• Published 12th Mar 2013
  • 3,588 Views, 216 Comments

This is Cloudsdale! - deathtap



While doing a census of ponies in Ponyville, Twilight discovers something peculiar about pegasi. Ever the curious one, she decides to investigate and get to the bottom of it. Will what she learns change the way she views her friends? Probably not.

  • ...
23
 216
 3,588

Iridum

"So, how is that census coming along, dear?" Rarity asked.

She was walking back with a very flustered Twilight and an overly happy Spike (who was floating in the air behind the white unicorn) back towards the library. She had seen Twilight disembarking the train on her way back from dropping off some things at Fluttershy's. On the way they ran into Applejack, who was on her way home after being relieved at their family's stand in the town market by Big Mac.

"You mean except that no pegasus in Ponyville except Derpy has talked to me? Fine." Twilight did not mean to be so cold, but she was extremely annoyed, especially over what she had just discovered.

"Now, now, I may not be sure what's gotten into them, but they must have a good reason," Applejack put in.

"There's something I want to share with you, but I don't know how. I mean, I'm not really sure how I'm going to handle this." Twilight bit her lip as she thought hard about how to tell her friends what she knew. "It's... about Rainbow..."

"What about her?" Rarity asked.

Twilight stopped. Her friends walked on a few more steps before turning back to see what was wrong.

"Twilight?" Applejack looked at her friend. She seemed to be talking to herself.

"Girls, Rainbow's a..."

"A what, darling?"

"She's a..."

"Yeah?"

Twilight sighed, then in a very soft whisper said, "She's a princess."

The two girls blinked not sure if they heard her right.

"A what?" Rarity asked trying to make sure that she heard correctly.

"She's a princess. From Cloudsdale. She's from one of the two Royal Houses and-"

"Now just hold on one minute," Applejack shouted cutting Twilight off. "You're tellin' me that Rainbow Dash, our very own Rainbow Dash, is a real, swear-to-Celestia princess? From Cloudsdale? Does Cloudsdale have their own princesses? That doesn't really make sense now, does it?"

"Why, I had no idea. She doesn't act like one at all. Are you sure?" Rarity just could not wrap her head around the concept.

Twilight nodded. "I think you need to hear it all from the start..."


Despite offering their help, Twilight didn't accept it. This was something she felt she needed to get to the bottom of, and convinced both Applejack and Rarity not to inform Rainbow or Fluttershy about what she had learned. She had also made them promise not to tell anypony else. Not yet anyway.

A knock on her door made her look up from the book she was reading. It was a history of pegasi, but unlike the other books she read, this one was to do with recent history. It was strange that the book was so easy to find. All the information about the pegasi of Cloudsdale was there clearly written and documented. She thought back on what Cupcake had said about not everypony wanting to know what really goes on in the cloud city, and she realized that many ponies just assumed that the books they read about pegasi culture were ancient history. Considering how things are today, it was hard to imagine that such things continued.

"Oh hello, Rainbow," Spike said, his voice coming from downstairs.

She heard her hooves on her wooden floor as she walked into the library. "Hi, Spike. Where's Twilight? She said she needed to talk to me about something really important."

"She's upstairs in her room."

Twilight waited for the cyan pegasus to appear and when she did, Twilight gestured for her friend to come sit next to her on the sofa. Rainbow landed in front of her and took her place.

"Applejack said you had to see me. Said it was important."

Twilight had thought long and hard about how to bring the subject up, but she could not think of any other way except the Rainbow Dash way. Straight, blunt and to the point.

"Why didn't you tell me you were a princess?"

Rainbow blinked at Twilight. Then she sat down heavily on the floor. "You found out?"

"I found out from Derpy's mom."

"You met Cupcake?"

"You know her?"

Rainbow shook her head. "Yeah... kinda... Fluttershy used to stay with her after... she fell..."

"You mean after she was thrown away."

Rainbow felt beads of sweat form on her head. "W-w-well... she wasn't thrown away. She, um, she fell down and, because of her weak wings, she couldn't fly..."

"I remember your cutie mark story, Dash. You were in a race and she fell down after you zoomed past her."

"Yeah... well, um... she kinda couldn't fly back up to Cloudsdale after that. So she stayed with Cupcake for a bit."

"A bit?" Twilight raised her eyebrow.

