“They were divided into three separate nations, each consisting of entirely one race. War was commonplace, not a year went by without a new conflict arising between them. Tensions were high and the land was constantly ravaged by battles. But, thirteen centuries ago, something remarkable happened. A certain pair of Alicorns came by and ended the bloodshed. Can anyone tell me their names?”
The words reached her ears, yet they were overshadowed by more important thoughts. These magnificent imaginings were of the sky, clouds, and the wind. But most of all, just how blue it all was. Pure, vibrant cerulean. A deep, wonderful cyan that stretched endlessly. It was her favorite color.
These images and sensations floated wistfully about in her mind, pulling her attention away from the tasks at hand, and dropping them off somewhere north of reality. Here, in the wonderful realm of daydreams, she imagined humid updrafts carrying her to wherever she might desire to visit. Whether it be the historical city of Cloudsdale, built upon the clouds, or the many islands to the west that harbored unknown secrets, the breeze would awaken her and blow away any stress that had accumulated throughout the day. Cool air would contrast the warming sunlight that anxiously greeted her on the horizon, and everything would be perfect. Of course, she still could feel the amber rays of afternoon sun upon the back of her neck, and hear the dull conversation of the teacher, but overall her mind was a mile upwards.
Unaware of her student's aeronautic bliss, the teacher continued. “Yes, it was her Highness, Princess Celestia and her sister Princess Luna that ended the bloodshed which plagued all three of our cultures.”
The gist of the lesson made its way past her imagination, bits and pieces of faded information writhing their way in between her dreams of flight and rooting themselves into memory. Not that it did her any good though, her father had already relayed to her the magnitude of epic tales from many years ago. Whether true or not, the heroic and legendary stories of warriors and armies fascinated her to no end. Towering generals clad in gold plated armor, leading their battalions to victory against whatever sorry foe that happened to stand in their way. She would sit attentively as her father would unravel the mysterious of the past, and if she was lucky, even act out some of the more humorous historical occurrences.
“Ditzy!” The grey Pegasus cringed as her eyes snapped open. She was retrieved from her venture into the past by the abrupt sounding of her name. The wonderful scenes that were projected on the back of her eyelids instantly faded, and her attention brought back to the horribly boring classroom. It was apparent by the teacher's stare that she had grown wise to Ditzy's wistful imaginary antics.
“Can you tell me who built the city of Cloudsdale?” the teacher asked with a sigh, followed by a scowl. This wasn't the first time the student in question strayed away from the current lesson to delight in her runabout imagination.
Ditzy smiled, for a moment there she thought she was going to be asked a question she couldn't answer. Surely the teacher could do better than that.
“The Pegasi.” she said proudly, a flutter escaping her wings. Albeit small, the resulting gust was strong enough to scatter the nearest classmate's papers, earning another bemused frown directed to the mare. Looking at the colt next to her, she was met with rolled eyes. Replying with a sheepish grin and reddened cheeks, Ditzy got up out of her seat and proceeded to pick up the papers. Images of sunlight-crested clouds were still fresh in her mind, and no doubt she would return to them after the teacher resumed her lesson. The class laughed in mockery at another one of Ditzy's antics. It wasn't everyday she messed something up, (she was really tying hard not to) but it was enough to make her the target of the student's cruelty.
A small giggle resonated from behind Ditzy, it was different than the rest of the laughter, it stood out. This high pitched chuckle was not from a student who wished to make fun of Ditzy, no it was childish and amusing. She turned around to see a likeness of herself, only a bit older and with a few minor differences present. The near-mirror image smiled, and bent down to help her gather up the pages that were presently strewn about the floor.
Quick work was made of the task with the help Ditzy received, and as they handed the various notes and illustrations to the studious colt, the teacher announced the end of class. After Ditzy left and found the filly that helped her trailing close behind, it was apparent that the two walked the same way home, and unspoken consent was given to walk together. On the way home, they exchanged humorous observations and imitations of how their teacher's nostrils flared when she was angry.
It was nearing the end of spring, and summer would soon be upon the town in which Ditzy resided. The winter air retreated back north, and patches of snow and ice were no longer present on the side of the road. The sun seemed to be nearer to the earth, and noon now had the ability to persuade citizens into opening their windows to cool their homes. It was at this time, that Ponyville was in one of the it's busiest times of the year, the growing season. With it's populace mainly made up of wingless, hornless, Equestrian Farmers, the town was a bustling center of commerce, work, and the ever-present sound of hooves tapping along the cobblestone streets. Joining into this chorus of pedestrians was Ditzy and her classmate.
On both sides of the rood, market carts were lined dress-right-dress, ever so unintentionally neat and in order. The customers however, danced back and forth, dodging the occasional passerby that walked into their path. Seeds, bulbs, soil, plants, roots, tools, plows, and other varied agricultural means constantly changed hooves as citizens bartered and bought, filling the air with financial speech. Ditzy herself couldn't understand it. She knew that Earth Ponies were serious when it came to their farming, but all this hustle surely wasn't necessary. Still though, the atmosphere added to the knowledge that summer was on the horizon, and that meant a break from school, which meant no work, which meant more time to practice trying to get up into the air. She unconsciously stretched her wings, and felt another's presence to her right. It reminded her that she had company, and that she had forgotten to introduce herself. Ditzy smiled and did just that, not wanting to acknowledge that they had been walking for a good twenty minutes before the matter arose. Her company returned the smile and revealed her name.
“Raindrops.” she announced in a sort of singsong voice. The kind that starts at one note and ends at another, slightly lower one.
Ditzy's first thought asked herself who on Earth would name their child Raindrops, but remembering her own name, and politeness prevented her from asking quite like that.
“Why do they call you that?” Ditzy asked, but cringed after she had said it. It hadn't come out exactly how she wanted it to.
Raindrops smiled, as if she expected her to ask.
“Because, I can do this.” She spread her wings, and for the first time, Ditzy noticed that she was a Pegasus, another similarity between them. Raindrops took off skyward, to the complete surprise of the customers around her. The shock lasted only a moment, as they quickly returned their complete attention to whatever was to be bought or sold. Ditzy blinked, and loss sight of Raindrops, who quickly returned to her vision as a miniature, black silhouette. This figure grew as it neared the ground, and slowly detail returned. Raindrops landed with something between her front hooves, something white and wispy. Ditzy cocked her head before realizing what it was that her friend had retrieved from the sky. It was a cloud. An actual piece of malleable air and water formed into a cotton-like puff before her.
Raindrops smirked. “Watch this.” She released the object and it floated in place. Raindrops tapped it with her hoof, not forcefully, but just enough for it to lose an inch or so of altitude. A few seconds past, and the cloud began to change. Grey seeped inward from its sides, spiraling into the center of the mass.
It now held the title of a storm cloud. Another tap and muffled thunder was produced, and amazingly, Raindrops had lived up to her name as water trickled from the belly of the cloud fragment.
Ditzy failed to suppress the gleaming look of amazement that washed over her sight. Her mouth hung open upon completion of Raindrops' feat, in which she clasped her hooves together from both sides of the cloud, and it completely vanished. Raindrops looked up to see her audience's reaction, and chuckled at her look of awe. If it wasn't for the fact that Raindrops had just created a micro-climate before eyes, it was her ability to fly that struck an almost unnoticeable pang of envy inside of Ditzy. They were virtually the same age, yet Raindrops was already able to fly hundreds of feet off the ground, Ditzy not an inch.
“That's amazing.” she remarked. Not sure herself whether she was commenting on the weather creation, or flight.
Raindrops shrugged her wings and cocked her head with a smirk of modesty. “Not really, we are Pegasi.”
Ditzy looked up from the spot where the cloud vanished. “You mean, all Pegasi can do that?”
“Yeah, haven't you ever tried it?” Raindrops asked with a chuckle. Her smile faded as she looked at Ditzy, who after Raindrops had asked her question, was now looking towards the ground, her complexion reddened with embarrassment. The was a pause in dialogue, the sounds of bustling Ponyville however, continued uninterrupted.
It was Raindrops who broke the unnerving silence.
“Can you fly?” she asked. Ditzy replied by shaking her head, her eyes still locked onto the ground confirming Raindrops' suspicion.
Raindrops silently exhaled as she looked up towards the clouds with thought. The noisy atmosphere seemed to lower a few decibels as she contemplated what to do next. A moment passed before she took off, a sudden breeze ruffling Ditzy's mane. The suddenly distraught filly feared the worse after whom she thought was a friend had just abandoned her.
“She left, like everyone else.” She thought, mouthing over the words, yet no sound escaping her lips. Ditzy swallowed, her throat had become dry as soon as Raindrops mentioned flight. She turned to walk home, head still hung low as her hopes of a friend were shattered in mere minutes. However, a sound of hooves hitting the ground tickled her eardrum, making her stop the somber walk home.
“What did I do wrong this time?” she asked herself, knowing she had no answer. The sight of the ground would not become blurry with a mask of tears. Ditzy was all too used to this situation, it had replayed itself countless times before. At least, this time there were no hurtful words or mocking laughter.
“Where are you going?” Raindrops' voice resounded against the background noise. She trotted to catch up with Ditzy, and held out a hoof in front of her face. “Here.” Raindrops beamed as she held out a cotton treasure from the sky. “Just tap it.”
Ditzy looked at Raindrops with an unsure expression as she released the puff. It sat there, silently floating up and down, the breeze slightly pushing it forward.
“Well it's not going to stay there forever.”
Ditzy hesitantly poked the cloud, and instantly it darkened. Her look softened, and Raindrops nodded for her to do it again. She complied and mimicked her first action. Immediately a shot of amber lighting struck the ground beneath the cloud and a roar of thunder radiated outward. The two jumped back, startled by the sudden surge of light and sound. Ditzy was now on her haunches, shaken by the flash of noise, when something told her to look up. Raindrops saw this, and also looked skyward to find the clouds darkening above. The only appropriate response Raindrops could think of was laughter.
“Looks like Rain.” she said as seriously as she could muster, her cheeks were puffed with the containment of giggles.
Even though the sudden change of weather that seemed to have come from her own hooves was unsettling, Ditzy still needed to shoot an unamused glare at her friend’s pathetic pun. However, her sight moved away to a few feet ahead of them, where Rain started to patter the ground, sending market owners scrambling to close up, and customers hoarding together their new possessions. The precipitation grew heavier by the second, and almost drowned out Raindrops' speech.
“Come on, my house is around the corner!” she called back as she started to gallop away, slowing down to wait for Ditzy.
Ditzy pulled her gaze from the frantic market and got up from the ground to join Raindrops. The storm was nearing, and the two were barely in front of the downpour. Raindrops still failed to hold back laughter as the two dodged the edge of the storm. Given the circumstance, she would've just flown towards home, but she couldn’t do that to Ditzy. Instead, she moved by her side barely outrunning the water that fell from the angry cloud cover.
The overpowering ambiance of markets was replaced with an equally loud shower of Rain broken up by the distant yells of those who were caught in it. These two were muffled by an occasional injection of thunder above. Although it was only mid-afternoon, the sun was now well hidden behind the monochrome sky, and its light was absent on the ground below. This gave the whole town a strange feeling of false night; where one knew it was supposed to be light, but the sun was nowhere to be found.
Ditzy and Raindrops continued their escape from the torrential downpour. Soon enough, they neared Raindrops’ house, and retreated inside just before the storm overtook them. Raindrops closed the door, panting heavily from the run home coupled with her subdued chuckles. Amazingly, they were dry having barely missed the front of the storm.
Ditzy sat down, and tried to regain her stamina. She looked at Raindrops “Wha- what’s so funny?” Ditzy asked between breaths. She put on a nice, false smile and chuckled along with her.
Raindrops pointed to the sky, finally succeeding in catching her breath. “That, you did that.”
Ditzy automatically looked to where her friend was pointing, and shook her head. “What? No, I didn’t. It was a coincidence.”
Raindrops laughed. “Uh-uh, no it wasn’t. My dad’s a Cloud Kicker, I know how a Pegasus makes weather. The storm came up as soon as you hit that cloud.” she replied with a smile.
Ditzy looked at Raindrops with a bewildered expression. “A Cloud Kicker?” she asked in a confused matter.
“Yeah, a Cloud Kicker. You know, the Pegasi that make the weather?” Raindrops said, feeling as if she would soon have to explain the details. Ditzy sat there, raising an eyebrow, displaying that she, in fact had absolutely no clue as to what the filly in front of her was talking about.
“Oh come on, how else do you think storms happen? They don't just appear out of nowhere.” Raindrops continued, swirling her hoof around in the air for emphasis. Ditzy opened her mouth to protest, but stopped and thought.
“They don't?” She asked.
Raindrops brought the hoof still in the air to her face, and sighed. “No, Pegasi control the weather. Cloud Kicker is just the...you know, nickname. Sometimes they have to buck the clouds to get them started.”
“So, we're the only ones that can do it?” Ditzy asked.
“Well, us and Celestia. Unicorns try, but they're generally not that good.” Raindrops moved from the door over to the rug that Ditzy was presently sitting on. The whole room had a sort of amber mask to it that set a calm and tranquil attitude. The walls and floor were a smooth finished wood, and still smelled freshly cut. Outside the storm raged on, Rain battered the window panes and the roof, sending the muffled sounds of tap-dancers into the house.
Ditzy's thought's moved to Celestia. She had only seen her once or twice, but knew every bit of her history from her father's stories. This was a lot, considering Celestia was over a thousand years old (without looking it of course). Her mind moved through the pages of her memories and onto the first time she saw her. Ditzy was only a young filly, and never saw a creature like her Highness. She was considerably taller than anyone she had ever seen, and possessed both the wings of a Pegasi, and the horn of a Unicorn. It was not until later did Ditzy's inquisitive nature find that this combination was called an Alicorn, and Celestia, along with her sister, were the only two in the world.
The second time Ditzy caught a glimpse of the ruler was when she walked down the main path in Ponyville. It was an annual occurrence and, as tradition, the citizens of her town bowed as she would pass them. Though, Ditzy noticed something out of place, Celestia had a confused expression, almost as if she was embarrassed. She constantly bent down to those who bowed, and whispered something in their ears, causing the citizen to stand up and look around nervously. It was almost as if she didn't want them to kneel down in her path.
Ditzy thought it odd. If even half of the kind and heroic deeds of their ruler were true, then Equestrians were right in bowing. The Princess looked after the entire nation. She protected it, and served it with every iota of her being. So why then, did she insist that people treat her as a common citizen?
Ditzy, after realizing that she did not have an answer, moved back to reality. The absence of speech that persisted during her muses was not awkward, but more welcomed than one would have thought. The sound of the storm replaced any uncomfortable silence between the two, but Ditzy finally spoke, wanting to start conversation. After all, the Rain showed no immediate signs of slowing down.
“Where's your parents?” Ditzy asked. Her voice interrupted the outside river-dance, but was a well suited addition to the noise.
“Well, I don't live with my mom, and dad's probably out helping to fix the mess you made.” Raindrops replied, causing both to chuckle a bit. “I meant to ask, how did you do that on your first try?”
Ditzy shrugged her wings and looked around the room. “I just...you told me to tap it, and...” Her gaze returned to Raindrops and she shrugged her wings again.
“The first time I tried that, the whole cloud just disappeared.” she said with a giggle. “Listen, we need to get you off the ground.”
“What?” Ditzy wasn't really listening. Raindrops had brought her attention back the the puzzling meteorological accomplishment earlier, but she returned her thoughts at the current statement.
“We have wings for a reason, time to actually use yours.” Raindrops flexed the top of her right wing a bit before tucking it back to her side.
Ditzy glanced over to her own feathery appendages as her friend spoke. She would give anything to fly, which is why the fact that she hesitated at Raindrops' offer confused her. Nonetheless, the over joyous reaction one would expect from a Pegasus who cannot fly was delayed, and Ditzy looked further into the matter.
“Who taught you?” She asked. From the quick takeoff Raindrops had displayed earlier, Ditzy assumed that she was in no way new to the ability.
Raindrops thought for a few seconds as she recalled the eager days of flight training and the ignored bruises and cuts that she never let hinder her progress. Her thoughts quickly moved to the first time she actually stayed in the air for more than a few seconds, and force of the impact when her wings gave out. “My dad taught me on his days off, everyday we would work a little harder until I could fly to school and back by myself.”
Ditzy felt her heart lower by a few centimeters. To say that she hadn't tried to fly would be an ignorant statement. However, her father was not able to show her how to even get into the air, let alone stay aloft. Her father, whom was also a Pegasus, loved her as much as a father could, but was also a very busy stallion, which consequently disallowed him the time available to teach his daughter how to fly. Ditzy's mother was a blurry, distorted memory in her mind. She only remembered her voice, and when she asked her father about her, he would contract a sort-of sickened look which would cause him to hug Ditzy and tell her he loved her very much. Ditzy soon realized that she would receive no answers to her questions, and eventually stopped asking. She did however, continue flailing about the yard, trying to soar up into the atmosphere. Countless mornings, afternoons, holidays, and vacations Ditzy could be seen feverishly flapping her wings and jumping into the air. She no doubt had the will to fly, but it seemed that it was impossible to get the young filly airborne. Thus, it was to her dismay that through the countless months of aching wings and injured spirits, one by one her classmates came to school with beaming faces, bragging about how much they flew over the weekend, or how they won a race against their siblings.
Slowly but surely, Ditzy became the only Pegasus in her class that couldn't fly.
As another kick to the face, Ditzy's class was made up entirely of Pegasi.
Salt in the wound was delivered in the fact that Ditzy's entire school was made up of Pegasi.
She attended Ponyville Flight School. (Although lesser known, and less prestigious than Cloudsdale Academy, the Ponyville Flight School was made as a transitional element from the days of grounded Pegasi foals, to high flying, aeronautic beings. This did nothing, however to cushion the blows Ditzy received from not being able to soar.)
It was known throughout the school that Ditzy Doo was the only Pegasus that was unable to fly in virtually the whole town. This, coupled with her occasional wall-eyed stare didn't make for a welcoming atmosphere. The school's instructors could not be bothered with Ditzy when they saw that she was hopeless at leaving the earth. It is a commonly known fact that the flight instructors of the academy resemble the officers of the Royal Equestrian Air Corp themselves in the fact that when dealing with the one and a million young Pegasus that inexplicably cannot fly, the student's will to learn falls on deaf ears. This furthers the traditional notion shared among the culture, that a Pegasus who cannot fly serves no purpose more than taking up space. It seemed though, that Raindrops was different than the majority of Pegasi. Here she was willing to teach a Pegasus, who should already be mastering advanced flying styles, how to properly flap her wings.
“Tomorrow's Saturday, we can start then. My dad says the best weather always comes after a storm.” Raindrops said in her characteristic musical voice.
Ditzy was still unsure of the whole thing, but she knew in the back of her head that Raindrops was being sincere. However, Raindrops was the first pony to ever hold a decent conversation with Ditzy, let alone offer such a kind gesture. It was expected that she was wary at this new kindness directed towards her.
“Really?” Ditzy tried to seem less interested than reality, yet the excitement was still present, shown in the form of her cracking voice. She quickly covered her mouth at the end of the question, cleared her throat, and regained composure.
Raindrops politely ignored the fumble and continued. “Of course. You know that hill that's next to the school? That's where I learned, its perfect.”
Ditzy recalled the location. To the left of the school grounds lay a spike in elevation. It was covered in tall grass that reached her knees, and would cushion any fall a beginner may experience. Raindrops knew this, and also knew that there would be many falls on Ditzy's part, which is why her mind instantly jumped to the safe grass-laden knoll.
“So, how about noon? Its settled then.” Raindrops said.
Ditzy nodded. The agreement was slightly one-sided, but she didn't mind if it meant a friend and a chance at flying. Upon the close of negotiations, the dancers on the roof finished their performance, and the applauding thunder also faded into silence as if on cue. Even without knowledge of the time or sight of the sun, both could infer that night would soon be upon their side of the world. With a smile and a wave, Ditzy parted the home of her new and really, only friend, and made her way to her own house.
Purple darkness crept from seemingly out of nowhere, lowering the towns contrast and brightness by the minute. The town workers were about, mainly Unicorns. They walked down the side of the street to the metal boxes that resided on every other corner, and in admirable unison, they placed their horns upon them. With a soft glow, each worker's horn was illuminated, and in a few short seconds, so were the lamp posts that dotted the sidewalk. Ditzy watched as the night was brightened by the artificial glow, and the workers marched on to the next set of lights. It was amazing really. Ditzy never truly understood magic, and didn't think anyone else did either. However, it was a respectable aspect of Equestria’s daily workings. Magic lit up the night, powered trains and ships, and was argued as being the controlling force of the entire world. Ditzy wasn't that philosophical, but knew things had a certain way of going about. If magic was the culprit then so be it, but for now Ditzy welcomed the light before her as she walked home with the knowledge that she possessed something far greater than she ever had before.