• Published 26th Apr 2015
  • 3,445 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 11

Dash sighed as she sat down around a table with her friends and tucked into her dinner. For once, she could say it was something she genuinely enjoyed. It just looked like plain old spaghetti when she got it, but now that’s she's actually sank her teeth into it, the flavours came alive in her mouth.

Their test today was done with Rapidfire. He definitely had the most military-like mindset. He was very...shouty. And didn’t tolerate any bullshit. If you weren’t keeping up, you got left behind. Period. Dash was certain that she saw some ponies on the verge of tears from the type of things he was asking of them. But she, however, remained strong and plowed through. Just hoping she did well enough for his seemingly impossible to reach standards…

As she left the mess, she stopped to take a look at the eliminations list on the chalkboard, her eyes quickly scanning through the names. Although she had to pause several times because, contrary to her belief, she actually found somepony else who had worse hoofwriting than hers.

...nopony she knew...nopony she knew…


“...Damn…” Dash shook her head and sighed. Although she couldn't exactly say she didn't see it coming at some point. Riptide was good, and he had speed and strength on his side, but he just wasn't doing anything to catch anypony’s eyes. Or at least not in the way he wants to…plus the fact he tended to just do whatever he wanted, regardless of what he was asked or ordered to do. He lack discipline. A lot of it.

She walked along the corridor back down to her room. “Has he gone?” She asked as she pushed the door open, but got confirmation for herself when she saw that all his stuff was still there.

“Nah,” Dahlia spit out some feathers, “probably having one last shot trying to bone that mare of his.” She said nonchalantly then went back to preening.

Dash couldn’t help but smirk at Dahlia’s suggestion. And there was no doubt among anypony that it was a pretty good guess. However, even so, she still felt the need to say goodbye.

She got on with her own devices on her bed whilst she waited for Riptide. However, she was wary of the time as she had her own things to attend to. She waited and waited but still no Riptide. Hell, she managed to get through a whole chapter of her Daring Do book. She’d probably finish the story before he’d get back.

A little while later, the sound of hooves coming from the back of the room came to her ears, causing her ears to twitch in the direction and she peered over the top of her book. She watched Comet walked down the aisle of beds and out the door. ‘He’s obviously had enough waiting…’

Dash read a little more but she kept getting interrupted by her continuous glancing at the clock. She quietly sighed in submission as she closed the book and put it back in her nightstand. She was late enough as it was. She slid off her bed and trotted towards the door.

“Where exactly are you going?” She heard Dahlia questioned just before she got to the door.

Dash felt almost every muscle in her body freeze as she got asked that question. Of all the days she’d been here, this was the first time she was getting questioned about it...and she hadn’t thought up an excuse…

“Oh...I, uh…” She chuckled nervously as she scratched the back of her head. “I’m, um, going, for a…” she looked back at Dahlia, “a quick evening flight...hehe…” she tried her best to put on a convincing smile.

“Ooo...kayy…” Dahlia furrowed her brow, “even though that's what we've been doing all day?”

“Uhh, yep!” Dash retorted, still sounding a little edgey.

“Aren't you all tired out? I sure am.” Dahlia continued to question.

“A little, but...not enough…” Dash groaned in her head. She didn't sound anywhere CLOSE to convincing.

Dahlia thought for a moment before finally ending with a sigh. “Suit yourself…” she lied back down as she said her final words. She sounded more like she couldn’t be bothered to question Dash more than she sounded like she was satisfied with the answers she was given.

Dash walked out of the door, and after hearing it close, she let out a big sigh of relief. ‘That was too close…’ she thought as she walked down the corridor and then out. As soon as she left, she found the pony she was waiting for. Or rather, he was waiting for her.

“Have a little trouble?” Soarin questioned as he saw Dash walk out the door.

“My roommate got eliminated today, so we were waiting to say goodbye to him. We've got no clue where he is though.” She said with a slight bit of frustration in her tone. But it subsided once she realised that it was now in the past, and it would do her no good worrying about it. “Thanks for waiting though. I could've sworn you'd take off.”

“Sorry Dash, you can't get rid of me that easily.” Soarin replied sarcastically, playfully patting her on the shoulder.

“I'll keep that in mind,” Dash responded with a smile. “So, where to tonight?”

“Pff,” Soarin shrugged, “didn’t really make any plans. Just...chilling really, I guess…”

“Well,” Rainbow hovered into the air, “lead the way with whatever you have in mind.”

“Wherever the sky takes us,” Soarin replied, flying in front of Dash. “Told you you’d have fun with Blaze and Surprise yesterday, didn’t I?” He said whilst looking back at her, smirking.

