• Published 26th Apr 2015
  • 4,329 Views, 283 Comments

Wonderbolt Trials and Tribulations - White Comet

Rainbow Dash finally gets the opportunity of a lifetime; a chance to join the Wonderbolts and fulfill her lifelong dream. She presumes that from this point on, it'll be smooth sailing. She was wrong...

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Chapter 10

Dear god what was that ungodly noise? Dash, along with her roommates, held her ears shut at the ear-bleeding high-pitched sound of what she quickly figured out was an airhorn.

The screech flooded the room for a good ten seconds before it finally subsided, making Dash breath a sigh of relief.

“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!?!?!” Dahlia screamed as she jumped out of bed. If looks could kill, this one would commit genocide. The look of pure rage on her face was almost laughable.


“Find out way out?” Crash Dive questioned as he moved towards the door and raised his hoof up to the doorknob. “What kind of challenge is--” his sentence was cut short as the doorknob didn’t budge. “Locked?” He tried twisting it again multiple times, each time harder and harder. But it just wouldn’t turn.


If there was one way Dash would describe Surprise’s voice, it would be like an angry Chihuahua. She was trying so hard to sound threatening, but she just didn’t have the depth in her voice to match it.

“So how do we get out? Tunnel through the clouds!?” Horizon questioned, starting to do what he just suggested, pushing through the cloud with his hooves and shovelling it out the way.

“We don’t know the layout of this room,” Bright Skies replied. “For all we know, you could tunnel straight into a--”


“YEEEOW!” Horizon rocketed directly vertical from his position, colliding with the ceiling with an almost equally loud volume to his scream. He extended his wings for the fall to glide himself back to his bed.

“...electrical cable…” Bright Skies finished her sentence that she didn’t get to finish, because Horizon did exactly what she was about to warn him about.

“Guys…” Dahlia said in disbelief. She reached over to her nightstand to grab something. “Keys,” she said as she hopped up and walked towards the door, presenting the key they were all given when they arrived.

“Ohhhhhh…” Horizon, Crash Dive and Riptide said in Unison. Torque was just being Torque and trying his best not to engage in any social activity whatsoever. Dash, Bright Skies and White Comet just stayed quiet out of suspicion.

‘It can’t be that simple...’ Dash thought. Whilst Dahlia’s suggestion was very logical...it just wouldn’t make sense. Why would they lock them in if the key they were all given on arrival just unlocked it? That would be much of a challenge.

Dahlia placed the key in the lock and twisted it…

...and it snapped in two. The other half sticking inside the lock.

“YOU’RE PAYING FOR THAT!” Surprise bellowed from the bottom of the corridor through a megaphone.

Dahlia cringed as her ears still hadn’t properly adjusted from being exposed to loud noises minutes after waking up. “Geez, it didn’t even make that much of a noise…”

There was a split second of static from the megaphone as it sounded like it was changing hooves. “OH, SURPRISE HEARS EVERYTHING!” Another voice, which was easy enough to presume as Blaze shouted through it. It then made the static noise again.

‘Guess we’re up now...’ Dash thought as she rolled herself out of bed and onto all four hooves. She stretched a little as she tried to think of a way out. What other way out was there? It had to be something to do with the door. There was no other entry or exit route after all. Unless there’s some sort of clue or secret that they were completely missing.

“Hmmm…” White Comet hummed gently, “I think I’ve got an idea.” He stepped out of his bed and trotted over to the door. Dash slowly followed behind him, catching her interest as she was completely drawing a blank.

Comet looked at the door, but not at the side that it opened from. He was looking at the opposite side, where the hinges were.

“Hmm…” he looked closer at the hinges, kneeling to get a better look. “Somepony pass me one of the lamps from their nightstands…”

“Here you go, Boss,” Crash Dive popped up from underneath him, balancing the lamp on his nose.

Comet flinched backwards, causing him to stand upright. “Uh, thanks,” he said as she took the lamp, then Crash Dive disappeared from underneath him again. He hadn’t known the two brothers for very long, but he knew enough as to not question anything they did.

He took the lamp shade off, revealing the bulb and a rectangular shaped wire that was holding the lamp shade in place. He did a quick examination on the sides of the lamp to see that the wire holding the lamp shade in was only slotted into place. He gently prised it apart to ping it out of its slots, then lined one end of the wire up with the bottom of one of the hinges. “Perfect fit,” he commented as he gently placed the lamp on its side on the floor, being careful not to smash the glass bulb, then picked it up again, but this time, holding it upside-down. He pushed the tip of the wire as close as he could to the bottom of the hinge, then started tapping the bottom of the wire with the base of the lamp.

After a few hits, everypony could see what was happening. The pins were rising up out of their housings, essentially making the door fall inwards. Comet repeated the process on the top hinge, placing the lamp back down after the final pin had popped out. “Moment of truth,” he said as he tried to find the best point of leverage to lift it from. Since there was nowhere sticking out other than the doorknob, he gave it his best shot from there. Although it was quite counterproductive, as that was the exact opposite to the side that had just been freed of the things holding it in place.

It was visually clear that the door was less sturdy than it was, but Comet just couldn’t seem to get it to open. “Uh, Riptide, push on that side whilst I try and lift it,” he asked.

“You got it,” Riptide replied as he walked over to the door. He placed his forehooves on the hinge end to try and get some lifting power on it. But since he couldn’t get a grip, he struggled to get any leverage. “Can’t see it moving,” he commented as he kept trying to lift in sync with Comet.

“Surprised you can see anything under that birds nest of a mane…” Dahlia quietly mumbled to herself.

Everypony gave it their suggestions and shots, but despite the door being loosened, it still didn’t want to move. “There must be something holding it on the other side,” Comet sighed as he finally gave up and stepped back. Everypony had crowded around the door except for Torque, who was still being his grumpy old self. Nopony even bothered to ask him why he wasn’t helping, as they knew what his answer would be.

“Oh well…” Bright Skies sighed. “Good idea though…”

‘There has to be some other way...’ Dash thought as she pondered what else could be holding the door…

Or maybe...possibly…

“Hold on,” Dash blurted out as she spun around and headed to the back of the room towards the bathroom. Since she blurted it out in an aura of silence whilst everypony was thinking, all attention turned to her.

Dash swung the bathroom door open to take a look inside. She looked at the walls and the ceiling. There, on the back walls, she saw it. “I’ve got it!” She exclaimed as she rushed into the bathroom.

With no better ideas floating about, everypony moved towards her.

Dash flew up to a vent at the back of the bathroom wall. She’d done it! She’d found a way out! All she had to do was tug at the grill…

...and nothing happened. She tugged at it again, harder, but still it didn’t move an inch. “Okay, maybe I haven’t got it…” she sighed in disbelief. So close…

“Is it welded?” Horizon asked as he pushed next to Dash to take a look and try to remove it for himself. Seven ponies in a bathroom was...cramped, to say the least.

“No, there’s no weld marks,” Bright said as she hovered above them. She had the advantage of being the smallest pony, so it wasn’t as bad for her.

“Then how is it stuck down?” Dahlia asked.

“Screws?” Comet suggest.

“But there’s no screws either,” Horizon retorted.

“Geeeeeez,” the morning gruff, grumpy voice of Torque exclaimed. Making everypony jump. “Outta the way, outta the way,” he demanded as he pushed his way past everypony, with no care as to what happened. They were in his way, and they needed to be out of it, one way or another. That’s all he cared about.

