• Published 26th Apr 2015
  • 4,191 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 3

“RISE AND SHINE, SLEEPING BEAUTIES! WE’VE GOT A LOT TO GET THROUGH THIS MORNING, AND I DON’T TAKE KINDLY TO TARDINESS!” Spitfire bellowed down a megaphone from the beginning of the hallway, the floor underneath her vibrating from all the synchronous groans that came from the rooms. “CUT THAT CRAP OUT AND GET YOUR ASSES IN THE SHOWER!”

Rainbow Dash sat up in her bed and flung her head backwards, deliberately hitting it against the bedframe. She rubbed her eyes and looked over at the clock on the wall above the door. The sunlight that was just about breaking through enabled her to read that it had just hit 6AM.

She groaned as she rolled over and out of her bed, her hooves almost giving way under her semi-confused state from Spitfire’s rude wakeup call.

“I’m calling first shower!” Horizon declared as he slammed the door to the bathroom behind him.

“Second!” Announced Crash Dive.

“Third!” Riptide and Dahila called at the same time.

Riptide looked over at Dahila and they crossed eyes. Riptide raised an eyebrow and lowered his head slightly towards her. “Well, I don’t mind sharing…”

Dahila narrowed her eyes, “bite me.” She had a gruff voice since it was still early in the morning.

“Kinky…” Riptide replied whilst wiggling his eyebrows.

Dahila broke eye contact and shook her head. “Whatever…forth.”

“I hate to say it, but you kinda walked right into that one.” Crash Dive admitted to her.

“You think!?” She barked back at him, making everypony flinch at the sudden loud noise, when their eardrums were still sensitive.

‘Wow, she’s really not a morning pony…’ Rainbow Dash thought. “Fifth.”

“Sixth,” Torque said in a grumpy tone, but nopony could tell whether he sounded like that because he was tired or not, since that’s what he always sounded like.

“Seventh,” Bright Skies said in the middle of a yawn. She was already sitting on the edge of her bed in a perfect posture.

White Comet shrugged, “guess I’m last. Just leave some warm water in the tank from me.” He reached over and grabbed his glasses and a book from the nightstand and started reading, flicking to where he left his bookmark.

Just watching him read made Rainbow Dash want to go back to sleep. How can somepony’s mind instantly jump into life like that after just waking up? It completely bewildered her.

“How can they even store that much hot water for 8 ponies to shower in anyway?” Dahila questioned.

“They’re using a centralized cloud boiler system that utilizes the advantages of being able to lower the atmospheric pressure inside the system, meaning the water boils at a lower temperature. Because of this, they’re able to get the water to where it needs to be at extremely high speeds. It then condenses in a tank in each individual room and is ready for immediate use.” At her words, all eyes turned to Bright Skies. With all eyes on her, she looked in the opposite direction towards the wall, shying away as if she said something wrong. In reality, everypony was just quite shocked as she was quite a quiet and reserved pony, but all of a sudden just burst into life to explain something.

The others looked around the room and shrugged at each other. It was obvious that Bright Skies was just shy, so they decided the best thing to do was leave her be. Although she had now made it known that she had quite a bit of knowledge sitting in her head.

Torque got out of his bed and started walking down the room and out towards the mess hall. He didn’t say a word as he left, but everypony just presumed that since he was way down the list for the bathroom, he was going to get breakfast first.

Once she had showered and got herself ready, Rainbow Dash headed down to the mess hall for breakfast. Now that she had woken up a little bit, she was starting to get her head in the game. She grabbed a bowl of oatmeal and took the nearest seat possible. She wasn’t bothered with finding her friends at the moment, she was getting herself fired up for the first test.

She cast her mind back to what Soarin told her yesterday. These tests were going to be pretty basic tests just to mainly see where they’re at already. Though he didn’t disclose what testing methods they were going to take. Her mind was hoping that it was just a lot of single-run challenges against the clock, but her heart was hoping for a lot of competitive challenges against other Pegasi to get her adrenaline pumping.

She took a spoonful of oatmeal, its bland dust-like flavour not doing anything for her, but she didn’t mind. She saw a lot of other potentially tastier breakfasts there, but she didn’t want to start experimenting with the food combinations yet in case she accidently ate something that didn’t agree with her. Better safe than sorry.

As she ate, she looked up and around. The place was absolutely crammed to the walls, with at least 12 pegasi trying to squeeze round each table. She found herself sandwiched between 2 other random ponies. She noticed her friends dotted around the place, as well as some of her roommates. But the one that stood out most to him was Soarin. He was sitting in one of the tables in the corner of the room, with a load of other pegasi around him. He just seemed to be having a casual conversation with them, even laughing at some of the jokes they were cracking.

‘That’s odd,’ Rainbow Dash looked at a door on the other side of the room where she saw a few more Wonderbolts go in. ‘That’s their private room. Much roomier than this cramped place. Why is he here?’ Rainbow continued to look at him, trying to figure out his logic for a few minutes.

“Uh, Rainbow Dash?” She heard a familiar voice say to the left of her.

She looked to her left to see Frostbite sitting next to her. She had not spoken to him in almost exactly 24 hours. “Hm?” She questioned as she continued to eat.

“You do realise you’re just shovelling air into your mouth, right?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.

Rainbow Dash glanced downwards to find her bowl empty. In those few minutes that she was lost in thought, she didn’t even noticed that she had finished. “Uhh…hehe…” she scratched her head, “I do now.” She admitted as she stood up, picked up her bowl and took it to the counter to hand it back to the kitchen staff for washing up. There was a bit of a que forming, since there seemed to be some disorganisation amongst the cleaning team. They obviously weren’t used to having to do this much washing up at once.

“Alright recruits, listen up!” Spitfire didn’t even her megaphone with her, but her voice was still loud enough to cause eardrums to rattle around in eveypony’s ears.

Rainbow Dash looked up at her. Spitfire was flying near the exit. “It all starts here! Breakfasts over! Get suited up and meet us in the outside training grounds in 5!” Despite her instructions, the activity didn’t seem to pick up. “HOP TO IT! COME ON, LET’S GO!” She clapped her hooves hard in hopes that it would help get her point across.

Rainbow Dash just dumped her bowl on the counter and left it, gently running back to her room. She didn’t want to push herself too hard, as she would be doing that in a minute, but more importantly, she didn’t want to accidently bring breakfast back up.

She grabbed her flight suit and goggles then proceeded to run down to the mares changing rooms. She was one of the first few. Seeing that a particular section of the bench was free, she immediately went and snagged it. The reason for this was because it was in front of a mirror, and she was about to put on an official Wonderbolts flight suit. Something that she had been dreaming about since she was a filly, and it was finally about to happen.

