Wonderbolt Trials and Tribulations

by White Comet

Chapter 13

‘DAMMIT!’ Dash internally cursed to herself. She was falling behind, and fast. She needed to do something about it, but her wings weren't complying. The wind fought against her diagonally from the left, but she pushed through it, no matter how hard it was.

She eyed her next corner. An acute right. Looking ahead, she saw that Comet was already slowing for it. She'd have to do the same, but she needed to try and gain some ground. Time to push the limits.

She looked behind to check for others behind her, where Dahlia and Bright Skies were trailing. She had a good gap of at least three seconds between them. This gave her plenty of room to move about.

She pulled as far left as she could in order to get the best turn-in possible. She waited until the last possible moment to throw her wings out to begin slowing down, holding her breath to give her extra leverage under the G forces.

When she reached her turn-in point, she extended her right wing slightly more to give herself more resistance on the left side, hoping it would give her a better turn in. As her weight transferred, she attempted to level herself out as she headed towards the apex so she could accelerate away cleanly.

She tilted herself into the corner to pull extra G’s through the turn. Once she felt her back brush against the apex, she bought her wings back up to speed to chase Comet down the straightaway.

This straightaway was longer. And she was clearly faster than him in a straight line. She could easily catch him by the next corner. All she needed to do was setup the attack.

She looked forward towards the next corner. A long to medium left. Could potentially be tighter than it looks, but she didn’t have an opportunity to play it safe.

She managed to keep with him up to the entrance to the corner, she was almost close enough to bite his tail off. She kept her eyes on his wings, determined to only slam on the brakes when he did.

...But he didn’t…

Dash occasionally glanced towards the corner as they approached it. Since they were still accelerating hard, they were only getting there faster. Given the speeds that Comet seemed to be intending to take through the corner, she started doubting her ability to pass him. But she soon shoved those thoughts to the back of her mind and gritted her teeth. ‘If he can do it, so can I!’ She convinced herself.

He suddenly threw his wings out, slowing down hard. Since she was anticipating it, she was easily able to do the same without slamming into the back of him. But he only seemed to do it for a few seconds before he got back on the power. “Huh?” Dash wondered as he tilted to take the corner. Blocking out any thoughts of going too fast, she powered on through and followed him.

She tilted in unison with him, but saw that he was constantly flailing his wings out to produce drag to slow himself down, as if he was trying to do some very minimal braking...did he make a mistake? It was unlike him to make a mistake through a corner.

She saw an opportunity as she carried greater speed through the corner. He had the inside line covered off, but she was carrying more the enough speed to pass around the outside.

She gradually moved to the outside, able to get her head alongside his flank just around the corner, but then she noticed that the corner was getting tighter. ‘Crap, wasn’t expecting that…’ She threw her wings out, slowing down a lot more than she would’ve liked to, whilst Comet appeared to be...accelerating?

‘WHAT?’ She asked herself. ‘How is that even possible!?’ She flapped hard, trying to regain some ground, but she found herself almost grazing the cloud wall, giving herself no choice but to continue slowing down. “NO!” She cursed herself as she accepted her fate and slowed until she could clear the corner.

By the time she had cleared the corner, he was miles away. She sighed, accepting that there was no way she could catch him now.

She kept up her pace to maintain a second place finish when she crossed the line. But she was at least ten seconds behind by the time she reached it…

She landed on a cloud at the finish, gathering her breath. Comet was doing the same, meaning he must have been pushing hard as well. The two locked eyes briefly, before Dash looked away. “You wanna start bragging?” She said sarcastically, knowing full well that wasn’t his style.

“You actually did pretty well, up until that corner…” He commented in response.

“Care to tell me what went wrong? As in why you took it at a super crazy speed and I barely kept my head out of the clouds?” She asked. She was used to this by now, she knew exactly what to expect.

Comet simply turned away, preparing to walk. “Instead of seeing it as one corner, try thinking of it as multiple corners. You might find it works a lot better…” He suggested, walking away.

Dash simply raised an eyebrow at his answer. She looked in the direction of the corner, visualising it from both the point of view from which she could see it now and what it looked like when she was entering. “Three corners? Four corners…?” She said to herself, “I just don’t get it…”

“Wooooo, that was fun!” Dahlia skidded to a stop beside Dash, perching just beside her and gasping for breath. “You’re so fast...I can barely...keep you in sight…” she said through gasps.

