1. Published 3rd Jun 2014
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Piercing the Heavens - Calm Wind


Sequel to Flying Sky-High. A lot has happened, but now Rainbow Dash finally has a chance to fulfill her dream and become a Wonderbolt. As the process begins, will her relationship with Soarin be a blessing? Or will it be a curse?

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Chapter 6: Departure
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MLP: FiM

Piercing the Heavens

By: Calm Wind

Chapter 6:


One month short of a full year ago, Dash met the Wonderbolts in person for the first time. What a wild spin the meeting put on her life. She had encountered a magical tornado, dressed up and danced, made new friends with remarkable ponies, and fought magic imbued mercenaries to the death.

Most importantly though, her life collided with that of a very special stallion: Soarin. Not only did she fall in love with him, he inspired her to push her limits. Because of him she grew faster, stronger, and wiser. Now here she was with a chance to realize her dream much sooner than she ever thought possible. The tryouts had arrived.

She’d be gone for a long time, possibly forever if she was selected for the elite squad spot, but Ponyville and all of her friends would always be in her heart.

This was the opportunity of a lifetime, but even so, that didn’t make it easy to say goodbye.


“I’m going to be fine Fluttershy, and so are you. I promise I’ll visit as much as I can,” Dash said as she dropped her duffle bag on the platform and hugged Fluttershy tightly as she wept in Dash’s arms. “Stay strong for me, and take good care of Tank and my place while I’m gone okay?” Dash put her at arm’s length. Fluttershy hiccupped and nodded while trying to wipe her tears away with her wings.

“Okay,” she squeaked quietly as she spoke.

A cool autumn breeze blew through the train station. It mixed with the warm air that surrounded the simmering steam engine as it awaited the boarding passengers. The conductor was walking up and down the platform, trying to get all the passengers on board so they could depart in a timely fashion. This process was being slightly delayed by a small group of eager pegasi who were saying their goodbyes before leaving on a rough journey. It would be a challenge, and only one was expected to succeed, but their confidence ran high, and their wings twitched in excitement.

Rainbow Dash was nervous. She was beyond nervous, but this time her nerves weren’t holding her down. It was a mix of nervousness combated with eagerness: Eagerness to show up and wow not just the Wonderbolts, but all of Equestria. It was her time, and she had friends coming along to see her through it.

Dash looked towards all of her friends. They all made the trip to see her off and none of them were taking it very well. Twilight seemed to be taking it the best. She was clearly sad, but not in tears. Pinkie’s hair was completely deflated, but she had a smile on her face, happy that Dash was on her way towards something important to her. Rarity was shedding a tear or two, and quickly hugged Fluttershy as she fluttered back over to them. Where was Applejack though?

Dash looked over to see Bulk Biceps and Derpy climb aboard the train. Behind them stood Thunderlane, with Applejack quickly approaching him. Of course. They were a more than a few yards away, but Dash could pick up most of what was being said.

“Ya don’t have to do this ya know. I ain’t gonna think differently of ya if ya stay,” Applejack said with a frown. Thunderlane smiled at her and shook his head.

“A true stallion never backs down from a challenge,” he said with a slight chuckle. Applejack gave him a harsh glare.

“A ‘true stallion’ always bites off more than he can chew too, apparently. This is gonna be rough! Ya seen how much Dash has been trainin’. I don’t want ‘em killin’ ya out there!” she said while jabbing him hard in the chest.

“Oof!” he grunted as she pulled her hoof back quickly.

“Er, sorry,” she tugged her hat down.

“I dunno, you might kill me first if I stay here,” Thunderlane joked. Applejack pushed her hat back up.

“Look, just… come back safe alright?” she eyed him with concern. “I’ll be waitin’ for ya,” she removed her hat and looked him in the eyes.

“Count on it,” Thunderlane placed a hoof on her shoulder. Applejack glanced over at the rest of her friends. Dash quickly looked away just in time for Applejack not to see her. Dash glanced back after a few seconds to catch Applejack hiding both her and Thunderlane’s faces with her hat as she leaned in.

Dash sighed as she watched the two of them share their usual “hidden kiss.” She missed Soarin. She missed him so much. She was heading to the Wonderbolt compound, but it was for tryouts, not pleasure. She would be beyond happy to see him, but would they even get a chance to say hello? Soarin would have to play it professional. It was his job after all.

She couldn’t let it bother her. This was an important moment in her life. Soarin was going to approach his role with full focus and professionalism. Dash would do the same. The time for pleasure would come. It was time to wow ALL of the Wonderbolts, not just him.

Still though, she was so jealous of both Applejack and Fluttershy. If they needed a hug or comfort, all they had to do was take a small walk to find their stallion. Soarin was a tiring hour flight away, and he was always busy. The Wonderbolt life was both taxing and action packed, but she would gladly do it every single day for both her dream and for him.

“Dash!” Scootaloo’s voice suddenly caught Dash’s ears. She turned to see the little orange filly gliding as fast as she could towards the platform. “Whoaaa!!!” she lost control, and fell into a pile of fallen leaves at the base of a tree beside the station. She quickly pulled herself out and sprinted up to Dash whilst covered in orange, yellow, and red.

“Scoots!” Dash smiled, but was caught off guard as Scootaloo thrust herself at her and hugged her tightly. Dash quickly hugged Scootaloo back as the filly squeezed her tightly.

“I can’t believe I almost missed you…” Scootaloo said with a small sniff. “It’s gonna suck without you here,” she said shakily as she pushed back and stared up at Dash. Dash smiled and ruffled Scootaloo’s mane.

“Hey, no tears kid! It’s time for me to show the rest of Equestria what I’ve got. While I’m gone I need you to cause enough mischief for the two of us combined okay?” she said with a wink. Scootaloo squeezed her eyes shut to prevent tears from falling and nodded.

“I’ll be extra awesome to make up for you,” she said while pounding a hoof to her chest.

“That’s what I like to hear,” she patted Scootaloo’s shoulders. “I hope you’re right behind me in a few years Scoots. I think a Wonderbolt uniform would look awesome on you.”

The train’s whistle blew loudly and the conductor called for all aboard. Scootaloo sniffled, and failed to fight back one tear as she backed away from Dash.

“See ya everyone!” she waved to all her friends as she slung her duffle bag over her shoulder and made her way towards the rear coach. Her friends waved back while yelling goodbyes and good lucks. She passed Applejack as she neared the car. “I saw that,” she jeered as they crossed paths.

“Stuff it,” Applejack huffed. Dash chuckled and took another step, but, “Hey Dash?”

“Huh?” Dash stopped mid step and turned to look at Applejack. Applejack wasn’t looking at her.

“Keep an eye on Thunderlane for me… okay?” she asked. Dash stayed silent for a moment, and then smiled. Applejack really liked him, didn’t she? If Applejack was asking a favor of her, then she really would do anything for him.

“I’ll make sure he doesn’t slip up too much,” Dash joked, but assured Applejack. Applejack chuckled to herself before turning to Dash briefly.

“Give ‘em hell,” she tipped her hat. Dash nodded back before the two parted ways and Dash climbed aboard the coach. She looked back one more time and waved to her friends before she stepped into the coach. It was the first step on her new journey.


“Seriously Fleet?” Spitfire rolled her eyes as she leaned forward on her desk.

“What?” Fleetfoot asked nonchalantly as she reclined on the couch to the right of Spitfire’s desk.

Soarin sat in a folding chair to Spitfire’s left as he listened to Fleetfoot give her plans for the tryouts. He was busy trying to figure out the best way to explain his portion. He hadn’t heard Fleetfoot’s, but apparently Spitfire didn’t like it.

“You can’t always be silly Fleet,” Spitfire looked sternly at her. “These are tryouts to gain both new recruits and somepony to fill in for Rapidfire.”

“Duh, that’s why I put together this plan,” Fleetfoot casually defended herself.

“Fleet, everything you have is slightly… prankish. We want to encourage them, not piss them off,” Spitfire slid her hoof in a circle on her desk while tipping her head down to intensify her stern stare.

“Prankish?” Fleetfoot sat up and crossed her hooves while pouting. “I’m hurt you think so lowly of me!” she said overdramatically.

“Rivet has designed multiple types of obstacle courses for us. It’s hard to miss the ‘trend’ in your selections,” Spitfire kept her stare constant.

Rivet was the Wonderbolts’ chief engineer of their obstacle courses and other equipment such as their protective training gear and their machines that produced clouds or other elements such as controlled fire, mist, wind, and even weak lightning. He wasn’t widely known outside the Wonderbolts, but was commended within them for his hard work and many different mechanical skills that allowed them all to train on such a high level. He preferred to keep his “fame” within the compound. He was quite brilliant, but a little sheepish.

He was most popular amongst the Wonderbolts for a specific reason though. Whenever he designed a course, he did so with a specific Wonderbolt by his side. This allowed the Wonderbolts to each have personal courses to challenge themselves or other fellow wingmates. It added a little personality to each course, and sometimes it was easy to tell which course belonged to whom.

His mention by Spitfire reminded Soarin that he wanted to talk to Rivet at some point. Soarin wasn’t sure exactly yet, but as he learned to use his magic he was sure Rivet could design a thing or two for him that would help with practice. He’d get to that point later though. He was still trying to figure out how to report his plan. Luckily Fleetfoot was keeping Spitfire occupied.

“You fail to convince me I’m ‘up to something,’” Fleetfoot made hoof quote motions at Spitfire.

“Every course you’ve chosen was a personal course he made for Surprise,” Spitfire pointed out. “Don’t play dumb with me Fleet.”

“Would you rather I used the courses designed with Silver Lining at his neck?” Fleetfoot shrugged. “I mean if we wanted to kill the cadets…”

“Don’t try to dodge your way out of this one Fleet,” Spitfire negated Fleetfoot’s attempt to change the subject.

“Okay, okay, fine,” Fleetfoot admitted. “So I wanna mess with them a little, but it’s more than that.”

“This I gotta hear,” Soarin chuckled as he picked up on their conversation. Fleetfoot pointed at him.

“Listen up, princess. I bet it’s better than whatever test of “manliness” you put together…” she paused and glanced at the fake horn, “or the recent lack thereof,” she added with a sneer.

“Fleet,” Spitfire tapped her hoof gently on her desk.

“Oh right,” Fleetfoot turned back to Spitfire as Soarin glared daggers into the side of her head. “Think about it, all of Surprise’s courses are based on wacky and random things happening. I dunno if you’ve been asleep this past year, but I’d say wacky and random about sums up how things have been lately.”

“That’s putting it lightly,” Soarin commented.

“Quiet duchess, I’m talking here,” she put herself between Soarin and Spitfire as she continued. “I want to throw the unexpected at them! What better way to do that than with courses designed with a loony at the wheel?” she made circle motions with her hoof beside her ear before winking.

“You know, just because you actually thought it through, I’ll let you do it,” Spitfire chuckled. “I don’t like it too much, but you are right about the strange part. It could help us weed out the impatient ones,” she gave a nod of approval.

“I knew you’d see it my way,” Fleetfoot hovered back over to the couch, batting Soarin in the face with her tail as she passed.

“So Soarin,” Spitfire spoke up before Soarin could retaliate. “Anything on your plan besides what we discussed?” she asked.

“CoronationHAAACHOO!! Is it dusty in here?” Fleetfoot waved her hoof in front of her nose while failing to hold back a smirk. Soarin flattened his ears as he turned to her.

“How about you go play outside or something?” he suggested seriously.

“Okay mom!” Fleetfoot got up and left before Soarin or Spitfire could say anything else.

“She’s really pushing it,” Soarin grunted, “I mean, it’s not as bad as Rapidfire used to be, but at least I could punch him.”

“She’ll get bored eventually, you know how it goes,” Spitfire grinned as she leaned back in her chair.

“I dunno, I think you’re both enjoying it,” Soarin eyed her suspiciously as her grin grew slightly wider.

“Like I said at Rusty’s Soarin, just have fun with it. Now,” she clapped her hooves together twice, “your tryout plan.”

“Oh right,” Soarin blinked. “Well, like you suggested, I’m gonna run them all through a couple of courses I helped design as well as do a few other tests to gauge strength. It’s going to focus more on their ability to use their strength instead of just how strong they are.”

“Right, right…” Spitfire nodded in agreement. “Which of your courses are you going to use?”

“Three, four, and eight,” he put simply. Spitfire’s eyes widened for a brief moment.

“Eight?”

“Yes, eight,” Soarin confirmed.

“Soarin, that course is a death trap for anyone but you,” Spitfire leaned forward while eyeing him incredulously.

“I know. I have a special test planned for it. It will fit heavily into the overall quality we are looking for in terms of the elite spot. Trust me,” he assured her. She leaned back again and sighed.

“If you say so, just don’t forget our liability practices. If they do it willingly, then fine, but if any of them get severely injured when you could’ve prevented it, it’s on you,” she made clear for him as Fleetfoot suddenly re-entered the office. She bouncily trotted back over to the couch while giggling and reclined on it again. Soarin eyed her suspiciously.

“What, was the playground closed?” he teased. She only giggled harder.

“Hehehe! Nope!” she answered. Soarin didn’t like that. Not one bit.

“What did you do?” Soarin asked while narrowing his eyes.

“Nothing that wasn’t gonna happen eventually,” Fleetfoot giggled even harder. Spitfire rapped her hoof against her desk again to grab their attention.

“I’ve got a meeting with the squad captains in fifteen minutes, so let’s wrap this up. Last thing, Soarin,” she focused on him. He looked away from the giggly mess of Fleetfoot on the couch to pay attention. “I just want to remind you one more time…”

Soarin immediately picked up on what was coming. She didn’t have to speak any further for him to know what was about to happen. He held back a growl as she continued.

“If Dash shows up for these tryouts, which she better, you must make your selection fairly, no favors for—”

“Spitfire, really? Again?” Soarin lost his restraint. Spitfire paused and looked at him sternly.

“I trust you will not let your feelings—”

“If you trust me…” Soarin stomped towards her desk, “then why do you keep telling me this?! Do you trust me or not?!”

“Soarin, calm down,” she ordered.

“NO!” Soarin pointed at her. Her eyes widened and turned into a glare. “This is the fifth time! Dash won’t be treated any differently!”

“Soarin, this goes for more than the selections. You do realize that the two of you in a relationship may have an effect on how she's viewed by the other recruits?” she tried to explain, but Soarin didn’t listen.

“Stop giving me crap about Dash! I know my duties! I’ve done it every single year! You need to stop treating me like I forget how to do my own job!” he kept barking. Spitfire stood from her desk as he kept yelling.

“Soarin, you’ve got five seconds to calm down before I remind you, the hard way, how I’m supposed to do my job!” she leaned over the table to try and force her will on him. It never worked. Soarin was one of few who could withstand her presence when things got serious. Soarin’s false horn began to glow slightly and crackled a little as his emotions escalated.

Soarin was tired of this. He loved Spitfire as if she were family, but she always tried to force an “older sibling who knows better” role with the two of them. The subject of Rainbow Dash seemed to start many quarrels recently, because unlike with other subjects, Soarin NEVER backed down. What happens when two unstoppable stubborn forces collide? Everything is screwed, unless something breaks them up.

“Son of a bitch, will you two quit it?!” Fleetfoot landed roughly on Spitfire’s desk, placing herself right between both of them. “Get over yourselves! Seriously! I feel like a marriage counselor!”

“But she—”

“No.” Fleetfoot pressed her wing over Soarin’s head.

“Fleet he—”

“NO!” she did the same to Spitfire. “Both of you just shut up and let things be. We have the tryout greeting in an hour so let’s get ready for it,” she calmed down as she spoke about something of greater importance just around the corner. Soarin and Spitfire both sighed as Fleetfoot lightened her wing grip on them, but were both surprised when Fleetfoot’s wings suddenly pushed them forward. “Now kiss like lesbians and make out… er, up.”

“Fleet!” Soarin yelled as his and Spitfire’s faces got smushed together. The two pushed off each other and shook their heads out as Fleetfoot rolled back laughing.

“Okay fine, we get it,” Spitfire rubbed her nose. “Was that last part necessary?”

“I thought the princess would like to experiment,” Fleetfoot snickered while motioning to Soarin. He rolled his eyes as he had millions of times at her already about it.

“Whatever,” Spitfire stood up. “Let’s try it this way. I trust each of us to do a professional job. Simple enough. Let’s get moving. I still have to meet the other captains. Be at the train station in an hour to pick them all up,” she glanced at Soarin, but neither said anything as they all left the office and went their separate directions.

As Soarin walked towards his room however, a certain few words by Spitfire struck him hard. He had ignored them initially out of anger, but she had a point. It was no mystery that he and Dash were a couple, at least among the current Wonderbolts. This could actually prove to be a bit of a problem. He would literally have to avoid her. To maintain a professional air, he had to show no favor towards any one pony trying out. This meant even just talking to them on the side. As much as he wanted to see her again, he’d have to watch his every move.

But then something else occurred to him. If he selected her for the elite spot, and either Spitfire or Fleetfoot did as well, she’d be a high ranking Wonderbolt instantly. What sort of gossip would that cause though? It was inevitable. There would be suspicion that she was given a free ride. It would quickly spread outside the compound. The media would be on both his ass and hers faster than they could blink. She’d be pushed up against the wall to be perfect. One slip-up and the story would be that she was given a free ride regardless of skill.

He did not want her to be drowned by the media. He hated it, and he was more than certain she’d hate it too. Suddenly he felt like the situation had been flipped around. He found himself wondering if not selecting her would be for her own good. She’d make a recruit for sure, and it would spare her any sort of media strain.

No. He shook his head out and grunted. He’d give her a fair chance. It would be unprofessional of him to approach it that way too.

Great. He knew this was going to be hard, but now it was going to be even harder. He also couldn’t shake the thought that he was forgetting something.

“Huh?” Soarin stopped in front of his door. The word “Princess” had been written in sharpie above his nameplate. “Fleetfoot…” he grumbled as he pushed it open.

That’s right, he was kind of half alicorn now. That would be an interesting conversation once he and Dash finally got the chance.

This was all of course, assuming she was even coming.


Dash swayed gently in her seat as the train cars clattered down the tracks. The ride to Canterlot wasn’t very long, roughly half an hour if the train’s journey was unhindered. One would think Dash would take advantage of this to visit Soarin on a regular basis, but the tickets were expensive, a good twenty to thirty bits more expensive than a ticket to anywhere else. Canterlot was a large hub for trains to anywhere. The station itself was almost as large as Ponyville. It was smack in the middle of the richest part of town, and its upkeep required a pretty steep fare by the railway companies. Not even a small town like Ponyville was exempt from the expensive ticket prices, so travel to and from Canterlot was either a long, tiring flight or a hole in the wallet for Dash.

Dash sat quietly with her duffle bag beside her. She had packed light. She brought along her flight goggles, bathroom supplies, a copy of the first Daring Do book, a picture of her friends, and of course, her favorite picture of her and Soarin. What else would she need? She was more than certain there would be very little downtime. If there was she could either go for walks or read her book (for the millionth time). Actually, who was she kidding? These tryouts were probably going to be beyond rough. Any free time would probably be spent trying to regain feeling in her body on a bed.

She frowned and glanced over at her companions. Bulk, Derpy, and Thunderlane all looked as cheerful as they could be. She hoped they would be okay through all of it. The only one of them that wasn’t flat out exhausted after five minutes of training with Dash was Bulk. Then it took him five more minutes to catch up with them because… well… speed wasn’t his thing.

She decided to talk with them a little. She knew the brief reasons for them all coming along, she wanted to know more. Bulk was sitting in his own seat back to back with Derpy and Thunderlane, taking up the whole thing as usual. Thunderlane and Derpy seemed to be talking already, so she decided to converse with Bulk first. She left her duffle bag on the edge of her seat, keeping it in plain sight so she could keep one eye on it as she shuffled towards the seat flanking Bulk’s. Now for the challenge, could she converse with him without her face being blown off?

“Hey Bulk?”

“YEEEEAAAH!?” Challenge failed. Dash shook her head out and blinked before sitting down.

“So what’s up big fella? Excited for the tryouts?” she covered her ears preemptively. She saw him yell and waited till he was finished. “So last time I was in Canterlot I had a training day with the Wonderbolts. I met your dad, Pec Bounce.”

“Aw, yeah! That’s my pappy!” Bulk bounced his pecs as he referred to his dad.

“He’s pretty tough,” Dash nodded as Bulk kept flexing his chest.

“It’s gonna suck, but I get to see him at least, YEAH!” he yelled as he flexed. Dash tipped her head. Sure, she didn’t think he was going to make it either, but that attitude would never do, not while she was around.

“Hey, don’t talk like that. These are tryouts, you never know what they might be looking for,” she reached over and jabbed him in the arm. He sat quietly and blinked as he thought over her words. “You’re going for it. Give it your all. Leave nothing behind. You do it when you lift weights right? You may not be the best flyer, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it your all,” Dash smiled and leaned back. Bulk blinked again.

“Huh,” he looked down. “Huh,” he said again. “You know what, I CAN GET BEHIND THAT!” Dash felt her mane and ears get blown back again, but she shook her head out with a smile.

“That’s better,” she winked as she glanced around him. Thunderlane had gotten up to walk around and Derpy was digging through her bag. Dash stole a quick glance to see her own bag still present before getting up. “Stay positive big fella,” she said to Bulk before making her way around to speak to Derpy.

Dash walked up and sat across from Derpy, simultaneously snickering because Derpy had her head and half of her body shoved into her duffle bag. What was she looking for anyway? Dash jumped slightly when Derpy suddenly pushed her entire body into her duffle bag. Dash blinked to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. Derpy had somehow managed to fit herself into a bag that was barely the same size as her.

“Derpy, what the heck are you doing?” Dash spoke up with a chuckle. Derpy’s head popped out of the bag. She smiled when she saw Dash.

“Hi!” she said cheerfully before diving back in.

“What’cha looking for in there?” Dash leaned forward.

“Nuthin’. It’s comfy in here!” Derpy’s voice came from the bag. What an adorable goofball. Derpy had always been a bit… strange. It wasn’t Pinkie Pie strange. It was a different breed. Derpy found satisfaction in the strangest little things. She wasn’t dumb or missing a few wires in the head by any means. Some ponies just had their own way of doing things. Derpy was just especially good at being loveable in her own special way.

“Say Derpy,” Dash began as she got up and sat next to the jostling duffle bag, “why exactly are you coming with? I can agree with me being awesome, but there must be something else.

Derpy’s head popped out of the bag again. She blinked twice, her eyes switching positions both times.

“Um,” she looked down. So there was something else. It looked like it wasn’t easy for her to admit though.

“Sorry Derpy, if you have personal reasons I won’t—”

“I just wanna be cool like you,” she said out of nowhere. Dash froze and her ears stood up. Derpy wanted to be like her? Was she talking to Derpy or Scootaloo?

“Derpy?”

“You’ve always been so awesome. I always hear ponies talk about how fast and strong you are. I just wish ponies would talk about me too.” Each word was a little shaky. Dash was most certainly not expecting that. “I know I’m not the best flyer, if I at least try they’ll notice me, right?” she looked up at Dash with uneven puppy dog eyes.

“Aw, Derpy…” Dash rubbed the back of her head. Talk about embarrassing. She had another admirer she never knew about. “You shoulda said something sooner, I would’ve helped you.”

“I know but,” Derpy’s head lowered so only her eyes were above the rim of the bag, “I didn’t want to get in your way,” she averted her eyes shamefully. Dash quickly leaned forward and pulled her slightly out of the bag.

Dash felt like she was full of crap. How many ponies had been feeding off her hard work all these years? How did she not notice it? She had known Derpy as long as she had known Fluttershy. How did this go right over her head for so long?

“Derpy, I know I might be gone for a long time once this is over, but I promise you I’ll do something to help you. I don’t ever want you to think you’d be wasting my time. Okay?”

“Okay…” Derpy slid back down into the bag.

“Promise me you won’t hide from it anymore. That’s the first step to improving yourself,” Dash added with a smile. Derpy looked Dash over as she smiled at her. She slowly rose back up and grinned sheepishly.

“Thanks Dash, you’re the best.”

“Shucks…” Dash chuckled. “Now get comfy again,” Dash encouraged as Derpy nestled herself back into her bag.

Dash glanced about, catching Thunderlane walking back towards the seat. She quickly got up and grabbed hold of his wing as he came near.

“Ow! What the—?” he yelped as Dash pulled him over to her seat. She wanted to talk to him, but she was tired of keeping an eye on her bag from afar.

“C’mere sissy, I wanna talk,” she teased as he sighed and let her yank him.

“Oh boy, I can hardly wait to be looked down upon,” he rolled his eyes as he sat down.

“Oh stuff it, I’m not that bad,” Dash chuckled. “So I saw that little exchange between you and Applejack,” she bounced her eyebrows. Thunderlane flattened his ears.

“So? Wouldn’t you kiss your special somepony goodbye before going somewhere?”

“Fair enough,” she leaned back and crossed her hooves. “So you wanna look tougher for Applejack, huh? This is one hell of a way to prove a point. The tryouts are gonna be brutal,” she turned her head and looked out the window. Canterlot was approaching in the distance.

“If that’s what it takes, I’m gonna do it. She’s still too soft on me, like I break if I so much as fall off a chair. I feel like I need to be better for her, to be stronger. I want her to acknowledge me as an equal, not something she has to watch out for,” he trailed off while sighing.

“Thunderlane, that’s just how she is. I hate to break it to you, but she’s like that with everypony she’s acquainted with,” Dash explained with a shrug.

“Okay, how about I want to prove I’m not a ‘flower?’” he suddenly said. Dash flinched.

“Oh, she told you that one? Sheesh, being the element of honestly must suck,” Dash laughed awkwardly.

“I just… ugh… forget it,” Thunderlane grunted and glared at the floor.

“What?” Dash pried. Now she had to know. It involved Applejack so she had to know.

“It’s nothing… I just…” Thunderlane struggled to decide whether or not he wanted to tell. “Just hear me out on this okay? It’s your fault things are like this,” he suddenly accused. Dash blinked and retracted her neck a little.

My fault?” she pointed a hoof to her chest.

“You have to see it from my perspective Dash,” he motioned both of his hooves towards her. “I can’t help but shake the feeling that she’s a little… jealous of you.”

“This just keeps getting better and better,” Dash lifted an eyebrow. “Please, continue while I try to understand how the male brain works,” Dash said sarcastically. Thunderlane completely ignored her.

“Dash, think about it. You two both have a stallion. We are both pegasi. One of them is a world famous stunt flyer, male face of the whole organization, stronger than an earth pony and one of the fastest pegasi in this day and age. The other? Me. I’ve got nothing on him. How am I supposed to feel?” he thrust his wings out as he pounded the seat cushion. Dash just stared at him, eyes, ears, and brow all flat.

“You’re a dumbass,” she put plainly.

“You are the BEST pony to talk to Dash, you know that?” he arched his neck back against the seat.

“No Thunderlane, that’s a load of crap. She cares about you. Not me or Soarin… you. She asked me to look after you before we left just now.” Dash explained. Thunderlane’s head quickly whipped back down as he heard it. “You can do all this guy toughness crap if you want, but don’t think for a second she’s ashamed of you, alright?”

“Huh,” Thunderlane looked down and blushed lightly. He shook his head. “Fine… but I still want to look tougher,” he nodded, making up his mind.

“Stallions…” Dash shook her head. She’d never understand how they thought. The process was just so much different than a mare.

“Oh look,” Thunderlane suddenly pointed out the window. They had entered Canterlot and were making their way through the less desirable parts of town. The station could be seen in the distance. They were roughly five minutes away.

“Here we go,” Dash bashed her hooves together as her heart beat quickened in excitement. It was time. It was really, actually time to pursue her dream: A dream that would hopefully become a reality.

--- To Be Continued ---

Author's Note:

Woo! New chapter a day early :)

More of a transitional chapter than anything. Nothing really important happening besides insight on how the characters are feeling about certain things, and of course, more Fleetfoot shenanigans xD I'm honestly having more and more fun writing for her by the day, i can see why she's one of my favorite characters.

So to give everyone some perspective here... on just how long this story will be.

I've split my outline into four major parts...

This is currently... the halfway point of part one ;)

I'm not rushing this one for a contest, so expect a long, fun, and quality ride :D

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter should be up Friday maybe... if not, Saturday at the latest.

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