She positioned herself up in front of the mirror so that she could see herself put it on. She snuck it on from the back first, putting her tail through the hole and getting her hind legs in. She then put her forelegs in next, pulling them up to pull the nomex snugly around her body. She rolled her shoulders a few times to give it some slack to do the zip up. As she reached down between her legs to do the zip up, she noticed that it was double-zipped. ‘I guess that’s so I don’t have to take the whole suit off to go to the bathroom...’ she thought as she pulled the top zip up around her chest.

Now for the final piece to the puzzle; the headpiece. She pulled it over the back of her head and threaded her mane and ears through. She pulled the bottom part down to get her muzzle through and the headpiece sat snugly on her cheeks. Finally, she did the zip all the way up to just behind her chin. It tickled her slightly, but not too much. She would get used to it.

She stood frozen in place. The look was complete. No more fantasizing, this was actually happening. Her heart felt like it was about to jump out of its chest. Thankfully, she had enough self-control to stop herself from trembling in delight. She started posing in front of the mirror, as if she was posing for a serious self-portrait that would be going on her record. Her poses got more and more relaxed until it was eventually just her grinning from ear to ear at the sight.

“You done now?” A mare’s voice came from the right side her. “Some of us would like a go.”

Rainbow Dash looked to her right to see a small que beginning to form to check themselves out in the mirror. “Hehe…right.” She squeaked as she moved out of the way.

With that over, she headed to the outside training ground. It was a moderately cloudy day, but nothing that should affect them. There was a huge crowd beginning to form on the cloud of all the recruits. Spitfire was going through a few things with Soarin and Fleetfoot before they began. Rainbow Dash noticed that they had also got into their flight uniforms. They must’ve done it pretty fast, because it looked like they’d been going over things for a few minutes.

She looked out towards the training grounds to see what was in store from them. She saw a lot of red poles about 20 feet high sticking out from the cloud. There was a fair few of them laid out in a line. The gap between each one seemed to narrow as they went on, but she was unable to tell from this angle. ‘A slalom test. It must be. This is gonna be easy…’

At her thought, Spitfire flew down and hovered above the recruits. “Alright, this is where the fun begins!” She said in a sarcastic manner. “Before we get started, I wanna run you through our scoring system. Basically, as long as you’re on site, you’re being judged, and its affecting you score. We judge everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. We will be using a points system to evaluate you. And the best part? We’re not going to tell you your current score, how to earn points, or how to lose points. By doing this, it means that you can’t play the system to try and earn more points. So basically, all you can do is try your best and not fuck around. Any questions on the system?”

Nopony raised their hoof, because Spitfire had made it pretty clear-cut what they were aiming for and what the purpose for this was.

“Alright, with that out of the way, let’s get down to the first test.” She flew backwards slowly towards the poles, stopping a few feet in front of the first one. “This is a little thing we like to call apex hunter. Your task is to slalom through these poles as fast as you can.” She proceeded to do so, backwards, but very slowly. It was just a demonstration after all. “As you pass each pole, you need to get as close to each one as possible without bumping it. Bumping it results in the end of your test. The gap between each pole gets narrower as the course progresses, making it harder to clear at speed. It’s impossible to clear this course, so don’t worry about not finishing it. You will eventually hit a pole. The only way to get past the end is to slow RIGHT down to walking pace, but don’t expect it to give you much credit. Any questions?”

A single stallion raised his hoof. Spitfire pointed at him, “shoot.”

“When you say no bumping, does that mean we can’t touch it at all, or what?” He asked.

“A minor scrape is fine. We don’t call it apex hunter for nothing. But if you bump it hard enough to shift its foundation in the cloud, that’s when we’ll consider it a disqualification. Anypony else?” Spitfire scanned her eyes across the sea of recruits in front of her. With nopony else asking questions, she decided to get on with it. “Alright, do we have any volunteers to go first, or do I have to use my version of eenie meenie miney mo?”

She looked around, but wasn’t seeing anypony volunteering. They all seemed to be looking around at each other, hoping somepony else would volunteer. “Alright, fine,” Spitfire huffed, raised her hoof, “eenie meenie miney – YOU!” She suddenly bellowed and randomly flew her hoof out into the crowd, causing half the recruits to jump.

She was pointing at a lime green stallion with a charcoal coloured mane. “Hop to it Slick, we don’t have all day!”

The Stallion gulped, pulled his goggles over his eyes, extended his wings, and took his position on the starting line. Fleetfoot had taken up position about midway down to help see if he bumped any of the poles.

“Oh my command,” Spitfire instructed. The stallion nodded and got himself into a ready position. “3. 2. 1. GO!” On her last word, Spitfire bought her hoof down, striking it against the cloud.

The stallion shot off the line towards the first pole. She positioned himself slightly left to make the right turn to begin the run. He passed the 1st one, and tilted left to prepare for the 2nd one. He made it through the next 5, but they were beginning to tighten up. He made it through the 8th, but going into the 9th, he miscalculated his closing speed, and didn’t leave enough time to manoeuvre. He ended up clipping his wing, causing the pole to shift. Good thing the cloud supporting it had some give in it, otherwise that would’ve hurt.

“Nice try, rookie.” Fleetfoot commented as she moved the pole back into position. Spitfire wrote a few things on her clipboard as the stallion made his way back.

Rainbow Dash watched the ponies go through as Spitfire randomly selected them. Some ponies did well. Others…not so well. Luckily it was nopony she knew until she saw Torque take position at the startline. Despite his attitude, he was actually a pretty good flier. He made it to the 18th pole before he got knocked out. It looked to her like he was going too fast towards the final section, but she wasn’t sure.

“His line was good, he just didn’t utilize all the forces available to him efficiently.” Well, it looked like she was about to get clarification on what happened to him now.

She turned her head to the left to look at White Comet, “was he going too fast?” She questioned.

White Comet shook his head. “His line was slightly flawed, which caused a chain reaction of events that lead to his failure.

“Care to tell me why, or would that be giving away your secrets?” Rainbow Dash joked, not actually expecting him to say anything.

White Comet smirked, then his face returned to his serious expression. “He tried to take too narrow a line, meaning it didn’t give him time to setup his angle of attack. That’s why he hit the pole.”

“Alright genius, since you seem to know all about it, how about you get your flank down here and give us a demonstration!?” Spitfire called to him.

Without hesitation, White Comet took a brief journey into the skies and landed on the starting line. On Spitfire’s command, he shot off the line like a cannonball and headed towards the slalom.

Rainbow Dash analysed his line from what he just told her. He was taking the turns slightly wider than most of the competition, but from what she could see, his speed was slightly higher to compensate. On top of that, since it required him to roll to the side more, he was able to take tackle the slalom at the much better angle. It also meant he carried extra inertia, making the turns easier. He managed to keep it all the way to the 20th, where he clipped his flank against the pole. It wasn’t hard enough to move it from its foundations though, so he was allowed to keep going, but unfortunately he caught the 21st in his shoulder.

Spitfire raised an eyebrow, “Impressive, but I can’t say I didn’t expect it from you, Comet.” She said as she wrote on her clipboard.

Spitfire picked Horizon next to tackle the course. He took to the sky and did a quick loop-de-loop before landing on the start line. “Bring it, baby.” He muttered as a grin formed across his face.

Spitfire gave her command, and with a thrust of his wings, he pushed off the line and sped towards the first pole. He did a heavy roll as he clipped the apex, leaving the corner…and continuing to roll…and roll…and roll.

Rainbow Dash couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He was doing a barrel roll out of each corner. ‘This guy’s insane…’ Everypony else watched in awe as he did. Unfortunately insanity is a bit of a wild card. Sometimes it can be lucky, sometimes it can’t. In this instance, it wasn’t. After clearing the 12th pole, he careened head-first into the 13th, pulling it out of the foundation completely. It would’ve fallen if Fleetfoot wasn’t there to catch it.

“An unusual technique, but each to their own.” Spitfire shrugged as she wrote. When she was done writing, she randomly threw her hoof out at the crowd. “You!” She called.

Riptide smiled as she pointed to him. “Aye aye, ma’am…” he sounded more than happy to take her orders. He took his place on the starting line and got into position.

As Spitfire readied for the countdown, he turned his head towards her and smiled. “Oh hi there. You looking at something you like?” Since he was slightly haunched over, his plot was sticking in the air slightly, and he wiggled it at her.

“I will be if you fuck this up.” Spitfire replied nonchalantly as she lifted the stopwatch hanging from her neck and raised her hoof, ready to give the off. She was pretty sure that she didn’t need to make herself any clearer.

“A punishment? Oh my…” Riptide was clearly enjoying this too much, his smile growing wider, revealing some teeth.

“Recruit,” Spitfire dropped the stopwatch and let it hang around her neck and bought her hoof back down, letting Riptide know that she was serious. “If I were to punish you…” she thought carefully about what she was about to say, as he managed to turn the last the last thing she said into an innuendo, which she presumed meant that he would be able to do it with pretty much anything she said. “…I would get a stallion to tie your wings down and make you run 500 laps ON HOOF. Do I make myself clear?”

Seeing that things were quickly going in a direction he didn’t want to go in, Riptide gulped. “Crystal clear, ma’am.”

“Good.” Spitfire picked up the stopwatch and sent Riptide on his way.

Despite the fact that his mind always seemed to be elsewhere, he was pretty good. Although the technique made Rainbow Dash raise an eyebrow. His size meant that he definitely was not agile, but he was still taking the tight line that would be taken by a light, small, nimble Pegasus. “How is he doing that?” Rainbow Dash thought out loud without even noticing.

“He’s compensating for his line by using weight distribution. Riptide’s a big pony, so he has lots of weight to chuck around. He’s using inertia to throw his weight to either side between each corner.” Even though the question wasn’t directed at him, White Comet still gave her an answer. She did ask after all.

This guy seemed to be able to impress Rainbow Dash with each sentence. How was he able to tell so much about somepony’s flying style just from watching them? His ability to analyse situations in an instant was astonishing to her.

“However,” he continued, “that’s going to be his downfall right…about…now.”

At his words, Riptide tried to pull himself around the 14th pole, but he carried too much speed into the turn, and clipped his hind legs on the pole, knocking it out of place.

“You may be a jackass, but you’re technique is pretty intriguing.” Spitfire commented as she wrote.

A few more ponies went by, including some that Rainbow Dash recognised, like Thunderlane, Derpy, Flitter and Cloudchaser. They all did alright, apart from Derpy, who didn’t make it past the 8th. Although Rainbow Dash couldn’t say she was too surprised, as accuracy wasn’t exactly her strong point…

Finally, it was her turn to take to the course. As she moved onto the cloud to the start line, she formulated the perfect strategy inside her head. In fact, she’d been thinking about it for a while, from all the information that she had formulated from what White Comet had been telling her. The basic idea was that she would combine both his and her techniques to form the ultimate strategy. It sounded easy in her head, but would it be easy to perform?

As Spitfire gave the send-off, she shot off the line, leaving faint rainbow trails in her wake. As she approached the first set, she kept her line tight, taking the shortest distance possible and efficiently weaving in and out between the poles. It looked like she was a needle that was being threaded. Her technique worked until it started to tighten up. This is where she implemented White Comet’s technique on taking a wider line into the turns. She switched her exit coming out of one of the turns in order to take more of a sweep in. As she ran the first 2 using this technique, she was beginning to understand the advantages. The idea of travelling further than was necessary raised alarm bells in her head, but the advantages more than offset that.

As she passed the 19th, she realised that she could be competing with White Comet, but the turns were beginning to get tighter and tougher. She was trying her best not to scrape off speed, but it was getting difficult with the little room she had to manoeuvre.

She barely made it past the 20th without touching it. ‘This is it! The pole that Comet got to. All I need to do is make it past this point.’ She flung her body around and pushed her wings hard, trying to set herself up for a wider entry into the 22nd and hopefully giving her a shot at the 23rd. She brushed her back against the 21st as she passed it, but not enough to move it. “ARGH!” She grunted as she threw herself into a roll with all her might, but she didn’t make the move in time and pushed herself out too wide, altering her trajectory. She pulled her forehooves up over her head as she flew straight into the pole headfirst. She knew it wasn’t going to hurt, but she just did it out of natural response.

She bought herself to a stop and looked back at Spitfire, who had a small smile on her face. “Impressive, RD. Keep it up.” Was the only comment she made, but Rainbow Dash knew that it was her job to only give praise where it was necessary. Still, getting recognition for that was something worth feeling proud of in her opinion.

As she made her way back, she saw that Spitfire had a strange look on her face as she wrote on her clipboard. She looked reasonably happy a moment ago, but now she almost looked…angry? Why? Was it something she did? Rainbow Dash had no idea why, but she wasn’t in a position to question it. She just let it slide and presumed that she had something else going on in the background that was bothering her.

Next up was Bright Skies. Although she didn’t appear to be the strongest of fliers, she was pretty small and thin, meaning that she wouldn’t have much trouble with all the sudden direction changes. She made it up to the 17th pole before hitting it.

Rainbow Dash watched the other Pegasi make their runs and eventually they had all made their run. A few had made it to 21, but nopony had touched 22. She couldn’t believe it. In the first test, SHE HAD RANKED TOP! She almost punched the air in victory, but the sight of Spitfire approaching them stopped her from doing so.

“Good job out there, everypony.” She addressed. “There was some good runs out there for your first time. Now we’ll let you relax a bit, because we need some information from you before we can begin our next test. Follow me to the gym, then go get some lunch after this part is finished. I’ll explain it when we’re there.”

