Junior Speedster

by VanillaWaffle

Ice on the Wings

        If there was any redeeming quality of the situation Rainbow Dash found herself in, it was the fact that she wasn’t quite small enough for Fluttershy to really carry her. At least not as well as she initially thought. The filly was perched on top of her friend’s back between her wings and had her hooves wrapped around her in a tight grip. While Fluttershy barely even strained on her cloud, the air was a different story. She had leaped into the air off the ledge of Rainbow’s cloud home and immediately dropped a few meters before pulling them both up. Rainbow Dash’s stomach dropped as she felt what it was like to fly under someone else’s power for the first time in over a decade.

“This must be what Scootaloo feels like,” she muttered to herself.

“Sorry, Rainbow, what was that?”

“Oh, uh, nothing.”

The filly’s wings buzzed reflexively as they flew through the air, yearning to be flying instead. Meanwhile, Fluttershy was huffing and puffing as she fought against gravity to keep them in the air. She was doing remarkably well, Rainbow thought, but wouldn’t mind if she could go a little faster. Twilight’s castle wasn’t too far away since Ponyville was a small town, but the sooner the better she figured. More time in the air meant more chance of being seen.

        The blue and white striped beanie that Rainbow had grabbed before leaving draped over her eyes again, being very much too large for her filly-sized head. She had skirted around that issue by rolling the edges upwards until there was a thick rim surrounding the hat barely above her brow. Or at least it used to be above her brow but was unfurling as they flew. The filly released one of her hooves and fumbled with the hat, but only seemed to make it worse. She grumbled in frustration. At least her similarly-colored scarf, as large as it was, wasn’t at risk of coming off as it flapped in the breeze. The hat also would make her vibrant mane less noticeable to passing pegasi.

        “Uh, Fluttershy? Are you doing okay?”

        “Y-yes!” the mare panted, clearly not doing too well. “I-I’m *pant* doing great!”

        “Are you sure?” As much as she wished they could double-time their flight, the sight of her friend struggling so much was enough to avoid complaining. Wonderbolts training taught her patience, even if the current circumstances called for a little more hustle. She thought about offering the choice to land to Fluttershy, but her anxiety caused her to bite her tongue.

        “I-I should be. We’re… almost… oh!”
        Rainbow suddenly felt Fluttershy’s muscles underneath her become stiff, signifying what she knew to be a wing cramp. She knew that pain all too well from many years of pushing her own limits, and she could only imagine how much Fluttershy was pushing hers. The cramp itself was nothing to worry about so long as the victim got a little rest and perhaps put some ice on it as soon as possible. The real problem of a wing cramp was that it made flying very, very difficult. Almost immediately, the filly could feel her own wings buzzing like a hummingbird in a reflexive attempt to stay airborne as her friend and transport began to rapidly lose altitude.
        “Woah! Woooaaaaah!” She cried as she watched the ground beneath her come closer. Luckily, this was another situation she trained for in the Wonderbolt Academy: emergency landings. They weren’t too high off the ground, but hitting the ground directly could still cause quite a lot of damage.  She figured that Fluttershy would likely be fine, but she herself would be a bit worse with her more fragile foal body. Winter had only just arrived and the snow was still thin, so the white-coated ground would not provide much in the way of cushion. She scanned the landscape looking for somewhere they could crash into. Light reflecting off a pool of water nearby danced across her vision as they descended. The pond had yet to freeze over.

That’ll do!

 “Fluttershy! Aim for the pond!”

        The crippled pegasus let out a loud cry of pain as she flexed her stiff wing to redirect the two towards the small body of water. The filly wrapped her arms around her friend as hard as she could as the pond grew nearer and nearer. Fluttershy pulled her front legs over her head in a sort of crash position and prepared for impact.

        Oh, ponyfeathers that water looks cold...
        The two pegasi splashed into the frigid water like a cannonball, sending waves and ripples throughout the small pool. The force of the fall pushed both underwater in daze and knocked Rainbow Dash off of Fluttershy’s back. The two fought to right themselves and swim their way to the surface.