“Yeah, hilarious…” Dash replied sarcastically. “I’m surprised my brain didn’t start bleeding out of my head later in the afternoon. Are those two usually like that?”

“If Surprise and Blaze are in the same place, it’s almost guaranteed,” Soarin explained, pitching their flight path up and taking them above the clouds. “Those two are pretty much inseparable.”

“I guessed,” Dash replied with a chuckle, bringing a thought into her head. “Oh, do you know--”

She was cut off as Soarin suddenly screeched to a stop on the cloud they were flying over and extended his left foreleg to hold her back. Dash wasn’t expecting it, so she just casually flew into it and was stopped dead in her tracks. She wasn’t expecting Soarin to be so strong…

Without even waiting for her to ask what was going on, Soarin pointed with his hoof over the edge of the clouds to show what he was looking at. She saw Fleetfoot flying through the sky at a very high speed, with White Comet in tow only a couple of seconds behind her.

Soarin couldn’t help but let out a quiet chuckle at what she saw, drawing Dash’s attention.

He looked over his shoulder at her, “They’ve been a...point of interest, shall we say…” he explained mischievously.

“Oh yeah,” Dash rolled her eyes, “I’ve heard the rumors passing around as well.”

Soarin finally lowered his leg. “And to be honest, Fleet’s probably not that interested.” He said truthfully, then slowly lowered himself off the cloud and into a glide, presuming Dash would follow.

“What makes you say that?” Dash questioned. She didn’t really care, but in a strange way, she was interested in Soarin’s take on what Fleetfoot thought of Comet.

“Well, for as long as I’ve known Fleet, she’s never been interested in hooking up with anypony. I’ve been on a lot of nights out with her, and no matter who or what kind of stallion talks to her, as soon as they start coming onto her, she just completely shuts off. Loses all interest,” he explained to Dash.

“Pfft, don’t blame her,” Dash replied, rolling her eyes. “I'd do the same.”

“Oh yeah?” Soarin questioned, raising an eyebrow and curling one side if his lips up. “What makes you say that? Has a stallion ever found what makes you tick?” He said in combination with a wiggle from his eyebrows to help imply what he meant.

“...Well...no…” she mumbled through gritted teeth. She hesitated admitting it, since she didn’t want to bring up her past experiences. “I mean...I barely know him…”

“But even if you did, would you?” Soarin asked genuinely.

“Naaah,” She replied nonchalantly, batting her hoof, “I doubt there’s any stallion in Equestria that could take me on a ‘date’ that I would even consider enjoyable.”

“Challenge accepted!” Soarin said quickly whilst at the same time, hooking his left foreleg around her right and tugging her off towards Cloudsdale.

“Soarin! What are you doing!?” Dash almost yelled in confusion as she stabilized herself in the air so it didn’t feel so much like she was been dragged along.

“Taking you on a date,” he said bluntly, but jokingly. Like he always did. “And I guarantee you’ll enjoy this one!”

“Wait? Date!? What!?” Dash exclaimed, feeling the heat rising in her cheeks.

“You heard me!” Soarin replied, then started flying even faster with their forelegs still attached. “C’mon, we’ve got plenty to do!”

“Soarinnnn…” Dash whined as she covered her burning red face with her other free forehoof.

“Oh, so it is dating now?”

Sitting on a very high cloud way above the Wonderbolts HQ, Blaze had been observing them for some time. She was lying on her stomach with her head rested on her forehooves watching down below her. She held a pair of aviator sunglasses in her hoof, occasionally popping them off and on. It was turning into the evening, and the sun was beginning to set, causing it to shine straight into her eyes. But at the same time, because it was evening, it was getting darker, and putting sunglasses on made it hard to see anything.

“It must be official, you said it Soarin”

“He said what now?” Surprise’s voice suddenly spoke up beside her.

Blaze calmly looked to her left just to confirm that she had acknowledged Surprise’s presence. Surprise was sitting up next to her.

Blaze barely showed any response to Surprise’s sudden appearance. She didn’t bat an eye to however she manage to get up there without her seeing. She knew that there was never a clear answer with Surprise. It was Surprise. She just rolled with it.

“Oh, nothin’,” Blaze replied casually, not wanting to say anything just yet. “However, look down there,” she said and pointed with her hoof.

“Hmmm…” Surprise looked in the direction Blaze was pointing, “what’ve we got here?”

“Well, I probably don’t need to spell it out for you, but I will do anyway. That’s White Comet and Fleetfoot. Again.”