Spitfire moved towards the corridor, causing everypony to follow. It wasn’t really an organised que though, more like a hoard trying to fit through a 10 foot wide corridor.

“You pick up things quite quickly, Dash. Impressive.” White Comet said as he walked alongside her down the corridor.

“Uh, thanks,” Rainbow Dash didn’t mean for her thanks to sound quite so awkward, but a question entered her mind as soon as he spoke to her, which derailed her train of thought. “Why did you tell me all that anyway? You’re better off keeping your secrets to yourself if you wanna win.”

“Well,” he smirked, “I already told you. I’m only here to improve my own technique. I’m not bothered if I become a Wonderbolt or not at the end. I think that since it doesn’t bother me, I might as well share my knowledge with a few select ponies to help them out.”

Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow, “who are these ‘select ponies’?”

“There’s only 2. You and my brother.”

“M-me?” There was only 2 ponies that he shared his knowledge with and Rainbow Dash was one of them? She’d only known him for a day. What made him pick her? “Why me of all ponies?”

“Back when you raced me yesterday, you were able to keep up with me without thinking about it. You have natural flying talent. Me? I have to analyse every little thing I do when I’m up in the air. I can’t just jump out of bed and fly fast effortlessly, no matter how easy I make it look.”

“And I’m guessing your brother is the same?”

White Comet nodded, “yeah. It’s an impressive feat for anypony, yet alone a fourteen year old.”

“Heh…wait, FOURTEEN!?” Rainbow Dash almost shouted. “And he’s as good as me!?”

White Comet shot a mischievous smile at her. “I didn’t say he was good as you. All I said is that he can keep up with me using the same technique and thought patterns you do. You can interpret that however you want.” As he said the final 3 words, he winked at her.

‘Great, more mind tricks…’ Rainbow Dash thought.

As they walked into the gym, all the other Wonderbolts had gathered inside with what looked like…tapemeasures?

“I told you this one would be easy.” Spitfire commented as she hovered into the air to address the recruits. “We’re here at the moment to take some information about you. What we’re going to be taking is your weight, wingspan, height, and wingpower. Doesn’t sound like a tough job, but there are a lot of you to get through. So after all your measurements have been taken, you can head down to the mess hall for lunch.” She pointed down to the start where there was 4 groups of 2 Wonderbolts with tapemeasures and scales, and then more in the distance next to some wing power measuring devices. “Now let’s get on with it. Once you get the all clear, take off and fly as fast as you can for your wing power measurement.”

Everypony tried their best to form 4 orderly lines the best they could. Luckily the gym was big and there wasn’t much of a problem, the occasional pony complaining about jumping the line.

The que in front of Rainbow Dash eventually dwindled and it was finally her turn. She took a pace forward and stepped onto the scales, looking down as she was curious as what it was about to tell her. She had Misty Fly and Fleetfoot by her side, ready to measure her wingspan and height.

160 pounds. That was heavier than when she last weighed herself, but she had gained a bit more muscle since then, so she presumed that the extra weight just came from muscle mass.

“Wings.” Fleetfoot ordered, giving her a slight jab for encouragement. Rainbow Dash complied and extended her wings as far as they could go. Fleetfoot extended a tape measure across the length of one of her wings.

“4 foot 2 height,” Mistly Fly commented as she wrote down on a clipboard next to her.

“3 foot exactly wingspan,” Fleetfoot added. “Alright, go ahead for your wingpower test.”

Not needing to be told twice, Rainbow Dash shot off the scales, eyeing the small fan in front of her that was going to measure her wingpower. She flew past is as narrowly as she could, not even taking notice of the Pegasus that was sat next to it ready to take the measurement.

As she flew past it, she began decelerating with the help of her hooves along the floor, making a screeching sound as she came to a stop.

“Nineteen point nine. That’s pretty good, Dash.” A familiar stallion’s voice said behind her.

She turned to see Soarin writing down her score on a clipboard. “Thanks, Soarin!” She replied as she started heading back to the mess hall. However, she froze as a thought hit her. She should’ve address Soarin as ‘Sir’, not ‘Soarin’.

She looked over at him, biting her lip as she realised her mistake. She was expecting some backlash for it, but all Soarin did was wink at her and motion with his hoof for her to run along.

And with that, Soarin shot to the top of the list in the order she ranked her favourite Wonderbolts in. She was on a NAME basis with Soarin. In a PROFESSIONAL environment. She wasn’t even a Wonderbolt yet and this was happening. It made her feel all warm inside, knowing that someone that she looks up to considered her such a good friend.

She took off the head portion of the flight suit and let her goggles hang around her neck as she made her way to the kitchen area of the mess hall to find out what they were serving. As fancy as they tried to make it look, at the end of the day, it was just a collection of fruits and vegetables. Rainbow Dash grabbed what she wanted and took a seat on a table. She wasn’t feeling that hungry, but it didn’t stop her tucking in.

“Hey Dash, nice job on getting the top score.” Dahila said as she took a seat next to her.

“Thanks, Dah. You did a pretty good job too.” Rainbow Dash replied after swallowing.

“I was 2 behind Bright Skies,” she commented as she picked up an orange and started to peel it. “Speaking of Bright Skies, she did pretty good didn’t she?”

“Well, she is small and light, which is what that test was all about it you think about.” Rainbow Dash replied as she bit into an apple.

“I suppose so. What do you think of Bright Skies anyway? Shy or just socially awkward?” Dahila pulled one of the orange sections out and popped it into her mouth.

“Hard to tell, it’s still early days. Give it some more time and we’ll see what happens. Got nothing against her though.”

“Nah, me neither. I saw you talking to White Comet a lot. Is he really as good as they say he is?”

“I think that’s an understatement. He’s able to predict so far into the future that it’s almost like he has a superpower. The guys got brains, no doubt about it.”

“But you still beat him to the top spot!” Dahila declared as she held out her hoof.

Dash chuckled and bumped her hoof back. “I gotta admit, I did kinda steal one of the techniques he was telling me about. But the fact that I managed to get to the 22nd was a fifty-fifty combination of technique and luck.”

“Hey,” Dahila shrugged, “if it worked it worked. Don’t knock it.”

“Agree with ya there,” Rainbow Dash commentated as she picked up a banana.

After they’d had lunch and taken a bit of a break to let it go down, they went back into the gym to see what else the Wonderbolts had in store from them for the first day. When they got there, they found the Wonderbolts adjusting some of the exercise machines, giving everypony a good idea of what was coming up. Rainbow Dash heard a moderate number of ponies begin to talk about the test. Mostly complaining about certain parts. Even though she surely wasn’t going to be very strong in certain points, she would make up for them in others.

