Piercing the Heavens
By: Calm Wind
“Now?!” Soarin gawked at the royal guard standing outside the door to his room. The guard nodded.
“Princess Luna requests your presence immediately for magic basics!” the guard repeated his orders.
“But…!” Soarin stopped himself and sighed exasperatedly. “Fine. I’ll head over in a moment,” he caved, remembering Spitfire’s concern the day before. No more putting things off. If Luna wanted to do this now, he’d do it now.
“See that you do,” the royal guard nodded before leaving.
“See that you do~” Soarin repeated quietly to himself in a heavily distorted imitation of the guard. “What’s worse, the stiff ass soldiers or the bite-your-face-off-if-you-breathe loonies?” he grumbled, comparing Celestia’s guards to Luna’s.
He was certainly NOT in the mood for this right now. It had been a long day. It was hard to “sleep” the night before. Soarin obviously hadn’t been getting much sleep period due to the dark magic, but he had ways to get a few hours. Unfortunately, the horn proved to make sleeping positions more awkward. He couldn’t let his face sink into the pillow because it would push against the horn. Pressure against the horn actually hurt, as if the magic channeling between it and him had created a fifth limb. The leather strap was also getting annoying. It was definitely going to leave a mark once he finally removed it. That is, if he ever did remove it. He had no idea what was going to happen going forward. He wished he could focus on being a Wonderbolt, and occasionally Dashie. Now he had to worry about this magic all the time. What a hassle, it was only getting in his way.
He had gone through his solo training routine for the day. He reviewed countless double takes, and if he was asked about it one more time he was going to stab whoever did through the heart with the horn. Last but not least, he had just returned from the mess hall and they had officially hit a new low. It was far and away the worst dinner they had ever prepared. Soarin didn’t even know what the main course was. It looked like quiche that had been left out in the sun for a hundred years.
Misty Fly was in front of him in line. When Soarin saw Misty try to scoop some of… it… out of the serving pan, the “food” stayed solid and the whole pan lifted out of the buffet with the spoon. Soarin quickly got out of line and got a deli sandwich instead for the first time in ages. How he managed to go the whole day without another accidental magic explosion was a mystery. He was being sure to keep his anger in check, but his patience had worn thin and then some.
Now Luna called him at seven thirty at night. He was just about to plop into his desk chair and relax. He would obey the calling of a royal, but if Discord was there…
“Rgh…” Soarin growled to himself as he made his way through the halls and towards the castle access tunnel. How bad of a mood does one have to be to consider fighting the god of chaos? Discord could really mess him up if he wanted. REALLY mess him up, but that’s just how much of a damn Soarin didn’t give at the moment.
He made his way into the castle, and after being confronted by the guards, he was allowed through the back door into the throne room.
“Soarin of the Wonderbolts has arrived milady,” a guard who jumped ahead of Soarin informed Luna.
“Most excellent,” Luna’s voice came from around the throne. Soarin trudged in, expecting to see Discord as well as he moved into the open. However, he was relieved to find that Discord was nowhere to be found. This made him feel a little better, but only a little. It was very likely Discord was still there, just not visually. He was known for that.
“Princess Luna,” Soarin greeted with a bow.
“Soarin of the Wonderbolts, we thank thee for answering our summons so quickly,” she stated from up on the throne. “How has the… relic been treating thee?” she avoided using the “technical” term for the false horn.
“I don’t know how you or unicorns live with it,” Soarin answered bluntly while looking up at the false horn. “It’s been getting in my way while eating and sleeping… it also almost got caught in a cable when I was in the gym. I had only one little mishap magic wise, but luckily it was small and nopony got hurt,” he explained fully. Luna kept nodding as he spoke.
“We have had our horn since birth. It is a part of us… In time we are sure thou will adjust to it,” Luna stated, inadvertently answering a question on Soarin’s mind. “In time.” Great, it sounded like he’d be wearing the damn thing for a while. “As for thy magic,” Luna spoke up again, “We hope after tonight, thou shall have finer control of it to avoid future hiccups.”
“You make it sound easy,” Soarin spoke out, “how am I supposed to just use something I’ve never understood?”
“We…” Luna paused and sighed. She stood up and walked down the steps of the throne. “Sadly, we do not process the teaching expertise of our older sister,” she admitted shamefully. “If thou were but a colt, it would be easy. A young mind is easy to teach, for they develop as their magic develops. Since you are a fully grown stallion with a fully developed mind, trying to push a concept that was once impossible is beyond my skill. However we know of another pony who has some experience in this field.” She smiled as she sat beside Soarin, facing the main entrance to the throne room and pointed a hoof towards the doors. “See him in please,” she ordered the guards.
Soarin watched as the guards moved to the doors. A pony who could teach magic as well as Princess Celestia herself? Soarin had heard of Celestia’s wondrous magical education prowess. The last disciple she had apparently became the fourth alicorn princess. Whoever this pony was, he/she had to be quite something.
The doors to the throne room opened and revealed a pony that Soarin recognized. It was a very well dressed white unicorn stallion. He wore a black suit, had a well groomed blue mane, a small mustache at the end of his nose, and a monocle nestled in his right eye.
“Wait, isn’t that… Fancy Pants?!” Soarin blinked as Luna nodded beside him.
“Tis,” she replied with a smile.
There was no way Soarin couldn’t have recognized him. Fancy Pants was famous Equestria-wide. He was well known for being the most successful businessman in nearly all of history, very generous, open minded, and an expert in more fields than thought existed. Soarin had seen him multiple times at Canterlot Wonderbolt shows. Fancy had a personal penthouse box at Canterlot Stadium. He had also donated large sums of money to the Wonderbolts in the past. Apparently, he was good friends with Surprise’s father. Soarin was also sure 60% of the companies that sponsored their shows were owned by Fancy.
Fancy approached with a smile and immediately held out a hoof. Soarin had to reach down slightly. He had never seen Fancy Pants in person. Soarin was a little taller than him. It was hard for Soarin to picture such a big name stallion who had his face everywhere as being short, but here he was about half a head below Soarin’s height.
“Soarin! The famous, young Wonderbolt “Power Flyer” himself! It is an honor to finally make your acquaintance,” Fancy spoke very formally and confidently.
“Uh… likewise Fancy Pants,” Soarin answered shakily as they shook hooves. This was interesting. Soarin was famous himself, but not quite on the level of the stallion standing before him. He was seldom on the wowed end of a greeting.
“I’m quite a fan of yours, my boy!” Fancy smiled cheerfully. “The Wonderbolts have long been a great source of good business and even better entertainment. The amount of physical work that goes into honing your body and skills must be immeasurable, I’m truly impressed!” he kept showering Soarin with praise.
Impressed by him? Soarin felt it was a little lopsided. Fancy Pants had made more bits through honest means than the value of the entire royal Canterlot treasury and apparently Soarin was impressive?
“We can count on you Fancy of Pants?” Luna butchered his name. Fancy chuckled and bowed to Luna.
“Please m’lady. Just call me Fancy.” His demeanor and action reminded Soarin heavily of Fire Streak. Only unlike Fire, Fancy was much more in control of his formalities. “In fact,” Fancy motioned towards Soarin while still looking at Luna, “if you wish to observe, your highness, by all means. I learned these teaching techniques from your sister after all.”
“Ah!” Luna’s ear perked up. “If that is the case we would love to observe,” Luna’s eagerness was noticeable. Soarin couldn’t blame her. It was clear Luna was struggling with many of the duties usually handled by Celestia. He could only imagine the slight humiliation in having to rely on a unicorn to handle something she, as a princess, should be able to do. Although Fancy had a twinkle in his eye and a smirk on his face.
No way, did he know that’s how Luna felt? Did he pick up on her mannerisms in the minute he was in here? Soarin was thoroughly impressed. Not to mention Fancy also said he had learned teaching methods from Celestia. Everything about Fancy made him seem more than qualified to handle anything.
“Now then,” Fancy turned to Soarin and eyed the false horn, “I’m sorry to say that, while briefed on your situation, I have little knowledge of the strap-on,” he said without a single bit of hesitation. Soarin’s eye twitched but Fancy continued on as if he said absolutely nothing wrong. He remained perfectly professional. “However, I’ve been told it shares the same properties of the horns upon us unicorns, so hopefully the same rules apply towards conjuring magical energy,” He paced back and forth. “We also have one additional hurdle to jump over. You’re not a little colt,” he brought up Luna’s earlier concern, “it will be very difficult for you to grasp the concept of magic because you mind and body have developed through the years without it by your side.”
“Then what am I supposed to do?” Soarin shrugged and shook his head.
“That’s just it my boy!” Fancy turned sharply to him and winked. “First, you must do nothing!” Soarin just stared at him.
“Pardon?” Soarin lifted an eyebrow as Fancy chuckled.
“Have you ever meditated before?” Fancy asked.
“Meditating?” Soarin blinked. “Uh… no,” he answered truthfully.
“Well, the only way for us to open your mind towards magic is to first relax and clear your mind,” Fancy explained as Soarin mistook the explanation.
“Sounds an awful lot like brainwashing,” Soarin said with a snort. Fancy chuckled.
“You’re a tough nut to crack!” Fancy waved his hoof. “The best way to put it is sit down, relax, and let the magic within you flow all on its own. If the brain is less stimulated, the easier it will be for your magic to flow through your mind.”
This shit’s freakin bananas… Soarin thought to himself as he sat down. Clearing his mind? Letting the magic flow? This sounded like a sci-fi movie. Then again, after what happened months back with the Shadowbolts, not much would surprise him. It was kind of hard to forget watching a pony pump herself full of artificial energy and almost explode out of her own body.
Meditation? Fine. This all seemed dumb. If it were anypony else he would have given up by now. It’s because it was Fancy Pants. One does not simply ignore the advice of quite possibly the most interesting pony in Equestria.
Soarin did as he was told. He sat and did nothing. He closed his eyes and tried to relax his body as much as possible. He was pretty good at relaxing his limbs. He had to do it every time he performed the Sonic Blast-off after all.
At first absolutely nothing happened, as one would expect when they are told to do nothing. He was prepared to give up and call it all pointless, but then something did happen. About two minutes after he began, his body felt like it was tingling. Was he doing anything? No. He was sitting completely still. The tingling had covered his body from head to hoof, but seemed to be slightly more concentrated in his head.
Was it the magic? If it was, Fancy Pants knew exactly what he was talking about and Soarin would stop whining. The feeling had a certain… imprint to it. There was no other way for Soarin to describe the sensation. It was almost as if the magic was greeting him, and showing him how to call upon it. No words were spoken and no visual cues were given, but the magic made itself familiar.
“That’s it, my boy!” Fancy suddenly spoke again. “I can see it! Jolly good!”
“Huh?” Soarin opened his eyes. His concentration broke and the sensations faded, but he caught a brief glimpse of a light blue light fading from around him. “What?” he blinked.
“That was much faster than I’d imagined! Your magic came pouring out within minutes of relaxing!” Fancy looked overly excited. “To be expected from one of your skill, you are a fast learner!”
“Whoa, wait, but I didn’t do a thing!” Soarin held his hooves up to stave off the praise.
“That’s what you think!” Fancy winked. “My dear Soarin, relaxing the body and opening the mind is the first step of controlling magic,” he chuckled and nodded.
“You duped me?” Soarin lifted an eyebrow. “I know it worked, but…” he looked himself over, trying to figure out what exactly he had done.
“Ignorance is bliss, eh?” Fancy spoke up and walked up besides Soarin. “When unicorns first learn to control their magic, they are very young. The world is still very much a mystery to them. They are still in the dark about life as a whole; ignorant to what’s around them,” he tapped Soarin’s head with his hoof. “I told you to do something while leading you astray on what the effect would be. By doing so I emulated the feeling of being left in the dark. You had no idea what to do or what would happen, much like a unicorn colt would upon his first magic lesson. You cleared you mind, expecting to prepare yourself, when in reality it was the key to using magic all together.”
“Uh…” Soarin blinked. Fancy pointed to his own head.
“You felt it didn’t you? The magical imprint? It had no real trace or feeling, but you can recall how it flowed. Correct?” he asked.
“I… yes I did…” Soarin remembered. The sensation was so different than anything he had ever felt before, there was no way he could ever forget it. He remembered exactly how his body felt as the sensation welled up within him. He felt as if he could easily recall it… and do it again. “Like… this?” Soarin relaxed his body, calming every inch of himself to match perfectly how it felt before. The sensation returned instantly. He opened his eyes at the sound of a soft, high pitched hum that came from the false horn. It was glowing, the false horn was glowing. His surprise broke the concentration and the light faded as it had before.
“Just. Like. That.” Fancy nudged him with each word.
Soarin stared dumbly at Fancy Pants. Fancy had just tricked him into learning the basic control of magic. He turned and looked at Luna. Her eyes were wide with wonder. An ordinary unicorn had just wowed an alicorn goddess. That sold it. Soarin would listen to and follow everything Fancy Pants said. Ordinary? There was nothing ordinary about this unicorn.
“Now, we don’t have much time tonight, but I at least want to teach you the bare minimum that all unicorns know, no matter how well versed in magic they may be,” Fancy’s horn came to life and a small marble floated out of his suit pocket. “Levitation,” his magic placed the marble at Soarin’s hooves.
“Okay…” Soarin nodded as he eyed the marble.
“A large part of magic is visualization,” Fancy began again. “It’s a mixture of calling upon the magical sensations within you and visualizing what you wish to happen. In a way, think of it as making the impossible possible. You have to believe you can do something before your magic can make it happen. Then the amount of control you have over the magical sensations in your body dictates how well the belief is manifested. That is something that grows over the course of practice and time.” He motioned to Luna. “I’m sure you have borne witness to the incredible magical prowess of the princesses in the past. They use magic no different than ours, but they’ve had thousands upon thousands of years of experience, hence their ability to do what most of us cannot.”
“So in short,” Soarin rubbed his chin and locked his eyes on the marble, “I have to call on the sensations and believe I can move the marble into the air at the same time.”
“Precisely!” Fancy pointed sharply at Soarin. “Give it a go!”
Soarin swallowed and looked at the marble. He called upon the sensations and felt the tingles swirl around him again. Upon hearing the soft noise emit from the false horn he tried to switch his thoughts towards moving the pebble, but as soon as he did, the sensations stopped and the magic dissipated.
“Whoa… that’s harder than it sounds,” Soarin scrunched his mouth as he stared down at the marble.
“Indeed my boy,” Fancy tapped his hoof against his own horn. “This is why it will be difficult for you. It is not a matter of you being a pegasus, it is a matter of you being a fully matured pony,” Fancy’s magic came to life and lifted the marble with ease. “You have grown up and lived your whole life with your brain fully focusing itself on everything you do. Using magic requires you to figuratively cut your brain in half. You must be able to control the magic with one half while imagining what you wish to do with the other, and as you can see,” he made the marble fly rings around Soarin’s head and put his hoof up, “it comes naturally to one who has done it their whole life. Having created one disconnect makes it easy to form others, hence how I am able to conjure the magic, move the marble, make this hoof motion, and speak to you all at the same time,” he placed the marble back at Soarin’s hooves. “The disconnect is easy to establish when you are young and still growing. Since you are fully grown, it will be quite difficult to get this part down.”
“Yikes,” was the only response Soarin could muster. He would never look at a unicorn the same way again. He assumed magic came as easily to them as flying came to pegasi. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
“If you wish, we can let you dwell on it for a while and practice on your own,” Fancy suggested. “I’m not expecting this part to go as smoothly as—”
“No, let me try again,” Soarin waved his hoof before focusing on the marble again. Fancy smiled at his eagerness while flashing a grin to Luna.
Luna was pleased as well. Soarin showed little interest in learning to control the magic, which was problematic. If Soarin didn’t learn, the magic would consume him and most likely run rampant. This was the first time she had interacted with Fancy Pants. She could see now why her older sister placed so much faith in him. He was a unicorn of seemingly endless expertise. Most impressive.
Soarin tried. He tried, and he tried, and he tried, but the marble refused to move. After his fifth attempt, he dropped to his legs, panting. It felt like it was getting harder.
“Hm?” Fancy looked Soarin over curiously. Something wasn’t right, Soarin shouldn’t be as tired as he showed. Being a pegasus was not a factor in any of it. The only thing that could cause the fatigue was the magic, but… “Your highness,” Fancy turned to Luna.
“Yes?” Luna broke her eyes from Soarin and faced Fancy.
“What was the manner of the magic Princess Celestia imbued him with?” He asked. Luna bit her lip and glanced away.
“We suppose… you should be aware,” she sighed, “Soarin of the Wonderbolts was imbued by a powerful forbidden magic. It was the only way to save him,” she kept looking away from Fancy as if ashamed. Fancy nodded.
“That would explain the quick wear on his body. Thank you Princess,” he trotted up to Soarin.
“Damn!” Soarin cursed as he got the aura to appear around the marble, but it dissipated before it could move.
“Soarin,” Fancy walked up to him, “It has been brought to my attention the nature of the magic within you. Magic use can drain a pony over time, but from what I’ve seen, your magic is so powerful that it drains you very quickly,” Fancy explained sternly and seriously. “The strain should not be a risk to you, but I suggest, as a pony who has used magic for a long time, not to overexert it. Over time you may be able to withstand it for longer, but for now, let us call it a night,” he finished. Soarin simply nodded as Fancy spoke. He had learned quickly that this pony was very wise. Ignoring his advice didn’t seem like the smartest thing to do. However, Soarin wanted to try one more time.
“Just one more!” Soarin focused back on the marble. Fancy protested, but Soarin ignored. His competitive side had taken over. He wanted to make this damn marble move! He did all as he had before. He called the sensation, and this time he tried as hard as he could to multitask. He could do it. He could do it!
“Oh, my!” Fancy stepped back as Soarin’s horn shinned brightly and a larger light blue aura surrounded him. The magic appeared around the marble and it slowly and shakily rose up. “Dear me! You’ve got it!” Fancy cheered. Soarin squeaked one of his eyes open to see the marble barely up off the ground. He had it! He was holding something with magic! He—
“AH!” Soarin cringed as a sharp pain shot through his whole body. The marble shot upward violently, getting lodged into the stone ceiling overhead.
“Oh, wow…” Fancy adjusted his monocle as he realized the marble wasn’t coming back down, “That’s some strong resonance…” he looked towards Luna, who was staring up at the ceiling.
“At least he didn’t break a window this time,” she said as they both looked towards Soarin. He was sprawled out on the ground, breathing heavily.
“Heh… I got… it…” he said with a smile in between breaths. Fancy shrugged and smiled,
“Well then! I believe I have quite an interesting student on my hooves!” He beamed towards Luna. “He should rest now, we’ll continue another night.”
“We agree,” Luna smiled back while waving for the guards to come help Soarin.
Soarin’s head was hazy, but he felt some hooves helping him up to move. Well, he messed up something in the process. It felt like he did after the dark power took over multiple times in the past, worn out, and barely conscious. But he just used magic! He really, actually used magic through his own will. It was different from when he couldn’t control it. He had experienced something that no other pegasus ever had. It felt pretty cool.
Maybe this whole magic business wouldn’t be so bad. Besides the whole… strap-on thing.
“Alright! I heard the first time!” Dash yelled as an annoying knocking at her door refused to cease. She had just finished her “appetizing” breakfast and was in the middle of cleaning the dishes. Somepony really wanted her to answer the door. She wiped off her hooves and approached the door, ready to give the persistent knocker a piece of her mind. “WHAT?!” She barked as she opened the door.
“Sheesh, is that how you greet your friends too?”
“Huh?” Dash knew it wasn’t Fluttershy, she was barely capable of knocking at all. She didn’t know who it was going to be, but she wasn’t expecting… “Thunderlane?” she looked the black, silver maned pegasus up and down as he stood outside her door.
“Hey, what’s up?” Thunderlane said as if he came to her door all the time. Dash eyed him carefully then smirked.
“What, did you make Applejack angry again? Look she’s—”
“How about hello?” Thunderlane cut her off while folding his ears back. Dash stopped and sighed.
“Fine, hello, why are you on my property?” she asked flatly. Thunderlane rolled his eyes then forced a smile.
“Wanna come get breakfast?” he asked completely out of left field. Dash lifted an eyebrow at him as she fully stepped out from behind her door.
“Uh…” she wasn’t sure how to answer, “One, I already ate. Two, What did Applejack do?”
“This isn't about Applejack!” he fumed while arching his neck back. Dash chuckled.
“Okay, okay, what is it farm lover?” she teased as she asked.
“Look, just come with me okay? It’s fine that you already ate,” he turned and readied his wings, but Dash didn’t budge. He glanced back at her, but she just shook her head.
“I gotta schedule to keep, Thunderlane. Training and—”
“It actually has to do with that,” he cut her off again.
“Huh?” Dash was slightly curious.
“Look, just follow me alright? I told the others you’d be there,” he spilled a little info.
“Others? Who?” Dash questioned as she stepped out of her house and stretched her wings out. “Wait, you know I don’t get along with Flitter and Cloud Chaser,” she flattened her brow. Thunderlane shook his head.
“It’s not them. Just come on, you’ll see when we get there. Trust me,” he winked.
“If you say so…” she rolled her eyes, “but if you waste my time I’m leaving,” she made clear as they both took off.
She followed close behind Thunderlane as they glided through the air. Dash couldn’t help but wonder after his sharp reaction. She glided up beside him with a smirk.
“I don’t like that look. You’re gonna annoy me aren’t you,” he looked away with a sigh.
“Bet your ass,” Dash chuckled. “How are things with you and Applejack?” She paused to let him groan. “Every time I ask her she tries to punch me,” Dash added with a snide grin.
“We’re… fine,” Thunderlane dodged the question.
“Aw, c’mon,” Dash nudged him. “Why all the secrecy? It’s not like you two haven’t been seen around.”
“I’d just rather not talk about it. She’s just a little hesitant to show any sort of affection in public, and it’s getting to me a little,” he paused and rolled his eyes. “I just talked about it didn’t I?”
“Kinda, yes,” Dash smirked as she twisted her body and flew backwards in a reclined position. “Of course she’s hesitant. This is Applejack we’re talking about. If it makes her look like less of a hard-ass, she’s not gonna do it. Have you talked to her about it?”
“I have…” Thunderlane tipped his head back and forth, “but whenever we do, it ends with her yelling at me and storming off. We’re fine later, but she refuses to listen.”
“That’s a nice pair of relationship pants, she’s wearing, huh?” Dash sneered.
“Yeah, she’s… wait, WHAT?!” Thunderlane glared at Dash. Dash burst out laughing as she spun back around to fly normally.
“Listen Thunderlane,” she began as they pitched down, “you can’t back off when you want to prove a point to A.J. You’ve gotta stand your ground and push the subject, or else you won’t get through a whole sentence. Trust me, I’ve done it more times than I can count,” they landed outside the hayburger joint.
“I guess,” Thunderlane answered simply as he thought it over. Dash looked where they landed.
“Hayburgers? For breakfast?” Dash lifted an eyebrow.
“They have a breakfast menu here, you know,” Thunderlane chuckled. “Ah look, just in time!” He pointed back into the sky. Dash followed his hoof to see two more pegasi flying side by side. The first was unmistakable. White, blond buzzed mane, over pumped body, wait for it…
“YEEEAHHH!!!!!!!” Bulk Biceps yelled out as he waved at Thunderlane. The other pegasus came into view. She was hard to see at first, but as she drew near, Dash could make out a familiar, less than smooth flight pattern.
“Hiiii!!!” She yelled down. The goofy voice was also a clear sign as her grey body and straight yellow mane came into view.
“Bulk and Derpy?” Dash thought out loud as the two landed.
“Awesome! C’mon let’s get some food!” Thunderlane quickly beckoned them inside.
“YEAH! BURGERS!” Bulk squeezed his way through the door.
“Hi Rainbow Dash!” Derpy waved as the door closed and bumped into her. “Oops! Teehee!” She played it off and entered. Dash just blinked and shrugged. Talk about a motley crew. Oh well, apparently Dash was there for a reason. She’d go along with it.
Having just eaten, Dash merely asked for a cup for water. She walked over to the drink dispenser as Derpy bounced up beside her, holding her own cup. Dash put her cup under the water dispenser and pushed the button, filling it close to the brim. A strange noise that sounded like the machine was having a hernia screeched out beside Dash. She turned and looked to see Derpy smiling happily with a muffin wedged in the cup. Dash quickly looked between the drink dispenser and Derpy.
“Derpy, how did you get a muffin from the drink machine?” Dash asked in confusion. Derpy blinked, her eyes switching positions.
“Muffin button,” Derpy replied while she grinned at the muffin sticking out of her cup.
“NAM!” Derpy giddily bit into the muffin and floated over to a table. Dash just let it be, Derpy was happy, why try to figure it out?
Dash followed Derpy to the table. She was actually surprised. She never knew the local Hayburger served breakfast. Granted, it was probably not good for you, but there were a lot of ponies there. She scooted into the booth across from Derpy. Bulk and Thunderlane followed soon after. Thunderlane had an egg English muffin. Bulk had the same, only ten of them. Thunderlane sat beside Dash and Bulk nearly pressed Derpy to the wall as he sat down. Thunderlane quickly spotted the muffin Derpy was happily eating out of a twenty ounce cup.
“Huh?” Thunderlane looked back at the menu, then to Derpy. “They don’t sell muffins here, Derpy how did—”
“Muffin button!” She repeated for Thunderlane.
“MUFFIN BUTTON, YEAH!” Bulk yelled out, blowing back Thunderlane’s and Dash’s manes.
“Yay, muffin button!” Derpy yelled out with him.
“Okay, okay! Muffin button! Sheesh you two, we’re in public,” Thunderlane chuckled as he glanced around at weird looks their table was receiving. Dash took a sip of her drink and eyed them all.
“Okay, so mind telling me what's going on Thunderlane?” she asked, eager for an answer. Thunderlane smiled and looked at Derpy.
“You wanted to tell her right Derpy? Go ahead,” he nodded. Derpy looked up from her muffin and smiled.
“Dashie! We’re gonna tryout for the Wonderbolts with you!” She smiled so wide it looked like her mouth was going to pop off. Dash nearly spit out her water.
“What?!” she stared dumbly at Derpy, and then moved her eyes to Bulk and Thunderlane, “Uh, you guys are kidding right?” she asked seriously.
“Does it look like we’re kidding?” Thunderlane chuckled.
“YEAH!” Bulk followed. Thunderlane shook his head.
“Bulk, that would be a no,” he said flatly. Bulk sat silently for a moment.
“Oh, whoops,” he said quietly before popping a whole egg sandwich in his mouth.
Dash wasn’t sure what to say. Thunderlane and Bulk had attended flight camp with her, but flight camp was nothing. This was the real deal. It wasn’t going to be easy, and it was most likely going to be very physically taxing. Derpy was coming too? She wouldn’t last a second!
“Uh, you guys know it won’t be the same as flight camp right?” Dash explained reluctantly.
“Oh, we know,” Thunderlane chuckled. “It’s an open tryout. We can go if we want.”
“But,” Dash looked at all of them, “I’ve been training my tail off for this! Have you guys been getting ready?” she asked.
“Well, no…” Thunderlane began. Bulk slowly leaned towards him while giving Thunderlane the stink eye.
“Do you even…”
“Bulk, we’ve been over this. No, I have not lifted,” Thunderlane answered him quickly. “Look Dash, don’t think we haven’t been seeing you train hard,” he suddenly brought up.
“You’ve been awesome!” Derpy blurted out while bouncing in the booth seat. “We wanna go with you!”
“But… why?” Dash was beyond curious. Apparently they wanted to go because of her? Why would they do that?
“Dash, you’ve been… very inspirational,” Thunderlane said while rubbing the back of his head. “I’ll speak for all of us here, none of us are expecting to be recruited,” he admitted a little shamefully. “Hell, we haven’t even done a fraction of the work you’ve done… but the three of us recently ran into each other while watching you train. We’d all been a bit inspired by you. Even if we don’t get selected, I think we all feel like at least supporting you. That’s if you don’t mind,” Thunderlane smiled. Dash didn’t know what to say. Bulk and Derpy both smiled at her as well. She was inspiring others again?
Just how many lives were being changed by Soarin? It was like a cascade effect. Soarin inspired her, and then through her work, she was inspiring many others.
“You guys don’t have to do that for me,” Dash put a hoof on her chest. “Really, it’s gonna be very hard, I don’t want anypony to get hurt,” she explained truthfully.
“We all have other reasons too actually,” Thunderlane nodded and looked to Bulk and Derpy.
“I GET TO SEE MY PAPPY!” Bulk shouted while bouncing his pecs.
“I just wanna see you be awesome!” Derpy smiled, swaying back and forth while still nomming the muffin.
“I…” Thunderlane hesitated, “I’ll be honest, I want Applejack to think I’m tougher,” he looked away. Dash lifted an eyebrow. She knew it. Thunderlane was a terrible liar.
Talk about unexpected. Dash still felt the three were in over their heads, but now she would be among a few others she knew well. So many ponies claiming to be inspired by her. Dash wasn’t used to this, but it felt good. She smiled sheepishly.
“Wow guys… thanks… really, I’m speechless,” she chuckled and smiled at all of them. The smile quickly turned from sheepish to confident. “Well now I feel like helping out a little these last couple of days. What say you all to joining my workout today?”
“YAY!” Derpy cheered.
“YEAH!!!!” Bulk, of course, replied.
“I dunno…” Thunderlane grimaced, Dash elbowed him in the side.
“There you go again. Don’t be passive. Applejack will eat you alive like that,” she chuckled. Thunderlane growled, but smiled right back.
“Fine, I’m in,” he nodded.
“Alright team,” Dash pounded a hoof on the table, suddenly excited. Maybe this would be fun. “Finish up your breakfast, we’ve got drills to do!”
“No, I’m fine. Like I said, just a little surprised, what’s the occasion?” Soarin asked as he flew behind Spitfire and Fleetfoot. They were heading in the direction of Rusty’s diner. Spitfire glanced back at him.
“Well, it’s our day off. I figured since, you know, you’re life has been hell recently that we’d go have a nice breakfast together,” she explained as she reached over and pulled Fleetfoot back into formation.
“Snrk, uh, wha?” Fleetfoot shook her head and blinked. Soarin chuckled and pulled up beside Spitfire.
“Like I said, I’m fine, but how did you get her out of bed so early on a day off?” Soarin made a head motion towards Fleetfoot as she struggled to stay awake mid flight.
“There was some kicking and whining,” Spitfire paused to pull Fleet back towards them again, “but I eventually convinced her.”
“Convinced?” Soarin lifted an eyebrow. Spitfire lifted one right back to him. Soarin shrugged and smirked.
“She’ll be fine once we get her a cup of Rusty’s Express Extreme,” she sighed and just hooked her arm with Fleetfoot’s to prevent her from going off course. “And by convince, I meant she owed you for the…” Spitfire tried to hold it, but one snort escaped, “For the princess comments,” she finished while glancing at the fake horn on Soarin’s forehead.
“Spitfire, really?” Soarin sighed. “It wasn’t funny the first time either.”
“Oh relax Soarin, like you aren’t gonna get it non-stop from Rusty,” she said as they glided down and landed in front of Old Rusty’s. “It sucks, yes, but you’re stuck with it, so might as well have a little fun with it.”
“If only it were ‘fun,’” Soarin grumbled to himself. Spitfire, dragging a half asleep Fleetfoot along with her, pushed the doors open. They got one step into the diner before—
“WHOA-HO! Look at this!” Rusty wheeled up on his skateboard and nearly flung himself at Spitfire and Fleetfoot. He put them both in gentle headlocks. “How’ve you lady-wings been? It’s been a dog’s age since I saw ya!”
“Rusty I was here last week—”
“DOG’S AGE I TELL YA!” he cut off Spitfire. Fleetfoot fell asleep. Rusty glanced at Fleetfoot and blinked. He released Spitfire and dug his hoof into his apron pocket, pulling out an air horn. He held it right in front of Fleetfoot’s face and blared it into her face.
“AAAHHH!!!!” Fleetfoot flinched hard, reached up, and punched Rusty across the face. He kept his grip on her regardless and turned his head back to her with a big smile. Fleetfoot gasped when she realized what happened. “Oh god! Sorry!”
“Ya still got plenty o’ bite!” he chuckled and let go. She fell to the ground awkwardly and stood back up, quickly feeling sleepy again, “And how are ya doin’ Soa—” Rusty froze in place when he eyed Soarin. He stared specifically at the fake horn strapped to Soarin’s head. Soarin looked away with his ears flopped down and his cheeks puffed. “AHEM!” Rusty cleared his throat. He turned around, messing heavily with his apron, mane, and face. When he turned back, his mane was smooth and parted, his beard was combed and twirled at the edges, his face was free of all grease marks and he held his apron over his front arm like a towel.
“Rusty…” Soarin sighed, trying not to chuckle.
“Right this way, m’lady,” Rusty motioned towards a booth. Spitfire lost it at “m’lady.” Rusty grabbed Fleetfoot by the tail and dragged her along with them.
Rusty sped off as soon as he showed them to a table. Spitfire dragged Fleetfoot into the booth seat beside her and Soarin sat opposite. Soarin frowned as he glanced around. There were a couple of other ponies and families present. Almost all of them made confused glances towards him. He liked Rusty’s because it made him feel normal, just coming to get breakfast like everypony else. Even here, his new “addition” made him stand out. How long would things last like that? He did find that he appreciated Rusty’s humor though. Rusty didn’t make a big deal about it, or even ask about the horn. He just went right for a joke. It was better than how most had gone about it, and by most he meant Fleetfoot.
“Sheesh Fleet, when did you go to bed last night?” Spitfire asked as Fleetfoot slumped into the booth seat and fell asleep again with her head resting against the back rest.
“The usual for everypony?” Rusty rolled up without a notepad, assuming they would all get the same thing. Soarin and Spitfire both nodded. Rusty’s eyes narrowed as they landed on Fleetfoot. He sped away, returning quickly with a large pot and a wooden spoon. He held the pot over her, slipping her head into it. “WAKE UP AND SMELL WHO KNOWS WHAT!” he yelled while beating the pot with the wooden spoon. Fleetfoot jolted awake and her wings flew outward, smacking Spitfire in the face.
“AHHH!!! WHAT THE HELL?!” she yelled out as Rusty removed the pot from her head. Rusty quickly rapped her on the nose with the wooden spoon.
“No! Bad pony!” he pointed the spoon towards a table with a family. A young colt and filly were laughing hysterically at Fleetfoot’s expense. “Watch your language around the kids…” he pointed the spoon at Soarin, “and the princess please.”
“Hey!” Soarin tried to retort, but Rusty sped off.
“God, he’s on a roll… today…” Fleetfoot, despite just having a pot rapped over her head, started swaying and leaned forward. Her head landed face down on the table with a thump. Spitfire flattened her brow and looked around for Rusty.
“Rusty, I think we need—”
“WAY ahead of ya!” Rusty rolled up to their table with a tiny tea cup and a coffee jug labeled: “Express Extreme” in magic marker with bubble letters and a lightning bolt drawn beneath it. He placed the cup in front of Fleetfoot and tipped the jug towards it. “I’m giving her a double shot,” he snickered.
“That won’t kill her will it?” Spitfire asked seriously as she watched Rusty pour the coffee perfectly into the tiny cup.
“I said double shot, not triple shot,” he chuckled. He finished pouring and eyed Fleetfoot still asleep.
“I got it this time,” Spitfire reached down by Fleetfoot’s leg and gave her a poke right where her thigh met her pelvis.
“YEEEEP!” Fleetfoot woke with a start, blushed and covered the spot. Soarin and Rusty glanced at each other, and then back to Fleetfoot.
“I didn’t need to know that,” Rusty shook his head. “Now drink up missy!”
“Oh? Thanks…” She said sleepily, forgetting all about a “weak spot” of hers that had just been exploited. How did Spitfire know about it? Fleetfoot said a lot of things whenever she got drunk, that’s how.
Fleetfoot nestled the tiny cup between her hooves and poured it into her mouth. It was barely enough to take a full sip, but then—
“Whoa…” Fleetfoot blinked, “WHOA!!!!!” she shook her head back and forth vigorously, “Brrrrrrrrrlaaaaaagh!” she finally stopped and blinked, wide awake. She coughed twice and pounded her chest. A small puff of smoke flew from her mouth. “Gah! What do you MAKE that with? Dynamite?!”
“SHE LIVES!” Rusty cheered before speeding off on his skateboard. Soarin and Spitfire were holding back fits of laughter as Fleet cracked her neck and twitched a couple times.
“So,” Spitfire spoke up, “Soarin have you had a chance to put together your tryout plan yet?” she made conversation. Soarin shrugged.
“I’ve got some stuff put together. Don’t worry, I’ll have it ready in two days. I’ve just been… occupied.” he looked away.
“I saw you go back to the castle last night,” Fleetfoot spoke up as she sat completely upright with the caffeine turbo-charging her alertness. Soarin hesitated, but why would he keep stuff from them? He was just a little passive after being called a princess by Fleetfoot. Spitfire was right, he would just have to get used to it and forge on.
“Yeah I was learning how to use this,” Soarin pointed to the false horn.
“Use it?” Spitfire’s ears perked up, “I thought it was just to keep the magic from, what did you say? Overtaking you?” she tried to recall his explanation.
“Nah, I gotta actually use it too. After last night my respect for unicorns increased about a thousand percent. You have no idea how hard it is,” he explained casually, but both Spitfire and Fleetfoot were staring at him in astonishment.
“So you can use magic now?” Spitfire asked, slightly eager. Soarin blinked and looked up at the horn.
“Kind of? I didn’t get very far, I only learned how to grab things and sort of levitate them,” he admitted. Fleetfoot leaned across the table and got in his face.
“SHOW US!” she bounced up and down. Spitfire grabbed Fleetfoot and pulled her back into the seat.
“Control the buzz Fleet,” she chuckled as Fleetfoot jittered slightly.
“I’d rather not show,” Soarin answered honestly. He didn’t want anything to go wrong.
“Do not fear my princess! We merely wish to witness the wonder of thy feminine powers!” Fleet teased. Soarin glared at her from across the table, and then smirked. He closed his eyes and relaxed his body. He felt the sensation of the magic build up quickly. Spitfire and Fleetfoot’s eyes widened as the false horn began to glow softly. Soarin opened one eye and glanced towards Fleetfoot. She lifted an eyebrow as Soarin looked towards her, then—
“AH!” she yelped and quickly reached a hoof towards her plot. She glanced at her rear, then back at Soarin. He had his head turned to the side, magic dissipated, and a smirk curling on his lips as he snickered. “Did you just pinch my plot?!” she fumed as her face turned bright red.
“Now how could I have done that Fleet? I’m sitting over here!” Soarin shrugged and failed to hold back a grin. Spitfire sighed and shook her head.
“Can I take you two anywhere?” she grumbled as Fleetfoot leaned back and crossed her hooves.
“I’m telling Dash,” she stuck her tongue out at Soarin.
“Like she’ll believe you,” Soarin jeered right back to Fleet.
“Speaking of Dash,” Fleetfoot leaned back down and rested her arms at the table while snidely bouncing her eyebrows at Soarin, “I dunno about you, but I think she’ll like your… sixth leg you got there,” she pointed at the horn. Soarin looked at her curiously for a moment. Then it hit him, but Spitfire spoke up first.
“Fleet, that’s just weird,” she groaned as she rubbed her hooves on her forehead. “And thanks for the image, but you’re one to talk about weird sexual encounters,” she rested her face on her hoof to stay turned towards Fleetfoot.
“I dunno Spitfire,” she turned to Soarin, “what could be weirder than a ‘head-dance?’” she snickered. Soarin was about to fire back, but Spitfire saved him the effort.
“Well Fleet, there was that one time…” she trailed off.
“One what?” Fleetfoot blinked and tipped her head.
“Remember that one night when you… and Lightning Streak…” Spitfire cringed slightly as she spoke.
“Wha—OH!” Fleetfoot’s eyes widened and her ears shot up. Soarin stared blankly at Fleetfoot. He swore he just heard Spitfire mention something about Fleetfoot and Lightning Streak.
“That was weird,” Spitfire put simply.
“Um… well… I was drunk,” Fleetfoot folded her ears back.
“Yeah. Still weird,” Spitfire repeated before turning to Soarin. “Don’t ask,” she suggested.
“I’ve no urge to know,” Soarin shook his head very uncomfortably.
“ORDER UP! I TOTALLY WAS NOT EAVESDROPPING ON YOU KIDS!” Rusty sped by and dropped all the food on the table in almost a blink of an eye. It was oatmeal, eggs, and fruit for all three. The Wonderbolt diet was strict, but it was a sacrifice they made for their bodies to be in top condition. Soarin rolled his eyes when he saw his dishes were fine silver.
“Rusty, joke’s over,” Soarin commented on his fancy set up.
“Huh? Oh whoops, how did I screw that up?” Rusty reached forward and switched Soarin and Spitfire’s dishes so Spitfire had the silver.
“I honestly don’t know what this is implying,” Soarin shrugged as Rusty scooted away laughing.
“So new princess!” Fleetfoot turned to Spitfire as they dug in. “How’s your prince been?” she asked with a smirk. Spitfire stopped mid spoonful of oatmeal and gave Fleetfoot a very annoyed look.
“Why do you keep asking about Wave and me?” Spitfire growled. Fleetfoot’s smile grew wider.
“Oh! Okay, we can talk about Wave Chill! You should’ve said so in the first place!” Fleetfoot giggled. Spitfire’s eyes widened for a moment, realizing she walked right into it.
“Fleet, we’re just good friends.”
“Bull—” Fleetfoot clamped her mouth shut as Rusty appeared in front of her holding the wooden spoon at the ready again, “—lony!” she corrected herself. Rusty nodded and sped off.
“Fine Fleet,” Spitfire rolled her eyes, “I like him okay? Is that what you wanted to hear?” she grumpily shoved an overloaded spoonful of oatmeal into her mouth.
“Nope!” Fleetfoot shook her head and leaned into Spitfire. “Have you… chilled his wave yet?” she asked goofily. Spitfire nearly choked on her oatmeal. Soarin just casually ate his food as the ladies had their girl talk. He had been wondering about Spitfire and Wave Chill himself, but unlike Fleetfoot he wasn’t one to take a crowbar to somepony else’s personal life.
“Fleet, I’m his superior officer!” Spitfire exclaimed after clearing her throat. “It is not proper for the two of us to partake in such extremely intimate relations!”
“Oh, drop the formal talk,” Fleetfoot waved a hoof at her. “You’ve clearly thought about it.” Fleetfoot flapped her ears up and down. Spitfire blushed and looked back towards her food.
“Fine, maybe I have… but it’s still wrong for us to do anything. My duty comes first as the captain of the Wonderbolts, I can’t let desire drive my actions,” she stated seriously.
“Have you ever had a steady coltfriend before?” Fleetfoot suddenly asked. Spitfire quickly shook her head.
“No, what does that have to do with anything?” she refused to look back at Fleetfoot, hoping she would be left alone.
“Oh, so you’ve never had… an option… when the heat kicks in, have you?” Fleetfoot sneered.
Soarin sighed uncomfortably. This was becoming too much information, but at least they weren’t focusing on him and his horn. Maybe that was the point of all this. They just wanted to take him out and be casual to show him he’s no different despite the horn. He could get behind that, he just had to not listen to this awkward conversation.
“What?” Spitfire looked towards Fleetfoot in confusion.
“You heard me. You’ve never had a stallion of your own when the fun times start,” she pointed between Spitfire’s legs. Spitfire shifted so her legs were closed and completely under the table.
“How will that make a difference? I had ways to cope before Wave, I’ll just do the same,”
“Trust me, it’s different,” Fleetfoot chuckled. “It’s almost impossible to resist when you have a stallion right there. It’s like free candy,” she nudged Spitfire in the side. Spitfire scooted as close to the wall as she could. She had a small blush constantly on her face. Fleetfoot was really getting on her nerves about this.
“It doesn’t matter. I’m sticking to my duty and what’s right. I don’t care how hard it will be,” Spitfire pounded a hoof on the table. Fleetfoot just eyes her for a moment before giggling softly.
“You think you can hold it in,” she lifted an eyebrow at Spitfire.
“You think you’ll be able to resist him.”
“So you’re pitting your sense of duty against the untamable sex drive you’ll experience while in heat with a stallion nearby for easy access.”
“What’s your point?” Spitfire glared at her. Fleetfoot kept giggling and patted her hooves together.
“Did you know that if you put a little hat on a snowball it lasts a long time in hell?” Fleetfoot managed to say before she lost her composure and burst out laughing. Spitfire stared for a moment, before catching on.
“Oh shut up,” she shook her head and went back to eating.
Soarin laughed quietly to himself. This was great. He had great friends to lean on. This was exactly what they were trying to do. Have a normal, good time. He’d been put through a lot of shit lately and this was exactly what he needed to feel better.
He smiled and went on eating his breakfast as Fleetfoot continued to harass Spitfire.
---To Be Continued---