• Member Since 1st Jan, 2013
  • offline last seen 34 minutes ago

Metool Bard

A weaver of tales who enjoys a good story. What more is there to say, really?


Lightning Dust has been in a bit of a rut ever since getting kicked out of the Wonderbolt Academy. Day after day, she's been sticking to a strict exercise regimen under the guidance of Cloudsdale's premier personal trainer, Haymaker. Her hope is that she'll unlock her true potential and show Haymaker how awesome she is, thus prompting him to use his connections to get her back into the Wonderbolts. No matter how many times Haymaker tells her it's impossible, Lightning simply refuses to listen.

Then one fateful night, Lightning Dust's training is interrupted by the appearance of her greatest idol, Wind Rider. It turns out he too has difficulty accepting reality, and he has his own, more nefarious schemes to get himself back in the game. Haymaker sees this as his last chance to save Lightning Dust from walking Wind Rider's path. And if that means rubbing salt in a few wounds and shattering a few dreams, then so be it.

Cover art provided by the amazingly talented Cyrano.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 124 )

This is going on my express Read Later list just for Pony Mick.

("Express" being relative. I have no idea when I'll be getting around to reading it.)

Have a fave and a like on me old boy.

Does anyone look at the cover art and think 'Rocky'?

this is an awesome story

6581181 Thanks. I'm glad you both liked it. :twilightsmile:

6581171 There's probably a good reason for that. The pony Haymaker was designed as an homage to Burgess Meredith's character from the Rocky franchise. :twistnerd:


Now sing the Rocky theme or you don't get a follow. I give you forty-eight hours to record yourself singing.

(strokes white pussy cat he stole from his neighbor) I'll be waiting, Mr Metool. Muhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha (farts)

Well... That was cool and sucks.

It's always wrenching to read a not-extra-vilified Lightning Dust have to accept that her dreams are just... dead in the water. That her recklessness has ruined them.

But the story was good, even with that.

Awesome story


So, are the Wonderbolts the only stunt team around? besides, what we have seen from them until now is far from impressive: when they aren´t acting like jerks, they are incompetent... or both.
No wonder Wind Rider ended like that. One may only hope Dash manages someday to turn the Wonderbolts into something better.

6581210 I, uh, don't do that kind of thing. Sorry. I hope I can impress you in a different way. :twilightsheepish:

6581219 Why do you think I called this story The Truth Hurts? :ajsleepy:

I've been waiting for those two to show up in a story. Excellent job, mate.

6581240 I honestly don't think the Wonderbolts' track record is as bad as people make it out to be. And while there aren't any other prestigious flight teams in Equestria (at least none that we know of), a pegasus doesn't have to be a Wonderbolt in order to do great things. Just look at Daring Do. :scootangel:

B-b-b...because fulfilling your dreams uh... hurts? Maybe? :fluttercry:

No. I more or less knew what I was getting into, here.

Well... whether or not they're the only stunt team, they're the only stunt team that's kinda part of the Equestrian military. That pretty much puts them as the most prestigious. Could explain the "no forgiveness" angle, as well, although I'm no military misconduct expert.

I always got the sense the Wonderbolts weren't extra jerks, they were just... regular non-friendship-magic ponies. So they kept being used as examples of people who are slightly not-right and need to be set straight... They aren't even really jerks, just a military organization in Rarity Investigates.

She could always do another sport


I do love a good Lightning Dust story, and I really like how you painted her in this. You sir have done a fabulous job; this is going in my favourites and getting a good ol' upvote!

I get a sense that Haymaker had to give up on some dreams of his as well. Maybe because Wind Rider was just... better in the day. I don't think he could've taken him if the fight kept on.

Also, well... perhaps the Wonderbolts have been put on a pedestal for too long. What Wind Rider did was terribe, but Spitfire has repeatedly shown she just might not deserve all the fanponyism Equestria's Pegasi throw her way either. They might've been at the top for too long and don't recognice it.

Time somepony gave them some competition. Competition is healthy, no? And if there's suddenly a team out there whose members are terrible to one another but they're also made up of the best of the best that the 'Bolts didn't want, maybe even individually stronger... well, they just might remember that teamwork used to be a big thing.

Excellent story, I hope that Lightning Dust will get a redemption episode in Season 6, (Much like how Gilda and DT got one in Season 5) Keep up the good work! I'm rooting for you!

This was an awesome story, with some very heavy tones. However, based on the MLP universe I can't believe Lightning Dust's chances are completely ruined. It's gonna take her really showing some personal growth, which this event is the perfect catalyst for. Hell, if the Wonderbolts are supposed to be military in some way, then she should just join whatever branch they fall under and work her way up to getting on the team, that and a better attitude should prove she has earned the right to be on the team.

This kind of stems from my feelings on that episode as a whole, I feel it is incredibly excessive to issue a lifetime ban on someone at a training camp for one (because they only acknowledged the tornado) reckless action. Now her getting kicked out of that session and having to try again next year? THAT is believable.

I like the story, but in the magical world of talking ponies and friendship, I'm inclined to believe a second chance is possible for Lightning Dust. I think if she showed actual contrition and tried again, without being a jerk about it, she'd be able to get back into the reserves. And from there, who knows?

So, I know a lot of people will complain about how LIghtning Dust should get a second chance, but I think they're missing the genius behind this story. What this story does is show us that a happy ending is not about getting what we wanted. Sometimes a happy ending is finding a different dream to chase, one that we can actually catch. Sometimes a happy ending is realizing that, even if your dreams have been shattered, sometimes you can build something better from the pieces.

"You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you." — Joseph Campbell

Whew man, wow... you did an exceptional job on this, and I approve! Thsi was well written, and I liek the message it gives.

Like what this fine gentleman said. 6582433 its like that.
Sure one dream may end up crashing, but you can still try for something else.

Good show!

There is no harsher blow than learning that your idol has feet (or hooves, in this case) made of clay. If Lightning Dust has learned nothing else from this experience, it is not to be so credulous about her heroes until she has met them in person and seen the truth behind the PR.

Of course, Haymaker was right about one thing above all else. Don't focus on what you have lost and the things that have slipped through your hooves. Instead, look forward and always move forward to what you can have.

The interaction between Wind Rider and Haymaker had a strong feel of 'The Old Master and the Dark Apprentice'. Wind Rider was Haymaker's protégé, once, wasn't he? Now, he's just another success-focussed sociopath. The Wonderbolts as a whole have been like that for a while but, thankfully, Rainbow is helping them turn the corner on that fall. Which may have been Princess Celestia's plan all along.

6582582 I personally don't think the Wonderbolts could've lasted as long as they did if they all had the same principles as Wind Rider, but it is true that Rainbow Dash is teaching them some very valuable lessons. :eeyup:

Finally, a fic that doesn't portray Lightning Dust as a bully and wannabe villian. I was getting really tired of seeing like that in almost every fic that she showed up in, that was never how she was portrayed in the episode.

Have a thumbs up for that and a fav for pony Mick.

6582645 I honestly see more stories on this site about LD being a depressed basket case than being a villain. Good thing I decided not to go with either of those interpretations here. :derpytongue2:

Didn't realize how much I needed to read about Haymaker and Wind Rider throwing down until right now. I've already said it, but I'll say it again: great work!

6581171 I sure did! :scootangel:

Well done. If I may voice my opinion though... the dark tag is unneeded. We've seen Rainbow kick a dragon, we've seen Rarity attacking her friends over a rock. These are common events in this show for little girls. A fistfight is not a big deal.

6582912 Actually, the violence is not the reason for the Dark tag. The dark themes come from Wind Rider trying to use his hero status to manipulate Lightning Dust into helping him get rid of Rainbow Dash. But that is a good argument against the Teen rating I was considering. :ajsmug:

6582915 I don't know what's scarier: That headcanon, or the fact that I find it plausible. :twilightoops:

6582965 Hmmm, perhaps, but the dark tag is usually reserved for really dark themes that don't fit the show. Murder, rape, that sort of thing. Wind Rider is doing no worse than he did in the episode.

Honestly, I kinda liked her "I'll be so great they'll have to take me back." plan. If Haymaker could get her to understand why she was wrong, like what happened at the end, why couldn't he try to help her get another shot? She is legitimately talented and has grown as a person, she could really improve now. She could probably legitimately become a lot better as an athlete, and as the ending indicates, a person. Haymaker seemed to think they wouldn't give her another shot, not that he couldn't try to convince them to. So why not try?

Iif they still don't take her back at that point? Their loss. They would just be turning down a great athlete because they personally don't like how she used to be. And that's so unprofessional I'm surprised the Wonderbolts are still considered a serious team.

It just seems kinda weird that the Wonderbolts would look at a single moment in someone's life and not consider anything after that moment. Like no matter how much someone improves they refuse to look again and just assume they're the same as before, never giving any second chances? Seriously? That's a very, very stupid way to look for recruits. "Oh they're promising, but they were less great before. Drop 'em." The way the Wonderbolts are written in this story kinda makes them out to be a joke with no real sense of what makes a good athlete.

Not to mention how in canon they completely dropped Soarin to try and get Rainbow Dash on their team in the Equestrian Games, they seem like complete idiots, is all.

6583001 I honestly don't think that's the case. The show itself has delved into some very dark subject matter without getting too explicit (episodes such as For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils, The Cutie Map, and Bloom and Gloom come to mind). To me, the Dark tag should be used in stories that deal with fear and/or have sinister undertones. And I think this story fits that bill, as far as Wind Rider's portrayal is concerned.

Besides, we never got to explicitly hear what his plans were for Lightning Dust and Rainbow Dash. That part is very open to interpretation. :pinkiecrazy:

I think most of Lightning Dust's screwups in that episode can be attributed to Spitfire being a terrible officer- there's plenty of evidence that Spitfire has no idea how to actually lead ponies. Had Spitfire properly curbed, then channeled LD's ambition, she'd have had a fine cadet. Instead, well...how often do we see the Wonderbolts try to do something important and NOT screw the pooch in the process?

6583015 Bear in mind that Lightning Dust's actions endangered the lives of several ponies, including her own wingpony. I'm not sure the Wonderbolts want to take a chance on her after that kerfuffle, no matter how much she's changed. Now, that doesn't mean she can't live a happy life and grow as an athlete and a pony. It just means she won't be a Wonderbolt. :applejackunsure:

6583087 Compare what Spitfire saw to what the audience witnessed in that episode. You can't exactly blame her for rewarding Lightning Dust's behavior when all she saw was the results and not the collateral damage. I honestly think Spitfire's a perfectly capable CO. She just makes mistakes like everypony else; especially when it comes to clear communication. :pinkiesmile:

Now Lightning can find the true purpose of every pony, make some friends. After that she'll realize that dreams, ambitions and jobs are just window dressing for friendship.

However since Lightning was seen fighting Dash in the comics pretty much siding with Sombra I have my doubts, but that story may have to be finished first.

While Lightning Dust is being pigheaded by not accepting the real scale of her mistakes, there's nothing that says Lightning Dust was given a lifetime BAN! The uncut ending had Lightning Dust admit her mistakes and serve as RD's wing pony.

you've got me, you're biggest inspiration.
you've got me, your biggest inspiration.

Wind Rider kept going for cheap shots. He grabbed at Haymaker's wings; he spat in his eye; he tried to lure him into crashing into the equipment.

For the record, in an actual, factual fight, not one that's a contest or a competition, you SHOULD use every move you can to win (of course you don't START fights either).

"How can a trained soldier like you fight like a pathetic street punk?!" Haymaker barked. "Straighten up and come at me like a proper Wonderbolt! Or is honor another one of these 'obstacles' to you?"

Uh, for a solider in a battle, where it's life or death, you DO use every trick you can to stay alive.

Lightning Dust blinked. "Revenge? I only want to get back into the Wonderbolts. I'm mad at Rainbow Dash, sure, but I don't hate her."

Better writing than the IDW comic at least.

But seriously, LD's actions were thoughtless, not malicious. Spitfire seems the type who'd take her back if she cleaned up her act.


I have to fully agree. Plus given this is EQUESTRIA.

Definitely getting the "Rocky" vibe from this.

hmm.... Sounds like million dollar baby... We all know how that ended. :pinkiesad2:

THIS. IS. BEUTAFUL!!!!:raritystarry:
This, without doubt, is one of the best fanfics I've ever read.
Instant Fav!:pinkiehappy:

It's nice to see a writer not turn Lightning Dust into a full fledged villain. But does her dream of being a Wonderbolt really have to be over forever??? :raritycry:

To both Rainbow Dash and Lighting Dust I like quote one of the things Handsome Jack could say in Tales from the Borderlands episode 5. "Don't ever meet you heroes kid, they're all asshole."

Great story! Liked faved and will read again.

Also found two errors

Now, you've got me, you're biggest inspiration.

Think you meant your*

"Oopha. I-I might've overdid it there," her grumbled


Damn, Metool. You really knocked it out of the park with this one - I think it may be one of your best yet. The concept is brilliant and you execute it perfectly. Good to see you at the top of the featured box too - it's always nice to see authors I know are really good get some popularity! :twilightsmile:

6581385 Finally a LD story! And an amazing one too!

And no, I also believe that LD isn't a bad or a villainous pony, she just is ignorant and too full of herself to realize what's going on around her.

DVB #46 · Oct 31st, 2015 · · 1 ·

If you take the MLP Friends Forever as potential canon, one issue showed RD bonding with Spitfire and we find out a bit on how she got her role. She initially didn't want to leader the Wonderbolts, because leadership sounded boring — she just found out she was good at it via her Drill Sergeant Nasty routine, and she sticks to that because it's all she knows.

As for the not taking her back, it's a matter of perspective. You talked about a single moment of judgment. First impressions are important and if a single moment reveals that someone is going to be haphazard with the lives of others, that does not speak well of you at all. In a single moment, ponies could've died. You can't take that risk. esepcially if Lightning is still having trouble realizing just how many ponies she put in danger and not giving a damn


6583158 Regarding the fight, what would be your perspective of winning?

Haymaker won that fight.

Because the point of that fight was not to show who was stronger. It was to show the moral failings of Wind Rider. He started a fight out of frsutration for his own imcompetance. Haymaker was riling Wind Rider up purposely and an old trainer would know about what's needed to fight. Here, he wanted to show just how deseperate Wind Rider in his ambitions.

Wind Rider may have gotten the upper hood, but he ultimately lost the war. Lightnign Dust saw that her idol was willing to fight her trainer and old pony with cheap shots because of his pride. Moral Victory right here.

6584073 Whoops! Thank you both for catching those mistakes. :twilightblush:

But seriously, LD's actions were thoughtless, not malicious. Spitfire seems the type who'd take her back if she cleaned up her act.

Well, keep in mind that the Wonderbolts are a branch of the military. People who are dishonorably discharged are not typically invited back under any circumstances (at least from what I understand). In fact, 6584397 here explains it perfectly (thanks for that, by the way).


We still saw no proof that Lightning Dust was truly kicked out.

Oh man , I totally love L.D's representation in this fic.

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