“Yeah, haha…” Dash replied, but still had her mind focused on the fact that she once again lost to White Comet. There was obviously a lot of pegasi there that rivalled her, but he was the only one that stood out on multiple occasions. She was clearly faster than him in a straight line. But she somehow kept losing ground in the corners.

“I’m gonna go burn off what’s left in the gym before dinner,” Dash stated before beginning to walk.

“Oh great idea,” Dahlia followed, picking up on the fact that it was still bugging Dash as to how she kept losing. She wanted to do something about it. “I wouldn’t mind seeing the sights in the gym myself...if ya know what I mean…”

“Ugh, spare me,” Dash rolled her eyes in response, knowing EXACTLY what Dahlia meant.

“Aw c'mon Dash,” Dahlia chuckled and lightly tapped her on the shoulder, leaning in closer so she could speak more quietly. “There’s gotta be some stallion here that makes your wings pop.”

“Nope,” Dash replied plainly, pushing through a door and holding it with her hind leg so that Dahlia could follow her through.

“Pfff,” Dahlia rolled her eyes, “Amatuer evasion, Dash. Seriously, I won’t tell anypony. I’ll just be between you and me.”

“I’m telling you the truth. I’ve got nopony,” she once again gave the same answer shrugging, but decided to expand on it to make it seem more convincing. “I came here to get a spot in the Wonderbolts, not a boyfriend.”

Dahlia chuffed, “Fair enough,” she replied, rolling her eyes once again. Looks like she’s going to have to switch to a different method.... “I’m not suggesting anything here, but you do seem to spend a lot of time away doing god knows what…”

Dash suddenly inhaled sharply and her pupils went narrow. “Well, I-I uh--”

“Gotcha!” Dahlia interrupted before Dash could say anything “So who’s the lucky stallion?”

“N-no, there’s no stallion,” Dash stammered, trying to maintain her composure.

“Oh, so...you’re into mares then?” Dahlia made a different observation.

“NO!” Dash almost screamed, but covered her mouth with her hoof to suppress the volume, her cheeks starting to turn a crimson red. “There’s nopony, I just...need...to do...things…” she moved her hoof from her mouth to cover her face, even more embarrassed from her lame excuse.

“Things eh?” Dahlia questioned, then realised, “Oh,” she gently chuckled to herself as she understood what Dash meant (or at least what she thought she meant). “When things start getting hot down there, you could always take it to the bathroom you know…”

“No, that’s not the reason,” Dash shook her head, “And you think I’d do that with seven of you outside the door? Who does that?”

“Well…” Dahlia looked away, “Me actually…” The tiniest of blushes formed on her cheek as she spoke.

“Gee, thanks!” Dash covered her mouth again as she cringed hard, expecting that she might accidently blurt out words too loudly again. “Thanks for putting that in my head. Now I’ve gotta think about that next time I’m in the bathroom. Appreciate it…” She replied sarcastically.

Dahlia giggled, “C’mon Dash, it’s not a problem as long as you...ya know...clean up.”

“I don’t wanna know,” Dash emphasized, looking around the corridor leading up to the gym to make sure nopony overheard their conversation. Because it was way too awkward to explain.

“Relax, there’s nopony around,” Dahlia informed, seeing what Dash was doing, “You think I would’ve said all that with ponies around?”

Dash chuffed and smiled, “Wouldn’t put it past ya sometimes…”

“Hey!” Dahlia complained and pouted at her.

“You walked right into that one,” Dash explained as she held the door for the gym open for Dahlia.

Dahlia rolled her eyes as she entered, “Yeah I guess, but even so, what--pffff!” She suddenly covered her mouth to suppress her laughter.

Dash raised an eyebrow as she followed her. “What’s so--” She was cutoff as Dahlia nudged her in the side to shut her up, then pointed to the source of her laughter. “Pff!” Dash had to do the same when she spotted it.

Lying on a gym mat a few feet in front of them was Thunder Flash. She was lying on her belly, with her head supported by her hooves under her chin. She had a light blush on her face and a goofy grin that stretched from ear to ear. Dash panned her eyes up to what she was looking at. And off over the other side of the gym was Wind Tunnel, doing some bench presses with... A LOT of weight…

Dahlia leant her muzzle into Dash’s ear to whisper. “♫Someponys got a cruuuussssh♫” Dahlia whispered, then they both silently giggled with each other. “That’s what you look like when you come back from your ‘trips’.”

