28w, 8hWriting Gold
You blink your eyes, but the orange circle floats in the darkness of your eyelid for a few moments. Eventually, it dissipates. Daddy always told you not to stare at the sun, but you wanted to see if maybe, somehow, it would stay in front of the cloud. Every pegasus shares their first flight story, and they all seemed to begin with “it was a beautiful day, and the sun was shining.”
It was a fair day, and the sun had moved behind a grey mass of cumulus clouds. You shrug, and flex the muscles on your back. Today isn’t about the weather. Today is about that first leap into the unknown. Today you will fly.
You look down, over the edge of the cliff. Today you had BETTER fly. The cliff’s reputation was pretty formidable. It was a veritable magnet for the random runaway foal stroller, and even the occasional vehicle. And there had been rumors about it serving as a final location for despondent ponies, though the most recent of those incidents had been before you were even born. But you aren’t here to end it all. You’re here to begin. Provided you don’t lock up, in which case, you’re going to be the cliff’s newest and, perhaps, youngest victim.
It’s not as if your parents have given you any pressure about it. Your father understands what it means to be a pegasus, and that like any part of growing up, it will happen in due time. Your friends are a different story. Your closest friends understand, but it’s difficult to walk around with a tail like Rainbow’s and not have flown once. Well, aside from that one time, but that was more of a hover. You swish your tail nervously and step back from the cliff’s edge.
“Just keep focused, Iris.” You know everything you need to know. All the knowledge is there. You just need the proper incentive to keep yourself from falling. A little leap from a stump isn’t going to do the trick. You shift your wings. The multi-colored feathers rustle as you stretch out your left wing, followed by your right. Keep things nice and loose, but don’t lose that focus.
“And don’t think about anything that could cause your wings to tighten up,” you think, your mind immediately retreating to the magazine your best friend gave to you the other day. You feel a little flush, and your wings begin to rise involuntarily. “No no no no no,” you grumble to yourself, and begin thinking of clouds. Plain, boring, fluffy clouds. Clouds you’ll be able to fly under, around, over, and through. That’s the excitement you really crave.
Your wings ready to go, you work your front and back legs, stamping in the ground. The earth is dry, desperately in need of the approaching rain, and little clouds of dust dirty your hooves. The movement seems to wake them up, and suddenly your body is anxious to move. You take a few more steps backwards and level your narrowed eyes at the horizon, your target. You stamp the ground with one of your front hooves, and give a little snort before you begin your run.
Suddenly, the world seems to shift into slow motion. Every hoof’s impact feels like an eternity as you gallop towards the edge. In the back of your mind, you know that if you are unable to fly, you won’t be coming back, but the thought is barely there, even as you leap over the edge.
Your body feels the drop before your head does, and it only takes that instant to recognize that there is no longer anything keeping you from falling. This is the first and last moment of real fear. You make the mistake of tearing your gaze away from the dulled blue of the horizon, and glance down. Panic sets in for an instant, and you feel the threat of a lock in your axillaries.
But the sound of the air rushing past your primary feathers snaps your attention back, and your wings shift into position in a smooth, even gesture. Your body slows down, the wind catching underneath your span, and your descent slows. Another quick adjustment, and you go from travelling downward to out at an angle. One more shift has you gliding, parallel to the earth.
You’re doing it. You’re so excited, you start giggling as you keep readjusting your wings to make clean turns, resulting in some unintentional barrel rolls. Once you find your balance, you pump your wings, adding speed as you push onwards in the direction of the Everfree Forest. A flurry of stronger flaps and a wing adjustment, and you climb back up in the sky, far above even the tallest of the trees.
A crash of thunder breaks your concentration for a moment, and though a few seconds finds you in freefall, you quickly correct yourself and retrieve your bearings. A glance at the clouds darkening above your head reminds you of the oncoming storm. “We really could use the rain,” you muse, pointing yourself in the direction of home. And, as if by command, the first of the raindrops lands on your pelt.
And you sail on, back into town, with only the occasional drop striking you as you glide towards home. The storm begins to rage behind you, thunder clapping and lightning shattering the sky. The wind pushes the clouds towards Ponyville, to begin what would turn into a thunderstorm that would last the rest of the night. But while the storm is hot on your tail, in this moment, at this day in your life, it cannot catch you.