Most ponies in Ponyville enjoyed a nice, warm, sunny day. Rainbow Dash was not most ponies. She loved all kinds of weather, because she was always the one to make it happen. Over the years, she'd learned just how important every phase of weather was to the town, and while she still enjoyed sun bathing on a cloud, she found ways to appreciate the wind, rain and snow as well. Her professional pride in a perfectly set weather cycle made every day awesome, as her eyes scanned the sky on reflex, looking for signs of trouble.
Prism Bolt, for his part, had always known his mother to watch the skies. It was just how things were. He thought for sure that she would be grumpy at not flying, trotting on the ground with her second son in a side saddle for foals, but she seemed in a good mood to him. Prism, for his part, was feeling alright today. It wasn't really fun having to run errands with mom, but she promised that they could swing by Sugar Cube Corner if he was good.
That was always a good reason to behave. He'd probably be able to find Cotton Candy and slip away while their mothers talked about the old days. Maybe they'd find a pony to prank as well, that'd just be a great day! He heard his mother speak, as her eyes went from the clouds down to him, not even passing their surroundings a glance. Prism was convinced that she knew the exact number of steps to get anywhere in Ponyville, and it was kind of scary sometimes.
"OK, now you make sure to behave in Rarity's shop, Prism. Don't go poking things," she said, turning to check on her second son, seeing him sleeping in his carrier. "And try not to wake your brother," she added.
"OK!" Prism responded enthusiastically, making the foal shift in his slumber, but not wake. Rainbow looked at him hard for a moment, and Prism sheepishly silenced himself.
In a few moments more, the two had reached the familiar location of Carousel Boutique. While the building had been expanded to account for Rarity's larger family, it was still much the same as it had always been. Rainbow wasted no time pushing the door open, hearing the familiar ring of the bell as she did so.
"Hellooooo~" came a sing song voice from deeper inside. "I'll be right with you!"
Rainbow called back into the building. "Don't go nuts, it's just me!"
There was silence for a moment, before Rarity's voice heralded her entry into the room. "Why, Rainbow Dash, it's been far too long, darling! To what do I owe the pleasure?" she asked as she turned to face her old friend. "Oh my, I see this is more of a family affair. Hello, Prism," she said with a smile, before noticing the other foal. "Ooooh, is that little Stormy? He's absolutely precious!" she cooed, walking over as Rainbow quickly raised her hoof to her lips.
The foal shifted again, yawning, but thankfully remained asleep. Rarity caught on quick, nodding in understanding.
Rainbow spoke softly when she heard Stormy's breathing stabilize again. "Soarin's going to be retiring from active flight duty, permanently this time." He'd taken some time off both times when she was pregnant, but he always went back once things were stable again. "They're throwing him a formal party for it, of course, and I wanted to see if you could touch up the old Gala dress."
When Rarity spoke, she kept her voice low. "Ooooh! A new dress? I've already got such ideas. It's been so long since I've been able to design for someone with your coloration. Now then, let's get him settled, so I can get your measurements," she said, gesturing to Stormy.
"Wha- measured?" Rainbow asked, as Rarity's magic slowly unharnessed the saddle, sliding Stormy to rest on a small, plush chair. "I just want you to fix up the old one, I'm still in the shape I was then," Rainbow continued.
Rarity looked at her with an amused expression. "After so long and two foals? Trust me, you'll need to be re-measured. Now come on, it won't take long," Rarity said, the manic gleam taking over her eyes again.
As Rainbow Dash silently obeyed, Prism started to feel like this wasn't going to be a 'quick visit' anymore. He'd been walking softly around the main room, not touching anything as they all looked really fragile and frilly. Yuck! Did fillies actually wear this stuff? "Um... Mrs. Rarity. Is... Claire home?" he asked, wondering if he might find some entertainment while his mother was busy.
Rarity shook her head. "Oh no, I'm afraid she's out with... er... one of her Canterlot friends that came to visit," she said, giving a brief glance to Rainbow Dash. "But Turquoise is upstairs, and I'm sure he'd be happy to see you," she suggested.
Prism nodded quietly, thanking her before ascending the stairs. He was a little disappointed. Claire was always fun to poke at, 'cause she always reacted. Turquoise was a little wimp, and while he was nice enough, he was just way too much of a scaredy cat. It'd be hard to get him to do anything fun.
He was able to find Turquoise's room without too much trouble, knocking on the door. A moment later, the door creaked open, and the big blue eyes peered back at him. As Turquoise opened the door completely, Prism looked up at the younger... pony. He was more dragon than pony, and he was huge. Prism was a whole year older, but Turquoise was nearly twice as tall. Without wasting any time, Prism bounded into the room before Turquoise could even say hello.
"Yo! The awesomest pony ever is here!" he declared, jumping up on one of the cabinets in the room with no real trouble. Once he'd gotten over his fear of heights, he liked to flaunt his ability to fly at every opportunity.
"Oh, wow!" Turquoise said, watching Prism's natural talent with his wings. "You got really good with them, I'm jealous!"
"Well," Prism replied, rubbing a hoof across his snout, "It's 'cause I'm awesome! I'm gonna be the best flier! Not even you or your dad'll be able to keep up!"
Turquoise seemed to shrink down a bit at that, he'd always had a fragile ego. "Y..yeah. My dad's really fast, but I'm still learning. I don't think I'll ever be as good as you are."
Prism paused, blinking at this. He'd been a late bloomer, flight wise, because of his own issues. What was T's excuse? "What, you can't fly yet? Come on, it's not that hard!"
"W..well, my dad's teaching me slow. He says it's..."
"Boring! I can teach you how to fly! I mean, I learned from the best!" Prism said, landing with a cocky smile.
Turquoise looked uncertain. "I... I dunno. Do dragons and pegasi fly the same?"
Prism scoffed. "Flying is flying! We both have wings, it can't be too different! Come on, I know a great spot for it!" he said, going towards the window.
"W-wait! I have to ask mom if I can go out," Turquoise said, moving towards his door again.
Prism just rolled his eyes as he followed the dragon. Such a wimp.
The two mares were quietly talking when Prism and Turquoise came downstairs. Turquoise spoke at his normal volume, which was already soft despite his large size. "Mom, can I go outside and play?" he asked obediently.
Rarity turned from where she was, the measuring tape currently coiled around Rainbow Dash like a serpent, and nodded once. "Of course, dear. Be careful and try not to get dirty," she said, wincing as the word 'dirt' left her lips.
Prism had used all the patience he had, and now was ready for action. "Awesome! Let's go!" he said, galloping for the door. The two colts hurried out, followed by the sound of a high-pitched wail. Rainbow Dash grumbled to herself as she looked over at the crying foal.
Rarity giggled. "You know, I have some blue shades that would do wonders for those bags," she teased, gesturing to Rainbow's exhausted eyes.
"Oh hah hah. Is this your revenge for me laughing when Claire singed your mane?" Rainbow said dryly.
Rarity just winked. "The joys of motherhood, I suppose."
Prism and Turquoise arrived at one of the former's preferred flying spots in short order. It was near the outskirts of town, on a large hill overlooking the square. One end of the hill was a steady decline, being a favorite place to play in the winter months, while the other remained straight at first, then dropped off significantly before leveling out again.
"This is where we should fly!" Prism decided. "It's got good height, the lack of trees keeps the wind from being uneven and there are flat parts to land," he said gesturing over the terrain. "My dad takes me here when he's not working, it's a great spot!"
"Oh. My dad usually takes me to the flatlands for flying lessons. I'm... not used to ground this bumpy," Turquoise said.
"Hey, this is an official Wonderbolt training spot! Trust me, it'll be better here!" Prism said, puffing himself up with pride. He turned to survey the area once again, and nodded, satisfied with what he saw. Or maybe he was just imitating what he'd seen his father do.
"Well, I mean, I'm still learning. Dad was gonna teach me how to land right later," Turquoise started.
Prism's eyes lit up instantly. "Oh, awesome! My dad just taught me a special landing maneuver. Check it out," he said, taking to the skies instantly. Turquoise followed the small pegasus with his eyes, watching as he zipped up, then came down towards the ground at a sharp angle. A few feet from the ground, he flapped his wings hard, pushing himself backwards. The result was him stopping almost completely in the air, hovering there for a split second before falling the last few feet. He landed a bit shakily on his hooves, standing up straight and looking over to Turquoise. "You see? Easy!"
"Y-yeah, easy," Turquoise said, sounding not at all convinced.
"Well? Come on! Give it a try!" Prism said, giving Turquoise a shove.
"I... I dunno, that's not how my dad lands at all. He sort of comes down straight and long, going into a run as he touches down," Turquoise explained.
"Psh, trust me! If it's how the Wonderbolts land, then it must be the right way to do it," Prism said, certain in his logic.
Turquoise relented, nodding as he steadied his posture.
"What are you doing?" Prism asked.
"I need to run to take off," Turquoise explained.
Prism tilted his head. Nopony he'd ever known had to do that. "That's weird. OK, then."
Prism sat down on the hill, watching as Turquoise steadied himself. He looked scared, but he took off down the smooth hill without further delay, gaining speed and unfurling his wings as he did so. Thanks to the angle and the speed, it wasn't long before his body left the ground, slowly pulling up through the air. Once he'd actually gotten airborne, he was really fast. Prism was honestly surprised how fast Turquoise could fly, especially because he was just learning.
"OK, now try the landing! Over here!" Prism called up to Turquoise. "Fly low, and when you're a few feet up, push back!" he explained, certain that Turquoise would be able to do it easily.
Turquoise started flying lower, as instructed, and flapped his wings hard, trying to push back with them. Both colts were surprised when he just shot higher into the air instead.
"Not up, back!" Prism called to Turquoise, who came down and tried to do it again. Like before, his wings took him up, not slowing him like Prism had expected.
"I-It won't work!" Turquoise called, worry starting to creep into his voice as his flying pattern became erratic.
"Then land anywhere!" Prism called. Turquoise had flown before, so clearly he had to at least know how to do some kind of a landing. Maybe not graceful, but something to at least get him out of the air.
Turquoise looked around, spotting a flat patch of ground on the other side of the hill. He hastily adjusted his course towards it, coming in low. Prism saw where he was coming in, and began gesturing frantically with his hooves.
"Not over there! It's too steep!" he called, but Turquoise had already started his descent and was focused on what he was doing.
The dragon's powerful legs touched down on the ledge, his body already starting to slow down as he was quickly running out of ground before the steep drop. Thankfully, he managed to stop his forward momentum about three feet before the edge of the cliff, his rump hitting the ground as he sat back with a sigh of relief.
Prism was galloping over to him when they both heard the cliff ledge give a loud crack.
Turquoise, despite his inexperience, reacted instantly. He turned, leaping away from the edge and to safer ground. His large weight, however, had already caused the ground to fall away underneath him. His front claws dug into the earth as his legs fell over the cliff, flailing in the air as he frantically tried to find a grip with them. "Ah! H-help!" he shouted, anchoring himself with his front claws as he scrambled desperately.
Prism flew over like a shot, grabbing a chunk of Turquoise's mane in his own teeth, trying to pull him closer to solid ground. It was like trying to pull a house, and he only felt Turquoise's weight dragging himself closer to the edge. With Prism's hooves sliding on the dirt, his body aching from trying to pull the dragon twice his size, he was forced to release him.
"D-Don't let go!" Turquoise shouted in desperation, still kicking wildly, hoping to grip into the cliff face.
Prism looked around hopelessly. Maybe somepony was close enough to help? He didn't see anyone nearby, but he did see a few clouds floating by. His mother had set them this morning, to provide a little shade for the townsponies. "I've got it! Hang on!" he said, flying up to one of the clouds. With the magic inherent from his tribe, he pushed against it, guiding it as best as he could. He didn't have a lot of experience with weather pony work, but he managed to get it below Turquoise without too much trouble. "It's OK, I've got you!" he called, pushing it up so Turquoise would know he was safe.
It was a shock to him when the dragon's legs passed right through the cloud, as if he were an earth pony. The frantic kicking broke the cloud apart, and left Prism at a loss once again. He saw, in his stupor, that the bit of earth Turquoise was clinging to was starting to crack and crumble. It couldn't support his weight.
Clouds wouldn't work and Prism couldn't pull him up, so what now...?
"Ahhh! I...I'm slipping! Helllllp!" Turquoise cried out, desperate for anyone to come to his aid.
Prism flew away. He flew away from his friend who was hanging on for dear life. Once he'd gotten about a hundred feet away, he turned back, hoping this wouldn't hurt as much as he thought it would.
One look at Turquoise slipping from the cliff was all it took, and he shot towards the dragon like a bullet. He flew faster than he'd ever flown in his life, pouring on every ounce of speed he could, even copying his mother's flying form to try and get more. With a massive crash and an explosion of pain, he slammed into the dragon's flank with all of his weight.
The resulting collision knocked both colts up and over the cliff face, tumbling along the grass and dirt. Prism's body was tossed and bruised by the roll, feeling Turquoise's weight crashing against him and hearing the sounds of the earth being torn up around them.
Then, without warning, pain lanced through his body, his snout screaming in agony. His vision, previously obscured by the tumbling, was now tinged red, as was the dirt and grass as the two of them came to a stop a good dozen feet from the ledge.
Turquoise was first aware that he wasn't falling or hanging from a cliff. He was on solid ground. He was bruised and filthy but otherwise unharmed. He felt like he was bleeding, as he saw the red staining the area and looked down at his front claws, but he found them clean. He heard something now as well: crying. With confusion, he looked up, spying Prism laying down, his snout covered in blood. Turquoise tried to stand, his legs not working properly yet. It was then that he got a good look at his left hind leg, and the blood that soaked the claw there.
It was his scream that finally drew the attention of nearby ponies.
Rarity simply could not focus on work lately. The incident with Turquoise and Prism had happened two days ago, and still things refused to settle into a degree of normalcy. Prism was largely unharmed: a few bruises and scrapes, aside from the cut on his snout that would almost certainly leave a scar, but no broken bones or serious injuries. Like most face cuts, it looked worse than it was. He was still in the hospital, but only because of his age.
Turquoise had come out of the whole mess fine, at least physically. He'd been distraught over the incident, even after multiple affirmations that it wasn't his fault. Rarity had sent him back to school today, thinking that the return into that environment would help. That, and his class was going to see Prism in the hospital today.
Rarity sighed for what felt like the hundredth time as she shook the annoyance out of her head. There was no time for worrying about what she couldn't control, she needed to take her mind off of this. Not really feeling creative, she moved upstairs, back to her 'inspiration room'. She'd had to make many sacrifices to fit her family into her shop, but this was one of the few indulgences she was afforded. She opened the door, forcing a smile she didn't really feel, as she started to look around the 'organized chaos'.
She instantly noticed something was wrong. Things were knocked over, pushed around and entire reams of fabric were just missing. "Spiiiike?" she called, her brow furrowing.
"What's up?" he called back, the sounds of his lumbering form heading in her direction. She didn't answer, and he poked his head into the room curiously.
"Have you been moving things in here?" she asked, a small part of accusation in her voice.
Spike just shook his head. "From your work room? No way, you'd know if a single button had been moved. Why, is something missing?"
"Of course! My sky blue silk and the emerald green as well. Even the Celestia Gold I used for the accents on Twilight's gown. That material is expensive!"
Spike stepped fully into the room now, looking about. "Let's take a look around the house, then. They probably just got misplaced or something."
"Misplaced? The children know not to come in here. Oh, by Celestia, I've been robbed! I feel faint..." she declared, tugging a small cushion over to her side before fainting on it.
Spiked sighed, shaking his head with a smile. "Wait here, then, while I solve the case."
It was a few minutes later when she heard Spike calling her. She was up and after him quickly enough, wanting to see what he'd discovered. The truth was more horrifying than she could possibly imagine.
Turquoise's room was covered with her stolen fabric. Reams of fabric were haphazardly tossed all across the room, making even stepping inside a challenge. Spike seemed amused, but Rarity looked pale.
"A..Ahhh! It's wrinkled! Quick, re-roll it! I have to save it!" she declared, jumping into the room and starting to grab at the fabric. "Oh no! I'm going to have to wash and dry out the entire roll. No, no nooooo!" she sobbed, returning to her own hysterics. Spike, for his part, seemed concerned with something other than the fabric.
"Why would Turquoise do all this?" he thought aloud.
Rarity paused for only a moment, before throwing a suggestion. "Do you suppose he's hoarding?"
Spike shook his head. "Doubt it. Hoarding instinct is keeping everything close together. This stuff is thrown all over the place. I mean, it's almost like he's...covering?" Spike said, now examining what was underneath the masses of fabric. The first thing that caught his eye was the scarlet toy chest Pinkie had gotten for him. All sorts of party favors and such were carved into its wooden frame. Then there was a patch of his wall paper, which had been made to show an autumn sunset on the western wall. A blue stretch of fabric covered this portion, and a green roll draped over the back of a red chair.
"Hey, Rares, hold up a second," Spike said, grabbing a bit of the fabric from her. He placed the fabric softly back where it had been, holding up a finger to silence her protests. "Look. What do you see?"
"A mess?" she guessed, not seeing the point of all this.
Spike shook his head, though he lacked the grin he'd had before. "No, I mean. What do you think about this room's style? About the coloring?"
Rarity arched an eyebrow, but humored Spike by looking around. "Well, aside from the mess, it's kind of depressing. Very drab, no color to catch the eye and offer any contrast. Oh, all the carefully planned work that went into this design! What was that colt thinking?"
"I think I know," Spike said, starting to gather up the fabric again. "I think he saw something he didn't want to see."
Rarity looked around the room again, and her mind clicked as she put everything together. She sighed, falling back on her haunches, as she had to accept that Prism Bolt wasn't the only one scared by the events the other day.
Prism waved as his friends and classmates left the drab hospital room. He then sighed as boredom quickly set in. He was feeling fine! Why did they want to keep him here so much? He'd gotten the nurse to bring a mirror whenever she changed his bandage, so long as he didn't pick at it before then. He loved the way the scar looked. It made him look so cool! His dad had one on his side from a crash years ago, but this was different. A scar on the face was like, a requirement to be a cool hero! It only would have been cooler if it was across one eye!
Aside from briefly admiring his new addition, however, there was nothing to do now that visiting hours were over. They'd bring him dinner in a little bit, and then the room would go completely silent until morning. His mom had, thankfully, left one of her Daring Do books with him. Daring Do and the quest for the Sapphire Stone. She'd said it was the right book, but he'd already read it before! Even forgetting that, he'd spent most of yesterday reading it again, just out of sheer boredom.
His attention was stolen by the sound of the door creaking. He turned, expecting to see the nurse with a tray of food. He would be surprised with what he saw.
"T?! How'd you get in here? They closed!" Prism sat up, looking curiously as the young dragon slipped quietly into the room.
"I... I'm really, really, really sorry!" he said, looking almost on the verge of tears.
Turquoise had been silent when the class had been in here, so Prism had not been expecting this kind of a reaction. "Hey, it was an accident! It's no big deal! Plus, it looks cool!"
Turquoise shook his head. "But I hurt you! My claws! I wish I didn't have anything like this!"
Prism did something out of place for the scene, he laughed. "Are you crazy? You can fly! You can breathe fire! You've got claws too! That's so super cool, why wouldn't you want that?"
"'Cause all it does is make ponies scared or hurt them!" he complained. "You were just trying to teach me to fly, but I screwed it up!"
Prism looked bashful at that. "Er... yeah, uh... My mom told me that she was the one who taught your dad to fly. And that dragons fly different than pegasi. So... it was kinda my fault."
Turquoise was not one to be brushed aside easily. "But what if it happens again? I could really hurt ponies!"
"Well, if you hide from it, nothing's gonna get better!" Prism shot back. "My aunt told me once that being scared means not hiding from it. Claire doesn't hide who she is, and your dad said she used to get teased a lot in Canterlot. You're the stallion, you can't be more of a wimp than she is!"
Prism knew that wasn't fair. Claire was more rowdy and tough than most colts he knew. Still, it was a good goal for a wimp like Turquoise to push for.
All the noise had drawn some attention, as the door creaked open again. Both colts turned towards the door, looking like they'd just been caught reaching for the cookie jar. The nurse, a young, cream colored unicorn, walked into the room, spotting Turquoise instantly. "Oh, hello there! I'm afraid visiting hours are over. Shouldn't you have left with your classmates?"
Turquoise muttered under his breath, looking down at the floor.
"T just wanted to make sure I was OK," Prism said, jumping in. "That's OK, right?"
The nurse looked between them, rolling her eyes. "Well, it's OK for right now, but you do need your rest. I need to clean your bandage, too. You haven't been picking at it, right?" she asked, placing a small mirror on the side table.
Prism stood still as Turquoise backed up, giving the nurse room. He watched closely as she undid the medical tape, unwrapping the gauze, and removed the bandage from Prism's muzzle. Turquoise's vision flooded with red, and the next thing he recalled was gently being nudged as he lay on the ground.
"Are you back with us?" the voice of the nurse pushed into his ears. "Take it easy, now. You just fainted. Here, sit up. Nice and slow," she guided him.
"Is he OK?" Prism asked.
"Please stay looking the other way, Prism," the nurse said in response. "Just stay here and rest for a moment, Turquoise. I have to finish Prism's bandage. Take some slow and deep breaths. Just relax."
Turquoise had worked himself into a sitting position, as the nurse requested. He felt light-headed, and slightly dizzy as well. He said nothing, just sitting there as he looked straight ahead, almost like a zombie.
A moment later and the nurse had finished. She came back over to Turquoise, placing her hoof on his chest and closing her eyes. "Hmm, your heart rate is still a little high. Tell you what, I'm going to get Prism his dinner, and I'll get a little something for you too. It wouldn't be right to send you home like you are now. Stay here for now and relax. And Prism? You keep that bandage on," she said, looking hard at him.
The door closed, filling the room with an awkward silence.
Finally! He was finally free of that lame hospital! They even said he could take the bandage off when he felt comfortable with it. This was gonna be great! Everybody would see just how cool he was with that awesome scar!
He stared into the mirror in his own bathroom, slowly pulling off the bandage and looking at the still red skin on his muzzle. Eventually, the color would fade away, but for now it actually looked like it was still bleeding. It wasn't, of course. It was dry to the touch, but it still looked that way.
He thought it was cool, but that look had been enough to send Turquoise to the ground. It had been enough to make him sick to his stomach at the thought of it, as was evidenced by him trying to eat at the hospital the other day. Prism held the bandage in his hoof as silence assaulted his thoughts.
He looked so cool, like an action hero or something.
"I guess... I'll have to be cool another way." He placed the bandage back on his muzzle, smoothing it down to make sure none of the red showed.
The door to the bathroom, half open at the time, opened all the way as his mother walked in. "Keeping it on? I thought you'd want it off right away with all the complaining you were doing," she said.
Prism was silent for a moment, before he responded. "I don't like the cut. It makes me look ugly!" he declared, running out of the room and down the hall towards his own room.
No way could he admit to something as girly as caring about somepony's feelings.
"You know, I was going to ground you for that stunt you pulled the other day," she said, making him stop in his tracks. "But I'd say you've learned your lesson. Now head downstairs, it's dinner time."
Prism paused, wondering what had changed her mind, before deciding against digging too deeply. "OK!" he said, running down the stairs.
"Don't run!" she shouted after him, sighing as she did so. Soarin poked his head around the corner, eying her with a grin.
"Didn't have the heart?" he asked.
"I meant what I said," she replied. "I think he's learned the lesson really well. It isn't all about being 'cool'."
Soarin snickered. "That coming from you? I'm shocked!"
Rainbow Dash glared at him for a moment. "Why does he get all of his bad traits from me? Why didn't he get any of yours?"
Soarin grinned like a fool. "Bad traits? What bad traits?"
She walked up to him. "Being an insufferable know-it-all, for one." She continued walking past him, letting her tail curl under his chin, lifting it up as Soarin closed his eyes and leaned forward, only to fall flat on his face as she kept walking. "Second only to being a total goofball."
"Heyyyy! Where is everyone?" came the call from downstairs, as Rainbow passed a wink to Soarin, before moving down the stairs. Soarin lagged behind, standing up and looking back into the room he'd just come out of. The dark room had a crib in the center, as the soft breathing of his son drifted to his ears.
"Heh, probably wouldn't do for you to take after me, little colt. Then your poor mom would have three of us driving her mad. Do me a favor and be a bit more grounded than me or your brother, OK?"
Where the future would lead, they'd find out in time.