The sky; an essential limitless expanse dotted with soft clouds. The world of the third dimension was largely unoccupied; a wandering pegasus would have next to no chance of encountering another sentient flying creature. The sun bled bright orange into the surrounding blue pallet as it kissed the horizon.
A dark violet dragon soared across the sky; his wings beating powerfully. A sliver of prismatic light weaved through the air behind, mimicking his path. He flew erratically; trying to evade the relentless pursuer. Every manoeuvre made by the dragon was matched perfectly by the sliver. A steep bank left would be matched by an even steeper bank. Any angle of ascent or descent would only serve to bring the two closer. Their path was becoming more daring with each passing second as the chase got more desperate. The risk involved with entering small, patchy clouds at those speeds so close to dangerously tall mountains with sheer rock faces was completely forgotten.
Spike knew he hadn’t long before Rainbow Dash caught up with him. There was no way he could possibly lose her with the same techniques he had used before. He needed something different. Looking around, he saw a freshly formed band of very low stratocumulus clouds; bingo. As he turned towards his goal, Rainbow gained ground on him slightly by turning more sharply than him. Of course, every time she did this, she ran the risk of losing ground if he suddenly decided to turn sharply back to his original heading. This course of events was unlikely, though, given the dragon’s weight. The inertia would be simply too great.
The muscles inside Spike’s wings burnt with exhaustion as he pushed his way through the air. The clouds were much closer, though the pegasus trailing behind didn’t seem to notice. She pushed forward with almost frightening ferocity. He didn't dare look back from then on, lest he be put off with one of the mare’s “You-havn’t-won-as-long-as-I’m-still-breathing” looks he knew all too well. Neither of them slowed down, even slightly, as they plunged into the thick cloud formation.
Flying blind. It is one of the most difficult tasks any flying creature can attempt. It is impossible to gauge position or speed without some sort of instrument.
Dash stiffened her wings and bled off speed to the resistance of the atmosphere; noticing she had completely lost sight of her target in a thick wash of white. Her ears perked up, to hear only the flapping of her own wings (though strangely louder than usual). That wasn’t right. The sound of his movement would be amplified by the higher pressure; yet there was no sound whatsoever. She flew upwards, and poked her head out into the afternoon sunlight. Concerned by the dragon’s sudden disappearance, she called. “Spike! Where’d you go?”
“I’m right here.”
With her heart rate exploding into something comparable to a techno-dance rythm; Rainbow Dash spun around to see Spike hovering just behind her. “AAAAAAAAH! Don’t do that!”
“Sorry, I thought you knew I was behind you. Every other little competition, you seem to always know where I am...” Spike feigned a gasp, “I didn’t lose you did I?”
“No! I just... didn’t know you were behind me.” She said dismissively. Realising what her student had done to shadow her, she added, “I will admit though, synchronising wing beats? Nice... very nice.”
Spike failed to notice the pegasus silently backing away from him as he raised his chin proudly, “Why, thank you. I got the idea from whe-” He was abruptly cut off as Rainbow burst off of the metaphorical mark and ploughed into his chest.
Initially knocked upwards by the angle of impact, they travelled in a wide arch; gravity eventually taking over and landing them both on a fluffy mass of water droplets. They rolled a countless number of times, arms and legs locked playfully. They both wore wide grins as they struggled against each other for supremacy. Spike had the overwhelming advantage of size and strength but Rainbow Dash somehow ended up pinning him under her. He was flat on his back, looking up at a very confidently smirking mare. She leaned in, positioning her face dangerously close to his.
“Give up?” Her tone made it sound more like an order.
Spike reached up with a free forearm and grasped his chin thoughtfully; staring into the distance. He pretended to ponder for a long moment before answering casually, “No.” He shook his head. He made no attempts to move.
Dash parted her lips and frowned in confusion. Why did he seem so content to just sit there? Her body tensed as she felt something thin run through her mane. Before she could completely rotate her head to see the foreign entity, Spike seized the opportunity that presented itself with the momentary waver in focus. He brought his hands up to either side of the pony’s chest. With claws retracted, purple fingers plunged into the soft hide where the inside of the foreleg met the shoulder. Multiple muscle spasms erupted throughout her body as she tried to stop herself from collapsing on top of the dragon in a fit of laughter. She laughed almost maniacally as the indescribable feeling of being tickled shot through her being.
Dash was then thrown from her seat of authority over Spike as he reversed their positions. Scaly flanges continued to prod highly sensitive areas of skin as her legs flailed wildly in a fruitless effort to halt the onslaught.
“Say ‘uncle’, Dash, you know there’s no other way.” Spike shouted over the cackles of laughter.
“Ne...Ne-ne... Never!” She managed to squeeze out.