Dash shook her head, “No I don’t,” She whispered back, “...do I?”

“Mmmhmmm,” Dahlia gave her a firm nod. “You should totally go and flirt with him just to piss her off.” She suggested.

“No way,” Dash pulled her head away. Never in a million years would she think about Wind Tunnel that way...and flirting wasn’t really her thing...the idea just made her want to vomit…

“Oh come on, it’s just a prank,” Dahlia insisted, giving her a few nudges.

“No, I’m not doing it,” Dash replied stubbornly.

Dahlia rolled her eyes, but then a smile quickly reappeared on her face. “Well if you won’t, I willllll…” She trailed off as she started walking towards Wind Tunnel.

Dash watched as Dahlia approached Wind Tunnel, who looked to be struggling with the weights now. She noticed that Dahlia put a little bounce in her step. Probably to shake her plot around more.

She couldn’t hear from this far back, but she could see that Dahlia had fired up a conversation with Wind Tunnel. She then made a quick turn to the left, and in doing so, brushed her tail underneath Wind’s chin. Probably intentionally…

She examined the weights for a few moments before bending down to look at a certain set in similar detail. Dash wondered why she was kneeling down so close, surely her eyesight wasn’t that bad. But when she looked back at Wind, her reasoning suddenly became clear. Wind’s face had started to form a grin on it, because by bending down, Dahlia had given him a perfect almost point-blank view of her posterior.

“Hfff!” Dash’s attention turned back to Thunder as she forced air out of her nostrils. Her muzzle wrinkled up and a very stern frown and furrowed brow made its way onto her face. Her cheeks grew redder and redder in colour.

“Pff--,” Dash tried her best to hold in her giggles, but she almost let one escape, which she muffled with her hoof. She decided it was probably best to move away at this point. If she couldn’t contain it, at least Thunder wouldn’t hear.

She made her way towards the door that lead to the pool, standing beside it and turning so she could see Dahlia. Dahlia had selected some weights and was now showing Wind Tunnel what she could lift. Dash couldn’t see the numbers on what she was lifting, but they looked pretty small. Dahlia appeared to be struggling, but Dash had a sneaky suspicion that it was all just for show.

She stopped for a few moments to speak to Wind. After exchanging a few words, Wind leant down to her and appeared to be helping her with the technique, giving her a bit of a demonstration. Dash was certain that Dahlia was just giving him an opportunity to lay his hooves on her…

After a few more reps, Dahlia put the weights down and rolled off the bench. She exchanged a few more words with Wind before heading off. She looked around for a bit before realising Dash had moved, and made her way over to her.

“She looked like she was gonna explode,” Dahlia said before letting out a few laughs.

“I know right?” Dash replied, laughing herself, “It was great…” she trailed off as a thought popped into her head. “But you do know he’ll probably start advancing on you now?”

“Hey, I’ve got no problems saying no,” Dahlia replied with a shrug.

Dash chuffed before responding, her smile dying down somewhat. “You’re so evil…”

“I know,” Dahlia giggled, “But in all seriousness…” she smiled and her cheeks reddened a tiny bit, “He’s not much to talk to, but even you’ve gotta admit that he’s quite the piece of eye-candy. I wouldn’t mind taking that for a ride…”

“Great, another image you’ve permanently stuck in my head,” Dash rolled her eyes and cringed. “I’m gonna go swimming to try and take my mind off that.”

“You can try,” Dahlia replied with a wink, before heading off on her separate way.

Dash made her way into the pool room. There was only about a dozen ponies in there. Which was good, it meant she had a fair bit of the pool to herself…

...and there was less ponies around for her to embarrass herself in front of with her pathetic swimming…

Her swimming...well, it still sucked. But she was hoping that it wouldn’t be part of the final test. They would be doing more air-based things right? So swimming should theoretically not be a part of it? Still, she knew she had to keep in practice, as she would probably be bought up on it further down the line. She was only as strong as her weakest link after all…

After her swim, Dash headed for the showers, and by the time she had finished showering, it was time for dinner. She made her way down to the mess and got in line. She couldn’t tell what the food was, but it smelt good. When she got to the front, her thoughts were confirmed. Looks like they were even being kind with their food for their day off. She took herself a big grilled sandwich with cheese leaking out the sides along with some hay fries. Taking her food, she found her roommates and set down to eat.

