• Published 6th Mar 2012
  • 12,688 Views, 450 Comments

The Risks of Braving a Storm - Wintergreen Diaries

Storm Blitz, a massive pegasus, comes to Ponyville after his grandfather dies.

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Chapter 11: Progress

A mansion, even with a family, can feel empty and lonely. When somepony is left by themselves with no support or interaction, the silence only thickens. It had been one week since Grace returned, and she lay on her bed staring up at the ceiling. Proud Skies had been in a foul mood when she had returned, and thus counted the time getting back from Ponyville as days spent with Quakehoof. It would be at least seven years before she could return. Additionally, she hadn’t been feeling well as of late, and she couldn’t find the strength to rise from bed unless absolutely necessary. So when Proud Skies barged into her room in a towering rage, she couldn’t help but ignore the annoyance.

“Any particular reason you didn’t see fit to tell me that Storm is living with Scootaloo in Ponyville?” he growled, pointing an accusing hoof at her which she disdainfully ignored.

“Hmmm, I suppose it’s because you didn’t ask,” she replied, her nonchalant demeanor only aggravating him more. He approached and raised his hoof to strike her, pausing momentarily as she asked, “Are you sure that’s a good idea? A broken trophy won’t get you any good press.” It was fortunate that he didn’t have any real kind of strength, because otherwise he likely would have broken her jaw with the blow.

“That’s what make up is for,” he whispered before sweeping out of the room, leaving her and heading back to his study. Her maidservant, Powder Puff, immediately entered and began tending to the bruise, offering what soothing words she could. It brought her little comfort as she realized Proud Skies wouldn’t ever leave her son alone, not while he could be making his life worse.

“Puff, I need you to get me into contact with somepony. Something tells me that an even bigger problem is just beyond the horizon...”

“You sure it’s ok for me to take a day off? You said that it had to be every day,” Rainbow Dash said as they met at her house, preparing for weather duty.

“Well, the truth of the matter is that the book said that adequate rest is required to not over-strain the muscles. And besides, I’d like to do something fun with my fillyfriend, if that’s all right?” Rainbow Dash couldn’t help but feel giddy at the statement.

“So, does that mean...”

“Yes, our first date.” Storm had promised to be a good coltfriend by not let his fear of making mistakes take command, and he was determined to make good on it. “I’m going to let you out of the last hour of weather duty, to take whatever time you need to prepare. We can meet back at the entrance to the weather factory when I finish, is that fair?”

“Sure, that sounds great! Oh man, this is gonna be awesome!” She noticed Storm watching her and immediately tried to restore some semblance of dignity. “What did you mean by book?” Dang it, he had let it slip. If she got her hooves on it, her enthusiasm could easily lead to her trying some of the most dangerous stunts known to pegasi, and he couldn’t allow that to happen. At the same time, he couldn’t justify lying to her, so with a sigh he explained.

“One of the things my grandfather left behind when he died was a manual filled with his best stunts, training methods, and other information. Some of the tricks are extremely dangerous, and...”

“You have got to let me see that book!” she exclaimed, hovering in front of him and pleading with her hooves.

“And that right there is exactly why I hadn’t said anything. Until I am confident that you can handle what lies within, it will stay with me. Besides, it is Lightning Wing's legacy in paper form, I can’t just give that away.” He was saddened to see her countenance fall as she landed in front of him, staring at the floor for a moment before shrugging it off and smiling.

“Yeah, I guess that makes sense. I’ll just have to get better so I can read it. You will let me read it someday, right?”

“Yes, now come on,” he replied, motioning to the door, “we don’t want to be any more late than we already are.” A quick glance at the clock showed that their conversation had set them back quite a bit, and the manager of the weather factory was anything but amused.

“Of all the pegasi I’d expect to be late, you are the one I expected the least, Ms. Dash. You too, Storm. You’re still new and that’s not the way to show your gratitude for having a job.” He ignored their mutual apology and continued. “Now, this is nothing personal but I had planned on giving this assignment to the last group to arrive, and that would be you two. In addition to the regular weather duties, you two will be on spare cloud collection for the late spring storm scheduled for tomorrow.” Rainbow Dash couldn’t help but groan, the assignment adding no fewer than two more hours to their workload, as speed did little good for keeping clouds intact. With no further instructions they exited and went about their work, gathering clouds and clearing the lower levels of the dense morning fog that had drifted in from the Everfree Forest.

The sun directly overhead signaled the coming of noon, which was normally the latest the duo ever finished but they were still mid way through making the quota for their cloud collection duties when Storm had a sudden inspiration and immediately acted on it. He really had liked the way Rainbow Dash’s hair had looked the other day, but he had never really gotten the chance to adequately express himself, due to sticking his hoof in his mouth rather badly immediately after. It seemed a little forward to ask for it though, but maybe if she had time...

“Hey, Rainbow Dash?”

“Yeah, what is it?” she replied, not bothering to look up from dragging the rather large cloud she had found towards the cart.

“Why don’t you go ahead and start getting ready for this afternoon while I finish up here?”

“Wow, really? Thanks, Storm. See you at the weather factory in two hours!” and with that, she was gone, quickly disappearing towards her cloud home. Well, even if she didn’t get his hint, it was still worth it. Storm returned to the drudgery of the clouds with a smile, the anticipation of the coming afternoon keeping a firm lock on his boredom and giving him time to think about what they could do, as not only was it to be his first date, but he didn’t know either Cloudsdale or Ponyville all that well. Oh well, he’d figure something out... he hoped.

After a relaxing shower and a snack, Rainbow Dash played with Tank a bit before glancing at the clock to find that it was still about an hour and a half before she needed to be at the weather factory. He had mentioned getting ready, but there wasn’t really much she needed to do. Shortly after completing the thought, the next one came and gripped her mind like a vice.

“What if he expects me to get ready somehow? What am I supposed to do? I’ve never been on a date before, is there something special I’m supposed to be doing? Gotta think, gotta think!” She wracked her brain for a long five minutes before coming to the realization that she had no idea what to do. Careful not to be seen by Storm who was still tending the clouds, she made for Carousel Boutique to ask Rarity for advice. Rarity stared at her blankly as she posed her inquiry before laughing quite a bit louder than she normally would have, the idea of rolling on the floor with mirth not being anywhere close to sophisticated behavior. When she calmed a little and saw how distraught Rainbow Dash actually was she immediately quieted herself and approached the problem.

“Rainbow Dash, normally when one goes on a romantic excursion, both parties try to present themselves in the best possible physical condition. For a lady such as yourself, that would mean paying special attention to your mane and attire, though for a first date I hardly think anything flashy would be necessary. Hmmm, what did he think of your hair the way I had it last time?”

“Um... hard to say, it didn’t last long.” Rarity cocked her head to the side, confused by the statement.

“Whatever do you mean, Rainbow Dash? Those curls should have held for at least a couple of hours.”

“Well, when he saw me, he um, well...” Rarity couldn’t stand the anticipation, and the corners of her mouth curled into a knowing smile. If her mane had gotten messed up when he saw her, then it must have been very well received indeed! “He pulled down a cloud, soaked me, and then pushed me into the mud.” A few moments of silence passed as Rarity’s mind frantically tried to absorb the information, the atrocity too great for her to fathom.

“He... he... he did WHAT?!?” Rainbow Dash resisted the urge to cover her ears as Rarity flew into a rage. “Why, of all the ungrateful, barbaric, uncouth, bone headed stallions I’ve met, none come close to even approaching that level of... well, maybe Prince Blueblood, but that just makes it even worse! Where is he, he’s in for a world of hurt.” Rainbow Dash opened her mouth to speak but was immediately shushed by Rarity who stormed out of the building and into the streets, frantically searching the skies. Storm was busy rolling some fog into a proper cloud when he found himself unceremoniously yanked to the ground, Rarity’s magical fury being stronger than his wings for a time. Storm scrambled to his hooves and shook his head, trying to rid himself of the disorientation when he suddenly found a bigger problem to worry about.

“What kind of pathetic justification could you possibly have for pushing a mare who spent several hours getting groomed and styled for you into something as foul as mud? I’ve heard of some ridiculous things in my lifetime, but never had I heard of a stallion treating a lady with such utter disrespect!” Storm opened his mouth to make his defense when a withering glare from Rarity bid him to hold his peace. Her voice dropped to a low growl as she made it clear she meant every word. “I don’t know what kind of silver tongued charlatanry you used to win her heart back, but mark my words, Storm Blitz. If I ever, and I mean ever, hear of you treating her like this again, not even Princess Celestia will be able to save you. Do I make myself clear?” Storm gave a panicked nod, which was far from satisfactory. “I said, do I make myself clear!” Rarity shouted, her face just a hair away from his own.

“Yes, Miss Rarity! It won’t happen again!” She continued to glare at him for a couple of seconds before turning away with her muzzle pointed in the air.

“Come, Rainbow Dash. Let us prepare you for your date, though I hardly think rabble such as him deserves such a fine mare.” Rainbow Dash shot an apologetic look at Storm and mouthed the words “sorry” before catching up to Rarity. Storm watched them go, trying to calm his shaking limbs to a point where he could safely take off when a voice behind him caused him to start.

“She may be right, Storm Blitz. Rarity can be quite frightening when she’s upset.” He turned to find Princess Celestia herself approaching, making little effort to hide her amusement. “Raising the sun is a simple matter when set alongside quieting an angry mare. Cerulean can testify to this, I’m sure.” Storm gave a nervous chuckle, hoping to never have to deal with that much insanity. “The reason I came to speak with you is I’d like to know more about why you were removed from Cloudspire. I may not be able to directly overstep Proud Skies, but if there are ways to get around his rules then I’ll need more information on your situation. Flying Grace belongs here with her real family, not under that little weasel’s hoof.”

“Your majesty, with all due respect, I’ve never heard of you talking about anypony like that.” It was then that Storm saw Celestia scowl for the first time, and it was frightening to behold.

“Of the many ponies in my domain, there are few I dislike more than Proud. Luna has tempted me more than once with banishing him somewhere dark and cold. Would you mind having a word with me?” The idea of the ruler of Equestria reaching down to thwart Proud Skies was too delicious to pass up, and Storm eagerly answered any and all her questions. The idea of Scootaloo being able to have her mother back was almost too much to hope for, but hope he did. Celestia nodded her thanks as he finished and returned towards Canterlot, and Storm returned to his work, pushing himself to make up for lost time and determined not to be late for his first date.

Back at the Carousel Boutique, Rarity immediately set about doing Rainbow Dash’s hair like she had the other day, muttering under her breath for a full half hour before falling into silence. Rainbow Dash waited a few extra minutes before attempting to explain the situation in its entirety, not haven’t had the chance earlier. Rarity listened quietly and said nothing for a time, mulling over her words and reluctantly coming to the conclusion that overall the gesture had been sweet, even if mud had been involved.

“Well, I suppose I can bring myself to apologize. He really is quite dense, though,” Rarity murmured, more to herself than anypony else.

“Yeah, he really is,” Rainbow Dash agreed with a chuckle, “but it’s kinda endearing. Makes me feel like a genius.”

“Rainbow Dash, don’t sell yourself so short, you’re plenty smart.” With that, Rarity finished what she was doing and held up a mirror, which Rainbow took some time staring at.

“Rarity, is there any way I could learn to do this on my own? I don’t want to have to bother you every time I feel like doing something special,” she said after a time, to which Rarity readily agreed, delighted to see her friend take an interest in fashion.

“It’s no bother at all, dear. But I suppose I can teach you the basics.” Half an hour went by as Rarity gave an extremely in depth guide to curling one’s mane, most of which was completely lost on Rainbow Dash. Still, she remembered a few of the major points and decided to use some spare bits later to purchase one of the irons. Rainbow Dash couldn’t help but smile as a couple of the ponies in town stopped and stared as she cantered down the street, before taking off at a leisurely pace, heading towards the weather factory.

“Hey, black pegasus giant! Word on the street is you’re dating that rainbow tomcolt!” Storm hadn’t bothered to try meeting any of the other pegasi in Cloudsdale, so he was surprised to find three other colts approaching, appearing to be just a little younger than himself. He finished depositing the clouds he’d collected and nodded to the director before flying out to meet the three.

“I’m sorry, I don’t believe we’ve met. Are you three friends of hers?” He was immediately annoyed as the three began to snicker and shake their heads.

“I’m Dumb-bell, he’s Hoops, and he’s Score. Bet you didn’t know that Rainbow Dash used to be one of the worst fliers around.” Storm kept his frustration in check as he took a few steps forward.

“I fail to see what that has to do with anything, as she clearly surpassed you three ages ago.”

“Oh, so confident in your little Rainbow Crash? I’ve never seen anypony face plant more times than her, and she’s was more like a colt than anypony else at flight camp!” Hoops sneered, the other two laughing in turn. Storm had put up with enough, and it was time to show these punks a lesson. Without a word he punched through the cloud, disappearing from their view and leaving the three jocks rolling with laughter, thinking he had run away. Had they been paying more attention they would have noticed the clouds underneath them becoming extremely agitated, quickly growing to a near-black gray. They all recieved a minor shock as Storm burst out from below the cloudbank in a shower of sparks, the electricity crackling around him and showering the three with sparks as he flapped his wings. The huddled together as he towered over them, and he dropped his voice to a dangerously soft tone, nearly a whisper.

“If I ever hear you three refer to her as a tomcolt or Rainbow Crash again, you best be ready for severe bodily pain. Do we have an understanding?” They would have responded immediately if it weren’t for the fact that they were entranced by the cyan mare who had approached silently behind Storm, her voice causing him to turn and become similarly bewitched. Rainbow Dash had seen the whole thing, and Storm’s immediate defense filled her with pride and confidence, which she decided to make known.

“If I was the most coltly pony at Flight Camp, then I suppose you three must be quite prissy,” she said haughtily, mimicking Rarity’s mode of speech to further the effect. Storm was hard pressed not to laugh as her words and tone of voice matched they fashion queen’s to a tee. “What, was I not lady like enough for you? Such a shame, you shall have to do without my presence then. Come, Storm, let us not waste another moment with these ruffians.” They flew a ways and as soon as the three jocks were out of sight they both landed as they were both overcome with fits of laughter, many of the other pegasi in the town shooting them quizzical glances before returning to their work. “Seriously, Storm, that was awesome how you shut them up. And thanks for sticking up for me, you may be the first colt to do so.”

“How did you alienate yourself from the other colts so badly anyway? Were you really that much of a tomcolt?”

“Well, kinda. I mean, I was super competitive and most of the guys didn’t like getting beaten all the time, so they mostly made fun of me to compensate.” Storm had seen the same type of thing going on when he was a young colt, and it always rubbed him the wrong way.

“You know, I’m grateful that you’re not angry at me with losing my temper back there.”

“Are you kidding?” she replied, her mirth turning to adoration. “I think your talent is way awesome! I get really excited every time I see it, and the look on their faces? Priceless! How can you tolerate electricity like that, anyways?”

“Well, I actually spoke with Celestia after Rarity was done chewing me out. I happened to ask her about it, and she said it was likely due to my earth pony heritage. The earth ponies have always been heartier than other races, and their bodies are naturally more resistant to the elements. She thinks that I’m a prime example of why the intermingling of the three pony races is a great development, though she did also warn me not to push it too far. I may be able to tolerate lightning but I can’t live in it. Still, I think I prefer pegasi.”

“Hmmm, more than one, is it? Who is the traitorous wench? I’ve a few choice words for that mare!” she exclaimed in mock outrage, again dropping into Rarity’s tone.

“You have nothing to fear, for there is no mare more fair in all the land.” He watched her blush slightly before continuing, noting that pink was quite becoming for her. “Well then, milady. Shall we?” Storm replied, bowing and sweeping a hoof out towards the city that was theirs to enjoy. Rainbow Dash galloped ahead, and Storm gave chase while letting her keep the lead, reveling in the excitement of young love and a great view.