Spike narrowed his eyes. “We’ll see about that.” He whispered before moving on from her chest and running his fingers down the sides of her belly. Dash convulsed almost violently as she exploded into an even bigger fit of laughter. It went on to the point that she was expelling more air than she was taking in.
Taking in a lung full of air sharply, Rainbow Dash relented. “Uncle! UNCLE!” She threw her head back against the cloud and wiped away the moisture that had gathered in the corners of her eyes. They were both panting heavily as their gazes locked.
An uneasy silence ensued, met only by the rhythmic breathing of both creatures. It was Rainbow that broke the silence.
“Spike, I... I wanted to tell you that, you don’t really need any more flying lessons. You’ve pretty much got the whole
general flight thing perfected, but...” She hesitated; trying to see the right words somewhere on a distant cloud. She looked back to him. “It’s just been... nice, having someone to practice with. Would you... like to... I mean, it would be pretty awesome if we could...”
“Keep going?” Spike finished for her.
“Yeah... It would be awesome if you did.” She smiled hopefully.
“I’d love to.” They smiled at each other for a few long moments before Dash looked down. Neither of them had noticed that Spike had lowered himself over the course of the conversation to be essentially lying on top of her.
Catching on, Spike looked down. He leaped off Dash, stammering apologetic phrases. He looked away and scratched the back of his head. “Sorry! I didn’t know... Please don’t take it the wrong way... I was just relaxing, that’s all. I-.” He silenced his rant when he heard Dash stifling a chuckle.
“It’s fine, Spike,” Dash waved a hoof dismissively “Forget about it.” Her eyes drifted to the sun, steadily disappearing beyond the horizon as if only just realising the time. “It’s getting late and I’m parched. Smoothie at Sugar-cube Corner?” She offered.
“Sure” was Spike’s reply as he spread his wings, readying himself for takeoff.
The gentle tinkling of the door bell could barely be heard over the loud metallic clangs reverberating from the kitchen in the back of the shop. They were random outbursts of sound; uncontrolled. Whatever it was, it was making quite a racket.
Spike and Rainbow Dash stood in front of the counter; completely bewildered. Dash leaned across and called into the kitchen, “Pinkie? Is something wrong?”
She winced as a series of rapid crashes peppered the air. There was the sound of clopping hooves as something approached the kitchen doorway. “Dashie?” Pinkie Pie merely poked her head out of doorway, only to be shoved all the way out as an invisible force rocked her body. “There it is again! Twitch, twitch, twitch! My Pinkie sense!” The others in the room fell to the ground, covering their heads while scurrying away from any doors.
After yet another wave of twitches, Pinkie smiled widely. “No, silly, it’s not a dangerous twitch. I’ve been having little twitches for the past few weeks. Heart skipping a beet, itchy back, jerky knees means something to do with romance. They only got really strong when-” She cut herself off. Her face went blank.
“When what?” Asked Spike, while getting up from his position on the floor.
Pinkie grinned madly and tried to push the subject aside. “Oh, nothing!” She rested her head in her front hooves. “So what can I do for you... two?”
Dash eyed the pastel pink mare suspiciously before answering slowly, “We just stopped by to get a couple of smoothies... You know, after training and all.”
“Oh, of course. Coming right up!” Pinkie sang as she cantered back into the kitchen.
Spike looked over at Dash with a bemused expression. “What was that about?”
She continued to stare with a cocked brow towards where the pink pony had disappeared. “That? She’s Pinkie Pie, Spike. I think that about sums it up.” He nodded in silent agreement.
Pinkie came bouncing gleefully back into the room; somehow managing to keep a tray balanced on her back as she did so. “Order up!” She sang as she placed the tray on the counter.
“There’s only one large cup and two straws here.” Queried Spike.
Pinkie shrugged saying, “I’m running low on cups, okay?”
Dash shook her head. “Whatever, I’m parched. We’ll just go halves in it.” She took a sip before offering it to Spike.
He took it after some delay and hesitated as he brought it up to his face. “Um... Ah...”
“What’s the matter, Spike? Afraid of Rainbow cooties?” Dash teased, puckering her lips and kissing at the air towards him.
“No! I’m not afraid of some foal’s story!” Without a second thought, a mouthful of the smoothie disappeared down the dragon’s throat. He intentionally used the same straw she had. He passed it back to Dash, who was smiling slyly.
‘You mares, however, scare the CRAP out of me.’
Author’s Note: I get a strange sense of Deja vu with this. Anywho, the point is, it’s plot development. Hold on, folks, I have some things planned that I’m pretty sure will interest you greatly. [SPOILER ALERT] This includes an exploration into why a certain pony is the element of loyalty [END SPOILER ALERT]. For those of you who might be concerned by the deteriorating length of the chapters, I promise to try to go into more detail in the coming chapters. Oh, and on a final note, I’m definitely going to try my hand at ‘Ship - teasing’.
Thanks for reading,