celebrate. Having already pushed the events prior from her mind she forgot the visit from the filly, her mind consumed by her own desires.