• Published 8th Feb 2012
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Ditz and Spitz: Origin of Derpy - Poinger

Derpy is happy with her life, until Spitfire stirs memories of the past they shared...

  • ...

Part 6: The Amazing Ditzy Doo

Spitfire stood waiting with Ditzy in the cloudesium’s mostly vacant backstage, staring pointedly at competitor number twelve as the event coordinator called for him for a third time. She leaned over to whisper in Ditzy’s ear. “By Celestia, what is taking him so long?”

Ditzy whispered back, the colt in question only a few short steps away, trembling his way toward the curtain. “He’s got the jitters, and bad. I heard he almost threw up in the bathroom a couple minutes ago.”

The yellow colt took a deep breath, put on a shaky smile, and rushed out into the cloudiseum. Number thirteen sighed and shook his head as he walked over to the curtain to wait.

Spitfire stared at the curtain incredulously. “I never get ponies like that. If you’re that nervous before you go out there, it’ll only get worse when you actually are out there.”

“I think it’s his first time. At least, I don’t remember seeing him last year.”

“Well, that’d explain it.” She chuckled. “I remember I was like that my first time.” She poked at Ditzy with a hoof. “You were like that, too, except way worse than me: all worried over your routine and tapping your hooves.”

She hit back, grinning. “Oh, I wasn’t that bad. I mean, I was nervous, sure. But I wasn’t that bad.”

“Oh yeah, right. You were almost crying.”

“I was not! Shut up!” Ditzy pounced at her. She sidestepped, skirting away as Ditzy chased after her. Number thirteen began to watch their antics with an amused expression, until they got a bit too close. He jumped back suddenly to avoid the path of the two dervishes and they froze as he nearly stumbled out into the cloudesium. The three pegasi held their breath as the light blue pony carefully stepped away from the curtain, prompting a collective sigh of relief.

He rounded on Spitfire with a frown that the twinkle in his eyes betrayed. “You almost got me in trouble there, Spitfire. Again. And here I thought you’d grown beyond such juvenile displays.”

She couldn’t help but laugh. He said it with such a straight face. “Oh, lay off, Soarin. A few birds on a racetrack never hurt anypony.”

He smiled. “‘A few?’ There were almost thirty of them, and it was during practice. The Speedsters were pissed at you.”

She smiled back. “Well, they just don’t appreciate my training methods. Besides, you seemed pretty supportive when you were helping me catch them.”

“Numba thirteen, let’s go!”

Soarin jumped as the event coordinator shouted from right behind him, then scowled at the two mares, whose faces were pictures of innocence. “You saw her standing there, didn’t you?”

Spitfire felt the corners of her lips waver as she tried not to crack up. “Maayyyybe...”

“C’mon, thirteen, hurry up!”

He disappeared through the curtain and they looked at each other out of the corner of their eyes. They broke out laughing at the same time.

“He jumped, like, a foot!”

“Ha! Poor sap. Hope he isn’t too disappointed when he has to take home third. Again.

Spitfire’s laughter petered out, and her face grew more solemn. “I sure hope he does. He did well last year: he’s a really good flier. He’s fast, always on the ball, and he does some nice cloudwork.”

“Sounds like somepony has a cruuush...”

“Oh, I do not!” It was her turn to pounce at Ditzy.

They roughhoused a bit, Ditzy finally admitting defeat after failing to ward her off. They were still catching their breath and giggling when the event coordinator returned. They separated, picking themselves off the floor and blushing furiously.

“Listen you two, we’re running late. We’ve only got time time for one more performance, so you’ll both have to go on together.”

She turned to Ditzy, wide-eyed. “Well, we—”

“I guess we—”

Ditzy stopped, waiting for her to speak.

“...We can use your music, Ditz. I don’t mind.”

The event coordinator left and they took up positions behind the curtain.

“And now, for the final performance, contestant number fourteen...” At the announcement, Spitfire dashed out from behind the curtain, shooting up to her starting position and flashing a showy smile at the cheering throng. Though he never announced her name, the crowd knew who she was, and they cheered for her more loudly than any of the others.

They loved her, and she reveled in it.

“...and contestant number fifteen!” The cheers redoubled as Ditzy came out, waving madly and beaming as she flew up to her.

“Try not to crash into me, okay?” She grinned and took off toward her own starting position before Spitfire had a chance to retort.

The music started and they took off, Spitfire shooting through a section of high-speed column zig-zags and into a series of tight loops. As she accelerated to form a sonic cone, she heard a brief surge in the crowd and stole a glance at Ditzy, who was finishing her ring section and starting a slalom series. Spitfire wobbled, and nearly lost her cone. She refocused on her own flying, berating herself for getting distracted.

She broke the sound barrier and made a quick series of quick turns and vertical shifts, shooting back and forth through a series of cloud rings without bothering to slow down. She held her speed as she angled past two small clouds, catching them in her wake and dragging them along on either side of her in a series of rolls and twists. She ended her supersonic flight with a half-loop and dive that was so fast it sucked in the two clouds, which collided and fractured into tiny puffs. She continued her dive toward the cloudface, flaring out at the last possible second and landing with a resounding slam.

The crowd went wild, and their cheers rose further still as Ditzy landed moments later. It was a veritable cacophony; she was afraid the stomping pegasi would crack the dense cloudesium seats. The announcer sat stunned, and even a few of the Wonderbolts appeared at a similar loss for words. As she stood waving and listening to the crowd with Ditzy smiling giddily next to her, everything seemed to click into place. Everything was as it should be: her, a victorious stunt flier, her best friend beside her, and all around them an adoring crowd which had never cheered louder. It was a perfect moment, and she finally managed to see why; she’d performed brilliantly, sure, but the crowd wasn’t cheering so loudly for her.

It was for the both of them, when they flew together, that they roared. In that moment, she knew that flying with Ditzy was exactly what she wanted to do with her life. She turned to look at Ditzy, and saw a similar elation in her eyes. Spitfire took a step toward her, a step Ditzy mirrored. They stood next to each other and, as one, raised their hooves in triumph, holding their new victory pose for a few seconds before they were cleared off the cloudface and the Wonderbolts went backstage to vote.

They made their way to their seats in the crowd and just sat silently for a time, coming down off of the rush and excitement. Spitfire finally broke the silence. “That was... amazing. I’ve never felt anything like that, in all my time flying. It just felt so...”

“Right.” Ditzy didn’t turn when she spoke and still looked slightly out of it, staring vacantly out at the cloudesieum. “It just felt right, like that’s what I was born to do. Was fly with—” she gave a faint gasp and shook herself out of her daze, blushing slightly. She was pointedly avoiding Spitfire’s gaze.

“No, I felt it too. Maybe we were meant to fly together, not just help each other out. We just never had the chance before now.”

Ditzy shook her head. “It’s a shame that this is your last competition then, isn’t it? We’ll never get the chance again.”

Spitfire frowned. “Way to ruin the mood, Ditzy. What about when we’re Wonderbolts? We’ll fly together then, won’t we? In fact...” she looked around, and lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “Why wait that long?”

Ditzy looked around in confusion, then whispered back. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I—”

"Fillies and gentlecolts, without further ado: the placing pegasi!" The announcer cut her off and she turned away from Ditzy, cheering along with the rest of the crowd.

“In third place, number thirteen: Soarin!”

Soarin shot out of the crowd, taking his place on the stand and shooting a acquiescent look over at her and Ditzy. She couldn’t help but laugh a bit, and raised her voice to speak to Ditzy over the crowd. “At least he’s taking it well!”

She shouted back with a grin. “Well, he should! He’s had plenty of practice at getting third place!”

“In second place, number fifteen: Ditzy Doo!”

Ditzy smiled, flying out slowly to land nonchalantly on the stand, accepting her red ribbon with dignity. She turned and gave Spitfire a small bow, holding a hoof out invitingly toward the vacant first place spot.

“And in first place: number fourteen! SPITFIRE!”

The crowd erupted once more as she flew forward and took her rightful place on the stand. Though it was supposed to be her grand finale, she had felt surprisingly calm the whole time. Though it was her last time, she didn’t really care too much if she ended with first or second place. It seemed almost anticlimactic compared to her electric moment on the cloudface. She smiled and waved lazily, stealing glances at Ditzy out of the corner of her eye. She wouldn’t have cared if they gave her second place, or even fifth place again. She’d found a prize greater than even the victor’s crown.

The next day, Spitfire waited nervously for her mother to get home. She was pretty sure her mom would go for it.

Pretty sure.



She jumped a bit as the door opened and broke her train of thought.

“Hey, Firecracker.” Cloudblazer took a good look at Spitfire’s face, then gave her daughter her full attention. “What’s going on?”

“Hey, mom. How are you?”

“Stop dodging. What’s going on?” She fixed Spitfire with a firm stare that brooked no nonsense.

She sighed. Well, no sense in beating about the bush. “I... need some bits. Well, more than some. A pretty large number of bits, actually. I’ll pay you back,” she added hastily, “just as soon as—”

“Does this have anything to do with the rather sudden plan to leave the weather factory you mentioned yesterday?”

“Kinda, yeah.” She gave a nervous smile that melted under her mother’s stare. “Look, I’m sorry if you don’t approve, but—”

“Hold on, now, I never said I didn’t approve.” Her face grew thoughtful, but she continued to stare at Spitfire intently. “You’ve talked it over with Ditzy?”

“Yeah, and she seemed to like the idea. She’s going to put in some of her own money as soon as she can get it together.”

“And you have everything planned out?”

“Well, a rough timetable. We’re going to meet up tomorrow and start to hammer things out.”

“Hmm. Well, I know how futile it is to try and stop you once you get your heart set on something.” She finally smiled. “I think it’s great. I’d be happy to lend you some money.” She walked over to Spitfire and gave her a loose hug. “Let’s be honest, dear: I’m not going to be a Wonderbolt forever. Everypony knows you’re a shoo-in for the team, and this could only help you out in that regard.”

She let go of Spitfire and left the room, returning a short time later with a bag of bits in her mouth, which she plopped down on the table. “This,” she said, pointing a hoof at the bag, “is a holdover, so you have money to eat. Once you and Ditzy make a more detailed plan, I’ll get you a larger loan.” She laid her hoof on Spitfire’s when she tried to reach for the bag. “I have one condition.”

Spitfire gulped, feeling a small lump form in her throat. “What?”

Cloudblazer grinned. “Your first show can’t be on one of my performance dates. And I expect to be given a front row seat.”

Spitfire sat at the café, poking at a sandwich and idly tapping the table with a hoof. She turned to look at the café’s clock, then returned to her tapping with an irritated sigh. Ditzy wasn’t just late, she was nearly half an hour late. While she wasn’t always precisely on time, she’d never kept Spitfire waiting this long before. Spitfire was starting to consider leaving when the door opened and Ditzy walked in, sliding quietly onto the seat across from her.

Spitfire couldn’t quite manage to keep the resentment out of her voice. “There you are. I was beginning to think you’d...” She finally noticed the redness around Ditzy’s eyes and her irritation was forgotten. “What happened? Is everything all right?”

“Nothing happened. I’m fine.”

She gave Ditzy a disbelieving look. “What happened, Ditzy?”

Ditzy gave a tired sigh, then smiled disarmingly. “Really, I’m okay. It’s just... Dad was, well, less than thrilled at first. I think I hurt his feelings a bit; he was so happy that I’d followed him into the mail business, and us working at the post office together meant a lot to him. He said I shouldn’t give up a good, steady job to go on an ‘irresponsible joy-flight.’ So I got mad, said I could be something better than a boring old mailmare. After that, we got in a fight and I just... left. Walked out.”

Spitfire certainly hadn’t been expecting that. “Oh, Ditz, I’m sorry. I didn’t think he'd take it so hard.” Mr. Doo was one of the nicest, funniest, good-natured stallions she knew. She couldn’t even remember a time when she’d seen him angry.

“He was just upset. It’s understandable; I doubt I was as tactful as I coul—should have been. He came to see me this morning, apologizing for yelling at me and stuff. He said if I thought it was right, and if I had a shot, I should go for it.” She chuckled slightly. “Said for that many bits, I’d darn well better succeed.” She shook her head, then reached out and grabbed Spitfire’s plate, pulling it back over toward her. She took a bite out of the uneaten half of her sandwich, waving her other hoof placatingly. “Anyway, I got my share. How’d things go with your mom?”

Spitfire was silent for a moment, contemplating how to tell Ditzy just how surprisingly easy her experience had been in comparison. “Uh—well, it was... kinda similar...”

Nine months. Nine months of constant training, drilling, synchronization, poster printing, finding a staff, drumming up the pubic, and begging for a venue, but they’d made it. On the other side of the curtain were over two hundred cheering ponies seated in the stands, all waiting to see them. No judging, no contestants, no short routines, and no ‘one at a time’: just her and Ditzy. Spitfire grinned. Her and Ditz were more than enough.

Ditzy stood off on the far side of the backstage area, twitching slightly and muttering to herself as she quietly went through the routine again.

Opposite her, the announcer opened the side door and poked his head in, making two small circles with a hoof.

Two minutes. Spitfire nodded at him and he disappeared. Ditzy, still engrossed in her recital, had missed the exchange. Spitfire snuck up behind her and got as close as she could before she spoke. “Hey. Two minutes.” She was pleased to see her friend jump slightly. “You ready?”

“You know it.” She flared out her wings and gave them a couple of rapid, energetic flaps. “Let’s go.”

They walked over to the edge of the curtain. Ditzy, who would go out first, crouched down in a jump position.

Spitfire started to speak, then shut her mouth again, shaking her head. A couple seconds later she finally spoke up. “Hey, Ditz?”

Ditzy stayed in the jump position, only her mouth moving in response to the inquiry. “Yeah?”

“...What if they don’t like it?”

She did turn at that, looking slightly puzzled. “They’ll like it. C’mon, Spitz, they wouldn’t be here if they didn’t think they’d like it.” She flashed a comforting, though somewhat mischievous, smile. “Don’t tell me you’re actually getting nervous for once?”

Spitfire smiled back, put a bit more at ease by her friend’s confidence. “You wish, hoof-tapper. Just don’t mess this up.”

The announcer’s amplified voice cut her off from the other side of the curtain. “Fillies and gentlecolts! Today, making their big debut, I present to you: the multi-Best Young Flier Champions turned stunt-flying duo. Give it all up for those two outstanding pegasi: The Amazing Ditzy Doo and Spitfire!”

The curtain pulled back and Ditzy shot into the air, spinning more rapidly and turning in tighter and tighter circles as she went. Spitfire smiled. The inverse tornado was one of their harder stunts, and she knew Ditzy was gritting her teeth as she fought the downward pull. Her own job was easy; as Ditzy was close to forming the point of the funnel, she flew straight up, still on the inside of twister. She sped up as she climbed higher and reached Ditzy just as she finished the point, shattering the cyclone as the two pegasi broke off in opposite directions.

They turned back around and flew straight at each other, going faster and faster until they seemed certain to collide. They broke and crossed each other’s path at the last second, locking forelegs in midair and starting to spin violently. She winced; she was always afraid she’d get the timing wrong and end up dislocating one of Ditzy’s legs. But she seemed fine and they broke apart cleanly, her shooting straight up, with Ditzy diving straight down.

She turned over her wing and shot down to where Ditzy was waiting, turning out of her dive to angle toward a ring course. Ditzy started to orbit her rapidly and kept orbiting as they went through the course of rings just barely wide enough for the both of them. Harder still were the rings split in two down the middle, but she hit them perfectly, without changing the speed of her spin. As Spitfire cleared the last ring, she accelerated and started a sonic cone. Ditzy’s orbit started spinning slower and slower as she put more effort into matching her speed. Finally, they were shooting straight up side by side as they broke into twin sonic booms. They went up for a while before they slowed to a stop and started to drift back down toward the ground.

They both started orbiting each other then, slowly at first but accelerating rapidly until they made a pair of conjoined tornadoes. It was her turn to grit her teeth as she fought the pull from Ditzy’s twister. They separated as they reached the bottom of their funnels, stopping suddenly to land next to each other on a precisely positioned cloud platform.

Spitfire felt a knot in her stomach as she stood staring at the silent crowd. They didn’t like it. She knew it. What had she done wrong? Everything had gone perfectly... hadn’t it?

Her anxiety dissolved as the crowd started cheering. She posed, flashing a brilliant smile at the crowd, and gave a few short waves. Once she’d let the crowd rev itself up a bit she trotted to the edge of the cloud, in perfect step with Ditzy, to continue the show. She knew they’d love it.

Spitfire paused as Rainbow slowly reached out and ran a halting hoof over the poster, stopping when she reached the title. “The Amazing... Ditzy... Doo,” she whispered incredulously. “All this time, and I never knew...” She ended up staring at Ditzy, her expression drifting between pity and awe.

Ditzy’s hoof shook slightly as she stared at the stylized image of her in a banking dive just beneath the “DOO” in the poster’s title; “THE AMAZING DITZY DOO AND SPITFIRE” in a fancy, gold type, identical to the embossment on the book’s cover, with the two of them swooping in dramatically. At the bottom,“Eight bit cover, half charge for foals.”

Her headache was gone, but she started to feel ill. Her old life, spurred by the recovered memories, was starting to feel more and more normal, while her current situation felt less and less comfortable.

Spitfire smiled at Rainbow. “I’m not surprised. That’s why we picked Ponyville, after all. We toured cities most of the time, so nopony out here knew her.” She shrugged. “Most rural areas tend to favor rodeos over stunt flying.”

“But—but how come I’d never even heard of...”

“Well, we started out rather small, and we never really had time to grow into anything big.” She flipped a few pages, showing other posters and advertisements for their show with the occasional picture with a fan beside them. Almost all of the shows were in small venues. “We only had four—well, threeish—short seasons of performing whenever and wherever we could get a good place.”

Rainbow turned to look at her, puzzled. “Why ‘threeish?’”

Spitfire opened her mouth, looking uncomfortably at Ditzy.

But Ditzy already knew the answer. “Dad.” This memory was different from the others. This one was a painful memory, a sad memory. Uncaring, her mind filled with indistinct images; black suits, crying ponies, her giving a speech. A casket. Ditzy frowned, shaking her head slowly and squeezing her eyes shut as they started to tear up a bit. “It was a... a... something...

“A robbery.” Spitfire spoke softly, reaching out to pat her shoulder gently. “He was leaving the show to head for a hotel. Some pony in the crowd saw him coming out of the VIP seats and thought he was a rich target. Your dad fought back, there was a knife, and... I’m sorry, Ditz.”

She nodded solemnly, gently removing Spitfire’s hoof. “It’s okay. I guess I always knew my father wasn’t here, I just didn’t, well, know, I guess.” She frowned. There was something off about what Spitz had said.“That wasn’t why we stopped, though, was it? There was something else...”

Spitfire smiled and gave a short laugh. “Yeah. Just when we were about to get our big break, something else came up. But it eliminated any real chance of starting back up again.” She turned a page, wherein lay a picture of Spitfire, another Wonderbolt and her mom. Below the picture was a letter headed with a winged lightning bolt.

“Dear Ms. Spitfire,

Due to Cloudblazer’s recently announced retirement, you are invited to compete against other aspirants for a position on the Wonderbolts Precision Flight Team in front of a paying audience at the Wonderbolts’ aerodrome...”

The crowd died down as Razorwind waved them to silence. Spitfire stood behind him with the other contestants, holding her breath. She was both anxiously awaiting and dreading his announcement. Normally, when she felt nervous, she’d make a crack at Ditzy or see if she needed some support herself. But Ditzy wasn’t here. She hadn’t been the same after Mr. Doo died; Spitfire had barely seen her since the funeral months ago. She kept herself hermited away and only rarely bothered to answer the door when Spitfire went over to try and talk to her. She shook her head slowly. It wasn’t how she’d pictured things going at all.

Razorwind regained her attention as he started to speak. “After proper deliberation and careful examination of the scores awarded for both the standard course and the free-flight competitions, we have chosen, from among these twenty select fliers, the next Wonderbolt.” He turned to walk solemnly in front of the contestants, coming to a halt in front of her. “Ms. Spitfire.”

The crowd erupted and she almost gasped in relief before she could stop herself. Something must have shown on her face, though, as Razorwind sported an amused smile as he leaned in to shake her hoof. “Congratulations, Ms. Spitfire.” He turned, taking a blue suit and goggles from her mom, who was smiling fit to burst. He held them out in front of her. “Welcome to the Wonderbolts.”

Shaking, she reached out to take the uniform. The others contestants, who had been applauding politely, parted as the three made their way inside. Once out of sight of the public, Spitfire ran ahead of the other two, rushing to the locker rooms. She rapidly donned her new suit and stood staring in the mirror, grinning madly and shifting poses rapidly. It felt too good to be true. Her mom and Razorwing entered along with the other Wonderbolts. They started applauding her, slapping her on the back and calling out congratulations to the “Rookie.”

As the greetings wore on, her smile started to slip, and she stopped replying so readily to her new teammate’s congratulations. Her mother eyed her carefully, then raised her voice to speak over the other Wonderbolts. “All right, guys, best get out and face the cameras. I’ll prep her and we’ll follow you down in a second.” They shuffled out, still laughing, leaving the two of them alone. “What’s wrong?”

She shook her head. “It isn’t right. Ditzy should have been here. She should be the one wearing this.” She ran a slow hoof over her uniformed foreleg. “I wouldn’t have won if she’d been competing.”

Her mother frowned. “Now, I don’t think that’s true. You shouldn’t belittle your own talents, dear; you’re a very skilled flier. Don’t think you didn’t earn this.” Spitfire didn’t respond, and she went on hesitantly. “We sent her an invitation, too, you know. She never wrote back.”

Spitfire nodded. Of course she wouldn’t have; if she didn’t even go outside, she probably wouldn’t care too much about writing letters. “I just...” Her voice grew raspy. “I just thought she’d be here, at least. I always thought she’d at least show up...”

Her mom smiled and leaned around her, looking past her pointedly.

Spitfire whirled, and there she was, coming out from behind a tall row of lockers. “Ditzy.” Her eyes went wide. “But how?”

Cloudblazer chuckled. “Just because I’m retiring doesn’t mean I can’t get a pony backstage. I’ll give you two a moment.” She walked out the door, closing it softly behind her.

They were left in an awkward silence, before Ditzy finally kicked a hoof guilty. “Hey.”


“I, uh,” Ditzy cleared her throat. “I saw your competition. The others weren’t even close, were they?”

“No, not really.”

The silence returned before Spitfire decided to head straight for the heart of the issue. “I thought you hadn’t come.”

“No, I came, I just... I wasn’t ready to fly a routine, so soon after...” Her eyes started to tear up. “I just couldn’t.”

Spitfire’s breath caught. “You’re not going to stop, are you?” It would be an unthinkable waste of her talent if she swore off stunt flying.

She sighed wearily. “I don’t know. I mean, it’s not like I can go back to ‘The Amazing Ditzy Doo and Spitfire,’ what with you being a Wonderbolt and all, and touring alone doesn’t really appeal to me. Heck, we were hard pressed for shows when we were together; I doubt I’d get much on my own. Maybe I’ll just go back to being a mailmare.”

“NO!” Her intensity shocked Ditzy, who took an involuntary step back. She quickly brought her voice back down. “I mean, I know what happened was horrible, but you CAN’T just give up on everything! You wanted to be a Wonderbolt just as much as I did. Maybe even more!” She walked over and put her hooves on Ditzy’s shoulders, staring into her eyes as if to drive home the importance of plea. “You’re good, Ditz, gifted even. How many other pegasi can say that? How many other ponies can say that? Don’t let this one tragedy stop you.” She hesitated, but pressed on. “I—don’t you think he would have wanted you to try?”

Ditzy nodded shakily. “Y-yeah, he...” She broke down and started crying. Spitfire held her, patting her back and comforting her as her tears made damp streaks on her new uniform. The whole time, Spitfire tried to think of what it would be like if their positions were reversed: if her mom had died and Ditzy was the Wonderbolt. As Ditzy started to peter out, she dismissed the thought. She knew Ditzy would have done the same for her.

Ditzy pulled away, still a bit teary, but looking much more steady. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.”

She coughed, then motioned her away with a hoof. “You’d better get down there. You’ve probably got whole mobs of ponies waiting for your autograph.”

“You sure?”

She repeated her shooing motion. “Yeah. I’ll be all right.”

Spitfire nodded and walked over toward the door, but stopped in the doorway after she opened it. “Hey, Ditz?”

Ditzy paused in her eye drying. “Yeah?”

“We’re going to fly together again. I’m gonna see you get that blue suit.”

She smiled, and the old Ditzy was back. “Count on it.”

Spitfire went through the door and made her way outside, where the other Wonderbolts were waiting. Hundreds of flash bulbs burst and the tumultuous din of reporters assaulted her senses.

Spitfire turned the page to a picture of her and Ditzy side-by-side, both smiling, Spitfire clad in her suit and goggles. “That was just after my first show.” She shook her head sadly. “As happy as I was, my joining the Wonderbolts strained our friendship pretty badly. You tried to deny it, Ditz, but I could tell it was a sore spot for you. How couldn’t it be? I went on to premier stunt flying, while you... well, you eventually ended up working back in the post office again to pay the bills. We had less and less time to spend together and we started to drift apart a bit.”

She flipped rapidly through a sparse selection of photographs and Wonderbolt performance programs from her various shows. She stopped at another picture of her and Ditzy, wherein Ditzy was holding up a rather familiar letter to the camera. “But then, three years later, you got your chance. We’d thought it would take at least six years before the next guy would retire. But then Razorwind’s wife got sick, and... anyway, we were sure you had it in the bag. You’d kept practicing, kept yourself in form. The uniform was all but yours. Or, so we thought.”

Before Ditzy could ask, Rainbow beat her to it. “So... what happened?”

Spitfire’s face twisted into a snarl and she bit the words out with a palpable vehemence. “Slate. Hooves.

Outside a Manehattan apartment complex, the dark grey unicorn waited impatiently for the incompetent taxi pony to load his bags. Finally, he managed to accomplish the simple task of settling his luggage in the back of a cab and hitched himself up to the front. “Where to, Mister...”

“Hooves. Ponyville, and quickly please.”

The cab puller snorted as he started off. “You ain’t another one of them reporters, are ya? If ya are, you’re a bit late. Had a whole mess of them headed off for Ponyville all yesterday. Not too many this morning, what on account of the rain and all, but still—”

By Celestia, what an irritating plebeian. He cut off the earth pony, less to answer his questions than to keep him from continuing to speak. “No, I’m not a reporter.” Unseen by the taxi pony, his face shone with a malicious grin as he turned to look covetously at his suitcase. “I’m going to meet an old friend...”