• Published 21st Aug 2015
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Daring-Do and the Leaf in the Wind - Sylvian

Daring-Do, along with her friend Leaf Wind, are assigned a mission by Princess Luna. What they find may change Equestria's past and future. And, perhaps, their relationship.

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I won't say I'm in Love

Chapter 7: I won’t say I’m in Love.

The sound of the apartment door echoes in Leaf’s ears, somehow making his heart sink even further as he blocks his view of Daring. Turning and walking slowly deeper into his apartment his hooves feel like they’re weighed down by stone. He had overstepped himself in that slip in judgement back in Saddle Arabia. It had seemed so simple, so innocent.

Yet, telling her he loved her… it had changed everything, and clearly not for the better. Such a stupid, STUPID, mistake.

Sitting down at the table he had put Daring’s gift at, he sighs and wonders why she even got this for him. Perhaps he should just… throw them out? No, no he can’t do that. Daring went out of her way and got him these, and even if he has overstepped himself he can’t just toss out a gift like this from his… friend.

Sighing heavily, Leaf stands up and starts off towards his bedroom. A knock on the door stops him though, and he instantly turns around and starts towards his front door. Daring must be back! Perhaps he didn’t overstep himself, perhaps she just really needed to think a moment about it, she always has been bad at letting people in. It had taken him a long while to get into her good graces, in fact.

They had met during one of Leaf’s trips to collect and catalogue some plants for Holly Sweep, which had taken him into a jungle that just also happened to include an ancient temple that had untold wealth and dangers inside; also known as the perfect Daring Do magnet. He had stumbled into her camp one evening, and she had reluctantly allowed him to stay. They had talked, and Daring had warmed up to him slightly, but when he had suggested they partner up, seeing as they’d have a better chance of success with both of them, and not just Daring… well Daring had been skeptical about working with somepony, but she had admitted finally that she could use some help, as her supplies were running low and she had no idea what was edible in the area.

The next day, he had saved her life when she had attempted to eat buttercups. Suffice to say, she had trusted him a little more after that, and he had slowly grown on her during the trip. They had made it a repeat thing after that, and had grown close.

But, apparently not that close.

Reaching the door in the time it takes his thoughts to go through all that, he undoes the lock and opens it, a hopeful smile on his face that nearly gets wiped away by the pony on the other side of the door.

“Hey Leaf,” Witch says with a smile. “Got a moment?”

“Y… Yeah I have a moment, Witch,” Leaf replies as he opens the door the rest of the way. He then pauses as he actually takes a look at his sister. “Hey, uhm, Witch. Why are you wearing a uniform?”

Sighing, Witch rolls her eyes. “Leaf, I told you. I work for the Wonderbolts, I just got off duty.” She then frowns slightly and sighs. “Which is actually part of why I am here. You need to come with me.”

“Why?” Leaf asks, narrowing his eyes. “Have the Wonderbolts finally decided to open a garden or something? Because unless that is the case, I’m not in the mood to go out today.”

“No, it’s about Daring,” Witch says bluntly. “You and her need to have a talk.”

“Oh, horse apples. Now I definitely am not going with you!” Leaf says loudly, reaching up to close his door. “Daring and I have nothing to discuss, she made that clear when she… when she walked away.” As he tries to close his door, Witch stops him with her magic as well as placing a hoof on the door.

“No, you’re coming with me.” she says calmly, “and trust me, while I am more than willing to argue with you until Luna sets the sun and raises the moon, I don’t have that kind of time right now.” She takes a step forward, making her brother take a step back. “So, come willingly, or I am going to levitate you the entire way, and plop you at Daring’s feet. You know I will.”

“Okay!” Leaf says, his shoulders slumping. “I’ll come peacefully, but there’s no point. She doesn’t want to see me.”

“That is where you are wrong, and I will prove it to you!” Witch replies as she turns and gestures with one hoof towards the stairs. “Now, forward march, Leaf.” She smirks at the last part, seeing as she is in a military uniform.

“Getting into character to go with that costume,” Leaf says with a raised eyebrow as he heads for the stairs.

“It’s not a costume. It’s mine,” Witch replies with a sigh.

Once on street level, Witch takes the lead, allowing Leaf to follow behind her and once more get lost in thought. Daring really won’t want to see him, and Witch will be dragging him to wherever she is dragging him for no more than seeing him and Daring awkwardly making excuses or something.

Which is too bad, honestly, because Witch got all dressed up for it. Honestly, the Wonderbolt costume is quite convincing, complete with the Wonderbolts emblem on the collar tabs and rank patches near her shoulders. If he didn’t know his sister was a doctor, he would almost believe she had up and joined the Wonderbolts or something. But then, they don’t accept non-pegasi… don’t they?