When he was finally to the front, he leaned in closely and examined the grill. “Aluminium,” he said emotionlessly. He quickly turned his head to look at the corner. “Rivets.”

With no warning, he quickly spun around, slapping everypony to the left with his tail. He pushed his way back through towards the exit, ignoring the complaints. “Steel, steel, steel, steel…” he mumbled to himself as he made his way out.

“What the hell is your prob--mmm,” Dahlia tried to shout at him, but quickly got her mouth covered by Dash.

“He seems to know what he’s doing. Let him do it.” Dash said as she lowered her hoof from Dahlia’s mouth. “Besides, you got any better ideas?”

“Ehh…” Dash had her there. She crossed her forehooves. “He didn’t have to be so rude about it…” she said quietly.

Torque scurried towards the front of the room to the lamp that White Comet disassembled but hadn’t reassembled yet. He picked up the wire that was holding the lamp shade on that Comet used to dislodge the pins. “Perfect,” he said as he turned around to face Horizon’s bed. He lifted Horizon’s bed and put the tip of the steel wire underneath the right foot of the bed. He took a final look at the steel wire before turning around. “About a quarter inch thick. It’ll have to do…” he mumbled as he bought Crash Dive’s bed over so it lined up with the over end of the wire.

He lifted the bed with his forehooves. Once he had enough clearance underneath it, he turned around whilst continuing to hold it and ducked her rear half underneath the bed. As he turned around, he noticed that everypony had moved towards him and was watching him closely. Not that he cared. After he was sure of his positioning, he gently set the bed down so it was supported by his flank.

Now he had all the tools, all he needed to do was perform the actions he had in mind. He twisted the wire over the other way. He was trying to bend it into another shape. He wouldn’t be able to do that with his hooves, it would’ve just sprung back. He needed strength, and weight. Which is what he just had. He used his hooves to hold the wire in its twisted position, then lowered himself down so quickly he was practically dropping the bed on it. He then lifted the bed again with his flank, and twisted it again. Repeating the same process.

Dash watched him repeat the process over and over and over again. She didn’t see it at first, but after a while, she saw a spiral shape begin to take place on the ex-flat wire.

He did a few more until he was satisfied that it was enough, lifting it out from under the foot of the bed. He picked it up in his right hoof, examining the tip. He then jammed it into his left foreleg a few times, chuffing at the results. “Bluntest drillbit in Equestria…” he commented. “But it’ll do.”

He took the makeshift drillbit and walked back into the bathroom. “Anypony preened recently? ‘Cos I’m gonna need feathers.” He asked bluntly as he grabbed everypony’s toothbrushes from the back of the sink. “Some Steryo or sumin’ like it would be good as well.”

“I’ve got a tub,” Dahlia said as she left for her nightstand.

Torque opened up the cabinet with a mirror on it to take a look inside. The Wonderbolts had pre-stocked them with a few basic medical supplies, for things that could be taken care of easily by themselves without having to see the doctor.

“Pff,” he scoffed at the lack of useable items. “These’ll have to do…” he pulled out a pack of band aids. He held the drillbit in his left hoof whilst arranging the toothbrushes and applying a band aid to the bottom of each one. He picked them up one by one and started wrapping them around the drillbit, pulling the band aid as hard as it would go so it would provide the tightest fit.

“Got it,” Dahlia called as she re-entered with a white tub with purple writing that read ‘Steryo wing ointment’ on it, with a little comment at the bottom that said ‘perfect for after preening’.

“Right, we need feathers, so get preening.” Torque instructed as he finished taping the toothbrushes. Whilst the others were preening, he went over to the toilet and started rolling all the toilet paper off the roll. When it was all off, he took the cardboard tube out of the holder and tried the best he could to do a neat rip. Once he had ripped it all the way, he wound it up to make a tighter cylinder. He did it up until it was only just wide enough to fit the drillbit through, with the toothbrushes sticking out at the back of it. He took a towel off the rack and set it in preparation by the side of him as he started preening himself with the others.

Dash had stepped just out of the bathroom door in order to give herself some room, as there wasn’t a lot of room in there for eight pegasi to begin with, yet alone eight pegasi with their wings spread.

As she preened, she made a small pile of feathers that she removed in order to optimize her flight. She kept her hoof on top of them to stop them blowing away.

Once Torque had built himself up a little pile of his own feathers, he decided to use them as a test for his theory. He applied some of Dahlia’s wing oil across the back of one of the toothbrushes, then started to layer up his feathers, making sure they provided an almost perfect seal. After the first layer, he applied some more oil to the back of the feathers, then started another layer.

He did this for all eight toothbrushes. After they had all given their feathers to him and he had applied them, he tested it by holding his contraption by the toilet roll shaft and blew on it gently, watching it spin.

“Good,” he put it down, “but not good enough. We need more feathers. Looks like we’re all gonna have to sacrifice some.” He extended his wings and started examining them, looking for feathers he could sacrifice for the purpose of his plan.

As she chose her feathers, Dash could see what was talking shape. The slightly sharp-edged steel bit, with the propulsion at the back of it. Was he making some sort of drill?

She passed her feathers that she could spare over to him, along with everypony else. He patched up all the weakest points, then tested it again. “That’ll do,” he said contently as he gingerly stepped up onto the sink to bring him up to the height. He took his time with each hoof placement, making sure he wasn’t going to slip.

“You want me to do it,” Riptide asked, as he demonstrated that, if he stood on his hind legs, he could reach the vent with ease.

“I’m fine,” Torque huffed as he recalculated his hoof placements. He tried to get his right hind hoof in the sink, but he was struggling to get it at the right angle that he could do it without slipping.

“You sure?” Riptide asked, moving towards him with his forelegs extended to offer him some balance support.

“Yes,” Torque grunted as he kicked Riptide away with one of his hind legs.

“Alright,” Riptide admitted defeat, huffing in response. Besides, if he was stupid enough to do it, he might as well let him.

Torque got himself into a position where he got the best support. He lined his contraption up with the bottom right rivet, then looked around, scanning the ponies he called his roommates. He briefly glanced over each one and stopped at Dash. “You have the most wingpower. Get over there and flap.” He ordered, motioning his head to the far side of the bathroom.

“Uhh...oookaay…” Dash walked over to where he mentioned and extended her wings. She looked over her shoulder back at him. “Uhh...what do I do?” She asked, feeling like an idiot. Was there something plainly obvious that she was missing? Judging by the confused faces on her roommates, she presumed not.

“Just flap your wings to make a gust. As strong as you can.” He explained.

“Okay...but...how do I do that without flying?”

Torque lowered his shoulders and his lips parted as he flicked his head upwards. “You push against the wall.” He said bluntly, as if he was stating the obvious.

“Alright,” Dash retorted, placing her forehooves on the wall. “Geez,” she sighed to herself in response to Torque’s attitude.

She gently hovered off the ground and placed her forehooves onto the cloud wall. She got into position, then slowly built up the speed of her wings, not wanting to take it too fast.

As the wind speed increased, the contraption in Torque’s hoof started spinning faster and faster, making a slight rubbing noise as it was rubbing on the inside of the toilet roll. Whilst it built speed, he started wrapping the towel around his right hoof.