“Hold on,” Surprise bent around the edge of the cloud at what looked like seemingly impossible angles, but it didn’t shock Blaze because over the past few years she’s got to know Surprise, she learnt quite quickly that she had the flexibility of a rubber band.

Surprise sprung back up from her bend, box of popcorn and a drink carton in her hooves. “Go on,” she said, looking intensly towards Blaze.

“There’s those two, and there’s these two,” Blaze pointed over to the horizon whilst using her other hoof to steal some of Surprise’s popcorn. She didn’t even bother wondering how Surprise got that in the middle of the sky. Again, it was Surprise. Any answer would just lead to a brain implosion.

“Is that Rainbow Dash?” Surprise asked, shielding her eyes from the sun.

“It shure ish,” Blaze replied, her mouth still full. A mischievous smile forming across her face as she thought about her next sentence. She swallowed before speaking, “and he just asked Rainbow out on a date.”

A long, high-pitched gasp burst from Surprise that lasted at least five seconds. “B-but...that’s...that’s…” She was so shocked that she was struggling to get the words out.

“That’s a lot of things,” Blaze chimed in a very relaxed fashion. “But the best thing it is is an opportunity...see where I’m coming from?”

“Well yeah, but…” Surprise rubbed her chin with her hoof. “If Spitfire found out, she’d be soooooooooooooo super angry…”

“But I’m not Spitfire, I’m her WAAAY cooler sister,” Blaze declared. “And we’re not ratting him out,” she quickly clarified, eager to get that point off her chest. “He seems dumb and ignorant enough to do that himself anyway. It’s just an opportunity to tease him endlessly about it…” Her last sentence had a sadistic tone to it as she rubbed her hooves together. “I'm gonna have a field day with this…”

“But Blazey, do you really Soarin’s doing the right thing?” Surprise questioned.

“Pff, he’s stallion,” Blaze shrugged, “I gave up trying to understand ‘em ages ago.”

“ ‘Cos if he, like...goes through with it, that...makes things complicated.

“Meh,” Blaze shrugged again, “I can agree with ya there. But it shouldn’t stop him really. I just hope he knows what he’s doing…”

“Does he?”

“Pfff!” Blaze snorted instantly fell onto her back. “NOPE!” She exclaimed before bursting into fits of laughter. Surprise couldn’t help but join in.

“You really don't have to do this…” Rainbow Dash said for what felt like the millionth time.

“Too late! You shouldn’t have said anything,” Soarin replied smugly.

“Yeah...tell me something I don’t know…” Dash grumbled and rolled her eyes.

Soarin dropped down to the cloud that made up the streets of Cloudsdale. The sun was in its final stages of setting, and night was closing in. There were a fair few ponies around, but not enough to completely clog the streets. The wind had a cooler evening breeze to it, and multiple lights from the streets and building lit up the cloud-based city.

“Welp, here we are,” Soarin motioned with his hoof towards the building they were standing outside. They were standing outside the entrance of what looked like a really posh restaurant.

“But I’ve already eaten…” Dash reminded him.

“So have I,” Soarin replied, “I’m not eating much, just a little. May I?” He asked gracefully, extended his hoof out to her.

Rainbow glanced away for a second to let out a silent sigh. It wasn’t a joke. Looks like he was really going through with it. She REALLY didn’t want to, but...he’d gone through all the trouble to dragging her out here…

“I guess…” she replied as if she had no other choice, taking hold of his hoof.

As they joined the line, Dash felt the warm of Soarin’s hoof. But she also felt something else. It felt like it was vibrating slightly. Was he...trembling? Was he nervous about this whole thing? Dash could’ve sworn this whole thing was just him joking around. She found it incredibly surprising especially considering that he probably had much more… ‘experience’ in the subject than she did. Or maybe her presumption was wrong…

As they got in line, Dash noticed that everypony around them seemed be dressed up in very formal attire. And the building itself looked very posh as well. The cloud had been moulded flat so it looked more like a regular wooden or brick building. Not a quick or cheap job to do, as she found out when she tried it on her own house. This definitely wasn’t a place she would find herself under regular circumstances, nor would she expect anypony to pay for her at a place like. But it appeared somepony had the intention of doing just that…

As they quickly reached the front of the line, one of the pegasus waiters turned to greet them. He had a white coat with a well-groomed dark green mane. But his eyes immediately went wide upon sighting Soarin. “Oh no…” he spoke in a refined accent. “Ohh noo…” His hind legs shifted backwards as if he was getting ready to turn and run.