"Well, she stayed with her for years."

"That's a little longer than 'a bit.'"

"I know, okay? She stayed with Cupcake until she was big enough to take care of herself. Then she moved here, to Ponyville. She couldn't fly back up to Cloudsdale, so what else was she supposed to do? By the time she got strong enough to, she didn't want to anymore. She never liked it there."

"Why didn't you tell me you were a princess, Rainbow?"

"I'm not."

"But you're-"

"I know, I know! I'm from Iridum Familiam, but I'm not a princess. Never was. Only the first born of the Royal House gets to be called princess or whatever." Her entire demeanor deflated. Rainbow looked so tired suddenly. "My brother is the first born."

Seeing Rainbow like that calmed Twilight's anger. She put a hoof on her friend's shoulder and smiled gently. "Tell me everything. From the beginning."

"First you tell me. How much do you know?"


"... and that's why I asked Applejack and Rarity to tell you that I needed to see you as soon as possible."

"Wow. Derpy really got her mom to tell you all that?" Rainbow nodded. She couldn't help but feel impressed. She picked up the mug of tea from in front of her and took a sip after holding it in her hooves for a moment. Spike had brought it during Twilight's recollection of her visit to Cloudsdale's underside.

"Well, you know how I can get..." Twilight admitted.

That made Rainbow chuckle. "Yeah. You can get pretty pushy when you need to know somethin'."

"Hey!" Twilight nudged her friend. The both shared a laugh. "So, what actually happened to you?"

Rainbow put the cup of tea down. Twilight could see her debating with herself and couldn't help wonder what was going on through her mind.

"I left." Rainbow shrugged,

"You... left?"

"Uh-huh. Left. Moved out. Went away. Departed. Escaped."

"Do you mind if I ask why?"

"I... I got smart... er. Smarter. Like I said, when Fluttershy fell down I tried to get her to come back, but nopony would help me. At first I was like 'what?' because it felt like the right thing to do. Only we're taught to help each other out if it suits our own needs. So none of my so-called 'friends' wanted anything to do with Fluttershy because she isn't the greatest flyer. Then I asked the adults to help. You know what they said to me?"

"No."

"Exactly! They refused to help! So Fluttershy was stuck down there, a-a-a-a-and I didn't know what to do! I wasn't strong enough. And I am so happy. Happy because if I actually got her up there I wouldn't have met Cupcake or learned what family was all about. Yeah, I know that sounds lame, but before that... I didn't know what family really was."

Twilight furrowed her brow. "I think you've lost me."

"Look, Fluttershy ended up with Cupcake because she needed a place to stay. Somepony told Shy that some crazy ol' coot was living under Cloudsdale and was helping pegasi out, so she went there. When she knocked on the door I... I kinda hid, but Fluttershy, she can sometimes be braver than me cause she waited till Cupcake opened the door. She stayed. I visited whenever I could. Dunno why, but it wasn't long before I started noticing things."

"Like what?"

Rainbow scratched her mane with her hoof. "Well, like how Fluttershy's name was no longer being called during roll call in flight school, or how nopony seemed to care she was gone... and I kinda hate to admit it, but I started not caring too. I mean, I stopped going down to visit Fluttershy as often. It just... I can't explain it except that she just wasn't worth my time."

"You felt like that?"

"Yeah! But deep inside I was worried about her too, y'know. Like, what if something bad happened to her and I just... just... left her all alone and..." Rainbow started to choke. "Am I a bad friend?"

"No, Dashie, no! Of course not. You're not a bad friend. You're my best friend, and I know that you never meant to hurt anypony. I know that, Rainbow."

"After a while I... I felt so awful leaving her there. Then I-I told my dad and... h-he said that weaklings like her didn't deserve somepony like me being her friend and that by helping her and being with her also made me weak. So... I stopped visiting, Twilight. I stopped coming down to see my oldest and best friend. She had nopony, Twilight... nopony, except me and I left her..."

Twilight hugged Rainbow and patted her back. "Sh... it's okay, Rainbow. She had Cupcake and Fluttershy loves you. I love you. We all love you. You're the best friend a pony can have."

"Am I really? How can you say that after hearing this?"

"Because, like I said, I know you. You'd never leave a pony hanging, right? You went back."

Rainbow smiled through her tears. "I did, didn't I? I went back. I met Fluttershy just before she left Cupcake's and she was so happy. I couldn't understand why. I thought she'd be miserable and beg to come back to Cloudsdale, but she was so happy. I asked her why and you know what she said?"

Twilight shrugged.

"She had a family. A real family. One that was there for her, loved her and just... it was so warm in that house, with everypony. It was so different, so... I dunno... so good. After staying for a while, I didn't want to go back."

Using her magic, Twilight hovered a box of tissues to them hoofing one to Rainbow, who promptly blew her nose into it.

"But... but I wasn't allowed that. No, not me. Not because I'm the princess, no. That wasn't it. You know why I don't like talking about my family, Twilight? It's because my family is a bunch of... hippos."

"Hippos?"

"You know, they say one thing and do something else..."

"Oh! Hypocrites."

"Yeah, that. I was in the royal house, and they were allowed to keep their children and bring them up themselves, never having to obey the Gerousia. I was brought up by my nannies, so was my brother, but we were brought up at home. That's the difference. We weren't sent to some agélai to live with other pegasi. I was never one of those ponies who never knew who their moms or dads were. I always wondered what was wrong with that. Why my dad didn't let me bring friends over."

"Wait, Rainbow. You're telling me that your dad brought you up at home even though that's against the law?" Twilight asked.

Rainbow nodded slowly and blew her nose into a tissue. "The laws of the Gerousia don't apply to the royal houses."

"That's kinda unfair," Twilight remarked.

"Tell me about it."

"What happened to your mom?"

"My dad mated with some mare, who had me, then she just left. That's what Cloudsdale pegasi do. Once I was out of her womb, she wanted nothing to do with me. I don't even know who she is, and every time I asked dad about it he'd shout at me and tell me that my mother wasn't around because she's not important. But you can't have a family like that, and I think that somewhere deep inside, he knew it. I knew it too. Something was wrong. Something is wrong. So, after I graduated from Cloudsdale's flight school, I joined the advanced classes with weather and requested to be transferred away. Of course it was denied, so I just told my dad... goodbye, and I left."

"You came to Ponyville?" Twilight asked.

"Y-yeah. Fluttershy had a home here, so I stayed with her for a bit. Then I got a job on my own with the weather team and... well, here I am. I've never been happier... well, except for winning that Young Flyers Competition."

The sudden confession of Rainbow's own past opened Twilight's eyes. A part of her understood why the Element of Loyalty had chosen her. Even after her upbringing in Cloudsdale, even after being told repeatedly that going back for somepony that was incapable of helping themselves was wrong, Rainbow still went with her instinct and chose to stick with her allegiances instead of abandoning them.

"That reminds me; why the Wonderbolts thing?" Twilight asked, trying to puzzle that in. It seemed out of place to her after hearing the rest.

Rainbow grinned and sniffled away the last of her tears. "Because I wanna show 'em. I wanna tell all the ponies in Cloudsdale that they're wrong and that it's wrong to bring up foals the way they do. If I ever have any, they're going to be loved and cherished like how ponies are meant to be. And if that makes us imperfect, so be it. Perfect is boring anyway."

"So, why can't you tell them now?"

"I could. Only they wouldn't listen to me. Now, if I was a Wonderbolt, somepony who represents the best of the best in Cloudsdale, well then they'd have to listen to me, right?" Rainbow pulled herself out of Twilight's comforting embrace. "I need to be the pony that changes it. I still love Cloudsdale. It's my city, it's where I was born, but it's not the place I like. It can be, I know that. I'm not stupid. But it's gonna need a lot of work."

"So? What now?" Twilight asked.

Rainbow stretched her body out and flashed her trademark smile. "Train. Be better than the best. Become a Wonderbolt. Shake the Gerousia around. Tell the pegasi about family. I mean really tell them."

"So all this time you've been trying for the Wonderbolts for Cloudsdale?" Twilight asked, a little more than skeptical.

"Well, not exactly. I've always wanted to be a Wonderbolt since the day I saw them as a filly, but I know that once I become one I can make them change. With that uniform on and being the best of the best, they'll listen to me. They'll have to."

"That might take a long time, Rainbow."

"Well, you got a better idea?"

Now it was Twilight's turn to flash her trademark smile. "How's your Equitatus?"