• Published 26th Apr 2015
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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 29

Dash flicked the shower off and sighed, basking in the warm air left by the steam. She had just woken up from the best night's sleep she had ever had in a while. Getting the events of yesterday off her shoulders really made her sleep like a baby.

She quickly dried herself off with a towel and checked herself out in the mirror. She ran a brush through her mane, making sure each strand of her rainbow was perfectly in line. Of course, it would probably be knocked around a bit throughout the day, but it just needed to be perfect for this afternoon. This afternoon she would officially be adding her name to the list of Wonderbolts. A moment she had dreamed about her entire life.

She finished getting herself ready and picked up all her toiletries. She wouldn’t need them here again for a little while. She saw Bright Skies packing her things as she left the bathroom. “Packing up already?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“Yeah, we’ve got time, but to be honest, once today is over and done with, I’m looking forward to doing sweet, sweet nothing for a little while,” Bright Skies admitted with a smile, looking up at Dash. Her eyes were glazing over just thinking about it.

“Same here,” Dash replied, smiling. “I can’t wait to start...but I do need some rest.” She walked over to her bags by her bed and put her toiletries inside. “I’m going to get breakfast if you want to come with me?”

Bright Skies paused what she was doing for a moment, “Ehhh…yeah, sure,” She put one last item in her bag before turning around to face Dash. “You’re right, packing can wait. I think Comet and Dahlia are already in the canteen.”

Dash and Bright walked down the corridor towards the canteen, getting out the way for multiple crew ponies that paced back and forth past them. The HQ was getting crazy, ponies rushing everywhere to get things set up. Dash heard that they were planning to do it in the gym as the Wonderbolts didn’t really have any big presentation or gathering type areas.

Dash pushed through the door to the canteen and Dahlia spotted her and Bright the moment they entered. “Morning!” Dahlia greeted. “You two must be so excited.”

“You bet I am!” Dash replied over to her from afar, trotting over to the canteen to grab herself some breakfast. While she still wanted to watch what she was eating, Dash felt she deserved a little indulgence today. She got extra portions of pancakes along with toast and jam. The pancakes looked gorgeous, but she couldn’t resist the smell of fresh toast.

She took her plate down to the table and sat with Dahlia and Comet. “After all we’ve been, I couldn’t be happier. It’s gonna be something I’ll remember for the rest of my life…” as Dash talked, it suddenly dawned on her that she may be upsetting Dahlia, seeing as she didn’t make the cut...but she seemed to be taking it alright. Better than Dash did anyway...perhaps she already had something in mind?

“What about you? What will you do now?” Dash decided to ask.

Dahlia shrugged, “I was happy with my life, I wouldn’t change anything. I came here out of opportunity more than anything, to be honest…” She explained, then smiled, “But I was just reading through their internal job listings, and I came across a vacancy for a regional representative where I live in Fillydelphia.”

“That’s great!” Bright Skies caught the last part of the conversation as she took her seat. “Have you already applied?”

“No, I’m going to speak to Captain Spitfire first and see what she thinks. I think I’ve proved myself by making it this far, and I’m still one of the highest ranks you can get as a reservist, so I think I’ve got a pretty good chance.” Dahlia explained.

“Yeah, it would be great if we could still hear from you and work together from time to time,” Bright added, tucking into her breakfast.

“Oh don’t you worry about that,” Dahlia wrapped a wing around Bright’s shoulders and gave her a little hug. “We’re gonna keep in contact, I can assure you.”

Dash chuckled at the exchange. Dahlia had played an enormous role in bringing Bright Skies out of her shell and helping her become the confident Wonderbolt she was about to be. It was no wonder that Bright valued their friendship.

“How about you, Comet?” Bright asked.

Comet chuffed and shrugged, “Honestly, I’m just sticking around because it’s the polite and professional thing to do. But really, now I’ve got the money, I’m gonna enter every Equestrian national race I can get my hooves into and get my name out there.” He explained, his face lit up as he thought about it.

“You’ve really been thinking about that for a long time, huh?” Dahlia asked, noticing the expression on his face.

“You bet,” He replied, nodding. “I’ve been looking forward to it my entire life, and now it’s right at my hooftips. No red tape or convoluted trickery needed.”

Dash listened to him as he explained it. Sounds like he really had everything figured out. She was glad it all worked out for everypony in the end. She didn’t know about her other two competitors, but to be honest, she had hardly spoken to them. She could probably remember every conversation she’s ever had with them. And Forester doesn’t say much to begin with. She wondered if she would be a bit more friendly now that they weren’t directly competing with each other.

Her ears twisted as she heard the banging and crashing of tables and chairs being collected up by the various crew ponies helping setup the parade. She presumed that they needed to borrow some extra furniture from somewhere, so the canteen seemed like the obvious place.

Dash headed for the door after she finished breakfast, but before she could even hold her hoof up to open it, it swung open from the other side.

“Sorry, coming through!”

Dash and her friends jumped out the way as two crew ponies ran through the canteen and through to the other door going to the opposite side of the building.

“Geez, it’s like Manehatten rush hour in here,” Dahlia commented, walking out the door.

“It is a bigger event than normal, though. Usually, they just give out public tours and not much else,” Bright Skies added.

“Yeah, but even still, everypony is running around like a headless chicken,” Dahlia replied. “It’s unlike them to be so disorganised.”

The four of them trotted back to their room, away from the chaos. “I guess we could at least finish packing…” Dahlia said, walking over to her bed.

“Really? We’ve got all day.” Dash joked, smirking.

“Says the pony who travelled the lightest,” Dahlia retorted, pointing at Dash’s single saddlebag.

Dash rolled her eyes and shook her head, “I guess…” As much as she joked, Dahlia did actually raise a good point. She could do everything she needed to do now quite easily. With that in mind, Dash decided to copy everypony else and finish packing. Except she didn’t exactly do it...neatly... She just shoved everything into her bag, knowing that she would have plenty of time off before officially starting work for the Wonderbolts to sort everything out.

“Aaaannd...done.” Dash declared, clipping her saddlebags shut and turning around. “How about you guys?” She asked, even though the answer was obvious as they were still packing.

“No Dash, I’m not done yet,” Dahlia replied in a groany voice, although Dash could tell she was being sarcastic.

Dash chuckled, “Well, I’m gonna go get some fresh air. Before my parents arrive…” She groaned a little towards the latter part of her sentence and rolled her eyes.

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing my parents as well,” Dahlia replied. She stopped packing and turned to face Dash. “What are your parents like with stuff like this anyway? Do they get loud?”

“Oh, you have no idea,” Dash groaned and rolled her eyes again, “They can be so annoying, I almost considered not telling them I was here. I appreciate the support, but...it’s just too much all the time from them.”

“Heh, opposite feeling to me then,” Dahlia replied .”I know my parents are always gonna be happy and proud of whatever I do, but they’re such killjoys. I’ll be lucky to get a clap from them.” She glanced over at Comet. “How about you, Comet? You’re folks gonna be here?”

“You bet,” Comet replied, “I think Mom had a hell of a time convincing my Dad away from work, but I think they’ll both be here.”

“Are they gonna be pleased with your decision? What are you gonna tell them?” Dahlia asked.

“Ehhhh…” Comet shrugged, “Dad’s probably gonna moan something about ‘getting a proper job’ or something like that, but we’ll work past it I’m sure.” He explained. “What about you? Are you worried about your parents finding out you didn’t make it?”

“Nah,” Dahlia batted her hoof, “Honestly I’m just ecstatic that I got as far as I did, and they’ll think the same thing. If I get this job, I think I’ll be set for life, to be honest.”

Dash looked at the two of them exchanging life stories, but she looked down at Bright Skies, who was just keeping her head down and packing her things into her bag. She didn’t look very engaged in the conversation...but then the reason hit Dash like a freight train. She doesn’t have anypony coming to see her. She doesn’t have anypony coming to see the most significant moment of her life. And here they were talking about all the friends and family coming to see them. Dash suddenly felt awful about bringing the topic up.

“Hey Bright,” Dash cut in, causing Bright Skies to look over at her. “Sorry if all this is upsetting you, but I just wanted to remind you that you’re about to join a much bigger family.”

“Oh Dash,” Bright Skies batted her hoof, smiling, “I don’t mind, I’ve lived my entire life alone, I’m used to it…” she explained, then chuffed. “Besides, if I think about it too hard, I might start crying prematurely.” She joked.

Dash chuckled as Bright explained it. She was so happy she was able to twist it around into a joke, unlike the old days. “Anyway, I’m gonna get some fresh air. See you in a bit,” Dash replied, opening the door--

“Whoa!”

A crew pony dived out of the way of the opening door but didn’t stop to talk. He just carried on down the corridor.

Dash glanced down the corridor and watched him run, raising an eyebrow. Just what was going on? Everypony seemed to have so much to do and not enough time.

She walked down the other way of the corridor and headed to the front door, walking out through the glass door and feeling the sun beating down onto her fur. It was a perfect day for a ceremony. She took a deep breath of the fresh Cloudsdale air and flew upwards to look over the horizon, embracing the gentle wind as she took flight. But one thing really stood out…there was a lot of crew ponies flying about. Some stationary, some flying in patterns as if they were on some sort of patrol.

Dash perched on a cloud and looked around. Something was up, she knew it...but what?

“Morning.”

She smiled and turned her head in the direction of the voice, watching Soarin land and perch himself on the cloud next to her. “You look a lot better than you did yesterday…”

“Well, I guess a bit of beauty sleep does wonders,” Dash replied, “But I’ve also put some effort in to make sure I look extra good for my photo later. Glad you noticed,” She raised her hoof into a little pose and fluttered her eyelids at him.

Soarin smirked, “Well, you look beautiful. But I was gonna say that anyway,” Soarin added, winking. He leaned into her and planted a kiss on her cheek, wrapping his wing around her shoulders.

Dash smiled and looked over the horizon. “What is going on with all these ponies around anyway?” She asked, thinking Soarin might know.

“I don’t know the full details, all I know is that they caught somepony sneaking around. Don’t know who it is, all we’ve worked out so far is that he or she is a unicorn. I’ve got no idea what they’re doing here, but on top of trying to set up the ceremony...yeah, things are getting hectic.”

Dash raised an eyebrow, “You don’t think they’re trying to sabotage us do you?”

“I don’t know,” Soarin replied, “But Spitfire wants to find out. They seem to have gone for now, though. Let me know if you spot them though, they were wearing a cloak, so not exactly hard.”

Dash chuffed, “Yeah, that’ll stand out a bit. Wouldn’t it better if they just wore nothing and blended in?”

Soarin rubbed his chin, “Unless they don’t want anypony to know their identity…”

“Good point,” Dash added, raising an eyebrow and staring out onto the horizon as she thought about it. She looked down at Ponyville, nothing more than a few dots from this view.

“You looking forward to seeing your friends?” Soarin asked, picking up on what she was looking at.

Dash nodded, “I can’t wait for them to see me.”

“Me too,” Soarin added, “I’ve never met Princess Twilight yet. What is she like as a friend?”

Dash chuckled, “She’s something all right. She acts much the same as you’ve seen her to in public. She’s smart, and she knows what to say when she knows what she’s doing. She can get a bit...crazy when she doesn’t though.”

“Really?” Soarin laughed.

“You bet,” Dash nodded, “We’ve even made up a word for it. When she gets into the groove, we call it ‘Twilighting’”

Soarin laughed even harder, “That’s hilarious!”

“I know,” Dash laughed along with him, “But don’t tell her I told you that. She’ll kill me...”

“I won’t, I won’t,” Soarin acknowledged, batting a hoof at Dash then looking back down at the Wonderbolts HQ. “I better get back to helping. Otherwise, Spitfire will wonder where I am.”

“Don’t work yourself too hard,” Dash instructed, tugging him closer and resting her head on his shoulder. “I want you to come out with us afterwards.”

“I won’t,” Soarin replied, giving her a gentle kiss on her forehead before releasing his embrace. He rolled off the cloud, spread his wings and let the air current take him. “See you later!”

Dash waved at him as he glided down towards the HQ. She took one last look again over at the horizon, looking down at Ponyville. It wouldn’t be long now, she could almost feel herself shaking with anticipation.


“Are you sure I look okay?” Rainbow Dash asked once again, looking at her reflection in the glass window and adjusting her mane with her hooves as well as brushing down her dress uniform to make sure it was pristine.

Dahlia rolled her eyes, "For the millionth time Dash, yes. You look fine."

"I know, but am I perfect?" Dash continued to question.

Bright Skies chuckled, "For a pony that normally doesn't care too much about her fashion sense, you really are overthinking this."

"I know," Dash replied, "It's just the biggest moment of my life...I just want to make sure I look my best."

Dahlia chuckled and took a step over to Dash, gently placing her hoof on her chin and raising her head up. “Sometimes it just works better if you don’t think too hard.” She adjusted the navy blue cap on Dash’s forehead to perfectly align it down the middle of her head. The Wondebolt logo on the middle of it glistened brightly in the sunlight coming through the window.

“Thanks,” Dash replied, nodding, “I want to look at my best for this.”

“You will do,” Dahlia replied while turning back towards the window. “Ooooh, they’re here, they’re here!” Dahlia eagerly babbled, pressing her face against the glass.

“Where?” Dash did the same, shimmying closer against the glass. The rim of her cap dinged against the glass, causing her to back off a little, but she could still see.

From the window they were looking from, they could see the entrance to the HQ and the skyline beyond it. A purple hot air balloon slowly came up from behind the cloud cover, slowly drifting towards the HQ. As it got higher above the clouds, the wicker basket suspended below it came into view, revealing the ponies it carried.

“Are my parents there?” Dahlia’s eyes scanned the basket, trying to make out the ponies there. “Oh, there they are!” She tapped on the glass with her hoof.

Dash looked down into the basket. She could see quite a few ponies in there, but her dad had the same mane as her, making him easier to spot. Beside him was her mom, Windy Whistles. And talking to them, she saw her friends. Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy. To the side of them was Twilight with Spike, who seemed to be deep in conversation with some of the other ponies on the blimp. Dash smirked, knowing that Twilight was still adjusting to the fame that came with princessdom.

“It’s a shame we’re not allowed to see them just yet,” Dahlia commented. “I mean, for you guys sure, it makes the effect of you receiving your badges more powerful. But for the rest of us, it’s just painful.”

“...All in time, I guess.” Dash replied, not really having much else to say about it. She glanced beside her, looking at Dahlia, who still had her eyes fixated out the window. She looked back behind her at Bright Skies. Bright was just standing awkwardly in the corridor, looking down the stairs at the end.

Dash’s ears flattened at the sight. It only served as a reminder that Bright had nopony coming to see her, or give her a hug, or tell her they’re proud of her on the biggest day of her life. Dash almost felt guilty, but her ears perked up as she formulated an idea. She glanced back out the window, seeing the hot air balloon parked safely on the cloud and Wonderbolt crew ponies helping the occupants disembark.

She smiled and glanced over at Bright Skies, “Hey Bright?”

Bright looked over her shoulder back at Rainbow Dash.

“Wanna meet a princess?”

Bright’s eyes widened, “A-are you--”

“Course I am!” Dash finished before she even had the chance. “After we’ve tossed our caps into the air, I’ll introduce you. You’re both eggheads, I think you’ll get along,” Dash teased with a wink.

“I-I…” Bright smiled, “Dash, thanks so much.”

“Ah, don’t sweat it,” Dash replied, batting a hoof. “Seriously, sweat won’t be a good look for your photo later.”

Bright Skies chuckled, “We better get going,” she said as started trotting down the stairs with a nice spring in her step, “Don’t wanna be late for our big day.”

“Right…” Dash agreed, nodding. She glanced out the window again, seeing all the ponies disembarking. At least the cloud walking spell worked so Pinkie Pie and Applejack didn’t fall straight through. Dash observed some of the other ponies as well just before she started walking. Presumably, some of them were other parents, but she also noticed a couple in military uniforms. Perhaps they were there to see them off too?

Dash headed down the stairs towards where they were told to wait behind the gym. They were probably going way too early, but the last thing she wanted to do was be late on a big day like this. The whole building was alive with activity, only making it seem more exciting.

They trotted down the corridor the opposite way as if they were taking a backdoor into the gym to avoid any contact with the ponies that had come to see them before their big reveal...Dash eyed the door as they approached it.

“I’ll be back in a minute,” Dahlia continued trotting past the door they were meant to go through.

“Alright,” Dash acknowledged, pushing the door open.

“Don’t be late!” Bright called.

“I won’t!” Dahlia answered back, trotting away.

Dash stepped inside with Bright Skies. The room they were in was usually a storeroom used to store the gym equipment. But it appeared it had been emptied out to make room for their staging before the march out. The heat difference hit her as soon as she opened the door. It was tolerable, but a tad too hot. That’s what happens when you cram too many bodies into a small room. Dash saw the ponies that made up the marching band on her left and Forester sitting on a bench on the right.

“Hey,” Dash said to Forester while trotting in,. He simply used a nod as his acknowledgement of her presence. He didn’t really talk too much, Dash would have to probe that once they started working together. At least he proved he had the skills…

To her left, Dash saw a dozen, maybe more ponies with various instruments all getting dressed up to play some marching music as they marched out. Seeing it put a smile on her face. This really was going to be a big moment, and all her friends were gonna be there to see it. They’d never practised marching with a band, but Dash had seen it plenty of times in the various parades the Wonderbolts had been part of and also in many movies. She knew what kind of music to expect.

She looked down on the ground just before the double-doors that led out into the gym. On the ground were thin strips of paper with names written on it. It was easy to work out that this was meant to be the order they were marching out in. Dash simply took her spot, with Bright Skies taking the position in front of her.

“So Bright, what does it feel like to be leading a march?” Dash asked, standing in her general place. They didn’t have to stand perfectly at attention yet, they still had plenty of time.

“I feel honoured,” Bright replied, grinning. “I just hope I don’t screw it up with everypony’s eyes on me.”

“You won’t,” Dash replied, “Just do it like we’ve done a million times before…” she smiled, “It is pretty cool to be leading us though.”

“Hopefully the music isn’t too distracting…” Bright pondered, looking over at the band members getting ready and talking about the routine to each other.

“Well, just imagine it’s part of the show. They’ll do their part, you do yours. And we know you’re the best at your part,” Dash replied, winking.

“Hehe,” Bright scratched the back of her head, “I dunno…” She felt the heat rising in her cheeks.

“Well, you’re standing in the number one spot, aren’t you?” Dash asked with a smile.

“Oh stop it Dash, you’re making me blush,” Bright joked and batted a hoof, a slight shade of pink appearing under her dark fur.

“Alright, alright,” Dash chuckled. She didn’t want to make Bright too flustered for her big day. She simply stood in line in the order they were due to march out in, remaining silent so they could gather their thoughts. Not everypony was there yet, but Dash held her place anyway. She was standing a ponies width apart from Bright Skies to the left of her. To her right was a space for Dahlia to slot into alongside her, along with the others who were slowly making their way in.

“Whew,” Think of the devil, Dahlia appeared from behind the door. “Last minute nervous bathroom break. You feeling nervous?” She asked.

“...No...strangely…” Bright Skies replied from her position.

“I’m not nervous...but I’m excited as hell,” Dash commented trying to keep a straight face. She could hear the faint voices of the various conversations happening between the ponies she was about to be presented in front of. Behind them, she could hear the final briefing of the marching that would be following them out. The small room that was the gyms storage area didn’t really provide the best staging ground for this type of thing, but Dash guessed that it didn’t happen too often. The sound was a little bit echoey, but as long as they kept their voices down, they didn’t overlap too much.

“ATTENTION!”

Spitfire’s voice immediately caused them all to clack their hooves to the ground and stand in an upright position. A silence befell the small room upon her entrance.

“At ease.” She followed up, batting her hoof more casually than she’s done so in the past.

Dash slowly exhaled and let her legs take more of the weight.

Spitfire trotted slowly along the line, stopping just short of White Comet. She looked back at those who had made it this far, but unfortunately not made it to the top three. Comet, Dahlia, Live Wire and Bourbon.

“You may not be making it into our elite ranks today, but don’t think for a second that today isn’t about you at all. To make it this far is an achievement higher than most other pegasi you will ever meet throughout your life. And your experience will no doubt set you above the rest not only for the remainder of your duty as a Wonderbolts reservist but also in your regular lives too. Be proud.” Spitfire spoke calmly and clearly. She paused for several moments, letting her words sink in.

Whilst she was waiting, Dash heard the hoofsteps of somepony else entering. She took a quick glance with her eyes to see Soarin trotting in also. She simply did not react, trying to maintain her composure.

Spitfire took a quick glance behind her at Soarin before trotting onwards, stopping besides Forester, Rainbow Dash and Bright Skies. “You three are about to experience the proudest moments of your lives. Don’t be nervous, just imagine it’s a marching drill like any other.”

Dash didn’t dare take another glance at Soarin in case Spitfire spotted, but she heard his voice giving little pep talks to the others to the side of her and making sure their uniforms were spot on.

Spitfire walked to the front of the door, lifting her left hoof to her chest and looking at her watch. “Only a few minutes left, where are they?” She mumbled to herself.

As if right on cue, two crew ponies popped right through the back door of the storeroom. Spitfire glanced behind as they approached. “We ready?”

“Yes, ma’am!” One of the stallions replied straight away.

“And our unexpected guest?” Spitfire questioned.

“We found her...well, she approached us. She just asked to watch, then she said she’ll leave. Commander Rapidfire is keeping an eye on her.” The other stallion explained.

Spitfire raised an eyebrow and looked like she was about to say something for several moments...then sighed. “Timings too tight now to do anything about it. At least nothing gets past Rapidfire…” She glanced at her watch again, “Showtime.” She looked again at the two stallion crew ponies. “You know the marks?”

“Yes, ma’am!” They both replied.

“Good,” she gently opened one of the wide double-doors that lead into the gym, “As soon as you hear the mark, hold these doors open,” Spitfire spoke her final instructions before sneakily sliding out between the gap of the two doors.

Dash held her position but listened intently to Soarin trotting along and talking to everypony. She heard Spitfire begin a small speech on the pedestal in front of everypony, but she only lent half an ear. She was more interested in Soarin.

Soarin eventually made his way over to Dash. He stopped dead in front of her, Dash could almost feel his breath. She looked him in the eye and held a straight face. He glanced down and checked her over, brushing her jacket and correcting her collar. He then looked back up and looked her in the eyes as well. They both kept a straight face for several seconds, but Dash could sense Soarin was up to something. But she wouldn't let herself tense up.

Finally, he broke the trance and shot a cheeky smirk at her. "You look so hot wearing that."

Dash's eyes widened and darted back and forth between her soon-to-be colleagues around her. “Umm-oomph--”

Before she could even do anything else, Soarin landed his lips squarely on hers, silencing whatever she had to say. Dash couldn’t do anything but...comply...she could’ve pushed him away...but in all honesty, regardless of the position they were in...she couldn’t deny that she was enjoying it.

The kiss only lasted a few seconds before Soarin pulled back. Dash’s face was burning red by that point. Her jaw hung ajar, and she looked over her left at Bright Skies, who looked equally as shocked. “Umm...surprise?” Dash awkwardly smiled. She wasn’t expecting to do this at least until after the presentation. Soarin’s wink to her only confirmed that he planned this all along.

“You and Soarin!?” Bright Skies exclaimed. “How long has that been a thing?”

“Uhh…since...the end of phase one…” Dash replied, smiling sheepishly and scratching the back of her head nervously.

“You did a good job on hiding that,” Comet added.

“So did I. You’re welcome,” Dahlia commented sarcastically, winking.

“You knew!?” Bright leaned to her side to look at Dahlia.

“Thirty seconds,” one of the crew ponies called.

Soarin nodded and finished looking over Bright Skies. He quickly took his position at the front of the march. “On my command, forward march anti-clockwise around the perimeter of the gym, left wheel at each corner, then fall in on the pedestal.” He spoke quickly but precisely.

Everypony turned ninety degrees in-sync to face towards the double-doors out towards the gym. Bright Skies looked behind herself at Dash. “You SO need to fill me in on this afterwards.”

“Sure, just focus on your big moment for now,” Dash replied quickly with a nod. She wanted to finish that conversation quickly so she could focus on her marching. So she could do it correctly and perfectly for one...but also to put her mind on something else to bring her rosy red cheeks down to a more natural blue colour of her fur for another…

She glanced over to her left at the marching band to the side of them. It wouldn’t be such a straightforward march for them with all the turns they would have to make, but they didn’t seem phased. They’ve probably been in similar situations before.

“Mares and Gentlestallions, please stand and put your hooves together for our latest Wonderbolts!” Spitfire’s voice echoed throughout the gym.

Right on cue, the crew ponies simultaneously pushed the double-doors open that lead into the gym and the marching band started playing. The music rang Dash’s eardrums, but part of it was probably the close quarters they were currently in. As suspected, she was sure she’s heard this one in a movie somewhere. It seemed familiar.

She started marching in line behind Bright Skies, pounding down each hoof in sync with her colleagues. As she marched out of the room, she saw the chairs and tables that had been arranged within the middle of the gym. She didn’t dare move her head, she wanted the march to be perfect. But she looked with her eyes as much as she could.

Right in the front was her friends. Rarity, Fluttershy, Applejack, Pinkie Pie and Twilight had all come to see her graduation. Alongside them were her parents, Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles. Honestly, she could tell they were here without looking from how hard they were cheering, but she just let it go for now. Not only did she see friends and family of everypony, but she also saw a lot of military uniforms. Previous members of the Wonderbolts perhaps? Admiral Swift Sprint was among them...

She marched right past them, she couldn’t even give them a smile. But their claps and cheers were more than enough. She made it. And they were proud of her.

They marched around the perimeter of the gym, giving everypony the chance to look at them. After doing a circuit, they marched up a ramp and onto the pedestal overlooking the crowd.

“SQUAD HALT!” Soarin commanded, causing a sudden stop in the march with the clack of hooves on the floor of the temporary platform.

The band slowly faded their music out and the crowd grew silent along with it.

“LEFT TURN!”

Dash pivoted on her left hind hoof and twisted her body ninety degrees to the left, bringing her other 3 hooves down with force for a thunderous clack in sync with her colleagues. She was now facing the crowd directly. She noticed that a lot of the ponies in uniform had shifted closer. They were pretty much directly in front of the pedestal she was standing on.

“RECRUITS SALUTE!”

Dash’s right hoof shot up to her eye level and froze in place for several seconds. She noticed that the military personnel beneath her were saluting back. She only recognised Swift Sprint from meeting him before, but she saw all types of uniforms. Royal Guard, Royal Equestrian Air Force, Royal Navy, Ex-Wonderbolts... And they all looked pretty old, and had a lot of medals pinned to their jackets. They must be very high ranking officers, or at least used to be.

Their hooves lowered all simultaneously.

Spitfire cleared her throat and lowered her head down to the microphone on the small presentations desk situated at the front.

“Mares and Gentlestallions, the pegasi you see in front of you are the best of the best. They have beaten over a hundred other pegasi to stand atop this pedestal here today, and I’m sure they will not only perform the best aerial acrobatics to the Wonderbolts standard, but they will also proudly serve the Princesses, and Equestria should the need arise. All seven ponies in front of you have impressed, and it made picking our three new candidates extremely difficult. But we’ve made our choices, and we have our three ranks right here.”

Spitfire pulled a small case out from under the desk and opened it. “I’m proud to present our first set of shoulder boards. Please put your hooves together for Lieutenant Bright Skies!”

Spitfire twisted around with the shoulder boards in her hoof and trotted over to Bright Skies, letting the applause fall behind her. Although it wasn’t quite the thunderous applause she was hoping for…

Dash didn’t dare stray from her position, but she looked the best she could out of the corner of her eyes as Spitfire button the shoulder boards onto Bright’s uniform A lighter blue stripe donned across the dark blue of the Wonderbolts uniform to represent rank. They had a quick pep talk then Spitfire took a step back and saluted, with Bright returning the salute.

Spitfire trotted back over to the desk and picked up the next set of shoulder boards. “The next pegasus is somepony who’s performed the most consistently over the course of the whole program. Put your hooves together for Lieutenant Forester, his rank boards presented by Admiral Swift Sprint, chief marshal of the Equestria Royal Airship Force!”

It wasn’t even a comparison, Forester got a bigger applause than Bright Skies. But he probably had more friends and family here than Bright...well, he definitely did.

Swift Sprint made his way up the platform, fully dressed out in his ERAF uniform. He took the shoulder boards from Spitfire and started pinning them to Foresters jacket. “Good job, kid, now give ‘em hell.” He commented as he worked, but Dash noticed he lacked any sort of smile. Perhaps he was expecting Torque to be here on this podium with Dash...maybe it was still a sore subject for him…

“Yes, sir!” Forester replied monotonously to Swift Sprint.

Swift took a step back, and he exchanged a salute with Forester before walking back down the platform. Dash took a deep breath in anticipation.

“Our final new Wonderbolt tonight is a pony that really needs no introduction. She’s saved Equestria countless times, and I’m sure she’ll continue to do so as a Wonderbolt. Everypony put your hooves together for Lieutenant Rainbow Dash, her rank boards presented by the oldest surviving Wonderbolt, General Flash!”

The claps and cheers erupted from the crowd...well, mainly from her parents, but Pinkie Pie sure did give them a run for their money. Dash did her best to keep a straight face.

Flash slowly made his way up the ramp. He was clearly showing his age, but all the medals on his jacket said that he earned it. Whilst he didn’t look quite as...youthful as his picture in the hallway, and his green mane was starting to have grey streaks through its green colour, Dash could tell it was him. Really him. In the flesh. She did her best to contain her excitement.

“Hello there,” he opened rather casually as he began to button the shoulder boards onto Dash’s uniform. “Nice to see Captain Spitfire is still only recruiting the best of the best, the way the Wonderbolts should be.”

“Thank you, sir!” Dash suppressed a grin at his compliment but wasn’t sure what she could do about the heat rising in her cheeks. Hopefully, she could suppress her blushing for the photos...

Dash and Flash exchanged a salute before Flash trotted back down the ramp. One final round of applause and cheers came for Rainbow Dash.

Spitfire took a moment to let it all die down before she spoke again over the microphone. “So there’s our three new Wonderbolts. But you may have noticed that there are four other ponies standing here. This is not goodbye, this is good luck. They are now more than qualified to take on anything that life throws at them. Not only that, but they will also be the proud leaders of future Wonderbolts reserve, as well as proud guardians of Equestria should the Princesses call them up in Equestria’s time of need. And don’t forget that these seven ponies here beat over a hundred other candidates all fighting to be here. They beat some very capable fliers, and I think that deserves appreciation. Let's give them another round of applause!”

Yet more applause and cheers came from the audience. Dash was sure that some hooves must be getting sore by now…

As the final cheers died down, Spitfire quickly trotted up to Bright Skies, standing parallel to her. She stood still and silent for several moments, much like they had been doing…

“ATTENTION!”

The hooves all clacked down in sync again, and Dash stared up, a switch flicking in her brain telling her to get ready for marching.

“RIGHT TURN!”

Dash twisted around to the right, turning to face the back of Bright Skies.

“FORWARD MARCH!”

As soon as Spitfire gave the order, the band that had been waiting patiently at the bottom of the ramp up to the platform started playing again. Dash immediately marched in-sync with Bright Skies in front of her.

“LEFT WHEEL, DOUBLE-TIME!”

The march basically made a one-eighty degree turn to march back down the ramp in the order they came up in. Dash continued to follow Bright millimetrically perfect, not wanting to screw up now.

“RIGHT WHEEL!”

Dash made the turn off the ramp and back down into the gym. She was going to be walking past her friends again. Just a few...more...seconds…

“RIGHT WHEEL!”

Spitfire gave the order again, and she complied, keeping a perfectly straight face and marching in time with Bright Skies as they walked down the centre of the audience. Her friends were only a few feet away, she just had to hold it together.

“SQUAD HALT!”

The march stopped abruptly with another loud hoof clack against the gym floor. Dash could sense what was coming, she just did her best to contain her trembling.

The music slowly faded out. Once it had gone completely, Spitfire took a few steps forward and then turned around to face the group. “Recruits, for the final time! DISMISS!”

Those words...those magical words...Dash didn’t hesitate in grabbing her cap and flipping it up into the air. The cheers erupted around her, and she felt a million tons lighter. She’d done it. She was a Wonderbolt. The smile she had been holding back for what felt like hours was finally allowed out.

“DAAASSSHHHHIIIEEE!”

The tight squeeze around her neck quickly brought her back to reality. She didn’t even have a chance to get a hug with Bright Skies or anypony else.

“I’M SOOOOOO HAPPY FOR YOU!” Pinkie screamed into Dash’s ears.

Dash only laughed and hugged Pinkie back, doing her best to keep breathing under Pinkie’s grip.

“Oh, honey…” Windy Whistles also came soaring into Dash’s personal space, her wing around Dash’s shoulder. “You look so grown up in that uniform,” she complimented, wiping tears from her eyes.

“I don’t believe it. My daughters a Wonderbolt!” Bow Hothoof declared before joining in the Dash-centered hug pile.

Dash only smirked and rolled her eyes as everypony wanted a cuddle with her. The look on her face probably said to everypony that it didn’t seem that big of a deal to her. If only they knew...well, they did. She was just very good at hiding it. That and her parents had a habit of giving her too much attention...a very confusing feeling for her ego...

A camera flash immediately caught her eyes. “Photos, photos! Can I have some space with Lieutenant Dash please?” A stallion wielding a camera next to them asked.

Dash nodded and slowly, her friends released their grip on her. She smirked as she was directed over to a crystal clear white wall on one side of the gym. Lieutenant? It would take her a while to get used to ponies addressing her like that…

Several flashes followed, with Dash being told to strike several poses. Bright Skies and Forester were getting similar treatment to the side of her.

“Alright, friends and family all in!” The photographer waved his hoof in Dash’s direction. He was barking orders like no tomorrow, he obviously wanted to get the perfect shots.

Dash shuffled forward a little to let her friends and parents take positions behind her. She simply held her smile as the photographer directed tiny movements to them to get the perfect shot.

“Guess this is your life sometimes too huh, Twi?” Dash asked with a smirk.

“I’m still not used to it…” Twilight admitted, rolling her eyes a little.

A few flashes later, the group photo was finished to a level that satisfied the photographer. But it didn’t stop there. Many photos were taken, Dash was almost tired of smiling. She just wanted to go and party already. And talk to her friends. Fortunately, the final photos were eventually taken. As painful as it was, Dash would probably look back on these photos one day and be grateful they were taken.

“You have no idea how much I’ve missed you guys,” Dash commented, finally getting the time to mingle with her friends. She glanced around, looking for certain ponies. Soarin was busy chatting, but Bright Skies was looking free...as expected…

“We’ve missed you too, Rainbow Dash,” Fluttershy replied, “It’s been...quiet without you…”

“And you would not believe the trouble I’ve had finding somepony with a figure like yours to help model my dresses,” Rarity added, “Although you do look a lot…” Rarity's eyes scanned down, then back up, “...fitter if I do say so myself, darling.”

“Ahh it’s nothing,” Dash batted her hoof. “Just part of the job.”

“Ya bet,” Applejack answered, smirking. “We gotta whole lot of hoof wrestling to do when we get to Ponyville,” She lifted her arm and flexed her muscles in playful competition.

“Not tonight, AJ, I’m beat,” Dash replied with a sigh.

“I bet you are!” Twilight added, “I’ve been talking the old Wonderbolts,” she batted a hoof in their direction, “...or...rather, they talked to me,” she shrugged, “And they told me about their experience. Dash, if it was anything like they made it out to be, it sounds like you’ve been through hell and back.”

“Hehe,” Dash scratched the back of her head and glanced away. If only they knew the events of twenty-four hours ago, Twilight would know how accurate she was... “Feels pretty much like that…” she glanced over at Bright Skies, “Hey Bright!” She called, waving with her hoof for Bright to come to them.

It looked like Bright Skies had fired up a conversation with an ex-Wonderbolt, but she excused herself to trot over to Dash.

Dash wrapped a hoof around Bright’s shoulders and looked at Twilight. “Twi, I’d like you to meet my friend Bright Skies. The pony that...marginally beat me to the top spot,” She spoke the last sentence through gritted teeth but meant it sarcastically.

“Wow...hello,” Twilight began with a smile, holding out her hoof.

“Your majesty,” Bright Skies bowed down and lowered her head, feeling a blush coming on that wasn’t helped by the way Dash introduced her.

Twilight just stood there with an awkward smile and retracted her hoof. She simply waited for Bright to lift herself back up. She still wasn’t used to ponies bowing every time they introduced themselves, albeit it didn’t happen very often.

“To beat Rainbow Dash is not an easy task, how did you do it?” Twilight asked.

“Well, I didn’t beat her by much,” Bright Skies answered humbly, shrugging, “Just lucky, I guess.”

“Pfft, as if!” Dash held her hooves in the air. “You’re just super smart!” Dash tapped her hoof on Bright’s forehead, causing her ears to fold backwards. She wrapped a wing around Bright’s barrel and pulled her in. “Bright, tell Twilight about that time you managed to beat me when we were doing that lifting heavy stuff exercise.” She suggested then released Bright.

“Oh!” Bright’s ears popped back up. “Well...I knew Dash was a faster flyer than me, so I just played it safe and kept consistent. At parts of the course, there were obstacles like placed clouds or large hills that we had to fly over. I noticed that there were some birds gaining altitude without flapping their wings--”

“A thermal current!” Twilight blurted out.

“Yeah, which lifted me--”

“With much less energy!--” Twilight cut Bright off again, leaning in closer to her and smiling.

“Which allowed me--”

“To climb faster!”

“And there they go,” Dash commented, chuckling. She simply watched the conversation with her friends. Twilight was always funny to watch when she was nerding out about something, but watching her do it with Bright Skies was even better. It was exactly the kind of reaction Dash was hoping for, she was hoping she had just secured Bright Skies another friend. She sure could use one. And the way the conversation quickly trailed off into other dorky subjects, she could tell that she was onto a winner.

“Is this a good time?”

Dash turned in the direction of Soarin’s voice to see him standing next to her. She glanced back at her friends, who were looking at them, then she glanced back at Soarin with a smirk. “Perfect.”

She turned to face her friends then slowly back up next to Soarin. She took a deep breath and put on a brave smile. She had imagined this moment coming, but never imagined it to happen so...formally… “Everypony, this is Soarin. He’s the second in command of the Wonderbolts…and also, my boyfriend.”

Dash watched in awe at all the different expressions that fell on her friends' faces. Confusion, happiness, scepticism. As it turned out, it wasn’t as hard to break the news as she thought. Although she couldn’t help but feel a small blush creeping over her cheeks.

“Well-ell-ell then, I must say congratulations to you, Rainbow Dash. You obviously learn from the best,” Rarity held a hoof on her chest with a strong smile on her face with her head held high.

“Rarity’s right, that’s amazing news Rainbow Dash, and we’re all so happy for the both of you,” Fluttershy added with a warm smile.

“Well, when did that happen?” Twilight asked, raising an eyebrow, but quickly disregarded it and shot a warm smile at the two of them. “I’m happy for you...but I’m sure we’d all love to hear some details.”

“You’ll hear plenty tonight over a few ciders,” Soarin answered in an overly-enthusiastic happy voice, quickly lowering his head down and landing a peck on Dash’s cheek. “Won’t they, Schnookums?”

Applejack chuffed, “Well ain’t that adorable?”

Dash felt the heat rising across her whole face, and her ears flattened down. She shot daggers at Soarin, “ ‘Schnookums’? Really?”

Soarin shrugged, but the cheeky smile on his face really said it all. “It was all going so well, I had to do something to embarrass you.”

Dash rolled her eyes and just tried her best to forget about it.

“Oh Dashiekins,” her Mom came over and gave Rainbow yet another hug. “That’s great news, honey! You must feel over the moon right now.”

“Ugh, see what you’ve done!?” Dash joked and rolled her eyes at Soarin. Soarin simply held a hoof over his mouth and giggled playfully. Dash had pretty much given up trying to fight her parents over-affection at this point and just played along with it, returning the hug.

“So when's the wedding? And how many grandkids are we getting?”

“Really, Mom!?” Dash released herself from the hug. That conversation went from zero to a hundred real quick…

Soarin chuckled at the conversation, he really had set it off.

“Welcome to the family!”

He gasped as he was suddenly surprise-hugged from the side by Bow Hothoof. “My daughters not only a Wonderbolt, but she’s dating one too! I’m the luckiest Dad in the world!”

“Aheh, pleased to meet you too…” Soarin hugged the stallion back awkwardly, considering that he had only met him a few seconds ago. Dash just laughed at the situation. Was this what karma felt like?

“So, do you like hoofball?” Bow asked, pulling away his hug.

“Well, umm--”

“Because I LOVE it!” Bow continued, not even giving Soarin a chance to speak. “And so our little Dashie when she was just a filly. She had the cutest little hoofball uniform--”

“ALRIGHT!” Dash immediately broke up the conversation, “It’s been a long day...and a long week for me. Me and the girls need a drink, so how about you meet us out the front in five, and we’ll head into town?” Dash suggested, pointing with her wings at everypony.

Before even waiting for confirmation, she quickly darted over to Soarin. “And I’d love it if you stopped talking to them for a moment.” She whispered to him.

“Pfft, you kidding me? I’m having WAY too much fun to stop now.” He replied, winking.

Dash sighed but didn’t bother to argue with him. She just grabbed Bright Skies and pulled Dahlia away from her parents to head back to their room. She was certain that her parents were going to fill Soarin in on all her embarrassing fillyhood secrets, but her plan B was to either get drunk enough to forget about it or...something else…

“Your parents are really...loving,” Dahlia emphasized the final word of her sentence as the trio trotted to their room.

“You could say that,” Dash replied, “We’ve got a very confusing relationship. I find them annoying as hell, but of course, I appreciate the support.”

Dahlia snorted, “Dashiekins…” she said smugly. Dash simply rolled her eyes as she pushed through the door into their room.

Dash quickly grabbed her things, it didn’t take her long since she had already packed. “Hey Comet, you coming for a few ciders?” She asked.

“Nope,” Comet shook his head, throwing his saddlebags over his back. “I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

“No!?” Dahlia sounded shocked. She dropped her belongings and trotted over to him. “So this is the last time we’ll see each other?”

Comet shrugged, “For a while, yeah. I intend to make Fleetfoot’s faith in me worthwhile though, so I promise this won’t be the last you’ll see of me.” He answered, winking.

Dahlia smiled back, “Well, bring it in then,” She opened her forelegs and embraced Comet in a hug. “I’m gonna miss you.”

“Me too,” Comet replied, pulling back from the embrace. “I hope you get that Wonderbolts rep job in Fillydelphia.”

“I’m sure I will,” Dahlia replied, glancing over at Bright Skies. “Bright, you’re coming for ciders yeah?”

“You bet,” Bright replied, smiling. “Honestly I’ve been looking forward to a drink for a while.”

Just as the discussion was going, a knock sounded at the door, immediately silencing all conversation and drawing everypony's attention. “Knock knock,” Spitfire said casually, pushing through the door. “How are we all feeling?”

“On top of the world, Captain,” Dash replied, feeling a little relieved that it seemed to be a casual call.

“Glad to hear it,” Spitfire replied, trotting over to Bright. “I’m just here to relay a message on to you actually, Bright Skies. That pony in the cloak? She was for you.”

Bright Skies raised an eyebrow, “What?”

“She didn’t say who she was, she just asked to stay and watch the ceremony from the sidelines. Sounded like she didn’t want anypony to know she was here, no idea why. But she asked me to tell you that she’s extremely proud of you.”

Bright Skies was...just speechless. Her jaw dropped, then slowly formed into a smile. “I guess...I guess it’s nice to know somepony out in the wide, wide world of Equestria is looking out for me…” She said, her smile slowly fading.

Spitfire simply nodded, “I’m sure it is,” she answered, not sure what else to say. She absolutely could not relate to Bright’s circumstances. She turned around, “Enjoy your little vacation, I look forward to seeing you soon.” Spitfire said her final piece before trotting out the door. “And please take your uniforms off before you get too drunk tonight,” her far away voice faded as she trotted down the corridor.

“Who do you think it was, Bright?” Dahlia immediately questioned.

“I dunno,” Bright shrugged, “I’ve never had anypony do something like that before. I guess...for whatever reason...I’m not supposed to know who they are…”

“Sounds kinda spooky if you ask me,” Dash replied, “What if she's stalking you?”

“Hey, you’re a Wonderbolt now, get used to it,” Dahlia joked, patting Bright on the back. “Anyway, how about we go get hammered and think it over?” Dahlia offered a sarcastic suggestion, trotting back over to her bed to pick up her bags.

Bright laughed, “Now there’s a great idea,” She agreed, picking up her own bags.

Dash chuckled and took a step out into the middle of the room as Dahlia and Bright were trotting towards the door. She took it in for a little while. This had been like her home away from home for many combined months here. And now she was leaving it all behind. Ready to start the next chapter of her life as a Wonderbolt.

“Hey Dash, you coming?” Dahlia called, holding the door open with her hoof.

“Y-yeah,” Dash responded quickly, trotting hastily towards the door. Next stop; the pub. And she could finally be herself. No more red tape surrounding her relationship with Soarin.


“He saw me coming, broke left, I couldn’t turn with him and overshot, BUT I immediately went into a climb,” Dash explained the manoeuvre to her friends, representing things with her hooves and mimicking her actions. “I gathered what energy I could, dived down for another attempt and WHAM!” Dash slammed her hoof on the table. “Got him!”

“Thanks for another very useful flying lesson,” Spike replied sarcastically, rolling his eyes. They sat around in a fairly full bar, exchanging stories and drinking cider. The bar was nice and warm, with an open fireplace helping to heat it up. And the ambient conversation was just right to keep the atmosphere. Dahlia had separated off from the main table to talk more to her parents, but there was still plenty of ponies there.

“Hehe, sorry,” Dash scratched the back of her head. “I’m just so excited.”

“You were, the whole time,” Soarin replied, pulling Dash close to him along the bench seat of the table. “But you did a very good job of hiding it.”

“Well, I had some...pretty good stress relief…” Dash replied, rubbing her cheek on Soarin’s shoulder.

“Heh, I bet you did,” Applejack commented, wiggling her eyebrows.

Dash rolled her eyes, “Not like that, Gutterbrain.” Although Dash couldn’t help but think about it now that AJ had mentioned it...

“If you say so,” Applejack replied with a wink.

“Rainbow, darling, I know you’re not the...uh…” Rarity twisted her hoof in circles looking for the right word, “...romantic type, but I must ask; what drew you to each other?”

“Well…” Dash looked over at Soarin next to her, smiling. “He’s funny, he’s handsome, and he’s the highest-ranked male in the Wonderbolts. What’s there not to like?”

Soarin chuckled, feeling himself blush at the compliments. “I can say the same things. Dash, you’re funny, and I admire your spunky attitude. Also, you’re super-cute when you get embarrassed.”

“Aww,” Fluttershy cooed from across the table.

Dash’s cheeks puffed out as she heard a few snickers from her friends. They all knew she hated being called cute.

“It is super-cute though,” a rather inebriated Bright Skies joined in. “You kept it out of the eyes of everypony. I’ve got no idea how you did it, but you did!” She held her cider glass up spilling a few drops as she did. “Cheers!”

Dash clinked her glass against Bright’s. It always impressed her how Bright could get drunk on as little as two ciders, but still be able to continue drinking the rest of the night.

“So what’s next for you, Rainbow Dash?” Twilight asked.

“I’ve still got plenty of paperwork that needs to come through before I can start ‘working’ for the Wonderbolts. Until then, I’ve got some sweet time off.” She answered, taking a big sip of cider. “Ahh, and I intend to do as little as possible with it.”

“Don’t be slackin’ off too much, Miss Muscle,” AJ replied, “I’mma need yer wings to help out on somethin’ at the barn next week.”

“Sure thing AJ,” Dash nodded, “Just need a little R ‘n’ R. I feel like I’ve been to hell and back.”

“Well then, a spa treatment sounds just like the thing you need. We should schedule a day.” Rarity suggested to her, taking a sip of the wine she chose from the bar.

Dash chuffed, knowing what kind of answer Rarity would be expecting, and knowing she was about to say something totally different. “You know what? That sounds perfect.” Dash leant forward onto the table. “When we get back to Ponyville, I’ll let you know my plans.”

Rarity blinked, “I...what?”

“Yep, that’s a new one on me too.” Applejack agreed.

Dash leaned back, “Let’s just say somepony showed me the benefits of a good spa day.”

“Blaze?” Soarin immediately questioned.

“Blaze,” Dash nodded.

Soarin chuffed and rolled his eyes, “She always knows the right ponies...and the right places…”

“Who’s up for another round?” Pinkie tapped her empty glass on the table.

Dash quickly scooped up her glass and tilted her head back to drink the remaining cider in it in several gulps before tapping it down on the table. “Actually, that was our last one. We’re gonna head out.”

“WHAT!?” Pinkie almost screamed. “We’ve barely started Dashie, come on!”

“Cut her some slack Pinkie, she’s probably tired. She described it as ‘to hell and back.’” Twilight tried to convince.

Soarin finished his cider then stood up. “Yeah, it’s getting dark out. We’re gonna head back.” He agreed with Dash.

Dash stood up and picked her saddlebags up. “Well, enjoy Cloudsdale this evening, girls. I’ll see ya back in Ponyville,” Dash called, waving.

“Bye Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy waved back.

“See ya Dashie,” Pinkie added, also waving.

Dash took a quick walk over to where Dahlia was sitting before she left. Dahlia saw her approaching, “I’m heading off,” Dash said, motioning with her head.

“Alright,” Dahlia nodded, opening her forelegs. Dash was all hugged out today, but she had enough left in her for one more. “It’s been a pleasure these last few months.”

“Likewise. Thanks for helping keep me sane,” Dash joked with a chuckle, releasing her hug. “See ya round, Dahlia.”

Dash and Soarin said their goodbyes then left the pub, feeling the slightly chillier air on their fur than the warmth of the pub. The moonlight up the sky just enough for the clouds to guide their way.


Bright Skies shook her head and tutted as they left. “Leaving early from their own after-party,” She rolled her eyes and drank her cider.

“Between us, I reckon they’ve got their own after-party planned…” Applejack speculated.

“Oh yes, indeed,” Rarity said with a smile, wiggling her eyebrows. She looked over at Twilight and Fluttershy. Fluttershy wasn’t saying anything, but her profound blushing implied she knew what they were talking about.

“Aww, why don’t I get invited to all the special secret parties?” Pinkie moaned then pouted. She tried to take a drink from an empty glass, but realised there was no cider in it. She looked down the glass, then tipped it upside down and thumped the bottom of the glass with her hoof, causing cider to slowly re-appear in the glass. Bright Skies looked incredibly confused, but everypony else knew not to question Pinkie Pie logic.

Rarity rolled her eyes, then shook her head. “Well, darling...it’s a special kind of party...for two…”

“Oh…ohhh...” Twilight grinned and blushed slightly, suddenly understanding what was going on.

“Hey Twilight,” Bright Skies asked, “Did I ever tell you ‘bout the simulated airship battle?” She immediately changed the subject.

“I heard it from Rainbow Dash’s point of view, but she told me that you took command. That must have been amazing! How did it feel?” Twilight asked.

“Like trying to steer a giant flying ball of stress,” Bright slurred as she began the story, spilling a bit of cider in the process.


Dash let out a long sigh of relief as they flew away from the pub, but truth be told, they were flying in no direction in particular. “I’m so glad that’s all over. And it feels good to get it off my chest.” She explained.

“Me too,” Soarin replied, “I no longer have to make up stories to cover my ass.”

“Still didn’t stop you calling me ‘schnookums’ though, did it?” Dash jabbed him in the side.

Soarin chuckled, “You still mad about that?”

"You bet I am," Dash said playfully, quickly flying above him and dropping on his back.

"Well, maybe I should find something even more cutesy to call you then," Soarin teased whilst ascending with her on his back. "How about sweetie, or honey?”

“Gee, thanks Mom,” Dash replied sarcastically.

Soarin chuckled, “Speaking of Moms, yours is really something else,” he commented, being reminded by Dash’s remark.

“I know,” Dash replied, laughing. “Both my parents can be an earful. But they’ve supported me my entire life, I can’t really knock ‘em. Sometimes I end up hiding stuff from them just ‘cause it all gets too much sometimes. I almost didn’t tell them I was becoming a Wonderbolt.”

“I don’t think they would’ve forgiven you for that,” Soarin replied seriously. “I seriously would’ve thought I was gonna get a strict talking to from your Dad. But he didn’t give me any hard times at all, really.”

“Pfft, I don’t think they would’ve even noticed it was like that, to be honest,” Dash answered, batting a hoof.

“The same way you don’t even notice you’re about to freefall?”

“Yea--wait whaaaahaa--”

Before Dash could finish her sentence, Soarin suddenly pitched upwards hard and turned upside-down, causing Dash to drop off his back. She only fell a few feet before landing with a soft poof on the cloud that Soarin had strategically dropped her onto.

Soarin pulled his wings back down by his side and let himself freefall, landing gently on top of Rainbow Dash with his hooves either side of her. “Caught ya!”

Dash shook her head a little to bring her senses up to speed then smirked, “You sure did. Now come 'ere you,” She reached up and wrapped all four legs around Soarin’s neck and barrel. Soarin simply complied and lowered himself down. He could’ve stood there with Dash hanging off him, but he didn’t keep her waiting.

He gently lowered himself on top of Dash, still somewhat supporting himself to make sure he didn’t crush her. He straddled his hooves a little to make sure he didn’t step on her saddlebags and bent his neck down into a long passionate kiss with her. The kiss lasted several seconds, with both their tongues battling for dominance over each other whilst they held their breath.

Soarin finally pulled away taking a gasp for breath and flopped down by the side of Dash, a small trail of saliva lingering between their mouths before it eventually broke off. They both laid still for a moment, just savouring the gaze they were sharing between the eyes. It was the first time in many weeks that they’d had this opportunity.

Dash glanced away as she thought about something, then looked back at Soarin, feeling a blush rising on her cheeks. “Hey Soar…” she gently rolled herself onto her side, then looked around, making sure nopony else was there with them. But it was just her, Soarin, and the night sky. No clouds above them either.

Confirming they were alone, she continued to roll until she was on top of him, feeling his gentle breath on her nose. “Not seeing you has given me a lot of time to think recently…” her ears flattened as she began her sentence. She gently started rubbing her hoof in a circular motion on his chest, feeling his chest slowly rise and fall with his breath. Soarin hummed as he enjoyed the sensation of his fur being massaged.“It made me realise how much I need you…”

She gently craned her neck down until her mouth was right next to his left ear. “And how much I want you…” She whispered sharply in his ear.

Soarin just continued staring straight ahead up at the empty night sky, but he could feel a smile forming on his face. And feeling Dash’s hoof slowly moving down down his chest to his belly only helped his smile. He inhaled sharply as her hoof tickled him, feeling where it was going...

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and then I thought about yesterday. I was very cruel to you. I yelled at you, called you names, tried to hit you...I owe you a VERY good apology…” She continued to whisper. Her hoof stopped just before it got...too low...but she reached up with her other hoof and started stroking his mane. “So I was wondering if you wanted to come back to my place. And I can make it up to you...in my bedroom...”

It took every ounce of Soarin’s willpower to stop the corners of his mouth reaching from one ear to the other, but even still he bet he still had a stupid looking smile on his face. He gently embraced Dash and pushed her up with himself, using his wings to prop the two of them up.

He gently pushed her back until he had eye contact with her again. “That sounds...perfect…” He spoke calmly the only words he could muster. He could have easily been a LOT more crude, but he didn’t want to spoil the moment.

Dash giggled at the dopey smile on his face. She knew her face was probably a bright red light in the dark night, but she didn’t care. She only had one thing on her mind now. “Well, what are we waiting for?” Dash bought herself to her hooves, picking up her saddlebags as she got up. She turned and took a step towards the edge of the cloud.

She glanced behind her, noticing that Soarin suddenly had a nice spring in his step. “Coming Soarin?” She asked, complementing it with a quick swish of her tail under his chin. She started chuckling before she even got an answer. “Who am I kidding?” She extended her wings, “Of course you’ll be coming,” she stepped off the cloud as she finished her sentence.

Soarin’s wings quickly popped out on their own as she finished speaking. Not intentionally, they just...did…

Soarin still hadn’t shaken the dopey grin off his face, but he could feel a blush spreading across his face. “You’re damn right I will be,” he whispered under his breath as he let himself drop off the cloud and follow Dash.

Dash pumped her wings quickly and glanced behind to confirm was following her before setting her sights on her next target; Ponyville. Home.

The whole trial she had over months with the Wonderbolts was finally over. And she had come out...well, not on top, but among their ranks at least. And that was good enough for her. She made some friends, made some enemies, but above all, she met her soulmate. She had learned the hard way that things don't always go the way she planned, but she felt like she actually learned more because of it.

It should have really felt like the end. But for Rainbow Dash, she felt like it was only the beginning. She had made it into the Wonderbolts. Really it wasn’t the end of her ambition, but the start of her career. She had a long way to go…

Author's Note:

Well...there we go...

I can't believe I've finished this story. It took me longer than it should've, but I got here. And now I can finally look onto other things.

Like Dash thought in the final paragraph, this isn't the end of her ambition, this is the start of her career. Which means...

...Yep, you'll guessed it. I'll be writing a sequel! :pinkiehappy:

Fun fact: the sequel to this story is actually the story I originally planned to write in the first place. I've had it planned for a long time (like a few years long time...) and I wanted it to be as perfect as I could get it. But I was new to the writing game, and I doubted my skill as a writer, so I wanted to try practicing writing something else before I started with it. Then I suddenly thought, "Hey, why not write a prequel?"

And that's how Wonderbolts Trials and Tribulations was born.

Fun Fact 2: Wonderbolts Trials and Tribulations was actually only the working title for this story. I just suck at coming up with titles. :rainbowlaugh:

So what lies ahead for Soarin and Rainbow Dash? Be sure to read the sequel to find out. It'll probably take me a month or two to plan everything out, but don't worry, I'm not going away.

In the meantime, I'm cracking open a beer in celebration of this completion. Feel free to AMA in the comments, you might get a funny drunk response. :rainbowlaugh:

Thanks for reading and thanks to those who have stuck with me. I hope I see you in the next story! :twilightsmile:

Comments ( 8 )

Pure genius cant wait keep up the great work!!

A SEQUEL !? WE'RE GETTING A SEQUEL !!!??? YES YES YESSSSSS

Omg it’s over? Man, imagine my surprise when I get the email notification for an update and am finally free enough to read. I go to the chapter list to see what I haven’t read yet and see the complete sign and go like, wait—
But anyway, this whole thing was a joyyyyy to read from the first chapter to the last and I’m happy for myself to have read it and for you to have completed it. It wasn’t anything short of amazing:))))

Now this has been one hay of a Spicy, Epic, Fun, Romantic, Funny, Dangerous, Sweet, Congrats, and and amazing adventure of Rainbow Dash's life.:rainbowdetermined2: I can't wait for the next Sequel to come in soon, :raritystarry:I'm so excited I'M SSSOOOOOO EXCITED!!!:raritystarry:

Wow. This was a wonderful rollercoaster of a story! I'm... speechless, really. The writing was on point, all characters were likeable in their own way, the story made perfect sense. (It's a bit shame it's technically not a canon, but that doesn't take away any of the credit.) And of course, all of the SoarinDash moments were super sweet - I couldn't get enough of them. And I was super glad that it ended the way it did.

I'm a bit sad that we didn't get to tie some loose ends. (You know, we don't really see where Riptide and the twins are going from the point when they got eliminated. I was hoping to see a bit more of that, but I suppose that some stories are remain to left unknown. Just like in real life.)

Anyway, I'm simply amazed by your stuff. Looking forward to more of it!

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Thanks for your comments, I'll try and read them chronologically.

To be honest, I see where you're coming from. I did put an authors note on the final chapter, but you've probably not read that far yet.

I had another story in mind before I started writing this one (that would be Through Thick and Thin, which I'm writing now). But this is my first foray into writing, and I wanted that story to be as good as I could possibly make it. I didn't think my newbie inexperienced writing skills would do it justice. So I shelved the idea and started thinking about ways to experiment, stories I could practice my writing on to get some feedback and improve upon before starting to write TTT.

One of the first thoughts that popped into my head was "Hey, how about a prequel?" And that's how Wonderbolts Trials and Tribulations was born.

Because this was my first attempt at writing, I didn't really put any chapter-by-chapter planning into it. I had a general idea of where I was going, but each chapter I pretty much just pulled off the top of my head. This resulted in a lot of inconsistencies and underdeveloped characters.

It was around chapter 11 or so that I realised that the story had barely even started, and I was already 100k words in. :rainbowderp: If I continued the way I was going, it would end up being stupidly long for something that was only meant to be an experiment.

So I started planning and putting some thought into how the story was going to progress and end. Which lead to a massive change in pace and style.

I hope to use the lessons learned here to make the sequel much better. :rainbowdetermined2:

And yes, I am a car guy. Massive simracer too. I've currently got a 2005 Porsche Cayman S as my road car and a 2004 Mazda MX5 NB 1.8 Sport that I'm prepping as a track car. I've competed both IRL and in simracing events, but money tends to shelve my IRL ambitions. That and Coronavirus this year.

This is a pretty good story for someone with no experience. Sadly the lack of experience is clearly visible in the story as is the fact that the author had no plan at the start of the story. I'm also guessing that the author took so long they forgot certain things they initially planned resulting in incosistencies. All in all a good story for an unexperienced author.

W O W That was an amazing story! I don't usually like romances, especially with characters who I don't see as romantic in the first place(like RD) but it was also pretty great, especially since RD and Soarin didn't do anything stupid like Spitfire hoped. Many other stories make the couples love each other TOO much to the point of getting caught for sure but this was one was great XD The only chapter that seemed off to me was Chapter 28, but other then that, this was a very engaging story. I actually got very pumped during SEVERAL of the training scenes to the point where I felt like my heart would be beating out of my chest as if I had just ran for ten straight minutes so thanks for that XD ONTO THE SEQUAL~~~!!!

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