• Published 23rd Apr 2014
  • 1,294 Views, 90 Comments

How to Train Your Pegasus - L3gion

A troubled young pegasus struggles with her self esteem, until she gets a little help from the most unlikely of tutors.

  • ...

Chapter 10

Coal Bolt stepped out of his humble little house, a hardhat on his head and carrying a lunchbox on his back. He looked up at the clear, late winter sky and let the sunlight hit his face for a few moments with his eyes closed. He looked to one side of his snow-covered lawn, at the swing set he and his late wife had built for Snow Bolt all those years ago. That was back before Summer Heart got sick, back in the good times. Snow Bolt had loved that swing.

Coal Bolt stared at the old swing, now long unused and covered in snow. He closed his eyes and felt a lump well up in his throat as he recalled the memory of his little Snow Bolt laughing as he pushed her. Higher, higher! she cried. He could hear her voice now as clearly as he had all those years ago.

He took a deep breath and choked back his tears. No, he had spent enough time mourning. His wife was gone, his daughter was gone, and he was just going to have to live with it. He had spent an entire month searching for Snow Bolt, combing the area of Equestria where she had last been seen, long after the Royal Guard had given up its search. He had spent another month in mourning, scarcely eating or leaving the house. But the plant manager had called the other day, and said that while he was sorry for Coal Bolt’s loss, if he didn't return to the plant within the week they would have no choice but to find a replacement for him.

So he wiped away his tears, swallowed the lump in his throat, and took a few deep breaths. He walked across his front yard and out the white picket fence, deliberately avoiding the swing set with his eyes. He turned right down the sidewalk, and began the long walk to the plant.

Coal Bolt mostly stared at the ground while he walked. The neighbors he passed on his way mostly gave him a wide berth. To the ones that did stop and greet him, he could only manage a weak smile. To him, it was a farce. In the space of two years, he had lost everything he cared about. He had watched his once beautiful wife wither into a hollowed, tortured shell of her former self, and held her hoof as she died in agony. And now, to lose Snow Bolt, the only thing he had left of Summer Heart, was entirely more than he could bear.

But the worst part, the question that had kept him up nights since the day he first learned she was missing, was whether it had been his actions that had caused her to run away in the first place. When his wife had died, and Snow Bolt had first started to act out, was there more he could have done? He had tried his best, but he just wasn’t as good with Snow Bolt as her mother had been. Looking back, just about the only interactions he could remember with her after her mother died was him yelling at her for something or other. He still loved her of course, but had he ever told her that? Had he ever really taken the time to remind her? Sending her away to live with his brother on the rock farm had seemed like an extreme step, but at the time he was willing to do anything to stem her bad behavior. He was so desperate that he had sent his only daughter to go live with strangers instead of living with him. Is that why she had run away? Would she still be alive if he hadn't?

Coal Bolt stopped in the street, hung his head, and shut his eyes tight. He was almost at the plant now. Could he really go inside and watch the gauges, and pull the levers, and eat his lunch and chat with his coworkers as he had before? As if his life had any meaning any longer, as if he could recover and ever be anything but a shell of the pony he had once been?

All around him, ponies bustled about to and from their morning errands. A few muttered things like “move it, buddy!” as they pushed around him, but Coal Bolt did not care. He doubted he would ever care about anything ever again.

Coal Bolt stared at the ground, at the dark spot on the sidewalk his tears were making. He was only vaguely aware of all the hooves passing around the periphery of his vision. He shut his eyes tight for a moment, and when he opened them, he saw that a pair of hooves had stopped in front of him. They were small, white, and turned too far inwards.

“Hi papa,” said a small, familiar voice.

Coal Bolt slowly raised his eyes. A young filly stood there, looking up at him with a little smile and soft, sapphire-blue eyes.

It was Snow Bolt.

Coal Bolt could only stare, his mouth agape, at the apparition before him. “Snow Bolt?” His mouth formed the name, but no sound escaped his lips. “Snow Bolt?" he said again, his voice ragged. "Is it really you?"

Snow Bolt’s eyes were brimming with tears. “Yes, papa. It’s me.”

Hoof trembling, Coal Bolt reached out to touch his daughter, afraid that she would vanish the second he did so. Snow Bolt reached out, took her father's hoof in her own, and put it to her cheek.

Coal Bolt’s heart soared. “Snow Bolt! My Snow Bolt! It’s you, it’s really you!” He rushed towards her and lifted the filly off her hooves, crushing her in his embrace. “My daughter, my only daughter, she’s alive!”

Snow Bolt was also crying. “Papa, I’ve missed you so much. I’m so sorry.”

“No, Snow Bolt, I’m the one who should be sorry. I should have never sent you away. I’m so sorry for everything.”

The two of them sank to the ground, their arms wrapped around each other and weeping uncontrollably. Coal Bolt was dimly aware that he was causing a scene, but he didn’t care. After a few long moments their sobbing slowed, and Coal Bolt held Snow Bolt at arm’s length.

“Where have you been, child? What happened?” he asked.

“Oh papa, it’s a long story. I’m not sure you’d believe me anyways.”

“Is that… oh my gosh, is that your cutie mark?!” He spun Snow Bolt around to have a look. “Snow Bolt, you have a cutie mark! Oh, and your hair is… wow, and look at your wings, they’re so… can you fly now?!”

Snow Bolt giggled at her father’s stammering. “Yes, yes, papa. I have a lot to tell you. But don’t you have work?”

"Hah!" Coal Bolt took off his hard hat, set it gently on the ground, and then turned and bucked it clear into the next town. “No, Snow Bolt. Frankly, I don’t think I’d care to work another day of my life, not there when there are so much more important things to tend to. Come on, let’s go home.”

* * *

“Come on, Jackpot. Quit holding out on us. Just give us what we want and it’ll be over.”

Rusty Spur was holding a young earth pony upside-down by his hind legs. The foal was struggling to squirm free, but the big colt’s grip held firm. “I…I don’t have any lunch money. My mom started packing my lunch!”

“Aw gee, that’s too bad,” Rusty said. Rocks and Smokey laughed as they looked on from the mouth of the alley. “Well if you don’t have any money for the toll, I guess I’m just going to have to impound your face.”

“No, wait!” Jackpot cowered as Rusty raised his other hoof to strike.

Smokey Ore, who was serving as the trio’s lookout, turned as he heard distinctive, irregular hoofsteps approaching. A moment later, a familiar, yellow-haired pegasus came into view on the other side of the street. “Hey rusty,” Smokey Ore said, squinting through his glasses across the street. “Isn’t that Snow Bolt over there?”

“Huh?” Rusty turned to look. Jackpot used the momentary distraction to wriggle free. He hit the pavement running, and was halfway down the block just a few seconds later.

“I thought she was...dead?” Rusty Ore asked. Snow Bolt appeared to be having a lively conversation with a small, brown squirrel perched atop her head.

Just then, Snow Bolt happened to glance over. Seeing the three earth ponies, she smiled and crossed the street over to them. “Hey guys!” she called, giving the three a wave. “How’s it going?”

Each of the three bullies looked at Snow Bolt, the squirrel, then to each other. They were not quite sure what to make of the friendly and confident pegasus filly that stood before them. She bore little resemblance to the skittish, timid foal they had last seen on the train to Dodge Junction months ago.

Atop her head, the squirrel appeared to be asking Snow Bolt a question. “Yes, Cheeky,” Snow Bolt answered cheerfully. “These are those friends I was telling you about.” The squirrel crossed its little arms and glared at the three.

Rusty quickly recovered. “Well, well, well, if it isn’t our favorite little blank fla—wha?”

Snow Bolt had turned to one side and casually stretched her wings, making sure to give the three a good long look at her new cutie mark. She looked back at it, as if pretending to notice it as well. “Oh, that’s right! You guys haven’t seen my cutie mark yet, have you? What do you think?”

“Pretty!” Rocks blurted. Without looking, Rusty gave him a swift kick in the chest.

“Aww! Thank you, Rocks!” Snow Bolt smiled wide. “I think so, too.”

Rusty was still staring at the cutie mark, and a touch of envy crossed his face. “Yeah well…uh…you mean you waited all that time for your cutie mark and it’s just a stupid snowflake thing? I hope you kept your receipt.”

Snow Bolt smiled knowingly at him. “Aw, it’s not all that bad. I kinda like it.” Her words were modest, but her face was beaming with pride.

Smokey Ore circled around Snow Bolt as if to get a better look at her cutie mark, but once he was out of her sight, kneeled down low behind her. Still in front of her, Rusty smiled evilly.

“Well, I have to say, Snow Bolt, you've really come along. You've got your cutie mark now and everything. Maybe you’re even cool enough to hang out with us. But then again…” Rusty casually took a step towards her. “You are still just a try-fly!” Rusty lunged at Snow Bolt, meaning to push her so she’d topple over Smokey, who was positioned behind her. Instead, Snow Bolt darted directly upwards with one flap of her wings. The move caught Rusty completely off-guard, and he found himself toppling over Smokey instead. The two collapsed to the ground in a tangle of limbs.

Hovering above them, Snow Bolt giggled. “Whoops. Watch your step there, guys. Oh! I guess you haven’t seen me fly yet either?”

Rusty and Rocks groaned in Unison

She giggled again. “Well, it’s been fun catching up fellas, but I’ve gotta run. I’m meeting my dad downtown for ice cream. See ya later!”

As she flew off, the squirrel turned around and blew the three a loud raspberry from the top of Snow Bolt's head. Rusty sputtered as he tried to think of a witty retort, but he ultimately came up empty. That didn’t stop Rocks, though. “Bye-bye, try-fly!” he called, then winced in pain as Rusty smacked his head from behind.


Author's Note:

The title of this work is a regrettable misnomer, because of course it has nothing to do with How To Train Your Dragon. Sadly, I think I'm kind of stuck with it now. If you read this expecting a crossover, I'm very sorry.

One of my goals here was to try to capture what flying, and specifically process of learning to fly, must be like for a pegasus. Parts of the story mirror my own experience learning to fly R/C gliders. One of my concerns, though, is that the story is too technical in places. I'm very interested in your feedback in that regard.

Wump-crumping is a real thing! Sonic Snow-Booms, not so much.

I would love to receive some brutal, no-holds barred criticism of my writing. Please put what you think in the comments below, and don't spare my feelings.

Thanks for reading!

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Comments ( 71 )

Gs dood, can't wait for more :D

Seriously, why does this have so few comments?!?!

This story was so good I've kept reading though the night, even though I need to get up for work in three hours!!

Really amazing, unique, definitely one of my favorites on this site - the ones that get re-read just for enjoyment.

You really deserve the feature box, and yes, I'm sure all the writers here could find ways to nitpick and bring attention to potential areas of improvement in the creative story-telling or technical layout/grammar aspects..... but this story as the story it is right now is a pretty good read!

4277533 Thanks! Glad you liked it!

4278864 Wow, best comment ever! :pinkiehappy: I'm so glad you liked it!

i like snow bolt, will we see more of her?

4279970 Yes, several more stories are in the works.:pinkiehappy:

4278864 it was put out yesterday, not alot of people have seen it yet :applejackunsure:

Don't think it's too technical at all, it adds to the story as a actual Pegasus point of view and experence. Don't underestimate your readers. :raritywink:

4293147 I'm glad you think so, thanks!

An absolutely stellar story. Good resolution, and very satisfying ending. Two thumbs up from me.

4341998 Glad you liked it!

4710873 I very much appreciate your criticism, and I'll see about implementing your suggestions right away. I do hope you'll decide to stick with the story, if for no other reason than I'd love to have your feedback on the rest of it. :pinkiehappy:

it keeps reminding me of the princes bride with westly and the dread pirate roberts "get to bed sleep tight il most likely kill you in the morning" lol

4712383 Man, how'd I miss those?? Thanks for pointing that out :pinkiecrazy:

Indeed, another hidden gem. EQD prompted me to read, and I hope it gets all the attention it deserves.

I'll admit to thinking for a while that cheeky was scarlet under a transformation spell.

It also took me a bit to figure out who the second pony she saved was. That's Coal Bolt, right?

Very good story - thanks for sharing.

That ending was nice. The story overall was sweet and cheeky with its occasional sad or humorous parts . I was always somewhat uncertain about Scarlet. Even though I noted her eating habits as conflicting, I didn't want to believe her actions reflected her helping Snow Bolt the whole time because I didn't see a reason for it until the end; Which was a bit of twist for me. The flying lessons I felt I could understand what Snow Bolt was doing and how it affected her in flight when ever it was described.

The time lapse between each chapter near the middle as you described what happened after a few days or week was a tiny bit repetitive a few chapters. I swear I read a descriptive paragraph about what Snow Bolt's days consisted of once or twice before in an earlier chapter. Regardless, I still liked the story.

I also did just notice a huge issue. Snow Bolt's descriptions I don't think I saw any mention of color until the very last chapter. I had no clue her coat was a lemon color, or that her eye's where blue, and I don't think you ever mentioned what her mane and tail colors looked like. Not even when you pointed out the windswept look she had. Most of the story I imagined her being totally blank white like an uncolored image in a coloring book. Mostly because Snow was in her name and I assumed she'd look like her namesake.

4714689 I'm glad you liked it, and I will take your suggestions to heart. :pinkiehappy:

4713658 I'm so glad you liked it :pinkiehappy: As to the other "favor" Celestia owes, I didn't really have anything in mind yet; I was just adding to the lore of my particular headcanon. Perhaps I'll fill it in with another story someday.

Thanks for your comment!

4712670 Yeah, I can't really pretend that wasn't part of my inspiration here.:rainbowlaugh:

4714816 Who hasn't been inspired by that movie/book.
Hehe, the Dread Dragon Scarlet, pillager and plunder of towns in her early year before Celestia intervened. Would make some interesting lore if you though of doing a prequel that explained Celestia and Scarlet's arrangement.

Comment posted by L3gion deleted Jul 20th, 2014

Not too technical in the least...

I mean, in one of my stories, I have a passing mention of Twilight Sparkle attempting to create nuclear fusion in her basement by telekinetically squeezing hydrogen isotopes she got Celestia to get her from the sun. This parallels people who build working fusion reactors in their basement in real life (yes, it can be done, no you can't get more energy out of the reaction than you had to put in in the electricity to run the thing). So you definitely have an audience.

Yeah, I got the vibe too, although I also thought that she would realize she could get a big head-start without being spotted when she did the "Snowboom".

4720740 Thanks for your feedback!

While I found this to be a sweet, fluffy read, I couldn't help but find a few problems with it. I felt that many of the chapters were repetitive; Snow Bolt is threatened by Scarlet, learns a flying trick, then sleeps. I never was surprised by the direction of the story. Snow Bolt herself seemed to be a Mary Sue, as well as inconsistent in her actions seeing as how she began as a rebellious and surly teenager to a almost woodenly obedient doll. The big reveal with celestial seemed nonsequiter to me; you could have left Scarlet's motives unexplained and I'd have found her more compelling. I think you did the best with describing flight and the feelings associated. In the future, I would suggest focusing on that even more than you did here.

4722834 I very much appreciate your criticism. I think you're on the mark with every point. I'll see what can be done. :pinkiehappy:

4723337 Sorry about the curtness of my first comment; my phone was close to death and I had to stay concise. I don't want it to seem that I didn't like your story. As a matter of fact, I think that you did very well with a multitude of things in this story. Scarlet and Snow Bolt's interaction was very pleasant and heartwarming, your description of flight was the most complete I've read on fimfiction without being overly technical or obtrusive. This was also a very unique premise, and the tone made for a light read with a few gold nuggets of useful knowledge within. You have some great stuff here, and I would love to see you expand upon it.

4725817 You didn't hurt my feelings, I'm made of stern stuff. I wish more people would spare my feelings and give me some damn feedback already.


4720665 What I mean is, why would Celestia spend so much time and effort training this one poor Pegasus to fly (and let her father think she's dead for months) and yet does absolutely nothing for, say, Scootaloo?

Definitely a good read. As much as Snow Bolt might be a bit pity-fuel for my tastes, it was a very fun redemption story. I think the ending might have been the weakest point though. You've spent the entire plotline building up Snow Bolt and Scarlet's character, and making a friend of Cheeky, and the final moment you leave us with of her overcoming the bullies leaves me a little uncomfortable. I feel like it makes the final goal centered around the jerk characters and showing them who's boss, and while the scene is definitely satisfying, I might be more inclined to believe Snow Bolt learned more than just how to fly, and that isn't really addressed. A better final scene might show more of Snow Bolt's moral on a personal level. Maybe a visit to her mother's grave where she resolves to never stop believing in herself again, or her helping another flightless filly in turn, showing that she's changed for the better, and isn't just a bully for the bullies now. I also don't know if Cheeky got enough finality about how she adapted to living with more ponies, or why she was living near a dragon's den anyway...

But then again, that's just my own preference. The story was well-written overall, and I loved every moment of it. Nothing was too complicated to understand, and the emotional drama was just right for my tastes. Just a little extra payoff at the end, and I might call it perfect. Well done! :twilightsmile:

That was well worth reading, I'm glad I decided to give it a try when I saw the EQD post.

4730364 I suppose it does start off like a soppy sadfic, doesn't it? :rainbowlaugh: I appreciate your input, and I'm glad you enjoyed it overall.

4731744 Glad you liked it! You're not the first one to think Scarlet and Cheeky were the same, I may need to rewrite.

Huh, you know this story turned out way better then I thought it would be when I saw it. It deserves far more views then it has.

4745654 I'm glad you think so. :pinkiehappy:

4728926 Because Scoots must never learn to fly.

As the daughter of Discord and Nightmare Moon... and Chrysalis... and Sombra... and probably Tirek too somehow... were she to learn to fly, her evil super powers would activate and cause the planet to spontaneously explode.

That's mah story and ah'm a-stickin' to it! :ajsmug:


4722834 Scarlet should have eaten her, for no other reason than to totally trash readers' expectations.

It's the Troll Way.



4748589 Well, that and it'd give us one less thing for us to write sad fics about. Good thing we can still write about her being homeless, orphaned, abused, and bullied.

4749717 Scootasbuse is best abuse. :scootangel:

5266356 I know. :fluttercry: I think she gets to her "feet" in the next chapter, too. I swear I did a find/replace in Word to catch all those. I can fix it here, but Illya's reading belongs to the ages now.

i listened to Illya's reading of this and, man, this fic is good. didn't think i could enjoy it when the fic focused on an oc character, but this is REALLY good.

5266370 yeah, my ears always noticed when words like hands, feet or arms was mentioned, but those are really minor annoyances and i still enjoyed this fic

5272395 Well, I'm very glad you were able to enjoy it in spite of my facepalm-worthy oversights. :twilightsmile:

Author Interviewer

I'll be honest, I gave this story such an eye-roll at the sonic snowboom, but otherwise it's a very enjoyable read and I like how much Snow Bolt grows up toward the end. :)

5279003 Too cliche, too predictable? Eh, you're not wrong. But I'm glad you liked it otherwise. :twilightsmile:

5279003 Also, Y U NO USE SPOILER TAGS :twilightangry2:

5279003 Also, good luck tomorrow. :heart:

Author Interviewer

I never bother on the second comments page. :V And thanks!

Okay, I was really liking this story, but I think the last two chapters were very weak. It felt like the whole story was building up to a chase between Snowbolt and Scarlet. Early on, Scarlet tells Snowbolt that only a few ponies can outfly a dragon (or something along those lines) and she didn't think Snowbolt was one of them; then, Snowbolt spends the rest of the story learning to fly until she probably IS one of the few ponies who can outfly a dragon; then, Scarlet lets Snowbolt go, and Snowbolt is never required to outfly a dragon. In fact, after spending the whole story learning to fly, Snowbolt never really uses her flight to overcome any kind of obstacle. All she really does with her new ability is show off to some bullies. It just makes all the time spent on learning to fly feel a bit pointless. Sure, it's good that she can fly, but why does she NEED to fly. If the answer is to get her cuite mark, I don't think that is a very good reason because, again, she only uses her cutie mark to show off to some bullies.

I also had a big problem with Celestia being behind everything. It was a surprise, I'll give you that, but I don't think it makes much sense. Between managing a country and teaching at her school for gifted unicorns, it's hard to believe that Celestia would have the time to help a random pony get her cutie mark. And, even if she did, I doubt that Celestia would approve of the way Scarlet treated Snowbolt. Scarlet threatened to kill and eat Snowbolt (a child) constantly and even went so far as to prepare a pie crust and sharpen a knife in preparation for slitting Snowbolt's throat. I don't think Celestia would allow this kind of psychological abuse, let alone ASK Scarlet to do all that. Plus, Celestia didn’t even bother to tell Snowbolt’s father that his only child was still alive – that seems needlessly cruel. The more I think about Celestia’s role in the story, the less sense it makes. I don’t know why you didn’t just keep Scarlet’s motivations simple. Scarlet sparing Snowbolt and teaching her how to fly out of pity makes a lot more sense and is much easier to believe. From there, you could have easily justified a chase scene by having Scarlet pity Snowbolt less as the pony mastered flight and grow resentful when her student’s abilities approached and surpassed her own. I know I’m harping on about the lack of a chase scene but I think, in this story, it’s a big deal. The protagonist never overcame the main obstacle of the story (Scarlet), she was simply released. The central conflict resolved itself without the protagonist actually DOING anything.

Again, I really liked the story for the most part, but I think the last two chapters really undermine an otherwise great story.

5283800 Your opinions are valid, and I thank you for the feedback. :twilightsmile:

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