Rainbow Dash squinted. Only at full speed did she realize how painful it was to soar directly into the mists. She gnashed her teeth and briefly climbed up. With a twirl, she flung her forelimbs back to her saddlebag and whipped out her goggles. She slapped them over her head, spun about, and barreled through the clouds, unimpeded.
Her shielded eyes darted left and right, desperately searching for a break in the mists. It occurred to her then that the monsters were indicative of the fog, and thus it would be folly to think that they'd leave a trail in the dense floating clouds.
She hissed. She seethed. She looked every which way as she glided blindly forward.
“Dang it dang it dang it dang it dang it! Think! Where could it have—?”
Rainbow Dash's heart skipped. She heard a shrill cry. It was the colt. Somewhere beyond the billowing clouds, the foal's wailing cries of horror were loud enough to reach her through the wind.
“Hold on!” Rainbow Dash yelled and pulled up high. “I'm coming! Keep shouting so I can hear you!”
The colt kept screaming, whether or not he had heard Rainbow's command. The blue pegasus climbed skyward, breaking through the top of the cloud. The uninterrupted rays of the sun came at a sharp angle. It was late into the afternoon, and judging from the burning horizon to her left, Rainbow Dash judged that she was flying north.
And the creature...
Rainbow Dash gasped.
She could see a leathery speck far below, breaking barely over the forested mountains that flanked the northern face of the huge structure that Windthrow clung to. Its unearthly wings flapped viciously. Meanwhile, a tiny brown shape flailed in the thing's arachnid limbs.
“Let him go, ya filthy creep!” Rainbow Dash's teeth gritted from behind billowing lips as she went into a hard dive. The wind whistled past her ears. Her mane threatened to tear off from the sheer force of the plummet. “Nnnnnngh...!” Rainbow Dash came within four hundred feet of the monster... three hundred... two hundred....
The creature twitched in midair, as if invisibly sensing Rainbow's presence. With a loud shriek, it dove low and sliced through the branches and leaves of several trees.
Rainbow Dash dipped down and threaded through the forest after it. Twigs and pine cones and specks of bark went flying. An overturned tree lay in their wake. The creature flew over it. Rainbow Dash threaded under, twirled past a mound of dirt, picked up a loose branch, and prepared to clobber the monster from behind.
“Get ready to kiss the ground, ya kid-plucker—”
There was a flicker of lavender in the edges of Rainbow's vision, and her entire world spun.
“Unnngh!” She gasped and spun wildly in mid-flight. She dropped the branch altogether and clung her throbbing skull. Panting, she could barely focus on the chase altogether as every sense in her body went dizzy. “Nnngh... No! For the love of oats, not now!”
The creature ahead of her blurred into three, then four, then back to one again. All the while, it was gaining distance, flying further and further out of reach. The colt in the spidery clutches sobbed and pleaded for mercy.
“Aaaaugh!” Rainbow Dash snarled. The lenses of her goggles fogged. She felt like she was at the bottom of a centrifuge. It was pure torture simply beating her wings. “Hnnngh—Come on! Stop it! Stop—Haaaaugh!” In desperation, she kicked off a tree, flexed her muscles, and propelled herself forward like a cannon.
The world screamed cyclonically about her dizzy spell. There was a swirl of branches, a flash of leather, then the strobe of a tiny foal's teary eyes.
Rainbow Dash slammed hard into the side of a tree.
The foal disappeared from view, replaced by the merciless texture of the earth.
Rainbow bounced off the forest floor, rolled several feet, plunged off a mound of rocks, and came to a thudding stop on the northern edge of a cliff.
“Ughhhh...” She hissed through her teeth and clutched her head. The world was a streak of light, swimming all around her. She couldn't tell which way was up. She only knew that she had failed, and it wasn't something she could help. Her urge to sob was overcome only by an urge to vomit. Bravely, she fought back both impulses and forced her twitching eyes open.
White turned to yellow and to red again. Her ruby irises spun to a stop as the madness settled. In the foggy glance she had of the horizon, a tiny leather dot was skimming its way over the hills and banking northeast towards a craggy line of mountains.
Panting, Rainbow Dash forced herself up. Her legs wobbled. Her belly drooped low to the earth. She felt like she would implode at any second. A whimper came from her mouth. It swiftly turned into a snarl, and then into a yell. It felt like tearing herself through her very own flesh, but she managed to take off yet again. Her flight through the dizziness was an awkward thing, but it was flight nonetheless. With her goggled gaze locked northeast, she flew as fast as she could after her distant target.