“Can’t believe they actually fried something for once,” Crash Dive commented as he tucked in.

“Well technically, it’s grilled…” Dahlia corrected.

“Oh, check out little Miss Zesty Gourmand wannabe over here,” Horizon waved his hoof over at Dahlia.

“Oh,” Dahlia raised an eyebrow, “And have you ever cooked anything better?”

“Well, uh...not exactly…” Horizon admitted, “But have you?” He instantly replied back with.

“Actually, yes,” Dahlia replied, “I think I’m pretty handy in the kitchen…” she turned her head to look at Riptide, “And don’t get any ideas, you!”

“Oh, I got plenty…” Riptide responded with a wink.

They all tucked into their food and got some good conversations going

“Well, looks like you’re enjoying our little treat,” Spitfire commented as trotted into the mess, immediately attracting all eyes to her. She walked into the middle of the Mess, “Well, now seems as good a time as any to announce the big test that’s coming up in two weeks…”

Everypony looked at each other, confused as to what she meant. There was something bigger? And they weren’t even CLOSE to the final stages…

“The test…” Spitfire pulled a load of paperclipped papers out from under her wing, “Is literally a test!”

And she got exactly the response she was expecting to get; mixed groans. She had to suppress a smug smile she wanted to put on.

“That’s right. You didn’t think it would all be this practical did you? We’ve gotta make sure you’ve actually got a brain driving those wings of yours. So here’s how it’s gonna work. So far, we’ve worked by eliminating the lowest ten or so of you each day. Well, that’s getting a one of change for this te--...hmm…”

Spitfire tapped her chin and thought for a second, “I suppose you could call it more of an exam than a test...but they’re basically the same thing, just in written format. Anyway,” she continued, “the exam will be marked out of two hundred possible marks. Anypony below one hundred, or fifty percent, is out.”

A mixture of gasps and stunned silence filled the room. Dash just gulped, knowing full well that this was a serious threat to her. She hated written exams. She always either shaved through by the skin of her teeth, or failed miserably. If she wanted any chance of staying in, she would have to study, and study hard…

“Well, that’s it. Just wanted to give you some time to prepare. It’s two weeks on Monday.” She turned to leave the mess, slowly chuckling to herself. “And to some of you, all I can say is, good luck…”

When she had finally left, Dash looked at her roommates, seeing that they were in equally as much shock as her.

“Well great, now what are we gonna do?” Crash Dive questioned his brother.

“I dunno,” Horizon replied, shrugging, “I didn’t think there would be any sort of written test much past the application.”

“Guys,” Dahlia interrupted, “We don’t even know what type of exam paper it’s gonna be. Maybe it’ll be multiple choice, and you won’t have to write a word.”

“Even worse!” Horizon exclaimed.

“Whaaa…?” Dahlia raised an eyebrow, “How is that harder? The answers are already on the paper for you. You just gotta pick the right one.”

“Because sometimes they all look so similar and if I don’t know it fully, then I don’t know which one to pick.” Horizon continued.

“Guys,” Comet batted a hoof at them, “Relax. Honestly, I’ve never seen you two so stressed. Just study a bit and I’m sure you’ll do fine. You got through High School right?”

“Nope, we’re dropouts,” Crash Dive admitted without hesitation.

“Wow, really?” Dahlia asked, “I didn’t expect that. How did you even get in here?”

Horizon shrugged, “Obviously did something to catch the ‘Bolts attention.”

“Probably made ‘em laugh,” Crash added, also shrugging, “usually works everytime.”

Dahlia chuffed, still stunned. “I wasn’t convinced I would even get in, and I went to college.” She looked over to Comet sitting next to her, “How about you? Bet you’ve got some sort of degree…”

“Nope,” Comet admitted, “Just college. I studied maths and physics.”

“Hm. Kinda expected you to have at least a foundation degree…” Dahlia replied.

“Same here,” Dash added.

“Ehhh…” Comet shrugged each shoulder simultaneously, “I did a bit of research, and the potential salary increase for whatever job I got with the degree didn’t really offset the cost of studying it. So I decided not to do it.”

“Huh. I suppose…” Dahlia looked over at Dash, “What about you Rainbow?”

“Me?” Dash responded, “I didn’t do anymore studying after high school. Still ended up as leader of the Ponyville weather team though, so…” She shrugged, “Not bad I guess.”

“Leader? Nice,” Dahlia replied with a smile, “I’m guessing you had a bit of experience before you got there?”

“Not really,” Dash replied, scratching the back of her head, “The original leader quit a few days after I started, and I just...sorta took her place...nothing to it, just like that…”

“And her paycheck too?”

“Oh yeah,” Dash added.

“You must be rollin’ in it for your age,” Dahlia commented, “Twenty two years and I’ve barely earned more than minimum wage.”

“What, you’re twenty two!? No way!” Dash replied, eyes widening.

Dahlia raised an eyebrow. “Uhh, yeah. You’re older than me, aren’t ya?”

“No, I’m twenty,” Dash replied.

“Seriously? Wow,” Dahlia replied, looking over at White Comet. “You’ve gotta be older than me, right?”

Comet shook his head and shrugged, “Nope, I’m also twenty.”

“Get outta here,” Dahlia replied, looking over at Riptide, “I’m not even gonna hold my hopes on you. You’ve gotta be what, nineteen, eighteen?”

“Seventeen,” Riptide correct.

“WHAT?” A collective gasp came from everypony else at the table.

“You’re not even old enough to walk into a pub and buy a pint of cider, and somehow you’re here?” Dahlia asked, “What were you even doing before you came here?”

“I was an intern at my folks’ business. I was able to put that on hold for this though…”

“Pfff,” Torque scoffed, rolling his eyes, “Wish I could do jack for a living.”

Riptide was about to respond, but then he felt something cold and wet on his head. “The hell!?” He used his wings to push himself out of the way before he got any wetter. After shaking the majority of it off, he looked up to see Horizon with a jug of water. “What the hell was that for?”

“I was applying cold water to the burned area,” Horizon replied with a smile.

Everypony on the table immediately burst out laughing, much to Riptide’s displeasure.

“You had that one coming to ya,” Dahlia commented through chuckles, “Your mane could use a wash anyway.”

“What ya talking about?” Riptide said as he corrected his mane. “Is this ‘everpony talk shit about Riptide’ day?”

“That’s everyday, Sweetie,” Dahlia replied with a smirk, then turned to Horizon. “Well go on then, spit it out.”

Torque simply looked away, “If it makes you feel any better, I’m twenty two as well.”

“Yes!” Dahlia punched the air, “I’m not the oldest one. When’s your birthday?”


“Goddammit,” She hit the table, “Mines February. What about you Bright?” Dahlia asked, looking over at her.

“Umm, I’m...nineteen…” Bright Skies replied, hesitantly.

“Dammit,” Dahlia replied, then huffed.

“Oh don’t look so glum,” Crash Dive replied, patting her on the back. “We’re twenty five,” He said, bouncing his hoof between him and Horizon.

“Twenty five!?” The whole table, minus Riptide, exclaimed.

“Then what were you doing before you came here?” Asked Dahlia.

“Comedy,” Crash and Horizon replied at the same time.

“We’re a practical stand-up team,” Horizon elaborated.

“Well, you sure are a dynamic duo,” Riptide commented.

“Yeah, we’ve never done anything big. Only small stuff. But hey, we enjoy it and it pays alright,” Horizon explained.

“I guess,” Dahlia replied, “Still...twenty five. Don’t you guys ever feel your age puts you at a disadvantage?”

“Well, we’ve beaten other ponies this far, so,” Crash Dive shrugged, “I don’t think so.”

“He’s got a point,” Comet added.

“Hmm,” Dahlia rubbed her chin, “I suppose…”

Dash finished her dinner as quickly as she could with as minimal conversation as possible. Despite the initial shock diminishing, she was still clueless as to what she was going to do about the exam. There was no way she could pass it. And there was no way she would be able to hit enough books in time in just two weeks. She needed to find something to do…

Upon finishing her meal and leaving the mess, she knew exactly who to seek help from; Soarin. The only problem was finding him. And hoping he was available to answer her questions. Anyway, first things first, she needed to find him.

She walked down the hallways and through the corridors to the office. Most of the lights were off this time in the evening, so the lighting was fairly minimal. She made her way down the offices to the one with Soarin’s name on the front of it. She tapped with a fair amount of force with her hoof and waited for several seconds. No answer. After giving the door handle a yank, she confirmed that it was locked and he obviously wasn’t in there.

“Hmm…” she hummed quietly to herself as she rubbed her chin. Where else could he be? Unless he was still eating. But she didn’t see him around. Maybe he was out training? But if he was, he would’ve missed dinner, since it’s all served at the same time. But then again, they probably kept some warm to suit the ‘Bolts personal schedules. Perhaps he--

Something suddenly covered her eyes, “Guess who?” A very familiar voice asked.

“Oh not him again,” Dash replied sarcastically, pushing his hooves away and spinning around to see Soarin standing behind her.

“Well, you we’re obviously looking for ‘him’. What can ‘he’ help you with?” Soarin joked, grinning slightly and chuckling at this joke.

Dash chuckled with him in response. “Well, I was…” she rubbed up and down her left foreleg with her right hoof, “I was hoping you could...help me...with something…?”

“I can try. What’s the problem?” He replied, his grin fading slightly, but maintaining his cheerful persona.

“Well, you know the upcoming test Spitfire just told us about?” She began, knowing full-well in the back of her mind that he’d probably been sworn to secrecy about it. Presuming he knew anything at all of course.

Soarin suddenly became straight-faced, “What about it?” He asked.

“Well…” she looked away, “I’m gonna fail. I just know it. I suck at written tests. I might just scrape through if I…’studied’, but…” she used the word lightly, since despite all the techniques she learned from Twilight, it still wasn’t even close to being one of her strong points, “but I don’t want one little thing to cost me the opportunity I’ve been waiting for my whole life.”

She sighed, then looked up at him. “Is there anything you can do to help me?”

Soarin withheld a sigh, not wanting to put Dash off. This was such a perfect example of what Spitfire was talking to him about yesterday, and it was presenting itself as a perfect opportunity to either further his friendship with Dash, or to cost both her a shot at her dream, and for him to be discharged from the Wonderbolts.

But either lucky or unlucky for him, he could do nothing but be brutally honest with Rainbow Dash. “I don’t know anything about it. Spitfire told us it was happening right at the start, but she’s kept all the details sealed tight. I’m not really sure what I can do…”

Dash simply sighed in response. “Welp, I’m screwed.”

Soarin couldn’t help but chuckle in response, which obviously only irritated Dash, unaware of the reason why, as for her it was probably the worst possible time to chuckle. “What’s so funny?” She asked sternly.

“I just find it funny who you go from a can-do-anything attitude to a defeatist one in the blink of an eye. You really think you stand that little of a chance?”

“Nope,” she said bluntly, “I’m done for.”

Soarin smiled and raised an eyebrow, “Fifty percent isn’t that hard ya know. You don’t HAVE to get one hundred percent, although it would be awesome if you did. Even if you scrape through by the skin of your teeth, you’re still in. And didn’t you get one hundred percent on the Reserve's history test? Just do the same thing you did for that and you’ll be fine, I’m sure of it.”

Dash thought for a moment, “Ya know…when you put it like that...it does sound...possible…” she mumbled off.

“That’s the spirit,” Soarin replied with a smile, “Now you better hit those books hard, there’s not a lot of time.”

“I guess I should…” Dash trailed off, looking towards the door. “I made it this far. I’ve got nothing to lose.”

“Exactly,” Soarin replied rather smugly, “Seems like you were the one making mountains out of molehills.”

“Shutup,” Dash replied snidely as she prodded him in the side, earning a chuckle from Soarin.

“Did you just tell your commanding officer to shut up?” Soarin asked sarcastically.

“What if I did?” Dash replied, a smile forming on her face and her eyebrows raising, “Will Commander Soarin have his way with me?”

“He might if you don’t pass the exam,” Soarin replied, maintaining his level of sarcasm as he bumped his side against Dash.

Dash was caught a little off-guard not by the fact that he bumped her, but with the amount of force he put into it. It didn’t look like anything to him, but to her, it managed to drive her back a few feet and make her bump the wall. He was very strong, a lot stronger than he came off as. And he wasn’t even the biggest Wonderbolt there. Which made her wonder what the bigger ones were like…

“Anyway, I better go hit the books,” Dash said quickly before pushing the door open. “Later, Soarin.”

“Good luck, Dashie,” Soarin replied, making sure the door was closed once she left. He then turned around and walked back into his room. “Wait,” he suddenly stopped, “Did I just call her Dashie?” He questioned, looking up at the ceiling, staring at it for a few seconds. “Ehh,” He shrugged it off, getting back to what he was doing.

“And that helped exactly…” Dash spoke to herself as she closed the book on flight dynamics, “Zilch. Nada. None...” She rambled away under her breath with other ways she could say zero.

Dash sighed as she laid her head on the desk. She lost track of time, all she could tell was that it was late. The sun had gone down and it was pitch black outside. Behind her, she could hear the clicking of lights in the library as everypony was packing up and getting ready to go back to their rooms. Since it was an extremely small room, coupled with the tall bookshelves around, it made for some interesting echo noises.

“It...it doesn’t happen overnight…” A familiar voice sounded beside her.

Dash picked her head up and looked over to the left to see Bright Skies sitting next to her. “Bright? How long have you been there?”

“For a while. Studying, like you,” She replied.

She’d been there for a while? Why didn’t she say something? ‘Well, libraries aren’t meant for idle chatting. And she is kinda shy…’ Dash put together in her head.

Dash leant back in her chair and let out another sigh. “I’m not convinced I’ll still be here in 2 weeks, Bright. I like to think I will be, but I doubt it.” She finished by flattening her ears.

“Doubt is half the battle, I’m sure you’ll be fine,” Bright Skies replied with a smile. “In the short time I’ve known you Rainbow Dash, you’ve taught me something quite important.”

Dash’s left ear raised up and pointed in her direction. “What’s that?” Dash asked.

“It’s that if you believe in yourself, everything is possible,” Bright Skies replied, then giggled a little. “We’ve switched places a little bit. I used to think that if I kept my head stuck in books for every hour of the day then I’d be a master at everything. But was surprised when I was still struggling with a lot of things. Then you came along and showed me something that really switched my thinking around; believing in myself. Now I find that if I convince myself I really can do it, I can do it. And you’re the one that showed me that. You proved to me that self-confidence goes a long way, and it looks like I just needed some friends to push me in that direction.”

Dash couldn’t help but chuff at her words, “You really sound like somepony I know…”

Bright Skies’ smile only grew in response. “Well, I think you can pass it. Just do it...well, the Rainbow Dash way.”

“Ha,” Dash replied, “If only it were that simple…”

Bright Skies furrowed her brow, then cleared her throat. “Why do we prefer to fly in colder weather?”

“Huh?” Dash lifted her head up and looked at Bright Skies.

“I asked you a question,” Bright Skies responded, taking on a sudden assertive tone.

“We don’t get worn out as quickly and we don’t sweat as much,” Dash simply answered the question.

“Aaaannnd?” Bright Skies added.

Dash just shrugged in response. Bright Skies decided to help her out a bit by tapping on the book Dash was just reading.

Seeing the title made the gears turn in Dash’s brain. “Oh, colder air is more dense, so it’s easier to fly in.”

“Right!” Bright Skies replied. “See, you do know what you’re doing.”

“Hehe, I guess I do…” Dash replied, brushing the back of her mane. “I guess I really will be fine…”

“Wouldn’t consider yourself safe yet, but you’re not as bad as you think you are.” Bright Skies explained.

“Hehe...guess I’m not…” Dash said to herself, forming a smile on her face.

Hearing the door swing close once again as ponies made their way out, they both looked over in its direction and then back at each other. “We should probably get going before somepony chews us out.” Dash suggested, rising from her seat and picking up her book.

“Agreed,” Bright Skies replied, picking up her book and looking for the relevant shelf to put it back on.

After returning their books, they both made their ways down the dark, dimly lit corridor back to their room. Bright Skies’ words gave Dash a lot to think about. She was certain that she wouldn’t be able to pass at her current knowledge level, nor at a level which could only be obtained in a matter of weeks. But Soarin and Bright Skies seemed to think differently. Was she really underestimating herself that much? Well, she would soon find out in an exam that could make or break her dream...