It continued to build up speed until it was just a blur. Their feathers acting like a sail, pushing it around like a windmill...an extremely fast windmill…

Torque placed his right forehoof just behind the back of it. The reason he wrapped his hoof up became clear now. If he were to do it bare-hooved, then the pressure would hurt. The towel wouldn’t do much, but it would at least alleviate some of the pressure.

He lined it up with the bottom right rivet and pushed into it, making a loud grinding noise in response. As expected, with all the pressure on one point on his hoof, it was painful, but tolerable. Although his drill wasn’t doing much apart from making a grinding noise… “Faster Dash!” He barked, pushing as hard as his hoof was letting him.

Dash wasn’t really flapping her wings that fast to begin with, and it was already spinning pretty fast. So she took it as a signal that she was free to drop the hammer. She put a lot more force into her wings, causing an even bigger gust.

The small filings of metal that were bouncing against his face and chest indicated to Torque that it was starting to work. He didn’t have either hooves free to cover his eyes, so he squinted as much as he could to shield his eyes whilst still being able to see what he was doing.

He kept going until a faint ‘pop’ was heard and almost all resistance against his push dropped. He pulled the drill away and opened his eyes fully. He’d done it. The rivet was out. All he had to do now was push it through the remaining three.

Dash maintained her flapping at the highest rate she could without grinding herself into the wall. The force was really putting the pressure on her forehooves, as she would normally be moving and not have to deal with this. Nevertheless, Torque’s idea was working, and for that reason, she soldiered on.

Once the final rivet had been popped, Torque simply dropped his contraption and gripped his forehooves either side of the vent. Giving it a bit of force, the grille popped right off.

“Yeah! Nice going, Torque!” Dahlia cheered.

“Not bad bro, not bad,” Riptide added.

Torque simply dropped the grille where he stood and clambered his way into the vent. He didn’t give anypony any indication on what was next. Why would he need to? It was pretty obvious what they needed to do.

Horizon tried to follow him through, but “nope,” Crash Dive grabbed him by the flank and pulled him away. “This vent is already probably gonna stink of your ass, so the last thing I want is to be behind it,” he said as he scrambled into the vent. “That’s if you even fit,” he added, his voice echoing as he was inside the vent.

“Hey!” Horizon added as he waved his hoof at the vent.

“Ahem,” Riptide cleared his throat as he stepped to the side and waved his hoof at the vent whilst looking at Dahlia. “Ladies first…”

Dahlia gave him a push towards the vent. “Stallions just before,” she said smugly in response.

“And this is what I get for being a gentlestallion?” Riptide shrugged, “some mares are hard to please…” he said as he raised his forehooves up to start climbing in.

Dahlia rolled her eyes. “No, you just want me to go in front of you so you can stare at my butt whilst I crawl along.” She stated, feeling as though she read his mind exactly.

Dash couldn’t help but laugh, as there wasn’t any doubt that that was EXACTLY what Riptide was thinking about.

Bright Skies, Dahlia and White Comet all clambered in before Dash, with Crash Dive taking up the rear.

As soon as she was inside, Dash could barely see anything as it was so dark. She just listened to the sound of her roommates hooves against the steel frame of the vent as they crawled along, hoping for the best.

“Gee, it smells worst than I thought…” Dahlia complained.

“Well, think of all the other bathrooms it has to ventilate for as well,” Bright Skies added. Although nopony really wanted to think about it.

“Let's just concentrate on getting out of here as quickly as we can. This smell is gonna make me sick…” Comet stated.

The narrow, dark tunnel seemed to go on forever. No breaks, no turns, nothing. They didn’t appear to be making much progress, but due to the narrowness of the vent, they weren’t able to move their legs much more than baby steps.

“Hey, do you hear that?” Horizon asked.

Everypony stopped to try and pick up what Horizon was talking about. A faint whurr was coming from behind them, but that was it.

“Yeah…” Bright Skies replied, “it sounds like the vents...about to be...activated…”

A faint breeze accommodated the whurr as its volume increased. Horizon began to feel it on his flank. He didn’t think much of it, but it did slowly pick up speed. They continued to walk, but the breeze kept getting stronger. He suddenly felt it get underneath him, making him feel light on his hooves.

He knew immediately what was coming, but...why not try and have a little bit of fun out of it? His eyes went wide and he spread his wings. They immediately acted like a sail and lifted him off, straight into Rainbow Dash.

“Horizon!? What the hell-ooof!?” Dash yelled, but was cut short as she was pushed straight into White Comet, who pushed into Dahlia, who went into Bright Skies, into Riptide, into Crash Dive, and finally, into Torque.

“WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Horizon yelled as they were propelled along as tremendous speeds thanks to the draft.

“WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!” Crash Dive chimed in with him at the same time, putting his forehooves in the air as much as he could.

Dash had to admit, although it was somewhat unexpected, she was having a whale of a time. She felt like she was on a rollercoaster ride...except she was in the middle of a pony pile flying through a tunnel barely three feet across at high speed.

She was trying her best to stay in the middle as much as possible, because whenever a corner came up, they had no ability to turn, so they tended to just bounce off the inside of the vent. And whoever was on the outside of the impact took the force of it plus the weight of seven other ponies. It hurt...a lot…

“I SEE LIGHT!” Dahlia called over the sound of the wind rushing past them inhibiting their hearing, despite the fact that they were so close to each other.

Dash saw it briefly, in her cycle of light - dark - light - dark - light - dark and the occasional bit of colour as she spun around in the pony pile.

She suddenly saw light in her peripheral vision, as well as feeling a lot lighter, as if she was flying. As she span, she saw the brief silhouette of a pony, coupled with a flash. Her natural instinct told her to extend her wings and get control of her flight. But seven other ponies within inches of her all trying to do the same ended with them getting...tangled.

Before she knew it, she landed with a loud thud on a cloud. A loud, combined groan emanated from all of them as their homemade roller coaster ride came to an end. Dash blinked a few times to get her bearings.

“Everypony okay?” Dahlia asked groggily.

“Mmmhmmm…” everypony replied weakly.

“BWAHAHAHAHAAAHAAA!” The sound of two mares killing themselves laughing echoed from a few feet in front of them.

Dash sat up to see Blaze and Surprise rolling around on the cloud, laughing their flanks off and trying to keep their sides from splitting.

“Oh...oh geez…” Blaze caught her breath and wiped the tears from her eyes. “We gotta do that more often, Surprise…”

“Hold on, I’m…” Surprise couldn’t resist a few more giggles, “waiting for the photo to develop…” She said as she waved a photo in her hooves.

“Ugh! Riptide, get your butt out of my face!” Crash Dive said as he gave Riptide a shove in the flank, causing him to roll off to the side. He sat up and looked at everypony.

“You guys should’ve seen your faces!” Surprise laughed, “oh wait, YOU CAN!” She threw a small square piece of what looked like paper towards them.

The picture landed within a hooves reach of Dash upside-down. She picked it up in her hooves, flipped it over, and feasted her eyes on…

...easily the funniest thing she’s seen in her time here yet.

“Pff!” Dahlia held her mouth with her hoof to stop her laughing as she saw the photo. Although despite her efforts, a few still escaped.

However, Crash Dive and Horizon weren’t quite so subtle. Rolling onto their backs in fits of laughter.

