• Published 6th Mar 2012
  • 12,687 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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The Painful Truth

Chapter 5: The Painful Truth

Rainbow Dash’s enthusiasm was hard pressed to maintain itself as Storm cast his eyes to the ground. There was no anger present, but she knew she had asked for something she shouldn’t have, the thought of learning from the grandson of Lightning Wing temporarily blinding her to the fact that he was recently deceased, and had been Storm’s only real family for the last five years.

“His funeral was this afternoon. Proud Skies forbade me from attending...” Rainbow Dash couldn’t have facehooved hard enough to adequately display how dumb she felt as she heard those words. Seriously, how insensitive had she sounded just then, after he had just finished telling her about one of his worst experiences?

“Oh my gosh, Storm, I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to be... I mean...” she stammered, trying to figure out some way to apologize. To her relief Storm chuckled a bit, smiling once more.

“It’s ok, Dash. It’s easy to get carried away when you think about the things you enjoy. I will consider what you’ve said, but it’s a little too soon for me to just give away his secrets. He only ever personally taught me, and as much as I’ve hated flying for the last five years, those memories are important to me.”

“I understand. Oh well, I guess I can forgive you anyways. But you’re gonna have to make it up to me somehow,” she warned, adopting a serious face that Storm couldn’t help but laugh at. When he wasn’t busy making an idiot of himself, this mare could actually be a lot of fun. He made a mental note to curb the flow of dumbness and work towards bettering their friendship.

“Don’t worry, I plan on it. I guess I’ll be heading home, I see ya around,” he said, waving and taking off towards Ponyville. Rainbow watched him go, glad to see he was in high spirits again. He’d been through a lot, and while she could still remember the excitement of racing the lightning, she knew that she wouldn’t try it again - not until she proved she could handle it, anyways. Storm’s mind began to wander, mulling over the recent events and eventually falling onto Scootaloo. He hoped that wherever she was, she was enjoying herself.

The scenery rushed passed as the train to Canterlot sped down the tracks. Scootaloo bounced on her seat excitedly. Funeral or not, she would get to see her father again, and that would make the boring procession for somepony she barely knew worth it. Grace said nothing as she beheld her daughter’s excitement in stark contrast to her son’s growing frustration with the web of lies Proud Skies had forced her to weave. She gave a sigh and resigned herself to the fact that it was never going to change, and as always she choked down her emotions and put on a smile as Canterlot came into view.

“Daddy!” Scootaloo squealed as they departed the train, instantly dashing towards his waiting arms. He swept her into the air and spun for a moment before holding her close.

“How’s daddy’s little angel?”

“Better now that I get to see you again!” she said, her thoughts of the recent emergence of her brother wiped from her mind in an instant. He set her on his back and motioned his wife to follow as they made their way to the gated off area, the security high as long time fans begged for entrance as the royal guard made sure that nopony but those invited passed through the gate.

There were easily two hundred ponies in attendance, as well as many from Golden Feathers who were stricken by his sudden death. Proud Skies adopted an appropriate facial expression for the procession and held it, as Grace seethed inwardly. He couldn’t care less for her father, his mind being the same place it always was. She knew it would only further his image but she couldn’t help herself as the tears spilled from her eyes. He had died quite young considering his health, and nopony could have anticipated the tragic turn of events.

Proud Skies left shortly after the main ceremony ended, not staying for the reception and instead heading into town to meet some of his contacts. Flying Grace watched after Scootaloo while she spoke with the retired Wonderbolts, many of them long time friends of hers. Scootaloo quickly became bored, wishing she was able to bring her friends from Ponyville. Even though she missed her father, Sweetie Belle and Applebloom had become an integral part of her heart, and she couldn’t imagine leaving them. If given the opportunity to return to Cloudspire, she’s wasn’t sure what she’d choose, the risk of further bullying and leaving her friends weighing against getting to be with her father.

As the sun was beginning to set Flying Grace led Scootaloo to their castle suite, Proud refusing to sleep anywhere else as it would be below a pony of his distinction. She looked around in wonder at the magnificent structure, it’s spires reaching towards the sky as if to lift the sun and moon. Their suite was almost a house in and of itself, complete with an office study for Proud. She was disappointed to see that Proud wasn’t at the dinner buffet, and she couldn’t stop thinking about catching up with him as she toured the castle. Her eyes had grown heavy by the time they made it back to their rooms and Grace led her to bed, kissing her softly on the forehead before turning out the light.

Scootaloo awoke a few hours later, her parched throat urging her to drag herself out of bed and head towards the sink. As she passed she saw the light on in the study, her desire to speak with Proud Skies flared again, and she quietly approached, pressing an ear to the door. She could just make out her father’s voice. It sounded like he was talking to himself, as she heard no responses.

“What a draining day, acting like I cared about that ex-Wonderbolt. Like he ever mattered. And Storm is nowhere to be seen. He’ll probably join his grandfather soon, cut off from the skies with nowhere to go.” Scootaloo couldn’t believe what she was hearing, and she was lucky Proud didn’t hear her soft growl. She was about to barge in when her perception of reality was shattered, falling through her mind like fragments of stained glass. “And thank Celestia I didn’t have to spend any time with that little mongrel that still thinks she’s my daughter. Of all the acts I have to use, acting like she means the world to me has to be the worst. I’ll be glad when she goes back to Ponyville for good.” Scootaloo slowly backed away from the door, Storm’s final words to her flooding through her mind and clashing with all she knew to be true. It was too much for the little filly, and she threw herself into bed and cried herself to sleep, fighting with all her might to push every thought of love from her heart.

Grace instantly recognized the change in her daughter’s behavior, her usual spunk nowhere to be seen. She didn’t speak a word for the entire duration of the breakfast in the castle dining quarters, hardly touching her food and ignoring Proud’s doting words of adoration. As they neared the station Proud pulled Grace aside, dropping his voice so only she could hear.

“Three days, no more. And don’t even think about another child.” Grace said nothing and boarded with Scootaloo, sweeping her onto her back and heading to their seats, where she slowly slid from her perch and stared ashen faced at the table. After the train had made it a fair distance from Canterlot she attempted to breach the wall.

“Scootaloo dear, what happened? This isn’t like you...” Scootaloo sat motionless, not making a sound or looking up. “Scootaloo, please. You can talk to me about anything. Did something happen in Canterlot?” No response again. How could she respond? Her mother and father, everything they had ever told her was a lie. The only ponies that hadn’t lied to her were her friends in Ponyville and Storm, who she had treated with nothing but hatred since his arrival.

“Could he ever forgive me?” she wondered to herself, her mother’s voice droning in the background. After half an hour of prodding, Flying Grace resigned herself to leave Scootaloo alone, knowing that the truth would come out soon enough. She had her suspicions, but jumping to conclusions would be anything but beneficial, and she looked out the window, wishing Ponyville would approach faster.

After another morning of fruitlessly searching for employment, Storm Blitz decided to try and find Rainbow Dash. It was rather hard to missed her, the rainbow streaks lingering on his eyes as he watched her routine near the outskirts of town. He had to wonder if she had ever received professional training, her tricks instilling the same awe in him that Lightning had when he was young. Her form was superb, her speed first rate, and he couldn’t help but wonder why she hadn’t made it into the Wonderbolts already. Too young perhaps? The minimum age was twenty, and he had to admit she didn’t seem quite that old yet. But more than anything else, there was passion in her movements, infusing every graceful glide, every corkscrew, every dive. He was going to leave so as to not become a distraction but she noticed him and immediately swooped down, landing lightly and trotting a short distance.

“Hiya Storm! Given it any thought yet?” she prodded, winking cheerily and hoping he knew she was only teasing.

“Actually, I have. Rainbow Dash, I can’t think of a better candidate to pass his secrets on to. You’d...” He was forced to clap his hooves over his ears as they were assailed by the jubilant mare’s cries of joy. She shot into the air, pulling mind-bendingly tight loops and spins that would have left any tornado dizzy. He was completely unprepared as she spiraled into him, knocking him to the ground and landing on his chest.

“Ohmygosh yes yes yes! Thank you Storm, seriously! I mean, being taught the secrets of Lightning Wing? It’s just too awesome!” she squealed, thrusting her face close to his. Storm felt heat rise to his cheeks as he felt his wings begin to stiffen of their own accord. He had to get out of this situation quickly before anypony saw.

“As great as it is to see you excited, this position is a little awkward. Could you kindly get off?” The implications were lost on Rainbow Dash but she complied, hopping off and prancing around, her mood not the slightest bit affected by his request. Storm quickly stood, forcing his wings closed and hoping to Celestia that nopony had noticed the incident. A quick scan of the area confirmed the absence of prying eyes, and he breathed a small sigh of relief before continuing. “As I was saying, I don’t think anypony else I know would be able to come close to being able to pull off any of his stunts, but you Dash? You may just have a shot. However, I do have one request.”

“Sure, anything you want!” Storm shook his head as a rather intrusive thought came to mind, ignoring it.

“I’ve been having trouble finding a job. Finances are tight for my father, and I don’t want to just sit around while he scrambles to make ends meet.” Rainbow Dash paused her prancing long enough to shoot him a quizzical grin.

“I’m sure you could get a job with the weather division in Cloudsdale. The young ones are constantly slacking off, and...”

“I’m sorry, but it can’t be anything flight related.”

“What, why not?”

“It’s complicated,” he replied, hoping that she wouldn’t pry further, which is exactly what she did.

“Why do you always do that? It’s like you don’t trust me,” she muttered, making a sour face.

“Rainbow Dash, it has nothing to do with you. I’m more trying to protect you than anything else, please trust me on that.” Trust? When he veils everything and only speaks after nearly killing himself? She sighed, not sure she believed him but at the same time not wanting to pick a fight.

“I’ll ask around town and see if I can find anything. Promise to teach me though.”

“Gladly; I, Storm Blitz, do formally swear to teach Rainbow Dash the secrets of Lightning Wing,” he said with a grin, glad to see a smile return to her face.

“Nope, sorry, that’s not good enough. Pinkie promise me.” He stared at her blankly in which she took great glee. “Oh right, you’re new here. Oh well, better have the master teach you. Come on!” she called over her shoulder as she took off towards Sugarcube Corner with Storm in hot pursuit. Rainbow had to slow down a bit so he could keep up, but it really didn’t bother her; it was nice to have somepony to fly with. Pinkie Pie was working the register when they walked in, though there were few ponies inside during the afternoon lull. She immediately perked up upon seeing Rainbow Dash and Storm, bouncing eagerly to meet them.

“Hey Dash! Hey Storm! You looking for something to eat? ‘Cause I just made cupcakes!” she exclaimed, pulling out a plain white box to reveal twelve pristine pink cupcakes. Storm was reaching for one when Rainbow appeared in front of him, hooves outstretched.

“Don’t! Don’t eat the cupcakes, Storm!” she yelled, frantically waving her arms. Ever since that fateful night six months ago, she hadn’t touched a single cupcake. She had vowed never to mess with Luna again, as the moon had precious few audience members for her acrobatics.

“Relax, silly. These ones are fine, nothing special. Well, aside from being cupcakes of course!” she giggled, popping one into her mouth and munching happily. Storm’s stomach let loose a low rumble and his eyes silently pleaded with Rainbow, who shot Pinkie Pie a glare before backing away. He devoured the whole box, never having tasted the legendary baking of Pinkamena Diane Pie and licking the frosting from his hooves.

“Those were amazing, do you have more?” She promptly whipped out a second box, and Storm allowed himself a brief moment of gluttony, making short work of the twelve unlucky treats.

“Pinkie, I came here so you could teach Storm the Pinkie Promise, not pump him full of sugar.” Pinkie immediately ceased her merrymaking and gave Storm a eerily serious look. Even though she was a good head and a half shorter than him, he still took a step back from her insane blue eyes, narrowed into a scowl.

“Do as I do. Cross my heart,” she said slowly, drawing a stroke across her chest.

“Cross my heart,” Storm replied.

“You’re doing it wrong! You have to cross it, now do it again!” she instructed, prodding him in the chest. He quickly said the words again, following through with the motion.

“Hope to fly,” Pinkie continued, completing the ‘X’ with an alternate stroke.

“Wait, hope to what?” He was a pegasus. There was no hoping necessary on that front.

“Say it!” she shouted, getting uncomfortably close to his face as she jumped to make level eye contact.

“H-hope to fly...” he hesitated, crossing again and swallowing hard.

“Stick a cupcake in my eye,” she finished, mashing an imaginary pastry to her face. Storm sat silent, completely dumbfounded as to how a pony could speak of flight and cupcakes in such a way with a straight face. “Stick... a... cupcake...” she started, her voice a low growl.

“Stick a cupcake in my eye!” Storm shouted, accidentally mashing his hoof painfully into his left eye.

“See, nothing to it!” Pinkie replied enthusiastically bouncing a circle around him. Rainbow Dash, who had been doing her very best to not show her amusement at his situation, finally lost it as he turned to face her, and she promptly fell to the floor, her uproarious laughter filling the room. Storm tried to be frustrated but found it to be impossible, and he was soon joining her mirth with his own chuckles.

After a time they bid Pinkie goodbye, chatting amiably as they strolled through the town. Judging by the position of the sun, it was likely around four in the afternoon, and it boggled his mind that he had managed to blow that much time so fast. His thoughts had just turned to home when he saw Flying Grace walking towards home with Scootaloo perched on her back. He immediately ran to greet them but quickly noticed that something was off. Grace shot him a weak smile and Scootaloo didn’t even bother to glare at him. In fact, she seemed entirely unresponsive, which was a far more worrisome condition than her previous expected loathing.

“Scootaloo? Scootaloo, what’s wrong?” he pressed. She made no motion to move, staring into the distance. Her vacant eyes spoke volumes. “Mom, what happened in Canterlot? If Proud did something to her, I’ll...” he whispered the end, bringing his hoof down hard.

“Storm, I don’t know. She hasn’t spoken a word to anypony since last night. I tried to coax something, anything out of her, but she won’t speak.” Storm approached and pulled her down, cradling her in his arms. Scootaloo made no attempts to resist, actually drawing near and burying her face in his chest. Rainbow Dash stood uncomfortably at the sidelines, wanting to try and help but telling herself that it was a family affair.

“Rainbow Dash, could you try talking to her?” Rainbow Dash eagerly complied with Storm’s request, walking around so she could see Scootaloo clearly. There were deep bags under her eyes, and she didn’t budge as Rainbow appealed to her.

“Hey Scootaloo, it’s me, Rainbow Dash. Everything ok?” she asked softly. Scootaloo shook her head slowly. It was a small sign, but it was something at least. Storm didn’t care at this point who got through to her, he just wanted to see her well. “Did something happen at Canterlot.” A pause, and then a nod. “Can you tell us what it was?” She slowly turned to face Rainbow Dash, her voice barely audible, though everypony heard.

“He lied. Everypony lied...”