He chuckles at that thought. Sure he had seen some earth ponies guarding their doors and at some of their shows, but it made sense to keep a few security guards on retainer.

And then, he blinks and realises he is walking right up to the Wonderbolt Compound, having blindly followed his sister all the way from his apartment completely lost in thought.
“Sis, what are we doing here?” Leaf asks as he slows to a stop just short of the pathway leading up to the front doors. “I thought you were taking me to see Daring.”

“I am,” Witch says with an exasperated sigh. “Didn’t she tell you?”

“You don’t know her that well, do you?” Leaf says with a nervous chuckle. “If she can get away with it, she’d never tell anypony anything.”

Sighing again, Witch walks back over and starts pushing her brother from behind. “I see you two have… quite a bit more to talk about than I anticipated!” Once he is moving again, she continues. “She is a Wonderbolts Reserve, Leaf. I ran into her today when she came seeking treatment for an injury she sustained on the way home. Likely, she is currently curled up on a bunk in a free barracks.”

“Okay, I am… able to believe she is a reserve for the Wonderbolts,” Leaf says slowly. “A lot more able to believe that than you being one. Seriously, I’ve never seen a unicorn in the Wonderbolts.”

“I’ll explain the auxiliaries later,” Witch says absently as they come to the front door. Two security ponies are stationed there, both of them earth ponies wearing a uniform similar to Witch’s but with different emblems. When they spot Witch, they both snap to attention, which gives Witch pause for a moment before she sighs. “At ease.” They both go to ease and resume their duties as Witch opens the door and holds it for Leaf.

“Okay, no really this is going too far,” Leaf states flatly. “How much did you pay them?”

“I didn’t pay them,” Witch responds absently. “I don’t work in payroll. Now, wait by the couch while I get you a visitor’s pass.” She then walks off towards a desk with an orange pegasus behind it, and starts talking to him.

Standing around awkwardly, Leaf observes all the Wonderbolts going about their day. Honestly, it seems really laid back, everypony seems really happy and content.

“Hi there!” A white face suddenly appears in Leaf’s vision, making him back pedal and nearly crash into a Wonderbolt. “Oh! Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you!” the mare says with a smile as she comes over and offers a hoof to Leaf. “I’m Surprise, you here for a tour or something? I saw you come in with Chief Petty Officer Hour! Do you know her?”

“Uh… Yeah… I’m her brother…” Leaf responds slowly, accepting the hoof. “And you sure gave me quite a surprise… Surprise.” He then frowns. “And really, you too? I swear, my parents don’t give her enough bits to pay off a Wonderbolt like you, and I am more than certain Equestria would be bankrupt if Luna gave her that kind of allowance.”

“What’cha mean?” Surprise asks, tilting her head to one side in confusion. “She didn’t pay me off. Unless you count bribing me with offers of tea.”

“Of course, she paid you off!” Leaf says loudly, more than a little annoyed that even a Wonderbolt is playing along with whatever joke his sister is playing. “She clearly can’t be a Wonderbolt!”

Shrugging, Surprise just smiles and looks over Leaf’s shoulder. “Hi, Chief! Your brother has a really thick skull, did you know?”

“I did, thank you, Surprise,” Witch says with a slightly chuckle. “It’ll hopefully be a blessing right now.” She hands Leaf the visitor’s pass. “Daring is down there.” She points towards a doorway on the other side of the lobby. “Her and a few other reserves are bunking down in one of the free recruit barracks.”

“Daring…?” Surprises asks, her smile faltering slowly as she connects the dots. She sighs and smiles slightly to Leaf. “If you’re going in after Yearling, good luck.” She looks to Witch and scratches the back of her head with a hoof. “I saw Lighting follow her down the hallway.”

“Oh, well my day just had to get more interesting.” Witch replies sarcastically before she looks to her brother. “Right, Leaf, we need to get in there now and save your marefriend from a fate worse than death.” She salutes Surprise and smiles. “Thank you for the warning, Lieutenant.”

Returning the salute and the smile, Surprise winks. “You’re welcome, Chief. Oh, and you should have some backup dealing with the most disinteresting stallion in the world. I think Aurora was in her barracks.”

“When it rains, it pours,” Witch says softly to herself. “Right. Thanks, I don’t have time to pick up a medkit… so best to hope for minimal bloodshed…” She then grabs Leaf and starts dragging him towards the door. “Do me a favor and let Bliss know there may be a medical emergency down in the recruit barracks soon…”

“Right! Okay, yes…” Leaf says in annoyance before adding over his shoulder. “Was nice meeting you, Surprise!”

“I’ll send some pretty flowers to your funeral, Leaf!” Surprise says as she gets up and bounces away. “With the the storm that must be brewing down there, somepony’s going to get hurt.”

Leaf doesn’t get a chance to reply before Witch has the door to the hallway open and has Leaf through it.

The hallway is, like the lobby, painted a very dark blue and Leaf wonders who the heck they get to do their interior painting, because they have no imagination. If not for the doors down the hallway, as well as the lights, he would likely have guessed this hallway was a tunnel. Oh, and the ponies out in the hallway, but that is another thing altogether.

Starting slowly down the hallway, Witch in back of him, Leaf does his best to stay strong. He is just going to visit Daring, nothing odd about that. I mean, she is just the mare of his dreams, the love of his life, the most amazing mare in the world. Nothing… special… about this visit. Doing his best to keep his wings under control, because they keep trying to flair out each time he thinks about Daring, Leaf walks stiffly forward and past a couple of ponies talking in the corridor.

“Did you see how angry Yearling was?” the first says, shaking her head.

“I did. I swear, I’ve never seen her that angry ever! And I’ve been a reserve as long as she has!” the second comments, gesturing with a hoof towards the last door in the hallway. “I mean, who knew a stallion could upset her that much? I swear, it’s both amazing and scary at the same time.”

And with those words, Leaf’s resolve breaks. His wings snap out, he turns around, and bolts towards the door to the lobby, taking flight as he goes. Yet… as hard as he tries, he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere! In fact, he is going backwards. Flapping as hard as he can, and looking over his shoulder, he finds his sister continuing to walk towards the door, his tail grasped in her magic, as she whistles absently. Leaf starts to panic as they get close, and nearly has a heart attack when the door opens. He breathes a sigh of relief when a blue pegasus stallion with a two-toned yellow and orange mane walks out. Or rather, flees quickly under a barrage of what sound to be insults from Daring in another language.

He closes the door behind him, breaths a sigh of relief and then looks over at the two approaching him.

“Hey there, Chief!” he says in a tone that just drips fake sincerity. “What do you say you take me back to the training room; I have this ache I just can’t seem to get rid of.”

Leaf stops flapping his wings, and instantly open his mouth to reply, but is beaten to the punch by his sister. “Sorry, Lighting, we don’t keep microscopes in Medical,” Witch replies without stopping as she comes up to the door that Lighting just exited from.

“Real cold, Chief…” Lighting says with a frown.

“Hazard of the medical industry; cold hooves and all that.” Witch continues deadpan as she opens the door to the spare recruit barracks. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to toss my brother into a room with his angry marefriend.”

Leaf shakes his head, having been stunned for a moment by his sister’s retorts to the mareizing Wonderbolt, and looks to Witch. “She’s not m…”

“No time to argue! Go be the envy of stallions everywhere!” Witch says as she starts pushing Leaf through the door. Her brother latches onto the door frame though and looks over his shoulder.

“I am not going to be the envy of stallions everywhere!” Leaf replies adamantly. “And why is everyone calling you ‘chief’? I was joking when I said you bought everypony off, but seriously? Does Luna give you that kind of money?”

“Nope, this is really mine, I’m really a Chief Petty Officer,” Witch says as she pushes Leaf through the door. “Now, go get her! That’s an order from your big sister!” Once he is through, she closes the door and leans against it, wiping her brow.

Inside the reserve barracks, Leaf is surprised to find it quite spartan. There are rows of bunks on both sides, with a few sleeping ponies in them, and some bedside tables for personal use, but other than that and the lights on the ceiling, there isn’t a whole lot else. Walking forward slowly into the room, Leaf feels a little like he is in someplace he really shouldn’t be.

Movement on the other side of the room catches attention, and he stops and looks over to see Daring pacing and muttering under her breath. Taking a deep breath, he starts forward again a friendly smile on his face. As he draws within a bunk-length of her, she stops and turns, a look of wild fury on her face which causes Leaf to recoil slightly.

Her gaze then softens, and she looks down ashamed as she realises it’s Leaf and not somepony else. Steeling himself, Leaf steps forward again and takes the initiative.

“Hey, Daring…” Leaf says softly. “I… uhm, wanted to come thank you again for the tulip bulbs.”

“Is that the only reason you’re here?” Daring replies looking up, her eyes hard again. “Because I honestly hope it is.”

Leaf frowns, ears going back against his head. “N… no I’m here for other reasons too, Daring.” He looks away from her and clears his throat, a blush rising on his cheeks. “I just wanted to… well… tell you…” He gets no more out, as Daring interrupts him before he can get to the important part.

“I don’t want to hear it,” she says slowly, then continues as the volume of her voice goes up. “In fact, I bet your sister tricked you into coming here, is that it?” She takes a step forward, Leaf taking a step back. “WELL I DON’T NEED HER, OR YOU FOR THAT MATTER, ATTEMPTING TO CHEER ME UP!” She growls and turns away, her wings flaring out. “And I certainly DO NOT need her, NOR YOU,” she turns and points at Leaf, her eyes narrowed, “to tell me how I should feel. TO fix my heart, or mess with my feelings.”

Recoiling and bumping into a bunk -- the occupant simply putting the pillow over their head and rolling over -- Leaf stares at Daring with a look of horror. “D...Daring what has gotten into you?” He asks softly. “Why are you so angry? Where is the Daring I know? The mare I fell in l…” he doesn’t get the chance to finish, as Daring rounds on him, stomping her hooves as she draws closer.

“DON’T YOU DARE SAY IT!” Daring belts at him, making him slide back slightly, eyes wide in fear. “Don’t you dare say it.” She repeats in a deathly calm voice. “I am the great Daring Do.” She pounds a hoof against her chest, her eyes boring into Leaf’s skull. “I don’t need anypony. And I certainly do not need a half-rate, half-wit, hack of a botanist who only comes on my adventures to take advantage of me and collect samples for his father.”

Leaf shakes his head, tears forming in his eyes as he continues to stare at Daring. “That’s not true! I come with you because you asked, because I enjoy spending time with you! I got to see what few ponies ever get to see. The you behind the mask! The you who not only writes, but lives those amazing stories!” He smiles slightly, forcing himself to put on a brave face. “I would never take advantage of that, because I am your friend! Because each time we go on an adventure, I find one more reason to love y…”

Once more Daring cuts him off. “I SAID DON’T SAY IT!” She puts a hoof against his chest, leaning in and glaring at him with enough anger to make Leaf wish he could sink into the tiles beneath him. “I don’t need nor want your love, Leaf Wind.”

Opening his mouth again, Leaf goes to reply and keep fighting the battle his heart knows must be fought, even if he feels like he is losing ground with each word.

Outside the door, Witch’s ears go back against her head at the sound of the loud, and quite inventive, yelling from inside. Facing the door she cannot help but frown intensely, just what had she shoved her brother into? She had heard ponies angry before, all the time in fact back when she worked at the hospital. This, though? This was just something different. She knows Daring loves Leaf, and she is more than pretty sure Leaf feels the same way, so why is she yelling at him?

Shaking her head and sighing, Witch settles down to wait. It’s their relationship, and they need to figure this out for themselves. And if that fails, well then she’ll get involved, but for now she needs to let them do it.

“What is all that noise?” A voice comes from behind Witch, accompanied by the sound of hooves. “Did Lighting attempt to play ‘tomb raider’ again with Daring and get caught by the traps?”

“Oh, he better not have!” Another voice comes from across the hall as Witch turns around to see who is talking.

The first pony she spots causes her to stand at attention, as it’s Silver Lining, who is wearing one of his trademark frowns as he walks over to investigate. The second, is Aurora Streak, who is coming out of the recruit barracks she lives in with her squad captain, Dusk Glimmer, in tow.

“No, Second Captain,” Witch says slowly, a nervous smile on her face. “She is yelling at my brother who… she… sort of confessed her love for to me, and… well he has feelings too so…”

“You stuck them in a room together,” Silver replies with a sigh. “That doesn’t explain the yelling. Yearling has always had a good head on her shoulders.”

“Well, I can tell you, it was not because of my charming personality!” Lighting says as he saunters back over with a suave grin. “I think she was really enjoying our conversation earlier.”

“No wonder she is in a foul mood!” Aurora says with a scowl. “Breathing the same air as you tends to make mares feel like they’ve been doused in tar.”

“That ‘cus I stick to them?” Lighting replies with a wiggle of his eyebrows. “Because, once they meet me, they’re going to remember me forever.”

“Like lice.” Aurora mutters.

“Lightning, don’t you have chefs to harrass about chili?” Witch asks as she applies a hoof to her face.

“Hm? Oh, no. No I think I saw Fleetfoot and Blaze wrestling in there. I’d rather enjoy my meal and not wear it.” Lighting says plainly, as if bored. “Besides, Chief, I still need that check-up!”

“Lighting, you ever see a hoof stuck up someone’s plot before on x-ray?” Witch asks deadpan as she looks at Lighting.

Frowning, Lighting shakes his head. “No… can’t say I have. Why?”

“Well, if you don’t leave... Now… I can promise you.” She takes a step towards Lighting. “You will see it up close and personal.”

Taking a step back, Lighting does his best to smile in a disarming manner. “Say, Doc, I think I actually am caught up on my required physicals... “ He looks over the small assembled group of ponies. “IS THAT MY BROTHER! I’d best see what he wants!” He takes flight and shoots down the hallway.

Groaning, Aurora looks to the ceiling and says to nopony in particular, “Can we have him find out anyway? Because I’m sure his prostate needs to be deflated.”

“Does stupidity run in your family, Recruit?” Silver asks with a raised eyebrow.

Rounding on Silver, Aurora stomps one of her hooves and pokes the other into the older Wonderbolt’s side. “What’d you just say, you detestable bag of old wind? Just because my mother had the misfortune of an immaculate conception and gave birth to a placenta with a penis,” she takes a step, pressing her hoof harder against Silver who doesn’t even budge, “DOES NOT MEAN I AM RELATED TO THAT SACK OF BALLS WITH WINGS ATTACHED!”

The hallway becomes so quiet, Witch swears she can hear High Wind’s yawn halfway across the compound. Aurora instantly realizes what she has just done, and all the blood drains from her face, her ears going back against her head, and her wings going limp. She doesn’t move, most likely due to the fact that she is now silently screaming in her head.

“Well, was nice knowing you, Aurora,” Dusk Glimmer, a dark purple pegasus next to Aurora, says as she pats her friend’s shoulder. “I’ll send some nice flowers to Squad Three, and a card to your mother. Oh, got any last words? Or will ‘stuck her hoof in her mouth and choked on it’ work for your tombstone?”

For a long moment, Silver stands there looking at Aurora. Then, he smiles, which causes the wiry pink pegasus to whimper.

“There might just be hope for you yet, Recruit Streak.” Silver says as he nods to her. He looks about to want to say something more, but the door to the Reserve’s barracks bursts open to allow Leaf to run as fast as his legs can take him down the hallway, Daring hot on his heels.

As Leaf passes his sister, she can see tears in his eyes as well as unimaginable pain. Daring follows him out, notices the crowd and rounds on them, tears in her own eyes.

“And what in the name of Luna’s sparkling mane are you flightless fuckwits looking at!” Daring roars at the group. “Because it best not be me!” She takes a step forward, clearly intent on continuing, when Silver steps in front of her.

“You got a problem, Master Sergeant?” Silver asks in a deceptively calm voice.

“N… no sir,” Daring replies, stepping backwards shaking her head as Silver continues to advance. “I don’t have a problem, Sir.”

“Funny, you don’t look like Blaze,” Silver says slowly, his eyes narrowing, “but by Celestia you’ve got the denseness down.” He gestures with his head towards the way Leaf fled. “Because that? That looked like a serious problem to me.” He then turns to everypony else, and scowls, “Get back to your schedules before I start thinking you want personal attention from me!” Those gathered quickly disperse, especially Aurora, who is dragged away by Glimmer back to their barracks. When everypony is gone, Daring and Witch are left standing there with Silver, who gives Daring one final look before walking off.

As soon as he is gone, Witch turns to Daring, sits down, and crosses her arms. “What was that?” She gestures with one hoof at Daring. “I mean, I convince my brother to come down here. Drag him by his tail to your door and present him to you, and you yell at him?” She shakes her head and sighs. “Did I need to put him on a gold platter with a bow or something? Because seriously, Daring. He loves you, just like you love him.”

“I… I don’t know what came over me, Witch…” Daring replies sheepishly. “He was right there, and he… he started to tell me… something but after being hounded by Lightning Streak… I just...” Daring sighs and slumps her shoulders. “I’m just going to go lay down and rethink my life.” She then turns and starts back into the room behind her, and pauses to lean on the door frame. “Thank you, Witch, for trying. T… tell him I’m sorry.” She then walks through the doorway and closes the door behind her.

Sighing, Witch turns and starts down the hallway. “You’re going to tell him yourself, Daring.” She opens the door back into the lobby and makes her way out to go home. “The foal gloves are coming off.”


“She said what?” Midnight asks slowly shaking her head as she listens to Witch over lunch.

“I know, I couldn’t believe it myself, honestly,” Witch replies as she takes a bite of her meal, a daisy sandwich she had brought from home. “But I swear the paint started peeling from the walls. I mean, even Silver stopped to listen.”

“I may have to ask you what she said,” the light red mare sitting next to Midnight says. “It’d be interesting to hear what stopped Silver in his tracks.” She then shrugs and looks to Witch with a frown. “And this was yesterday? Daring still hasn’t come out of the reserve barracks?”

Shaking her head, Witch sighs. “Still hasn’t set a hoof out of that door. I am hoping she does today, now that she has cooled off, but we will see.” She then looks over at the red mare and smiles. “So, I hear there is a flight camp coming up soon. Any idea if your squad will be participating, Tide?”

Riptide shrugs, swallowing her food before responding. “I don’t know yet. I put in the proper forms with Spitfire, but they’ve not yet announced which squads will be doing what.” She then sighs and looks to Midnight. “Though, I am hoping we’ll get to work with some of the older cadets. I don’t know if Sky would be able to handle the newbies.”

Midnight opens her mouth to reply, then stops and points with a smile towards the door. “Well, looks like our favorite adventurer has come out of her hole.”

Turning, Witch smiles when she spots Daring, now back in her vest and hat, making her way cautiously towards the food line. She seems to be avoiding contact with other Wonderbolts as much as she can, barely speaking to the cooks when she gets her food and stopping to look for an empty table. However, even when Witch came in with Midnight and Riptide, there were hardly any empty tables, and now there are none.

Waving a hoof and smiling, Witch calls over to Daring, “Hey! Yearling, why don’t you join us over here! We don’t bite!”

“Well, at least me and Witch don’t!” Midnight calls over before poking Tide in the side as she is attempting to drink. “Can’t say the same about Tide here!”

Spitting out her water and then coughing, Tide glares at Midnight. “I… I’m not that bad!” Midnight simply chuckles and looks over to Daring as she sits down next to Witch, across the table from Tide and Midnight. She starts to eat her food quietly, not looking up at any of the others at the table until Witch speaks up.

“So, Daring, you free today?” Witch asks simply. “If so, I could use your help with something.”

Flinching slightly, Daring looks over to Witch. “Look, I know you mean the best for me and Leaf, but I really… really don’t want to go talk to him.”

“That’s not what I need help with, Daring,” Witch replies with a sigh. “I have a book in Coptic; in fact; you got it for me from Saddle Arabia. I don’t know anyone who can translate it, and I was hoping you could?”

Looking up and giving Witch a genuine smile, Daring nods. “Of course! I can do that easily. It’ll be good to escape all this nonsense that has been following me and get back to what I’m really good at!” She then scratches the back of her head with a hoof and chuckles. “So, I guess you’ve forgiven me for my outburst yesterday?”

Shaking her head, Witch shrugs. “No, but it’ll be a start.” She pauses to let that sink in, then continues, “But, it will have to wait until my shift is over. If you can come to the training room just before dinner, we can head to my house then.” She smiles. “I’ll compensate your troubles with dinner.”

“I can do that,” Daring says with a smile. “I’d need to change into a disguise anyway, no point in letting everypony know A.K. Yearling or Daring Do are in the Wonderbolts, right?”

“I’m not sure why you care, Yearling.” Tide asks from across the table. “I mean, would it really surprise anypony to learn Daring Do is a Wonderbolt? Sure, A.K. Yearling doesn’t seem the type, but Daring would fit right in.”

“Yeah!” Midnight says with a smile as she wraps an arm around Tide, who narrows her eyes -- and blushes slightly -- as she winks to Daring. “Not like we can get any more famous or hounded by the press! Shouldn’t worry too much about what everypony think!”

“I’d rather not put you all into any undue da…” Daring starts before facehoofing. “Oh, Celestia, what am I saying. It’s not like we’re not trained to take on unusual things.” She sighs and shrugs. “Well, okay I guess that really is a moot point.”

“I’ll say,” Tide replies with a sigh. “I mean, you’ve heard the gossip by now, but we got into a major air battle not that long ago. Compared to that, I am sure whatever you could possibly drag back with you is foal’s play.” She then finishes her food and looks to Midnight. “I am going to go gather Sky and Dancer. If I leave you alone with these two, can you promise to be in the private gym we reserved? On time?”

Nodding, her own sandwich sticking out of her mouth, Midnight replies, “ ‘fcourse, Cap’n!” She salutes, which causes Tide to roll her eyes and sigh.

“Why do I put up with you?” Tide asks nopony in particular.

“Because, you love me!” Midnight says sarcastically. “Y’know, like a sister.”

Coughing as she gets up with her tray, Tide mutters, “Yeah… like a sister.” As she walks away Midnight sighs and slumps in her seat.

“You know, you’re just shooting yourself in the hoof downplaying your relationship like that, Midnight,” Witch says as she calmly sips some of the iced tea she brought for lunch.

Sighing and flattening her ears against her head, Midnight nods. “I… I know, Witch.” She lays her face against the table, eyes closed as she blushes. “I just… can’t ever bring myself to tell her! I don’t want to lose her… I mean… she is after all my Captain, and a very by the books Captain at that.”

“Wait,” Daring says slowly, blinking a few times. “You, and… Riptide?” She points at Midnight, then at Tide who is nearly out the door and beyond hearing range. Midnight nods and Daring puts a hoof to her head. “Celestia above, what a strange combination!”

Sighing, Witch plants her face against the table. “I am surrounded by ponies in denial…”

“Sh...she doesn’t know how I feel!” Midnight says quickly. “So don’t tell her, Daring!”

“This sounds very familiar… it’s almost uncomfortable,” Witch mutters. She sits up and looks to Midnight. “But, you should finish your food and stop complaining. If your squad has a private gym, I am sure that means combat practice. So, finish your lunch and go get your hooves all over Tide.” Midnight turns a bright scarlet under her dark blue fur, but sits up and quickly finishes her lunch before dashing off.

“Right. I didn’t need that image, Witch,” Daring says slowly as she goes back to eating.

“You’re welcome,” Witch replies with a smirk. “Now, I need to get to the training room. Remember, come meet me outside it just before dinner, and I’ll take you to help me translate that old book.” She then finishes off the last of her drink, packs away anything she didn’t eat, and stands. “Until then, have a nice day Daring.”


Leaf paces along the length of the study in the house that Witch is renting out from Fancy Pants. He had been here since the afternoon, watching over Witch’s charge, Trick Step, while his sister was at work.

He had thought it would be easy, he was great with foals since he could just tell them stories about him and Daring’s adventures. That usually got them to settle down, and he had plenty of stories! Tricks, however, was not a typical foal. No, he is like pure sugar-induced energy wrapped up in the cutest foal Leaf had ever had the misfortune to lay eyes on! And that wasn’t the worst part!

“Uncle Leaf!” Tricks asks as he watches Leaf pace. “You look nervous! I can tell, because you pace just like my friend Gust does when he’s nervous about visiting his friend in the Castle!” He smiles widely as Leaf stops pacing and looks to him. “Can you tell me another story about this friend of yours? You told me you’d tell me about the adventures you went on!”

“I… will Tricks,” Leaf replies slowly, avoiding looking at the foal lest he fall under his spell. “I just don’t know where to start. We’ve had so many amazing adventures, it’s sort of hard to think of which one is my favorite.”

“How about the one you just got back from?” Tricks asks as he bounces up and walks over, giving Leaf the largest, most heart stoppingly cute eyes. “Witch Doctor says that you and your friend discovered something amazing out in the desert! She says you two discovered a magic more powerful than even she can cast!” He shakes his head and crosses his arms. “I don’t believe her, though! No one is more powerful than Witch Doctor!”

“You know that’s not true.” Leaf says slowly, narrowing his eyes. “I know you’ve met Luna.”

Nodding, Tricks continues to sit defiantly. “I have, but Witch Doctor says you two discovered something powerful.” He looks to Leaf, his smile growing again. “I want to hear about it!” Leaf starts to reply, but the sound of hoofsteps coming closer stops him before he can start. As he turns, Tricks seems to almost teleport from where he is sitting to the door in one bound as he exclaims. “Witch Doctor is home!”

Opening the door Tricks comes face to face with Witch and all but tackles her.

“Hey Tricks!” Witch says happily as she hugs Tricks. “I hope ‘uncle’ Leaf kept a good watch over you while I was at work?” She looks over at Leaf who cringes at the addition of ‘uncle’ to his name.

“He told me lots of stories and showed me some of the books he got for you!” Tricks replies enthusiastically. “He was going to tell me stories about him and his friend, but every time he started he seemed to get really sad for some reason. Then he started pacing.”

Nodding with a smile Witch winks at Tricks. “Well, I think I can help with that. But, I need you to go wash up for dinner. Me, your uncle, and a guest need to talk privately.”

“Okay.” Tricks says, slightly disappointed. “Do you think he’ll tell me stories after dinner?”

“If the conversation goes well, you’ll get to hear stories from both of them.” Witch replies with a smile. “Now, run along, I can’t keep my hold on your Uncle’s friend much longer.” She then opens the door a little wider, revealing Daring who is currently trying to fly away and is only accomplishing looking really stupid with her tail caught in Witch’s magic.

Walking out of the room and around Daring and Witch, Tricks waves to Daring. “Hi Uncle Leaf’s friend! You know you can’t fly in the house, right?”

“I… can… try…” Daring replies somewhat breathlessly.

“Good luck with that!” Witch sighs as she pulls Daring into the room as Tricks just laughs and goes off to do as he was told. Leaf, in all of this, has been just sitting there frowning.

“You never needed help with your Arabic, did you?” he accuses his sister, crossing his arms. “And I bet you tricked Daring into coming here by asking her for help too?”

“Guilty as charged,” Witch replies, closing the door with her magic and releasing Daring. “But this whole thing has gone on long enough. So, I’m putting my hoof down.” She points to Daring, then Leaf, from where she is standing blocking the exit. “So, you two are going to grow up. Admit your feelings, and we can all move on. And if you don’t, I am locking you in a closet until you do.”

“No. I am not going to let you bully me into this,” Leaf replies loudly. “Daring made it quite clear on her feelings yesterday. And I am not about to go through that again!”

“I agree with Leaf,” Daring says slowly, looking nervously at Leaf. “I’d rather not go through what we went through yesterday.” She stands up and starts towards the door. “So, let us out, we can have a nice dinner, then I can translate that book for you and go back to the compound.” Daring then frowns and looks around. “In fact, I’d actually like to look at it now, if that’s alright, while we wait for dinner. If that is possible.”

“Yeah, it’s over there,” Witch says with a small smile as she points to a closet that has a few book shelves in it. “Go ahead and get it.”

Raising an eyebrow, Daring starts towards the smaller room, suspicious at how easily Witch had agreed. She just crosses the threshold when Leaf suddenly finds himself surrounded by Witch’s magic and carried through the room, then her magic likewise envelopes Daring and pushes her into the room. The magic vanishes, unceremoniously dropping leaf atop Daring, and the door closes. Rolling out from under Leaf, Daring gets up and tries the door, which doesn’t budge. She throws her shoulder into the door, it still doesn’t budge.

“WITCH! Open this door! I don’t care what Luna will do to me, I WILL… I will….” She stops and growls.

“You’ll do nothing, Daring,” Witch says from beyond the door. “Now, I’ve locked and magically sealed the door. I’ll let you two foals out when you’ve swallowed your pride and admitted your feelings to each other.”

Sighing, Leaf sits down across from where he knows the door to be. It’s dark in the room but he can see Daring across from him, likewise sitting down, just with her back against the door.

“So, you going to yell at me again?” Leaf asks quietly, his ears against his head. “Because I know how you feel. I’ve ruined a perfectly good thing, falling in love with you.” He closes his eyes and waits for Daring to explode at him. Instead, he hears her chuckle softly.

“No,” Daring says slowly. “I am not going to yell at you.” She sighs and scoots over to him and places one of her hooves on one of his. “And you didn’t ruin anything, Leaf. I… I ruined it by waiting this long to tell you some things. Some very, very important things.”

“W… what?” Leaf stammers, confused. “What are those things?”

“That you are the only pony in all of Equestria, in the whole world, that I trust to watch my back.” She starts, her voice shaky at first but growing more confidant. “That you make me laugh, make me smile, with your antics and your wit. The absurd stories you tell me and Prose.” She scoots closer and Leaf a can feel her breath on his face. “That those nights we spent in Saddle Arabia were the happiest, most peaceful, I’ve ever spent with… anypony in my entire life.” She sighs and Leaf feels her tense up. He puts his other hoof on top of the one she had placed on his, and she instantly relaxes. “But… most importantly, I… Leaf, I... I love you.”

Chuckling, Leaf pulls her into a tight hug. “I love you too… you silly mare.” He holds onto her as he continues, “And, I am glad you trust me to watch your flank, because I’d rather do nothing else, honestly.”

Snorting, Daring nuzzles into Leaf’s neck. “Explains why you’re always following me when we go into places.” They both get in a good laugh at that, and then just settle down, content for the moment to just sit there and hug.


Meanwhile, outside the door, Witch smiles proudly as she has been listening to the entire conversation inside. The sound of hooves behind her breaks her from her eavesdropping and she looks over her shoulder to find Tricks coming back into the room.

“Where’d Uncle Leaf and his friend go?” Tricks asks as he looks around. “And why is the door to the closet glowing?”

“Your uncle and his marefriend needed to admit some things to each other,” Witch replies as Tricks comes and sits next to her, “so, I locked them in the closet.”

“Oh…” Tricks says as he looks to the door. He then looks back at Witch and smiles widely. “So, if Uncle Leaf has a special sompony, does that mean I have an aunt?”

Blinking a few times, Witch opens her mouth to reply, then stops and smiles deviously. “Yes, Tricks. Yes it does.”

Author's Note:

So, yeah. That chapter of their story has come to a close!

At last, right? It's been a wild ride. But it's not over yet! I am working on new chapters to take them somewhere else, somewhere that will include some adventure! Because you can't have Daring without adventure.

However, not in the next chapter, at least not high paced action-adventure stuff.

Next chapter, you get to meet a couple of ponies, one of which is her editor Epic Prose. Where he lives should prove to be interesting! But I won't tell you where that is, you'll all just have to guess. :ajsmug:

Edit: Sept 29th. Fixed some missing lines! Don't know why they were dropped, but the story should make sense now!

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