Piercing the Heavens

by Calm Wind

Chapter 11: The Tryouts Begin

Piercing the Heavens
By: Calm Wind

Chapter 11:

It’s not like Dash could actually do anything to Arctic in fear of causing trouble, but she did take action against the snoring. Once her eyes had adjusted to the dark, she made three trips to the top bunk, swatting Arctic in the face with her wing, and quickly dropped back down. Arctic was one hell of a heavy sleeper. None of the three face swats woke her, but after the third, she finally turned over to her stomach and the horrible noise ceased.

Thanks to Dash’s efforts, both she and many other surrounding cadets were able to get a good night’s sleep. It was lights out at 9:30pm and they were apparently getting a wakeup call at 6:00am. Dash fell asleep wondering what sort of “wakeup call” they would get. She knew the higher ranking Wonderbolts pretty well. They were bound to get creative with it.

Dash along with every single cadet in the bunks jolted awake as the loud, ear-piercing blare of an air horn screamed through the hall. Dash quickly covered her ears and leaned towards the hoof of her bed, peering around the frame towards the entrance.

Squad three was standing by the doors, all in uniform with their goggles around their necks. The Streak twins and Surprise were standing firm with large headphones covering their ears. In front of them was Misty Fly with a large air horn the size of her. It looked like an oil drum with a gramophone and TNT plunger attached to it. Misty was pressing the plunger down with a hoof, but wasn’t wearing anything over her ears, obviously. She let up on the horn as all the cadets began to emerge from the bunks, turned to the rest of squad three and nodded. Fire Streak nodded back to her and then turned to Surprise and Lightning.

“Let’s get them on their hooves and over to breakfast,” said Fire as he removed his headphones and made hoof and wing signals to Misty. Surprise bounced up to the giant air horn and began dragging it back towards the doors. Lightning looked it up and down.

“Like… how did you even get that?” he asked lazily while cleaning out his left ear with a wing feather.

“Rivet put it together for me! I had to buy all the parts though!” Surprise explained happily as she pushed it against the wall for the time being. Lightning blinked as he flicked the earwax off his wing.

“Dude… where the hell can you buy an oil barrel, gramophone, and TNT plunger all in the same place?” Lightning scratched his head as Fire beckoned them.

“Stalmart! Duh!” Surprise shrugged as they followed behind Fire.

Good old squad three. Dash smiled as she watched them make their way down the rows of beds to make sure everypony was up. Anypony caught snoozing got a second Surprise wakeup call.

“Up! Up! Up! Everypony up and get those uniforms on!” Fire yelled out as they walked, followed right after by a scream from a stallion as a party noise maker got sent through his ear by Surprise.

“Yeah, I want all the mares to form a line in front of me and bend oveOW!” Lightning Streak received a smack upside the head from Fire. Misty just walked along beside Fire, inspecting the cadets and their designated areas. She stopped a few times to force a cadet or two to clean up their space. Fire glanced at her. He chuckled as he watched her silently demand for every space to be spotless. Misty had always been a little obsessive about keeping things clean. Fire decided to help both her and the cadets so they could speed things up. He began shouting again.

“I’ll save you the trouble now. If you’re still in bed, Surprise will make you regret it! If your space isn’t clean, Misty Fly will glare at you until you clean it,” he paused and smirked. “If you wish to argue with Misty what the definition of “clean” is… good luck!” he added.

Dash chuckled to herself as she pulled open her drawer and retrieved her cadet uniform. She’d love to see some idiots try to argue with her. They’d have absolutely no idea. Dash turned to see squad three passing as she started slipping on her uniform. Fire only glanced. Misty gave a brief look and a subtle wing wave. Surprise waved her whole arm and smiled brightly. Lighting made the “call me” motion again and ran directly into his brother’s flank as Fire came to a stop.

Dash blinked and focused on Fire Streak. He had turned slightly and was staring into the top bunk.

At that moment, Dash realized that Arctic was still asleep. This would be good.

“Surprise,” Fire glanced back at Surprise and made a head motion towards the bunk. In an instant, Surprise was peering over the edge of the top bunk at the sprawled out, sleeping form of Arctic.

“Surprise attack!” Surprise sprang up and landed roughly with her legs straddled over Arctic’s back. Arctic grunted, but remained asleep. Heavy sleeper? That put it lightly. Surprise grabbed Arctic’s pillow and yanked it out from beneath her head, making her face plop into the mattress. Surprise put her hooves into the air and yelled out: “THIS IS THE WAKE-UP SONG… FROM YOUR OWN PRIVATE HELL!” she grinned wide with her tongue sticking through her teeth.

“Oh god…” Dash glanced between Surprise and the rest of squad three as they didn’t even flinch at Surprise’s antics.

Surprise proceeded to smack the pillow over Arctic’s head repeatedly while yelling.


“Argh! Like…what the hell?!” Arctic finally woke as she was vigorously beaten over the head with her own pillow.


“OH MY GAWD! I’M UP!” Arctic sat up roughly and glared at Surprise. Surprise pressed her nose to Arctic’s.

“That’s what they waaaaaaaaant you to think!” she said with a loud, sharp whisper as her pupils grew and shrank seemingly at will. Arctic froze in place as Surprise slowly pressed her face further and tipped Arctic back down until the back of her head was stuck firmly against the mattress.

“Okay Surprise, I think she’s awake now. Probably will be for a few days,” Fire chuckled as he hovered up and removed Surprise from atop Arctic.

From below, Dash was trying her hardest not to completely lose it. Arctic would think twice about sleeping in again.

After getting the cadet uniform on, Dash decided to make a quick fly to the bathroom. She was one of the first out of bed and ready to go, so she had time. As she glided above the aisle, she spotted Lightning and Fire staring incredulously at the massive bed made for Matteo and Bulk. Lightning was looking specifically at Matteo, who stared back down at him with his harsh glare.

“Whoa dude, you’re like, even bigger up close…” Lightning Streak said as Dash passed them. Matteo, of course, only scoffed and continued to struggle with his extra-extra large cadet uniform.

It looked like Dash wasn’t the only one with the idea to use the bathroom. There was already a line out the door. She groaned in frustration and set down to get in line. As she waited, she spotted Thunderlane nearby. She noticed his bunkmate was still in bed on the bottom bunk. Twister was his name? The one with the creepy stare and a mane like an electrified urchin?

“Surprise, another one,” Fire Streak pointed towards the bottom bunk as Thunderlane watched them pass. Surprise crouched down and skittered along the floor towards the edge of the bed, peering over the edge. Twister had the covers pulled over his head. Surprise smirked.

“IT’S TIME FOR…” she got real close to where his face would be and ripped the covers off, but she froze solid. Twister was wide awake, staring directly into her eyes with an incredibly creepy grin on his face.

“…seeeeeexxxxxxxxxxx?” he finished the sentence for her while inching his face towards hers very slowly. Surprise’s hair deflated and she pulled herself away with a shriek. The Streak twins instantly turned, and stared in disbelief. Had Surprise just been… beaten? Fire quickly stepped forward and put his hoof on Surprise’s shoulder. He looked at Twister in confusion and grimaced as he saw Twister bouncing his eyebrows at him with the creepy smile still intact. Fire turned back to Surprise.

“Surprise? Are you okay?” He asked as she stared blankly into space.

“I have seen the end…” she mumbled.


“There were no more cookies…” Surprise kept babbling as she turned and started walking towards the entrance. Fire, along with many other cadets, watched in confusion as Surprise slowly moved along. Fire looked to Lightning and pointed. “Can you handle it? You’re better with her.” Lightning gave a half-assed salute.

“I’m on it,” he cracked his neck and casually followed after Surprise. “Yo babe, what kind of cookies?” he yelled to her.

Fire shook his head and shrugged. It was nearly impossible to understand how Surprise’s brain worked, but for some reason, his brother’s idiocy seemed to make him understand her. Surprise seldom needed anypony to cheer her up, but when she did, it was a job for Lightning. Fire went on with his round, making one last hesitant glance at Twister as he moved.

“Huh…” Dash had seen the whole exchange. Thunderlane wasn’t kidding. This Twister stallion was… creepy as hell. Not quite on the Nightshade level, but… that stare… and the way he so easily broke Surprise. She’d have to keep an eye on him. How did Thunderlane sleep last night knowing THAT was below him?

Dash finally got into the bathroom. When she emerged, the cadets were beginning to file out. Dash could see Silver Lining of squad two by the entrance directing them along. A few were still by their bunks though, and as Dash glided back to grab her flight goggles, something caught her eye.

Misty Fly had stopped by Derpy’s bunk. Derpy was cleaning up what looked like muffin crumbs that were all over her mattress. Misty was watching carefully to make sure Derpy didn’t miss any. Dash perked up as she saw the stallion Derpy had mentioned hop down from the top bunk. Storm Front, she remembered his name. Derpy wouldn’t stop talking about him before. From what Dash had heard, this stallion was beyond polite, and naturally charming. Dash got a closer look as well as Storm Front started helping Derpy clean up her mattress. Yeah, he was pretty damn good looking, not that it meant anything for Dash because of Soarin, but she could see why Derpy was swooning over him.

“Sorry ma’am, we’ll fix this up,” Storm turned and nodded to Misty. Misty couldn’t hear him of course. She just kept looking at the mattress sternly. “Ma’am?” Storm tried again. Fire Streak saw the exchange and trotted over. Storm looked up at Fire as he approached. Fire put a hoof up to his ear and shook his head.

“Deaf,” he said simply. There was no way to avoid it if someone actually tried to speak with Misty. Storm blinked.

“Ohhh… so that’s why… the signals…” Storm thought out loud. Dash stopped in midair to watch as she saw Storm reach out and tap Misty on the shoulder. Misty blinked and faced him, tipping her head in confusion. Storm opened his wings and put his front hooves up.

“Wait… no way…” Dash’s jaw dropped. Fire Streak’s eyes widened as well.

Storm Front proceeded to make multiple hoof motions and wing signals at Misty Fly. Misty’s ears shot up and her wings swung open in surprise. Storm Front knew sign language. He was talking to Misty Fly. Fire Streak was left speechless. Storm Front almost did it faster and smoother than he could.

One of the widest smiles Dash had ever seen found its way onto Misty’s face and her pupils almost doubled in size. She quickly answered him using her own signs. The two made signs back and forth for another minute before Misty made the "thank you" and "goodbye" motions. She bounced up and down giddily before trotting down the aisle towards the entrance.

Fire Streak watched her move with an incredibly light bounce in her step. He turned to Storm.

“Cadet… where did you learn sign language?” he asked out of curiosity. Storm smiled.

“My late grandfather was deaf,” his ears drooped slightly. “It was the only way we could talk to him.”

“I see…” Fire glanced over at the happy Misty Fly, then back at Storm, then to Misty, and once more back to Storm. He sighed with a hint of frustration in his voice. “Very impressive. Now come on, to breakfast,” he said flatly as he made a head motion towards the entrance. Dash moved aside as Fire drew near. He didn’t look at her, but Dash could see it. He almost looked… jealous? She kept her eyes on him until he was out the door after Misty.

Dash looked back towards Storm Front and saw him clean off the last bit of crumbs before turning and speaking to Derpy. Derpy was bright red in the face and smiling goofily at him.

What an interesting stallion. She wasn’t so much impressed at first, but after the sign language? Storm Front was certainly not your everyday stallion. Dash was glad to see at least one of her friends got a respectable bunkmate.

Silver Lining started yelling from the entrance… something about sticking all four of his hooves up anypony’s ass who wasn’t out the door in the next five minutes. Dash winced uncomfortably as the words struck home. Talk about an unpleasant image and thought. First impression of Silver Lining? Don’t piss him off. She quickly retrieved her flight goggles and made a beeline for the doors. She was already going to have to wait in line for breakfast, so the sooner she got there the more time she had to eat. The Wonderbolts were clearly trying to keep a schedule here, and she didn’t want to be the one who slowed it down.

Only one word was needed to describe Dash’s breakfast: FAST. Wave Chill and Soarin were directing the cadet’s along in the mess hall. Dash did her best to remain calm in the presence of Soarin. She was happy that she at least got an indirect wink from him as she moved through the food line.

As soon as a cadet got their food, they were given ten minutes to eat before they had to move along and keep the tables near the entrance and cleanup areas clear. Spitfire flew overhead as they ate, giving out instructions.

They were all to eat as quickly as possible and then head for the auxiliary indoor flight gym on the west end of the compound. If anypony had to go get special attention from the trainers beforehand, they only had thirty minutes. A few ponies left quickly to do just that. The Wonderbolt training staff was undoubtedly unprepared as well. It would be first come, first served. Take too long at breakfast? Then you were shit-out of luck.

Dash was glad her wings were still at peak performance. She was one of the younger cadets in the whole group. While most were young and full of youthful spirit, there were a few who had showed up who seemed to be past the point of being called young. Dash had picked out at least twenty or thirty cadets who looked to be in their late twenties to early thirties.

Some dreams never die. Seeing a few individuals clearly past their prime give it a shot was honestly a little sad to Dash. She knew what it was like to have a dream she would go miles and miles for. Seeing those who had clearly tried in the past and always fell short was both depressing and encouraging. Depressing because… well… they spent their lives dreaming of being a Wonderbolt and never made the cut and encouraging because they were determined to keep trying. Unwavering perseverance is not an easy trait to come by. Many ponies in Equestria shy away from challenge, find a comfort zone, and are stuck in it all their lives despite the potential to improve. While those who make the effort may not be successful, it’s their attempt that makes them stand apart.

Dash would never give up. She was determined to become a Wonderbolt. She would hold nothing back and play all her best cards from the word “go.” It was a mix of skill and chance that lead to Soarin, Spitfire, and Fleetfoot becoming the lead squad of the Wonderbolts. Dash was confident that she had the skill, refined over the past few months while gaining strength and speed alongside. The chance? This was her chance. If Soarin did it, so could she.

“Everypony listen up!” Spitfire tried yelling to the cadets as they started packing into the gym. She huffed in frustration when her voice didn’t quite reach all of them.

Dash had flown to the front, and had quieted down to listen, but unlike yesterday, it seemed like there was much more commotion in the group. It was probably due to excitement.

“Tough crowd, eh?” Fleetfoot said as she stepped up beside Spitfire. Spitfire turned to her as Soarin walked up as well.

“Could you two get squads two and three to help quiet them down? There’s so many this time…” she ordered as she thought about solutions.

Dash blinked as she saw a small, yellow, brown maned pegasus stallion approach Spitfire. It was the same stallion that ran into her in the barracks and scurried off before she could say anything. He had a megaphone tucked under his arm.

“Hm?” Spitfire turned to him as he landed and held the megaphone out to her. “Oh, thanks. That works too. Soarin, get the other squads lined up and ready,” she said as she grabbed the megaphone and nodded to the small stallion. “Go ahead and raise the curtains too, please,” she said. Fleetfoot slowly leaned towards the stallion while smirking.

“Aw, you’re being so helpful! Maybe I should give you a BIG kiss!” she cooed while her wings fluttered subtly. The stallion shied away from her nervously, crouching down slightly as he looked away from her, blushed, and scampered away quickly. Spitfire rolled her eyes as Fleetfoot giggled.

“Fleet, how many times have I told you to stop teasing him? He’s nervous enough on a regular basis,” she eyed Fleetfoot sternly. Fleetfoot batted her eyelashes at her.

“But he’s so cute when he’s nervous!” she tipped her head all the way to the side and edged towards Spitfire. “Kinda like Wave, eh? If he’s your type I’m surprised you didn’t first go for—”

“Squads two and three are ready,” Soarin dropped in and nodded. Fleetfoot scoffed as Spitfire shifted her attention.

“Interrupting princess says what…?” she grumbled to herself as Spitfire acknowledged Soarin’s report.

“Good, we’ll have the gym curtains up soon and we can get started,” she turned to eye the large curtain behind her.

The auxiliary flight gym was different from most of their facilities. It had no true purpose. It was a single, long gym about fifty yards wide and two hundred yards long. There were three large, cheap thin leather curtains that hung from the ceiling that could separate the gym into four fifty yard sections. The gym was used often by the lower ranking and recruit squads for multipurpose training or activities while the main facilities were occupied by the higher squads. Because of how large this room was, Spitfire was most definitely going to need to use the megaphone.

“LISTEN UP!” she yelled into it. Her voice amplified about ten times and the whole place actually shook. She pulled her head back from it in surprise as the whole group of cadets went dead silent. Fleetfoot shook her head out and blinked.

“Could you say that a little louder? I don’t think they heard you in Saddle Arabia!” she exclaimed sarcastically as Soarin examined the side of the megaphone.

“I think Silver Lining used this last…” he chuckled as he pointed to the dial on the side. Spitfire turned the megaphone over and saw the dial Soarin was pointing at. It was labeled one to eleven. It had been jammed one tick past eleven. She sighed and forced the dial back, turning it down to five.

“He doesn’t even need one of these , how many more things do I have to ban him from?” Spitfire shook her head before putting the megaphone back up. “Sorry about that!” the megaphone amplified her voice in a much more controlled manner. “Today is the first day of our tryouts… for a good number of you, it will be the only day. If you aren’t ready to show us the best you’ve got, leave now and save us the trouble!”

“Welp, that’s it for me,” Fleetfoot took a step to the left, but Soarin’s wing reached out and put her back into place as she giggled. Spitfire continued.

“Today will be simple testing to gauge general physical fitness. We only want to bother with the one hundred of you that showed up the most prepared to be the best!”

As she explained, the gym curtains all opened, revealing the full two hundred yard length. Members of squad two were already posted around the one hundred yard mark. They each had a sign above them with a single color box on it. There was one sign with nopony beneath it, most likely to be occupied by a lead squad member after the announcement.

“Our first test is a simple speed test! We have marked from here to the middle of the gym, exactly eighty yards!”

Squad three moved in and took places right behind her. They each pulled a colored sign like those across the gym and placed them down, leaving one spot open again.

“Take a look at the color of the number on your uniform. That color will tell you which Wonderbolt to line up behind based on which color sign they are under! You get three chances to show us how fast you can accelerate and speed through the other side. There’s plenty of room to slow down, so go all out. If a hundred yards is not enough to slow down, my god you need to work on that!”

She turned and nodded to Fleetfoot and Soarin. Fleetfoot took the empty spot beneath the blue sign at the starting lines with squad three. Soarin took off into the air and hovered above.

“This WILL be a clean tryout! No funny stuff and no cheap shots!” Spitfire pointed towards Soarin, who was hovering above with a bird’s eye view of the cadets with his hooves crossed. “Soarin will be keeping an eye on all of you! I wouldn’t try anything, that horn he’s wearing isn’t for show, he CAN use magic!”

“And the prettiest princess!” Fleetfoot whispered towards a few cadets including Dash. Spitfire eyed the small group of chuckling cadets and shook her head.

“You are being timed from the first movement you make past the starting line! Good luck, and for Celestia’s sake, give us something to be excited about!” Spitfire finished before turning and flying towards the vacant spot at the finish, lining herself up with Fleetfoot across the gym.

“You heard the loud lady! Get in your lines! Hop to it! Let’s go!” Fleetfoot yelled out.

Dash was nudged forward slightly as the group began to mingle and move. She had a blue number, and Fleetfoot was directly in front of her. She was already where she needed to be so she stepped right up. Fleetfoot gave her a grin and bounced her eyebrows at Dash. Dash chuckled as she stepped up.

“Give the rest of your buddies a second to get organized, then we’ll get going,” Fleetfoot explained with a forced businesslike tone. She glanced back and forth and leaned slightly towards Dash. “Like my impression of Spitfire?” she giggled. Dash glanced behind her to make sure nopony was paying attention to them.

“Needs more stiffness,” Dash joked back with a wink. Fleetfoot chuckled and peered over Dash’s shoulder.

“Alright, looks like the lines are almost there, we can get started.”

Dash looked behind and saw the cadets organizing. There was almost a completely straight line behind her.

“Alright! First up!” Fleetfoot tapped her hooves together and grabbed a stopwatch that was dangling off a hook on the sign pole. Dash took a deep breath and stepped towards her. She glanced left and right to see a few cadets had already been sent off. The speed was good, but they seemed subpar. “Give us a show Dash,” Fleetfoot whispered as Dash stood at her starting line.

Dash nodded and faced down the length of the gym. Spitfire said to give it everything? Fine, she’d give them everything. She had a trick up her sleeve that she was certain no pony else could pull off.

The Sonic Blast-off.

Dash focused, and set her hooves firmly on the gym floor. She relaxed her body but kept a strong base. Her eyes widened and she made her first motion. Fleetfoot started the watch. Dash proceeded to smoothly go through the motions of Soarin’s Sonic Blast-off…

But her last step dragged. She was sent face first into the floor and into a rough tumble.

Dash panicked for only a moment, quickly rolling back up and kicking off the ground as hard as she could. She accelerated quickly within her own wing power, shooting down the full eighty meters and firing past Spitfire.

“Dammit!!!” Dash cursed as she smacked her hooves against her head. How the hell did she screw it up?! She hadn’t messed up the Blast-off in ages! She glided around and over by Spitfire.

“Nice recovery, but you better impress me with the other two,” Spitfire said towards her as she passed. “Fly higher to avoid those testing,” she ordered before jotting something down on a clipboard and giving Fleetfoot a wave for the next cadet.


Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, STUPID!!!!!!!!

Dash felt like a complete dumbass. Way to stumble immediately.

From above, Soarin winced and shook his head. Dash shouldn’t have tried it. She wasn’t used to performing the Sonic Blast-off under pressure. It was different on your own or when fueled by adrenaline. He hoped she would keep it simple. Sometimes risks just aren’t worth taking.

He went back to keeping an eye on the crowd, and the instant he did a small scuffle broke out between stallions.

“HEY!” He yelled as he propelled towards them.

Dash was on her own. He had to keep his focus on his part of the tryouts.

Dash kept cursing to herself as she flew back. The frustration was heavy, but she had to keep in mind she had two more chances. Should she risk the Sonic Blast-off again? That probably wasn’t the best idea. She only had two chances left. If she messed it up again on the second, she’d be pressured on the third. Better to get a clean run first, and then try the blast-off again to at least have one clean run in the books.

She looked down at the cadets testing as she glided. She saw Thunderlane zoom by. It wasn’t quite as fast as her, but he didn’t stumble. Thunderlane always had pretty decent wing strength despite being lazy. Of all her friends along, Thunderlane was most likely to make it to the next round at least.

She glanced over just in time to see Storm Front fire from his spot and shoot down his lane. Pretty impressive. He was about the size of Soarin and had a similar powerful follow-through with his wings. He didn’t seem to be as fast as Soarin or herself, but he had a lot of strength in his movements. Storm Front had already proved to be interesting. He seemed certain to move on.


Dash knew that unnecessarily long and loud battle cry all too well. She turned her head the other way to see Bulk Biceps giving it his all. He was putting absolutely every bit of effort into flying… but he was going very slowly. Dash sighed and chuckled. Bulk was going to clean house in the strength testing, but that was about it. She hated thinking this way, but he most definitely wasn’t advancing.

Dash made it back to her line and grunted in frustration. She wanted desperately to take another crack at the Sonic Blast-off as soon as she got up, but she refused to let her pride get the better of her. She had to play this smart.

“Care to repeat that?!”

Dash blinked and glanced behind her. The two stallions in line behind her were in each other’s faces. Oh god… testosterone idiocy incoming.

“I said you fly like a little bitch!” the other taunted back.

“I’ll show you, who’s a bitch!” they grappled their front hooves and others nearby backed away. Dash paid no attention until.

“Enough!” Soarin slammed down between them, forcing their arms apart and pushing them away. They both flinched and froze as Soarin looked back and forth at them with glares. “First the mess hall, now here!” he bared his teeth and snorted. “One more time and BOTH of your asses are GONE! Got it?!” Soarin snarled. The two quickly nodded in compliance. “Now get back in line and shut the hell up!” Soarin added before he lifted off again.

He didn’t look at Dash, but damn… that was hot. Soarin just went full alpha on these two stallions who weren’t that much smaller than he was. Seeing him dominate them so easily with just his presence was… pretty sexy.


Dash shook her head. She had to stay on task. It was about to be her turn again anyway.

“Try less face to floor application this time,” Fleetfoot whispered to her with a smirk.

“Har, har…” Dash replied sarcastically. Fleetfoot meant well, but it really did bother Dash. She would take this one normally. She set her hooves again, and this time, did a simple takeoff and acceleration. She picked up speed and sped down the length of the gym, crossing the finish line much quicker than she did last time. She flared her wings out, and glided back around.

“Much better,” Spitfire said simply as she passed again.


That was nothing. Dash knew she could do a hell of a lot better. She got to top speed, but only after wasting the first forty yards picking up said speed. She had to use the Sonic Blast-off. It was the only way she could truly show off her acceleration prowess.

As she glided back, something caught her eye. Something huge.

Matteo was up in Fire Streak’s line. It was interesting to see a griffon in a Wonderbolt uniform. He also had lots of wrappings taped around his wing joints for stability. Dash watched carefully, she had to see this. Matteo grunted loudly and extended his wings. They were massive! At least four or five times the length of Dash’s wingspan! The cadets in the lines besides his both waited as he began pumping his wings. Ponies all around him shielded themselves as powerful gusts pulsated from each wing pump. He was very slow to start, which was no surprise, but he really started moving fast for his size and apparent weight. He ended up only gaining about half the speed that Dash did, slamming to the ground and skidding to a stop as he crossed the finish line and Blaze, but if he had kept going… Dash could only imagine the power that would be behind him if he was given a lot of space to speed up. Dash looked behind her and saw Spitfire watching from two lines over, she definitely looked intrigued.

What was Matteo’s story? Dash would have to try and ask him at some point. He was such a mystery, but it seemed more than likely he’d be sticking around past day one.

As Dash neared her line again, she spotted Arctic getting ready. Hmph, Dash didn’t care one bit, but she watched anyway. Arctic took her damn sweet time getting situated and ready to go. She set her eyes forward, and sprang from her spot… really damn fast.

Dash watched as Arctic sped down the lane, reaching speeds close to what Dash had just performed. Dash stared wide-eyed, not believing such speed just came out of such a bitchy brat. Not all was perfect though. It took Arctic almost the full one hundred extra meters to slow down, and she tumbled to a stop. Nopony can out-bitch karma… not even Arctic.

An untamable fire lit in the pit of Dash’s stomach. She REFUSED to be seen on a similar level as such an unpleasant mare. Her mind was set right then and there as she got back in line. She was going to use the Sonic Blast-off, and this time she WASN’T going to screw it up.

Soarin kept his eyes out from above. Thankfully, it seemed like most of the initial biting and hoofing was over, at least what he could see. He had no idea if any mares had thrown any cheap shots at others. They tended to be very subtle about it, unlike the stallions.

“Hm?” he looked down towards Fleetfoot as Dash stepped up for her third trial. He watched her crouch down and his eyes widened. “Oh god, no, no, no, Dash, don’t do it again! Don’t risk it!” he spoke to himself as he gritted his teeth.

“On your go Dash,” Fleetfoot gave her the go ahead. With a new, additional determination alight in her eyes. Dash focused down the lane. This time she’d do it. This time they would see who was top pegasus. She relaxed her body, extended her wings forward, and went through the motions.

Front hooves…

Back hooves…

Front jump…

Back jump…

And force wings!

It was perfect.

Dash exploded from her spot, breaking an air cone inches from the starting line.

“OH, SHIT!” Fleetfoot yelled as the blast of wind blew her over. Dash was out of the start and through the finish line so fast that Spitfire nearly missed the moment of shutting off the timer.

Art by: PhonicBoom

Dash thrust her wings out to air brake as a huge smile crossed her face. SHE DID IT! She turned around to see Spitfire glancing between her and the stop watch.

Spitfire couldn’t believe her eyes. Dash had just crossed eighty yards in just barely over two seconds. Dash approached to check the time, but was confused when she saw Spitfire eying her in disbelief. Dash looked around and saw that everything had stopped, and every pony was staring at her.

Oh… that’s right. Fleetfoot and Spitfire had never actually seen Dash pull off the Sonic Blast-off. The only one who had was…

Soarin breathed a heavy sigh of relief and held a hoof over his heart as it beat quickly. Dash had just taken one hell of a risk. Had she messed it up again, he was more than certain she’d get some sort of demerit mark on her trial record.

Soarin watched as the silence slowly ended and everypony went back to finishing their last trial. Soarin realized too that this was the first time anypony else had seen her pull of his signature move. It still wasn’t as smooth or controlled as his, but it was still nothing short of incredible that she could. She had pulled it off during the battle with Nightshade, but based on Spitfire’s reaction, and the way Fleetfoot’s eyes looked like they were about to pop out of her head, Soarin assumed they hadn’t seen it then.

Soarin smiled as Dash rejoined the crowd and got mobbed instantly. Leave it to Dash to wow a crowd. But sheesh, did she have to take such a risk? Who was he kidding? This was Rainbow Dash he was thinking about. His rainbow Dash. Risks and danger were part of her, and damn he loved it. The start was rocky, but she came right back with flying colors, literally.

Now she just had to keep that fire going as the tryouts continued.

--- To be Continued---