• Published 19th Jul 2015
  • 989 Views, 31 Comments

My Little Mages: After Effects - dracone

It's been a few weeks since Twilight moved to town and everyone is adjusting and preparing for changes

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Sometimes a Stop is the Fastest Speed

Author's Note:

Well, it's been a while since the last update, hopefully, the next update will come a bit faster. I'm open to suggestions on who should be the focus next. Only 2 of the Main 6 left, Pinkie and Fluttershy. Who's chapter do ya wanna see next out of those 2?

Rainbow Dash was lounging about a floating disc of compressed moisture from the surrounding air that she had created a few hours prior, she had also woken up from a mid-day nap. As much as she liked to practice her skills to make into the elite of the elite of elementalists, and as dedicated as she was to her duties as a weather manager, the quiet little town of Magiville just didn't seem to have what it took to keep her boredom at bay for very long. Granted, things had gotten a bit more exciting since Twilight had come to town, and thankfully most of the exciting stuff was more amusing than it was dangerous. Thinking back to the meeting she had with Twilight and the rest of her friends she remembered Twilight’s offer on showing everybody some of the best places to get some of the best gear Chantalot had to offer. She took a quick look at her bow and had mixed feelings.

On one hand she had the simple looking elementalist's bow since she had graduated from the Storm Academy, which while pretty cool was not able to stand up to some of the most epic moves she had seen at some of the Wonderbolts shows, and on the other hand she could get a new bow tailored to her so well that it would feel like a part of her, and probably be able to handle most of the higher end tricks she could think of, and yet there would be no bond with that bow. Boiled down, it was either stick with something you know, but that may not work, like Twilight’s plan against Nightmare Moon, or go for her to dream no matter what, like how Nightshade tempted with joining the Shadowbolts. Okay, not the best analogy but it was readily available.

Rainbow hadn't graduated top of her class, (truth be told she almost didn’t make it to graduation time there, some jargon about an instant passing because of something that happened when she was ten… it was all muddled up and her dad was not good at explaining it, in fact most of the time he was downright terrible at, so much so that she wondered where she got her awesome story telling prowess, to boot there were a few times as her stepmother Firefly was almost as bad as her dad, anyway), something she wasn't keen on sharing, if she had (graduted at the top of her or shared) she would have gotten a scholarship to the Wonderbolt Academy instead of having to send in a dozen application forms over the past three years. Also, there was that pesky age requirement thing.

Rainbow's defining property was her speed, at least that's what she liked to tell everyone. To the people who knew her well would say the attribute for defining Rainbow was her loyalty.

Rainbow decided to get some practice in, but how to do it in a way that could possibly challenge her skills. She needed an idea that was outside the box, thankfully she knew a mage that was very good at that sort of thing. It was time to visit Sugarcube Corner, mostly so she talk with the friend that was usually there to help however she could. Pinkie Pie could be quite random, in a lot of ways. And it was that randomness Rainbow thought she could assist in testing her skills. Rainbow just hoped she wouldn't regret it, sometimes Pinkie's ideas could be a little too out there. After some internal debating with herself Rainbow made her way to see the pink clad mage, who was one of the most random people she knew.

After jogging to Sugurcube Corner, she wanted be able to at least out pace Applejack during their next footrace (assuming she wins the coin toss to determine the distance) she found a stout, blue clad woman with pink hair at the counter. “Hi, Mrs. Cake,” said Rainbow, “Is Pinkie in? I want to talk to her about something.”

“Hello there, dearie,” said Mrs Cake in her usual friendly manner, “Pinkie said something about having to set up for an event all of a sudden and dashed off a few minutes ago, not that Carrot and I mind, it's been pretty slow today.”

“Thanks,” said Rainbow, she then spotted a wing shaped mini-cake with rainbow frosting in the display case, “how much for the wing shaped cupcake?”

“Oh no, deary. It's not a cupcake, it's a mini-cake! fifteen bits.”

“Fifteen? Why so much? It's just a small confection!”

“Yes, and we just put it out in the store today, since it is so new we usually charge a bit more than usual for treats, then bump down the price after a few weeks based on the initial popularity of it.”

“Makes sense to me,” Rainbow reached into her coin purse and placed a twenty bit coin on the counter, “fifteen for the cake, and five as a tip and thank you for letting me know about Pinkie. Chances are she'll find me before I come close to finding her,” after Mrs Cake packaged the cake and handed her the bag Rainbow gave another thanks and left the sweets shop.

After leaving Sugarcube Corner Rainbow made her way to the park with her prize. After finding a spot she deemed appropriate to eat her snack, just when the cake was inches from her opening mouth Pinkie popped up seemingly out of nowhere and said, “Hey, Dashie! Whatcha up too?”

“Well,” said Rainbow as she lowered her confection, “after some practice I figured I'd drop by Sugarcube Corner and see if you were in, because I wanted to ask you something. When I got there you weren't in, but I found a conveniently cool looking miniature cake and decided to enjoy it here. I was just about to pop it in my mouth when you popped up.”

“Oh, oops, interrupting snacks is one of the big no-noes on my list of rules,” Pinkie said as she pulled out an impossibly long scroll and looked it over. “Yep, rule #51.” After pocketing the scroll she looked around nervously, “I'll leave you to your snack and see you in a bit,” then as quickly as she had appeared she disappeared.

“Still don't know how she does that,” muttered Rainbow, turning back to her snack she noticed a surprisingly clear canteen half filled with milk and a note strapped to it that read 'to wash it down' in lettering that had different font styles for each word and the period at the end as a smiley face next to her mini-cake, which was now on a pink paper plate covered with Pinkie's distinctive three balloon mark. Rainbow just shook her head and sat down to enjoy her snack, plus Pinkie's addition.

Several minutes later, it tasted so good Rainbow had decided to take the time to savor it (a bit of a rare occasion for her), Rainbow was patting her belly with sense of content. Of course all nice things must end, Pinkie once again popped up out of nowhere behind Rainbow. “Hey Dashie, enjoy your snack?”

“Gah, Pinkie you need to stop popping up behind people! Yes, I enjoyed my snack. But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about, it involves my practice runs.”

“Oh, yeah,” said Pinkie with excitement, moving to be in front of Rainbow, with her baby alligator named Gummy now on her jester hat, which for some reason had six points coming off of it instead of her usual two, “you are pretty quick with those things.”

“That's kinda what I wanted to talk to ya about, Pinkie. I need a course that will really give me a challenge me and push skills to the next the level. I figured that since you're the master of surprises that you could setup some kind of course to challenge my skills as an elementalist and help take my skills to the next level.”

“Ooh, I can abso-tootsly do that, but it will take some time to get it all setup.”

“'K, let me know when it's ready, I'll head off to handle some other stuff 'til you come and get me to run the completed course.” After saying their parting pieces, which for Pinkie included giving Rainbow a wineskin filled with some kind punch, the two went off on their separate ways for the day. Rainbow actually found herself debating whether she should nap or not, after her meet up with Pinkie she found herself unable to nap for what felt like hours. Her duties for the day had been done in record time, but for some reason the accomplishment had her feeling more hollow than a log that had been on the forest floor for months. It seemed that the only thing that would give her any sort of satisfaction this day, now, was seeing just how far she could push herself.


It had been almost an hour since her meeting with Pinkie and Rainbow was so bored she was actually trying to make out a series of dots near the horizon, which was fine in all since it was great sight training, when Pinkie literally rippled into her line of sight. “Gah, Pinkie you need to find a less startling way of getting my attention!”

“Sorry, Dashie, I wanted to make the coming surprise even more incredible,” said Pinkie with a big smile on her face.

“And that would be,” said Rainbow with a quirked eyebrow.

Pinkie held up a map the town and surrounding area on what appeared to be some high quality paper, “Here’s your training map,” she started pointing to different points on the map, “you’ll start at the southern edge of town,” her finger started going along a blue dotted line on the paper that indicated the course, “first you’ll do some fly by shots at the stationary targets at the flower shop, then try and find a flag hidden in the branches of the library (Twilight also said she added some extra stuff for you to find in there, like a list of foods with descriptions of what they help improve written next to them), then you’ll do some loop-de-loops through some moving rings over Sugurcube Corner (if you can guess at least three of the dozens of patterns the rings are making during your course run you’ll get a free surprise treat), then you’ll do some fly by shots at the moving targets just above town hall, do capture the flag from a bird at Fluttershy’s and finish up on the western edge of town with some backwards spirals around the old guard outpost that’s been abandoned so long the only one who remembers anything about it is Granny Smith. So, what you think of your course?”

“It’s okay, I guess, Pinkie,” said Rainbow, “but I was expecting more.”

“Oh, did I forget to mention, you’ll be doing it all at top speed the whole way through. In other words you’ll be doing the whole thing on a speed run. And if you do really well,” Pinkie turned the paper over, “you’ll be ready for this,” the other side of the paper showed that Pinkie had drawn up the whole thing on the back of a flyer for the ‘Open Young Fliers Competition’. While any fliers could join, it was highly built for Elementalists with it’s bonus targets that were of varying reaction to seemingly random elemental attacks near the course. It was already something she was planning to enter, but she only shared that with… Twilight. What got Rainbow Dash’s attention was the prize; a day with the Wonderbolt 1st Wing: Captain Spitfire, 1st Lt. Soarin and 1st Lt. Fleetfoot. All three are also scheduled to be three of four the celebrity judges with Princess Celestia as the fourth.

Rainbow nearly lost her cool, but managed to rein herself in (thus avoiding a massive fangirl moment, which she was told by her dad was beyond adorable, but since parents say a lot of things are cute when they aren’t, Rainbow wasn’t about to take her dad’s word on that), which needless to say would not be very cool, instead she gave a chill, “That prize is pretty cool, I might go for it.” Internally Rainbow was saying, Whoa, close one, I almost lost my composure, that’s the last thing I want, especially in front of Pinkie. I have to prove I’m worthy of the Wonderbolts’ uniform, and last I checked hopping around like Pinkie due to excitement is very, very uncool… Okay, for her it totally works, but not me.

“I also told our friends about it,” said Pinkie, “they might be adding a few more contributions to the course than I let on,” she gave a big grin, “see ya at the starting line, Dashie.” As suddenly as she appeared, Pinkie vanished leaving behind a perplexed Rainbow Dash. Rainbow just shrugged her shoulders, only one member of their group did not seem to get Pinkie and that was Twilight, and that was partially forgivable on account of her being new to town.

Rainbow Dash started heading over to the starting point. Once there she noticed what Pinkie Pie was talking about. Applejack, Fluttershy, Twilight and Rarity were there. The thing that stood out was Rarity’s measuring tape. “What the…”

“It’s for your flight suit, Rainbow Darling. Your clothes cause too much drag, especially if you’re trying to pull off all you’re trying to do.”

“Well, it better be…”

“I see it as a rainbow themed lightning bolt, but the dying will be after we make sure it fits.” Rainbow gave a smirk, even though she knew Rarity would definitely make a cool looking outfit she also knew that the fashionista would likely not make it of the proper materials to survive the speeds she was planning on pulling. All Skyborn, doubly so for elementalists, clothing was designed to take high speeds, hence why she didn’t have a burning mess of rags when she first met Twilight in the airspace above the town. She decided to let Rarity take her measurements, after all the white clad enchantress had been pestering her for a fitting for some time now.

Rainbow also suspected it has something to do with the Gala tickets Twilight had managed to score for all of them, even if she did blow her chance to meet the three greatest Wonderbolts of the current age she’d still get a shot at seeing them (and hopefully impressing them) at the Gala.

“These sorts of measurements work best with very little clothing on, we have to make sure it’s a proper fit,” said Rarity. Rainbow looked around to her friends for help, instead of seeing a nervous Fluttershy she saw her and Twilight work together to literally grow a changing booth, complete with overly leafy vines acting as a divider curtain. Rainbow internally swore, well tried to with the distraction of thinking a combo spell from two mages casting at the same time was so cool she wanted to give it a shot. Who to do the combo-spell with? Shy and Twi already did it, so asking either of them would be like trying to ride the wave they had, which was not acceptable; Rarity might be a good fit, some of her enchantments might lend themselves well to elemental magic; Paladin magic didn’t seem the kind to work with any non-holy spells, so Applejack was out; and Pinkie was too random to hope for anything cohesive, and chances are they’d end up ruining each other’s trick.

“That booth looks a bit small for two people, nice try Rares,” said Rainbow.

“No worries, I enchanted the measuring tape to tranfer the exact number to this pen and pad,” she held up a notepad and fountain pen, “and yes Twilight helped me with fine tuning of the spells.” Well, Rarity was out of the combo options for a while.

Rainbow grumbled a bit as she made her way into the dressing room that had literally just grown in fornt of her. After her shirt and shorts were hanging over the curtain railing the measuring tape floated in and Rainbow began protesting to the presence of the enchanted item while trying to dodge it in the enclosed space. One series of screaming protests from Rainbow later Rarity’s clipboard was all filled out and Rainbow was pulling her clothes back on. “I am never going to let an enchanted piece of tape near me again, period.”

“Oh, don’t worry, darling,” said Rarity, “I’ve got all I need, at least until you undergo some kind of growth spurt.”
Rainbow rolled her eyes before saying, “I guess I better get ready for the exercise.”

“Alright,” said Twilight, “Pinkie said you were aiming for speed, so I set up spell that linked a stopwatch to this, the moment you start it will start.”

“Awesome,” said Rainbow as she positioned herself at the starting point.

“Not so fast, darling,” said Rarity, “we need you slip into your new flight suit.”

“Yeah, just remember to make sure it’s made from a material that’s able to handle the force and friction that happens when Skyborn move at high speeds. I have no doubt what you make will be worth looking at, but this is something that means function needs to be considered over aesthetics. All Skyborn clothes are made of a material designed to handle the stresses of flight, and the Wonderbolts have outfits specifically designed for Skyborn moving much higher speeds for longer periods than you might think.”

“Rainbow, Darling, you don’t give me enough credit. This material is meant to endure a sonic boom. And if memory serves you have been trying to pull of the fantastic Sonic Rainboom.”

“Question,” said Twilight, also pulling out a notebook with the her flowing script saying ‘Skyborn Observations’, “what’s a Sonic Rainboom?”

Instead of the surprised looks she got in response she got from everyone a prior day she got a smirk from Rainbow, and little giggle from everyone else. “A sonic rainboom,” said Fluttershy, “is where a Skyborn goes so fast they make a sonic boom and rainbow at the same time, it’s such a rare event that most people think it’s nothing more than a legend or story created to motivate fliers to push themselves further. Rainbow supposedly did it once, but all the official accounts of that day from the time is was supposed to of happened went missing the following day.”

“Story or not,” Rarity said, “it’s become a sort of annual tradition for Rainbow to try for a rainboom, for as long those of us in Magiville have known her.”

“I told you some of that when we met. Guess saving the world was the more important fact of that week. So, no biggie.”

“Oh, right,” said Twilight with a slight blush of embarrassment. “Anyway, on your mark,” Rainbow came up to the position marked as the start, which was marked with two poles in the ground making a magical line in the air in a rainbow color, “ get set,” she unfurled her ethereal wings and positioned herself just behind the line, “go!” Rainbow shot off like a rocket to the first checkpoint.The targets were at fixed positions above the flower shop, but they were at different elevations. As she made her way to the library she began to pick up speed, she was sure her natural ability to pick things up on the fly would help her. When she got close to the tree she didn’t spot any telltale signs of her quarry. Although it pained her to do, especially since this whole thing was about speed, Rainbow had to slow down and go through the branches with caution. She spotted something yellow in the branches and thought it might be the flag after a short moment in her search, instead it was a scroll case with big dark blue letters that read ‘the principles of motion, speed and turning at high accelerations’, she popped it into a slot on her belt and kept moving. Next she spotted something orange, it was another scroll case that told her it was related to diets for high speed, her third search side she found a fluorescent green flag that had a big, black bullseye on it. She stashed in her belt next to the scrolls and and darted out of the tree twice as fast as she had approaching it the moment she was clear of the branches.

Rainbow smiled as she made her way to the next checkpoint. As she approached Sugarcube Corner she noticed a dozen rings reconfiguring to a new pattern, the pattern they were moving from was a cat’s paw configuration. As she moved the through the rings they continued to change their pattern a dozen more times, she was able to identify them all. To Rainbow that was child’s play, but the act of moving through them was a bit more trying. While going through the rings she did a barrel roll in addition to loop-de-loops while going through a few of the patterns, usually during the transition period, and even finished with an aileron roll while moving out of the rings and on to the next checkpoint.

Rainbow zoomed passed the town hall, drawing her bow when she approached it, hitting all five moving targets nearly in bullseye as she passed. She quickly made her way to the next checkpoint. At this point she was feeling pretty good about it all, definitely more cocky that she usually was. But the flag was not with any of the birds that took up residence near Fluttershy's cottage, it was with a tortoise. An odd choice, but Rainbow Dash was in a hurry so she’d ask Fluttershy about it later.

Rainbow raced to where Pinkie had marked the outpost, but it took her a few minutes to find it when she didn’t see it on her approach (something she nearly kicked herself over). After locating the outpost, ironically by the rings that were moving about said structure to act as prompts for her stunts. She performed another dozen stunts, half of which were from her memory of Wonderbolt routines. Rainbow decided to finish off the performance with another go at the sonic rainboom. Rainbow arranged her body in what she thought was the optimum configuration for performing the stunt, one arm out in front of her with the other partially relaxed at her side. Rainbow continued to speed forward, the mach cone forming in before her, she smiled to herself since this was most success she’d had in years since the time she’d first done the rainboom, after a few seconds she was literally stopped in mid air by the wind resistance and shot backwards at double her usual top speed like a kid had used her as a stone in a stone in a slingshot. Thankfully she was caught by a giant cushion of magic in mid air, which had just enough give to not cause any serious damage in the act of slowing her down.

“Ya alright, Sugarcube?” Applejack asked as she caught Rainbow Dash as the elementalist came to ground.

“I hate the Sound Barrier. It just flung me back like a slingshot!”

“You almost did it. Maybe if you tried using gravity you’ll get it.” Fluttershy suggested.

“That and once your flight suit is ready. Almost zero drag and not having to fight the gravitational pull.” Rarity commented

“And practicing for a week or with the diet I found should help immensely.” Twilight finished.

“Thanks for the offers, girls, but I just need to do this my way, no diet changes, no flying toward the ground, no super special outfits, just me and what I got so far.”

“Rainbow, Sugarcube, can we talk, just ya and me?” Applejack said pulling Rainbow Dash aside. When the other were out of earshot. “Ah’m gonna be sincere, yer about as stubborn as me. Now with that said, we all only want to help you succeed. We know you are capable o’ doing et, even without our help. But we all can see you can use the halpin' hand. Also, ya got to remember a few things, the Wonderbolts aren’t just the elementalist Skyborn on the posters, they are also the ground crew making sure the equipment is in perfect condition, the guys making sure they have a flight plan and in case there is a war, the ones making sure they can get back into the fight as good as if not better than before. Think of us as yar support crew. Only ya can make the Sonic Rainboom, but we can make it all much easier. That’s one of the reasons why Granny Smith and Ah accepted your labor as payment for your cage of cider. That’s why Roma, Golden Harvest, Caramel and the other farmers are employed by mah family. Sure Big Mac and I can do it all on our own, but everything and everyone is better off with the help from others. It will still be your accomplishment, Sugarcube, and nothing we do can take that away. Ya get where we’re coming from?” Applejack paused for a moment and then continued. “Ah’ll make sure the others don’t bother ya as you think about it all. Ah’ll accept whatever decision you make, we all will.” And after saying that, Applejack then left Rainbow Dash to give her the time she needed.

With that Rainbow sat down on cloud she manifested under her to think, her friends decided to give her time think it all over and headed back to other things they had planned for that day. With her alone time Rainbow had time to reflect, the problem was she always seemed to think best when she was moving, she didn’t like taking things slow. The fact she was doing her thinking the slow way got her so annoyed she took to the air get it out of her system.