• 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 8

Dash was pretty familiar with the area Fleetfoot told her to head to. It was the location where she raced Comet back when they first got here. However, she was pretty sure that it wouldn’t be in the same place.

It wasn’t hard to spot, due to the fact that there was a checkered start/finish line, and everypony was crowding around it. As Dash neared, she noticed a few more Wonderbolts standing with Fleetfoot. When she was close enough, she was able to identify them as Spitfire and Soarin.

There was a pillar either side of the start/finish line with a bridge across the top that the Wonderbolts were standing on. They were discussing a few things amongst them, along with a couple of boxes they had which appeared to have giant displays on them. Dash couldn’t tell what they were, as she wasn’t close or high enough, but she just managed to see what looked like ponies names on the top of the displays.

She flew across to the pillar that everypony was crowding around. When she got there, she saw that something had been stuck on the pillar that everypony was reading. She gently pushed her way through until she was in reading distance. When it was in view, it appeared to be a map of the track. It was very poorly drawn, but it gave her a rough indication of what the track would be like. Although it wasn’t very helpful that it didn’t show the ascents and descents of the course.

“Well Spitfire, today sure was interesting…” Fleetfoot deliberately spoke loudly, grabbing the recruit’s attention.

“It sounded like it, your voice on the PA woke us all up.” Spitfire said as she put the clipboard down and turned to address the recruits. “Seeing as I’m here now, I might as well be another set of eyes on this test.” She to the recruits, then glanced over at Fleetfoot. “But I guess you still want to do the honours?”

Fleetfoot smirked and took to the skies, hovering a few yards in front of the bridge. “Welcome to your final test of the day. I’m sure you’re all pretty much ready to pass out after waking up so early. This test is another race, but instead of a derby, we’re gonna be doing something that’s rapidly gaining popularity across Equestria, albeit with a lot of controversy. Circuit racing!”

White Comet could feel a few eyes shift to him as he watched Fleetfoot as she spoke. He wasn’t normally one to snap under pressure, so they didn’t intimidate him. However, it was Fleetfoot that he was concerned about. He was almost certain that she would be expecting big things of him in this. The last thing he wanted to do was screw it up…

“The race will be 3 laps around the course on a 1 V 1 level. The competitors will be drawn randomly from the list of names I have in these boxes behind me.” She motioned to the boxes with her hoof. “Let’s get to it!” She announced as she flew towards the boxes. She didn’t even bother asking for questions, as it didn’t get much simpler than this. It was a race. You’re either in 1st or last

She randomly selected one of the displays and pulled it out of the box. “Strider!” She announced.

Dash saw the pegasus that she was partnered with earlier make his way over to the starting grid. She could see the eagerness on his face, wondering if, once again, it would be his downfall, or if he’d learned his lesson.

“Aaaannndd…” Fleetfoot did ‘eenie-meenie-miney-mo’ in her head as she randomly selected another display. “Valiant!” She announced the name.

A silver-coloured stallion with a blue mane made his way over to the start line to join Strider.

Fleetfoot then proceeded to mount the displays on 2 mounting points across the bridge. It suddenly all made sense to Dash as to why she had the names written on such big boards. Underneath the name, we’re the stats they collected when they first started the trials.

STRIDER:
Height: 3’ 9in
Wingspan: 2’ 8in
Weight: 155lbs
Wingpower: 19.2

VALIANT:
Height: 4’ 5in
Wingspan 3’
Weight: 190lbs
Wingpower: 21.4

Strider and Valiant got to see each other’s stats as they lined up on the starting line. As they were taking in the info, Dash was also thinking about it. This info made it possible to come up with some sort of strategy for handling the opponent. This test just got a whole lot more interesting.

As the race began, Dash managed to catch a glimpse of Strider pulling away from a standstill faster than Valiant, but Valiant was subsequently able to use his superior wingpower to take the position back on the straightaway.

By the time they came round to complete the first lap, Strider had a huge lead. In Dash’s mind, there was no way that Valiant could catch him. Hell, even she would have a hard time doing that from that far back. Not that she would admit it.

“Valiant will pass Strider on the backstretch on the last lap.” A familiar stallion’s voice came from her left hand side.

She saw White Comet standing next to her, but it’s not like she didn’t expect him. What she wasn’t expecting was his statement. Valiant passing Strider? “I dunno…” Dash looked back at the course, “I just don’t see it happening…”

The 2nd lap went by and onto the 3rd and final they went. Comet was right, Valiant had caught up. Either he picked up his pace, or Strider was slowing. Although the results didn’t really matter much to Dash, she was still secretly rooting for Strider, as she felt like he had potential, and she’d hate to see it go to waste.

They couldn’t see the backstretch from where they were standing, so she didn’t bother trying. Even the Wonderbolts standing on the bridge would be having some difficulty. Although her jaw almost dropped when she saw Valiant come across the line ahead of strider. He had somehow managed to pass, but did he pass in the spot Comet said he would?

She remained in her spot and watched the races with Comet. If she needed anymore proof that this was his speciality, then this was it. He was somehow able to predict every move the Pegasi made out on the track. How he did it though escaped her. She couldn’t even begin to imagine how she would play it out, yet alone another pony.

But it did get her thinking… ‘Is that his weakness? He’s able to predict so far ahead that he can plan for everything. But what if you’re flying unpredictably? What does he do then?’

“Rainbow Dash!” Fleetfoot called her name, interrupting her train of thought. Her ears perked up and she looked over at Fleetfoot, who was pinning her stat board to the cloud.



Dash almost snorted at her words. Thunderlane? Last time she checked, she had more wingpower than him, and he wasn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed either. She had both fronts covered. This would be a walk in the park.

She flew over the crowd to the starting line along with Thunderlane, who was coming over from the other side. As she landed, she looked up at their stats.

RAINBOW DASH:
Height: 4’ 2in
Wingspan: 3’
Weight: 160lbs
Wingpower: 19.9

THUNDERLANE:
Height: 4’ 6in
Wingspan: 3’ 5in
Weight: 180lbs
Wingpower: 11.6

She thought to herself as she looked at Thunderlane’s stats. He had gotten a little better since she last raced him, but not enough to make a difference.