Soarin chuckled nervously, “Don’t worry, it’s just me and Rainbow Dash here tonight looking for a quiet meal.” He took his hoof off of Dash’s and instead wrapped his foreleg around her shoulders, pulling her gracefully towards him.

Dash immediately blushed, and blushed hard. She was sure that would be it, and they would get turned away. Once again, she didn’t doubt that Soarin was more experienced than her (not that she would admit it), but she couldn’t help but doubt this tactic of his. He was goofing about in what was obviously a very fancy restaurant, which already has a problem with him to begin with. Speaking of which, what was the background to that anyway?

The waiter raised an eyebrow at Soarin, “Hmmm…” His eyes narrowed as his glare continued to pierce through Soarin.

Soarin just remained silent and stood there. The only move he made was smiling a little harder and wider. Which Dash wasn’t even sure if that was a good move or not, as it only made him look crazier.

“...Very well…” The waiter spoke softly, then turned around. “This was please.”

Soarin took his foreleg off Dash’s shoulders and left his hoof out for Dash to hold as they walked through the restaurant. She still couldn’t help but feel awkward for them being the only pair not dressed up.

The waiter led them over to a table by the wall. It was a fairly busy restaurant, but it had a few spare tables.

“So...what was that all about?” Dash asked as they sat down opposite each other.

“Well…” Soarin smiled as he thought about it. “This was the site of the Wonderbolts Hearth’s Warming party last year...it got pretty messy…” He let out a few chuckles as he finished his sentence.

“Oh…” Dash smirked and chuffed at the thoughts of what went on. Although she wouldn’t know until she asked. “What happened?”

“Well…” Soarin looked around, “I’ll tell you later. There’s ponies around us eating…”

“Ohhh…” Dash immediately identified what he was implying, “that messy, huh?”

“Ye--...yeah...and no…” Soarin hesitantly explained.

Dash chuckled, “right, right…” she was starting to get thoughts of the type of things that went down. She picked up the menu and started reading what was on offer. Not only were the dishes called all different fancy things that she barely understood...but the price was almost enough to make her puke.

“Soarin, a decent meal here is easily a hundred bits per pony. Do you really want to go through with this?” She asked him. He’d already paid for quite a bit for her. She really didn’t want him to pay anymore than he needed. That, and she would struggle to pay this amount of money back.

“Don’t sweat it,” he replied casually. “I can afford it. Besides, I wouldn’t be much of gentlestallion if I expected you to pay, would I?”

Dash chuffed in response, “Alright…” She started scanning the menu to try and find something she liked. Or at least, try and identify what the titles of some of these dishes meant. She didn’t even recognise half the words in the descriptions. At least they were only sticking to starters, as they weren’t that hungry.

Having dined there before, Soarin didn’t have a problem ordering. But Rainbow was certain that she made a complete ass of herself trying to pronounce what she thought would be hers. Soarin pretty much corrected her every word.

The waiter took their menus and in exchange, placed two glasses on the table and filled them up with water from a jug, then left the jug on the table between them.

“So…” Soarin picked up his glass, “how you finding it?” He asked before taking a sip.

“Yeah, great…” Dash replied, looking away, “going great…”

Soarin couldn’t help but feel a slight tinge of awkwardness in the air around them. Had he pushed Dash too far out of her comfort zone? She did have a big objection after all. But it wasn’t only Dash, he was feeling something different about himself. He’d never been so concerned about his appearance in front of a friend before. Was it nervousness? Anxiety? Whatever it was, it was confusing the hell out of him.

When their food arrived, Dash finally got to figure out what she ordered. Since she didn’t really know, she just went for something reasonably priced, for Soarin’s sake. It was...some sort of potato salad? Or so she thought. Everything was laid out so neatly and decorative. Not that it would stay that way for long.

“Anything else?” The waiter asked.

“No, thank you,” Soarin replied, but looked at Dash to make sure that there was nothing else. Dash just shook her head to confirm it.

The waiter did a swift turn on the spot. “Enjoy,” he said, then left.

Dash took a big bite into hers and it immediately made her regret her choice of eating earlier. She’d have rather waited and had this instead. The food was absolutely amazing. The flavours made her tastebuds tingle, and she felt like she could just drift away in a sea of flavour.

“It’s good, right?”

She blinked as Soarin’s voice broke her out of her trance. She swallowed before answering, “Amazing.”

“It’s not in the list of top five restaurants in Cloudsdale for nothing. You get what you paid for.” Soarin replied as he tucked into his food.

“How did you guys end up here for a Hearth’s Warming party anyway?” Dash asked in-between bites. She was enjoying her food so much, she struggled to find time to speak. She considered it pretty normal for a high-ranking organisation to go to a high-ranking restaurant But from what she’s seen of the Wonderbolts, they don’t seem like the fancy dinner party type...

“We operate on a rota each year on who’s gonna organise it. It was Spitfire’s turn last year, and all she said was that her mom recommended this place. And the rest is history…” he began to chuckle, “hilarious, filthy, blurry, destructive history…”

“You seriously need to tell me this story at some point,” Dash replied with a smile.

“When you’ve not got food in your stomach…” Soarin said with a wink, then noticed something. “Uh, you got a little bit…” Soarin pointed to the position on his cheek where he saw Rainbow had some excess sauce on hers.

“Huh?” Dash picked up her napkin and tried to wipe the area she thought Soarin was pointing to.

“No, to the right,” Soarin instructed.

Dash moved her hoof to the right, but still couldn’t feel anything.

“No wait, my right,” Soarin corrected.

Dash moved her hoof in the opposite direction, hoping that got it.

“Not quite,” Soarin informed before picking up his own napkin and leaning across the table. His hoof slowly moved towards her before he gently placed it on her cheek and wiped off what she missed. “There we go.”

Dash immediately froze as soon as the napkin on Soarin’s hoof made contact with her cheek. She felt the place he rubbed get hotter, and the heat slowly spread outwards across the rest of her face. She wasn’t expecting him to do that at all. She was pretty close to getting it anyway? Why did he do that? Unless...he wanted to?

Dash quickly pushed that thought to the back of her mind. There was no way that Soarin was trying to pull something like that...right?

Although her memory didn’t take long to put two and two together and recall someone who would. “Thanks, mom,” She replied sarcastically.

“To be honest, I was contemplating having a laugh watching you try and get it yourself, but..” Soarin responded to sarcasm with more sarcasm, then shrugged. Causing them both to chuckle.

Dash’s only regret was not arranging this sooner, so she could’ve skipped dinner back at the Wonderbolts HQ. The food here was so good. Although for that price, she’d damn hope so. Just the price of a starter here would be the price of a full meal anywhere else.

Soarin paid the bill and led Dash out of the restaurant and back onto the streets of Cloudsdale. “Fancy coffee or anything?” He asked. He didn’t really have anything planned. He was just rolling with the punches based on what Dash wanted to do.

“Nah, I’m good,” Dash replied casually, then smirked as an idea entered her head. “But I’ll race you back!” She shot directly upwards from the spot, trying to get above the height of the city to give her a clear run.

“Hey, that wasn’t a fair start!” Soarin complained as he followed her upwards.

Dash cleared Cloudsdale and marked the Wonderbolts HQ. All she had to do was fly as fast as she could in its direction. The only obstacles were some of Cloudsdale’s higher structures.

She pumped her wings hard and accelerated as fast as she could. Relishing in the slight euphoria that she just outwitted a Wonderbolt. However, the feeling didn’t last long as a white blur whooshed over her head.

“Gotta keep up!” Soarin yelled as he zoomed past her.

“Don’t doubt it!” Dash replied as she chased him. Using some of the knowledge she had obtained from being around White Comet, she pulled up and into the up-wash air circulations he was producing in order to make herself fly faster.

When they started turning corners, Dash could plainly see the amount of experience Soarin had compared to her. He was so smooth and stable through the corners compared to her. That didn’t mean she wasn’t fast however. He just seemed to be doing it a lot easier.

As they flew downwards, she saw a slow right followed by a sharp left, which had so much similarity to a scenario she faced before, it triggered a memory. ‘I wonder how Comet did it…’ She thought as she accelerated towards the corner.

Soarin slowed for the corner, but was taken by surprise when he saw Dash race past on his right side. His eyes widened and his lips parted at the sight of her about to take the corner at the speed she was going to. The question was, how would she do it?

‘So he held it to the right…’

Dash went through the steps in her head as she tried to replicate what she saw Comet do. She pulled her forelegs to the right, trying to hold as much of her weight on the right side as possible.

‘And then threw it all to the left!’

She eyed her approach for the left turn that was coming up. She marked her entry, then made her move, flinging all her weight across to the left side. Rather than feeling her flank stepping out, she felt the exact opposite; her front half being pulled around. It felt like she was being pulled around the corner on rails. She started to see how this trick could come in handy.

Or she would, if she didn’t start to feel herself rotate more than she wanted. She felt her body pitch past ninety degrees and keep rolling over, and she kept yawing around to the left. The brief feeling of speed was replaced by a feeling she knew all too well. She was spinning.