“Welcome back to your final test of today. The reason this is the last one is because this test is going to be brutal, so you’re going to need the remainder of the day to recover.” Spitfire instructed as she hovered into the air to address them. It almost looked as if she had a slightly sadistic grin on her face. “One and a half mile run on the treadmill, 50 wing-ups, and then 6 lengths in the pool, one after the other. No catch, no special rules, no nothing. Just do it as fast as you can. There’s 3 different tests, so 3 different timings, and there’s 15 of us here to time you. So 5 at a time should do it.”

The treadmill? It would just be like a miniature version of the Running of the Leaves, Dash could cope fine. The wing-ups? Piece of cake, she practiced them daily. But the pool lengths… “Fuck…” Dash muttered under her breath. She knew it would come up at some point, but she was hoping it wouldn’t be so soon. She’d barely done any swimming in her life. She was certain that she was going to fail at that point, but she didn’t have a choice. She’d have to suck it up and hope her fitness would pull through for her.

“Any questions? Nope? Hop to it.” Spitfire didn’t even wait for an answer, because there was nothing to answer. This test was as straight forward as it got. She waited a few seconds, but nopony moved towards the treadmills, waiting for somepony else to hop on. There were only 5 treadmills available, so there were going to be ques anyway.

Spitfire chuckled at the sight. “You rookies really haven’t thought this through have you? Think about it, it’s the last test of the day. The sooner you finish, the sooner you can go relax.”

And with that, the gym produced as much noise as a clearance sale at a supermarket. Everypony started pushing and shoving to get to the treadmills first. After some little tussles, a few pegasi started their runs.

Of all the ponies, Rainbow Dash only recognised Riptide on the treadmill. He was prancing overdramatically with each stride, striking a smile as if he was posing for the cover of a magazine. He had the treadmill deliberately turned up the highest of the 5, so he stood out the most. He would occasionally break his concentration to bounce his eyebrows at a few mares.

Rainbow Dash smirked as she realised what would happen if he kept this up. Since he was doing it so overdramatically, he was consuming a lot of energy, which he would suffer for later on.

Unsurprisingly, he finished first out of 10. He was pretty much gasping for breath as he came off the treadmill though and headed over to a gym mat to begin his wing-ups. As he laid flat on the floor and began his wing-ups, this was the first time that Dash had seen his muscles. He was pretty well built, almost like a tank. Although Rainbow Dash presumed that he only looked like that to attract mares.

After he’d finished his first 20, 3 more stallions joined him on the mat. They picked up speed quicker than he did, but they also looked a lot lighter, which probably had something to do with it. Rainbow Dash took a quick glance at the treadmills to see if there was anypony she knew on there. After confirming that there wasn’t, she looked back at Riptide. He was beginning to grunt on every other wing-up.

After he finished his wing-ups, 2 of the other stallions had caught up to him and finished their own wing-ups within 5 seconds of him. Riptide tried to fly towards the door that was the entrance to the pool, but his wings throbbed as he tried to take flight, causing him to run as he didn’t want to lose time.

‘Boy, I bet he’s feeling that now…’ Rainbow Dash thought as she looked back to the treadmills. She saw that Bright Skies had gotten on a treadmill, although she wasn’t sure how long she’d been on it. Bright Skies didn’t look to be a particular strong pony, but she was small, so hopefully her lightweight body would mean she’d have less to push along.

She looked as if she had a really slow setting on the treadmill at the moment. At first, Rainbow Dash wondered why she would turn it down, but then thought back to the 2 reasons White Comet beat her.

Tactics and strategy.

Was she running slower so she could save her energy for the final 2 challenges? She’d probably need all the muscle she had for the wing-ups, and she was pretty sure swimming would cost her quite a bit of energy as well, seeing as swimming was a utilization of most if not all of your muscles.

As much as Dash tried to sugar coat it, it wasn’t looking good for her. ‘Sorry Bright Skies, but looks like this one isn’t yours…’

A few ponies went by and she saw White Comet and Torque get on next to each other. Now, Torque was definitely the fitter pony, but he lacked White Comet’s brain. Although this test was pretty much about brute strength and endurance, she was almost certain that White Comet had some sort of strategy tucked away in the back of his mind.

Torque was definitely running faster than White Comet, but maybe Comet was pacing himself like Bright Skies was? In fact, it would make perfect sense for him to do that, since that’s how he beat her after all.

Torque looked like he was pushing himself pretty hard on the treadmill. Not showing off like Riptide was, it looked like he was genuinely pushing himself for the sake of pushing himself. As he finished his run on the treadmill, he went over and began his wing-ups.

White Comet joined him about 30 seconds later. By then, Torque was about 15 wing-ups ahead. But the interesting thing seemed to be that although Torque definitely had more strength, White Comet was doing wing-ups at a much faster rate than him. Either White Comet was picking up his pace, or Torque was slowing down. Was he saving energy? Or was he genuinely running on fumes?

Due to the speed difference between the 2 of them compensating for their different start times, they both finished at the same time and dashed off to the pool. They both tried to use their wings, with Torque’s buckling, but White Comet was able to get himself a few feet off the floor. Rainbow Dash took that as some sort of sign that he was overexerting himself.

She glanced back at the treadmills and saw that there was one free. Not seeing anypony stepping up to it, she didn’t hesitate to step onto it herself.

She hopped on and pressed a few buttons to get it going. She set the speed to 11 miles an hour and began to run, hearing one of the Wonderbolts click a stopwatch above her head as they started timing her.

She remained at the same speed for a minute, letting herself get into a rhythm. She was beginning to feel her blood pumping, getting her active. She felt like she could go faster, but she knew that she had to keep her pace in check in order to make sure she had the energy for the final challenges.

Then an idea hit her like a tidal wave. Her initial plan was to save energy for swimming, since she wasn’t a good swimmer. What if she reversed that plan? What if she spent most of her energy at the first 2 challenges to exploit her strengths to compensate for the poor swimming time? It would be risky, since she didn’t have much time to think it over…

…Then again, she took a risk on the previous test and it paid off.

With that in mind, she upped the speed on the treadmill to 15 miles per hour and, living up to her name, started dashing in place. She was now clearly the fastest pony on the treadmills by miles.

Around the halfway point, she was beginning to regret the decision. She was sweating like crazy underneath the nomex flight suit, but thanks to the nature of the material, it aided in the evaporation of moisture, helping her to keep cool. But no matter what type of suit she was wearing, nothing really compensated for the fact that she was pushing herself so hard. She panted at each stride, her legs begging for her to take it easy. But she soldiered on, knowing that this could make or break her run.

When she finished the treadmill run, her legs shook as she tried to walk. She had to use her wings slightly to keep herself from falling. She pretty much dropped herself onto the mat and lifted herself up with her wings, commencing her series of wing-ups. Her already exhausted body complained as she pushed it even further, but luckily she hadn’t been using her wing muscles in the last challenge.

About halfway through her wing-ups, she saw Crash Dive appear next to her. He had obviously started at a similar time, but she was too busy concentrating on running to see him. With each of his muscle contractions and extensions, they made a squeaky sound like an old rusty spring. Rainbow Dash shrugged it off as one of his jokes and continued on her own.
45…46…47…by this point, she was almost completely spent in terms of her muscle power. If she hadn’t run so hard, she would’ve been done by now. Despite her fatigue, she pushed on as hard as she could.

48…49…her wings began to shake on the last push. ‘please don’t give, please don’t give, please don’t give…’ she begged her body…50!

As soon as she finished the last one, she bought herself to her hooves as quickly as she could, groaning slightly as she lifted herself up. She slowly started to walk towards the door to the pool, getting her bearings before turning it into a run.

She burst through the doors and saw a couple of ponies in there doing their lengths. She yanked the zip on her suit as hard as she could and pulled it off herself, kicking it to the side and out of the way along with some of the other flight suits, but taking note of where she kicked it so she could pick it up later.

She didn’t even bother testing the temperature of the water first, she just jumped straight in. The temperature was a bit colder than she anticipated, shocking her for the first few seconds, but then giving her a soothing feeling as it washed away the sweat.

Not wasting any more time, she started rolling her forelegs in a windmill motion and kicking hard with her hind legs. She tilted her head from side to side now and again for breath. She pushed and pushed and pushed…and barely moved anywhere.

‘I knew I’d be slow, but this?’ She compared her speed to some of the other ponies in the pool with her. Whilst everypony looked like they were struggling, she was definitely going slower than what she should be. ‘Come on…dig deeper…’ she pounded the water harder, causing it to splash back in her face at each stroke.

With more effort than she anticipated, she made it to the other end of the pool, tapping it with her hoof to signal that she had made it. ‘One down, five to go…’ She took a deep breath and pushed off the wall to start her 2nd length. This time, she tried a variety of different swimming techniques, but none of them seemed to be making any difference for her, so she just stuck with what seemed like the easiest to do, as she was running on fumes.

After what seemed like an eternity to her, she made it over to the other side. She was starting to think that she was getting the hang of this, but then remembered that she was only just halfway. ‘Oh come on!’ She internally screamed as she started her 3rd run. She was pretty sure that the water was taunting her at this point due to her slowness. The thought only made her pound it harder.

She more or less had her head permanently to the side now, gasping for breath. As she stared to the right of her, she saw a pony swimming past her in a very off fashion. She was able to just about make out that it was Crash Dive through the water in her eyes. He was swimming very calmly, looking as if he was atop the water with only his legs submerged. He had his next bent in a weird S shape and his head held high…he looked like a swan.

The sight caused Rainbow Dash to laugh, although incredibly muffled by the water getting into her mouth. She wasn’t sure if this was one of his jokes, or if he genuinely swam like that. She quickly regained her concentration however as she realised that laughing was making her short of breath, which she really couldn’t afford right now. She also realised that although Crash Dive was probably just joking around with the whole swan thing…he was still swimming faster than he was.

Rainbow Dash growled in the water, making bubbles appear in front of her eyes. How was she this bad at swimming? Sure she’d only done it less than 10 times in her life, so she had a big lack of experience in swimming, but she wasn’t exactly unfit either. Was there something she was doing wrong? Or was she genuinely a bad swimmer?

Whatever the reason, she can’t figure it out right now, so she pushed it to the back of her mind and continued to swim as hard as she could with her dwindling energy supplies. She pushed off the wall to start her 4th length, barely able to see where she was going as her mane drooped down from the water in front of her face.

She made it to the 5th length, barely even pushing off the wall. It looked like she just leaned outwards in zero gravity and let the force of physics take her. Although she continued to propel herself forward using what remained in her legs.

When she started her final length, she didn’t even push off. She just turned herself around in the water and plodded along on her final length. She felt her flank begin to submerge towards the end as her hind legs were unable to maintain her buoyancy. She was more or less doggy-paddling to the finish.

When she reached the end, she put her forehooves over the edge and used the remainder of her strength to pull herself up and onto her back. She had done it. Not well, but she done it. Although she felt pretty dead. She could barely concentrating on anything other than breathing. Her heartbeat rang out like a drum in her head, feeling it throb in time with the beats. She lied in a heap on her back for a few minutes to regain her breath.

After she had regained enough of her breath to bring herself to her hooves, she grabbed her flight suit and slowly trotted her way back, fearing that if she tried to go any faster, she would break something.

“Not necessarily the fastest of runs, but full marks for effort, recruit!” The Wonderbolt timing her at the side of the pool shouted to her.

Rainbow Dash looked over her shoulder at him. “Thanks…” she weakly replied. She saw that it was Wave Chill who was timing her. After the brief feedback, she continued on her way out. She really just wanted to go straight into the shower, wash all the chlorine out of her eyes and let her muscles come back to her.

She went to her room, grabbed her towel, and walked back into the mares changing rooms and chucked her flight suit into a basket marked ‘cleaning’. She didn’t look to confirm whether she managed to get it in the basket or not, but she presumed she did. She was focused on her other goal.

She went into the shower room where a few mares were already showering themselves off from completing their runs previously. The showers were basic showerheads pointing directly over the place where she would be standing. There were 2 knobs, one to control pressure, the other to control temperature. She set the pressure to the highest it would go to and set the temperature to slightly lower, seeing as she felt like she was melting.

With the cool fresh water running over her, she let out a sigh of relief, the feeling returning to her body. She picked up a bar of lemon-scented soap and ran it across her body, trying her best to rid herself of the smell of sweat.

When she had finished washing herself, she grabbed her towel and dried herself off, not worrying about the state her mane was in. She normally did minimal styling with it anyway, so it didn’t bother her.

She left the mare’s locker room and started walking back down to her room. “DUDE, COME ON! THAT’S FUCKING GROSS!” She heard a young stallion’s voice bellow through the walls of the stallion’s locker room, feeling the vibrations in her hooves. She chuckled gently to herself as she imagined some of the shenanigans that could be doing on in there, but she felt like she was probably better off not knowing.

As she entered her room, everypony looked pretty much as dead as her. Torque was stretching himself out, Dahila was applying some sort of cream to her forelegs, Riptide had his towel over his shoulders and was rummaging through his drawers for something. As she walked up, Horizon came out of the bathroom, his mane drooping down long past his face from where he had taken a shower back in the locker rooms. Because his mane was usually bunched up, the fact that it was wet made it look incredibly long, bringing it almost halfway down his legs.

White Comet was already asleep on his bed, in his normal napping position with his forelegs crossed over his chest. Rainbow Dash didn’t blame him, as that’s what she felt like doing right now.

Rainbow Dash collapsed on her bed, letting her limbs droop over the edges. She breathed a sigh of relief as she was finally able to take the weight off her legs. She rolled over and leaned back against the bedframe.

“I didn’t even know I had muscles in these places, yet alone I could make them ache.” Dahila joked in an exhausted tone.

“That was…pretty hard,” Rainbow Dash unwillingly admitted, but seeing as everypony else felt the same way, she felt that she could let it slide. “I didn’t expect to be thrown into a pool so quickly.”

“Not a swimmer huh? My mom loved swimming, but I was too scared as a filly to go anywhere near water.” Dahila replied with a chuckle.

“Well, I’ve swam, but…never in competition.” Dash replied, massaging the back of her neck with her hoof.

“I like swimming, it’s easy. I’m not the fastest, but I could go at it for hours.” Riptide spoke up, dropping his towel by the side of his bed.

Dahila glanced over at Rainbow Dash. “Wait for it…” She quietly spoke. “Wait for it…”

“Besides,” Riptide chuckled, “that’s not the only--”

“Thing I can go at for hours on end.” Dahila finished his sentence. “Called it. This whole innuendo thing you’ve got going on is getting way too predictable, Riptide.”

“Pfff,” Riptide batted a hoof at her, “you’re just being boring.”

Dahila shook her head and looked over at Torque. “What about you, Torque? What did you think?”

“…It was…interesting…” his response was very minimal. He didn’t particular want to reply at all, but he was starting to understand that if he wanted to stay here, his roommates wouldn’t give him a choice.

Dahila sighed, knowing she wouldn’t get much more out of him. Well, she could, but it wasn’t worth the effort. “If this is just day one, what’s it’s gonna be like from here on out?” She asked out loud to the rest of the room.

“Like going through hell.” Rainbow Dash replied as she sat up.

Dahila smirked, looking slightly sadistic. “Just the way I like it…” she chimed.

Rainbow Dash returned her smirk, “I’m glad we think on the same page.” She replied as she extended her right wing and started preening.

As she was preening, she glanced over the end of her bed a few times at White Comet. She was curious to hear what he had to say, but wasn’t probably going to hear it until later. She knew what it was like to be woken from a nap, and given the exhausted state that they were all currently in, she thought she’d give the poor guy a rest for now.

The small remainder of the afternoon rolled on and soon enough it was time for dinner. Dash and her roommates walked down there together, although Dash was more interested in catching up with her other friends. As they were walking down there, they saw a large board just to the left of the entrance to the mess hall. It was a large, rectangular blackboard in a portrait orientation with ‘knockouts’ written at the top of it. There was a small piece of paper bobby pinned to the wall below it, but they had to move in closer to see it.

‘I can’t put this kindly, so I’m just going to say it. Whoever see’s their name on this board is to pack their bags and leave. They will be published at the end of each day. There will be none for today. If we didn’t think you could pass our basic tests, we wouldn’t have even picked you in the first place.

With everypony satisfied by Spitfire’s written explanation, they proceeded to gently trot towards the entrance to the mess hall. “I know they said that there wouldn’t be any for today, but I wonder who’s first on the list…” Dahila questioned out loud. She wasn’t asking anypony in particular, but she aimed her voice to her right to ask the stallion that was walking alongside her. Although she wasn’t getting a response. She looked over her shoulder and saw that Torque wasn’t walking beside her anymore. She stopped and looked behind her. Torque was still staring at the knockout board. He hadn’t moved. “Yo Torque, you coming?” She called to him.

Torque didn’t acknowledge her voice. He didn’t even blink. He was just concentrating on giving the knockout board a stern look. What was he contemplating? Dahila wanted to press the issue, but with the smell of food gently wafting through the door, her stomach said otherwise. She batted her hoof at him (even though he wasn’t looking), and continued on her way, pushing through the door and having everypony else follow her.

A fair few ponies were already occupying the tables. Dash noticed as she walked in that some of her friends were already here. They didn’t see her, so she planned on going to meet them after she got her food.

As she neared the front of the line, she was given the choice of either steamed vegetables in some sort of soup, or quiche. With her tongue leaning towards something savoury, she chose the quiche, putting some on her plate, and headed off towards the table her friends were sitting at.

Thunderlane greeted her with a nod as he saw her approaching. Rainbow Dash returned the nod with a smile as she took a seat. “So, how did you find the first day?” She asked as she began to dig into her dinner.

Thunderlane looked as if he had had a pretty rough time. His mane was fuzzier than normal, and it was all over the place. Like Dash, he probably didn’t care too much as he got out of the shower. “Hard would be an understatement…” his reply was gruff and tired.

“Well, it never was gonna be a walk in the park, but I never imagined this on the first day. It makes me worry about the rest…” Cloudchaser commented.

“I hear ya,” Thunderlane replied, “but I hope they’re not as…intensive.”

“I think today was just a general basic test to see how we would handle it.” Rainbow Dash said, thinking about what Soarin told her yesterday. “Tomorrow comes the real stuff that they’re gonna be judging us on.”

“I thought that when I saw the note underneath the chalkboard at the entrance.” Thunderlane added.

As they spoke, out of the corner of her eye, Rainbow Dash saw Torque enter through the doors. He had been standing outside looking at the board all this time? What did he see that got the gears turning in his brain? Whatever it was, she would probably never find out. At least not from his mouth.

“I saw you friending up White Comet earlier.” Thunderlane drew her attention, causing her to look at him. “Looking for some moves to steal are we?”

“Uh, well, hehe. Not…directly…” Rainbow Dash replied uneasily with a hint of hesitation in her voice.

“We know your game, Dash,” Cloudchaser added, narrowing her eyes and putting on a grin that said it all.

“Okay, maybe I am looking for a teeny tiny bit of help,” Rainbow Dash admitted, “but he’s actually a pretty cool guy. Seriously, some of the things he comes out with could make Twilight blush.”

“How did he react to you beating him?” Thunderlane questioned.

“He was pretty cool with it actually.” Rainbow Dash looked up and away as she thought about it. “That’s just the thing with him though. He doesn’t seem too bothered about his performance or results. He said he only wanted to come here to improve his technique, which he can only learn by pushing the limits. So either he’s holding a lot back, or…he’s not as good as ponies say he is…”

“Or you’re just so good, you can keep up with him.” Cloudchaser regretted that just thinking about it, as she knew how much Dash liked having her ego stroked. But they were theorizing, and it was a theory after all.

Dash grinned in response, “I like that one. We’ll go with that one.”

Cloudchaser chuckled and rolled her eyes, “there’s a long was to go yet, Dash. Perhaps he’s just waiting for the right moment to catch you napping.”

At her words, Rainbow Dash giggled a little bit as a joke popped into her head. “I think I’m the one who’s caught him napping. A few times actually.”

Thunderlane and Cloudchaser raised an eyebrow. “Uhh…what?” Was all Thunderlane could respond with.

“Oh, it’s nothing. He just likes to take a few naps occasionally.” She briefly explained. “What about you Derpy?” Dash asked whilst turned her head to face her. “How are you finding it so far?”