Dash looked around her at her teammates. Bright Skies was breaking into small chuckling fits herself. Riptide was laughing his ass off with a deep chesty laugh. Even the corners of Torque’s lips were curled upwards. He looked like he was suppressing chuckles, or at the very least silently sneaking them out, so that his teammates didn’t hear.

Dash felt her mouth unwillingly open. It didn’t respond to any attempt to close it. All she could do was release her own laughter.

She quickly stretched and flung herself backwards, releasing all the giggles she’d been trying to contain.

“Oh, geez...haha...haha…” Blaze managed to subside her giggles to let herself speak. “We’ve never had anypony take that route before, so we couldn’t resist the opportunity to have some fun.” She admitted as if it was nothing. “How did you do it anyway?” Her tone changed to a more intrigued level. As she genuinely had no clue how they managed to get into the ventilation system in the first place.

“Torquey here’s the one responsible for that!” Crash Dive announced as he hugged Torque tightly around the neck with his right foreleg.

“Don’t touch me,” Torque said bluntly as he shoved Crash Dive away. Crash Dive just seemed to float away at his touch, like they were in space.

“Hmmmm…” Blaze leaned in close to Torque and their eyes met. Blaze gave him an intrigued stare, whilst Torque just radiated a blank, uninterested look. “How did you get through the vent? It’s pinned to the wall.”

“I removed it,” he said bluntly.

“Well, duh,” Blaze rolled her eyes, “but how?”

“I drilled through the rivets,” he replied bluntly again, making it sound as if Blaze was stupid.

“Drilled? With what?” She asked, raising an eyebrow.

“With a drill,” he replied, in yet again, the same blunt tone. He sounded like a broken record.

“Ughhh,” Blaze groaned through gritted teeth as she spun herself around, “forget it.” She moved into a position where she could address everypony. “That was pretty good, however Brain-dead over here did it,” she said, motioning to Torque. “But that’s not the way to escape that we had in mind. You might as well go get suited up and ready. Your competitors that might’ve managed to get out by now are probably wondering where we got to.”

“I’m gonna need to take that,” Surprise said as she took the photo out of Dash’s hooves. “Don’t worry...you’ll get a copy…” she said in a very suspicious tone as she flew away.

“I’ve got a feeling today's gonna be one of those day already…” Dahlia commented as she took off and followed Blaze and Surprise back in.

“You said it,” Riptide replied, rubbing his back. “That landing did a number on my back.”

“Why don’t you just go ask your new fuckbuddy from yesterday to massage it out for you?” Dahlia teased, greatly overexageratting their relationship. If you could even call it one.

Riptide scoffed, “yeah, whatever…” he mumbled.

As they turned the corner into the corridor with all the rooms in it, Dash saw latches on the outside of the doors, preventing them from opening.

“So all we had to do was flick that off, huh?” Horizon questioned out loud.

“Seems like it,” Dahlia replied, “not sure how to get to it though. We tried pulling the door from the other side. That didn’t work.”

“We couldn’t get enough grip as the handle was on the other side.” White Comet added.

“Fuck this,” they head from behind one of the doors, causing them all to turn their head to the third door in front of them on the right.

A second later, a loud BANG echoed through the corridor, along with a few splinters of wood and dust. It wasn’t much, so it settled quickly to reveal Wind Tunnel and some of his other roomates, who looked like they’d just been scared shitless from Wind Tunnel’s heavy-hoofed move.

“You’re paying for that,” Blaze ordered, completely unfazed.

Wind Tunnel shrugged, “you said we needed to find a way out, and I did.”

“...I’ll have to dig through the paperwork on that one…” Blaze queried to herself as she rubbed her chin. She remembered there being something about damage on the waiver, but she couldn’t quite put her hoof on the details. She didn’t exactly read all the paperwork anyway.

As they made it back to the outside of their room, they all proceeded to grab their flight suits from the basket by their door and headed to the changing rooms.

“I guess we should let out all the losers who haven’t figured it out by now.” Blaze suggested.

“Ehhhhh,” Surprise shrugged, “we can let them struggle for a little bit. Besides,” she suddenly dashed off, leaving a trail in her wake. “More mushrooms for meeeeee!” She called.

Dash and the rest of her teammates got into their suits and and went to get breakfast, where they joined the line of other ponies that have managed to escape. Probably the right way. Luckily they got there at the time they did, as Blaze proceeded to unlock all the doors of all the recruits that didn’t managed to solve the puzzle, which made a huge backlog in the line.

After breakfast, Blaze and Surprise lead them to an open cloud which they had setup with a small two foot high wall about a hoofball pitch apart.

“Okay, now that little brainteasers over, let’s get to something a little more...practical.” As Blaze said the last word in the sentence, a devilish smile crossed her face. “I’m going to presume you all played Bulldog when you were school fillies and colts?”

Dash cast her mind back to those years to remember the game. The aim of the game was to get between two points without being tagged by the ‘bulldog’. When you were tag, you became the bulldog yourself. However, she seemed to remember a certain variation a bit more…

“Well, this is a little version that we like to call Takedown Bulldog. It’s like regular Bulldog, but instead of tagging each other, you have to drag each other to the floor instead, using whatever means necessary.” There was no doubt in her tone in what she was implying by ‘any means necessary’. “You can fly as high or low as you want, but no higher than ten feet off the cloud. Me and Surprise will be the judge of that.”

Dash heard a few mumbles through the crowd. The thought of being able to tackle to living daylights out of each other was obviously enough to get them riled up.

“Okay, so…let's see…” Blaze’s eyes narrowed as she rubbed her chin whilst she examined the crowd. “I think...we’ll pick…”

“YOOOUU!” Surprise rocketed over the heads of the crowd, doing multiple barrel rolls. “ANDYOUANDYOUANDYOUANDYOUANDYOUANDYOUANDYOUANDYOUANDYOUANDYOUANDYOU!” She screamed whilst throwing her hooves wildly in random directions at other ponies.

Blaze shrugged, “thanks, Surprise.” She replied in what the cadets took as a surprisingly calm manner, considering the way Surprise just acted. “Those of you that Surprise just pointed out. you’re the starting bulldogs. Get in position somewhere and get ready to go. You ALL go on my whistle, no matter what.” Blaze held her whistle up to illustrate her point. “Any questions?”

“Yeah,” a stallion raised his hoof, “why are we playing a schoolpony’s game? What’s the purpose?”

“Figure out it,” Blaze put bluntly. “Anypony else?”

His questioned raised a good point with Dash. What was the point exactly? Knowing the nature of the things she’d experienced so far, she’d find out soon enough, she was sure…

The high pitched noise of the whistle suddenly bought her to attention. “GO!”

Dash dived her way through the sea of ponies. She didn’t want to be right at the front, as she’d bear the full front of the force, but she didn’t want to be skulking around the back of the pack either, in fear of not only being seen as slow, but easy to pick off.

Dash made it through the first wave, not taking any notice of anypony else around her getting caught. She only cared about getting herself through. When she reached the other end, she took a quick glance around to see if she could estimate who got caught.

As they were readying for the second run, she saw something that made her suddenly understand what the test was all about. The bulldog ponies were huddled around in a circle, discussing things that Dash could barely hear.


That’s the first word that popped into her head. That’s what was key to succeeding at this test. It would be impossible for them to take everypony on one on one due to the simple sheer size differences. They would have to gang up using teamwork and strategy to win. Or lose. And that’s what turned this from a simple schoolyard game into a much more complex strategy game.

