22w, 4dOld Mares' Tales
*THUD* *THUD* *THUD* *THUD*
Oh, my head….waitaminit.
Rainbow Dash blinked blearily for a moment, rubbing her eyes with a foreleg. “What the heck? I don’t have a headache.”
*THUD* *THUD* *THUD* *THUD*
“What is that?” The cyan hued pony blinked again rapidly before standing up. The clouds fluttered comfortably beneath her feet as she rose up and looked around the interior, such as it were, of her house. Waves of cumulus billowed out across the “floor,” arching up and around in a variety of shapes, suited to her whim at the moment. She could change the texture of the walls, floor, even some of the furniture as it suited her, but there was no rigid exterior wall structure to speak of, as in the houses that Earth Ponies built.
*THUD* *THUD* *THUD* *THUD*
Or a door, for that matter. You don’t walk into a pegasus’s house, you fly in. That was the whole point of living on a cloud in the first place. That, and the awesome fact that no matter where you decided to stand, sit or lie down, it was just as comfortable.
“Who the heck knocks on a cloud?” Dash grumbled. She stretched, shook herself once from nose to tail, then stuck her lip out and blew her multicolored forelock to one side. Bed-head, schmed-head. This was as good as it was going to get, and if whomever woke her up didn’t like it, they could just go stick their head in a raincloud and soak it. “It’s my day off, for cryin’ out loud!”
Trotting forward, she rounded the corner of one of the columns that supported the upper level of her home. “Okay, whoever you are, this better be-GAH!”
“WHEEE!” A pair of smoky grey wings fluttered in her face, and then settled back to the sides of the mare that stood before her. “Wake up, Rainbow Dash, it’s your day off!”
“Yeah, Derpy, I kinda figured that part out already.” Dash snorted, trying to shake the tickly sensation of feathers from around her muzzle. “What are you doing here?”
Derpy Hooves blinked for a moment, her crossed eyes narrowing in thought. She brightened up again suddenly, and laughed. “I brought you a letter!” Lifting her left wing, she flipped up the cover of one of the small saddlebags strapped to her torso. Derpy nosed about for a moment, and then produced a small, neat white envelope with a golden embossed seal on the flap. “It’s for you!”
“Oh, uh, thanks, I guess.” Rainbow Dash took the offered envelope and tucked it under a wing. “You could have just dropped it in the basket I’ve got like you usually do.”
Derpy glanced at the small wire basket affixed to one of the columns on the edge of the cloud. “Nope!” She looked to one side, and then the other, scanning the clear azure sky for a moment before looking back and leaning forward, motioning with a foreleg.
Dash leaned toward her. “What? What about it?”
Rainbow Dash jerked back, startled, as Derpy burst out laughing again. “Special? Um, ok, thanks again, I guess.”
“Gotta go!” The grey pegasus arched her wings out and flapped them rapidly, the currents fluttering her blonde forelock back as she became airborne. She flipped the mailbag closed with her muzzle and banked around Rainbow Dash in a graceful curve before disappearing around the edge of the cloud house.
Rainbow Dash stood patiently, waiting.
A few seconds later, Derpy came flying back around the corner. “Nice living room!”
“Yeah, I think so, too.” Dash grinned.
“I can’t stay, gotta go!” Derpy smiled and laughed again, the sound pealing out like morning bells. “Catch you later, Dashinator!” With a powerful beat of her wings, the pegasus banked away again, curving out and to the right before disappearing from sight.
“Dashinator?” Rainbow stood for a moment, the brilliant sky before her utterly forgotten. “I gotta write that one down! It’ll be my totally awesome new official nickname!” She turned around and trotted back across the rolling surface of the cloud into the main living area.
Dash grinned to her self as she thought about Derpy again. “Living room” was about the best term that could describe it, for the moment. Depending on what she was doing, or what mood she was in, it was a living room, a bedroom, den, dining area, party patio, or whatever matched the activity she was currently involved in. Pegasi liked their independence, and this included their homes. Why walk into another room just to sit down and eat something, and then go somewhere else to take a nap? She’d gotten into a long discussion with Fluttershy about this once, and it had been one of the few times that she couldn’t get the sunyellow pegasus to agree with her.
“A place for everything, and everything in it’s place,” Fluttershy had said. Losing that argument (such as it was) had led to Rainbow Dash calling Fluttershy “Neatfreak” for a day and a half, and “Neatie” for most of the rest of the week. She’d let it go though; you couldn’t tease Fluttershy too hard, or too long. She’d put that expression on her face, refuse to meet your gaze, and end up making you feel so terrible that you’d agree with her if she said the sun was purple just to make her smile again.
“Geh,” Rainbow Dash muttered. “Ol’ softie.” She flumphed herself down on the misshapen patch of cloud she’d been napping on previously and squirmed for a moment until it became a comfortable couch. Nosing under her wing, she retrieved her mysterious letter and laid it down on her forelegs for a closer look.
“Ms. Rainbow Dash (P), Ponyville, Equestria.” The sender had thoughtfully put the (P) after her name, so that the mailpony delivering the letter would realize it was a pegasus and not frantically run back and forth under her house all day searching for a missing address. Since Ponyville wasn’t exactly the largest place in the land, and most of it’s inhabitants were known to each other, not everypony who sent out a letter added the mark unless it was for an out of town address or a formal occasion. “Huh. I wonder who’s writing to me?” Rainbow’s eyes narrowed to violet slits, a grin spreading over her face. “A secret admirer from the Wonderbolts, I bet! This must finally be my invitation to join!”
With a victory whoop, she caught the letter up on one end with her teeth, and slid the edge of a forehoof into the pocket provided at the other end for just this purpose. A flick of her foreleg and the golden seal parted neatly.
An abrupt burst of golden light poured forth from the envelope, rising up and coalescing in the air before her. Startled, Rainbow Dash sat back, her eyes widening, ears folded back as the golden globe rose about a foot over her head. The sound of birdsong poured forth from it, and a low, sweet musical tune arose.
“What the heck-?” She blinked hard, then her ears pricked forward in amazement as a voice came forth from the light and began to…sing?
A cordial invite sent to thee
O’Element of our Harmony
We bid you come and stay and rest
Stay and dance and sing and jest
This invite from Celestia comes
To Canterlot we ask you come
Tomorrow night come join the throng
And show thy prowess in a song!
As the last verse ended, the music rose in crescendo and then ended. The golden globe vanished with a dazzling blast of soundless light. Small golden remnants of coruscating light drifted slowly down to the envelope, only to vanish at the touch. Rainbow Dash stood frozen, eyes wide in disbelief.
“A singing contest? You’ve gotta be KIDDING ME!”