“It’s…interesting.” Derpy had a slight sound of uncertainty in her voice. “It’s been hard, but…I think I’m enjoying it.”

“How did you do on that last test?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“Not…very well. I just about managed the run, but I can’t do wing-ups very well. It took me a few minutes to get those done. And…I can’t swim.”

Dash chuckled, “join the club. I thought my heart was gonna burst out of my chest after that swim.”

“No, as in…I can’t swim. At all.” Derpy looked away to the floor. “The Wonderbolt timing me had to save me. I jumped in without even thinking about it and couldn’t stay afloat. I would’ve drowned if he wasn’t there.” She admitted, then hung her head in shame.

“Oh…” Dash knew from the beginning that Derpy was going to have a pretty hard time. Her poor eyesight already put her at a disadvantage. Although her general fitness was about average for a young Pegasus mare, she lacked knowledge of more advanced techniques that would put her in a competitive spot.

After Rainbow Dash had finished her dinner, she handed her plate back for cleaning and walked back to her room. “C’mon, there’s gotta be more to it than that?” She heard the familiar voice of Dahila through the door.

Rainbow Dash pushed through to try and find out what was going on. Crash Dive and Horizon seemed to be planning some sort of shenanigan on Horizon’s bed, Riptide was reading a mare’s fitness magazine…although he probably wasn’t looking for advice on how to shave a few pounds…White Comet hadn’t returned yet, Bright Skies was working on her book, and Dahila was having some sort of argument with Torque, who had a grimacing look on his face from being forced into a conversation.

“I told you, I have no interest in giving away information to my enemy.” Torque huffed, avoiding eye contact with Dahila.

“But I’m not your enemy. None of us are. We’re your competitors, yeah, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.” She explained, radiating a warm smile in the hope that it would sway his opinion.

“Unfortunately the feelings not mutual,” Torque turned his head to look at her. “I have no problems with your acquaintance, but we don’t need it to go any further than that.” He spoke bluntly, wanting to end the conversation as quickly as possible.

“Well, I hope we don’t get put together for any team events.” Dash commented sarcastically, chuckling slightly as she walked towards the 2 of them. “Seriously though Torque, would it hurt you to be even slightly friendly? Or at least not rude?”

Torque glanced away, “I guess we’re all stuck in this together…” He said quietly under his breath.

“What?” Dahila said, turning her head so her left ear was pointing in his direction so she could hear better.

Realizing what he said, Torque’s eyes grew wide temporarily before they narrowed as he furrowed his brow. “Grr…” he gritted his teeth, “I’ve said too much.” He suddenly hopped out of his bed and started heading towards the bathroom.

“Hey, I’m not done talking to you!” She demanded as she followed him. “Where do you think you’re going!?”

He stopped and glared backwards at her. “I’m relocating beakfast!” He raised his voice at her and slammed the door behind him. “And probably lunch…” he added from beyond the door.

“Eww!” Dahila cringed heavily as she banged her forehooves against the door. “WAAAY too much information, moron!” She shouted through the door, then headed back over to her bed, where Dash was waiting for her. “Seriously, what’s up with that guy?”

Dash shrugged, “you know as much as I do, but did you hear what he said back there?”

Dahila raised an eyebrow, “ ‘we’re all stuck in this together’.” She mimicked his grumpy, depressed tone. She gasped as she realized what the key word was in the sentence. “Stuck? What does he mean by stuck?”

“I dunno, but…” Rainbow Dash began, but felt like she didn’t need to, since Dahila seemed to be able to tell what she was about to say.

Dahila nodded in agreement at what she presumed Dash would about to say. “It’s clearly a touchy subject that he’s sensitive about, so let’s take it easy on him.” She said what was in her head for clarity.

“AAH!” Riptide’s scream made everypony jump and look at him. He had dropped the magazine he was reading onto the bed and was pressing back up against the wall.

“Oh thank!” Crash Dive popped up next to him and laid his hoof on one of the pages, “I was looking for that!” He ripped the page out, a perfectly clean rip. As he held it up, he briefly revealed to everyone what it was. It was him, wearing underwear, and in a…lude position. He took the picture and stuffed it in his nightstand.

Riptide gulped and, with his hoof trembling, closed the magazine. His face looked like he’d just seen a ghost. “How good are the surgeons here?” He asked quietly, “because I want the part of my brain responsible for engraving that image into my eyes removed please…”

Everypony in the room immediately fell into fits of laughter at Riptides displeasure. Riptide didn’t pay much attention to the laughter directed at him, since he was still struggling to get the image out of his head. After she finished laughing, and seeing that the big guy was still in distress, Dahila walked over to him.

“Well, that was pretty dramatic…” she spoke in a deeper voice than usual. She perched herself on the side of his bed. “I guess you’re gonna need somepony to help you…take your mind off things.” She ran her hoof around in circles on his matress.

Everypony gawked in awe at what they were just witnessing. Was she…coming onto him? In front of everypony?

“Well…” Riptide almost immediately regained his composure, colour being restored to his face. “Now that you mention it like that…” He grinned and narrowed his eyes as he slid a hoof over his shoulder.

Suddenly, Dahila nonchalantly slipped out from underneath his foreleg and trotted off. “Good luck finding somepony,” she chimed as she walked off.

Rainbow Dash held a hoof to her mouth, trying to hide her smile. ‘That was harsh…but funny.’ She admitted as she tried to supress laughs.

Of course, the first 2 to burst into laughter were Crash Dive and Horizon, rolling around on the bed at Dahila’s joke.

Riptide looked over to them and raised an eyebrow as a thought about what caused all this to occur popped into his head. “Say Crash Dive, why does a picture of you like that even exis--”

“NO DON’T!” Horizon waved his hooves around in the air to draw his attention as he shouted. “You don’t wanna ask that question. The story goes on for hours…” he grimaced and shuddered as he recalled it, making his pupils shrink. “I saw the white light that evening…I should’ve walked into it…”

Rainbow Dash could barely hold her smile back at the things she just witnessed. Dahila is a competitive, friendly, jokey pony, Riptide is a ladies-stallion who thought he was all that, Crash Dive and Horizon are basically a Pinkie Pie duet with wings, Torque is a grumpy jackass who’s actually an amazing flier, Bright Skies was a reserved pony who actually had quite a lot of brain sitting in her head, and White Comet is somepony who she had recently developed an unstoppable burning desire to beat, and he was only sleeping a few feet away from her.

This was a recipe for…well, it’s a recipe for a lot of things, but the main thing was the thing she cared about the most; a good time.

Author's Note:

And that's a wrap for chapter 3.

I think I could've done this better, I'm not particularly happy with the pacing, but hey-ho, I guess that's something I'll improve upon as I continue to write. :rainbowdetermined2:

Thanks for reading! :twilightsmile: