Gilda reared back as they dived through the sky to punch Twilight, only to receive a punch to her own beak that left her seeing stars. It also allowed Twilight to disengage and get some distance, bringing her fall to a stop. Gilda managed to do the same after regaining her wits.
She flapped her way up to Twilight, who was just floating there, waiting. Gilda was grinning.
Twilight slowly adopted a pose, fumbled, and came to a startling conclusion. Everything Clark Kent learned about martial arts was useless to her. She wasn’t bipedal. ‘Well, worse comes to worst I’m sure I can tank anything she gets in,’ she thought.
Gilda noticed the fumble and snickered. “You sure you can backup your intentions? You look like a newbie fighter to me.”
Twilight huffed. “Taunting? Really?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.
When Twilight’s ears stopped ringing and she could see something other than white light, she realized she was falling towards the ground, smoldering sligthly. ‘...Ow,’ she summed up in her mind as she righted herself, narrowly dodging Gilda, who had dived for her.
“...You hit me with a lightning bolt.” It was more of a statement than a question.
Gilda stopped herself and turned to Twilight with a grin. “Set it up after you chucked me through the wall,” she admitted.
Twilight nodded slowly. “I see…”
Gilda blinked when Twilight vanished in a blur, and squawked when the purple pony was suddenly in her face, hoof pulled back. Her head snapped back from the punch, and she once more saw stars, but she rallied by head-butting the Unicorn hard enough to stagger her. With that the fight resumed.
Down below, the sudden discharge of lightning in the middle of a sunny day had caught the attention of the citizens of Ponyville. At first most believed it was just a stray storm cloud from the Everfree, but upon looking up they realized it was something else.
What they initially thought was a purple Pegasus was fighting tooth and hoof with a Griffon. Belatedly, when said “Pegasus” launched a few bursts of magic, they realized it was a Unicorn. A flying Unicorn. A flying Unicorn matching a Griffon blow for blow in physical combat. It was actually kinda comical, in a way. It almost looked like they were taking turns to hit the other as hard as they could.
No one was quite sure what to make of this spectacle, so like all living beings in the multiverse they did what anyone would do when presented with such a sight. They sat down and began making bets with others on the outcome.
Rainbow Dash alighted on a nearby cloud, keeping her attention on the fight. Twilight had been surprised that she wasn’t angry for throwing Gilda, but Rainbow Dash wasn’t as impulsive as she acted, and had her reasons. One of which was in fact what she had said to Twilight. Gilda was a brawler and loved to fight. She would pick a fight with anyone who she knew could handle a bruise or two, and Twilight could handle far more than a bruise.
Actually, now that she thought about it, according to Twilight Gilda shouldn’t even be able to make her budge, let alone reach her with how fast she was, so how were those attacks connecting, and why did they seem to affect Twilight?
Anyways, to get back on track, Rainbow Dash also knew that Gilda could take a punch with the best of them, and Gilda had been thrown, not punched, through a cloudstuff wall. Only the most physically disabled of Pegasi would have been hurt by that.
But the biggest reason why Rainbow Dash hadn’t been upset was because she knew.
She wasn’t ignorant to the mutterings of the townsponies regarding the visiting Griffon. She normally would have dismissed it as anxiety over a meat-eater being in town. After all, ponies were still tiptoeing around Spike, and he was a fun loving guy.
Then she had caught sight of Fluttershy fleeing towards her home in tears shortly after leaving Gilda to her own devices in town. The only reason she wasn’t currently comforting her best friend was because she had also seen Twilight racing across town towards the butter-yellow Pegasus’ home. She knew Twilight would handle that.
Still, she was the Element of Loyalty for a reason. She didn’t want to believe her friend had changed that much. After all, Fluttershy tended to jump at her own shadow on the best of days, and anything could have scared her. She wanted to believe in Gilda, so she did. But she kept her ears open and senses peeled… just in case.
She had later caught snippets of the conversation between Twilight and Gilda, and was touched that Gilda had been that worried over her. But then she heard what Gilda had said about Fluttershy, and Twilight’s response.
She was torn. Could she be friends with Gilda after this, knowing the Griffon seemed to have it out for the pony she cared most about? She wasn’t even sure why Gilda didn’t like Fluttershy.
As she watched Twilight dodge a second lightning bolt and nail Gilda with her own magically conjured bolt of lightning, she realized something. ‘They’re grinning. They’re both grinning!’
Twilight liked to fight? She seemed pretty pacifistic to Rainbow when they met. Then again, this could be that weird second life thing. She still had trouble wrapping her head around it...
As one, everyone down below winced when a rather aggressive kick launched Gilda spinning end over end through two clouds and into a cloud home.
“Oh for crying out loud!”
Twilight flew to what amounted to a front porch of Rainbow Dash’s home and peered through the hole that had once been her front door.
The couch was flipped backwards, and Gilda was upside down against the wall, rubbing her beak. The Griffon noticed her and grinned. “Haven’t been kicked like that since I decided to pick a fight with a Minotaur. Put me through three wooden walls and support beam, dropping the ceiling on my head.” She spit out a wad of blood and righted herself slowly. “Thankfully, I walked away with just a scar from an unlucky piece of wood, but still.”
She walked up to Twilight and stuck out a claw. “Nice fight,” she said with a firm nodded.
Twilight grabbed the claw with a hoof, shaking with a smile. “You’re not too bad yourself. I could feel the earth magic behind those hits. If I was anyone else, you would have buried me in the ground with hits like those.”
“You two done trying to kill each other?” Rainbow Dash asked, flying into the room. At nods from both of them, she also nodded. “Good. Maybe now I can find out what this gripe you have with Fluttershy is about,” she said, looking pointedly at Gilda.
Gilda started, before looking away.
“I heard what you said to Twilight before this happened.” She gestured around the room. She got in Gilda’s face, forcing the Griffon to look at her. “Let me be clear. If you don’t tell me what the problem is, I will be forced to choose between the two of you. And though I would hate myself for doing it… you will not like the choice I make.”
Gilda had gone pale at that. “B-but why?! Why would you pick her over me?!” she asked in shock.
Rainbow Dash sighed. “Because from where I’m standing she did nothing wrong to deserve how you’re treating her, and I have an entire town of witnesses who admit to you causing problems and generally beings an ass in town when I wasn’t around.” Gilda gulped, realizing the hole she had dug for herself. Rainbow Dash took a step forward, making Gilda step back unconsciously. “Because I know for a fact that Fluttershy couldn’t hate anyone for anything, and would never instigate a bad relationship with someone.”
“I… but…” Gilda floundered slightly.
Rainbow Dash took another step forward. “Because I know Fluttershy is the kindest mare in Equestria, and would give up too much of herself just to make others happy. So much so that she often forgets, or ignores, her own happiness.”
Gilda’s eyes narrowed, and Twilight and Rainbow Dash both noticed anger beginning to build. “You’re doing it again…” she growled, suddenly standing up to Rainbow Dash.
Rainbow Dash blinked. “I’m sorry?” she half-asked, her own train of thought completely derailing.
Gilda slammed a fist into the floor. “You’re doing it again!” she roared, before lunging.
Rainbow Dash and Twilight both dived away, and Gilda stopped at the hole replacing the front door. She rounded on Rainbow Dash and pointed a claw at her. “You’re just abandoning me all over again! Well fine! I’m done getting ditched by my supposed friends! I don’t need you!” She spun around and, with a harsh flap, launched herself away.
Twilight and Rainbow Dash looked at each other. Twilight was the first to speak. “Did… that make sense to you?” she asked. Rainbow Dash looked rather shell-shocked.
“No…” The Pegasus said slowly, shaking her head. She was confused, and a little hurt at the accusation from her old friend. “I don’t know what just happened either.”
After another moment, Twilight moved towards the entrance. “Come on. Let's go check on Fluttershy.”
Rainbow followed, her mind constantly asking when she had supposedly abandoned Gilda.