As soon as the thought hit her, it was barged out of the way by another one that was triggered at the sound of Blaze’s whistle. She raced off the line with the rest of the crowd.

Somepony tried to tackle her, but she quickly darted left to avoid. She bumped into somepony else beside her, but by the way she seemed to ricochet off him or her, she presumed that they would be alright. She didn’t have time to look.

When she reached the other side, she once again consolidated. She saw that a few more ponies had been taken out, but she was lucky enough to make it this far.

The intervals between Blaze’s whistle blows seemed to be getting shorter and shorter. Dash barely had time to catch her breath before it sounded again. She brushed it off and powered through on what she had.

Another stallion tried to grab her from the front, but she used her cat-like reflexes to dive over the top of them before rolling over to reduced her altitude to stay within the ten feet limit.

On the next run, she darted to the right to avoid somepony trying to get her, but in turn ran into somepony else's path. "Eep!" She yelped as she tried darting to the left to avoid him, but he managed to just grab her hind leg

“I gotcha!” A mare’s voice said from behind her as she felt something slot under her forelegs, followed by a sharp tug, pulling her free of the grip of the stallion.

Dash tried her best to suppress the impression of her relief, not wanting to show any signs of weakness. “Thanks,” she said sincerely as she took herself back onto her own wings.

“Don’t mention it,” the mare replied before bolting off in another direction.

“Uhh…” Dash didn’t dwell too long on what just happened, as she still had ponies trying to get to her. But she was far enough away that she could just fly in a straight line to the other end. Although she was still baffled by the random act of the mare who just helped her.

In the next run, Dash flew straight on as fast as she could, hoping that her speed would be able to keep her ahead of the competition. But as she saw multiple ponies closing in in front of her, she suddenly realised that she forgot to factor in the possibility of them being strategically placed ahead of her to intercept.

She dived over one pony only to run almost face-first into another, she darted to the left, then to the right again to avoid another. She saw somepony flying straight at her, and two coming from either side. The only place she had to go was back. She tried to turn as hard as she could, but she was simply going too fast, and therefore not providing herself enough of a turning circle to escape their grasp.

She got caught just under the wings by a stallion who dragged her down. His weight compared to her seemed to be enough. She put up a strong fight, but when another mare also grabbed onto her, she had no choice but to fall.

“Oof!” She landed in the cloud with a grunt, taking a few seconds to consolidate. After the reality of what just happened caught back up to her, she punched the cloud in frustration. How could she be so reckless? Flying as fast as she could in a straight line like that. The ponies weren’t exactly invisible. She was perfectly capable of seeing them. Why’d she make that mistake?

“Good job…” she grumbled sarcastically to herself as she bought herself to her hooves. Despite being in a position she didn’t want to be in, she could still play well and perhaps claw herself back some points.

She took up position with the other pegasi. They huddled around in a circle and discussed various tactics and placements that they were going to use in order to maximize their area to catch as many ponies as possible.

Dash took up her position as Blaze blew her whistle. She matched the closing speed of her teammates to form the thickest wall they could. Although they were only a couple dozen up against at least a hundred, so they wouldn’t get everypony anyway, no matter how hard she tried.

As Dash dived for somepony, she saw that she wasn’t quite coming in at the right angle to get her forehooves hooked around her, so she adjusted her course to try and get the pony behind her instead. As she moved, Dash noticed something out of the left corner of her eye. She turned her head whilst remaining on course to take a look.

There was a pony flying behind her. Through the part of her muzzle that was exposed, Dash could see that she had a dark genoa coloured coat with a blown back mane with orange and violet stripes in it. She looked familiar, but Dash couldn’t quite put her hooves on it…

She retracted her forelegs and used the stallion she was previously going to take down as a wall, boucing off of him. She made a tight turn towards the mare, and managed to get her forelegs hooked around her torso. But becasue she had lost so much momentum from the turn, she simply didn’t have the force required to take her down. She held her grip and tugged for a little while, but the mare was a much stronger flyer than she anticipated, causing her to let go.

“Nice try,” a familiar voice commented as as she consolidated with her teammates.

She turned her head to see Strider flying next to her. “Who was that mare?” She asked. She didn’t mean to, but since it was on her mind, she just let it roll of her tongue without even thinking about it.

“Who, Thunder Flash?” He replied, then shrugged. “Dunno. Just some mare. She’s really full of herself, but when she hasn’t got her head shoved up her ass, she mostly keeps to herself. I’m sharing a room with her, and she just tries her best to avoid conversation.” He explained.

“Like somepony else I know…” Dash replied, looking around to see if she could see Torque, but he wasn’t in sight.

“Why’d you ask?” Strider questioned.

“Oh,” Dash shook her head, “just...curious.” She replied with a smile.

Strider blinked and shrugged. “Alright…”

Dash didn’t really listen to their plan. She was more focused on trying to figure out who that mare was. She looked really familiar. She kept turning her head every now and again to make sure she knew where she was.

Once they were done talking, they barely had any time to get into position before Blaze blew her whistle. As Dash closed in with the pack, she was lucky that the mare was looking around and not at her. It gave her somewhat the element of surprise.

A sly smirk formed across Dash’s face. ‘Payback time…’

Dash flapped her wings harder, making her close faster. She extended her forelegs to grab her. Thunder Flash only just saw Dash rapidly approaching her, but it was too late for her to react.

Dash rammed into her, her shoulder impacting on Thunder’s chest. She felt a click of her shoulder, but it wasn’t too painful. “Gaa!” Thunder exclaimed as the rainbow battering ram took her down.

Dash heard a few more cracks as she landed with a thump. She grunted as she almost collapsed under the force being pushed upon her legs. She stood up, still standing over the top of Thunder. “I guess what comes around goes around, huh?” She said in a smug tone.

Thunder rolled her shoulders in their sockets, causing them to make clicking and popping noises. Dash almost cringed, but she couldn’t say she didn’t expect it. It was a big hit that she delivered after all.

Suddenly, she spat in Rainbow’s face, causing her to grimace and release her grip from Thunder.

“Rainbow Douche…” she commented as she casually strolled away.

“Say what!?” Dash challenged as she finished wiping the phlegm from her face. Thankful that she had her goggles on.

Thunder did a sharp turnaround on the spot. “You heard me!” She growled through gritted teeth, lowering her head as she marched towards Dash.

“Fight! Fight! Fi--mmph!” All attention shifted to Surprise’s cheering, but she was quickly silenced as a hoof crossed her mouth.

“Not yet, Surprise,” Blaze whispered in her ear through gritted teeth.

Dash had no intention of throwing the first punch. She was better than that. But if Thunder Flash tried anything, she wouldn’t hesitate to respond. She had a reputation to upkeep.

“Alright ladies, break it up,” Blaze casually strolled between them and quickly extended her wings to put them both back. “If you’re gonna fight, at least wait until we’ve got the camera.” She said her last words before she took her position back on the sidelines to spectate.

Dash did her best to try and avoid confrontation for the remainder of the warm up test. All it would do was paint a bad image on her if the two of them were just seen to be constantly bickering. It was just another one of the many mysteries that she would just have to wait to get to the bottom of…

Predictably, Wind Tunnel was the last pony standing. And it took nearly everypony else to take him down. He was a big old beast. And not very subtle about it either.

