Over the next week nothing really interesting happened. After Rainbow Dash and Soarin’ first got congratulated on their engagement by the rest of the Wonderbolts, it was practice as usual for the team. Because of the practicing, Rainbow Dash didn’t have the time to try and make a plan for court next week. Instead back at Ponyville Twilight was working on that for her, after she finished her “large project” for the princess of course.
The letters Twilight normally would send to Rainbow Dash were mostly her giving a basic idea of her progress. Of course Rainbow Dash wasn’t exactly sure what Twilight was saying in most of her letters; however she seemed to be making progress which was all Rainbow Dash was asking for. Rainbow Dash was definitely getting nervous each and every day that passed this week.
Because of Wonderbolt rules, Soarn’ and Rainbow Dash can’t share a room until after their wedding, however as usual Soarin’ would visit after practice and would be sure to give Rainbow Dash a few words of encouragement in order to help her nerves. Though he himself was nervous, because if Rainbow Dash failed to win the court case, she would most likely be kicked from the Wonderbolts because she caused unnecessary aggravation to one of the Wonderbolts supporters.
As with most weeks of tension though, the week felt long during the week, but as soon as it was over it felt like it went by like nothing. Before she knew it, Rainbow Dash was already flying straight to Ponyville for the weekend and making a beeline for the library. Soarin’ and Spitfire stayed behind, but they plan on all meeting at the library tomorrow before the court case.
Rainbow Dash flew into the library to see Twilight sitting down reading a book as usual. Spike was crashed on a couch, asleep with a magazine over his belly even though it is late in the afternoon. As soon as Rainbow Dash landed and trotted in, Twilight noticed her and put down her book.
“Hey Rainbow Dash!” Twilight said cheerfully. And this time it was actually cheerfully and not forced.
“Hey Twilight. How is the court case looking?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“Pretty good actually,” Twilight said. “I’ll go over the fine details with you tomorrow morning before the court case, but your case is looking really good. Though we still need to worry about what Scootaloo’s parents are going to do in their defense. But as I said before, I’ll go over this tomorrow morning.”
“Have you met Scootaloo’s parents yet?” Rainbow Dash asked. She knew Twilight was planning on doing that before sending the official papers to Celestia.
“Yes I did…” Twilight said, her voice wavering.
“And…?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“I…didn’t really get anything from them,” Twilight said. “Maybe it’s because I was being too obvious at what I wanted to learn but I couldn’t get a vibe of Scootaloo’s parents at all. You and Spitfire were both right about that.”
“Well at least the information we got should really help us,” Rainbow Dash said. “So thanks anyways Twilight.”
“No problem,” Twilight said, putting the cheer back in her voice. “So how are you feeling?”
“I-fine,” Rainbow Dash lied obviously.
Twilight dropped her smile and instead was looking at her friend with concern. “You know Rainbow Dash, I could ask the princess for the Elements and I could…”
“No,” Rainbow Dash flat out refused. “Twilight as much as it would help, I need to win this court case by myself. I need to prove myself and that I can win without your authority helping me.”
“Well…just remember that’s always an option,” Twilight said.
“I know Princess, but you know exactly why I can’t let you do that,” Rainbow Dash said. “I’m…still not sure of myself and I need to do this to prove it.”
“Order in the court,” the white unicorn judge with a scales cutie mark called out as used his magic to bang his gavel. “Everypony please go to your spots. This trial is now in session.”
Everypony moved to their spots at the request of the judge. On the right side of the room stood Rainbow Dash with Soarin’ to her right. To the left side of the room sat Dust Storm who was a dust-colored Pegasus with a brown mane and a brown cloud for a cutie mark. To his left sat a red Pegasus that was most likely his wife.
The judge first looked over to Dust Storm and his wife. “Now from what I’ve previously learned you two have not bothered to teach Scootaloo how to fly, have not checked up on her grades as much as you should, and have hardly supervised her at all. Do you two have anything to say for yourselves about this?”
“Well it’s simple really,” Dust Storm said. “While I wish it were otherwise, me and my wife are simply too busy to do those things. If we had the time, I’m sure we would do that more often, but we simply don’t have the time.”
“OBJECTION!” Rainbow Dash called out. “You only a few days a week! What about the other days when you aren't working?”
“Hmm…so you know about my work then?” Dust Storm retaliated. “Then you would also know that while yes, me and my wife only do our job a few days a week, it’s getting to that job that is the problem. Because we are in charge of bringing water from Cloudsdale to the oases out in the Equestrian Deserts, it takes a long time of flying in the heat of the desert and flying back. We are not all like you; the so called “Fastest Flyer in all of Equestia.”
Rainbow Dash was about to lash out in retaliation for their insult, but Soarin’ put a hoof on her to get her attention before she could yell at them. He then whispered in her ear, “Dash, they are just trying to get you angry right now. They know they can’t win, so they want you to lash out at them making you look bad. You need to try and stay calm.”
“Easy for you to say,” Rainbow Dash whispered back, “You not the one who’s abilities their insulting.”
“You managed to survive the Wonderbolt Academy without lashing out at Spitfire for the insults,” Soarin’ replied, “so you need also stay calm here. Scootaloo needs you to stay calm here. You can do it Dashie.”
Rainbow Dash closed her eyes. “Urrg…your right Soarin’.”
Rainbow Dash opened her eyes back up and continued with her argument. “Yeah, so what? You go do your job and then maybe spend a few days resting. Afterwards you have plenty of time to teach Scootaloo. I only spend a few hours with her each weekend that I don’t have a show to do and she is already flying really well. I sometimes didn’t even need to fly with her to achieve that. You can’t tell me that you were too busy to teach her!”
“She is right you know,” the judge said. “I see no excuse why you couldn’t spend just a bit of time on her.”
“I see no reason why we are arguing this,” Dust Storm said. “So we don’t pay attention to her as much as we should. At least we feed her, keep her safe, and are not a bad influence on her.”
“So you’re calling me a bad influence?” Rainbow Dash said. This is exactly where Twilight thought they would go eventually. With no defense according to everything that they’ve got and already showed the judge, the only place they could attack is at Rainbow Dash’s character.
“Can you honestly say you aren’t one?” Dust Storm said condescendingly. “You are brash, arrogant, and cocky. You are constantly trying to do dangerous tricks and show off. You can’t tell me that you would be a better parent to Scootaloo then us.”
Why is it that I can’t go one day without somepony questioning whether I’d be a good parent or not? Rainbow Dash thought. Yeah, I’m not a good parent right now. And yeah, I’m probably not the best influence right now. I don't know what I'm doing or how to do it. I'll probably fail several times. A tear fell from Rainbow Dash's eye but she quickly wiped it away and shook her head. But you know what?
“You know what, I would be a better parent then you,” Rainbow Dash said. “Not because I am good now, but because I’d be willing to change myself for her. For a long time me and my friends have been learning lessons and telling them to the princess, even though that has slowed down now since Twilight fulfilled her destiny. I’ve been changing and growing more mature each day. I learn from my mistakes. That’s more than I can say for you.”
Rainbow Dash pointed a hoof at Dust Storm. “We’ve pointed out exactly what problem you have. But instead of learning from your mistake you’ve been avoiding it. You’re not going to learn from a mistake ever and keep on making it. So yes, I will be a better parent to Scootaloo then you. Because when I make a mistake I will try to fix it instead of ignoring it. What do you have to say to that?”
“You little,” Dust Storm mumbled. “So what do you say about your influence. Name one good thing you influenced her to do. Last I remembered all you’ve influenced her to do is dangerous tricks that end up getting her hurt. And you’re not going to change that, are you Wonderbolt?”
“You want to know what?!” Rainbow Dash. Soarin’ tried to stop her but this time Rainbow Dash just kept on going. “You’re looking at one of the best people to teach Scootaloo how not to go too far! I learned how to push myself without going too far a long time ago! That’s why I became a Wonderbolt and not that pegasus jerk I met there!”
“It looks like your brash side is coming out again,” Dust Storm said. “You obviously haven’t learned a lesson in patience.”
Rainbow Dash was about to lash out in another angry rant, however before she could the court doors burst open. On the other side stood an extremely worried looking Applejack. She ran into the court quickly, ignoring all court standards. She managed to run up the isle to Rainbow Dash before the judge spoke about it.
“What is the meaning this?!” The judge called out. “Court is in session. You better have a good reason for why you decided to suddenly burst in here.”
“Scootaloo, Applebloom, and Sweetie Bell are all lost in the Everfree Forest!” Applejack called out.
There were several calls of “WHAT!” that resounded throughout the audience as they head what Applejack said. Twilight and Spitfire ran up from the audience to where Applejack was. The noise inside the courtroom was so loud that it was impossible for the judge to bring order back into the court.
“What do you mean those three fillies are lost in the Everfree Forest?” Rainbow Dash asked Applejack. “Why are they in there in the first place?”
“They were all headin’ off to Zecora’s place,” Applejack explained. “Ah figured it’d be safe because the path to Zecora’s is usually safe to walk on. They were there for a while, so Ah decided to check on them. When Ah got to Zecora’s place, she told me that they never reached her. We’all gotta go out and find them now!”
“Yes quite,” the judge said. “Court is out of session for now until we find those three fillies. Everypony, mount a search immediately!”
“Are you sure you want to search alone Dashie?” Soarin’ asked. He, Rainbow Dash, Sptifire, Twilight, and Applejack were all standing by the entrance to the Everfree Forest.
“Yeah,” Rainbow Dash said. “I know we are supposed to search in groups, but I’m faster on my own. I don’t want to leave anypony behind so I need to go on my own.”
“Then it looks like the prefect competition then,” said a voice that immediately got Rainbow Dash’s blood boiling. Dust Storm was walking up alone to where the rest of them were standing. “First pony to find Scootaloo proves that they are the better parent. You shouldn’t mind, because after all, you like a good competition.”
“What makes you so sure that you or Rainbow Dash will be the first pony to find those fillies anyways?” Spitfire asked. “Half of Ponyville is searching as well. Any one of us could find the fillies before you guys.”
“Ah, Spitfire. It’s been a while,” Dust Storm said. “So somepony besides us finds them. Then the trial restarts and we settle this there. However, this is a nice chance to settle this right here and right now. I’ll see you back with the fillies.” Dust Storm took off and started flying over the Everfree Forest.
As soon as he left Rainbow Dash said quickly, “I am not going to let him find them first. I’ll see you guys later.”
“Be safe Dash!” Soarin called out as Rainbow Dash took off and went into the Everfree Forest herself.
Because the fillies were apparently heading to Zecora’s place, Rainbow Dash first tried finding following the path to look for them and find them. She made sure to keep an eye around the path to see if they just happened to be close to the path, just unable to see it. However, even after going across the path a few times while searching, Rainbow Dash couldn’t find them.
Rainbow Dash landed in the middle of the path and wondered what exactly she was going to do now. There was no indication anywhere of where the fillies could possibly be in the forest. Rainbow Dash didn’t have any idea of where to start looking.
She paced around for a few second before hearing a faint growling from far away. At first she ignored it because she has better things to do then go out looking for one of the monsters that hide in the Everfree Forest, however when she heard multiple growling she started getting curious. So she started running in the direction she heard the growling.
After a moment of running, Rainbow Dash managed to find Scootaloo, Applebloom, and Sweetie Bell all huddled against a tree. While she didn’t see what was making the growling noise, it didn’t really matter right now because she found who she was originally looking for anyways. So she walked up to them.
“Hey you three,” Rainbow Dash said. “The whole town is looking for you. It’s a good thing I found you guys, this place is crawling with monsters. Come on, let’s go.”
“Uhh…Rainbow Dash,” Applebloom started.
“Look behind you!” Scootaloo called out.
Rainbow Dash turned around to see a pack of timberwolves behind her. There was about a dozen of them and they each started surrounding Rainbow Dash and the three fillies. Rainbow Dash braced herself, and got prepared to protect the fillies behind her.
Great timberwolves, Rainbow Dash thought. Just what I needed to see. Well I can maybe take them down, but they’ll just keep reforming and reforming. Urrg…what am I supposed to do now? She noticed they were getting uncomfortably close. I guess for now I’ll just clear out a path for them and then figure out something.
She first attacked the timberwolf right in front of her in order to stop it from blocking the way to the path. She used her black belt in karate, plus all the combat training she learned from being in the Wonderbolts, and also some of what she learned from her dad—who was a retired member of the Royal Guard, to good use as she attacked the timberwolves. Her hoof chops, smacks, and bucks knocked down the first one in about half a minute. She then proceeded to knock down the next one.
She had about four down and was advancing on the fifth before she heard a rustling of leaves. Her focus was mostly on the timberwolf in front of her; however she did manage to get a quick glance at who was coming in. What she saw was a flash of brown that made her heart drop fast.
“Well it looks like you are preoccupied here,” Dust Storm said. “Got yourself in a bit of a situation didn’t you?”
“Dad?!” Scootaloo asked. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m part of the search party for you,” Dust Storm said in a neutral voice. “Come with me you three.”
“But what about Rainbow Dash?” All three of the fillies asked at the same time. Scootaloo continued, “We can’t just leave her here.”
“Rainbow Dash still needs to fend off the timberwolves. After all, she wouldn’t want them attacking us from behind now would she?”
Rainbow Dash knew exactly what was going on here. Dust Storm was going to lead the fillies out of her and then take all the credit for it, therefore winning the case. Yet Rainbow Dash knew that she couldn’t let the fillies stay here or try and get them to safety with the timberwolves still on the prowl. To do so would risk the lives of all three of the fillies.
“Go with Dust Storm you three,” Rainbow Dash commanded. “You’ll be safer outside of the forest and away from it’s monsters. I’ll hold off the timberwolves for now, but you three need to go!”
While they weren’t sure about it, the Scootaloo, Applebloom, and Sweetie Bell all followed Dust Storm away from the forest. After downing the next timberwolf, Rainbow Dash watched as they walked off with him, knowing exactly what was going to happen when they get back. And there wasn’t a thing she could do about it.
I’m sorry Scootaloo. I failed you, Rainbow Dash thought as tears welled up in her eyes. She turned that sadness into anger as she fiercely pounded the next timberwolves, and made sure that none of them could follow then out of the forest.