• Published 13th May 2013
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The Incredibly Grumpy Life of a Weather Pony - Ponibius



Raindrops clocks in and out every day for her job with set-in-stone expectations. Unfortunately for her, with the worst storm in her career blowing in from the Everfree Forest, and to make matters worse: Cloud Kicker's nymphomania.

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The Incredibly Grumpy Life of a Weather Pony

The Incredibly Grumpy Life of a Weather Pony

It was raining toads. Even by the crazy standards of the weather that came out of the Everfree Forest, this was weird.

For the record, getting smacked with a toad while bucking away clouds isn’t very fun. In fact, it really stings. It was proving to be the highlight of what was probably the most miserable month I’d ever had since joining the weather service. Dealing with wild weather was par for the course when you worked in a weather department right next to the Everfree Forest. If you just wanted to push normal, fluffy, white clouds all day instead of doing real work, then you should find a job around one of the big cities in Equestria.

But, that said, this month sucked! Every day for the last month, the Everfree Forest had seen fit to throw one storm after another Ponyville’s way. This would have been way more rain than the area needed. If we had let everything through, the ground-based ponies probably would have needed boats to get around town. It was the weather service’s understanding that the ground-pounders didn’t like to swim to get to work everyday, so it was the weather team’s job to break up all those clouds at the border of the forest. If they had been normal, Cloudsdale-produced clouds, we might have been able to arrange something with nearby communities to have them use the errant clouds or have stored them for our own use, but that just wasn’t an option due to the freaky magic the forbidden forest had on its weather.

Thus it came down to monotonous, dreary, and exhausting non-stop cloud bucking. Hours and hours of cloud bucking. To make the experience even more enjoyable, I’d been on night shift the entire month. So even though I was piling up bits from all the cloud bucking, it was hard to just go out and spend them, due to nearly everything being closed up during and after work. And that was assuming I even had energy to do anything but drag my sore plot to bed after putting in a ten or twelve hour shift.

Another toad hit me in the face as I flew into position to buck another cluster of clouds into oblivion. I let out a low, grumbling sigh and scraped the thing off my face. I lifted up my goggles to rub at my tired eyes, I heard ponies talking above me, and I looked up to see the two laziest members of the Ponyville Weather Team. A lavender mare by the name of Cloud Kicker was sitting on a cloud opposite of my weather manager, Rainbow Dash.

Cloud Kicker was giving Dash a mischievous grin. “So, I really want to try out the Cthulhu model I just got the other day. The Empress is really good, but after a while you want to try something new.” She nudged Dash in the side. “You know what I mean?”

Rainbow Dash scooted a few more steps away from Cloud Kicker. “Ugh, this weird stuff again? Can we talk about something else other than banging?” Given Cloud Kicker was Ponyville’s resident sex maniac, I think I had a pretty good idea what type of instruments they were talking about.

Cloud Kicker nudged Dash in the shoulder. “If you want, I could loan you one to play with.”

Dash looked like she’d just eaten a bug. “Loan out ... ew, no, not when its been ... there.”

“Hey, I clean them after I use ‘em,” Cloud Kicker said. “I’m not unsanitary here.”

“And I’ll say again, ew,” Dash said, sticking her tongue out.

Cloud Kicker was about to reply when I interrupted. “So, when were you two planning on getting back to work instead of gabbing?” I glowered. I landed on their cloud to take a moment to rest my wings.

“Relax, Dropsy,” Cloud Kicker said, using that annoying nickname she came up with. Even worse, everypony else on the weather team had picked it up. She patted the cloud next to her. “Sit down and take a load off for a while. You know we do get breaks every so often, right?”

I crossed my forelegs over my chest. “I think it’d be nice to not have to be here until the morning shift showed up.” I had to resist the temptation to sit down and do exactly what she asked. Just landing and not flapping my wings anymore was more than enough to remind me how weary I was. I’m not a lazy pony. I like to think of myself as a hard worker, but even I got tired of twelve hour nights after a certain point.

Dash spread her wings, stretching them out. I could almost hear the weary bones creaking. “Don’t get all bent out of shape. As long as we keep it nice and sunny enough over Ponyville, we’ll be fine.” She laid down on her back. “You need to learn how to relax more.”

“Doesn’t mean we should slack off,” I told Dash. The fact Dash looked like she was about to take a nap struck a note of irritation in me. As the fastest flier on the team, Dash could get her assigned work done in no time. At least in comparison to a slower pegasus like me. Okay, it would be fairer to say I’m like a flying brick. I got my work done plodding along, but it was irksome to see somepony like Dash zip around, rushing to get everything done as quickly as possible, just so she can get her regular naps while there was still other work being done.

Cloud Kicker rolled her shoulders. “It’s going to be like this until the Everfree stops acting weird. No sense driving ourselves into the ground over it.”

I felt my temper flare a little more. I’ll admit, I have some anger management issues. I’ve learned to keep it under control most of the time, but the hard work of the last couple of weeks was wearing on me. “Maybe I don’t want to leave a bunch of work for the day team to deal with. You know most of them aren’t full-time weather ponies.”

Dash waved her hoof nonchalantly. “They’ll be fine. Bucking clouds isn’t that hard, and if they get into trouble, it’s easier to draft more pegasi during the day than at night.”

That was mostly true. The local weather manager always had the right to conscript pagasi in the event the full-time cloud pushers got overtaxed, though that isn’t to say the weather manager could do that willy-nilly. Most ponies had lives of their own, and they didn’t like to be pulled away from them. The majority of them didn’t want to be cloud bucking when they could be improving their own business or when it was time to bring their kids home from school. So, if a weather manager leaned on the pegasi around her too hard, they would get upset, and they could make their displeasure known. Everypony knew somepony, and there were ways for them to express the resentment at being “abused” by their local weather manager.

As a result of all that and the recent craziness in the weather, it had been decided to move most of the regular weather ponies to the night shifts and conscript pegasi around town to fill in the gaps during the day. Us full-time weather ponies could just deal. Kinda just part of the job that the hours were going to suck sometimes. Still, I didn’t like the idea of dumping work on others like Dash was suggesting. It just went against my grain.

“Shouldn’t you be, I don’t know, managing everypony, instead of lying there on your lazy flank?” I asked.

Dash shrugged. “Egh, everypony knows what they’re doin’, and they know where to find me if there’s a problem. Relax.”

“You know, you could show a bit more initiative, given you’re the boss, Dash,” I growled.

After a long, frustrated sigh, Dash sat up. “Fine. My break is about over anyways.” She stretched her wings and gave them a couple of flaps.

Cloud Kicker waved at Dash. “See ya, Boss.”

“Oh no.” Dash pushed Cloud Kicker to get her to her hooves. “If I’m getting back to work, then you are too. You started your break when I did.”

Cloud Kicker flashed Dash an amused smirk. “I seem to remember catching you napping on this cloud.” That fact wouldn’t have surprised me in the least. The Boss was a bit infamous for how much she liked her naps.

Dash blew a raspberry at Cloud Kicker. “Details.” She turned towards me. “And take your break already, Dropsy. You look about ready to drop. Hehe, get it? Drop, Raindrops, Dropsy?”

I rolled my eyes “Yeah, got it. But I’m fine,” I stated resolutely. I mean sure, my wings felt like they were going to fall off, my back legs felt like lead weights due to all the cloud bucking I had been doing, and I could barely see straight anymore, but I was still good to go.

Dash narrowed her eyes at me. “Uh-huh, when’s the last time you took a break?”

“Um.” I had to think back. The whole night had been one long, rain-and-toad-filled daze. “When I took my lunch break.”

Dash’s eyes widened. “But that was almost four hours ago!”

I found myself sitting, despite what my brain wanted my body to do. Stupid achey rear legs. “More like three. I take my breaks late. Makes the rest of the shift seem shorter that way.”

Dash put a hoof on my back. “Just take your break already.”

“I’m fine,” I huffed.

“I don’t need you spraining your wings and crashing,” Dash said. I was about to object when she cut me off. “That’s an order! Take your fifteen, and then you can get back to work.” I didn’t like her telling me how to do my job, or her snippish tone with me. Big surprise, I wasn’t the only one whose temper was fraying. In any event, I knew my limits, but at the end of the day she was the boss. There are some fights that aren’t worth fighting.

Cloud Kicker wrapped her unwelcome leg around my shoulders. “Hey, if you’re worried about not wearing yourself out at work, I have a couple ideas on something we could do once we clock out for the night to fix that.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively at me.

I shot Cloud Kicker a glare. “Hey, Cloud. Remember that talk we had about bad touching?”

Cloud Kicker smirked. “Yeah.”

“You’re doing it,” I stated plainly.

Cloud Kicker pulled the leg off. “Aw, you’re no fun.” Her cheerful demeanor was starting to irritate me, in addition to all the other stuff she did that irritated me.

“And you’re lazy,” I shot back.

“Love you too, Dropsy.” Cloud Kicker stood up and stretched her back. Somehow, I doubted the angle she did it from my point of view was by accident. It rarely was where she was concerned. “And I didn’t hear a ‘no.’”

I waved for her to leave. “Get back to work, you lazy bum.”

“So that’s a maybe?” Cloud Kicker teased.

My hoof found its way to my face.

***

Getting hit in the face with hail is about as fun as you would expect. Which is to say, not at all. The first time, it’s a sting-y surprise. It’s a novel experience about the first dozen times. By the hundredth time it’s happened, you’re pretty darn sick of it. By what had to be the thousandth frozen ball of water, I was pretty livid. By that point, I had declared the storm to be my moist-y and fluffy enemy who I would see destroyed with my unbridled fury.

“Dropsy, your turn for monster watch,” Dash called out to me.

“Alright, Boss.” I finished bucking the group of clouds I had been working away at. I was gasping for breath, whether more out of anger or fatigue I wasn’t sure. I had found hatred to be a pretty good source of energy and motivation I could harness towards constructive purposes. Plus, this storm had earned my wrath. I didn’t want to even think about how many bruises I’d be looking at in the mirror when I got home.

The rain didn’t exactly help my mood. There had been a cold, miserable rain on top of the hail, the type of rain that sapped your energy and left you numb. Normally, I loved the rain. I mean, just look at my name and cutie mark! I loved the feel of the rain as it ran over my coat and feathers, splashing in the puddles, and how the winds blew on the edge of the storm. But we had long ago reached the point of too much of a good thing. Rainstorms had gone from something I looked forward to on the weather schedule to an endless grind that blurred day after day together. There’s nothing worse than having something you love turn into something you hate.

With my immediate work done, I flew up to where the team had set up a cloud for our lookout to perch on. Due to working this close to the Everfree Forest for this length of time, it was necessary for us to keep a watch for any monsters that might come out of the forest looking for pony-sized snacks. The Guard’s Long Patrol was supposed to be sending extra patrols out this way, due to us having to keep the weather under control, but it paid to be cautious where the forest was considered.

I normally considered keeping watch to be the most boring job you could do, given it was just you looking around for at least half an hour, but the way I was feeling, it would be a welcome relief to my aching muscles. It was almost the end of the week, and I was looking forward to my one day off. It wasn’t much of a break, given our grueling schedule, but it was something.

I landed on the cloud and found Cloud Kicker to be sitting there, her head turning this way and that, looking for problems. I’d half expected to see her napping. We had a few ponies who tried to pull that every once in a while, especially with everypony as bushed as we were.

Cloud Kicker gave me a courteous nod. “Hey, Dropsy. You taking over the watch?”

“Yeah,” I said. I wasn’t in the mood for a conversation with Cloudy. Banging was about the last thing on my mind at the moment.

She removed the goggles she’d been wearing. They were the magically enchanted pair we had that could let a pony see almost as if the night were day. It didn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out why that might be helpful for somepony keeping watch in the middle of the night during a storm.

Cloud Kicker passed the the goggles to me. “Here you go.” She rubbed at her eyes. “All’s quiet on the Everfree front.” I replied with a neutral grunt as I switched between my own goggles and the enchanted pair. “Well geez, Dropsy. Aren’t you a chatterbox tonight?”

“I don’t want to talk,” I said. “I just want to do my job, get through the night, and then go to bed so that I can enjoy my day off tomorrow.”

Her ears perked up. “Hey, I have tomorrow off too. Want to hang out? I’m still new to town, and it’d be nice do something with somepony.”

“No, got other plans.” That wasn’t quite true. Unless sleeping counted as a plan. It’s just that I needed some time away from my coworkers after spending what felt like nearly every waking hour with them.

Her shoulders slumped. “Ah, alright then.” She stood up and stretched out her legs, making them audibly pop. “Hope you enjoy your day off then.” I gave her an affirmative grunt. She shrugged and jumped off the cloud and flew elsewhere.

I sighed and shook my head. I felt like I’d been a bit ruder than I’d intended, but I was in a foul mood. My mind worked sluggishly on what I could have done to be nicer to her, but my brain wasn’t being particularly cooperative. It seemed that my grey matter had decided to turn in for the night.

I sat down, looking forward to some peace and quiet. That wasn’t what I got when my plot met the lightning cloud hidden just below the surface. My body convulsed when the electricity coursed through my body, and my nostrils detected the scent of slightly singed pony. Luckily, we pegasi are highly resistant to electricity. It would be pretty dumb for us to go around pushing and bucking lightning clouds if we weren’t.

Still, it didn’t make getting electrocuted a barrel of fun.

I heard ponies laughing after I regained my senses from the jolt. My cheeks burned as I realized I had fallen for one of the oldest foalhood pranks in the book. I turned to see Cloud Kicker rolling on her stomach, laughing uproariously at me as she pounded the cloud she was on with a hoof. I put two and two together and came up with that everything was Cloud Kicker’s fault. Something snapped.

I flew over to Cloud Kicker and gave her a fierce glower. Her eyes widened when I landed on the cloud she was on and she stood up quickly as I stomped over to her. “That wasn’t funny!” I yelled, giving her a rough shove.

“Hey, relax!” She shoved me back when I tried to get closer to her. “It’s just a prank. Haha? Lighten the mood a bit?”

I got right in her face. Our heads collided with enough force to almost be considered a headbutt. I’d reached the end of my mental rope. I was tired, sore, and I didn’t need this feathering horseapples right then. “I said that wasn’t funny!” My forehead grinded painfully against Cloud Kicker’s as we both pushed against the other.

Hey!” Dash landed and forced her way between us. “Break it up, you two!”

I jabbed a hoof Cloud Kicker’s way. “She started it!” Since Cloud Kicker had brought things down to schoolfilly level it was only appropriate I respond in kind.

“It was just a dumb prank!” Cloud Kicker yelled back at me, her wings flaring out. “You didn’t need to start a fight!”

“I don’t care who did what!” Dash gave each of us a pointed glare. “You both need to cool down!”

Some rational part in the back of my mind told me that the Boss was laying down the law and that I better keep my trap shut. Unfortunately, my brain and mouth weren’t always on speaking terms. “You can’t possibly be standing—”

Dash made a slashing motion to cut me off. “Not a word! Keep it up and I’m sending you home!” That warning did a pretty good job of finally shutting me up. Dash glared back and forth between the both of us. “I know everypony’s cranky right now, but I’m not going to watch you beat the tar out of each other. You got it?”

I grumbled something that almost sounded like a “yes” while Cloud Kicker looked away and nodded her head. I couldn’t believe Dash was standing up for Cloud Kicker after pulling a fillyhood prank on me.

“Listen up, both of you,” Dash said, lifting herself into the air so that everypony that had gathered to see what was happening could see her. “You can’t spell weather team without team.” I resisted the urge to facehoof. Thankfully, a couple of my fellow cloud-pushers did it for me. “Everypony is going to work together, or they can’t be part of my team.” I didn’t feel that Cloud Kicker deserved to be on the team at the moment, but I guessed my opinion didn’t matter next to the Boss’s. Dash flashed a devilish grin at Cloud Kicker and my direction. “So here’s what’s gonna happen: Cloudy, Dropsy, you’re both assigned to work as a team until I say otherwise.”

“What!?” I yelled. What was Dash thinking? I’d nearly socked Cloud Kicker a minute ago for the crap she pulled, and now she wanted me to work side-by-side with her? Cloud Kicker should be the only one getting punished.

Cloud Kicker raised a hoof. “Um, not sure that’s a great idea, Boss.”

“Course it is. In fact, it’s a great idea.” Dash was all but patting herself on the back. “You two learn to work together, or I will send you both packing. Got it?”

I considered arguing with Dash on this, but the look on her smug face told me that this wasn’t an argument I was going to win. Once Dash got an idea in her head, you might as well try to move a mountain as to change it.

“Got it,” I said, grinding my teeth. Hopefully I could do this without producing a corpse.

Cloud Kicker shrugged. “Sure, I’m willing to play nice. Won’t be half as bad as some of the ponies I had to work with at West Hoof.”

Dash crossed her forelegs and nodded. “Good, you two can start working together first thing next week.”

I had a feeling next week was going to be a long one.

***

“Hey, Dropsy,” Cloud Kicker called out, having finished bucking away the cloud she was working on. “Let’s take our break now.”

“Let’s do it later.” I was busily bucking away at a group of condensed moisture near Cloud Kicker. “I’m still running strong.”

I always liked to put off my breaks until later in the day. It made the second part of the day seem a lot shorter, but Cloud Kicker couldn’t seem to wait to take her breaks right at even intervals. I didn’t like having my way of doing things messed with, and having to work with Cloud Kicker was messing with my style in more than one way. We’d tried doing our breaks separate from one another the first day we both got back to work, but Dash had been on me minutes into Cloud Kicker’s first break while I was still working. She wanted to know where Cloud Kicker was and why we weren’t bucking clouds together. At the end of the day, it was just easier for the both of us to take breaks at the same time.

Cloud Kicker folded her forelegs over her chest. “We did the breaks your way yesterday, today it’s my turn.” She batted her eyes at me. “Play nice.”

I rubbed at my face. She did have a point. Plus getting into a huge argument over this was not going to help my cause. “Alright, we’ll take a break now.”

The two of us flew up to the break clouds the weather team had anchored down above the general storm. We both landed, and Cloud Kicker took a moment to stretch her wings, probably to work a kink out of them.

There was a heavy moment of silence between us. I’d been meaning to say something for a while now, but I hadn’t managed to work up the courage to say it. I wasn’t scared or anything, it was just awkward. “Okay, so, I hate you and you hate me,” I blurted out.

Cloud Kicker raised an eyebrow at me. “I don’t hate you. In fact, I kinda like you. I just think you could learn to relax a bit. Life isn’t all about work, you know.”

That response surprised me. I’d planned for this conversation to go a couple of ways, but that wasn’t one of them. I cocked an eyebrow. “You like me?”

“Yeah. You’re a hard worker, and your heart always seems to be in the right place.” She smirked and nudged me in the side. “Plus, you’re a handsome gal, if you don’t mind me saying so.”

“Wait...” I thought over the fact that she had just called me ‘handsome.’ “Did you just say I look like a colt?” I’ll admit to not being the most dainty of ponies, but saying I looked like a stallion was kinda insulting.

She gave me a sultry smirk. “I’m saying you’re good-looking.”

I groaned now that Cloud Kicker had taken the wind out of my sails. The burning in my cheeks didn’t make me feel any better. I had gotten this whole big speech ready about us just acting like adults and working together even if we didn’t like it, but one sentence in and she had already derailed me. She seemed good at that type of thing.

I ran a hoof through my mane. “Okay, let’s try this again: I dislike you, and you kinda like me. Point is, we gotta work together, unless we want new jobs.” I let out a long breath as I worked up the nerve to say what needed to be said. It shouldn’t be hard; I had practiced in front of the mirror. “So ... I just wanted to apologize for snapping at you the other day. I lost my temper and acted unprofessionally. I’m sorry.” There, I’d said it.

“Aw, Dropsy,” Cloud Kicker said, giving me a warm smile. “I always knew you were a sweetheart.”

“What I’m not sorry for is reacting,” I snapped. I felt my anger rising due to Cloud Kicker’s teasing, but I fought it down. Cloud Kicker being Cloud Kicker hadn’t exactly been a surprise. “That was a stupid prank that I’d expect from a schoolfilly, not a grown mare. I got enough of that, and I don’t need it while I’m on the clock.”

Her wings shifted in place, the smile fading from her face. "It was just a prank, Drops. Didn't intend hard feelings."

I shook my head. “Whatever. I overreacted. I’ve got a temper, and it got the better of me. I was tired and cranky at the time, and while that’s not an excuse for how I acted, I didn’t need you electrocuting me either. We both acted stupid at the end of the day.”

“So now that we’ve apologized to one another...” Cloud Kicker lifted a hoof for me to shake. “Friends?”

I looked at her hoof for a moment before looking away from it. “I’m sorry, I just don’t see the two of us being friends.” I felt like a complete heel right there. It would have been easy for me to have shook her hoof right there and then, but it would have felt dishonest. It wouldn’t have been what I felt in my heart. I could see her as a co-worker, sure. But as a friend? No.

Cloud Kicker’s ears flattened on her head, and she lowered her hoof. “Oh, okay then.” She looked out the way of the Everfree. “So, we better get to work then.”

“Yeah.” I swallowed, my heart sinking. “Better.”

***

On reflection, I would have felt a lot better if I’d known how long I was going to be teamed up with Cloud Kicker. I’m not big on surprises. I like to know what’s going to happen. It keeps me from doing something stupid like what got me into this whole mess to start with. Instead, I was stuck in administrative limbo where Dash was concerned. Hay, I was willing to bet Dash hadn’t even thought about how long Cloud Kicker and I were going to work together. Dash is a spur of the moment type of pony.

At least our first couple of days working together had gone smoothly. There wasn’t a whole lot to it really. The two of us just had to buck clouds near one another and not get into arguments. The biggest thing the two of us disagreed on was when to take our breaks, and we had agreed to just trade off on who got to decide.

Cloud Kicker wasn’t even as lazy as I thought she would be. I guess the fact she alway hung out with the Boss had rubbed off on my impression of her.

Everypony on the team was waiting outside of the townhall to get started for the night. I was doing my workout routine to limber up my muscles when Dash touched down among us. “Alright, everypony. I just confirmed that its going to be more of the usual.” We all groaned in protest. I was beginning to wonder if this stupid storm was ever going to stop. It was getting to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised to see a massive flood flow out of the forest to put us all knee-deep in water.

Dash glowered at the lot of us. “Hey, I don’t like it any more than any of you, but it’s what we need to do, so it’s what we’re going to do. But I did get word that the Princess is sending some ponies to see if there is anything in the forest that is causing this and if they can stop it.” So the Princess might be doing something that might help, grand. “Alright everypony, time to—” She stopped and looked in Cloud Kicker’ direction. “Hey, Cloudy? Where’re your goggles?”

Cloud Kicker’s eyes widened and her hoof started exploring her face, looking for said goggles. “Argh! I forgot them back home!”

“Well, go get them.” Dash pointed in what I figured was the direction of Cloud Kicker’s house. “You know the rule: no working with storms without safety goggles.” Cloud Kicker sagged at that. This meant that she was going to get marked down as being late for work. If you weren’t ready for work, then as far as attendance was concerned, you weren’t there. It kinda sucked, but that’s the way it was.

This wasn’t terrible news for me. It would let me work at my own pace and way, at least for a little while, until Cloud Kicker got back. But... “I got a spare pair she can use,” I announced, pulling the spare pair of goggles I had in my lunchbox for myself for the odd occasion I forgot my first pair. It paid to be prepared.

Yeah, I could have let Cloud Kicker hang out to dry relatively guilt-free, but that’s not how I do things. I believe you look out for the ponies around you. Even if you aren’t wild about them.

Cloud Kicker took the offered goggles from me. “Thanks, Dropsy. You’re a pal. You moved right up on the bangability list.”

I shrugged and looked away. I really hoped I wasn’t blushing. Great, now she had to make me feel all awkward again. “Eh, don’t worry about it. You can give them back after work.”

Dash was starting to lead the team off towards the Everfree Forest, and Cloud Kicker and I followed after them.

“Hey, we could do something after work, if you like,” Cloud Kicker said, her wing pumping to pick up speed.

“I’ll think about it,” I said neutrally. “Depends on how I feel at the end of the day.”

Cloud Kicker nodded her head. “Sounds good. There’s this great place in town I was hoping to try out called the Sun’s Flank and...”

***

“Oh, no-no-no-no-nooo!” I yelled in denial. I was desperately looking through my lunchbag, finding it as empty as my growling stomach. I stuck my muzzle into the bag. “Don’t tell me I forgot to pack my baguette?!” Lunch had become one of my few luxuries over the past month, and the idea that I was going to go without it had pretty much ruined the night for me. I lay my head on the cloud I was sitting on, and I covered my eyes with my hooves. My lunchbag had found its way to the top of my head, its handle hooked around my jaw.

I felt somepony approach me. I removed the bag and saw somepony holding a sub in front of my muzzle. Something with lettuce and tomato by the looks of it. Looking up I saw Cloud Kicker smiling down at me.

Cloud Kicker prodded me in the shoulder. “Looks like you could use this.”

I sat up and shook my head. “Nah, you don’t need to do that. I’m fine.” My stomach disagreed, loudly.

Cloud Kicker chuckled after my stomach growled. “It’s fine, I already got my fill. And no offense, but you can be grouchy enough without being hungry.”

“Only a little bit,” I said, picking up the offered sandwich.

“Only a little lot,” Cloud Kicker teased.

“Just when I’m in a bad mood,” I defended myself.

“Which is how often?” she asked.

“More often than I should.” I took a bite out of the sub.

She gave me a mischievous smirk. “I have a couple ideas on how to put you in a better mood.” It didn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out what Cloud Kicker had in mind. “It’s one way to deal with all the stress I’m sure you have built up.”

I scoffed. “You’re relentless.” I ripped off another bite.

She leaned an elbow on my shoulder. “Still not hearing a ‘no.’”

No, I guess she wasn’t.

***

“So ... tornadoes today?” I said, looking out at the trio of growing funnels of wind that were approaching the ground near the edge of the Everfree Forest. Cloud Kicker, Dash, Derpy, and I were perched on a cloud looking on as the troublesome weather built itself up. Weather we were going to have to deal with here soon, unless we wanted to explain to the farmers along the border of the forest why we thought it was a good idea to let some tornadoes destroy everyponies crops. Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think they were going to buy any excuses.

Rainbow Dash wrung her hooves together. “Looks like it.” She grinned, radiating with excitement. She would be the type to like breaking up a tornado.

Cloud Kicker popped her neck. “Probably inevitable, given the weather we’ve been having. I mean, we’ve been having every other type of weather as of late.”

“So, how do you do this again?” asked Derpy. She shifted nervously as she looked at the rest of us. “I’ve never broken up a tornado before.” Derpy had worked on the weather team before ... complications led her to becoming a mailmare instead. She must have drawn a short straw somewhere to be drafted for a night shift. In any event, she probably hadn’t gotten any experience with either creating or tearing apart tornados during her brief stint in the weather service.

“It’s easy,” Dash said confidently. “You just fly in the opposite direction the tornado is spinning. Just keep flying until it breaks up. It’s as natural as flying, once you get started.”

“If you say so,” Derpy said uncertainly.

“So, what’s the plan, Boss?” Cloud Kicker asked.

Dash rubbed her chin as she looked at the approaching tornadoes. “Kicker and Dropsy, you two got the one in the center. Derpy, you got that small one heading towards Sweet Apple Acres. It doesn’t even look like it’s going to touch down, so it should be easy for you to deal with. I got the big one heading Fluttershy’s way. Everypony know what to do?” We all nodded, some of us more sure than others.

Cloud Kicker pursed her lips. “You sure about sending Derpy all on her own? She hasn’t done this before, you know.”

“Derpy’s got this.” Dash patted Derpy on the back. “It’s just a itty-bitty tornado. Besides, it looks like it would break up on its own anyways. Easy-peasy.”

I wasn’t particularly wild about the idea of sending Derpy off on her own. Everypony else on the team was spread out dealing with the weather in the area they were assigned so we only had four ponies to deal with three tornadoes. The tornado Dash was sending Cloud Kicker and me up against needed two experienced pegasi to break up to be on the safe side. The same could be said about the one Dash was dealing with, though she wasn’t one to play it on the safe side where she was concerned. Sending Derpy against the weakest tornado in the group was far from ideal, but I didn’t see a much better solution without going off to find more pegasi to help out.

I sighed and shrugged. “If you’re sure, Boss.”

Cloud Kicker frowned at Derpy. “You up for this, Derpy?”

Derpy rubbed at the back of her head. “Yeah, I got this. I think.”

With our orders in hoof, we all flew off to take care of our respective tornadoes. The rain was starting to pick up pace as we closed the distance to the tornado. I just hoped it wouldn't get much worse. At least until we could finish our current job.

“You take top while I take bottom?” I yelled Cloud Kicker’s direction, trying to be heard over the crash of the storm.

“I always like taking top,” Cloud Kicker said in a way that was far more dirty than the situation warranted.

Did she have to keep up with the innuendo? Especially when we were trying to bust up a tornado? I growled with irritation. “You just have to do that at every opportunity, don’t you?”

“What do you mean?” she asked, feigning innocence.

The two of us started turning together, making a slow, circular approach towards the tornado. “The banging stuff. You always take every opportunity to take anything everypony says and make it sound dirty.”

“Because it’s funny,” she replied.

We made our final approach to start circling in a clockwise flight around the windy vortex. The wind started to pull on me, threatening to suck me into its column. I struggled against it to maintain my flight path.

“Well, can we concentrate on the job for now?” I asked.

She smirked, which had an almost crazy look about it, given the circumstance. “Sure, let’s do this suck-and-blow job.”

I had to maintain control after that comment. Cloud Kicker was distracting to say the least. “You’re awful sometimes, you know that?” I really didn’t need that type of thing at the moment.

Cloud Kicker gained altitude while I descended. I heard her yell down at me. “What can I say? I can’t turn off my swag.”

“Work now, pleasure later!” I yelled back up to her.

“Is that an offer?” Even over the howl of the wind, I could somehow still hear the sultriness in Cloud Kicker’s tone.

I decided the best way to get Cloud Kicker to stop and concentrate on the job was to just stop giving her more ammo to turn into innuendo. The two of us continued to circle the tornado, working our pegasus magic on the twister. My wing strained as I pushed against the wind, and the pressure of the tornado as it tried to suck me in. Dirt, rain, and other debris flew up to smack against me, stinging me every step along the way. But slowly and surely, the tornado lost power and finally dissipated.

The two of us turned and flew to leave the Everfree Forest behind us and landed back on the cloud we started on. I breathed heavily from the exertion, my wings quivering slightly from the fatigue. “That was fun,” I said ironically.

Cloud Kicker took a moment to catch her own breath. She leaned over and placed a elbow on my shoulder. “See, we can work together as a team. We totally tag-teamed that twister.”

My reply was cut off by an explosion of wind and heat. The two of us turned to see a column of fire twirling out of the Everfree Forest, the fire tornado slowly making its way towards Sweet Apple Acres.

A grey dot quickly flew right at us from the direction of the flaming column. I don’t think I ever saw Derpy move so fast in all my life—or most pegasi for that matter. She landed on our cloud, gasping for breath, smoking and more than a little singed.

“Derpy, what did you do!?” I heard Dash yell from behind Cloud Kicker and I. Judging from the way she was breathing heavily, she must have just finished her own tornado and raced back over here.

Derpy’s eyes were wide, her pupils dancing about., which given her wall eyed stare was extremely disconcerting. “I don’t know! I just don’t know what went wrong this time!”

That made two of us. I really had no clue how Derpy had managed to screw up this badly. Fire whirls were a pretty rare natural phenomena to start with, they usually only happened when there was a wildfire, and the winds created a vortex. But the ground and vegetation around the forest was soaked from over a month’s worth of rain.

Dash rubbed at her eyes. “You did what I told you to do, right?”

Derpy vigorously nodded her head. “Yeah, exactly. Then—” she pointed at the fire whirl “—that happened!”

Cloud Kicker put a comforting hoof on Derpy’s shoulder. “Derpy, I love you to death, but that is bad even by your standards.”

Derpy gave us all a goofy smile. “So when we tell everypony about this, can we just say that I made the tornado better?” All of us just stared at her. Derpy giggled nervously and rubbed the back of her head. “So that’s a ‘maybe,’ then?”

“How about we figure out what we’re doing with that flaming tornado before we decide what to tell everypony?” I offered.

“Right!” Dash clapped her forehooves together. “Cloudy, Dropsy, we’re going to fly over there and give that thing a one-two. Derpy, you get everypony else you can find. I want a backup team ready in case we need help putting down that twister and to put out the fire.” She flashed all of us a confident smirk. “Not that we’ll need the help, but it’ll be cool to have everypony watch how awesome we are.”

I had to give the Boss credit for coming up with a plan that quickly, though I wasn’t exactly looking forward to taking on that fire whirl. Tackling a spinning column of fire is kinda dangerous, after all. It would have been nice to wait for more ponies to show up to help take it down, but there might not have been enough time before the fire whirl started scorching away outlying farms by the forest.

Dash extended her hoof out between us. “Everypony good to go?”

Cloud Kicker put her hoof next to Dash’s. “You got it, Boss.”

“Don’t got any better ideas,” I said, placing my own hoof next to everypony else’s.

Derpy placed her own leg forward and we all bumped hooves. “Good luck, everypony.”

At that, we all took off to do our respective jobs. The weather only got worse as Dash, Cloud Kicker, and I approached the fire whirl. The wind kicked up, blowing the growing downpour into us. I had to beat my soaking wet wings all the harder to stay on course and keep up with my faster co-workers. I kept rubbing at my goggles to keep them from fogging up.

We made our circling flight path around the tornado. After becoming so used to dealing with cold rain one day after another, the heat and smoke from the fire whirl was a shock to my system. My body reached an uncomfortable division of heat on the side that faced the flames and the other wet and cold. The unending hunger for oxygen to feed the vortex’s flames only added to the strength of the sucking of the tornado, and I had to work even harder to not get dragged in.

I looked up and saw Cloud Kicker and Dash also struggling against the winds. It was hard work, but we were slowly winding the twister down. I grinned and looked forward to going back to work, my weary wings driven up by the sheer thrill of the moment.

That’s when a toad hit me in the eye.

On reflection, it's a good thing goggles are mandatory for anything but the most tame weather work. Telling everypony I’d lost my eye to a toad, one being hurled by a freak storm or not, would have been beyond humiliating. Instead of losing an eye, it just really, really hurt.

I lost my concentration of where I was flying and spun up and out of control. Cloud Kicker didn’t even have time to react before I slammed into her. The two of us got caught in each others’ limbs as we plummeted towards the ground. Our twists and turns caused me to lose all concept of direction. I felt rather than saw us hit the treeline of the Everfree Forest.

***

It took some time to regain my senses after the crash. The freefall spinning and crashing is about as fun as ... okay, I don’t have a good comparison. Something with a lot of spinning with a pretty sudden and painful stop. Once my vision stopped jumping around like a rabbit on a sugar rush and I blew some yellow and stringy strands of something out of my face, I saw that I was suspended above the forest. I took stock of my situation as everything in my brain slowly turned back on again; I tried to move my legs but found that I couldn’t due to them being constricted by something. My whole body was contorted awkwardly, in fact, I could barely move my head, due to something pushing down on it and the vines and branches holding me in place.

“Hey, Dropsy?” I heard Cloud Kicker call from a little bit above me. “You doin’ alright down there?”

Blinking away the final bits of blurriness, it didn’t take me that long to figure out that those yellow strands were pony hair. And given that they didn’t look like they belonged to Cloud Kicker’s mane...

“Cloud Kicker, are you sitting on my head?” I asked flatly.

“Um.” Her rump moved around a bit. “Yeah, feels like it.”

“Mind moving your butt?” I asked patiently.

I heard and felt Cloud Kicker strain, but she didn’t move from the position she had been in. “Nope, I’m good and stuck.”

“I swear, if this is one of your stupid plans to get all touchy...” I warned.

“No, no, you want me to stop, and I’m trying to.” I felt her struggle against the tangle of limbs, branches, and vines. “I’m going nowhere. How about you?”

“Let me try.” I struggled against the vines and branches, trying not to put too much pressure on the limbs I was pressing up against. I didn’t want to accidently hurt Cloud Kicker in my own attempts to escape. It didn’t help that I couldn’t actually see where I was moving either my legs or wings in my attempt to escape, thanks to Cloud Kicker’s cloud-flanked butt pushing my head down.

“Ow-ow-ow, stop! Stop!” I heard Cloud Kicker call out, her limbs stiffening. “You’re going to break my wing!” I stopped moving immediately. About the last thing I wanted to do was seriously hurt her. I was too strong for my own good sometimes.

“Well, this is just perfect,” I grumbled. The rain continued to pour down on us, making the experience all the more miserable.

“Hey, this is your fault,” Cloud Kicker teased. “You flew into me, remember? What happened? We had it wrapped up.”

“Toad hit me in the face,” I growled. My face still stung where it had struck me. Ow.

“You okay?” she asked, concern in her voice.

I let out a long sigh. “Yeah, goggles protected my eye.”

“That’s good.”

We hanged there for a few awkward seconds when a rainbow streak shot through the canopy and landed below the two of us. “Oh, hey, there you two are,” said Rainbow Dash. Her head tilted as she looked up at us and saw our predicament. A snort became a laugh and she fell to the ground laughing uproariously.

I felt a low growl build up in my throat. “Sure, Boss. Just leave us hanging here.”

Dash smacked a hoof into the mud as she laughed away. “Oh, oh look at you two! It’s hilarious! I was gonna be mad at you two ditching me to finish the fire tornado, but this is too rich!”

“Want to join us up here?” Cloud Kicker teased. “Plenty of room up here for a threesome.”

That stopped Dash’s laughter, and she glowered at the two of us. “You just had to ruin something good with your weird stuff, didn’t you?”

“Oh, I think it could get a bit better if you come up here. This isn’t usually the type of thing I enjoyed, but I’m sure we could have some fun between the three of us.”

“Think you could get us down from here?” I asked. “You know, before everypony—”

Then everypony from the weather team landed around us. It looked like Derpy had done her job of gathering everypony, grand. They all took one, long look at the two of us hanging from the trees. That moment of tension broke, and then the forest was filled with laughter.

“Why don’t you all take a picture!?” I yelled. “It’ll last longer.” A bright flash caused my vision to be filled with spots, and I heard an all-too-recognizable click. I craned my neck as best was I was able to and saw a light blue mare lower her camera to flash me a smile. “Really, Drizzle!? You brought your camera to work?”

“I just wanted to take a couple pictures of the sunset over the forest,” Drizzle said innocently. “Didn’t know this golden shot would happen.” Great, now there was going to be photo proof that this happened.

All we could do was hope that something like this never happened again as everypony laughed at us.

***

“Hey, Cloud Kicker!” I waved to catch Cloud Kicker’s attention. She had just picked up her lunch box out of the enchanted cooler the weather team had placed on a cloud. She looked in my directed and spotted me. “Wanna sit over here?” I patted the spot next to me.

“If you’re offering!” Cloud Kicker called out. She flew over and set down next to me. “Knew you could be a sweetheart when you want to be.” She nuzzled me in the face before I could react.

I pushed Cloud Kicker away. “Hey, no touching,” I grumbled. She was always trying to work a little bit of touching every now and again. I’d learned that it was kinda her thing now that I had gotten to know her better. I bit a chunk out my banana bread. A grin worked its way onto my face. “Perv.”

“What can I say? I’m a touchy kinda pony.” She gave me one of her sultry smirks. “Can’t tell me you don’t like the attention a little bit.”

I rolled my eyes. Cloud Kicker was relentless, I had to give her that. “So ya going to sit down and eat with me or not?”

Cloud Kicker sat down and then made a series of spasmodic jerks when her plot landed on the lightning cloud I had strategically placed there. The cloud quickly ran through its juice, and Cloud Kicker jumped to her hooves, rubbing at her electrified plot. I laughed at my successful attempt to get back at her for that prank a couple weeks ago.

Cloud Kicker’s pained grimace slowly softened into a grin. “Dropsy! Did you just prank me?”

I wiped away the tears in my eyes. “Hey, you’re the one who said I need to pull the stick out of my plot.”

“And you chose to beat me over the head with it,” Cloud Kicker joked.

She moved to sit down again, but I raised a hoof signally for her to stop. “Wait! I’ve trapped the whole cloud!” Cloud Kicker froze before she could sit down. I let her stay in that pose for a moment before I smirked. “Nah, I’m just kidding. I only had the one.”

She smirked back and sat down. “Now you’re just becoming vicious. We better watch out, or you’ll be pranking right there with me, Lyra, and Dash.”

“Nah.” I waved a hoof to dismiss the idea. “Not really my thing. Just wanted to get back at you this once.”

She gave me a playful jab to the shoulder. “You realize that this only opens you up for more pranks, right?”

“Not if I give a peace offering.” I pulled out a slice of banana bread and offered it to Cloud Kicker. “Banana bread?”

Cloud Kicker rubbed her chin as she look at the slice of bread. “Hmm, I don’t know. I like the idea of getting terrible revenge on you for my poor, hurt plot.”

I moved the bread closer to her. “It’s homemade. Can’t get stuff this good in the store.”

She let me sweat for a few second before shrugging and accepting the banana bread. “Alright, no horrible revenge this time. But only because I can’t be mad at a face like yours.” She took a bite out of bread slice and her eyes widened. “Wow, I could kiss you now for how good this is!”

I chose to ignore the whole mention about kissing. If you wanted to get along with Cloud Kicker, then you had to learn what not to take too seriously with her. Which usually involved lots of hitting on everypony she was around and casual mentions of banging-related topics. “I know, right?” I took another bite out of my own slice. “You can’t beat homemade bread.”

She snorted. “I never saw you as the cooking type.”

“And I didn’t know I could tolerate you long enough to break bread with you,” I teased. “But you learn something new about ponies everyday. And um...” I looked down at the ground, or what I could see of it, given it was dark and still rainy. “I just wanted to say it’s been pretty cool working with you for the past couple of weeks. Even if it’s been a bit rough at times. Sorry if I wasn’t very nice to you starting out.”

She put a hoof on my shoulder. “It’s all good now. We’re getting along now, right?”

My wings fluttered a bit. “Yeah, we are.” I smiled at her and raised a hoof towards her. “Friends?”

Whatever Cloud Kicker was about to say was cut off by a high pitched scream. Cloud Kicker and I looked up to see Silverspeed hurling herself from the watch-cloud. I wondered why for a moment when I heard a low-pitched screech. For a second I thought some sort of falcon had gotten pretty close to me without me realizing it. Then I realized that it wasn't that the bird was close, but that it was big. It had a wingspan that had to compete with the height of the town hall in Ponyville, and it was easily big enough to scoop up a pony in its talons. It was diving straight at Silverspeed with alarming speed. She only barely managed to avoid getting grabbed by the massive bird but still got clipped. Even the glancing blow was enough to send Silverspeed tumbling.

My heart seized up in my throat as I watched Silverspeed plummet. It was a painful few seconds before she caught herself, and her wings spread to stabilize herself as she fell. She may no longer have been free falling, but her flying was shaky at best. Her wings beat unevenly, and her flight path swerved as she seemed to to fly in no specific direction.

My first instinct was to fly out to her and get her to the ground and then to the hospital, but that thought was cut off when I saw the massive bird turn around towards Silverspeed, and quickly gaining on her. It wasn’t a fast turner, given its size, but it was plenty fast, and I didn't like Silverspeed's chances given her injuries.

I was in the air before I’d even thought about what I was doing. Sure, that thing was about a hundred times the size of a normal falcon and big enough to rip me in half, but I wasn’t going to let it get Silverspeed without a fight. Especially, not when she had a foal waiting for her back home.

“You stupid enough to try and fight the roc too?” I heard Cloud Kicker call down from above me. I guessed that “roc” was what the giant turkey was called. It would make sense that she would have learned about all the giant monsters at West Hoof. Killing giant versions of normal animals was one of the Guards’ things.

“You know it.” I gave her a grin that had to look half-mad, given the situation. “So, we going to do that stupid argument where each of us tries to talk the other out of a suicide run on the overgrown bird, or are we gonna concentrate on how to kill the thing?”

She gave me a grin that was equally insane. “I’m big on surviving, personally. Always more monsters that need slaying.” Her tone took on that of a soldier going into battle. “We just need to keep that thing off of Silverspeed long enough for somepony else to get her to safety, and then get away from it ourselves. It can’t turn as fast as us, so as long as we stay out of its reach, we can do this. Hit it when it’s distracted, and turn and dodge when the roc is focused on you. One other important bit of advice.” She pointed up a hoof for emphasis. “Target the wings. If it can’t fly, it’s going to have a hay of time hurting us.”

I couldn’t see any fault with the plan. You don’t have a ton of options when going up against a big, old pony-eating bird. I gave her a firm nod. “Sounds good! Let’s do this!”

We closed on the roc as it tried to run Silverspeed into the ground. Silverspeed looked like she was doing her best to avoid the monster, but her shaky flying made it pretty clear she was barely holding it together. Here’s one thing about predators: they have a tendency of getting focused on whatever they’re hunting and don’t always pay as much attention to their surroundings as they should.

Cloud Kicker darted in first, timing a buck to hit its left wing just as it was coming up. I wasn’t so lucky. I went for its other wing, but Cloud Kicker’s attack caused it to jink, and I misjudged the timing of my own buck. It only clipped the right wing as it went down and away from me. It’s kinda embarrassing to miss that big of a target, but it’s easy to judge when you don’t have to worry about something that big hitting back. That’s why I didn’t do something like hit it in the face. That would have felt good right up to the point it bit down on me or clawed me to bits.

The two of us broke formation and flew in separate directions. Nice thing about working as a team like we had been doing, you start to gain an instinctual understanding of how your partner is going to fly. I just knew that Cloud Kicker was going to bank the opposite direction I was going to.

I hoped the roc would give up at that point. It had sounded like Cloud Kicker had hit it solidly, but it started turning to go after her. I guess she had just made it mad.

Cloud Kicker banked and weaved to keep out of the range of its talons, but the roc was slowly gaining on her. If my own aching muscles were any indication, she was probably tiring out quickly, trying to avoid the roc. The last month and a half of constant cloud bucking had taken a toll on all of our bodies’ endurance. We couldn’t afford to play around with this thing forever, not between the two of us. If we had been at a hundred percent or there were more ponies up to the job, we could probably have worn the roc down slowly, but fate hadn’t been that kind to us. So I determined we needed to be bit more decisive.

I came up from the right and back of it, flapping my wings as hard as I could to propel myself forward. I caught the roc during one of its turns and I slammed, hooves first, into its ribs. I felt the satisfying breaking of bones when I did so, and the roc screeched in pain. But I quickly learned why Cloud Kicker had told me to stick to bucking wings. Hitting the roc head on like that had killed my forward momentum. As strong as I might be, I still didn’t have enough power to move something with that much mass.

After my hooves, the rest of my body collided with roc and I bounced off of it. I desperately tried to regain my equilibrium when I got smacked by one of the roc’s wings. The force of the swat jarred me to the bones, and I quickly lost altitude. I nearly lost consciousness from the pain and sudden g-forces. I shook my head and flapped my wings to stop my decent.

I heard another screech from the roc, and saw, to my horror, that it was diving on me. I didn’t have enough momentum built up to avoid it, and I wasn’t likely going to be able to maneuver in a way to dodge its claws. Even if I did, I would still likely get hit with its body or wings. Any one of those things were likely to get me killed.

Cloud Kicker flew in and gave the roc another good buck to the same wing she had earlier, and I heard a sound like that of a great oak being snapped in two. The roc went into a tumble. Cloud Kicker tried to fly clear of it, but the roc flipped in midair and caught her with the inside of its massive left wing.

“Cloud Kicker!” I screamed, barely getting out of the way to the plummeting bulk.

The roc hit the ground outside of the Everfree Forest with a loud thud, back first. Either through skill or dumb luck, I saw that Cloud Kicker had landed on the thing’s chest. She bounced from the impact and rolled off to the side of the monster. To my relief, she stood shakily. If she was standing, then she at least wasn’t dead.

For a moment I thought it was over. Then the roc slowly rolled over to its belly and pushed itself up to its talons. Cloud Kicker stumbled around but still managed to bring herself into a fighting stance against the oversized bird. Still, she didn’t look like she was in any shape to fight after her fall. I’d be surprised if she was more than half aware of her surroundings by that point. I didn’t like her chances of running either based on the fact she was stumbling around.

So I did the first thing that my instinct told me. Shame my instincts tend to ask for forgiveness from my brain later, instead of permission now, because I dived straight down at the roc. Funny thing about being a flying brick, flying bricks hurt when they hit you. Thanks to its injuries, the roc wasn’t moving very quickly either, and with all its attention on Cloud Kicker. It didn’t see me coming.

I hit the roc at the base of its neck. I felt the bones in its spine break under my hooves, and I drove the thing to the ground with the force of my momentum. A lightning bolt of pain shot up through my hooves to my shoulders and through the rest of my body. Sudden stops like that really, really hurt. I seriously worried I’d broken more than one bone during my crazy stunt. I tumbled off the roc painfully.

I lay there on the grass, holding my forelegs as I gasped in pain. My instincts were really begging my brain for forgiveness right then. I was feeling really dumb after that stunt.

I heard somepony approach me, and I looked up to see Cloud Kicker kneel next to me. “Dropsy, you okay?”

“Define ‘okay,’” I grunted.

She helped me into a sitting position and hugged me. “You’re being a grump like always. Can’t be anything fatal.”

I leaned into her as I tried to fight against the pain. “Oh, shut up. I took that hit for you.”

She kissed me on the forehead. It felt nice despite all the pain I was in. “Only after I saved you from getting dived on.” She smiled down at me, and I couldn’t help but return the grin.

I heard the hooffalls of another pony landing next to us. I looked over to see Silverspeed holding up one of her forelegs in pain as she hobbled over to the two of us.

Cloud Kicker looked back and forth between the two of us. I could tell from the desperate glances she gave Silverspeed that she wanted to go to her to give her support, but she couldn’t do it without dropping me. “Whoa, you shouldn’t be—” Cloud Kicker’s objections were cut off when Silverspeed hugged the two of us. I felt warm, wet splatters of water hit my face as Silverspeed sobbed.

***

It’s funny how the plays never show how the heroic monster slayer has to go to the hospital after killing whatever big nasty thing she just fought. Well, not funny. Just an observation. Point is, I felt pretty terrible after going a round with that roc thing. I didn’t regret for a second doing what I did, but I could have lived without feeling like a club had been taken to my forelegs.

Dash had found Cloud Kicker, Silverspeed, and I soon after the dust had settled. She had flown off to get Life Flight as soon as she made sure we were stable, all things considered. A flight to the hospital, a couple hours of filling out forms and being looked at by the doctors, and I was exiting the front doors of the hospital. I noticed that it was lightly raining outside. Guess the team’s efforts to keep the storms at bay fell apart after what happened. It wouldn’t have surprised me if they pulled everypony from the Everfree Forest until the Guard gave it a good sweep after what happened.

“Dropsy, wait up!” I heard somepony call from behind me. I looked back and saw Cloud Kicker walking to catch up with me. She was moving gingerly, but still pretty quick compared to the slow, plodding pace I was going at. Trying to walk with two bum forelegs isn’t fun.

Still, it was good to see Cloud Kicker on her hooves. “Hey, doctors say you’re good to go?”

She caught up with me just outside the hospital doors. “Just some bumps and bruises. Nothing I haven’t dealt with after some rough mock battles at West Hoof. Just talked with Silverspeed too. Docs say it’s only a broken leg, though they’ll be keeping her in the hospital for the rest of the day. You?”

I felt a wince of guilt over not thinking about Silverspeed and not checking up on her. I was so tired and beat up I was pretty much moving around in a daze by that point. Still, it was good to hear that Silverspeed was okay. Cloud Kicker too, for that matter.

“Docs told me to take it easy on my forehooves for a week, but otherwise not too bad.” I sat down. No sense putting more pressure on my forelegs than I had to. I’d probably be getting around just by flying for a couple days.

“That’s good.” Cloud Kicker gave me a warm smile. “I was worried you hurt your legs finishing that thing off.”

I snorted at her. “Somepony had to pull your plot out of the fire.”

“I seem to remember pulling somepony else’s plot out of danger when I crippled the roc,” she mocked.

I stuck my tongue out at her. “I still killed it, so there.”

She rolled her eyes at me. “Please, that was a kill-steal. I did most of the work by knocking it to the ground.” The both of us broke into a hearty laugh.

“I’m just glad you and Silverspeed are okay,” I stated once the laugh subsided.

Cloud Kicker grinned. It was nice to see that her spirits hadn’t been dampened by what happened. “Likewise.”

I smiled, though I couldn’t help but feel worried and sad when I did so. “You know, we could have gotten ourselves killed out there.”

Cloud Kicker looked out in the rain and sighed. “Monster slayin’ isn’t the safest thing you can do. You showed some good moves out there. You train in martial arts?”

“Iron Hoof,” I said. “Been doing it since I was a filly. Helps with the anger issues. You?”

“Krav Pega,” she replied. “Comes with being a Kicker.” I should have been able to figure that out, but it felt like my brain was moving through molasses at the moment. Guess I was pretty tired from everything that had happened.

“Might be fun to spar someday,” I remarked lightheartedly, giving her a light jab to the shoulder. “Bet I’d kick your cloudy butt.”

“Oh, you think so?” Cloud Kicker threw a series of friendly punches at my chest and stomach as I tried to block them.

“Oh yeah!” I lunged at her and wrapped her in a headlock. She struggled in the hold, and finding that she could squirm out of it, she started dragging me out into the rain. Given it was her four legs against my two, she had a lot more leverage to move me around. “What do you think you’re doing!?”

With that, she dragged the both of us down to the mud. The two of us rolled around in the muck as we each fought for the advantage. I was laughing like a madmare, my love of the rain, puddles, and mud reawakened as we wrestled around. I was tired, sore, and dirty, but I didn’t care.

Fatigue in my forelegs and the wet muck allowed Cloud Kicker to slip out of my headlock. She grabbed my shoulders before I could turn around and pushed me into the mud. She pinned my back to the ground, breathing heavily as she looked down at me. “Ha! Gotcha!”

“Geeze, get a room you two,” Rainbow Dash said, giving the two of us a disapproving frown as she looked down at us. I guessed that she had just finished filling out all the paperwork in the hospital for all of us, given we had all suffered work-related injuries.

Cloud Kicker gave me a sultry smirk. “Maybe we should.”

I looked up into Cloud Kicker’s eyes, my heart was beating quickly from wrestling around, and perhaps from something else now. I smirked back at her. “Maybe we should,” I agreed.

***

“What happened to you two!” yelled Rainbow Dash. “Did you two get into a fight!? You two look worse than you did after fighting the big bird thing!”

So it had been a long night—day—whatever, night shifts make things weird. Turns out, Cloud Kicker and I had a lot of stress to work out after leaving the hospital. I’m frankly a giant furry ball of stress, and Cloud Kicker hadn’t really had the opportunity to do her thing due to the work hours not really syncing with when most ponies bang around with one another. What had resulted when we had gone to Cloud Kicker’s cloud-home had been ... spirited.

The two of us had barely woken up in time in what remained of Cloud Kicker’s home to race to work. To be frank, we looked awful. In addition to the various bandages and bruises we had gotten fighting the roc, we had picked up a bunch of new bruises, bite marks, our wings were in terrible need of preening, and our manes and coats made us look like a pair of caveponies. We were getting a lot of looks from all the ponies gathered for the start-of-shift roundup, big surprise.

Dash glared at the two of us as we grinned at each other like idiots. “So? You two going to answer me?”

“Oh, we weren’t fighting,” Cloud Kicker chuckled, the type of chuckle you give when you’re so tired everything seems funny.

“Oh no,” I agreed. “Though you could say we were wrestling.” I bumped Cloud Kicker’s rump with my own.

Cloud Kicker pulled me closer by wrapped a leg around my shoulders and gave Dash a wicked smirk. “Could say we were doin’ an all night team-building exercise.”

“There was some exercising going on, I can tell you that much,” I snickered.

“Yeah, we brought the house down. Literally.” Cloud Kicker laughed and I found myself joining in. “This is why I need a ground-house: much harder to destroy with a vigorous banging session.”

“Oops,” I said stupidly. “Turns out, a cloud-home needs at least a few walls to keep together.” The two of us laughed some more, leaning into one another. “I-I’ll help you put your place back together after work,” I gasped in-between laughs.

Cloud Kicker waved a hoof. “Sure, then we can just knock it over again. It’s like sandcastles.” She slipped and fell to the ground face first. Given she had been supporting my weight, I fell across her back. That only caused us to laugh some more.

“Okay, too much information,” Dash groaned.

“We banged!” Cloud Kicker pumped a hoof in Dash’s direction. “Get it, Dash? Banging, banging everywhere!”

“All over Cloudy’s house!” I agreed. “All the banging.” The two of us laughed so hard that I felt tears running down my face.

“Ew.” Dash stuck her tongue out. “That’s it, I’m breaking you two up.”

Comments ( 77 )

And as I add a few things to me Read Later list, then cross a couple off, I end up adding another... yay!:pinkiehappy:

Regidar #2 · May 13th, 2013 · · 20 ·

They're multiplying
It's like that one horror movie from the 50's
Except instead of The Blob, it's The Winningverse
That horror movie would make me shit my pants

Banging, banging everywhere!

:yay:

Really glad too see Raindrops getting her story in the verse. :twilightsmile:

Nice to finally see some Raindrops point-of-view for the Winningverse. Nice job, as always, Ponibius.

SIXTH!!
Yes! Much Awesomeness was made here this day!

Yet I'm still left wondering how Derpy managed to set that tornado on fire. :derpytongue2:

2570492
It's Derpy. Accidents happen.

Raindrops seemed to be channeling Lunaverse Raindrops here. :pinkiehappy:

That's quite a storm you got there. //dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/emoticons/misc_Octavia_O_O.png Everfree, you so silly.

Hey, Roc, when you are getting your ass kicked, that's a good time to skedaddle. :derpytongue2:

Aw yeah! The long-awaited Winningverse invasion has commenced. Lay it all on meh!

One day I will read a fic where Derpy doesn't use a version of the line 'I just don't know what went wrong'! And on that day, I'll rejoice. :derpyderp2:

Definitely channeling the Lunaverse Raindrops here. Nothing wrong with that in the slightest! I'm always all for strengthening fanon interpretations of background characters. And the Lunaverse Drops is a very different, interesting character from the usual ubercheery ponies. I can certainly get behind that being her common fanon personality.

Anyway, cute story. Was a nice pick-me-up for my day. And we always need more CK, and more proof that she can psychologically wear down anyone to get them into bed. Or, apparently, on several walls.

Plus, hey, fight scene! I'm always up for showing how deadly ponies would be. Which, really, should be no surprise after seeing a scholar and a fashionista averse to sweating haul around Tom.

The only thing I could think of was:

A roc!? :raritydespair:

2570536
Including Raindrops of Clan Drops, barbarian queen and roc-slayer. :pinkiehappy:

Banging! Banging everywhere! :rainbowlaugh:

That ought to be a t=shirt

2570172 I feel like writing an 8K long epic stupidfest named The Incredibly Rare Winningest Winning of Some Pony or some other such stupid name that sounds vaguely winningverse and watch it skyrocket.


It continues on and on

It's kind of like
Tribbles.

nice story from raindrops pov (side note, rainbow and raindrops have the same first name and intiials, would be funny if they were related)

loved the character developement, ive always been a fan of your winningverse stories ponibus, [Warren Vidic]I expect great things[/Warren Vidic]

Raindrops is the Element of Honesty in the Lunaverse, and For Want of a Something-or-Other, Cloud Kicker could easily have been the Element of Loyalty. It makes sense that they'd eventually get along. Cloud Kicker makes a great foil to Raindrops in this story.

Such a nice happy ending. :raritywink:

Absolutely brilliant!!! You really captured the Lunaverse interpretation of Raindrops to a 't' and I love her playing off Cloud Kicker. There's a Raindrops group somewhere on Fim Fiction, you should totally submit this to it.

A superb addition to Winningverse and a terrific story on its own merits. Love it!

2571666 The horror also nice trips

Why so much lez

Oh my god another one of these stories.

Alright! Glad to see this finally up.:yay:

Finally, some limelight for Dropsy!

The Winngiverse stories never cease to entertain, especially during the Great Pony Drought when decent stories are so few and far between.

2570932

I once had a rough calculation, based on estimated pony size and worked out that Tom - depending on what type of rock he was actually made of - could easily have weighed between 4 and 4.5 tons[1]. And on top of that, RD smashing those tree trunks like they were nothing and biting through solid wood, Rarity kicking the manticore so hard it recoiled, Big Mac lifting a house, even Sweetie pulling that huge load of Rarity's camping gear... Our little ponies are hard core. Seriously!




[1]Ponies estimated at 28" (0.71m) at the shoulder, Tom being about twice Rarity's height and thus volumetrically very roughly 1.5 cubic meters and rock densities being in the roughly 2.5 to 3 tons/ cubic metre range; even assuming a really light rock (like coal at just over 1) gives Twi and Rarity the capability to lift a ton and a half!

When calculated via carrying capacity into Dungeons & Dragon's 3.5 rules, pony strength (well, unicorn strength, earth ponies are likely much stronger!) came out to about the same as a fully adult dragon! Eye-opening for sure...!

2571666

How about The Incredibly Unpopular Opinion of Cynewulf?

I'd love to read these, but the extreme overabundance of F/F shipping and the lack of male characters in general has left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm okay with some F/F, but when you start using the "everyone is gay" trope? No thanks, sorry.

Of course, I do appreciate the effort that has gone into the "Winningverse", it's obviously something that a lot of love has been put into.

Lol Raindrops; awesome! :rainbowkiss:

That certainly was a fun little slice of life.
A few random thoughts as I was reading through the story:

“So, I really want to try out the Cthulhu model I just got the other day. The Empress is really good, but after a while you want to try something new.”

Eh? Empress? Cthulhu?! What does that have to do with anything? :rainbowderp:

Given Cloud Kicker was Ponyville’s resident sex maniac, I think I had a pretty good idea what type of instruments they were talking about.

* light bulb flickers on*
Oh god! ohgodohgodohgod! Mind bleach! :raritycry:

“So, when were you two planning on getting back to work instead of gabbing?” I glowered.
<...>
I crossed my forelegs over my chest. “I think it’d be nice to not have to be here until the morning shift showed up.” I had to resist the temptation to sit down and do exactly what she asked. Just landing and not flapping my wings anymore was more than enough to remind me how weary I was. I’m not a lazy pony. I like to think of myself as a hard worker, but even I got tired of twelve hour nights after a certain point.

I can certainly sympathise with 'Drops here. Through lack of communication and an angry, misplaced sense of responsibility, you take on more and more duties until you flame out in exhaustion. Then the simmering resentment bit starts in earnest until you unload into the nearest inanimate object (or unfortunate co-worker).

My reply was cut off by an explosion of wind and heat. The two of us turned to see a column of fire twirling out of the Everfree Forest, the fire tornado slowly making its way towards Sweet Apple Acres.

Only Derpy (and possibly Sweetie Belle) could hope to create a fire-storm in the midst of a monsoon... :facehoof:

What had resulted when we had gone to Cloud Kicker’s cloud-home had been ... spirited.

The two of us had barely woken up in time in what remained of Cloud Kicker’s home to race to work.

You know it was exceptionally good if you have to replace furniture afterwards. If you have to replace the entire house... :pinkiegasp:

Relax, Dropsy,

And take your break already, Dropsy.

Love you too, Dropsy.

Dropsy, your turn for monster watch

I am not sure if I would find a disfiguring medical condition a term of endearment...

2573887 Everyone's not gay. Everyone appears to be bisexual. Kicky's all about the cock too.

Edit; Anyway, what male characters do you wanna see here? All these stories so far use "canon" background ponies. They're mostly female. The only NAMED male characters we have are... Let's see... Big Macintosh, Thunderlane... Shit, are there any others that aren't kids in Ponyville? Braeburn isn't in Ponyville... Joe isn't in Ponyville... Then you've got the "fan named" background dudes. That ups the ante a little bit but not much. Caramel, Lucky (Clover?), Time Turner (already done in another story)... uhhh...

Ain't a lot of dudes in this show, mate.

Well I have to say that overall it was a good fic with nice bits of humor in it:pinkiehappy: ...
Though there was one fatal flaw that REALLY REALLY REALLY PISSED ME RIGHT THE FUCK OFF!:flutterrage:

Cloud Kicker gained altitude while I descended. I heard her yell down at me. “What can I say? I can’t turn off my swag.”

swag

swag

swag

THIS MADE ME WANT TO SHOOT YOU IN THE MOTHER-FUCKIN FACE!:twilightangry2:
But I continue reading and calmed down while noting to also rage about it.
THAT IS ALL:pinkiesmile:

2574392
One of the reasons I chose to bring Turner in. I'm already getting requests for more and it's probably about time there was a male point of view.

2570492

I have no idea. Derpy's ability to have accidents defies all explanation.

2570536

This is very much the Lunaverse version of Raindrops. We here at Winning Pony love that Raindrops, and I like to think of this as a compliment/homage of the Lunaverse Raindrops.

2570932

Ponies can get pretty crazy lethal. Check out something like The Immortal Game to see how dangerous these ponies can get.

2571843

Thanks for the compliment! I really tried to capture the essence of the Lunaverse Raindrops for this story, because that Dropsy is awesome.

I'll go and submit this to the Raindrops group. No sense not spreading the love.

2573887

It's more of a symptom of a lack of male characters in the show. There have only been a small handful of males with speaking roles, and lot of them are married. Most of characters are more bi then anything else. But when 75% of the population is female...

We also do have a CheeriMac story in the Winningverse that is on going.

ALL THE BANGING.:rainbowwild:

2574392
Meh, that makes sense, even if I have heard that argument many times by now. Either way, I will just have to read the story one of these days and see it for myself. :pinkiecrazy:

Also, what do you mean by "canon" background ponies? Not many of the background ponies have much canon to them, they are mostly fanmade.

2573854
Good thing the comments section isn't a popularity contest.

2575961 that's why it was in quotes. Only their appearance is canon.

Though some may have names thanks to toys and cards. Like Vinyl Scratch.

2575961

You must be new here.

I'm definitely getting a little Lunaverse Raindrops feel from this. Or is grumpy and easily angered a common characterization for her?

You know, this subtitle for this could easily be The Mare She Couldn't Bang. So far, at least.

“So ... tornadoes today?” I said, looking out at the trio of growing funnels of wind that were approaching the ground near the edge of the Everfree Forest.
“So, how do you do this again?” asked Derpy.

:twilightoops:

A flaming tornado. Yeah, that's about what I expected.

Oooo, and now a Roc, awesome. Flying brick for the win!

Wait, never mind on that subtitle. :rainbowlaugh:

Y'know, I love Cloud Kicker, but when seen from an outsider's perspective... she's kind of a jerk. I mean, Raindrops is having a lousy night, is overworked and exhausted, then Cloudy comes along and zaps her with a lightning bolt because she thought it would be funny, and then doesn't even apologize! Dick move, Cloudy. :trixieshiftleft:

“Iron Hoof,” I said. “Been doing it since I was a filly. Helps with the anger issues. You?”

Krav Pega,” she replied.

What a coincidence, I do Krav Maga myself.


2580021
The entire team had been on edge, Cloudy was trying to relieve stress of everyone, I think, including the pranked individual, she just didn't notice how close Raindrops was to her limit.

2570172

I like The Blob, got it on DVD.

Perfect:pinkiehappy::derpytongue2::moustache: I love grumpy Raindrops!

2570493 Yea, normal clumsiness isn't that funny, but epic clumsiness is hilarious. For example my Derpy once dropped a cloud. Not as in she lost her grip on it and it floated away, but it hit the ground with a splash like it was a big water balloon rather than a mass of water vapor. This is also why my Derpy has a desk job, so the worst that can happen is a misfiling.

Martial arts banging... This fan universe officially has it all now. :pinkiehappy:

I loved this fic! The winningverse is seriously becoming my favourite something-verse series of fics on this site.

And poor Dropsy just couldn't resist Kicky's swag.

Dropsy was converted into the Bang collective.

Resistance is futile, you will be banged.

Also,

Cloud Kicker’s pained grimace slowly softened into a grin. “Dropsy! Did you just prank me?”
I wiped away the tears in my eyes. “Hey, you’re the one who said I need to pull the stick out of my plot.”
“And you chose to beat me over the head with it,” Cloud Kicker joked.

Was that a Mass Effect 2 reference?

Great fic, though is it just me, or was Blossomforth missing?

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