“You guys put on a great show. I should just let you beat the crap out of each other for the next few hours.” Blaze chimed whilst relaxing on a cloud she had rearranged. She was lying on her back with her hind legs raised up upon a cloud.

She let herself slowly droop off the cloud and used her wings to level herself out to land on all four hooves, lazily but still somewhat elegantly. “Honestly, I’d love to do that. But I can’t. Something about ‘my job’ and ‘testing you properly’ or some shit like that…” she said sarcastically.

“Hope that got you moving!” Surprise suddenly burst up from the cloud beneath her. “Because the next test takes place!...” She dashed off and flew over the edge of the cloud. Then just casually folded her wings to the side and began to freefall “ON THE GROOUUUUUUUUNNNNNNDD!” Her voice got quieter and quieter as she fell.

Everypony galloped to the side of the cloud as to them, if they didn’t know she had wings, it looked like she’d just attempted to commit suicide.

“Dammit Surprise! Wait for me!” Blaze did a quick, wing-assisted hop over the crowd to dive over the edge of the cloud and fell herself. “Woo! Freefall!” She called as she spun around in the air. “What are you waiting for slowpokes!?”

“Whoevermakesthebiggestholeinthegroundwins!” Horizon yelled as he jumped and curled up into a ball.

“Not much of a competition for you then,” Crash Dive retorted as he followed him.

Dash chuckled as she gently hopped off the edge. She liked doing freefalls from time to time. It wasn’t quite the same as flying as fast as she could, but it got her blood pumping in the same way.

The wind pounded against her as the force of gravity pulled her ever faster towards the ground. She eyed the treetops and began to plan her next maneuver.

She continued freefalling far past points that other pegasi wouldn’t even dare to cross. ‘Three...two...one…’

Her wings sprung from her sides and instantly helped her gain altitude thanks to all the rushing over them. The G-forces were so intense Dash felt like she was about to tear a ligament in her wings.

She did a loop to reduce her speed before dropping down into the clearing where everypony else was gathering.

She performed a gentle landing and caught her breath. She looked around, expecting to see Surprise and Blaze, but she couldn’t see them. She remembered playing around the outskirts of this forest when she was a filly, but she’d never been this deep into it. The conifers were thick and tightly packed, blocking vision and creating a lot of obstacles. But thanks to their nature of narrowing off at the top, it didn’t affect the lighting too much.

She suddenly heard some rustling in one of the trees nearby, drawing everypony’s attention. She could see a few colours pop in and out of its green leaves.

“Hey, its not my fault it’s so deep,” Blaze’s voice added.

Dash heard a few giggles come from the crowd. And she wasn’t gonna lie, she was one of them. No matter how stupid or immature the innuendo was, it always set her off.

“How did you take this many anyway?” Blaze asked.

“I didn’t ask for this-- OW!” She suddenly chirped. “Oooh, that’s better…” she sighed.

“I’m gonna need you to get this one out afterwards,” Blaze added. “How did this one get stuck in both of us?”

“How’d you expect me to tell with your hoof in my face!?”

At this point, there were ponies rolling around on the floor laughing. But Dash was doing her best to contain herself from doing that.

“Ow, ow, that hurts!” Blaze complained.

“Whoa, how’d you get two in there!?”

“I dunno, you were the one watching me!”


A crack sound was heard followed by the sound of something tumbling down from behind the tree trunk. A couple of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” came from the hidden pair of Wonderbolts.

Surprise slowly made her way out from behind the trunk, a branch sticking out of her tail. She didn’t notice it at first, but noticed the extra weight when her tail moved. “Hey Blaze, can you get this one out? Is that the last one?”

Blaze also emerged from behind the tree trunk. She took a hoof and navigated the stick out of the mangled mess that was Surprise’s tail, then threw it to the side. “That’s all of them.”

“Geez, I HATE getting things stuck in my mane.”

“The twigs not so much, it’s the little green bits that annoy me.” Blaze replied. She glanced over the cadets that were beginning to recover from their laughter. She couldn’t help but crack a smile, seeing as how easily it was to interpret their words.

She cleared her throat deliberately loudly to catch everypony’s attention. She waited a few seconds to make sure that all eyes were on her. “Over to you, Surprise.”

“Thanks, Blazey!” Surprise replied as she flew over the top of Blaze to take the centre of attention. A visible frown formed across Blaze’s face. She hated the pet name Surprise had given her, and hated it even more when she used it in public. But there was no stopping Surprise. She’d had better luck arguing with a brick wall. At least a brick wall could stay on topic.

“Alright everypony! This next test is super fun! It’s basically flag hunt and tag combined! Red team and Blue team will both have starting positions on the exits of either side of the forest, and each team must nominate somepony to hide their flag somewhere in the forest! Then when the game starts, you need to find your flag super-duper quickly! Well, that, and you also need to get it back to your starting place! That’s what wins! Oh, and here’s the catch! You can tag each other by tapping them! And when you’re tagged, your out! So you can win in two ways! Tagging everypony out, or capturing the flag! Your choice! Oh, and before you start, you have to designate whoever’s gonna be the flag capturers or taggers! Taggers are the only ponies who can tag! But they can be stopped! You just have to remove the ‘taaag’!”

Surprise chuckled at her joke. “Geeet it!? Taag!?” She looked at the confused faces of many ponies. Most of them got the joke, but they were still trying to process the instructions she was throwing at them at a million miles an hour.

“Pfff,” Surprise batted her hoof. “Tough crowd. Anyway! When your tag has been removed, you need to find it again before you can tag other ponies! Make sense!? Who am I kidding, of course it does! Any questions!?”

Everypony took a moment to take in everything Surprise had said. She spoke really fast, so it took a while. Although Surprise didn’t acknowledge the glazed faces staring flatly at her. Or if she did, she didn’t show it.

“Great! Now, let’s get started!” She backed up to the tree and gave it a kick with her right hind leg. The tree barely budged, as if nothing happened. But it seemed that Surprise still managed to make it drop…

...a cannon?

“The vest that lands on you is yours!” Surprise blurted out before slamming her hoof on the cannon.

A loud BOOM followed by her vision getting blanked almost knocked Dash over. She pulled the vest off her head, acknowledging that she was going to be on the red team, and a flag capturer.

“Red team follow Blaze, blue team follow me!” Surprise bounced into the air and turned around, flying up over the trees.

“I ain’t waitin’ around,” Blaze said as she was already flying away. Dash wasted no time in throwing the vest over her flight suit and followed Blaze.

Blaze took them to the entrance on the other side of the forest. It was just clear plains on the other side.

“So, who wants to plant the flag?” Blaze asked holding a red flag in front of her.

Instantly, a load of ponies tried to argue their point and take the flag, but Blaze simply flew into the air to avoid their grasps. Dash’s younger self would tried as well, but being with her friends for a number of years taught her a thing or two about modesty. Not much of course.

“How about you actually discuss instead of all being glory hunters?” Blaze suggested, raising an eyebrow at them all whilst waving her pen in the air, implying what would happen if they continued.

“Uhh, well, I uhh…” a stallion stammered trying to justify it.

“How about me?” Another suggested, hovering into the air, just smiling and looking at his teammates, looking as if though nothing more needed to be said.

Dash got prepared to give her argument, but out of the corner of her eye, she saw a certain roommate of hers. She gasped as an idea hit her and she flew towards him.

“This guy!” She grabbed Horizon’s hoof and raised it into the air. “This guy’ll do it!”

“I will?” Horizon questioned.

“You sure will,” Dash told him as she pushed him towards Blaze. Given the nature of his normal antics, she had a feeling that he’d be pretty good at this. Hell, she was pretty sure that he’d be able to hide it in a parallel dimension or something.

“Guess you are,” Blaze replied as she threw him the flag. “Hide it anywhere in the forest.”

“Wish me luck,” was his last comment before taking off into the forest.

After he had vanished out of sight, Blaze looked over at Dash. “What made ya choose him exactly?”

“You haven’t lived with him for the past couple days…” Dash replied. But as she thought, she realised something. If he was here, but Crash Dive wasn’t, that meant Crash Dive was on the other team...oh boy...this could get...interesting…

“Wait for the whistle, that signals the start!” Blaze called to instruct everypony before she flew off and over the forest.

Dash got herself primed and ready for the whistle. She didn’t have a clue of how long Horizon would get to find a hiding place. She just presumed that it was down to Surprise’s discretion.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the whistle echoed from somewhere on the other side of the forest. Dash jumped into the air and flew high above the treetops, her logic being that the extra altitude could help her see better.

She could see a swarm of ponies ahead of her. She knew that she would have to keep the opposing teams taggers off of her team’s flag capturers, but at the same time, she had to go after the other team's capturers too. She couldn’t let herself get bogged down.

As she got closer, she saw that they were all the opposing team’s taggers were looking down at the capturers, not at Dash and the ponies with her, who were heading straight for them. Dash immediately saw this as an opportunity to take advantage of. She gained some altitude and got right above them. Then, as she lined it up almost perfectly, she went into a steep dive towards them.

She flew swiftly over a few ponies backs, ripping some of their tags off. A smug smile formed across her face as her tactic worked just as she planned.

Although there was one thing she wasn’t expecting, and that was that she would suddenly be holding so many tags. Holding so many could only mean…

She looked behind her to see lots of ponies starting to chase after her. After all, they needed those tags, in order to be able to tag themselves.

“Uh oh,” Dash dropped down into the forest itself, hoping that she would be able to use the trees as obstacles, and as some sort of camouflage. Although it was quite difficult to camouflage a rainbow without mane dye.

Eventually, she came to the decision to just drop them to get the ponies off her back. She dropped them strategically between some branches so that they would have to spend some time getting them.

She maneuvered through the higher branches to keep herself low enough to give her some sort of cover through the treetops, but high enough to maintain her visibility. She spotted somepony below her, on her hooves, trying to sneak around without being spotted.

‘Look’s like your lucks just run out,’ Dash thought as she smiled and dropped into a dive. She didn’t flap her wings, she just let gravity take her. She was trying to stay as silent as possible.

“Gotcha!” Dash declared as her hooves landed on the mare.

“Dammit!” The mare exclaimed and punched the ground, slowly climbing into the sky, accepting her defeat.

‘First blood for Rainbow Dash!’ She thought as she climbed back into the air and started the routine again.

She flew straight ahead and scanned the skies around her. She was trying to pick out targets of opportunity. However, none were presenting themselves. So with nothing else clear to her, she continued to gain altitude. At least if she had that on her side, it would be a whole lot easier.

“Well, you know what they say, Dash.”

Before she could react, a heavy weight fell upon her back, causing her flight path to wander. However, she did recognise the voice.

“If you fly in a straight line, then you’re a dead duck.” The end of the sentence was punctuated by the classical RIIIIP of the velcro pulling from the back of her vest. Dash looked behind her to the left to catch Crash Dive flying almost vertically towards the ground. With no other option left, Dash put herself in a dive and gave chase.

He flew into the forest at top speed. Dash was hesitant, but did her best to follow him. Though she was cautious, as the last time she did this, she ended up clipping her wing.

“Over here!” She heard his voice again, seeing his stupid grin peeking over a branch. She raced towards it and landed on it. But when she looked over it, nopony was there.

“You death or something!? I said over here!”

Dash looked behind her back, seeing him waving the tag at her. She dived towards the tree behind her, but he once again managed to disappear before.

“Wrong again, deafo!”

“Grrr…” Dash gritted her teeth as she looked to her right to see him sitting on top of a tree. ‘No way he can get out of that one!’

She flew upwards as fast as she could, but as she neared the top, he just seemed to fall backwards off the top of the tree.

Dash changed her flight path to go around the tree instead of over it, hoping to catch him mid-fall. But when she got there, he had once again vanished. She looked around, but couldn’t see any trace of him. She waited a few seconds for him to call her again, but she got nothing.

She flew upwards to the treetop where he was sitting and found her tag. “That was...random…” she said to herself as she picked up the tag and stuck it back on her back. She felt as though it wasn’t straight, but it wasn’t something that bothered her too much. She didn’t have time to faff around with it.

“I got it, I got it!” Dash heard a pony call from down below. She looked near the horizon to see a pony in the distance with a red vest like hers carrying the blue flag. But she also saw almost everypony from the blue team converging on him.

“Ughhh…” Dash facehoofed so hard she almost knocked her goggles off.

“Looks like our job just got a whole lot harder,” a random stallion said as he flew past her.

“You said it,” Dash groaned in response, flying in the direction of her team member who had got the flag to provide cover. It was great that she found it, but it also made her feel like knocking out the part of that mare’s brain that was responsible for blindly blurting out her position.

Dash raced towards to provide cover. Since she had an altitude advantage, she saw two stallions from the opposite team down below her. Seizing the initiative, she dived towards them, briefly skimming across them and snatching the tags from their backs.

She quickly did a loop to head in the opposite direction. She took a look behind her as she held the tags tightly in the hooves. The stallions were most definitely chasing her. She had to avoid them quickly.

She dived down into the trees, slaloming between them to try and shake them off before bursting out from the trees, ascending rapidly. A quick glance behind her confirmed that she managed to confuse one of them, but not the other.

She took a sharp turn to the left and spotted one of her teammates. As she did, an idea popped into her head. “Yo, Red!” She shouted at the stallion, drawing his attention. Since she didn’t know his name, she just yelled his mane colour out and hoped for the best. “Catch!” she threw one of the tags at him. She didn’t hang around to confirm whether he caught it or not.

She plunged herself into a dive, going beneath the treeline, dropping off the tag, then using the momentum she gathered, she launched herself back into the air in a directly vertical climb. She looked around for the stallion that was chasing her, and once he was in her vision, she simply stopped in midair and put on a smug grin whilst holding her hooves out to show that she didn’t have it.

The stallion stopped and stared at her confused for a second, but it didn’t take him long to figure out what she did. He dived back down the way Dash just came.

Suddenly, Dash saw something come out of the sun straight in front of her. She didn’t have enough time to react, and her tag got ripped straight off her back.

“Keep the sun behind ya, Dash. That ones a basic,” the familiar voice of White Comet faded off into the distance.

“Damn…” as Dash gave chase, she saw the way he moved made him seem like a blur. A white blur with his mane and tail providing a black background...like a comet…

“ANNNNNND THAT’S GAME!” Surprise flew into the middle of the sky and blurted out over the megaphone. The vibrations were enough to make anypony freeze up.

But the bigger question was, who won? Red team’s pony with the flag was still trying desperately to avoid getting caught. So that could only mean…


Dash let out a groany sigh. She had a feeling it would have something to do with that.

Surprise lowered the megaphone, “good game though, wish I was playing myself!”

“pfff,” Blaze batted a hoof, “you wouldn’t last five minutes against some of these guys.”

“And you wouldn’t last two seconds!” Surprise immediately retorted, sticking her tongue out at Blaze.

“Ladies, please…” Crash Dive popped out of nowhere from behind Blaze, hovering upside-down beside he. “Everypony knows you can’t move like me…”

“You mean like this?” Surprise suddenly popped up on top of Crash Dive, making him jump.

“Ah!” His wings froze up and he landed with a soft poof on the cloud.

“Nice,” Horizon spoke up, “but you’ve gotta be a little more like…” He dashed off so quickly, nopony really saw where he went.

“This!” He popped up from under the cloud, expecting to see Surprise, but only saw Blaze with her hoof extended.

“Touche!” Surprise popped out from the cloud like he did, bumping her hoof against Blaze’s.

“...Good game…” Horizon said in a suspicious tone, that implied he was done for now, but he wouldn’t give up.

“Anyway, next test!” Blaze announced as she pointed in the direction she wanted them to move.

“Ughhhhh…” Dash groaned as she opened the door to their room. “I’ve got a really random friend, just like Surprise, but...today has just turned my brain into mush…” She explained as she dragged herself onto her bed.

“I know right? I mean, just look at it.” Horizon raised his hoof up to his ear and pulled an already inflated balloon out of it that had the shape and texture of a brain. But as soon as he pulled it out, it made a high-pitched squeaking noise as it deflated. But compared to some of the stuff they had seen today, that was pretty tame…

“Anypony got any problems with me putting this on?” Dahlia reached into her nightstand and pulled out a portable radio. “Nope? Good,” she pressed a button and left it atop her nightstand. It started playing some music before it gently faded out.

“Sounds like it needs new batteries,” Bright Skies commented.

“Nah, it always does that,” Dahlia replied as she slammed her hoof down on top of it, and as if by magic, it started playing again.

Dash chuckled as she laid her head back on her pillow and listened to the jazz music that was playing on Dahlia’s radio station of choice. Today had not been the most physically challenging day that she’d ever had, but it was most definitely the most mentally demanding. Well, sort of. It was just so random and confusing.

“It’s six-thirty PM and here’s the latest headlines,” the radio host began. “Over in the Griffon Kingdom, Prime Minister candidate Achille holds a conference in his home town of Dalelry, as part of his campaign for what is being dubbed the biggest political shakeup in Griffon history, as they move away from a monarchy and move to a democracy system…”

“Ugh, politics…” Dahlia moaned in disgust as she rolled over onto her other side to face away from the radio.

“You gotta admit though, it does sound intriguing. Giving regular citizens more of a voice about how their country is run.” Bright Skies suggested.

“Meh,” Dahlia shrugged, “Princess Celestia and co have ruled over us for over a thousand years now, and there’s never been any major problems. Well, none that haven’t been solved anyway. The most recent being solved by Rainbow and her friends over there,” she pointed at Rainbow Dash, which Dash could only respond with a smile.

“Eh, it’s nothing,” Dash replied casually whilst batting a hoof.

“My point is, they shouldn’t trying to be fixing what’s not broken.” Dahlia finished off with her point as she rolled onto her back with her forehooves behind her head.

“I dunno, I think the Griffon’s are onto something,” Crash Dive spoke up, shifting everypony’s attention to him. “They get to choose their leaders, rather than it all being set in stone.”

“It’s a little too obvious, don’t ya think?” Horizon questioned. “I mean, why now? Why only just now? I mean, will they even know if it’ll work?”

“Guess we’ll have to wait until three years time to find out,” Crash Dive responded with a shrug. “Though it’d be cool to see the outcome of our trade agreements. Bet we’ve got a few things they’d like to get their talons on.”

Horizon sat up and stared across at his brother, “Or they declare war on us and march right in,” he suggested.

“Pfft, we’ve already beat them four times in different wars since the beginning of time.” Crash Dive replied. “That would be pretty stupid of them to make the same mistake again for the fifth time.”

“I dunno…” Horizon pondered as he rubbed his forehoof with his chin. “The gains they could potentially reap from Equestria has grown a hell of a lot since that. That would probably give them more motivation to actually win…”

“Am I the only one listening to this?” Dahlia asked out loud to the room in disbelief.

“Nope, it’s actually happening,” Comet confirmed, not reacting to her words and leaving his eyes closed with his head on his pillow, lying on his back.

“Yep,” Bright Skies also confirmed, but not moving her eyes away from the book she was writing in.

Dahlia shook her head, “The two s--...silliest ponies,” she changed her words out of the respect she had for Crash Dive and Horizon, “are talking about politics. I’ve been expecting the unexpected all day today, but that is WAAAY far out on the list of things I would’ve expected.”

Dash chuckled to herself as she watched the two to the left of her converse between themselves. They didn’t seem to be taking any notice of everypony around them staring at them. Which only made it all the more amusing.

Dash relaxed as she thought back on the day that she had just completed. To her, it felt like a whole week with Pinkie Pie compressed into a few hours. Which felt like it was going to make her brain explode. At a few of the challenges, she felt herself getting very frustrated from all the mind games that Surprise was playing on her. But, like she would with Pinkie, she persevered.

Although her concentration was occasionally broken by the antics going on between Surprise and Blaze. The two of them really were best friends. Dash could only imagine the things they get up to outside of the Wonderbolts. She got the impression that they were the last pair she wanted to get on the wrong side of, because otherwise a retaliation prank would be coming her way in a matter of moments.

Their…’unique’ training methods, despite not seeing their purpose beforehoof, highlighted some of the things that she would need to improve upon, including--

She skidded to a halt as she realised that she had missed a turning. Luckily, there was nopony around to see, so she just darted back around the corner and went down the corridor she meant to go down.

She shook her head as her train of thought was interrupted by the sudden change in her surroundings. It appears that whilst she was thinking, she had began walking somewhere. But where?


Was she...seeing…


Has seeing Soarin become so natural to her now that she thinks nothing of it? Did it just come as natural as flying to Sugarcube Corner, or Twilight’s Castle?

“Ugh…” she moaned quietly to herself. ‘I’m not seeing him...I’m...hanging out…’ She corrected her mind.

She looked around to once again confirm that nopony was about other than her, then blinked and shrugged. ‘I’m out here now, might as well see what he’s up to…’ She concluded as she walked down the corridor.

Author's Note:

Finally, it's done! :pinkiehappy:

Credit for that fantastic piece goes to Mint0swirl . Minty had loads of fun with this one. :rainbowlaugh:

Surprise and Blaze make a great team. I have a feeling I'm going to have fun writing for them in the future. :rainbowlaugh: Although my favourite character to write for at the moment is Bright Skies.

And who is Thunder Flash? Whoever she is, she seems to have a vendetta against Dash... :unsuresweetie:

I'm going to be slightly changing my approach to the way I'm writing this story. Don't worry, I won't skip out important parts. I'm just struggling to come up with generic Wonderbolt related tests all the time. So I might focus more on the aftermath/evenings of the tests, where most of the character development happens, rather than writing them.

Thanks for reading! :twilightsmile: