As we fly through Skyfall, I find myself next to my sister and realize we haven’t really spoken since our argument the other night. “So, uh, about last night,” I venture.
Daring sighs. “I don’t really want to talk about it right now.”
“See, that’s the thing. I think we need to talk, but I just… don’t know what to say. There’s all this stuff I’m finding out about you now that I feel like I should have known before. At first I thought it was just because you didn’t tell me, but I guess that’s kind of selfish. So I want to know you, Sis. I don’t want things to be awkward between us.”
My sister frowns, staring off into the sky. “Yeah. I don’t want that either. I can’t lie, Sis, but I was kind of upset when you started hanging out with your Element friends. It felt like I lost you to them. We didn’t talk as much anymore, and you were out doing all sorts of awesome stuff… Hay, the coolest thing I ever did was get a book signed by Tom Prancy.”
“But what about all your expeditions and trips and stuff? Weren’t those cool?” I counter.
Daring thinks about that for a second. “Well at the time, yeah, but it’s nothing compared to the stuff you and all your friends do. I can’t even write anything cooler than what you guys did with the Elements.”
“I’m sorry about leaving you behind like that.”
Daring waves her hoof dismissively. “It’s fine, Rainbow. Really. I have my own friends. I wasn’t completely alone.”
She shakes her head and points at a small building on the horizon. “But enough about that. There it is.”
The building looks similar to everything else in the city: white and made out of clouds. It’s pretty rundown, but not as much as the one in the North Zone. We land in front of the main entrance.
“Hey, you never introduced me to your friend,” I realize.
“Oh, right. Rainbow, this is Free Fall, a bounty hunter and another friend of mine,” Daring says, using her wing to point.
Free Fall fires off a quick salute at me.
“Free, this is Rainbow Dash, my sister.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” she says as we shake hooves. “Sorry I couldn’t be here sooner. My last bounty took longer than expected.” Free Fall scoffs in disgust. “Who would have thought one stupid robot and its self-destruction protocol could be such a pain in the flank.”
“Glad to have you on board,” Minute tells her. “So we’re looking for another key?”
Daring nods. “Same as the first one, just a small metal key. This building used to be a Port Authority office until they opened a newer one downtown. My sources say a corrupt PA officer took the key off a Valkyrie and hid it somewhere here, but they were exposed and arrested before they could do anything with it.”
“So we’ll split up and search then?” Redblood asks.
“Works for me,” Free Fall replies. “Mind if I take Daring as my partner? We’ve got some catching up to do.”
The others nod, and we enter the building. We split up and maneuver around the building’s tight hallways and long corridors.
While it’s old, it doesn’t look as abandoned as the building we explored in the North Zone. It looks like the Port Authority took most of their stuff with them when they left, but there’s still a few filing cabinets and chairs lying around. The building’s still got traces of life, like chairs and tables, giving it a more vacant feel than an abandoned one.
We go through the reception area and come across a stairway. “I’ll search down here, you guys take upstairs,” Redblood says.
“Watch yourself,” Daring replies. Redblood nods and trots off to look around. The rest of us go up the stairs, with Free Fall and Daring heading left while Minute and I go right. We enter a room marked ‘Evidence’.
The evidence room is disappointingly empty. There’s several rows of filing cabinets and bare metal shelves along with a desk at the far end of the room. “Looks like they brought all their stuff with them,” Minute notes. She starts to dig through some of the cabinets while I take the desk.
“So,” Minute says casually, “I hear you and Daring got into a bit of an argument.”
I shrug. “I guess so. We still have stuff to work out.”
Minute nods, slamming one of the drawers shut. “I understand. My first argument with her went something like that too.”
“You fought with her?” I ask, surprised.
“Oh yeah. At first I thought she was a weird loner. I never really talked to her much until I found out we had similar interests. I tried to get her to open up a bit, but she lashed out instead.” She shakes her head sadly. “I almost gave up when she finally reached out to me. Thanked me for being persistent. Daring’s a good mare, just a bit stubborn.”
I sigh, opening one of the desk drawers. It’s mostly empty besides a few pencils, some pens, and a few blank sheets of paper. “I know. I guess it runs in the family.”
“She never blamed you for anything,” Minute says. “I hope you know that. She always looked up to you.”
“Yeah, I know.” I close the last drawer and take a deep breath. “Thanks. I’m going to go check the other rooms.’
Minute nods, and I head out the door. I step out into the dark hallway and look around. I don’t see my sister anywhere. I head to one of the next rooms and see a door marked ‘Interrogation’. I push it open and go in.
There’s a desk and more filing cabinets lining one wall, and a one-way mirror on the other. Through the mirror I see Daring lying on the table, talking with Free Fall. Her pith helmet is lying on her chest as she stares up at the ceiling. I can hear their voices through some hidden microphones.
“--just feels weird to me,” Daring is saying. “Like after a movie, when the credits are over and everypony’s left, but you’re still sitting there, alone.”
Free Fall nods, settling down into one of the chairs.
“And I know I’m not alone. But it just feels… weird, you know? Like I’m just not supposed to be here.”
Free Fall puts a hoof on her shoulder. “Daring, you know we’ll always be here for you, right? No matter what?”
My sister sighs and nods. “Yeah. And I’m sorry about leaving you guys behind like that.”
“Hey, it’s not your fault. Nopony could have seen this coming.”
I turn away from the mirror and start digging through the filing cabinets, only half listening to their conversation.
“But we had plans, didn’t we?” Daring asks. “I was going to come back home and we would all meet up, have a party, then go out and do some crazy stuff. What happened?”
“Plans change,” Free Fall answers. “You and I know that more than anypony does.”
I hear my sister sniff and I glance through the mirror again. Daring rubs her eye with the back of her hoof. “I saw Redheart again. But it’s like she didn’t know me. She just left. What, did she forget about me?”
Free Fall sighs. “Redheart never took your death well,” she answers carefully. “To be fair none of us did, but you know how she is. She wanted to protect you, to be there to save you. And she wasn’t.”
“Yeah, but it’s not her fault!”
“She thought it was,” Free Fall replies. “We all ended up blaming ourselves. But I don’t think Redheart’s really ready let you go yet.”
Daring sits up to look at Free Fall. “What about you? Did you let me go?”
Free Fall pulls up her goggles, revealing a pair of dark purple eyes. “Yes and no. Because you’ll always be right here,” she says, tapping her heart.
I roll my eyes at that sappy statement, but it makes Daring smile.
She wipes her eyes again before speaking. “I miss you.”
“And I won’t ever stop missing you,” Free Fall replies. She pulls off her bandana, letting it hang around her neck and showing her face to me for the first time.
I freeze, eyes going wide. I realize why she’s so familiar: because her face is on a poster in my room.
Free Fall then stands up, trotting to Daring’s side. She wraps her hooves around Daring’s chest and pulls her in. She kisses her on the forehead with a smile. “I love you,” she whispers.
Daring blushes a bit, but nuzzles Free Fall’s chest. “I love you too.”
It takes a few seconds for my brain to fully process what I just saw. Before I can think of what to do, the door on their side of the room opens and Redblood sticks her head in. “Hey, is this the--Oh. Am I interrupting?”
“No,” Free Fall answers, breaking the hug. “Did you find it?”
Redblood holds up a small silver key in her hoof.
“That’d be it,” Daring says, swinging her legs off the table.
“Great! Let’s grab the others and get out of here,” Free Fall cheers.
My mind finally catches up with me, but I’m still not sure what to do. Because Free Fall is really Fleetfoot of the Wonderbolts. And she just kissed my sister.
“Twilight, what… what?” I finally manage to say.
The world shifts back to the library. Twilight awkwardly rubs the back of her head with her hoof. “I, uh, may have gotten carried away again,” she mutters.
She takes a picture out of the book and shows it to me. The picture shows my sister being kissed by none other than Fleetfoot herself. Daring’s blushing a little bit, but she seems to be enjoying it. I can see a light blue unicorn that looks like Minute Maker in the background, frozen in mid-cheer. The words ‘Finally! It’s about time!’ are scrawled across the top.
I fall back onto my haunches. “So my sister was… dating Fleetfoot?”
Twilight takes the photograph and sets it back on the table. “I… was hoping you’d know,” she confesses.
I shake my head. “She never… talked about it. I didn’t even know they knew each other. I didn’t even know she was into mares!”
Twilight cringes as I raise my voice. “Rainbow--”
“It’s like I never knew her!” I blurt out. “Why?! Why didn’t she tell me?!”
“Because she wasn’t ready,” Twilight answers firmly. “Here, just read this.” She passes me another letter.
As I read it, I start to hear Free Fall’s voice narrating. Out of the corner of my eye I swear I can see her, lounging on a couch and talking.
“Hey! Sorry for the delay, training has been a real pain lately. That’s what you get when you be a Wonderbolt I guess. Counting down the days until my leave is all that’s keeping me going now. Because that means I get to see you again.
“About your last letter. I know that last time we talked you were still scared of coming out. I just want you to know that I’m not going to force you to. I do think you’re going to have to do it eventually, but take your time. There’s no rush.
“But remember, this is your family! I’m absolutely certain they’ll love you no matter what. I haven’t actually met your parents yet, but from what you’ve told me, I know they’ll support you. And Rainbow’s your sister for Celestia’s sake! She won’t stop loving you no matter what.
“And even if they did cast you aside (which they won’t) you won’t be alone. You have us. We’re here for you, Daring. And all of our friends are cheering for us too. I’ll be at your side, no matter what happens. And even if you’re not sure what you feel right now, it’s okay. These things take time to figure out. It’s weird and confusing, but if you have enough faith, everything will work out in the end.
“You said you’re not sure what you are, if you’re into mares or stallions or both. That’s fine! We’ve got plenty of time to figure things out! I might be a stunt flier, but that doesn’t mean speed is a key to everything. Taking things slow every once in a while is perfectly fine.
“Keep your head up, Daring. I might not be there right now, but know that you’re never alone. Love you, Fleetfoot.
“(Oh, and I know you were worried about introducing me to Rainbow. You thought she was going to freak out or something since she’s such a huge fan. Just to let you know, I do have a few VIP passes I can throw around to calm her down. Or maybe that’ll amp her up more. Hehe, who knows?)”
I raise an eyebrow at that last line. “What does that mean? She thinks I’ll freak out?”
“Daring was probably nervous about introducing you two because she thought you’d be mad at her for dating your idol and not telling you,” Twilight says.
I run a hoof through my mane. “That doesn’t matter! She should have told me! I’m her sister, I’m suppoused to know--”
“Rainbow,” Twilight cuts me off, “I think this is why Daring wrote this book. Because you don’t know her. But this story she’s telling, I think it’s her way of teaching you what you didn’t know about her.” She puts a hoof on my shoulder.
“I-I just wish she didn’t have to do this,” I whisper. “I wish she would have just told me.”
“She is telling you.” Twilight closes the book and passes it over to me. “This isn’t just some fantasy story that she wrote, Rainbow. This is her story.”