“Ready!” Fleetfoot called.

Dash lowered herself into her start position as she thought up a strategy in her head. She had the superior wingpower, and was lighter, giving her the advantage in both the straight and the corners. However, Thunderlane had a bigger wingspan, giving him greater endurance, since his wings generated more natural lift. But since keeping up with him wouldn’t be too hard, she should be able to stay behind him, and use the 1st lap as a scouting lap, working out where he was the slowest on the course, and then passing him on that spot in the 2nd lap. She should run away with it after than, and this race would be hers.

“Set!”

With her strategy in mind, Dash relaxed a bit, as she would have to let Thunderlane take the lead. Something she hated doing, since she loved being in the lead, but for the sake of the race, she would have to. Besides, the only reason he was going to be in the lead is because she was letting him. And that feeling that she had the race under her control and him wrapped around her hoof made her feel full of confidence.

She glanced over at Thunderlane, who was glancing back at her. This was a pretty familiar position for them, and they were looking each other with the same glare of competition they had for a long time.

“GO!”

Both Pegasi blasted off the line, not wasting any time at all. Dash was clearly accelerating faster than Thunderlane, but she eventually let off to let him go ahead in front. She slotted in behind him on the left to line herself up for the first corner.

As she followed him around the course, she noticed that his cornering was very aggressive, almost challenging her. Whilst it was making him faster, she was sure that he wouldn’t be able to keep it up, as it looked tiring.

The course went down then levelled out again. The downhill made their difference in wingpower less significant, but it didn’t matter, as she saw her passing point in the distance. The backstretch was all uphill. She would use her superior wingpower to pull past him, as wingpower was more important when in a climb.

She managed to get right up behind him as she came about halfway up the backstretch. She could pass him now if she wanted to. She considered it, but wasn’t convinced. So far, sticking to the plan and taking risks were about even in terms of whether they paid off or not. And she could see that Thunderlane was pushing quite hard at this point. No doubt that it was because he could feel the back pressure that she was producing from being behind him. With that in mind, she decided to stay behind him and wait until the next lap to pass.

Not having much of a challenge for it, she did exactly that. In fact, Thunderlane didn’t seem to challenge her at all for the remainder of the race. She flew across the line with ease, feeling a bit short of breath, but nothing out of the usual.

She glided to a halt as she came across the line, then spun around in the air to see Thunderlane picking up the rear and crossing the line behind her. She chuckled as she flew over to him, “just like old times, huh?”

Thunderlane was panting and wheezing like crazy for a few seconds before answering her. “Sh-shut up,” he said sarcastically, chuckling himself. He was pretty used to this by now, so to him and Dash, it was just another day, another friendly race. He knew what was on the line just as much as Dash did, but he didn’t care. As much as it pained him to admit, Dash was simply better than him.

She watched Thunderlane fly back over to his friends as she flew back over to Comet. “Smart…” Comet said simply as she landed next to him.

“Well, I am picking up a few tricks from a certain somepony’s book.” She replied as she nudged him in the side.

“I saw…” Comet replied with a smile forming across his face.

Time ticked on with Comet once again predicting the movements of the different Pegasi around the track. Dash also got to watch the remainder of her friends and roommates race. Torque, Bright Skies, and Riptide all managed to win. Dahlia lost, but apparently, due to a ‘dirty’ move with the mare she was racing blocking her. Dash was pretty sure that after that argument, Dahlia’s voice would be reverberating in the Crystal Empire for weeks.

Horizon and Crash Dive had some interesting races, and nopony was quite sure who won, as they went right down to the wire. When Dash saw their stats, they had wingpower rivaling hers. And she remembered that Crash Dive always made jokes about his brother being slightly on the heavier side. And he wasn’t kidding. Horizon, according to his stats, weighed 275lbs. He certainly didn’t look that heavy. He looked a bit chubby, but not that much.

“White Comet!” Spitfire called out from the bridge. They were about 2/3rd’s of the way through the cadets, and the grounds were starting to thin about, as most ponies spread out since they didn’t need to pay attention anymore.

“Aanndd…” She shuffled her hooves through the boards.

“Whoa, hold on a second there, Spit.” Fleetfoot said as she put her own hooves in the way of Spitfire’s to stop her. “I’m just gonna make some teeeeeeeeensy tiny adjustments to the course. You mind giving me a hoof moving the clouds?” She looked over at Soarin. “Could use your hooves too Soarin.” She said as she started flying away.

Spitfire looked over at Soarin and raised an eyebrow. Soarin simply shrugged as he took flight and followed her.

It took them around 15 minutes to make Fleetfoot’s ‘modifications’. They couldn’t really see what she was changing, but the only thing they did noticed was that it seemed to go more up and less down than before. Fleetfoot flew over to the left pillar on the bridge, where the track map was placed, and got the red pen that she was using to write on her clipboard. “The track now looks like…” she made some rough sketches over the top of the original layout “This!”

Dash heard a gulp come from Comet. She looked over to him and saw him biting his lip, the look of concentration that was once in his eyes was now replaced with concern.

“And for your competitor…” She started flicking through the boards. “Let’s see…” Fleetfoot flicked through them, but not at random, she took a look at the stats of everypony as she went through. She was cherry-picking an opponent!

“What’s up?” Dash whispered to him as all eyes laid upon him and Fleetfoot.

“She’s got rid of some of the corners, which is where I’m my quickest. That, and coupled with the fact that the track goes up more than it goes down now, makes wingpower extra important. I have a reasonable amount of wingpower, pretty much the same as you, but that doesn’t mean I can accelerate uphill without tiring myself out quickly.”

Dash took in everything he said. And he was absolutely right. Fleetfoot had modified the track in order to push his comfort zone. She knew what he was already capable of, so she didn’t need to see that. What she needed to see was something he was yet to accomplish.

“That, and I bet she’s gonna choose somepony with huge amounts of wingpower compared to me,” Comet added.

“Aha!” Fleetfoot pulled out a board. “Wind Tunnel!” She announced as she looked around for the pony and pinned the board to the bridge.

“Well,” Comet sighed, “here goes nothing,” he said as he left Dash and flew over to the starting board, taking a look at their stats as he arrived.

WHITE COMET:
Height: 4’ 4in
Wingspan: 3’
Weight: 175lbs
Wingpower: 19.4

WIND TUNNEL:
Height: 5’ 10in
Wingspan: 4’ 8in
Weight: 265lbs
Wingpower: 43.5

The odds really where stacked against him. Sure, he had weight on his side, but there was no corners on the track where he would be able to utilize it. This was almost unfair.

He looked over at his competitor. Wind Tunnel. A light grey stallion with a messy cream coloured mane and tail. Comet could see his toned, muscly texture underneath the nomex of the Wonderbolt flight suit. He lifts...he definitely lifts…

“Ready…”

Wind Tunnel spat, then glared an intimidating glare at Comet. “You ready, Pipsqueak?” He growled as he extended his enormous wings.

Comet didn’t respond other than looking over at him as he extended his own wings.

“Set…”

They locked eyes for a split second, before Comet returned his focus to the track ahead. But he couldn’t get the picture of his eyes out of his head. His right eye was green, but his left eye had a grey-white coloured iris and pupil...was he...was he blind in one eye?

“GO!”

The pair of them wasted no time in jumping off the line, leaving a blast of wind in their wake. Comet noted how easily he was accelerating away from Wind as he flew down the frontstretch, but towards the end of it, Wind blew him out of the water with speed. The wake left by his wings almost destabilized Comet.

‘That’s some incredible wingpower. Somepony’s been hitting the weights and wingups maybe a little too hard. And with a wingspan like that, he’ll be able to maintain it too...hmmm...’

As they approached the first turn, Comet blinked as he saw how early Wind started braking and how slow he was through the turn.

‘But all that weight comes at a cost,’ he thought as he approached the turn himself, not even decelarating that much, and pulling a much higher speed turn. He briefly was faster than him out of the turn, but the straight line speed was just too much.

‘I’m faster in the turns, no doubt about that. But his incredible wingpower means I never get an opportunity to attack. If Fleetfoot left the course the same, I would’ve had plenty of opportunity at some of the twistier chicanes. But now there’s barely any slowing down required at all...at this point, I don’t have a plan. I’m just going to have to do a scouting lap to figure out my position.’

As they completed the first lap, Wind had pulled out a lead of at least 10 pony lengths over Comet as they crossed the line. Comet began to lose concentration as his eyes widened in disbelief. ‘I’m pushing my logical limit and I still can’t catch him...there’s nothing I can do...I’m...I’m gonna lose...’

He rounded through the middle part of the track, which was all downhill after he came off the long right hander 3rd corner. This was where he made up the most time, since it was downhill, and the most twisty, technical part of the new course.

‘There’s nothing else for it, I’m gonna have to throw logic to the wind and go all out!’

Comet forgot all about his conservationist methods and simply pushed his wings as hard as they would let him and then some more, using his cornering advantage to his full potential. As he went downhill, into the 1st slight left, he managed to spot Wind decelerating heavily. He spotted his own entry, where he found a gap to the outside of Wind. He dived right into it, pulling a heavy bank into the left hand turn, able to get beside Wind.

He was easily not making the 50% rule, with only about a quarter to a third of him making it around the outside of Wind. Nevertheless, Wind chose to give him room, not using all of the outside to maximize his acceleration, but instead holding his line to provide Comet with space.

Comet blinked as he hesitated to accelerate again. ‘The brute races cleanly. That’s the last thing I was expecting...’

He held his outside line, heading into the next slight left, but braked early so make an undercut on Wind, moving to his left side as they came out of the turn. Using his acceleration advantage, he managed to get pretty much neck and neck with Wind as they entered the smooth 90 degree right hander.

Comet was certain he was approaching his breaking zone, but because the big brute was blocking his view into the corner, he couldn’t judge it correctly, so he entered the corner cautiously to compensate.

He remained along the outside through the turn, but as he exited, Comet just saw a huge blob of blue closing towards him, until it eventually collided with him. “Woah!” He yelped as he slammed on the brakes.

Comet managed to slide out before Wind fully ran him over, breathing a sigh of relief as he managed to avoid disaster, then stopping again as an idea suddenly hit him. He didn’t have long before the next right hander, and his acceleration had been compromised, so he’d have to think fast.

‘His left eye, the one he was blind in...is that the reason he didn’t see me…?’ His already thundering heart just got a kick into a higher gear as a controversial idea formed in his head. ‘If I can’t win through speed, I could win through disqualification. It’s low, but...I really don’t want to lose...’

He saw Wind begin to decelerate for the next turn. ‘Ah, screw it!’ He dived around the outside. ‘This is gonna hurt!’

He held his own around the outside, matching almost neck and neck to Wind as they left the exit. Once again, Comet saw Wind begin to cut him off. He was definitely within the 50% rule, so it was Wind’s fault if contact was made, not his. With that in mind, he kept his wings in it.

Wind gave Comet a forceful shove and pushed him out of his way. “ARRGH!” Comet yelled as he was squished into the cloud.

Wind gasped, and tried to react, but by the time his brain had only just began processing what was going on, it was too late. Comet already had his front half stuck in the clouds.

Fleetfoot saw what was going on and immediately blew her whistle to grab their attention. “HEEEEY! STOP, STOP, STOP!” She yelled as she flew down there, Spitfire and Soarin in tow. They were confident that Fleetfoot could handle it themselves, but they were just going down to check that everypony was alright.

Wind Tunnel used his big wings to drag himself to a stop, and turned around to see Fleetfoot stopping mere inches away from him. “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!?” She yelled full force straight into his face. She was quite a bit smaller than him, but was still easily as intimidating. “YOU JUST STRAIGHT UP RAMMED SOMEPONY OFF THE COURSE! ARE YOU BLIND OR SOMETHING!”

He suddenly stopped breathing and his eyes went wide. “Uhh, nope. Not me,” he replied nervously, his voice a lot higher pitched than what it was earlier.

A small smirk cracked onto Soarin’s lips. He always found it funny when the big, tough, trash talking guys submitted to a figure of authority.

“Well it sure didn’t look like that!” She inched her face closer to his, so their noses were only about an inch apart as she continued to rip him out. “You think you--wait a minute!” She looked at his left eye, noticing the discolouration. “You are blind! Literally!”

“Uh,” he lifted his goggles up and placed them on his forehead, “it’s a...genetic thing…I can still see….” he said weakly, lots of hesitation in his voice. “...Kinda…” he mumbled so quietly that nopony could hear.

Fleetfoot raised an eyebrow, and left her eyes locked with his for about 10 seconds. Afterwards, she huffed and backed off. “Whatever…” she grumbled as she headed over towards Comet. “You’re disqualified for intentional wrecking.” She instructed.

Wind Tunnel grunted in response, but accepted his disqualification. It was a fair judgement, as since Comet was more than 50% over him at the time, that meant it was his responsibility to avoid him. He didn’t agree with it, but rules are rules...

Comet had managed to pull himself out of the cloud, shaking his head to get the cloud out of his mane. Although it looked nice and fluffy on the outside, hardened cloud like that really hurt when you crash into it at full speed.

“Are you alright?” Fleetfoot asked as she landed on top of the cloud barrier next to him.

“Yeah, I--” his voice froze as he realised who he was speaking to. He lifted his goggles up and looked up at Fleetfoot. “Uhh…”

Fleetfoot smirked, “got something on my face, or have you still lost your voice?”

“Err, no, I just, uhh…” he glanced away, scratching his head.

Fleetfoot held her smirk, and rolled her eyes. “Looks like you’re still gonna have to wait ‘till later…” her smirk slowly dissolved into frown as she looked down, rubbing her left foreleg with her right hoof. “I mean...if you still want to that is…”

“Uh, sure! Yeah!” Comet had no clue what made him magically find words, but he managed to crack a smile at his success.

“Great…” not needing to say anymore, Fleetfoot took off and headed back over to the start/finish line, with Comet also bringing himself to his hooves and preparing to take off.

Soarin raised an eyebrow at what he just witnessed as he flew back up. He’d never seen Fleetfoot behave so passively before. Even if it was just for one sentence. What was that all about? He’d have to quiz her about it later…

Dash flew over to Comet as he arrived back on the cloud that held the start/finish line. “Nice win, there!” She praised and held her hoof out to him.

“Hmm…” He glanced away, “yeah…” he said softly, as he gently bumped her hoof back, no heart in it at all.

Dash raised an eyebrow, “what’s the matter?” She asked.

“Nothing…” he replied as he turned his attention to the next set of fliers that Fleetfoot was calling up, so Dash did the same to watch the competition. She could sense some discontent in his voice, but she couldn’t quite put her hoof on the reason behind it. He won. What’s there not to be discontent about? A win was a win right?

After the last few ponies had gone, Fleetfoot wrote her final few notes on her clipboard before turning to address the cadets. “We really did separate the eagles from the turkeys today. Now we can finally call it a day. I’ll post my eliminations up on the board outside the mess hall around the usual time. Now go get yourselves some rest,” she praised.

Everypony turned and started walking in the other direction. Dash didn’t really pay attention to what was going on around her, as the only thing she had on her mind at the moment was hitting the showers, getting something to eat, then having a nice long rest on her bed.

“Hey Rainbow,” a familiar voice said behind her.

Her response was a little delayed, due to her tiredness, but she still stopped and turned around. “Oh, hey Soarin,” she replied.

“So…” he began, “what you got planned for tonight?” His question sounded slightly forced, but still believable.

“Eat, rest, sleep,” Dash replied. “That’s basically it,” she said with a chuckle.

“Ah, right, yeah…” He replied casually. “So I guess that means you wouldn’t be interested in hanging out with me again then…?” He wasn’t expecting her to in the first place. If he had to wake up that early, he wouldn’t want to either.

Dash raised an eyebrow. “Well...I guess I could…” as much as she would like too, she was concerned that she would just tire herself out more and it would affect her performance tomorrow.

Soarin smiled, “what if I changed the ‘hanging out’ to ‘chilling out’?”

That sealed the deal. Dash looked back at him and smiled, “that sounds more like it.”

“Great,” Soarin said with a lot more life, instantly looking more perked up. “Meet me here at seven.” Before Rainbow could react, he was already flying off. “I’ll bring food,” he called as he flew off.

“Uhh...sure?” She still said even though she was out of his hearing range. That was one of the quickest plans Dash had ever made. Even if it was vague.

She pushed it to the back of her mind as she resumed her walking. One thing at a time. First things first, shower…


“I was certain that big stallion was gonna hold his own over that mare when I lead them off after that third caution,” Lighting Streak said as he, Soarin and Fleetfoot were sitting in their rec room discussing the results from today.

“That’s because you’ve got no concept of pacing,” Fleetfoot replied as she finalized her list of knockout cadets.

“Pffft, whatever,” Lightning replied as he rolled his eyes. As he did, a loud growl came from his stomach, causing him to smirk. “Sounds like it’s dinner O’clock,” he announced as he stood up. “Catch you ponies later,” he started walking out towards the mess hall.

Soarin checked the time, and confirmed that he still had time to kill before he met with Dash. With that in mind, he turned back to Fleetfoot. “Say, Fleet, can I ask you something?”

“Depends. What is it?” She replied flatly as she wrote on her notepad.

“Uhh...gee, now you mention it. I don’t know how to say this without sounding like I’m implying something…” he rubbed his chin with his right hoof, “...but...when Comet crashed with that other stallion in the final race, and you started talking to him...your personality...you went a lot more...passive…”

Fleetfoot kept her eyes peeled to her notepad, and her mouth shut, but Soarin could clearly see her gritting her teeth through her mouth.

“It’s...it's nothing…” she replied.

“You sure?” Soarin questioned again. “Because I don’t see you act like that very often. In fact…” a smug smile formed across his face as a memory surfaced, “the last time I saw you act like that...you were pretty blitzed, and I was quite drunk myself too--”

“If you want to keep your ability to reproduce, I suggest you shut up now.” She interrupted aggressively.

Soarin chuckled in response, “alright. Anyway, what was it all about? And don’t just say nothing again.”

Fleetfoot sighed, dropped her notepad and pen on the coffee table, and rolled her eyes. She leaned back in her seat. “It’s...well...it’s silly…”

“Hey, you know I won’t judge.” Soarin replied, motioning with his hoof for her to continue.

“Well...it’s just...you know he’s got that reputation with circuit racing, and I’ve got my own reputation with derby racing...he feels more like a rival to me than a cadet. And it makes me nervous. Like, really nervous…” she painfully admitted, forcing the words out.

Soarin shrugged, “well, I can understand that. But given the way he seems to freeze up when he speaks to you, it would seem that the feeling is mutual.”

“I know, but…” she sighed, and looked him in the eyes. Her concerned purple eyes meeting his relaxed green ones. “Promise you won’t tell anypony, okay?” She asked sincerely.

“Well, you’re not exactly making it subtle--”

“Soarin!” She cut him off. She knew that he was joking, but she wasn’t in the mood for jokes.

“Alright, I’m sorry, I was just kidding. You know everything’s safe with me. I’m not Blaze.” He replied, winking at her. Blaze wasn’t one to spread rumors, but she would probably tease Fleetfoot at every opportunity.

“Yeah…” Fleetfoot stood up, leaving her pen on the coffee table, but taking her notebook with her. “Thanks, Soarin…” she said as she walked out the rec room.

She walked down to outside the mess hall to the chalkboard to write up her eliminations. Her eyes bounced back and forth between her notebook and the chalkboard as she wrote. When she was finished writing she went to drop her notebook in her room and then headed back downstairs.

She walked down the corridor which housed the cadets’ rooms. A few of them made some comments to her as they passed by, probably heading to the mess hall, as it was about time for dinner. They were of the simple ‘good evening, ma’am’ variety, which Fleetfoot kindly accepted.

She continued down the corridor until she made it to room 13. She remembered the number from the vest he was wearing in the race earlier. She could hear the conversation coming from inside. She pushed through the door and stepped in. She didn’t wait for their attention, she just continued walking straight down between the beds.

Horizon and Crash Dive immediately dropped their game of Blackjack and shot into a position of attention in front of Horizon’s bed. “Good evening, Ma’am!” They said in unison as they saluted.

Fleetfoot batted her hoof at them, but didn’t look at them. Her eyes remained forward. “As you were,” she said casually as she continued to walk.

She looked left at Torque, who was reading a magazine about Airships. He didn’t even to acknowledge her presence. Not that she was complaining or anything, it wasn’t him she was interested in. However, it wasn’t quite the reaction she was expecting from him. He did seem to be a no-nonsense pony from the start…

“Well, hey there,” a familiar voice chimed as she rolled her head to the right. She saw Riptide drop his magazine and roll onto his belly, resting his chin on his forehooves. Fleetfoot noticed the poster of her stuck up behind him and raised an eyebrow. “Are you here to...return the favour from earlier?” He asked, bouncing his eyebrows at her.

His almost cringeworthy display forced Fleetfoot to break eye contact with him, returning her head to a central position and shaking it. “Not anytime soon. Better keep wiping the stains off that poster…” she replied flatly, hearing some laughs echo from all around the room.

Riptide grumbled as his face grew red before he retreated to lying on his back, staring at her over the top of his magazine.

Fleetfoot looked at Bright Skies, who didn’t even seem to be bothered by her presence, and continued writing in her book. She got a friendly hello from Dahlia, perhaps even a little too friendly. She expected it from Dash, but not from her. She would’ve shot her down if she didn’t have other things on her mind.

Fleetfoot turned to start moving towards the front of Comet’s bed. She saw him shuffle his book slightly above his head. Was he trying to hide from her? Nevertheless, she stood directly in front of his bed, waiting for him. But he didn’t seem to move. His head remained hidden behind his physics book. “AHEM,” Fleetfoot cleared her throat in the hopes that it would make her presence more pronounced.

Comet gingerly lowered his book, but kept his face straight, peering over the top of his glasses at her. Fleetfoot could see from his expression that he was concentrating, which looked a lot better than his usual starstruck look whenever they spoke. However, she could still see his nerves through his eyes.

“So,” she began, speaking flatly. “Found your voice box yet?” Despite her flat voice, she still managed to sound somewhat cheery. She rubbed the base of her neck, “it’s somewhere around there.”

Comet managed to let out a little chuff at her sarcasm. “I...yes…” was all he could say. Well, it’s all he knew what to say. She didn’t exactly give him much to work with, and he didn’t want to question her just yet. He was smart enough to know that the last thing he wanted to do was backchat the pony judging him.

“Well good, looks like we can finally speak.” She smiled, a smile that somewhat relieved Comet. “You had a good win out there today.”

“No, I didn’t...” Comet broke eye contact with her and started at the ground to the side of him.

This perked Dash’s interest. She’d been wondering what had him bummed out earlier. Now it would seem that she was about to find out.

“What do you mean? You won. That’s the end of it.” Fleetfoot encouraged.

“No, that’s not the end of it,” he replied, then sighed. “I knew I couldn’t win, and I saw that the pony I was racing had a problem with his vision in his left eye. He looked blind to me. I used it to my advantage, and exploited it by going along his left side out of the turn, using the fact that he couldn’t see me to let him run me into the barrier, resulting in his disqualification, as it looked like he just plain shoved me into the cloud.” He explained.

It didn’t take much for Dash to put some thought into that. She would feel exactly the same way. That wasn’t a win, that was just abusing the misfortune of another pony.

“...Nice,” Fleetfoot replied after giving it some thought.

Of all the possible responses Dash was expecting, that was not one of them. How was that getting him praised?

“You managed to identify a weakness in such a short space of time. I don’t even know of any Wonderbolts that can do that apart from me. Good job,” she encouraged with a smile, causing Comet to smile and blush slightly as he heard those words come out of Fleetfoot’s mouth.

Just as things were getting interesting, Fleetfoot's grumble let out a loud growl that echoed throughout the room, causing her to grit her teeth. She had been putting off her hunger whilst she compiled her list of knockouts, and wanted to get this done before dinner. But it seems her stomach was committed to making sure that didn’t happen. “Well, it looks like this is gonna have to wait,” she groaned as her stomach churned again.

She took a few steps then stopped. “Unless…” a faint shade of pink sneaked onto her cheeks. “you want to...talk over food…” she started walking again, “if you want to that is…” she continued until she was out of the room, closing the door behind her.

“DUUUDE!” Riptide was the first to break the awkward silence that had fallen upon the room. He shot up from his bed and shot over to Comet’s. “A Wonderbolt just asked you out to dinner. A WONDERBOLT! What the hell are you sitting around here for!” He grabbed Comet by the forehooves and yanked him up.

“Hey, get off me!” He exclaimed as he pulled himself free, now standing up. “She didn’t ‘ask me out’. She simply...requested...to…” he struggled to find the words, as he couldn’t think of an alternative to what Riptide suggested.

“Oh yeah right!” Riptide rolled his eyes as he got behind Comet. “She’s totally into you! Go talk to her!” He started pushing him towards the door.

“But it’s not even like that…” Comet complained as he blushed slightly from his roommate's’ actions.

“Oh, now you’re just trying to make me mad!” Riptide yelled. “I hate to admit it, but I’m so jealous of you now, Comet. You’ve got an opportunity that would make every stallion in this building drool. Don’t you dare waste it. Now get in that mess hall and stay there for as long as you can!” He said as he finally managed to convince Comet to step out the front door.

“And remember to wear protection!” He added as he slammed the door shut.

Comet rolled his eyes and hoped nopony in the other rooms saw that. A quick look around confirmed that nopony else was in the corridor and all the doors were shut. He sighed and started walking down towards the mess hall…


“I’m sure ponies have told you this before, but you’re a real dick sometimes, Riptide.” Dahlia stated bluntly, having watched the whole charade. Dash smiled at Dahlia’s bluntness. Although she was a very friendly pony, she had no fear in telling somepony how it was, no matter how much it hurt.

“What?” Riptide shrugged, “the guy just needed a bit of encouragement. Who else is better suited for the task than me?” He said as he hopped back onto his bed, feeling contempt with himself.

“Oh I dunno, how about anypony else in this room but you?” Dahlia suggested.

“Ouch!” Riptide grimaced, “low blow there, Dahlly.” He chimed as he sat back down on his bed and picked up his magazine.

Rainbow snicked from behind her Daring Do book as their antics went on. So far, her roommates had always found a way to make her smile every day.

As she reached the final page, her stomach began to growl, indicating its desire to be filled with food. She glanced up at the clock. It was almost time for her to sneak out and meet Soarin anyway. Well, there was no sneaking required, she was simply walking to somewhere else in the building, as many other ponies do. Her only concern was that if she was caught ‘hanging around’ with Soarin, it might make other ponies think she was getting some ‘extra credit’. Which was the last thing she wanted. If she was going to win this thing, she was going to do it on the same ground as everypony else.

She finished the chapter and put the book down. As gripping as it was, making her want to get onto the next chapter right away, she had other things to attend to.

She gave her legs and wings a stretch, checking their fatigue. She was definitely still tired from this morning, but she felt a little bit refreshed. Enough for now anyway.

She got off her bed and trotted out of the room, none of her roommates questioning where she was going, which was pretty normal. She walked for a little bit more before she made it outside. There was nopony around, not even Soarin. But she was maybe a little bit early. She sat herself down as she waited for him, contemplating where he was taking her. He said he’d bring food, but where would he be getting it? Also, how was he getting away with hanging out with her so much without the other Wonderbolts noticing? Had they already noticed and didn’t care? Or had they noticed and was paying some sort of penalty for it? The possibilities were endless.

“Boo,” a familiar voice that had sneak up behind her spoke softly.

Dash grinned as she put the voice to a face in her mind. “You really do like to sneak up on me, don’t you?” She asked as she turned her head.

“Well, I just can’t help it when you give me so many opportunities,” Soarin joked in response.

Dash chuckled in response. “So, where we going?”

Soarin shrugged, “find a nice cloud, eat, relax...that’s pretty much it.” He motioned to a saddle bag he had over his back. It was just like a regular saddle bag, but with a Wonderbolts logo over it.

“Simple...I like it.” Dash replied, smiling. “Welp,” she extended her wings and took to a hover, “lead the way.”

Soarin nodded in response and flew up and out, with Dash in tow.

They flew for about half a mile before Dash started pointing out potential clouds that they could rest on.

“Nah, I wanna get further away from the compound.” Soarin stated as he continued flying.

Dash raised an eyebrow. He didn’t give a reason, which she found slightly strange. But nevertheless, she trusted him as a friend, and didn’t let it get in her way.

They flew for what seemed like miles until Soarin finally settled on a cloud. They both landed and sat down on the fluffy cloud. Soarin dropped his saddle bag onto the floor of the cloud and laid back against it.

“So, what’s on the menu of the restaurant of Soarin?” Dash asked, her hunger making her impatient.

“Well, I hope you don’t mind being a bit on the unhealthy side tonight, Dash.” Soarin replied as he started to undo the tabs on his saddle bag.

“At this point, I’m not that bothered. Anything will do,” she said with a chuckle.

Soarin smirked as he reached his hoof in. “Well, here’s a beauty that I got from my favourite bakery after we were woken up this morning.”

Out of his saddle bag came a pie...a big pie...a huge pie. It was so big that it was the only thing that fit in his saddle bag.

He took the tin foil off the top to reveal its pastry. Soarin licked his lips in anticipation. “Come. To. Papa…” he said through gallons of saliva as he pulled a knife out and started cutting.

He pushed the knife through, revealing the filling; blueberries. Dash licked her lips as she watched him line up the 2nd cut to complete the slice.

Soarin pulled the generous slice out and balanced the base on the knife and stopped it from falling off with his hoof. “Excuse the hoof,” he said as he passed it over to her.

“Don’t worry about it,” Dash replied. She was pretty certain that Soarin’s hooves were clean anyway. Not that it bothered her. As long as it hadn’t been spat in or dropped on the floor or had anything else that could’ve tampered with it, it was clean enough for her.

“So, how was today?” Soarin asked as he cut himself a slice.

“Fun, actually,” Dash replied, taking another bite. “I like these type of competitions where we’re actually competing against each other head on.”

“Yeah, I saw you racing at the derby practice track. You were pretty good.” He reached into the other side of his saddle bag, revealing a big bottle of some form of fruit juice, and some glasses. “You thirsty?”

“Not just yet, but I will be soon,” Dash replied. “And yeah, I did feel like I did good today. Although pretty much all the thinking was done by Comet.”

Soarin poured himself a glass. “Thought so,” he took a long swig from the glass. “Fleetfoot sure has some funny feelings about him.”

“Really?” Dash raised an eyebrow. “What makes you say that?”

“I saw her acting funny around him earlier. I asked her why, and she said that it was because she thinks of him more of a rival than a cadet, and it makes her nervous.” He shrugged as he finished explaining. “Don’t ask me why, that’s just the way she sees it.”

Dash’s eyes widened in realization. “He told me that he feels nervous around her because he thinks that she’ll expect big things from him. I guess the feelings mutual…” she began to snicker as she put more thought into it. “The two of them must be like watching a bad rom-com in the mess hall right now,” she said laughing.

“Haha, yeah -- wait, mess hall?” Soarin raised an eyebrow, catching up one of the little details Dash had mentioned.

Dash stopped laughing when she realised Soarin was speaking to her seriously. “She came into our room as started speaking with him, but then went to get some dinner in the mess hall, inviting him.” She explained.

Soarin took a moment to take in the information. After a few seconds, he looked at Dash, raised an eyebrow and smirked. “The rumors are gonna start spreading like wildfire,” he joked.

“They already are!” Dash replied, laughing, “Riptide immediately started giving him ‘advice’.”

“Riptide?” The name ringed a bell to Soarin. “Fleetfoot told me that a stallion tried hitting on her earlier, so she bucked him in the chest.”

“Yep, that’s the one!” Dash replied, “he thinks he’s such a ladies-stallion. Far from it though...”

“Oh yeah,” Soarin replied, rolling his eyes. “I know a couple…”

“So, what have you got in store for us tomorrow?” She asked, taking another slice of pie.

“Well, I’d love to tell you, but you know I can’t.” He said with a smirk as he took another slice.

Dash pouted, “not even just a little?” She chimed as she gave him the puppy dog eyes.

“Nope,” Soarin ran his hoof over his lips to make a sealing motion, “rules say I can’t say a word. No matter how cute you go on me.”

Dash almost choked as he said his last word, but managed to swallow to get it out of the way of her voice. “Cute? Don’t EVER call me cu--...that…” She growled aggressively as she leaned over to him.

“Don’t say it!” She almost shouted as she covered his mouth with her hoof. After she was certain, she pulled her hoof away.

Soarin held his expression for a few moments, then blinked and smirked. “I think I’ve just found your trigger word, Dash.” His smirk grew into a wide toothy grin.

Dash groaned as she rolled her eyes, feeling the heat in her cheeks rising. “You’re never gonna let me live that one down, are you?”

“Nope,” Soarin said proudly. “Don’t worry though, your secret’s safe with me.” He said with a wink. “Cute...” he whispered, just to wind her up.

Dash let out a long groan and lowered herself belly first into the cloud. Despite her awesomeness being compromised, she still has a question that arose because of it. “Do you mean it?” She tried her best to force it out, but she wasn’t able to get it any louder than a grumble.

Realising that the conversation had taken a more serious tone, Soarin put on a frown and raised an eyebrow. “What?” He questioned.

Rainbow sat back up and looked away from him, breaking all facial contact. “Do you...really think...I’m...y’know…” she was pretty sure that a couple of pegasi would be heading for her any minute, as her face turned into a bright red beacon.

Soarin breathed slowly to stop himself tensing up. He knew that Dash hated when her image was compromised, especially in front of a pony she’d consider her hero. He’d have to tread carefully. “I...guess you are…” he gritted his teeth and cringed, closing one eye as he expected an earful in response.

Rainbow remained silent for a few seconds, then sighed as she returned to her normal sitting position. “Thanks,” she said contently, “it’s just something I needed to know…” she opened her eyes and started off into the distance.

A sense of tense awkwardness filled the air, giving Soarin the impression that he just ruined their outing. But if he didn’t have the perseverance to try and recover, then he wouldn’t have the perseverance to be a Wonderbolt. “So, that black pegasus you raced in the final test. You totally blew him out of the water!” Changing the subject and feeding her ego at the same time was a sure fire winner in Soarin’s mind.

Dash smirked, “oh, Thunderlane? Yeah, he hasn’t a hope in hell in keeping up with me.” She bragged, her mood instantly picking up. “Good guy, but lazy as hell...”

“Well, they do say the laziest know how to get the job done the quickest with the least effort,” Soarin replied, taking a drink.

“I’ll remember that excuse,” Dash joked with a wink as she laid back against the cloud and poured herself a drink.

The 2 of them conversed about random things as they finished off the pie between them. Nothing too taxing, as Dash’s brain wasn’t up for it.

“The sun’s gonna be setting soon, we should head back.” Soarin suggested as he started packing things away.

“Probably a good idea,” Dash agreed as she stood up and streched, letting out a yawn as she did.

After Soarin had put everything back in his saddle bag, they took flight and headed back to the Wonderbolts HQ.

“I really like hanging out with you, Dash. Regardless of the outcome, we should do this more often. One way or another.”

“Uh, yeah, sure,” Dash agreed, a little hesitation in her voice. “I’d love to introduce you to my friends at some point.”

They landed on the cloud just before the back door. “Well, I’ll see ya tomorrow, Dash.” Soarin said as he started to walk, but stopped just before he placed his first hoof. “Oh, one more thing.”

Dash hadn’t started moving yet, so she just remained in place and looked at him.

Soarin straight away shot a cheeky smirk at her. “Cute.”

“Oh shut up!” Dash laughed as she playfully shoved him, causing him to laugh with her.

“Never, Cutie!” He replied, pushing her off his shoulder.

“Shhh!” She put her hoof on his lips to silence him. “I don’t want everypony to hear.”

Respecting the fact that she had an image to maintain, Soarin calmed down and pushed through the door.

“If you were anypony else, I’d knock your teeth out right here, right now.” She commented as they entered the corridor.

Soarin snickered and rolled his eyes. “You can try,” he replied casually.

As the corridor split, they both went their separate ways. “See ya tomorrow, Rainbow.” He called as he walked off.

“Right, see ya,” Dash replied as she went in the opposite direction.


Soarin walked up to his room along the back of the facility. His room had a plaque on it that said ‘CDR SOARIN’ on it. He pulled out the key and began twisting it, waiting for the lock to bite so he could enter.

“Well, isn’t this interesting...”

Soarin felt a faint grumble escape his throat as he picked up the voice of his teammate. “What is it, Blaze?” He cut straight to the chase and threw his question out there.

“Wow, rude,” Blaze replied, closing the distance between her and Soarin. “Why do you always greet me like that? I know I sorta appear unexpectedly, but sheesh.” She was trying her best to suppress a smug smile.

Soarin rolled his eyes as he felt the lock bite, he pulled the key out and got ready to push through, but not without finish his conversation with Blaze first. He knew that Blaze didn’t leave until she was satisfied, and there was nothing he could do about that other than play along. “Were you spying on me?”

“Wow, again with the accusations,” she continued to taunt, rolling her eyes. “I was just curious...” her smug smile returned, “I know you like to get to know the cadets more than what we see in the training, but this is the...third time I think? Yeah, the third time I’ve seen you with Rainbow now...”

“If you’re implying what you think I’m implying, then the answer is no.” He put bluntly. He was normally pretty happy to play along with Blaze’s obvious attempts at trolling, but when she started prodding at something that could jeopardize his credibility, not to mention Dash’s chances in the trials, it made him get a little more edgy than usual.

“Oh really?” She said, a faint chuckle emanating from her. “I could’ve sworn I heard you call her ‘cute’ and ‘cutie’...”

“It’s nothing like that, okay?” He took his hoof off the door and turned his body towards her, looking her in the eye. “That’s just a joke we have between us. It doesn’t mean anything...”

“Sure it doesn’t,” she rolled her eyes again. “You definitely sure there isn’t any chemistry between you two? Because I see it.” She figured that if she kept asking the same question but in a different way, she would get the answer she wanted.

“We’re friends...and that’s it.” He said simply. Because to him, that’s it. That’s all he and Dash were. Friends. Albeit good friends. Very good friends.

“If you say so...buuuuut,” she leaned into him, onto his chest and looked up. She was a smaller pony than Soarin, so it wasn’t too bad for her. Soarin, however, had to shift his back legs to take her weight. “Let’s make up a hypothetical situation.Let’s say that, hypothetically, Dash takes your ‘friendship’ as something else, and starts developing feelings for you. How’d you react then, big fella? Hypothetically of course.”

“I...” Soarin froze as he thought about the question. “I, uh...” He broke eye contact with her as a blush formed across his cheeks.

“Awwww!” Blaze bought her hoof up above his head and gave him a noogie. She was able to get the rest of the answer from Soarin just from the way he reacted. “Soarwin wuvs Wainbow,” she teased him in a high pitched voice as if they were a filly and colt in a school playground.

“Hey,” Soarin used his foreleg to get her hoof off his head, shaking his head slightly to get his mane back in order. “I don’t, but...if she felt that way...then I’d give it a try.”

Blaze took herself off Soarin, looking up at him and smiling. “So you do like her then?”

Soarin stopped a groan coming out as he thought about. She was making it sound way more serious than it actually was, but in reality, she was partially right. “Well...yeah. I guess I do. A little...but I’m not actively seeking it. If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. There, you happy?” He felt stupid telling Blaze all this, but as nosey as she was, she was a pony he could trust to keep a secret and take it to her grave. Despite the fact that she could be a little immature...

Blaze took her own weight, sighed and shook her head. “I’ll never understand how a stallions brain works...” she said quietly as she looked up at him and raised an eyebrow. “So you like her, but...don’t like her?”

“What? No! I mean yes! I mean...ugh,” Soarin shook his head, “sort of...kinda like...” he sighed again. How could he explain it in a way the Blaze would understand? Or at least a way that would get her off his back? “I...I like to keep my options open. Does that sound better?”

“Hmm...” Blaze tapped her chin and her eyes looked upwards as she pondered Soarin’s answer. “I guess that makes sense. However, keeping your options open for what? Is there somepony else you’ve got your eye on?” She asked as she wiggled her eyebrows up and down at him. Despite her immaturity, she was a difficult one to get rid of until he said what she wanted him to say.

Seeing as he got her taking the bait, Soarin smirked as he formulated a sarcastic response. “Well, I’ve dated Spitfire in the past...me and Fleetfoot are pretty close...even you and I know each other quite well now, eh Blazey?” Feeling like he now had the upper hoof, he felt safe to call her by her pet name. Which was usually only a privilege Surprise got away with.

“Don’t call me that!” She snapped at him through gritted teeth. She sighed as she shook her head and brushed it off. Despite the fact that it was an easy nickname for her to obtain, she absolutely despised being called by it. “I can respect that, I guess...but word of the wise, hold your cards too close to your chest, and it becomes harder to let them go.” With her last words said, she turned and began to walk away.

Soarin raised an eyebrow as he watched her walk off. “Did you, Blaze, actually give me MEANINGFUL advice?”

“I’m just being a good friend and that’s the response I get? You’re welcome, Asshole.” She replied sarcastically as she turned a corner and went out of sight.

Soarin chuckled as he finally was able to push through the door into his room. Although Blaze was just trying to yank his chains, it still gave him more to think about that he would’ve liked. And he was still trying to work out what that last bit of ‘advice’ she gave him was all about, as he didn’t understand a word of it. He had a lot to think about...

Author's Note:

I love writing SoarinDash fluffyness. Can't wait to write the future chapters. :pinkiehappy:

The 2 pictures were shamelessly drawn by me using my totally pro skills in MSpaint. :rainbowlaugh:

The final piece at the end was drawn by Mint0Swirl (deviantart). ISH SHO CYOOT! :rainbowkiss:

Thanks for reading! :twilightsmile: