• Member Since 20th Aug, 2011
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Draco Dei

Christian Furry, added Friendship is Magic to my circle of interests after reading "Half the Day is Night".


Rainbow Dash finally gets her chance to try out for the Wonderbolts. She fears failure, and is confident of success, but there is more to Princess Celestia's test than meets the eye.

Best viewed in "Normal" font-size.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 25 )

I like it.

"Ok, you are going to have that one to me."

This may be missing a word.

Glad you like it, and thanks for catching the error.
There are probably more, and people are welcome to point them out, as well as any flaws that may or may not exist in the higher-level stuff such as plot, pacing, characterization, etc.
I wasn't as methodical when I was reading it out loud to myself this time, since, as I said, I was in a bit of a rush to get this out before "Wonderbolt Academy" aired.

Yes indeed.
I can understand wanting to get this out before 'Wonderbolt Academy' comes out.
Though you can watch it now if you like. Leaks, you know. Most people won't until episode day though I think.

I had heard about the leaks, but wasn't sure if I wanted to know before most people knew. For the sake of this story I mean.

I also generally wait until someone on forum.rpg.net has done a "Where I Watch" since I find it enhances my viewing experience if I pause and read someone else's reaction to each bit. Well between that and TVTropes (Warning: Use TVTropes responsibly).

Err... and what was "Yes Indeed" referring to specifically?

Glad you liked it!

Yes indeed was expressing understanding of your rush.
I, for one, have only watched the opening second of the leaked episode. I will be watching it on episode day.

"So the other team you are a member of the Elements of Harmony, and Princess Celestia was pulling strings behind the scenes so that you never thought to practice formation flying beyond the more straight-forward maneuvers needed for weather duties." said Soarin' "Hired a few ponies you considered drafting into practicing with you away from Ponyville. She actually sent an agent to politely ask Cloudchaser, who you were friends with at that time, to decline your requests to practice, as a favor to the realm. "
So Celestia did not want Dash to practice or learn new flight maneuvers, and sent agents to pull her "other" friends away from her, Why?
This made Celestia seam cruel, even stupid to me. She should be helping the Main 6 not holding them back or undermining their friendships with other ponies, unless the other ponies are trying to hurt or sabotage the Main 6. A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2 is proof of the need of new skills for the main 6 to prevent their capture again. The rest of the story stop making any real sense to me at this point.

Err... several points were missed in communication. Would welcome ideas on how to make them clearer.

Celestia never discouraged combat training, nor killed existing friendships.

Rainbow Dash is being encouraged to learn new flight maneuvers... just not FLYING FORMATION maneuvers. This is because Fluttershy is the only one of her team who can fly, and RD already is pushing Fluttershy as much as is advisable.

On the other hand, those combat maneuvers she practices with the other (future or present) Elements of Harmony, where RD uses her wings A LOT? Those are what Celestia likes to see. Those are what help with stuff like we saw in "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 2". In fact, Twilight has quite possibly instituted her training regime with them before that point, as MAYBE indicated by her calling for "FORMATION!" right before they phailed at blasting Discord.

Let me run through the "hired away/asked not to help thing":
Scenario 1:
RD: "Hey, weather-pony I barely know... you seem like you are actually less than completely incompetent at formation flying. I'm awesome on toast for solo maneuvers, but I think I could use to brush up on my team flying. Want to train with me? I'll help you out with your share of the weatherpony duties in exchange."
Random Pony: "Eh, why not?"
Celestia:*Has Random Pony Hired Away a few weeks later*
RD: *Practices solo routines more*

Scenario 2:
RD: "Hey, Cloudchaser! We're pretty good friends, and you are a pretty good flier! I could use a wingmare for my training for the Wonderbolts."
Cloudchaser: "That would be AWESOME!"
*A few weeks later*
Government Agent Pony: "Ms. Cloudchaser, it has come to Celestia's attention that Rainbow Dash has asked you to help her with her training for the Wonderbolts."
Cloudchaser: "Yes. Did you need me to help her with something specific? Maybe keep her from injuring herself before she can be of use to the realm?"
Government Agent Pony: "We do not believe that Ms. Dash's training injuries are likely to be a serious impediment to her utility to the realm. There is, however, a problem here, which Celestia sees in her wisdom."
Cloudchaser: "And that would be...?"
Government Agent Pony: "Sorry ma'am, I'm not at liberty to disclose that. Suffice to say that it would be of benefit to both Equestria and Ms. Dash in the long run, if you were to cease training with her."
Cloudchaser: "I'm holding her back, aren't I?"
Government Agent Pony: "Yes and no. You could be of great assistance to her in learning formation flying, but the overall effect would be undesirable."
Cloudchaser: "But... she will need to be able to fly in formation if she is to join the Wonderbolts... it is her fondest dream."
Government Agent Pony: "A dream that Celestia wishes to see her achieve. In fact, withholding your assistance from her with the formation flying would actually tend to get her into the Wonderbolts FASTER."
Cloudchaser: "So, what? You want me to break off contact with Rainbow Dash?"
Government Agent Pony: "No. In fact, if she pushes the issue, contact me at this address *Gives card listing a P.O. Box*, it may be necessary for you to do that formation flying with her after all. It would be suboptimal if this was to disrupt your friendship with her, but we can't make the call either way on that until and unless it comes up. You should even cheer for her... but only when Ms Fluttershy Softwing is unavailable."
Rainbow Dash: "Shoot... every time I try to find a flying partner it falls through. Drawbacks of living in such a small town I guess... maybe I can just fly the combat and display formation maneuvers solo, and work on my team stuff in the dojo more... I keep hearing about this awesome combatant who doesn't come to the dojo much because she hates getting sweaty. Only seen her once or twice, but she has pretty awesome moves from what I've seen, and ESPECIALLY from the rumors I hear. What was her name? Ramstien? Revelry?... Oh, wait... RARITY! That was it.. Rarity!"
Cloudchaser: "Sounds like a good idea... I'm sorry that I couldn't help you, or even explain why I can't help you. But we are still friends, right?"
Rainbow Dash: "Well, DUH! I'm not going to let one little glitch get in the way of us both being awesome friends for eachother!"

Point being: Rainbow Dash needs to train on her combat techniques with two unicorns, two earth ponies, and one pseudo-earth-pony-under-all-combat-conditions-where-she-doesn't-solo-the-threat who never has and never will kick anypony in anger. She DOESN'T need to be moving away from Ponyville, or wasting many hours a day training with an all-pegasus team who are a cut below when it comes to dealing with threats to all of Equestria... which is like saying that a given team isn't much compared to Delta Force (or something... not QUITE so up on my real-world military organizations).

Thanks for the reply, It helped me understand more of what was going on in your story. I didn't want to list bomb you with concerns like an ass, but I do have one more to ask if you want to answer.
("She's right you know." Soarin' called out "I know the exact sort of maneuver she wants you to fly. You've done it before, and much more difficult versions of it than what she is looking for here." )
( "So I passed when-"
"The moment you asked us to fly with you. And you passed with honors when-" interjected Soarin'.)
Soarin's hint/cheating has me a little confused, did Dash do any formation flying during the test to get into the Wonderbolts or was this prior knowledge.

If you have a long list of questions or suggestions for improvements, I would love to see it via PM. I'm almost tempted to ask for it here, since I tend to leave not merely long comments on other people's work, but running commentaries of my thoughts as I read. They generally end up being mostly positive though, so let us stick to PMs in this case to be on the safe side.

As for the single additional question you felt comfortable asking here:
Dash's standard entry test was what she always imagined it would be: A solo exhibition/porfolio that she designed. I figured that given that Dash is an expert on the Wonderbolts, and is constantly trying to show off to them with solo acts, that the entry test for them must BE a solo act, despite it being a formation flying team. Spitfire wasn't flying with her, she was just watching her fly (probably referencing a set of diagrams Dash had laying around for her current "impress the Wonderbolt's" routine) and taking notes.
What the story failed to get across to you is that Dash could have flown five to twenty wing-beats in a straight line and passed Celestia's test as long as she was flying those wing-beats with a Wonderbolt(in fact, I almost had her do so rather than the Coltic Knot as her way of showing off that she GOT it). The human equivalent would be walking across a room next to someone you are at a lull in a conversation with. Soarin' knows that Dash flew a tornado with dozens of other pegasi to pump the water from the Highland Reservoir up to Cloudsdale ("Hurricane Fluttershy"). Dash does formation flying with other pegasi. She does incredibly advanced flying that goes beyond weather-working and into cloudsculpting and stunt flying. She just doesn't combine the two very often.

Again, overall, I liked this story. While it was a little slow in some parts (particularly the lunch with Fluttershy) it did keep me engaged until the end. I wanted to know what the answer to the test was and it was worth the journey to find out.

It did throw me just a little that we were three years in the future, starting out with that might have been better. Also. the next day breaks felt a bit odd. I know they are scene changes but... they still felt odd. My words fail me with a better description. :twilightblush:

It is obvious that this was rushed as the story is lacking in polish. There are more than a few technical errors throughout.

But I liked your take on the Wonderbolt's being another special team under Celestia, that's something I haven't seen before. So once again, enjoyable. Now I just have to convert your last story and find time to listen to it. :twilightsmile:

Glad you liked it, and thank you for your response.

While it was a little slow in some parts (particularly the lunch with Fluttershy)

Given the nature of the test, it is understandable that that happened. Not saying it couldn't be fixed, just saying I don't quite know how I would fix it off-hand and I am not surprised the story has that flaw. I guess I could look into cutting all description of the restaurant and feedbag out... do you think that would be a good idea?

PMing me with those technical errors would be welcome, but not expected. I mention this only because I have run into people who are touchy about that sort of thing with stuff that they rushed off or were casual about and want to let you know I am NOT one of that sort.

It did throw me just a little that we were three years in the future, starting out with that might have been better.

Yeah... I figured it would take that long for RD's frustrations with NOT being called up to get to the point where Celestia had to take the risk of her seeing it as being denied her life-long dream. I can put a note in.

But I liked your take on the Wonderbolt's being another special team under Celestia, that's something I haven't seen before.

That is weird now that I think about it. They were the life-guards at the Best Young Fliers competition, and, more important, flew into Ponyville to fight Kaiju!Spike in "The Secret of My Excess". I figure they are an acrobatic's team first, and a strike-force second, but still. I also recommend "The POV Series", which does have them in that role (not that they get much "screen time", but that series gives almost EVERYPONY their chance to shine in addition to giving the Mane Six most of the time).

I may be doing a chapter 2, which would basically be a re-write of the whole story to account for "Wonderbolt Academy" since, depending on how they handle Dash from now on, it might be easy to set this directly after the end of the class in that episode.

Comment posted by RealityCheck deleted Oct 22nd, 2016

From my perspective, Celestia sabotaged nothing. She REPAIRED something that wasn't going to work. She guided things to a happy conclusion by the fastest possible route. National security concerns mean that Rainbow Dash flying along-side the Wonderbolts is counter indicated. But to fly as a solo act with billing equal to the best team of fliers in Equestria, and wearing the same uniform? Rainbow Dash now outclasses Spitfire. Her dream was to be a Wonderbolt. She becomes the Wonderbolt. Celestia was only waiting for Dash to grow wise enough to see the true nature of the high station that was waiting for her.

There are many honest ponies in Equestria. But few who are both very honest and national level athletes.
There are many loyal ponies in Equestria, but only one of those who broke the sound barrier before she hit puberty.
Their are many ponies who try to spread joy where-ever they go, but only one of those who can warp the laws of physics.
There are many kind ponies, but few kind ponies who can win a staring contest with a cockatrice.
There are many philanthropic and otherwise generous ponies, but a few of them could also become "Empress and Tyrant of the Underdark".
There are many ponies with the potential to be good friends, but only one of those is the most powerful mortal mage of the past several millenia.
They aren't even perfect paragons of their individual virtues (yet).
They aren't just the bearers of the component of a super-weapon, they are an elite special forces team so secret that its own members didn't fully realize that they WERE an elite special forces team for years after the team was formed. Rogue dragons are a training exercise for them.

The Elements didn't choose the bearers, at least not directly. Celestia stacked the deck. The Elements may have created the cards in the deck though. God, DEFINITELY created the deck, the table, the chips, and etc.

In any case, divine provenience is no excuse for poor strategic planning.

Not as sure I am saying this last part clearly, but here it goes:
Great leaders reward their followers with what they ask for. Transcendentally excellent leaders give them what they never dreamed to ask.

See also my comments here:

I like this very much! Complex concept, but remarkably... you say you wrote this before Dash Academy? Interesting, very interesting. Prescient.

I really like this.


I had similar concerns as you, especially after the season finale, but I've since come to look at it from an 'in-Equestria' perspective: Celestia's manipulation doesn't bother the Ponies affected, because in the long run, she hasn't harmed them. I think what we see here is a more mature Dash, who has gotten beyond the stage where she'd be angry- she realizes that there are more important things than just being a Wonderbolt, and most importantly has the humilty and empathy to put another Pony (or the entire nation) ahead of her desires.

Also, sorry to comment after ten weeks, but I just found this. :)


Complex concept, but remarkably... you say you wrote this before Dash Academy? Interesting, very interesting. Prescient.

More specifically I had the idea for a long while, but when I heard that Dash Academy was coming out and what it was about, I rushed to actually finish this story before the episode aired.

So I am not seeing "Prescient". At the end of the day, the episode and this focus on two separate things.

I may do another version of this which blends better with the actual episode, perhaps formatted as a second chapter, perhaps as a separate story. What would you think of that? I might blend in two other ideas I have had regarding what may have happened with Lightning Dust, and also something that involves Dash realizing that she can't be the best at EVERY kind of flying..

>Transcendentally excellent leaders give them what they never dreamed to ask.
And that is why I find the Season Three finale to be a wonderful culmination. :twilightsmile:

Hopefully not TOO much of a culmination... I know we are getting season 4, but I want 5 too (and 6 and 7 and...).

A culmination in the sense that Twilight had always admired Princess Celestia, had always been humbly overjoyed at the privilege of being her personal protegee, and had apparently never coveted her position; her becoming a princess is the culmination of the moment when she saw one pony raise the sun in a burst of royal glory.

That I can definitely see. She has been "Monster Slayer Defeater" but until now wasn't in a position of public leadership (not necessarily authority or command, we still don't know how much of that she has) on a day-to-day basis nor on a nation-wide scale.

I'm afraid I have to object to Rainbow Dash's position in the Wonderbolts. The Wonderbolts fly as a team--we always see them in groups, their training is based on matching partners together, and the formation that got her to pass was one based on teamwork. Making her a Wonderbolt and then keeping her from both the practices and leaving her to do only solo shows is outrageously insulting.

"somehow been given something less than true membership in the Wonderbolts."

She was given less than true membership in the Wonderbolts. She isn't a part of the group flying that is the mark of the Wonderbolts, she's only to attend occasional practices (the attending of which is only important in that she could get the advantage of having a better coach than Ponyville could provide--as she is not participating in the Wonderbolt events or team performances, there is no reason for her to practice with them at all), and her performances are going to all be solo? She gets the Wonderbolts uniform, she gets to call herself one, she gets to show up on posters and as action figures (if as an Element she isn't already), and she'll get invitations to fancy parties like the Wonderbolts (not that she'd be permitted to attend many of them), and that's it--those are the only thing about her that Wonderbolty.

She has just been denied everything about the Wonderbolts that makes them the Wonderbolts, rather than a bunch of really good flyers under a generic team name. She is a Wonderbolt in name alone. Now she can hang out with them--but she isn't a Wonderbolt. It's like Celestia threw her a bone out of pity; yes, Rainbow Dash did get to where she was her own merits, with Celestia just "coaching", but recognizing those merits with a token reward like this is awful. And that she passed the test by formation flying. It's frankly a miracle she even thought of that after Celestia spent the pegasus's entire life keeping her away from group flight and basically doing everything she could to ensure that she not pass this test... the test she said made no difference in regards to whether Rainbow Dash became a Wonderbolt or not.

Yeah, Rainbow Dash is fine with it. But she shouldn't be.

A side question about something I didn't understand: how exactly did the inclusion of Fluttershy help her Wonderbolts tryout? It sounded like Celestia was praising her for putting her friends above her desire to join the team (which considering that this was a tryout to join the Wonderbolts doesn't make much sense), but the feel of the whole conversation also made it sound like Celestia was judging her worth for the "second team", which she's sort of, y'know, already on.

I dunno... Dash has always been a showboater, and being told "You are so good you really shouldn't be wasting your time training with little-ol'-us" seems like something she could take as a compliment. Dash doesn't want to fly with the Wonderbolts per se, otherwise she wouldn't have jumped at the chance to become a Shadowbolt (right up until it required her to abandon her friends). Dash wants to be, and be seen as, "the best"... or at least that is how I see it. If the Wonderbolts went into decline, and some other team was "the best", especially if some of the Wonderbolts transferred over to it, I could see Dash going with that instead.

Including Fluttershy showed that Dash continues to recognize the value of her "old" team, even as she is on the cusp of joining a "new" team. Naturally this is hardly unexpected from the Element of Loyalty, but Celestia was giving credit where credit is due.

Well, guess what author I just discovered?

There are many philanthropic and otherwise generous ponies, but a few of them could also become "Empress and Tyrant of the Underdark".

Rarity, head of the thieves guild after removing the prior head :). How can she afford to be so generous, always giving away a fortune and still having more to give? Why, she's the official government wealth redistribution, to ensure that the wealth does not accumulate at the top but cycles back to the little people :-).

Celestia is saying that there's two important teams that work together. One is based on lots of pegasi flying together as a team. And one is based on a pegasi working with 4 specific non-pegasi and one unexpectedly powerful-yet-hard-to-coax pegasi.

Rainbow succeeded on the test by showing that, while she trained solo, and did her first test as solo flying, she knows that working as a team is what matters.

Rainbow succeeded with flying colors when she came up with a team flight pattern that works for Fluttershy.

The absolutely basic flight test of the beginning flier book was to show that it's not the difficulty of the team pattern that matters. It's that she is willing to look to a team and not just herself.

Whether she flies with the bolts, or defends Equestria with the other bearers, she has to learn to focus on teamwork, when almost no one else can fly at her level. Note that only the two Princesses can keep up with her in the race.

The question that Celestia was asking was basically, can you operate at the level of others, to work with them, instead of being a top-of-your-field soloist.

As for not being a real wonderbolt? ... OK, fair. Dash has to ultimately decide which of the two teams will be her primary. And in this story, she's choosing the bearers over the bolts, as primary. She's doing some training with them, and will probably wind up coaching them. But yea, as you say, she's not going to be flying with them for the shows or their combat duties when called for that.

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