Fluttershy was the first to breach the surface with a loud gasp, a shiver, and a very obvious wince as her cramped wing was further hurt from the impact. She treaded the bitter cold water painfully as her head scanned the pond for her friend.
        Rainbow Dash, on the other hand, was having trouble. The filly was able to snap out of the daze quickly as she floated beneath the water and was trying to swim her way to the surface. Her hooves, on the other hand, didn’t seem to cut through the water properly. Her strokes were awkward and failed to propel her towards the surface effectively. A ice-cold wave of pure panic shot through her again as realization dawned on her.

        Why can’t I swim?!

        She had known how to swim earlier, and she was fairly certain she hadn’t forgotten the theory behind the action. She had learned to swim later than most fillies as there typically wasn’t much need for it in Cloudsdale. Still, that was over ten years ago. Now her limbs were not cooperating as they should. Her wings began buzzing again in desperation as she kicked with all her might.

        Come’on, come’on!

The cold began to penetrate her skin and stiffened her muscles, which made the effort all the more difficult. Bubbles began piling out of her mouth as her lungs struggled to hold in their expired air. The pond was not that deep, probably about a meter and a half, yet she could not get to the surface! The filly’s heart clenched as she realized she was drowning. The day just seemed to get worse and worse as it went on, she thought to herself.

The water rippled again and the filly could see Fluttershy dip her head under to look for her. As soon as the mare saw Rainbow, she dove towards her at great speed, cutting through the water like a dolphin. She grabbed the filly around the barrel tightly with one hoof while the other kicked furiously.

At last, Rainbow felt the chill winter air as they breached. She reflexively took in a long, deep gasp as she replaced the stale air in her lungs with fresh oxygen. Fluttershy, still holding onto the rainbow-maned filly, continued to breast stroke towards the nearby shore with a fierce look of determination in her eyes.

“Are you okay, Rainbow?”

The filly didn’t answer right away, mainly because she physically couldn’t. Her teeth were chattering too much as her wet coat chilled her small frame to the bone. On top of that, she was in shock. All she could find the strength to do was nod her head dumbly.

I almost died…

She felt herself leave the water completely as Fluttershy pulled the two of them onto the icy shore. As soon as they were clear, Fluttershy pulled the filly into a tight hug against her chest, wrapping both hooves around her.

“Oh, dear, I’m so sorry Rainbow!” the mare cried. “I told you I was fine, but I wasn’t, and I pushed myself too hard, and you almost got hurt, and-”

Rainbow shook her head clear. “F-fluttershy, I’m-”

“And you clearly weren’t swimming and I forgot you couldn’t swim as a filly and you’re a filly now and-”

“F-fluttershy!” the filly interrupted. “I-I’m fine! S-see? J-just r-really c-cold.”

Fluttershy paused her rambling and blinked at the filly bundled in her forelegs. “Oh, yes, um… me too.”

Rainbow continued to shuffle as Fluttershy still held onto her. The little bit of warmth she got from it was nice, so she didn’t struggle. I’m fine, she thought definitely to herself. I’m okay. I’m Rainbow Dash! Filly or not, no water is going to get me! She looked up to the mare, who still looked a bit panicked, and smiled through her chattering teeth.

“W-we’re n-not very f-far from the c-castle. Can w-we just g-go?” she stammered.

“Oh, yes,” Fluttershy nodded. “Yes, but, um, let's take it on hoof this time.”

Rainbow inwardly sighed, still afraid of being seen. But they were still on the outskirts of town, and she didn’t think anyone had seen her yet. She’d be fine, so she nodded her head with a cheeky grin on her face.

“Yeah, t-totally.”

The mare finally let go of the filly, who took the opportunity to shake the icy water out of her coat like a dog would. Still, she shivered as the cold bit into her. Slowly and weakly, she crawled on top of Fluttershy’s back once again and got herself situated. Her body continued to quake as the mare began trotting towards the castle at a brisk pace.

“F-fluttershy?” the weakly murmured into her ear.

“Yes, Rainbow?”

“T-today s-stinks.”


Despite everything that had happened since her ascension, Twilight Sparkle could never let herself stop being a librarian. The purple alicorn figured she probably never would stop being one even if she wanted to. The deep sense of organization that caricatured a typical librarian could never simply stop being in her nature, and whether or not the town library she called home for the first couple years since moving to Ponyville still existed was irrelevant to that behavior. She certainly missed her old library, and that was not likely to change soon either, but she figured she could get a new one going in the castle.

The newly-crowned princess had gone to great lengths to salvage whatever books she could from her old tree house and may or may not have used her new authority and budget to purchase copies of the ones that were lost. Soon enough, she was building up a collection beyond what the old library had contained as the crystal shelves began to fill up to her satisfaction. She figured until the town library was rebuilt, perhaps ponies could use the castle as a replacement as well. It was a hobby, of course, secondary to her admittedly ill-defined duties as a princess and tertiary to her responsibility as a teacher. But Twilight refused to let the librarian in her die out so soon!

The purple alicorn was in the middle of shelving latest shipment from the Canterlot archives (dutifully sorted by herself with a little help from Spike), when the sound of a door opening and the the pitter-patter of hoofsteps reached her ears. With a stack of books still held in her magic, she looked to the source of the noise to see her prized student walk in.

“Well good morning, Starlight! I was wondering when you would wake up.”

The pink unicorn responded with a loud yawn accompanied with a stretch of her limbs. Her eyes were still half-lid and threatening to close at any minute. She clearly had yet to brush her mane, which currently looked like something a bird would make a nest in. She mumbled her response.

“Mmm… yeah… I had a…” she covered her mouth as she yawned again. “...a long night. Wuh’time is it?”

“Apparently it was a long night for both you and Spike. He just got up an hour ago. It’s a quarter past ten,” her teacher responded with an eyebrow curiously piqued. She stepped down from her ladder and placed the unshelved books down on one of the nearby study tables. “What were you too doing that kept you up so late?”

“Oh nothing much,” Starlight replied as she waved her hoof dismissively. “Just getting some magic practice in and just lost track of time.”

“More magic practice? What were you practicing that kept you up so long?”

Starlight’s eyes widened in alarm for a split second before going back to normal. “Oh, you know, just practicing some new spells I heard about. Never stop learning, right?” She chuckled a bit and gave a disarming smile to her mentor. Twilight simply quirked an eyebrow.

 “Um… okay. Why did you need Spike then? Was he helping you with something” It was unlike the little dragon to stay up so late.

“Oh, he wasn’t really helping me.” Her tone became slightly more lively as her sleepy brain caught up with her body. “He just dropped by while I was practicing and gave me some company. As far as I know he went to bed a couple hours before I did.”

 “Which was when?”

“Uh….” Starlight trailed off, clearly hesitant to answer. “Weeeeeell…” Twilight’s eyes narrowed in suspicion as she caught on to the unspoken admission.

“You were up until four again, weren’t you? And you let Spike stay up past midnight as well? Starlight, we talked about this!”

The unicorn waved her hooves defensively as if trying to disperse the tension in the air. “I know, I know! But I was in a groove and didn’t want to stop! And I was just so close to figuring out one particular spell...” She nervously trailed off and pointed a hoof accusingly at Twilight. “You know how that is, Princess All-Night-Doing-Research!”

Twilight recoiled a bit as she was in turn reprimanded. “Well… But…. I… okay, fine!” She threw a hoof in the air in exasperation as she lightly leered at her pupil. “But I’ve been working on it!”

“And until you stop you can’t tell me ‘no’ either!” the pink unicorn declared with an upturned nose and a triumphant smile. She sheepishly looked towards her mentor who glared at her back. “So...anyway... what’s for break-”

All the way from the castle’s foyer, the two mages could hear a sudden rapid and loud knocking at the castle doors. The noise reverberated down the crystal halls until Twilight was quite certain that it was audible all throughout the castle. “Huh,” she wondered aloud. “I wonder what’s gotten into them. Spike! Could you get that?” she called out to her assistant.

“I’m on it!” came the distant reply. Moments later, the purple baby dragon jogged past them en route to the front door.
“I’d better go see who that is too,” the princess said. Just before stepping out the door she turned and stared pointedly at Starlight. “But we’re going to talk about your sleeping habits later!”

Starlight dramatically rolled her eyes. “Yes, Mother.” Twilight was about to say more when Spike’s voice once more cut through the hallways, effectively interrupting her thoughts.

“Uh, Twilight? You might want to come down over here!”

“Coming, Spike!” she shouted back before lowering her voice. “Huh”, she wondered aloud. “I wonder what has him so freaked out.”

The princess quickly cantered out of the library and down the hall. It had taken her a while, but she was finally at the point of being able to wander the halls without getting too lost, though she did have to occasionally reorient herself. She followed the crystal hallway as it opened into the main entry and descended the main steps.

At the door she could see a sopping wet Fluttershy who was shivering quite a lot. Her gaze was darting around the open foyer and she seemed to be dancing in place, obviously antsy of something. She wore a face that held a strange mix of determination, exhaustion, and a hint of panic. Her wings were raised and bent inward as if she was keeping something covered on her back, but the alicorn couldn’t make anything out. Quickening her pace, Twilight rushed over to her friend with a smile on her face.

“Fluttershy? I didn’t know you were coming,” she said before adopting a more concerned tone. “What happened to you?”

The yellow pegasus quickly looked to the purple alicorn, eyes gleaming in what seemed to her like relief.

“Oh, Twilight! Thank goodness you’re here. We need your help!”

“Help with wh-... Wait, ‘we?’”

That’s when she noticed the small, blue bundle hidden beneath her friend’s yellow wings. A rainbow-colored mane could be seen as well, matching Rainbow Dash’s coloration perfectly. She trailed off in shocked confusion, unable to speak, as Fluttershy unfurled her wings to reveal the sleeping but still shivering form of a young filly, probably no older than seven years old, wearing a wet beanie and scarf that both looked too large to fit her. The foal was curled tightly into a ball, probably in an instinctive attempt to stay warm. The filly looked uncannily like her daredevil friend.

“We had a bit of an accident on the way here,” Fluttershy said.

Twilight said nothing as she continued to stare slack-jawed at the sleeping filly. It looked exactly like Rainbow Dash, only much smaller than normal. She scanned the filly all over and noticed a cutie mark on the filly’s flank. The filly seemed much too young to have earned one yet. But that wasn’t her chief concern. The cutie mark was a cloud and tricolored lighting bolt. Just like the rest of the filly, it matched Dash perfectly.


“Huh? What?” the confused alicorn sputtered as the sound of her name pulled her from her trance. “Fluttershy, who is… she looks like… but she couldn’t be...”

“Twilight Sparkle!” the mare interrupted again. “she’s passed out from exhaustion and hypothermia. She’s been through quite a lot this morning and needs help, starting with warming her up!” It wasn’t often that Twilight saw Fluttershy enter her “assertive mode” as their group often called it. It was enough to snap her out of her daze as her friend’s words registered in her befuddled mind.



“Get some hot soup made and bring it to the parlor as fast as possible!” She turned to gallop towards the parlor before stopping and pivoting to look at the dragon guiltily. “Uh, please?”

Normally Spike would say something or simply roll his eyes, but he was fully aware they were in minor emergency mode. Sparing another quizzical look at the rainbow-maned filly, he gave an affirmative “I’m on it” and dashed to the kitchen.

Twilight turned back to her friend with a strained smile and motioned for them to follow.

“Follow me. I’ll get the fireplace started and get some blankets. Maybe you could explain what is going on in the meantime?”

Fluttershy nodded and followed the clearly perturbed purple alicorn at a canter, being sure to cover up the filly with her wings once more. “O-okay, certainly. It all started this morning while I was on walk with some of the animals and I heard a horrible scream from Rainbow’s house…”