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Go here: Higher Flier OR My Little Blackbird
Canterlot, Equestria: December 25th 6:58 AM
The sun broke the horizon at Celestia’s command unseen behind a wall of ice on the morning of the most joyous day of the year. The anniversary of the founding of Equestria.
Hearth’s Warming Day
And while the ponies of Canterlot awoke to their breakfasts all snug within’ the confines of Canterlot’s castle walls, the vicious winter storm that had raged on overnight continued to whip the banks of snow it piled up into blinding sheets of white. Any pony reluctant enough to be near a window shivered that morning at the mere thought of Windegos after the pagent the night before stirred up their imaginations. It had grown so cold in the hours before sunrise that a trek into the blinding nightmare beyond the safety of the castle’s stone walls was considered suicidal. Any pony who would dare the weather would be considered insane.
("Are you sure she'll be here? No pony from here would dare fly in this weather.")
Sanity, as is well known by the locals of Seaddle, is a one-trick pony who lives on Fifth and Mane, and makes balloons for little fillies.
("She'll be here. She's flying over the weather like us, not in it.")
However, no matter how bleak the weather may look to an observer. A different perspective often sheds new light on the situation. Violent as a storm may look, when seen from above in the early morning light, the tops of clouds could shine with all the colors of the rainbow, and the ferocity contained below them had no power.
60,000 feet above mean sea level
Two pegasi, well aware of the weather conditions below them shot along in the light of the dawn, the freezing winds of high altitude whipping through their manes. Their breath puffed out in clouds that instantly froze as it left their nostrils, pulled away into the distance behind them. It was a strange sight to behold. While both were pegasus, one was carrying the other.
("I still say you are crazy chasing her over Equestria.”) the words that one spoke were not recognizable by most Equestrian locals. (“Why not go home and just have them send her again? You are heavy.")
("Hold your tongue,”) the other spoke in an equally alien voice. (“And hold on to me. If I cannot catch her with my bare hooves then I am not worthy of her affections.")
The stallion doing the carrying rolled his eyes at the one below him.
("I still say you are cheating to have me carry you up here.")
The stallion being carried reached up and lightly conked the side of his carrier’s head in irritation.
("I cannot loiter up here all day.) he admonished. (“It would not be a fair challenge to finally give chase when I am tired. I must be fresh for this.")
("Whatever,”) the first shook his head. (“Just remember, you owe me.")
(“Comrades!”) a third voice suddenly crackled from seemingly nowhere. (“The Dark Star is sighted! One minute and counting!”)
(“I like these new ‘rodeos’,”) the carrier commented with a chuckle. (“Our work will be more enjoyable.”)
(“Yes,”) his friend replied. (“They are quite nice. Now get ready. She comes!”)
The pegasus doing the carrying grit his teeth and accelerated while his comrade looked back, squinting his eyes at the distance behind them. High in the sky, higher than he thought possible, the sunlight glinted off a star that seemed to be moving much faster than its other, more stationary counterparts. It left a gleaming white trail behind it as it ripped along, closing with the two so fast that one might be afraid it was a meteor heading right for them. But he knew better.
(“Thirty seconds!”) the call crackled in his ear.
(“I have the Dark Star,”) the pegasus turned to his carrier, his face becoming a hard mask of determination. (“Ready to drop.”)
(“You have only a small window,”) the other replied as he panted for more speed. (“Make it count!”)
(“I will,”) the passenger tucked his legs in and prepared his wings. (“And I will see you back at Milliways by this evening. Count on it.”)
(“Good luck!”) his carrier advised, then let go of his living cargo.
The bottom dropped out of the world for the second pony, gravity taking over instantly as he fell away from his carrier. Then with a quick stretch, his wings unfurled, catching the air and slowing him down enough that the pegasus above him moved ahead a bit.
(“I am clear!”) he announced. Almost immediately, the first pegasus rolled hard and peeled away, leaving only a parting shout.
(“GO! GO! GO!”)
The pegasus grit his teeth and cranked his wings. One beat, two beats, three... He started to pick up speed as he caught the air, then rapidly increased his rate until the wind on his face almost blinded him with its intensity.
(“Looking good!”) his comrade’s voice crackled. (“Ten seconds. Climb!”)
(“Dark Star just blew by!”) the first voice crackled.
The stallion set his jaw and threw everything into his wings as he leaned back and started a hard climb. The window to catch the Dark Star was only five seconds. He had to be there, right when she was there. And he had to clear twenty-thousand feet to do so.
Angling his wings back, he changed his rhythm. The Dark Star had some kind of snapping trick that gave her power. They had learned of it only recently, but it was worth a try. With a crack, he brought his wings down, curling the tips so that they snapped like a bullwhip, then quickly brought them up again, snapping them once more. It was an odd sensation, but strangely satisfying when it produced the same kind of power he was used to getting closer to the ground.
Speed climbing, he intensified the rhythm, producing several loud snaps a second as he continued to climb. His wings started to ache, but that was of little concern in the short term. He could deal with being tired later.
Suddenly, the snaps of his wings were drowned out by an enormous crack like thunder.
Looking up in shock, he realized he was a few seconds behind as above him, a dark gray pegasus trailing twin trails of white, freezing vapors slipped past, less than a hundred feet away. Her magnificent wings rose gently, then came down so fast they seemed to merely change places without actually moving, producing a loud crack that made his own copycat attempts seem like feeble impersonations.
And then he was above her, trajectory originally intended to flit past her to get her attention. Instead, the stallion now found himself dropping back as he arced lazily over the top of her frozen ice trail, black body pulling away into the sunrise.
(“I MISSED!”) he snapped in irritation as he peaked in his climb. (“Two seconds behind!”)
(“Abort and come back down,”) his comrade’s voice crackled. (“We can try again later.”)
The pegasus glanced ahead, frowning. He had yet to cease pushing himself, and she was only about two hundred feet ahead at this point. He could almost reach out and touch her.
(“No,”) he responded after a brief moment’s hesitation. (“I have a good angle. I will dive and gain speed. I only need to get back a few seconds.”)
(“What is this insanity?”) his comrade crackled. (“Crazy Ivan! Do not be doing it!”)
The pegasus just ignored his friend and aimed for a spot below and ahead of his prey, wings cracking twice as fast as he dove for it. He just needed to catch her eye for one second. If his wings were sore the next day, it was worth it.
He was below her ice trail in an instant, speed climbing again as he made for his imaginary mark. The pressure on his face was incredible, and the sensation of sand and fire grew with every passing second. Even his wings felt like they were flying through a sand dune.
(“Dark Star has already gained too much ground!”) his comrade’s voice crackled again. (“Drop back! She is in Canterlot airspace!”)
He was closing the distance...
(“It is only Canterlot airspace below cloud level,”) the stallion retorted between labored breaths. (“I am not giving up yet.”)
Risking a glance up, he’d regained the distance and was almost directly below her now. Her wings were strangely large, but now he understood their beauty. Her form was small and light, but powerful. It was almost heavenly.
One of her powerful down strokes sent a wave of shivers right to his bones. Such POWER. He just needed to get a little more speed before he climb up to her, or he’d just miss like before.
The pegasus look out in front, setting another imaginary marker and aiming for it. Just get to it before her, then twist up and zip above her where she could see him, and that would be that. No problem...
He felt his wings gain more power as he descended into thicker air. More power would be more speed. And while his wings started to protest their treatment in earnest, he simply ignored the pain and took a deep, calm breath to make sure he didn’t pass out. It was all about pacing up here.
(“Miki!”) his friend crackled in his ear again. (“You are going too fast! Break off!”)
There was no such thing as ‘too fast’.
(“I am not giving up now!”) ‘Miki’ snapped back. (“I am too close.”)
(“Mikoyan!”) the voice had jumped in urgency. (“You do not understand! You are on FIRE! Abort!”)
Mikoyan risked a sideways glance at his wing, noting that, indeed, the burning sensation was less about fatigue, and more the fact that there was smoke and sparks of orange coming from his wings due to the friction. Sparks that would burst in to flames the moment he chose to slow down enough that the wind didn’t simply blow them out.
(“A little fire never killed any pony,”) he replied nonchalantly. Then looked up and frowned. The Dark Star was gaining ground again, accelerating. No. Not yet. He just needed a few more seconds...
(“Are you crazy?!”) his comrade’s voice crackled again. (“Abort! You hear me? ABORT!”)
The angelic pegasus above him continued to gain more ground as she sped up even more. The seconds he’d gained were starting to drop away little by little.
Wait, she wasn’t speeding up, he as slowing down! Glancing at his wings again, Mikoyan realized bits of feather were flaking away as they burned, sapping that power he so needed to keep up as they slowly lost the ability to grab air.
(“Miki ANSWER ME!”) his friend’s voice was starting to break up. Something hot and wet dripped past his ear, searing it. The pegasus made one last desperate gambit to dive for all the speed he could get, screaming into thicker and thicker air where his disintegrating wings could grab more, only to find out too late that it only slowed him down more and made the burning worse.
(“Mikoyan!”) the voice, barely recognizable at this point crackled. He ignored the shouting and dove for the clouds below. If anything, a snowstorm could put the fire out.
The crackling suddenly died.
Sing a song of sixpence.
And turn your head up high...
Four and Twenty Blackbird
races through the sky...
Ernest 'Admiral Tigerclaw' Hart Presents
When the wings are open
the air will make you free...
Wasn't that our Dainty Dish
who went and hit mach three?
A 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' Fanfiction Production
The mares were all in Canterlot
keeping snug and warm...
Castle walls of hard stone
Keeping out the storm...
Far away a stallion
was fighting with the snow...
When came our little blackbird
and caused his heart to glow!
Higher Flier: My Little Blackbird, Mach 2