Rainbow splashed water everywhere as she sat up quickly and coughed water out of her lungs. She shook excess water out of her mane, and hit the side of her head to clear water out of her ears.
She looked around to take note of her current surroundings. Dash was no longer hundreds of feet in the air, but on ground level surrounded by trees and sitting in a purple fiberglass flume filled with 3 inches of water. Beside her on both sides were two yellow flumes. She turned around and observed the flume she sat in that stretched far high and away from her. Water flowed from the top of the flume towards and past her.
“Excuse me ma’am?”
Rainbow turned to look at a lifeguard pony that was sitting on the tall wooden chair in front of her. “You need to exit the slide please,” the lifeguard said.
Rainbow stood up and stepped out of the flume. Water that was trapped between her body and the vest leaked out and left a trail on the wet cement ground as Rainbow walked away from the flume.
She stopped and looked back at the female lifeguard, who pointed toward the top of the tall structure where there was another lifeguard pony. The other lifeguard gave a wave and turned to address other ponies at the top. After a beat, an earth pony came screaming down the Rainboom speed slide.
Rainbow recollected her experience on the Rainboom. A sudden downward pitch, followed by the feeling of water rushing past her. She couldn’t see thanks to the water she kicked up along the way and sprayed in her face. After a few seconds of speeding through, she felt herself hit more water and was thrown around a little bit. She felt herself settle, and took that as the time to sit up believing the slide was done; which it was.
Rainbow played this memory through her mind a few times, trying to come up with how she felt about this experience. She had just ridden the Rainboom water slide. Equestria’s tallest, fastest, most thrilling water slide and lived to tell other ponies about it. She went from a few hundred feet in the air to the ground in less than ten seconds. She did what she came to the water park for, and how did she feel about it?
“... WHAT THE HAY? THAT’S IT?!”
She caught a few ponies around her off-guard when she yelled her thoughts. She looked back at the Rainboom water slide, and then shook her head at it.
“That’s what I came here for??? That’s what waited all day to do?!?!” she said out loud to nopony in particular.
Obviously, the experience on the slide wasn’t what she expected it to be at all. She had spent her entire day at the water park waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Waiting to get in the park, waiting for the slide to get fixed, and waiting to get on the slide itself, only to coast down a flume and get beaten up and sprayed by water. Sure the freefall feeling she got when she dropped was fun, but she expected more from the speed slide, which was what led to her utter disappointment.
She spoke as she pointed her hooves towards the structure. “I can’t believe I waited all day just for that. I’ve had more fun pulling off a real Rainboom than riding this thing!”
Rainbow Dash took a few more seconds to watch other ponies come down the slide. Some were screaming their heads off, some whooped and yelled, others just went down silently. All of them created a big splash when the reached the slow-down lane at the end. Some ponies emerged from the slide shaken, but almost everypony had a smile on their faces.
Another fact Rainbow noticed after observing the ponies for a few minutes more was that most riders were not pegasi.
She then realized that thrills like this were probably directed to earth ponies and unicorns because they didn’t have the chance to do thrilling swoops and dives in the air like pegasi can. Their alternative to that is going to places like these where they can fulfill their thrilling desires, and cool off in Celestia’s hot summer sun at the same time.
Rainbow sighed before she spoke. “I guess I should have seen this coming. It’s not like Unicorns and Earth ponies can dive from the air like pegasus ponies can. I guess I may have over-hyped it a little.”
She turned and started to trot away, before she turned back around and looked at the structure; more specifically towards the other two yellow tunnel speed slides that snaked beside the Rainboom on both sides. She remembered how the lifeguard she spoke with told her that the Filly Flashes were more intense than the Rainboom.
She considered trying those slides, before she noticed the position of the sun in the sky. It was getting late, and the park would probably close by the time she got on it. So, she just shrugged and started cantering off to find her friends.
“Uhh, Ten Seconds Before Sunrise?”
“Darn, umm. Elements of Life?”
“Ooh, that’s a good one! But no!”
“Darn it! Uhh. Oh! I Will Be Here!”
“You’re getting closer Vinyl, I’ll give you that!”
Vinyl Scratch and Pinkie Pie trotted past the wave pool and over a bridge above the lazy river to the back of the park towards the water slide they last rode with Fluttershy. If they didn’t find her there, they planned to continue searching the rest of the back-half of the park.
On the way there, they decided to talk about music they liked. Pinkie asked Vinyl to guess what random electronic song she was thinking of. Pinkie helped Vinyl guess by giving her hints, which helped Vinyl to stay with one artist to guess from.
“Aww, come on Pinkie. Those songs are all his fan’s favorites,” Vinyl said.
“Sure, and I like them all,” Pinkie responded. “Its just that none of those are the one I’m thinking of right now.”
Vinyl pondered for a little while longer before she took another shot at it. “Is it Kaleidoscope?”
“Yes! You got it!”
“No! It was Fresh Fruit!”
“Aww, no fair. You cheated!”
“You changed your answer. Admit it!”
Both Vinyl and Pinkie went back and forward in a playful argument over whether Pinkie lied about changing her answer while they continued their journey. They stopped bickering once they arrived at the large blue family raft slide at the back of the park.
Vinyl spoke first. “Well, if she is getting back on the slide, then we can’t just go up into the line to look for her. Should we wait until she comes off?”
Pinkie shrugged. “I guess so. I can’t see her in the line from here, so she’s probably on it by now.”
The two mares trotted to where the pool of the blue slide ended. They leaned against a rope fence that wrapped around the perimeter of the pool and waited there. They watched as raft after raft full of happy, laughing, and soaking wet ponies came sliding down the final dip and into the pool like clockwork. Unfortunately none of the rafts had the yellow and pink pegasus they were looking for.
Pinkie was beginning to get worried again as more rafts splashed into the pool without Fluttershy. She hoped nothing would be wrong with her, but she was still expectant of something bad to happen to her. She wondered what she would be doing if she wasn’t on the water slide. She could have been led away by a group of bad ponies, or she could have gotten lost within the park, or maybe she made her way into the deep end of the wavepool and couldn’t swim. Maybe something worse beyond her imagination happened to her, which would be absolutely terrible considering that the imagination in question belongs to the mind of Pinkie Pie. She hoped for the best, but expected the worst.
Vinyl didn’t seem worried at all. The pie she ate earlier had begun to settle in her stomach. That and the excitement she had with Pinkie in the water park made her feel drowsy in the mild intensity of the heat that radiated from the far-west sun. She slouched further in her stance as minutes crawled by, to the point to where she nearly hid her bright red eyes behind her heavy white eyelids. She tried to stay awake enough to help look out for Fluttershy, but it was beginning to get more and more difficult to handle the task of not allowing her body to shut down. Her vision repeatedly became blurry and her head bobbed under the fading amount of strength in her neck.
Eventually, her mind blanked as her eyelids slowly slid shut and her entire head lowered to a more comfortable position.
Vinyl Scratch slowly rose her head and opened her eyes to look outward into the darkness in front of her. She reached a hoof out and felt a table with nearly hundreds of small nubs on it. She continued to search the table, until she found what felt like a big rocker switch that was implemented into the table. She pressed it in, and soon a low, quiet, but somewhat very powerful hum surrounded her entire body and softly vibrated the ground. A few seconds passed, before a screen in front of her face and off to the right began to get brighter and brighter, until it revealed itself as a laptop screen. The screen showed a small photo of two vinyl records, with a small white box under it that read “password.”
The light that was emitted from the laptop shone the table it was sitting on. The nubs she felt earlier tuned out to be a mixer, which had 32 inputs and a row of knobs and sliders to control each input. She recognized the mixer as the one that she would most often use as certain raves she would DJ at. She tried to take a look at her surroundings past the table she was at, but still couldn’t see anything due to the darkness.
She looked back at the laptop, which was still at the welcome screen and asked for Vinyl to put in her password. She remembered that she set her password to be something that nopony, not even her good friend Octavia, could figure out. She brought her front hooves onto the laptop to carefully tap at the medium sized keys and spell out: “h-c-t-a-r-c-s-’space bar’-l-y-n-i-v.”
A small beach ball replaced the photo of the vinyl records, and it spun for a while. Vinyl then heard the table in front of her moan to life. As it did, lights on it began to flicker on and off, including a green, yellow, and red bar meter that glowed brightly.
The low humming noise instantly grew and Vinyl was able to pick up the sound coming from behind her. She turned around and saw a large black box that was very lowly lit by the now glowing table behind her.
She reached out a hoof to touch it. When her hoof was only a millimeter away, a shock was sent through Vinyl’s hoof and she recoiled immediately with a yelp at the feeling. The black box immediately lit with a small red light in its top right corner, and the same happened to two black boxes next to it, and the same with the ones next to those, and so on.
Vinyl watched as the row of lights stopped at the last of the few boxes. She then saw a few small red dots light up randomly in the air above her. Stage lights that were connected to the red dots above her clicked on with full power and illuminated the entire area Vinyl was in. She was momentarily blinded for a few seconds before her eyes adjusted to the brightness and revealed where she was.
The black boxes turned out to be stage speakers as big as her. Vinyl also saw more speakers behind it, attached to a row of square metal girders. The girders supported what seemed to be a large room, and they had lights and lasers attached to them. On the back wall behind the speakers were a set of giant illuminated letters that spelled out “PON-3” in bright blue for every odd letter, and white for every even letter.
Vinyl couldn’t believe what she saw. She was looking at a concert stage set-up. The lights continuously changed colors, a fog machine puffed very small blobs of smoke every few seconds, and the speakers hummed together in unison, ready to amplify any sound that came through them.
Vinyl then turned back around to the table, and nearly collapsed from surprise when what sounded like thousands of ponies erupted into an ear shattering cheer. Thousands of colorful ponies jumped, stomped their hooves, yelled, whistled, and made as much noise as they possibly could. Many of them wore DJ Pon-3 related merchandise like hats, t-shirts, wigs, and the infamous purple glasses.
Vinyl’s heart rate had slowed to normal speed after her adoring fans gave her the scare of her life. She surveyed the ponies that seemed to have been hiding in the darkness on the other side of the table the entire time she was there. She couldn’t believe where she was, or how she got there. All she knew was that she was supposed to perform for these enthusiastic party ponies.
She spotted some ponies wearing her signature purple glasses and remembered about hers. She searched all over the table and ducked under to search below it. She couldn’t find it anywhere, and didn’t feel like performing without them. It just wouldn’t be the same without them. She had to find them. They had to be somewhe... oh, wait...
She put a hoof to her forehead and felt something plastic sitting above her horn. “Duh!” She said out loud, which was almost inaudible under the sound of the still cheering fans.
Vinyl removed the glasses from above her horn and glanced at them for a moment, before she put them on her face and walked up to a microphone that stretched out of a corner of the table and toward her face.
“ARE YOU PONIES READY TO DANCE ALL NIGHT LONG?!” she yelled into the mic. To answer her question, the crowd erupted into even wilder cheers. Some threw their souvenir hats up into the air using their mouths, and others seemed to go into hysterical shrills of screams.
Vinyl then looked to her left to see a rack full of vinyl records, and levitated a familiar one from out of its case. It read “The One.” This record was no ordinary record. It was one that the DJ pony perfected herself. This record was going to play the best beat Equestria will ever hear. This record will make ponies want her to repeat it all night until the sun came up, and then pay to do it again the next night. This record was going to make her millions once it’s played all around the world. This record was the one that will skyrocket her career.
She set the record on a nearby turntable, flicked a switch to gt it spinning, and moved the needle on top of it. A few seconds passed before a beat pounded out of the speakers behind her. It pulsated from behind her and through the large crowd in front of her. She was able to feel the power of it beating her body as the bass vibrated her bones.
As the song continued, she felt the pulsating beats get unusually stronger. Her body felt like it was it was being rocked forward under the force of the blasts from the subwoofers behind her. This was very odd to her, but her adoring fans didn’t seem to mind the noise increase as they danced and jumped to the beat. So she didn’t mind it either.
The beat continued on, and then the chorus of the song came. Surprisingly the fans knew the lyrics to this part, even though this was the first time she’s ever presented it to the public. She listened as the ponies tried to chant the lyrics, but were unorganized which made them difficult to understand.
“I can’t hear you!” Vinyl yelled into her microphone while putting a hoof to her right ear.
Soon, the crowd were able to be better organized in chanting the anthem of the chorus of Vinyl’s new song. When Vinyl understood what they said clearly, she froze.
“Viiiiiinnnnyyyyllllll... Waaaaakeeeee uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuupppppp!”
“Wha?” She must be hearing them wrong, or somepony told them all the wrong lyrics. She levitated her headphones to her ears to get a better sound of the pony singing through the speakers. Strange enough, the pony was repeating exactly what the crowd was chanting. What was even weirder was that the voice sounded like a close friend of hers. A friend she knew who had a squeaky voice.
She kept chanting, “Viiiiiinnnnyyyyllllll...! Viiiiiinnnnyyyyllllll...! Waaaaakeeeee uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuupppppp...! Viiiiiinnnnyyyyllllll...”
“Vinyl? Viiiiiinyl! Waaaaaake uuuuuup!”
Vinyl slowly opened her eyes and raised her head. She was no longer wearing her glasses and putting on a rave in some nondescript arena, but she was at a water park. She was leaning against a post that connected the rope fence that sat in front of the pool to a water slide. She felt something cold on her lips, and wiped a hoof across it to find out that it was drool.
She looked over to her right to see Pinkie Pie with both of her hooves on the side of Vinyl’s back. When Pinkie saw Vinyl rouse, she got off of her.
“You must be really tired or something! I’ve been trying to wake you up for a while,” Pinkie said.
Vinyl stretched her front hooves before she fully stood up. “Must’ve been that pie I ate,” she said.
Pinkie shook her head. “Whatever did it, worked! You were out cold.” Pinkie glanced back at the large blue water slide. “I didn’t see Fluttershy come off of the slide, so I think we need to start searching the area for her.”
Vinyl gave a big yawn before she nodded. “Yeah, sure. Lets go.”
They both started trotting away from the large water slide and toward a small fillies’ wading pool area.
Vinyl was still a little dazed from her sudden nap, so her attention wasn’t exactly focused on looking around the wading pool for Fluttershy. Her attention went from a small bridge to her left that sat above the lazy river, to the water slide they were trotting away from, to a water playground to her right, to the Rainboom slide structure to her right, to the... wait a minute.
Vinyl stopped trotting and looked back at the slide tower. She thought she picked up familiar colors within the line of ponies. She was far from thinking the shy pegasus got in line for the park’s most intense water slides, but she looked toward the slide anyways.
She rescanned the line until she spotted a faint yellow and pink color within it near the top. She glared harder at it in an attempt to make out the subject she was looking at that was far away. The object seemed to be a pony, and the coat and mane colors were the same as Fluttershy, but she wasn’t exactly sure if it was the pegasus.
Pinkie returned to Vinyl after she had accidentally not noticed Vinyl had stopped to look at something. “Vinyl, what are you looking at?” she asked.
“Pinkie, look in the line of the Rainboom.” Vinyl pointed a hoof towards the Rainboom. “Do you see something familiar in there?”
“Vinyl, we don’t have time for games,” Pinkie said. “We have to find Fluttershy.”
“Well, that’s the thing,” Vinyl responded. “I’m not entirely sure if I’m just seeing things, but I’m pretty sure the girl you’re looking for is about to board the most intense water slide in the entire park.”
Pinkie raised an eyebrow towards Vinyl. “What? what are you talking about.” Pinkie looked towards the Rainboom as well.
“Count 5 ponies from the top, and tell me that’s not Fluttershy,” Vinyl said while pointing.
Pinkie stared hard at the structure, trying to see what Vinyl was seeing. She looked at the top to a green pony reached the top of the stairs. She counted back 5 ponies and saw what Vinyl was seeing. “Oh, I see what you’re seeing. But I’m sure there’s plenty of other pones with a pink mane and yellow...” Pinkie stopped talking. As she continued to glare from far away at the subject in question, it started to look more and more like her dear friend.
Pinkie shook her head. “No,” she said. “No... it can’t be... Fluttershy wouldn’t get on something like that... would she?”
Both Vinyl and Pinkie exchanged glances, before they both bolted towards the front of the park.