But never mind that, Jeffrey's gonna' kick my flank if I don't make it in time!
This panicked thought occurred to Dash as she whipped through the frigid air, trying by the second to attain more and more velocity. 'Jeffrey', who was in a way her 'boss', had a reputation for going off on ponies who were late. If somepony ever did a job wrong, he wasn't mad. If they even pushed him into a lightning bolt, he'd be perfectly calm. His nickname was 'Mellow Blue Hair' for this very reason. But be late...well, Dash had seen it before. Let's just say that the green stallion's face turned a deep purple, differentiating from its usual green hue. He wasn't around all that much, and most of the weather team were thankful for it, though it was mostly Dash in this case. An old, retired weather patrol commander (such as Jeffrey) only checked in if asked by the admiral themselves, and such only occurred with large jobs, or absences of officers due to injury/sickness.
And what occurred as she flew on, was the one thing that seemed to be whizzing all around Ponyville, dubbed as 'The Water Balloon Incident'. Everypony who was anypony remembered it, considering pretty much every pony had witnessed it. She remembered it most because...
She'd been one of the prime causes. She could even remember it like it was just yesterday-though really it'd been only a week ago...
"Target approaching. You ready, Corporal?"
A giggle from the figure next to her. "Ready!"
Dash's eyes narrowed at her target, tossing a water balloon absentmindedly up and down as she took aim.
The white unicorn being aimed at had absolutely no idea that anypony was nearby-she trotted without a care in the world, carrying a few bags with her magic as she went. Even though nopony else was around, she still pompously tossed her hair to a nonexistent audience. The pony didn't even think that a nearby bush would be the cause of a soon to be watery onslaught.
The word was echoed by her pink companion-"Steady...hey, WAIT! Twitchy tail, twitchy tail!"
Dash hardly heard the last words, and anyways-her leg had already drawn back in preparation for the toss, and set itself in motion-it was just a little too late to stop now.
She watched as the green projectile hurtled through the air, turning end over end, and then-
A grey figure dropped down from seemingly nowhere, blocking the balloon's path. There was only a second before it would impact, and all she could shout was, "Ditzy! Heads up!"
The blonde maned mare turned just in time to get hit right in the face with the missile, and water flew everywhere, including onto her mane. The white unicorn behind her looked on in slightly miffed shock.
And that was the last that the cyan pegasus saw. As Pinkie had cried out, "Wait!", she'd leaped towards Dash, and seconds later, the pegasus found herself pinned to the ground with a stern face staring down at her.
"Dashie! Didn't you hear me?!" the pink pony whispered fiercely. "Now look at what happened! Listen, I-"
"Well jeesh, sorry," groaned the pegasus. "What was I supposed to do? Catch it in mid-air?" By now, her cheeks had reddened in frustration at the normally bubbly pony.
"Well, it sure would have helped! I mean, how'd you like it if you were walking along..." Pinkie stepped back from Dash, reaching towards a small pile of the balloons that still waited for a target. "...and somepony did this?"
One pink blur of the leg, and next thing the pegasus knew, she was spluttering, and shaking water out of her mane."Uh, then why are we even doing this again, then?" And then she grinned. "Oh, but it's on, Pinkie."
The only answer that Pinkie was to receive was a sudden splash!, and that gave her all the permission she needed.
The two began a full-out water balloon war, and Rainbow couldn't help but to think that this was the most fun she'd had in a while. And as she thought, she didn't aim very well, and soon enough, balloons were flying astray, as passing ponies gasped and dived for cover. Ditzy still just stood, stunned, her upper lip trembling slightly at her sodden mane. Rarity had long since fled the scene, shouting something about 'unnecessary roughness'.
And by the time that all balloons had dumped their cargo, the two pranksters had collapsed into minuscule giggling fits. There likely wasn't a dry pony in Ponyville. Considering they'd blundered through half of the town, that was a pretty strong possibility.
After Pinkie had calmed down enough to speak, she sighed. "Well, that was fun, but I gotta' get going! Cupcakes don't bake themselves, y'know!"
Laughing and agreeing, there was one thing in that moment that the young flier had never experienced.
Well, in a way, she had. It was much like the soaring feeling she felt when flying, but this time, it was different-it wasn't 'fun', that much she knew. That felt entirely different.
That feeling scared the living daylights out of her. And right there, she made a silent vow to not let her guard down, and to find out what caused it.
She wondered if Pinkie'd felt the same. Probably not.
And who cares, anyways?
The memory ended almost as soon as it began, and as the pegasus cleaved through the air, she couldn't help but to wonder two things-
Was that feeling just her, or something else?
And just how much trouble would she be in if she didn't find those clouds, and soon?
As she soon found out, the answer was 'very'. "And just where do you think you were?"
The stallion glared at Dash so hard, his gaze could have melted solid steel. But Rainbow had to admit-he was stealthy, very stealthy. Jeffrey had even managed to hide completely out of sight, before she brought in her cloud bank about 3 minutes behind the other pegasi. Talk about a worst time... When she'd turned around, he had been waiting, gray eyes piercingly accusing her.
Try as she could, the young mare couldn't come up with an excuse this time, at least not a good one. The strange events of earlier that day-the feeling, Pinkie's strange lack of attention-at least, less than usual-still rang fresh in her mind, and the best she came up with was, "Uh...I got lost?"
A sarcastic response tumbled from the angry stallion's mouth as he struggled not to scream at the top of his lungs right there-"Yeah, and I 'spose little Miss Muffet had a tea party with ya' too, right?"
"That was rhetorical, genius." snarled the blue haired pegasus. But then his temper grew calm for a bit. "Listen, you've been tardy on quite a few things lately. Is something going on?"
As the cyan pegasus drew breath to reply, the other pony continued. "Parental issue? Sick relative? Are you sick? Relationship problems?"
He went on, but that one word struck a strong chord in Dash's mind. Relationship...as in colt-friends and stuff. That...
She blinked. And again. Then the realization smashed into her harder than a sack of oranges dropped from 20,000 feet above.
Pinkie was her long-standing friend, she'd been so ever since she'd taken up the weather patrol gig at Ponyville. A few talks and pranks, and parties, and the pegasus couldn't help but think that this was some of the most fun she'd had in a while.
That thought had, over time, led to that feeling-but she'd ignored it before, completely oblivious as to its existence. She had been living life too fast for that. Now she finally realized what it was, and frankly, she wasn't sure if she liked it.
She did not like the feeling of infatuation, not one bit.
"Uh, I think I can stop you at the 'relationship' thing," muttered Dash, barely audible over the stallion's increasingly ludicrous suggestions. "It's, uh...complicated, to say the least."
Jeffrey nodded. "I can relate. Had some problems of my own right around your age. Just know that you aren't alone."
Sighing and turning away, the stallion turned off, and began to fly away from the blue pegasus, when he stopped.
"Try not to rush it," he suggested quietly. "Go slowly-kinda' like you did on this job. Speakin' of which...don't do it again!" His voice had escalated slightly, before he got it under control again. "Take care," the stallion finished bluntly, before flying off in a flash, leaving Rainbow to hover in mid-air, stunned.
That was the most kind that 'Mellow Blue Hair' had been to anypony in a while. What happened to him? she pondered. And what's gonna happen with me? It sounded like he was sorry for me...psh, then again, he's always kinda weird.
"Daaaashie! Where are youuu?"
The flier looked down as an extremely exuberant call came from below her, to find a pink figure zipping around below her. From here, everypony looked like ants, but even from there, Dash could tell it was Pinkie. "Raaaiiinboww!" called the party pony from below, her voice echoing slightly with distance. "I gotta' tell ya' something!"
Eh, whatever. thought the pegasus. Maybe she'll finally tell me why she's acting so weird.
She folded in her wings, and made a beeline for the ground. Her hair lashed back in the wind, and she was just inches from the ground before she flapped her wings, avoiding a nasty collision with the dirt. As she touched down behind Pinkie, the pink mare whipped around.
"Ooh, good! You're here!" chirped Pinkie. "I thought I'd lost ya'! When you went all 'I'm late!' I was like, 'for what?'! Because you going all 'let's go!' was kinda' a little strange, being all sudden and stuff. But then I decided that it was nothing!"
Dash stared uneasily towards the pink mare as she beamed ever brighter at finishing the monologue. "And...?" Rainbow encouraged.
"Oh, right!" giggled the pink pony. "I almost forgot! I was talking to Fluttershy, and she said that there's this super-fantabulous awesome party up in Cloudsdale tonight! I was gonna' take my balloon up there after Twilight did her magicky stuff so I could walk on clouds, d'you wanna come?"
Rainbow wasn't the most intelligent mare, save when it came to quick thinking. But she realized an opportunity when she saw it. Oh yeah, I think I heard about that one! she remembered. Though it isn't really the 'party' that Pinkie thinks it is...that Falling Snowflake Festival is one of those more...how you say, formal things. I haven't really planned on going, because I have nopony to take...but...
But this is the perfect chance! What better place to tell Pinkie how you feel, than an event made to instill romance, and-oh my gosh, I sound just like Twilight.
The Falling Snowflake Festival was, in fact, one sort of giant 'mixer' for couples. Due to the setting cold of winter, many ponies remained indoors, alone and downtrodden. Separated from their families, loved ones, and fiancés. The pegasi, however, were generally above the snow and icy-cold breezes. So annually, as soon as Winter had spread its wings, they all gathered together so that no pony who attended would have to be alone on that night.
After all, they were all ponies united, why not have a night to celebrate unity of a different kind?
"Alright Pinkie," she decided. "I guess I'll go-"
The pegasus froze mid sentence as she felt herself squeezed in the grip of one huge Pinkie Pie hug. "Thank you thank you thank you!" Pinkie shouted. "This is gonna' be like, the best night ever! I gotta go get ready! See ya' later!"
Almost as quickly as she'd arrived, the exuberant earth pony had zoomed out of the area, excitedly chattering to everypony on her way out.
"I, uh...yeah, see you later too, Pinkie."