She tried her best to correct herself, but she didn’t have much time to react before she landed in the cloud with a moderately loud POOF. “Ughhh…” She moaned out of a combination of frustration and exertion.

Soarin would be lying if he said he didn’t see it coming, but a part of him honestly though Dash was going to make it until he saw her start to spin. He gently slowed down and landed on top of the cloud to help her. “You overcooked that one a little bit, didn’t ya?” He said as he offered a hoof out to help her up.

“Pff,” Dash spat some cloud out of her mouth, “don’t remind me.” She said angrily, looking away. Her face lit up like a match in a dark room, she was clearly embarrassed from screwing up in front of somepony who was meant to be judging her on her flying ability.

All Soarin could do was chuckle at the situation and say something that he was ninety-nine percent sure that he was about to regret. “You know, you’re cute when you blush like that.” That was it. He was sure that was a death sentence right there.

“Hey, you know I hate being called that…” Dash moaned in response as she looked towards him.

Soarin felt a smile involuntarily creep across his face. Since she wasn’t going crazy at him over it, he just saw it as a sign that he could prod further, and just reverted to the way he would respond to any other situation; serious sarcasm.

“I know,” he replied as he hovered into the air. “That’s why I say it. Cute…”

“Stop it!” Dash said as she playfully tried to tackle him, but Soarin managed to move up a few feet before she reached him.

“I would, but you’ll have to catch me first!” He declared before shooting off into the distance.

“Oh, I’ll catch you alright!” Dash retorted as she immediately gave chase on the final stretch towards the HQ.

Soarin had built up quite a bit of a lead, but Dash was in his wake, doing her best to catch up. Since she had a slight altitude advantage, gravity was on her side as they descended towards the HQ.

Dash didn’t concentrate on the HQ however. She only watched Soarin. She was determined to get him. Even if this was just a joke, she was defiantely taking it way too seriously. She knew she was, but she didn’t care. Besides, Soarin always gets away with his sarcasm always sounding so serious. Why can’t she do the same?

She was slowly closing on Soarin, but all of a sudden, Soarin started slowing down. Why? Whatever the reason, Dash would use it to her advantage. She didn’t slow down at all. She maintained her speed as she got to within tackling distance of Soarin.



Dash only celebrated her victory for a second as she only just noticed the reason Soarin was slowing down.

They were near the HQ.

Quite near to the HQ.

Very near to the HQ.

As in only a few feet from tapping their hooves down on the cloud outside the HQ.

Since Dash saw this one coming, she used what little time she had to brace for impact. “OOOF!” They both landed hard on the clouds with a loud POOF and rolled a few times before coming to a stop.

“Ughh...two times in one night?” Dash complained as she rubbed her head. “Not good…”

“Well, that was the last thing I was expecting.” Soarin commented as he blinked a few times and got his bearings himself. He tried to move, but his hooves were trapped under something. It was only then that he noticed that he was awkwardly placed on top of Rainbow Dash. “Uhh, Dash…?” He implied, feeling himself starting to blush.

“Huh?” Dash felt something moving on her back as Soarin spoke. She looked down to see Soarin lying on top of her with his torso pressed into hers. “Oh! uhh…” she extended her wings and pushed herself and him up a little bit, just enough for Soarin to free his hooves trapped under her.

Soarin took his hooves back and pushed himself up and off Rainbow Dash. He took a step back then offered Rainbow a hoof up. Rainbow grasped his hoof and pulled herself up. Since Soarin was obviously strong, he had no trouble in helping her up.

“Hehe...sorry…” Soarin apologised, feeling his blush intensify. He looked away and scratched the back of his head with left forehoof.

“Don’t worry...i-it was my fault...hehe…” Dash responded nervously as she did the same.

“Ahem,” Soarin cleared his throat and looked at her, “So...guess that’s the end. Did you enjoy it?” Soarin asked.

“Huh?” Dash looked back at him, wondering what he meant.

“The date, I-I mean…” He clarified awkwardly.

“Oh! Uhh…” Dash never thought she would say this about a date. “It was...fun…” she admitted, sounding as if she was quite speechless. Never in a million years she thought she would’ve used ‘date’ and ‘fun’ in the same context.

“Oh? Good, good…” Soarin replied, smiling. “Would you...like to do it again sometime?”

Normally, Dash would have a pretty clear-cut answer for this. However, she found herself leaning away from that answer. “Uhh…” she had to really think about it. Normally, somepony as awesome as her would never even consider something as uncool as this. But that aside...she actually enjoyed being with Soarin. She enjoyed spending time with him. And he was an awesome stallion, right? He was a Wonderbolt for crying out loud. A WONDERBOLT! But a con would be that, according to Soarin, they would both get in trouble if they were caught. It could be interpreted as Dash trying to score some ‘bonus points’ with one of the judges, and get her disqualified. Not to mention it would put Soarin’s credibility with his fellow Wonderbolts into question. But part of her liked the thought of the secrecy. It made it sound slightly more daring, and got her adrenaline pumping.

And with all that in mind…

“Yeah...yeah, I would.” She answered Soarin.

“You would!?” Soarin almost jumped for joy. “Great! Um...I’ll...let you know when we can hang out next. But, uh…” his speech became more broken down and awkward. He sounded as if he was shocked by her response. “But we’ve gotta get back now. D-Don’t wanna tire you out for tomorrow.”

“Yeah, haha…” Dash replied, the same awkward tone in her voice. “Well…” she turned towards the door, “see ya tomorrow, Soarin.”

“Yeah, see ya,” Soarin replied before turning around to go back the way he came. He would walk a path around the outside of the HQ to go through a back door that led up to all of their private rooms a lot quicker.

He thought about all the events that transpired tonight, and the reality of what just happened slowly caught up with him. The weight of it slowly built up as he walked along, as as he neared the door, it all suddenly dropped on him.

“Wait...did...I just…” he looked around in confusion, not looking for anything in particular, but hoping it would help him think straight. “Am I…”

“♫Soarin and Rainbow sittin’ in a tree… ♫” A familiar high-pitched girly voice sang above him before breaking out into fits of giggles.

Soarin groaned quietly to himself as his train of thought was derailed. Well, not derailed, but rather the cargo it was carrying suddenly doubled in weight. “Oh great, my stalker has shown her face…” Soarin replied, not even bothering to look up to confirm who it was.

Blaze glided down from the room and landed in front of Soarin, still giggling. “Don’t be so grumpy, Soarin,” she playfully swatted his shoulder. “Everypony likes somepony at some point. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

“I don’t ‘like her’ like that,” he retorted unconvincingly, looking away from Blaze.

“Sure ya don’t, sure ya don’t,” Blaze responded sarcastically, rolling her eyes.

“I don’t!” Soarin exclaimed with what sounded like desperation at her. “We’re good friends...that’s it,” he clarified.

Blaze kept her goofy grin, but raised an eyebrow at Soarin. “Your sarcasm is so good, I can’t tell if you're being serious or not.”

“I’m dead serious, Blaze.” Soarin said in a lowered tone, implying he was done messing around.

Blaze chuckled softly, “You really don’t see what’s happening do you?” She questioned.

“See what?” Soarin asked, shrugging.

“Awwwww…” Blaze cooed, before throwing her arms around Soarin’s neck and pulling him into a tight hug. “You’re soo cute when you’re clueless!” She chimed and gave Soarin a noogie at the same time.

“Thanks,” Soarin replied, definitely sarcastic this time. He didn’t even try to return the hug to Blaze, as he had nothing to return. “Can you get off me?” He asked bluntly.

Blaze complied, returned to her own four hooves, and let out a few last chuckles. “Alright, joke time’s over. Serious advice time.” She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly to calm herself before looking back at Soarin. “Soarin, if you don’t have those feelings, that’s fine. But have you ever stopped to consider little Dashie’s feelings, hmm?”

Soarin opened his mouth to respond, but...he couldn’t. Annoyingly, Blaze had raised a good point. As usual. Blaze had a habit of toying with poor ponies for a few minutes beforehoof and not actually giving them the advice she wanted to give until she’s had her fun.

He flattened his ears and looked towards the ground as he contemplated. Here he was, struggling to comprehend what he was up to himself, but he never once stopped to consider how Dash was reading his actions. Could it be possible that she was taking them as meaning something more than just the friendship Soarin was convinced was all they were? Nah, surely not Dash. Of all ponies, Dash doesn’t seem like the type to fall in love like that. But it was still a possibility. Or maybe she just liked hanging around with him a lot? All these possibilities...but not enough time to consider them all...

“Thought so,” Blaze replied, and swiftly turned around. “Oh, and Soarin?”

Soarin’s ears perked up and he looked up at Blaze.

“I know you’d usually get in big trouble for this, but don’t worry, your secrets safe with me.” Blaze replied with a wink.

“Yeah, so you can use if for gossip later,” Soarin clarified, a slight smile easing across his face.

“Hey, I don’t gossip,” Blaze retorted, “I keep it all up here until the time comes where I can use it to my advantage.” She tapped her forehead to show what she meant. “You’re confusing me with High Winds.” She started to walk back presumably the same way Soarin was going.

“Oh, so you can blackmail me with it instead?” Soarin replied sarcastically.

“Pff, what kind of pony do you take me for? I’m always giving you advice, and all you ever do is shoot me down.” Blaze explained. “At least you didn’t confuse me for my sister.”

“Well, I usually hear you before I see you. That kinda gives it away...” Soarin explained as he pushed the door open into the HQ…

Dash walked down the corridor back into the HQ. She heard a few conversations, but not many. Most ponies had probably gone back to their rooms at this point in the evening anyway. All the lights were still on though, there was no sign of the Wonderbolts beginning to close up shop.

As she reached the mess hall, she took another look at the eliminations board. It all looked the same, apart from one thing; Riptides name had been taken off the board. Dash could see the smudge marks left from where it had been rubbed off.

“What the…?” She said to herself as she tried to imagine what happened. Had Rapidfire changed his mind? Was Riptide trying to do something clever? Whatever it was, she was about to find out.

She walked hastily down the corridor down to her room. Once she was there, she pushed the door open and saw Riptide sitting on his bed reading one of his magazines.

Not bothering to say anything else to any of her other roommates, she marched straight up to Riptide’s bed. “Riptide, what’s going on?” She straight-up asked.

“Hm?” Riptide looked up from his magazine.

“Your name was on the eliminations board. But now it’s not. How did you do it?” She continued to question.

“I dunno Dash, the ‘Bolt’s must’ve just changed their mind,” he commented in his usual carefree tone combined with a shrug.

No, that definitely wasn’t convincing for Dash. She knew firsthoof how difficult it was to change the mind of a Wonderbolt.“But...how? There’s usually no changing their minds. Did you speak to somepony?”

“Nah, it must’ve just been my charm,” he replied nonchalantly as he bought his hoof up to rub the base of his neck.

“Same story we’ve all got,” Dahlia suddenly butted in.

Dash glanced at Dahlia before glancing back at Riptide. She thought for two seconds, but then decided to give up. “Pff, whatever…” Dash stopped trying to get anything else out of him and walked back over to her bed. Given the way Riptide’s mouth tended to run though, she could tell he would spill out how he did it eventually anyway.

“Say Dash,” Dahlia’s words made Dash stop in front of her bed. “You were out a little longer than your ‘quick flight’ suggested.”

Dash immediately turned to look at her. Her eyes were slightly wide from being caught off guard, but she tried to keep as straight a face as possible.

“What exactly were you doing?” Dahlia asked the exact question on her mind as if it was just a regular old question.

“Oh, I uh,” Dash’s eyes darted all over the room as she rummaged through her brain for semi-believable answers. “I, just...fly...and stuff...around town…hehe…” she scratched the back of her head and focused back on Dahlia. “I uh...had to...pick a few things up. Run a few errands…y’know…”

Dash so just wanted to climb into her bed, crawl under the covers and pretend she didn’t exist for a little while so everypony would forget that she just said that. How would anypony believe that?

A half-smile formed on Dahlia’s face and her eyes narrowed. “Fair enough,” she said contently, then bought up a magazine and shifted her focus to that instead.

Dash could read that look a mile away. She knew. She defiantely knew. She might not know exactly, but she definitely knew that something wasn’t right. Dash could only hope that she didn’t know the full story. But even if she did, Dahlia seemed like a trustworthy pony. She seemed to care enough about everypony else. Maybe that’s why she didn’t say? Was she waiting until she could speak to her in private about it? Or maybe she wouldn’t say anything at all? All these possibilities, but Dash would just have to tackle them when they came.

For now, she needed to focus on one thing; the challenges that she would face in tomorrow's tests...and Soarin.

Wait, no, not Soarin...okay, maybe a little Soarin, but mostly tomorrow’s tests...but she just couldn’t get Soarin out of her mind. She’d made a great friend out of him, but he somehow had made an imprint in her brain that she was struggling to get rid of. And what was this strange feeling she was getting whenever she thought about him? It was a weird combination of excitement and anxiety. Something that she only really felt whenever she was showing off a new trick. But when she did that, she normally felt the adrenaline first before that. With Soarin, there was no adrenaline. It was like she felt completely calm around him, yet that feeling of anxiety still kept her on edge.

Anyway, tomorrow’s tests...

Author's Note:

Some fluffyness that I've been really desperate to write for a while :yay:

I was trying really hard to concentrate on my descriptions, speech and interactions this chapter. I hope it came out well.

Thanks for reading! :twilightsmile: