The Golden Crusade

by TheGreatEater

Cloud Kicker

Cloud Kicker was kicking off her weekend with a nice relaxing flight over Ponyville. Captain Dash had everything well in hoof, and with a four day schedule for sunny skies to ensure the leaves in Whitetail Woods were dry enough for the Running of the Leaves, everything seemed to be in order.

Even with her day starting off well enough, she couldn’t shake the feeling of nervousness building up in her gut. Which for her was strange, knowing the source was a hot date. She was Cloud Kicker, Equestria’s third most eligible bachelorette. Sure, she had a reputation that she didn’t want to color her date, but Raindrops was a cool pony.

And even with the reputation she had gained in Ponyville, Canterlot, and certain circles in Vanhoover, Raindrops never paid much attention to it. Their history with each other started long before Cloud Kicker’s reputation as a playgirl ever began.

*11 years prior*

The Kicker Clan was of the lowest tiers of nobility, and had been for more centuries than Cloud could hope to imagine. It was rumored that Celestia had tried raising them beyond the rank of Dominus, but was declined, respectfully, on the subject.

They were first given nobility for their aid in not only the Lunar Rebellion, but also in the following generations where they fought to maintain order and safety during the Interim, the dark ages when Celestia had retreated from ponykind, before she founded Canterlot a few generations later.

But Cloud Kicker, as well-off as she was, was an anomaly in her clan. The first pegasus in generations who never finished her guard training, nor had any interest in the REAF. It wasn’t to say that her family didn’t love her nonetheless, but when she got a sun on her flank rather than the usual gamut of martial cutie marks, or cutie marks that would be useful on the battlefield, she felt she had to get some space between herself and her family.

She stood before the imposing specimen of mare and stallion that were her parents. Her father, Wall Kicker, was a russet-colored mountain of a stallion with an amber mane, and piercing blue, hawk like eyes. Hurricane Storm, her mother, was azure blue, with every bit of muscle and size as her husband, plus a sea green mane and smokey grey eyes. Scuffing her forehoof on the linoleum floor, it was her father that spoke up first. His gold mane and amethyst coat looking strangely naked without his military gear on.

“Are you sure about this decision, young lady?” His deep voice seemed to fill the room with his rumbling tone.

“Yes, sir,” Cloud Kicker replied, her downcast gaze unable to meet her parents in the eye.

“You know, you could stay here while attending your schooling, it wouldn’t be a problem,”
Her mother commented, her voice voice every bit as deep and powerful as her husband’s.

“I know, but I had to stay in the barracks when training to be a guard, and now that, that’s not possible, it’s only fair that I stay in the dorms in Weather School.”

“Well there’s always a place for you here if you change your mind,” Her mother replied, giving a rare, but much-needed nuzzle.

Cloud Kicker leaned into the azure blue coat of her mother a while before looking for the first time into her parent’s eyes. “I’m sorry!” She blurted.

Her parents looked at her in confusion before her father replied, “What for?”

“Every Kicker in since forever has joined the Royal Guard or served in the REAF, but I’m not… I… Am I still a Kicker?” Cloud Kicker asked, sniffling.

Her parents just laughed, pulling her into a warm, strong embrace. “Yes, you silly filly!” Her father replied, “Even if your cutie mark isn’t a military one, you’re still our daughter, and we’ll love you no matter what you do in life. Just as long as you uphold the family’s honor and carry yourself like a Kicker. As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters. Alright?”

Cloud Kicker could only nod. Tomorrow would be the first day of her new life.


It was during that time I met Ditzy and Raindrops. Ditzy had it the hardest, being a ten-year-old mother after making a foolish mistake during her first estrus. But both of them made being away from home a whole lot easier. There I was, a scared little filly, still trying to find my way in life, but a single mother, trying to learn a job that was stacked against her, and a pony with a rougher past than me, would show me how to be a better pony.

I owe them a lot, but I need to be careful with Raindrops. If I’m going to be her first marefriend, I can’t mess this up like I did with the others. I haven’t spoken with her for a while. I wanted to give her time to get settled in with Scootaloo. I still can't believe she was homeless for so long! My training should have spotted something, but then again, I’ve been busy, what with guarding and looking after Alula. Well, as much as one can look over an alicorn filly who’s as old as she is. Still, I need to get my head in the game.

It didn’t take her long to spot Raindrops, who seemed as lost down memory lane as Cloud Kicker, and drifted down to greet her.

“Hey’ya Dropsy, how’ve you been?” Cloud Kicker shouted, swooping down beside her.

“Busy,” Raindrops sighed, “But good. How about yourself?”

“You know me, life can never keep me down,” Cloud Kicker stated with a cocky grin, drawing a chuckle from Raindrops.

“I wish I had your confidence sometimes,” Raindrops replied, “So about our date… We haven’t talked about it much. Do you know where you want to go?”

“You don’t need to worry about a thing,” Cloud Kicker said, wrapping a wing across Raindrops’ barrel, “I’ll make it the most memorable first date you could ever dream of.”

"Alright," Raindrops squeaked, blushing profusely

Cloud Kicker nuzzled her neck playfully, whispering, “you know you’re cute when you blush.”

Seeing Raindrops turn beat red brought a chuckle to Cloud Kicker’s lips. “But seriously Dropsy, don’t worry about a thing. So… Do you need help with anything today?”

Raindrops took a moment to fan herself with her wings to fight back the burning in her face. Darnit! I’m getting all flustered like a school filly! Keep it cool, Raindrops. Keep. It. Cool. “Ah-hum, well, I could use an extra pair of wings with my shopping, if that’s alright with you?”

“Yeah, sure,” Cloud Kicker replied, “I’m free for the rest of the day,”

“You know, this kind of reminds me of when we first met.”

“How so?

“Well, you flying down, brimming with confidence, and coming across like a giant flirt, but being really nice.”

“Yeah,” Cloud Kicker muttered, rubbed the back of her head. The day they met was probably the fifth most embarrassing moment in her life. Far below the time she lost that bar of soap in one of her exes during their bathtime adventures, but definitely above that time her and Dash got banned from Cloudsdale’s noodle shop for life.

The walk was filled with awkwardness as neither Raindrops nor Cloudkicker knew what to say first. Raindrops, because she was nervous about being with her first serious romantic interest, and Cloudkicker, because all the thoughts that came into her head were cheesy one liners.

After minutes of silence, Raindrops that started the conversation going,“So, are you thinking about cheesy one liners to break the ice?”

“What?! How’d you know that?” Cloud Kicker squawked as her wings flared.

“We’ve been friends for years now. It’s one of the first things you usually do with a new pony that you’re with,” Raindrops replied with a grin.

“Ha! Yeah I do do that don’t I? Well, yeah… I was thinking about that, but you’ve already heard them all already.”

“I guess that’s what I get for being a sounding board for when you’re trying out a new pickup line,” Raindrops laughed. It was something that they’d done in their friendship since they were fillies. Cloudkicker would have a friend, usually Raindrops, listen to a one liner she was planning on trying out on a date, helping her fine tune it, and weed out the few rather horrible ones. With the list they ended up with, Cloud Kicker could probably sell a book on them. Everything between the very good and the utterly pathetic would probably make her rich, if she wasn’t already obscenely wealthy from being born a Kicker.

“Well, at least I can say that with you and Ditzy being there to help, you’ve helped me save more dates than I can imagine,” Cloudkicker retorted, giving Raindrops a playful bump with her toned flank, “So what’re we going to get at the market anyways?”

“I… I forgot,” Raindrops admitted, blushing.

“I tend to have that effect on ponies,” Cloudkicker teased, making Raindrops blush even harder.

Raindrops’ wings fluttered at her sides, trying to cover her red face, before deciding to change tactics, “So how’s Alula?”

“She’s doing well. I think she’s ready to hit her next big growth spurt next year,” Cloudkicker replied proudly.

“That’s good, when was her last one?”

“Umm… About 15 years ago? Give or take five years.”

“It must be rough being an alicorn filly. None of the ponies in Ponyville give her any trouble do they?”

“Nah, not in the least. I really wish she’d have a few serious friends, though. After the Rainbow Dash Club disbanded a few years back, she hasn’t really been able to keep in touch with them.”

“Well, if she wants, I’m sure I could talk Scootaloo into hanging out with her… Maybe.”

“Sure, it’d give Alula somepony to play with, and who knows, she might finally get a fillyfriend of her own. She’s nearing that age, I think. Not quite sure about alicorn fillies, but Princess Celestia does come see her from time to time to help with alicorn stuff.

“So what about you and Scootaloo? I know Rainbow Dash sings praises of her little sister, but what’s she been like with you?”

“Confusing,” Raindrops admitted, “She’s friends with Princess Luna, even going as far as being able to speak to her without any formalities, has a friend who’s a dragon with about as many diplomas as Twilight Sparkle, and her big sister is Rainbow Dash.

“It makes everything that I’ve ever had to deal with in other fillies and colts seem completely alien… But I wouldn’t trade it for anything, at least while she’s in my care. She really is a sweet filly, and I only hope she gets a good family.”

“Why not you?” Cloud Kicker asked.

“You know why,” Raindrops sighed. Cloud Kicker shook her head, sighing heavily.

“You aren’t cursed to be alone, you know. And you deserve to be happy.”

“But what of my past? I wasn’t the pony I am today. Foals need somepony better.”

“Better than you?” Cloud Kicker tsked, “Listen, Dropsy. Ponies change. I’m sure if the Raindrops you were as a filly could see you as an adult, she’d agree with me that you’d be a great mom. I mean, just look at how well you’ve done with helping with Amethyst and Dinks! Ditzy’s told me plenty of times over a cold one, how much she appreciates the help you’ve given.”

“Well, yeah, but …”

“But nothing,” Cloud Kicker nuzzled Raindrops while resting a wing on her withers, “You’re fine, and things between you will be fine. You just need to have as much faith in yourself as your friends do.”

Raindrops nodded. I really am different from how I used to be... Thanks, Cloud Kicker, I’m really lucky to have you and Ditzy as friends.