• Published 29th Oct 2014
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Better than the Best - BronyDad



Rainbow Dash convinces Twilight to enter a flying pairs competition with her.

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Straight from the Heart

Chapter 1

Straight from the Heart

Twilight Sparkle gazed at the town of Ponyville far below as she leisurely soared across the sky. Closing her eyes, she relished the joys of flight as the warm glow of the afternoon sun spread throughout her body. Although she had been flying for several months now, the thrill of gliding effortlessly through the air was still a fairly new sensation to her. A sensation that she was slow to tire from.

She suddenly heard somepony call from below, and glanced down to find Pinkie Pie waving enthusiastically from her balcony on the third floor of the Sugarcube Corner. With a chuckle, Twilight returned the wave as she passed over the shop.

As she continued to smile, her thoughts turned lovingly to Spike.

Ever since she had shared her newfound enjoyment of flying with him, Spike had insisted on taking over some of her chores. Twilight had at first refused, but having been deeply touched by his noble offer, she had quickly given in. As a result, she now had an hour of her afternoon schedule open, and more often than not, she spent the time in the sky.

At that moment, she felt more proud of her little number one assistant than she ever had before.

"Twilight!"

Twilight slowed to a halt and turned around. As her eyes landed on the rainbow hued pony that was speeding toward her, she groaned inwardly.

She loved her friend and truly enjoyed flying with her, but sometimes all she wanted was to have a nice relaxing flight. Whenever she flew with Rainbow Dash, she was often coaxed into flying higher and faster than she was comfortable with. Twilight simply didn't get the same joy out of speeding through the air as Rainbow, but her friend never seemed to notice.

Just as she reached Twilight, Rainbow swooped down beneath her and flipped over. Flying backward, Rainbow greeted, "What's up?"

"Not much, just having a nice relaxing afternoon flight," Twilight replied in a tone that suggested that she knew it was over.

"That's cool." Rainbow nodded.

Here it comes.

"So...you wanna race?"

Twilight sighed. "Not really, Dash."

"Oh, come on!" With a small loop, Rainbow positioned herself beside Twilight. "It'll be fun! How about down to that tree?"

Twilight hated diving. Hurtling herself toward the ground at breakneck speeds and pulling up just before crashing was not her idea of a good time.

"You know how much I hate diving," Twilight told her. "Besides, there isn't much point in racing you."

Rainbow grinned. "I'll go easy on ya."

"Yeah, but you won't let me win."

Rainbow's grin widened. "Well, how could I be a member of the Wonderbolt Reserves if I let an egghead like you beat me?"

Twilight rolled her eyes and turned away.

Since she had passed the Wonderbolt's history test and became an official member of the Wonderbolt Reserves just five days ago, Rainbow Dash had become extremely cocky. Twilight and the others didn't mind this, however. To them, it was worth the mild annoyance to see their friend this happy. Still, Twilight had had an especially frustrating day and had been looking forward to her afternoon flight to unwind. She couldn't help but feel a little resentment toward Rainbow for ruining it.

"Actually, Dash, I was just getting ready to head back to the library anyway."

To her surprise, Rainbow's face fell. "No, Twilight. Don't cut your flight short because of me. I didn't mean to make you mad. I was just teasing."

Suddenly feeling terrible, Twilight said, "I'm not mad at you, Rainbow. I've just been having a bad day."

"How come?"

"Well, today was Twilight Time, and Apple Bloom was trying to brew a complex potion. And Scootaloo had put together a scooter from scratch and was riding it around the room to show that she had done it correctly."

"Uh-oh," Rainbow groaned.

"Yeah." Twilight nodded. "A wheel broke off the scooter and she crashed into Apple Bloom's chemistry set. There was broken glass and smelly goop everywhere. Then Sweetie Belle decided that she could clean it with a new spell, and before I could stop her, she had accidently cast a multiplier spell, which made the mess three times as large!"

Rainbow grimaced. "Ugh."

"I know, right!" Twilight exclaimed, slightly amused by the Pegasus's reaction. "It took Spike and I an hour to clean everything!"

"And what about the Crusaders?" Rainbow asked.

"The three of them left the library covered from head to hoof in goop."

Rainbow Dash rolled over in the air and laughed so hard that she began to slowly drop. Unable to help herself, Twilight began laughing as well as she watched her friend gasp for air and struggle to maintain her altitude.

Finally catching her breath, Rainbow stated, "I am so gonna give Scoots a hard time about that tomorrow."

Still giggling, Twilight said, "Don't be too hard on her, Dash. She was pretty embarrassed."

Rainbow waved a hoof dismissively. "Oh, I won't."

Grinning broadly, Twilight realized that maybe her day hadn't been so bad after all.

This was why she loved Rainbow so much. She could take any awful situation and find something humorous about it. Not even Pinkie Pie would have found anything to laugh about in that particular scenario. She would have gasped and sympathized with her, and then probably cracked a silly joke to cheer her up, but only Rainbow would have found the circumstance itself funny.

Sure, it wasn't always a good thing that she laughed at other's misfortunes, and sometimes it was downright inappropriate, but at times like these, Twilight was grateful to have her around.

Her smile abruptly fading from her face, Twilight turned serious. "I'm sorry, Rainbow."

Rainbow cocked an eyebrow. "For what?"

"For the way I was acting toward you. I was having a bad day and thought that a leisurely flight would help relax me, and I was annoyed when you showed up. But it turned out that all I really needed was you." Twilight smiled sincerely. "Thank you, Dash."

With a self-satisfied grin, Rainbow replied, "Yeah, things are usually easier to handle when I'm around." Then she moved in front of Twilight and flew backward so that they were face to face. "But you can tell me if you wanna be left alone, Twilight. I'm not gonna get mad. I get that sometimes you just want to fly to clear your mind. I do it all the time."

Grateful that her friend was so understanding, Twilight said, "You really are awesome, Rainbow Dash." As Rainbow beamed brightly, she asked, "You still up for that race?"

"You bet!" Rainbow cried excitedly.

Chuckling at her friend's enthusiasm, Twilight scanned the area below. "How about to that big rock over there? First pony to reach it wins. Sound good?"

"Sounds great!" With a quick flip, Rainbow moved to Twilight's side. "You ready to lose?"

Suddenly feeling playful, Twilight jetted toward the rock without warning. "Nope!" she called back with a laugh.

"Hey!" she heard Rainbow yell indignantly from behind.

Squinting against the rushing wind as it whipped through her mane almost painfully, Twilight kept her focus on the rock. After a few moments, Rainbow blew past her, obviously deciding not to hold anything back after the stunt she had just pulled.

Not this time, Dash. Twilight thought with a sly smile.

Gathering up her magic, Twilight disappeared in a blinding flash of magenta light, and reappeared on top of the rock just as Rainbow was reaching it.

With a shout of surprise, Rainbow pulled out of her dive. "You cheated!" she accused as Twilight began to laugh.

"Not really," Twilight explained. "I said whoever was the first to reach the rock wins. I never stated that we had to fly there."

As her friend continued to hover there in silence, her forelegs crossed and her eyes narrowed, Twilight began to worry that she had gone too far. She knew that sometimes when she tricked her, it made Rainbow feel dumb. Rainbow had always seen her as the more intelligent one, and was often touchy around the subject of her own intellect when she was with Twilight.

Had she just hurt her friend? She hadn't meant to, she had just wanted to play a little trick on her. Why hadn't she thought this through more carefully?

Abruptly, a grin appeared on Rainbow's face. "I have to admit, you got me." Landing on the rock next to Twilight, she playfully punched her shoulder. "I guess I had it coming, what with that egghead crack I made earlier." Holding up a hoof, she waited for a relieved Twilight to bump it. "You win, Twi. Just don't get too used to it."

Twilight giggled. "No, I'm sure it will never happen again."

"Definitely not," Rainbow confirmed as she lay on her back.

Twilight quickly followed suit, and the two of them lay side by side on the large rock in silence as they stared up at the bright blue sky above.

"It's a beautiful day," Twilight commented.

Instead of answering, Rainbow rolled onto her side to face her friend. Propping her head up on a hoof, she said, "Twilight, I want to ask you something, but I'm afraid that you'll say no."

Twilight frowned. "How do you know that?"

Rainbow shrugged. "It's just not something you would typically do. But there really isn't anypony else I could ask."

A little concerned over the sudden change in her friend, Twilight rolled onto her side as well. "What is it, Rainbow?"

"Well..." Rainbow hesitated, then rolled onto her back and gazed up at the sky. "I want you to enter a competition with me."

Twilight blinked. "Huh?"

"It's The Annual Flying Pairs Competition. It's a competition that the Griffons host once a year near their home, Mt. Aerie. I entered it when I was little with my dad and we came in third place, and ever since then, I've wanted to enter it again." Turning her head and looking at Twilight meaningfully, she concluded, "And now that you can fly, I can."

Twilight's initial reaction was to say no. She already got far too much attention now that she was a princess.

Just earlier today, Mayor Mare had stopped by the Golden Oaks Library while she and Spike were trying to clean up the Crusaders' mess, and started asking her opinions for several topics the upcoming Ponyville Committee Meeting were going to cover. This had irritated her, not only because she was busy trying to clean smelly goop off of her beloved books, but also because she knew that Mayor Mare wouldn't have asked her for her opinion just six months earlier when she had been a simple Unicorn.

Making up her mind, she was about to turn Rainbow down, but then she remembered that that was the answer her friend was dreading.

Unsure what to do, Twilight studied her friend. She could tell by the way Rainbow was determinedly staring up at the sky that she was nervous. Otherwise, she would be flashing her cocky smiles and trying to coax her into agreeing.

Suddenly realizing just how important this must be to her friend, Twilight began to fret.

She didn't want to enter a flying competition, she was still a beginner. She would just make a fool of herself. But how could she tell Rainbow no when she could see just by looking at her that this was important?

Finally, Twilight asked, "Isn't there somepony else that you could ask?"

With a long sigh, Rainbow sat up and turned away. "No. You know how Fluttershy is, and she's going to compete in the Equestria Games. I can't ask her to do anymore than that."

"But what about the other Pegasi?" Twilight pressed. "Thunderlane is the second fastest flier in town, and Flitter and Cloudchaser are both really agile. Why not ask one of them to enter?"

Her back to Twilight, Rainbow gazed at the ground and poked at a crack in the rock. "Because I don't feel the same way about them like I do you and the others. I mean, we're friends and all, but it isn't the same. This is a pairs competition, I want to enter and win with a pony I'm close to. And I've been feeling really close to you lately, you know? I helped you learn to fly, we've been spending a lot of time reading that new Daring Do book together, and you just helped me pass that test. I feel like we've grown closer since you became an Alicorn, and I know that if I enter with you, it will feel like...like it did with my dad. Even if we don't win."

Twilight could do nothing more than stare at Rainbow. It wasn't the first time that Rainbow had opened up to her, but this was different. Rainbow was speaking straight from her heart, and Twilight was truly at a loss for words.

Without warning, Rainbow stood up. "But I get that you don't want to, and I'm cool with it. Believe it or not, I understand why you don't want to, and I can respect it. It was just a silly idea anyway." Turning her head, she shot Twilight a smile and a wink. "I'll catch ya later!"

Watching her friend take to the air and fly away, Twilight finally snapped out of her stupor. "Rainbow Dash, wait!" she called as she lifted off in pursuit.

Rainbow turned and looked at her quizzically.

"I never said no," Twilight told her as she drew near.

"It's okay, Twilight. Really."

"But, Rainbow, I—"

"Look, I don't want to guilt you into doing it. I know I just gave that big speech to you, and I shouldn't have, cause now you feel like you have to. That's not what I wanted."

As Rainbow started off, Twilight quickly caught her hoof in her own. "No, Rainbow. You were being honest, and you shouldn't regret it." Twilight smiled sincerely. "I want to enter the competition with you."

Rainbow's eyes widened in surprise. "You don't have to do this, Twilight."

"I know." Twilight held her friend's gaze. "That's why I want to."

Abruptly, Rainbow's face broke out in a wide grin. "All right!" she shouted with a small, excited back flip in the air. "This is gonna be so awesome!"

Laughing, Twilight hoof bumped her friend. "Yeah, it is!"

"We're gonna totally rock the horseshoes off of the competition!"

"I sure hope so," Twilight said, suddenly feeling very unsure of herself.

"Of course we will," Rainbow replied as she threw a foreleg around Twilight's shoulders. "You've got one of the best coaches in Equestria to train you. I'll have you flying like a pro in no time!"

"When is this competition, anyway?"

"Two weeks from now." Turning Twilight in the air, Rainbow stared intently into her eyes. "You ready to train hard?"

Twilight hesitated, worried that two weeks wouldn't be long enough for her to improve her flying. What if she got to the competition and then ruined it for Rainbow by being too inexperienced?

But after taking a moment to gaze at her friend's cocky smile and intense eyes, Twilight quickly came to realize that she would do whatever it took to make her friend proud.

Twilight nodded determinedly. "I'm ready."

"Great!" Rainbow released her and started flying backward. "We start tomorrow afternoon."