• 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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A Matter of Trust

Chapter 2

A Matter of Trust

The following day, Rainbow Dash entered the library as Twilight was removing a book from a top shelf for Derpy Hooves.

Waving a greeting to Rainbow, Twilight guided the book into Derpy's outstretched hoof. "Here you go, Derpy. Fifty two exotic muffin recipes."

"Oh, boy!" Derpy exclaimed. "Thanks, Twilight! I can't wait to go home and get started!"

"You're welcome," Twilight stated as she watched Derpy start toward the door.

Almost immediately, the clumsy Pegasus tripped over her own hoof and crashed to the floor. As she fell, the book was launched across the room and straight toward the open window.

Just as the book reached the opening, Twilight caught hold of it with her magic, and patiently waiting for Derpy to climb back to her hooves, set it gently into her outstretched hoof once again. "And please don't lose it," she added.

Derpy grinned sheepishly. "I won't, Twilight. Promise."

Rainbow stepped aside and allowed Derpy to leave. "You ready to get started?"

"Give me one more minute," Twilight replied, eyeing the whistle that was around her friend's neck.

Suddenly, her horn began to glow with a magenta light as the six books stacked behind her lifted into the air, and simultaneously shot across the room in different directions to their proper places on the bookshelves.

Rainbow scratched her head. "Wow, that gives me a headache just watching you do it."

Twilight smiled at Rainbow, then turned her gaze toward the stairs leading to the second floor. "I'm leaving now, Spike. I'll see you later."

From the second floor, they heard his muffled voice carrying down the stairs. "All right. Good luck with your training!"

Looking at Rainbow for a moment, she called, "I'm probably going to be out later than usual, so you'll have to take care of yourself for dinner."

"No problem. I'll head over to Rarity's and see if she has any dinner plans."

Noticing the smirk on Rainbow's face, Twilight had to struggle to keep the amusement out of her voice. "Sounds great, Spike. Goodbye."

Tilting her horn toward the far corner of the room, she gripped her saddlebag with her magic and brought it to her. As it fastened itself around her, she led the way outside.

As the two of them took to the air, Rainbow began to chuckle. "I guess Rare's gonna have her hooves full tonight."

"Oh, he's not that bad," Twilight stated indignantly.

"Not for you and me," Rainbow replied, "but I don't know how Rarity can stand having somepony fawning over her all the time. It would drive me bonkers."

"You know Rarity. She eats that kind of thing up."

Rainbow frowned. "Yeah, but don't you ever worry that one day she'll have enough?"

"Not really." Twilight shrugged. "What I dread is the day he comes to realize that they can never be together. I worry all the time about what that will do to him."

Rainbow turned over in the air. "He'll be fine, Twilight. He's a tough little guy. He'll handle it, no problem."

Twilight knew that Rainbow was an excellent judge of character. She didn't need to be around somepony for very long before she had a pretty good assessment of their strengths. If Rainbow said that Spike would be fine when that dreaded day came, then Twilight believed her.

Smiling, Twilight agreed, "You're right, Dash."

Rainbow flashed one of her cocky grins. "Of course I am." Turning her gaze to the large field below them, she said, "This looks as good a place as any."

Twilight watched as Rainbow dove toward the field at top speed, and with a strong beat of her wings just before hitting the ground, she landed softly on her hooves.

Rolling her eyes, Twilight began to slowly spiral down. There was no reason to dive so recklessly toward the ground when you could get there just as easily by flying simple circles.

After a few moments, Rainbow called, "Today would be nice, Twi!"

"Shut up," Twilight retorted with a chuckle as she landed neatly beside her impatient friend.

"Okay. Now before we start flying, it's important to do some stretching." Rearing up on her hind legs, Rainbow began to bend over and touch her hooves.

Taking off her saddlebag, Twilight pulled out a small scroll, a quill, and a little bottle of ink, and set the three items on the ground. Unrolling the scroll, she studied it for a moment before arching her back and fully extending her wings.

"Twilight...what is that?" Rainbow asked as she approached.

"It's a checklist," Twilight answered matter-of-factly.

Rainbow cocked an eyebrow. "For what?"

"For my stretches," Twilight explained. "Earlier today, I researched which stretches were most important to do before you physically exert yourself, and added them to this list."

Rainbow slapped herself hard in the forehead with a hoof. "Twilight, you know I like you, right?"

"Of course!"

"Okay, good." Suddenly, Rainbow snatched up the scroll, and crumbling it into a ball, tossed it over her shoulder and kicked it with a hind leg.

"My checklist..." Twilight said sadly as she watched it bounce away.

"You're going to approach your training as an athlete," Rainbow told her. "Not an egghead."

When Twilight bit her lip and turned her gaze to the balled up parchment once again, Rainbow placed a hoof on her shoulder. "Just forget it, Twilight. Do what I do, and you'll cover all of the important stretches before we start."

With a sigh, Twilight nodded.

For the next ten minutes, the two of them performed various stretches for their legs, wings, and even their necks. Although she trusted Rainbow to cover all of the essential stretches, Twilight's eyes repeatedly returned to her scroll. She couldn't help it. She could only truly stop worrying when she had something physical that she could check and double check to be sure that she hadn't forgotten anything.

"All right, that should be good," Rainbow said as she gave her neck one final stretch. "You ready to start?"

"Actually..." Twilight hesitated. "I think you missed one. Maybe I should look over my checklist real fast." As she spoke, her horn began to glow with a magenta light.

As the scroll rose into the air, Rainbow snorted in irritation and quickly smacked Twilight's horn. "Nope," Rainbow stated as the parchment fell back to the ground. "I covered them all."

Twilight scowled as she rubbed her horn. "That wasn't very nice, Rainbow."

"You can't use a checklist in the air, Twilight," Rainbow retorted. "When you're flying, you have to forget your worries and doubts, and let your gut instincts guide you. If you can't let go of your stupid checklists, then you'll never be a good flier."

"They're not stupid," Twilight mumbled.

"Let's just get started," Rainbow said as she took to the air.

As she followed Rainbow high into the sky, Twilight studied her friend.

She understood that Rainbow was right. She wouldn't be able to use her lists once she was in the air. It really was in her best interest to start relying on them a little less often. She resolved to stop worrying so much and allow Rainbow to instruct her the way she wanted to.

Coming to an abrupt halt, Rainbow turned around and watched as Twilight drew near. "The single most important thing when flying with a partner is trust."

Twilight already trusted Rainbow completely, but deciding not to disagree, simply nodded instead.

"Stay right here," Rainbow instructed. Without warning, Rainbow allowed herself to fall a dozen yards before stopping herself. "This is called a trust fall!" she called. "Close your eyes, and when I tell you, you're going to stop flapping and let yourself fall!"

"What?!" Twilight exclaimed, gazing at the ground far below.

"Don't worry, Twilight. I'll catch you. You've gotta trust me."

Twilight swallowed hard. She trusted Rainbow fully in her heart, but the problem was her brain wouldn't stop reminding her that the ground was nearly a mile away.

She closed her eyes and fought to steady her nerves. I can do this. Rainbow will catch me, I know it. She would never let anything happen to me.

"Now!" Rainbow suddenly called. "Fall, Twilight!"

Twilight gathered all the courage she could muster, then stopped flapping her wings. For a brief moment, she felt as though she were floating on air, and then she was plummeting toward the ground with terrifying speed.

She fought to keep her panic in check as the wind whipped around her, and an overwhelming sense of loss of control enveloped her mind. She forgot that this was a training exercise, and that she was doing this to prove her trust to Rainbow. She forgot that Rainbow was below waiting to catch her. All she knew was that both her mind and body were screaming at her to use her wings.

With a shriek of fright, Twilight opened her eyes and began flapping her wings furiously. As she came to a halt and leveled herself out, she let loose a long sigh of relief.

Twilight glanced down at her friend, and felt a sudden stab of regret upon seeing the expression on the Pegasus's face, but Rainbow quickly hid it with a grin. "Great first try, Twilight!"

She saw straight through the false smile and fake enthusiasm. Rainbow was disappointed, maybe even a little hurt, that she hadn't gone through with the trust fall.

Feeling thoroughly ashamed of herself, Twilight lowered her gaze. "I'm sorry, Dash. The fall was just so intense...all of my instincts told me to start flying."

This time Rainbow's smile seemed genuine. "No, Twilight, you were listening to your brain, and it caused you to panic. You tend to over think things a lot, and you can't do that while flying. You've got to stop being such a worrywart."

Before Twilight could respond, Rainbow shot upward and came to a halt far above.

"Okay, now it's my turn. I'm gonna fall, and you've gotta catch me!" she called down.

Alarmed, Twilight yelled, "Wait, not from that high up! Let me get closer first!" As Twilight rushed to close the distance between them, Rainbow abruptly fell from the sky.

Caught completely off-guard, Twilight gasped in horror as Rainbow fell right passed her.

"Rainbow! No!" Desperately, Twilight went into a steep dive, but quickly realized that she would never catch up with her in time. A wave of panic crashed over her, washing away any rational thought that she might have had. What do I do, what do I do?! Oh, why isn't she flying?!

"Rainbow!" she screamed as her friend neared the treetops. Without realizing that she was doing it, she tilted her horn and halted Rainbow with her magic.

As soon as she stopped falling, Rainbow opened her eyes and grinned at her panicked friend. "Good catch, Twi!"

Nearly in tears, Twilight yelled, "Why didn't you try to fly?!"

Rainbow winked. "Because I trusted you to catch me."

"But I didn't!" Twilight indicated the treetops directly below them. "Look how close you came to the ground!"

Rainbow glanced down. "Yeah, it was pretty close," she replied, completely indifferent.

"Rainbow, how can you be so calm? I almost didn't catch you."

"But you did."

"Only because I used my magic!" Twilight shouted, exasperated.

Again, Rainbow smiled. "And why didn't you use your magic right off the bat?"

"Because..." Twilight hesitated. Why hadn't she used it right away? Normally, her first instinct was to use magic in emergencies. So, why hadn't she used it in this instance?

While she contemplated this, she followed Rainbow back to the ground. As soon as she landed, Rainbow fell onto her back and placed her forelegs behind her head. Crossing her hind leg over her knee, she bounced it as she patiently waited for Twilight to answer.

Finally, Twilight said, "I was worried that I wouldn't be able to catch you, and when I missed, I panicked."

Rainbow sat up and nodded. "That's right. You were over thinking it. It wasn't until I got really close to the ground that you finally turned off your mind and listened to your instincts."

Twilight could only stare at her friend.

It made perfect sense. On the ground, Twilight always felt in control, and called upon her magic without even thinking about it in emergencies. But in the air, she never felt in control, and it caused her to worry excessively. As a result, she over thought everything and it hindered her performance, which was what had just happened here. Only when she became certain that Rainbow wouldn't survive had she been able to cast aside her panic and allow her instincts to take control.

She realized then that Rainbow had already understood this about her, and that was why she had taken her checklist away.

Twilight cocked an eyebrow. "Rainbow, you knew that I was going to miss you, didn't you?"

"Sure did," Rainbow confirmed as she climbed back to her hooves.

"And you let yourself fall to teach me how to ignore my apprehension and listen to my instincts."

"Yup."

Twilight shook her head. "Rainbow, when did you get so smart?"

With a chuckle, Rainbow replied, "All great fliers understand the difference between listening to your brain and listening to your instincts." Playfully punching Twilight in the shoulder, she added, "And I've been hanging around with you a lot, remember?"

As Twilight smiled, Rainbow announced, "Okay, Twilight, it's time to train for real." Bringing the whistle to her mouth, she instructed, "Now, get down and give me twenty wing-ups."

Twilight crouched low to the ground, and placing her wingtips on either side of her, pulled her forelegs up and held her weight on her wings.

Suddenly, Rainbow blew the whistle and she began.

It wasn't long before she felt the burn in her wings, but she gritted her teeth and forced herself to complete the twenty wing-ups.

Finished, Twilight sat back on her haunches and wiped the sweat from her brow. "Phew!"

Without warning, the whistle blew again. "Fifty laps in the sky. Go!"

Twilight blinked. "Fifty? Rainbow I-"

Another shrill of the whistle cut her off, and fuming, Twilight leaped into the air and began her laps. She knew that this was how Rainbow typically coached other fliers, but it was getting tiresome. The whistle was completely unnecessary, and Twilight found it to be abrasive and rude.

When she was about halfway to her goal, Twilight began to feel dizzy and slowed her pace. Abruptly, she heard the whistle. Twilight scowled as she struggled to keep her anger in check.

"You lost most of your speed," Rainbow commented. "Were you getting dizzy?"

"Well, yeah," Twilight snapped. "I am flying in circles."

Rainbow took her outburst in stride. "You're just not used to it yet. Your senses will adapt to it soon."

She blew the whistle. "Now, do a back flip!"

Twilight did as she was told and was awarded with another shrill from the whistle. "That was sloppy. Try again."

As time passed, and Rainbow's whistle kept blowing, Twilight felt the last of her patience slipping away. In her mind, the shrill of the whistle quickly came to represent her failure as a flier.

After she failed to please Rainbow with her barrel roll, and she heard the whistle once again, Twilight shrieked with frustration. Turning her horn toward Rainbow, she shot a spell at the detestable object. The whistle rose above Rainbow's head and glowed with a magenta light for a moment, and then vanished with a flash.

"Hey!" Rainbow cried. "What did you do with it?"

Twilight crossed her forelegs smugly. "I sent it to my desk drawer in the library."

"Why'd you send it there?" Rainbow asked, looking angry.

"Trust me," Twilight spat. "That wasn't the first place I thought to put it."

That elicited a laugh from Rainbow. "Okay, Twilight, I'm sorry. Maybe the whistle was a little excessive."

"A little?" Twilight retorted.

Still smiling, Rainbow said, "Well, I guess we were just about finished for today anyway. You wanna meet here again tomorrow, around the same time?"

"Sure," Twilight answered curtly.

"Great!" Rainbow lifted into the air. "And I promise not to bring a whistle this time. I'm not too crazy about the idea of needing a doctor to retrieve it for me."

"Sounds good." Twilight tried to hold onto her anger, but it was proving very difficult in the wake of the Pegasus's humor.

As she started off, she heard Rainbow say, "Um, Twilight?" Turning around, she saw her friend scratch her head uncertainly. "I'm sorry I smacked your horn."

Unable to help it, Twilight's face broke out in a grin. "It's cool, Dash. I'll see you tomorrow."

As Twilight headed back toward the library, she reflected on how much she had enjoyed her training session with Rainbow. It really had been fun, and she couldn't wait to return tomorrow.