The Swan Song of Adagio Dazzle

by Pony Professor

Rainbow Waltz

The girls got out of the neighborhood a little after nine in the morning. With just fifteen hours left before Adagio’s swan song ended, according to Sonata Dusk, the group had to get moving fast.
“Just outside of downtown is an abandoned apartment complex. That’s where our home is,” Sonata explained.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Outside of downtown?” Rainbow halted for a moment.
“Yes. Is there a problem?”
“Uh, no… I just didn’t hear you. L-let’s go.” They rode a city bus to a stop just a couple of blocks away from the complex, where after getting off Rainbow Dash immediately pulled up the hood of her jacket.
“Rainbow, it’s May. It’s gotta be eighty degrees outside; you can’t possibly be cold.” Applejack pulled her hood off.
“Yeah, well, it’s windy,” Rainbow replied, putting her hood back up. Applejack paused for a moment to feel the air.
“No it ain’t. There’s hardly any wind. What’s goin’ on, darlin’?”
“Nothing. I’m not hiding anything. Come on, we have to get going to Adagio.” Applejack rolled her eyes and dropped the subject. Rainbow was right; their former enemy’s predicament was more important at the moment. It didn’t stop Applejack from taking note of Rainbow’s behavior, though. Every time someone came around a corner or exited a building, Rainbow jumped slightly and hid more of her face inside her hood. She wasn’t half this skittish in Fluttershy’s neighborhood. Ironically, for all her avoiding of people, her limited view caused her to bump into a boy about her age leaving a gym.
“Oops! Sorry, ma’am, I—”
“Oh, crap!” Rainbow cursed. She had recognized the boy before he recognized her. He probably wouldn’t have thought her any more than a hooded stranger had he not knocked the hood off.
“You! What the hell are you doing back here?”
“Hey, man, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Rainbow lied, trying to diffuse the situation before her friends took notice.
“No way! You’re the girl from Fleetmare who always cheated against all our teams at Graystreet Middle!”
“Now hold on there, partner,” Applejack stepped in between them. “I know sometimes Rainbow’s too competitive for her own good, but she ain’t a cheater. What’s this all about?”
“’Ain’t a cheater,’ my ass!” the boy mocked Applejack. “Looks like she hasn’t told any of her friends at her high school why she’s all but banned from this entire district!”
“What’s all the commotion about? We’ve got to get moving,” Sunset Shimmer doubled back to retrieve the two friends that had stopped.
“This fella here says Rainbow’s been de facto banned from this area of town—somethin’ she probably shoulda mentioned to us by now.” Applejack narrowed her eyes at Rainbow Dash, who gave a big sigh in response,
“Look, dude, I swear I’ll tell them and I’ll be out of here in ten seconds flat, but we seriously do have some business to take care of, so if you really want to punish me for coming back here, you know where I live.” The boy made a fist and it appeared he was about to punch Rainbow, but saw no light of conflict in the eyes of his former foe, so he stayed his hand.
“Fine, but I’ll be letting everyone around here know you’re in the area, and they might not be so forgiving.” The boy sulked off, leaving Rainbow relieved and Applejack and Sunset Shimmer bewildered.
“Holy crap on a cracker, RD, what in all hell did you do to get an entire neighborhood wantin’ to beat you up?” Applejack asked.
“Exactly what he said, Applejack,” Rainbow Dash crossed her arms, “I cheated.”

It was fall of Rainbow Dash’s eighth grade year at Fleetmare Middle School, and the first sports of the season were holding tryouts. Rainbow Dash spent her afternoons surveying who would be her teammates on the football, soccer, and softball teams. She didn’t need to try out herself, of course. Ever since elementary school she had always been the most agile wide receiver, the fastest forward, and the strongest second baseman/home run hitter combo. If Rainbow signed up for a team, she was on it.
As she watched, though, she noticed something that she had never seen before. The other kids that were trying out were actually good. In fact, they might have even been at least twenty percent—
No. They couldn’t be better than her. No one was better than the Rainbow Dash. If they were, how could she be praised for shooting the winning goal when anyone else could just as easily? How could people tell stories about her making an impossible catch when it was suddenly not-so-impossible for other people? For the first time in years, Rainbow felt like she had to train.
Unfortunately, when she began focusing on herself, her cohesion with any of her teams fell dramatically. She’d learn the cost of needing to be the best one day after a particularly grueling soccer practice.

A boy in a gray letter jacket leaned on the fence that closed in Fleetmare Middle’s sporting areas. He observed a blur of cyan and rainbows cross the field closest to him again and again, back and forth. After fifteen straight minutes of full speed running, the blur—a girl, finally stopped to pick up her water bottle and take a drink. The boy figured it was a good a time as any to introduce himself. He hopped over the fence and called out to her,
“Hey there. You’re pushing yourself pretty hard out here.” Rainbow Dash looked around the field. She was the only one on it with the rest of Fleetmare’s team having left at least three hours ago.
“Yeah, extra suicides, is all… were you watching me all afternoon?”
“No, I was just walking around the area and only saw you for the last half-hour or so. I thought you were cute so I waited until you were done so I could hit on you. You just don’t slow down, though.”
“Well the ‘Dash’ part of my name isn’t for nothing,” Rainbow boasted.
“What’s the other part of your name?”
“Rainbow. And I’m not really looking for a boyfriend. Or a boy.”
“Oh,” the boy frowned for a split second, “Well, all dating aside, with moves like that, you must be the best player on your team.” Rainbow Dash grimaced,
“I used to be. But everyone’s all skilled this year. It’s like I don’t even stand out anymore. That’s why I’m out here getting better than skilled. When we go up against all the other schools, not only will Fleetmare be better than last year, with me powering up, we’ll be unbeatable.” She pumped her fist in triumph. The boy smirked,
“Aw, yeah? Well I’m from Graystreet Middle, and our teams are nothing to shake a stick at either. Don’t think you’ll sail into any of the district championships without a little trouble from us. See you around, Rainbow Dash.” The boy, whose name was Stormbringer, waved and left. Unfortunately, while he thought he was simply setting up a friendly rivalry with his challenge, Rainbow took his words to heart. It scared her, and she ended up not leaving the fields until well after dark that night.
Rainbow began her descent in the second game of the soccer season, which was against Graystreet. In the previous game, Fleetmare had won, but just as Rainbow Dash had feared, she didn’t perform as well as she wanted. She had one assist in the entire match, but the show was stolen by her teammates. The coach even had the nerve to take her out of the game for the last fifteen minutes!
It was a split-second decision. She was chasing down an opponent—Stormbringer, incidentally—and he was getting away from her. Rainbow Dash wouldn’t have it. She tugged his shirt, knocking him off balance, and he fell, losing the ball. Because of the angle, the referee didn’t see it, which allowed Rainbow to break away and take the ball all the way back to the other side of the field and score a brilliant goal. As she celebrated her point, she caught a glimpse of Stormbringer, the only other person on the field who knew exactly what happened to allow Rainbow to score her goal. His glare pierced her. She felt a pain in her stomach. She knew it wasn’t right. But when her teammates surrounded and hugged her, she stopped caring. She was on top again. She was the hero. Now she wasn’t Rainbow Dash, Star Among Players, she was Rainbow Dash, Star Among Stars.
In November, it was time for Fleetmare’s football team to take on Graystreet, who had gone undefeated until this game. Graystreet looked good. Too good. Even before the game started Rainbow felt a pit in her stomach. Good play might not be enough to beat them. She had to even the odds, but not by running a little harder. The game had a collection of footballs to be used over the course of play, and most of the time they sort of sat in the equipment room… unguarded.
Rainbow excused herself to use the restroom about fifteen minutes before the game began. Lucky for her, the women’s room happened to be next to the unlocked equipment room. Inside were the game balls, just sitting there. Anyone knew that slightly underinflated footballs were easier to throw and catch. If she could just let the air out of the ones her team would be using, her team—and by extension she—would really shine.
Four quarters and five touchdowns later (three scored by Rainbow Dash herself), she was proven right. Fleetmare prevailed 35 to 7 over Graystreet. It was a devastating upset for the middle school giant. Rainbow was hailed as a hero once again and she felt on top of the world. Unfortunately for her, in her celebratory tossing of the winning ball into the stands, it was caught by the boy she had met weeks ago who she had slighted in the earlier soccer game. He wasn’t going to let her get away with cheating this time.

“I couldn’t stop. Whether it was secretly fouling players or messing with equipment, I had to do something in every single game in every single sport just so I could have the edge. When you start losing the thing that makes you who you are, you want to do anything to get it back.” Rainbow Dash hung her head low in front of her friends.
“So how did you get caught?” Sunset Shimmer asked. Rainbow sighed again,
“That guy, Stormbringer, the guy we just ran into… he was on my case ever since I first fouled him in our soccer game and it didn’t get called. He started recording and taking pictures of everything I did, then sent it to every school newspaper in the district. I was kicked out of all sports for the last three months of the year, not to mention the ban on me even setting foot downtown until I graduate high school.”
“That must be why you’re at Canterlot High,” Applejack said, “We’re not in the same district as the schools Fleetmare and Graystreet Middle feed into.” Rainbow nodded confirmation. She looked up to Sonata Dusk with a determined expression, a tear in her eye.
“That story is why I’m not going to let you lose Adagio. I don’t want to see you get as desperate as I was to get the light back in your life. I didn’t have friends like now to keep me from playing dirty, but you’ve got us! No matter what happens, I’m here for you. We all are.” Sonata nodded, then checked her watch,
“Well if you want to keep that promise we have just short of twelve hours to go before Adagio’s swan song ends! We’re just a few blocks away—let’s go!”
The girls dashed off in the direction of the abandoned apartment complex. As they neared, a voice echoed off the brick walls. A beautiful voice. It was a voice that could arrest someone with its melody and bring them to their knees. It sounded like an orchestra in vocal form. There was a magic to it. A magic that would make anyone suspect that the voice’s source was not of this world. It had to be Adagio Dazzle’s song.
“We’re still blocks away! How can her voice reach this far?” Pinkie Pie asked as they headed toward the sirens’ home.
“We’re sirens, remember?” Sonata Dusk huffed as she ran, “To tell you the truth, if we had decided to just blend into the school instead of taking it over, there would have been a lot more singing like this instead of those mind control ballads we were using.”
Moments later, the girls finally reached the apartment complex where Aria Blaze was still keeping Adagio company and doing her best to stop the swan song on her own. Sunset Shimmer was about to ask which room they were in when a brilliant glow caught her eye. Yellow light was pouring out of windows on the top floor of one of the the three-story buildings.
“I take it that’s Adagio,” Sunset said.
“Oh, no, it’s worse than I thought!” Sonata gasped and fell to her knees. She began bawling uncontrollably.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” Fluttershy rushed to her side.
“I thought we had half a day left! I must have miscounted or something! That glow can only mean one thing: Adagio’s already in the final chorus.”