• Published 12th Aug 2016
  • 795 Views, 46 Comments

Thunderbolts - Beakwood

Aiming to fulfill her dreams on becoming a Wonderbolt, Rainbow Dash gets the opportunity of a lifetime in the form of an international event. Thorough this adventurous task she will discover how big can she dream and how little can she expect.

  • ...

A Nighty Peg

Night time finally reached over Ponyville and the whole land of Equestria. The expectation from another of Pinkie's parties, especially one that Twilight helped the pinkie pony to organize, brought an air of anticipation and anxiety for all the invited guests. Rumors spreading with theories regarding of what could've made this specific party so important.

There were only two individuals that weren't looking forward to join the party. One of them being the very same pony the party has been organized for.

"I told you I'm not ready, even if most of them don't really know me, I get the feeling your others friends won't be happy to see me." Lightning said as a matter of fact.

"You need to give it a try. The only way to prove you're not what they think is by socializing." Twilight was trying to motivate Lightning for the past few minutes about the positive aspects of joining the party, which were not really that many.

"Twilight does have a point and I'm not going alone in this party. If I go, you go, and that's it." Gilda said with a tone that suggested she wouldn't discuss it any further.

"Uhm, thanks Gilda." Twilight said unsure if the griffon making herself sound threatening was really going to work.

"Urgh, fine! I'll go the party, as long you don't leave me hanging alone." Lightning replied in tone of defeat.

"I wouldn't leave you hanging in a time like this." Rainbow Dash said confidently. Lightning Dust glared annoyed at the cyan mare.

"Who said I was talking about you?I was talking about Gilda. Besides I expected you to not leave me hanging way ago. Too little, too late Rainbow Dash. "

Rainbow's firm expression of confidence extinguished faster than a cake's candle during a birthday party. The mare frowned in resignation while thinking on something to change the subject.

"Really subtle Dust." Gilda commented eyeing the two mares with evident disapproval. Rainbow for pretending everything was fine when clearly it was not the case, and Lightning for being incapable of letting past mistakes behind no matter how much she said different.

"See? It's because of this kind of attitudes that I couldn't pick neither of you to be the captain!" Twilight proclaimed with clear frustration. "You both keep acting like two immature foals at every chance you get in spite of the other. No Rainbow, it's not because of what you said. " The alicorn added once she saw the cyan mare about to protest. "It's more because of you saying it as if you did nothing wrong and, forgive me for saying this, in Lightning's view you're not trustworthy. Nothing you say will change that unless you demonstrate along the way."

"I might add that this counts for you both. " The griffon said sounding extremely serious, which surprised Rainbow Dash. This was a different side of Gilda she rarely saw.

"I'm not fillysh!" Rainbow protested vehemently. Both Gilda and Twilight shared a stare before glaring at the rainbow-maned pegasus.

"Because your reaction from few minutes back sure wasn't anything like it." Twilight said sarcastically. Gilda used her talons to contain her laughter.

Rainbow, obviously unamused, turned her back towards them in silent protest. Lightning, who couldn't care less about leadership, had greater concerns at the moment than Rainbow Dash acting like a sore loser.

True to be told Rainbow Dash did not took well the news about Gilda being elected the captain. Thankfully Twilight was around at the moment to prevent any incidents, such as isolating Rainbow inside a magic bubble to contain her lousy protests.

"The party will start in few minutes and everypony will be there" Twilight informed as she made her way back to her castle while being followed by the other three. "I'm announcing Ponyville's official participation in the event. Hopefully we can gather the interest of some local business ponies to sponsor the team."

"Like who? Filthy Rich? I really don't feel like making deals with him." Rainbow said in disapproval.

"Well it's not really a bad thing. Filthy Rich does have enough business industries around Equestria to support us with enough resources. Also it won't be you deciding who makes deals with who Rainbow, that's up to me and Amethyst. " Twilight replied with a tone of censure. "And the next time you and Lightning Dust decide to race around Ponyville, please do it without flying so low to the ground. Applejack was really upset because you two made her cart in pieces by the ammount of wooden planks that flew into it."

"Where did those planks came from?" Gilda asked curiously. Twilight seemed hesitant about answering that.

"I believe it came from the Cutie Mark Crusaders tree house. At least part of it."

Rainbow visibly flinched as she heard this. Scootaloo and the others would be really upset. Gilda, on the other hoof, seemed troubled.

"Are you two trying to mess things up more?" She asked straight at the two both pegasus with relative irritation. "Do you have any idea what could've happened if one of those planks impaled a pony?"

Judging by their shocked faces it was evident that the possibility never crossed their minds.

"I can understand if you and Lightning are trying to patch things up Rainbow. You just you can't keep doing the same mistakes you did at the academy for the sake of a challenge. Recklessness and calculated risks are two different things. It's about time you and Lightning learn that. Tomorrow we'll start the tryouts and I won't have in this team anypony putting others in danger. Do I make myself clear?"

Rainbow Dash never thought she would hear that kind of tone from Twilight. Celestia maybe, Luna definitely, but Twilight? It just gave her the chills to hear the cold seriousness that the Princess of Friendship could provide if provoked. Even Lightning Dust was clearly uncomfortable with the situation. Gilda was amazed with the display and developed a greater respect for the purple alicorn.

"Yeah, crystal clear." Rainbow replied with an even expression though she sounded anxious.

"Speaking of crystal....I wonder if Cadance and Shining Armor are planning to participate. Princess Celestia never mentioned it, though the Crystal Empire is in the course list." Twilight pondered quietly.

"They didn't seem to have that many pegasus last time we were there." Rainbow said while being glad for the change of subject.

"Who are Cadence and Shining Armor?" Gilda asked with curiosity.

"Shining Armor is Twilight's brother who happens to be married with the Princess of Love. They're both the rulers of the Crystal Empire. " Rainbow responded before Twilight. The cyan mare knew that Twilight's answer would drag them on forever. Especially because it was possible the alicorn would want to share the stories regarding the changelings, Queen Chrysalis and King Sombra.

"Your brother is married with the Princess of Love?" Surprisingly the pony who made this question was Lightning. "Whoa, talk about luck."

"I'm sure it had more to it than just luck." Twilight said unsure if she understood Lightning's view on the matter.

"Whatevs. Can we go to this party already? I don't feel like staying down here all night." Dust really was demonstrating signs of impatience with their long conversation.

"What's the matter about being down here during the night?" Rainbow asked confused with Lightning's anxiety.

"Because none of your business, that's why." Dust spat back rudely. Rainbow slowly advanced towards the other pegasus but Gilda brought her to a stop.

"If you want to get things right between us you better be able to put up with her attitude." The griffon warned but only loud enough for Rainbow to hear.

"But she keeps acting like a total jerk." Rainbow silently protested.

"Because you asked for it Dash. I was also a total jerk and I suffered because of it. Lightning's case is different, the ones at fault are you both but only Dust got punished. You need to learn to accept if somepony doesn't want to forgive you for past mistakes."

"But she said she wanted to leave past mistakes behind for the sake of the team." Rainbow retorted unable to understand what is the point she missed.

"Correct. For the sake of the team, not for the sake of your friendship. " Gilda was clever than Rainbow Dash could ever credit her for.

"So, just like you, she doesn't want to be my friend. " Rainbow's words hurt the griffon more than she could be aware of.

"N-No....Das.....we talked about it. In my case...it's not you. It's me who....can't decide yet." Gilda's said meekly.

"Why G? I know I wasn't a really good best friend or...even just a friend. I know I should've tried to get to know you better. I..." Rainbow's magenta eyes fixated with intensity over the griffon standing just few inches apart. Thankfully Twilight and Lightning were having their own arguments to distract themselves in the mean time. " I want my best friend back."

Gilda shook her head with a clear expression of sadness. No matter how much she insisted Rainbow Dash would never have her best friend back.

"I want more...." Gilda whispered while fixating her eyes at the poorly illuminated ground she was standing over. "I....want more time to think. I'm sorry Dash. Just....please, stop saying that. It's only going to make it worse, and begging won't work either."

Rainbow Dash stood hopeless and powerless to make or think on anything to change the griffon's mind. Gilda said before she forgave Rainbow for the past, but what else could be stopping the griffon from re-attaching their friendship?

"Hi folks, heading for the party?"

The group of mares interrupted their ongoing conversations to greet the newcomer which, surprisingly, it was a very familiar dark - blue coated stallion.

"Star Hunter?" Rainbow Dash had an odd relationship with the stallion. Despite Star Hunter being a Weather pony and Wonderbolt reserve he rarely talked with the cyan mare. He only really became noticeable when performing a wing power test many months back. Being the second most powerful only behind Rainbow Dash. Ever since then he solidified friendships with many pegasus, his best friend being Thunderlane. Rainbow, after solving issues with Fluttershy at the time, went after Star Hunter to hire him for Ponyville's Weather team. Star Hunter refused allegatin he already worked at Cloudsdale but lived on Ponyville due it's more chilling atmosphere.

Obviously nopony told him beforehoof Cloud Kicker lived there too. Or the Elements of Harmony, or Discord, or Starlight Glimmer, or that the village was right by the Everfree Forest.

"Yeah, obviously. Do you need anything Rainbow?" Star Hunter asked humorously.

"No, not really. Are you heading to the party?" Rainbow asked dubiously.

"Uh, obviously? What else would I be doing down here this late during night? Are you alright Dash? I know you can be slow at thinking stuff, but never thought it was this bad." Hunter asked while eyeing the mare worriedly.

In the mean time Gilda and Lightning were rolling on the floor laughing their plots off, Rainbow's face was displaying a deep color of red, though if from anger or embarrassment it was hard to tell.

"Is he a friend of yours Rainbow?" Lightning Dust asked after succeeding on controling her fit of laughter.

"Kinda." Rainbow was still in a bad mood and Hunter's innocent question didn't make things better.

" 'Kinda'? Come on Dash, we've been acquainted for so long." Star Hunter couldn't help but snicker. Even Twilight failed to hide a smile.

Gilda was taking a likening for this stallion thanks to his playful nature, especially because it annoyed Rainbow to no end and he didn't act with perversion like Cloud Kicker.

"You can come with us to the party if you want. We wouldn't mind the extra company." The invitation was more out of spite of Rainbow than anything. It was ironic that Gilda reprimanded Lightning for doing the same thing. Perhaps the griffon wasn't really on complete good terms with Rainbow as she wished to believe.

"That's nice of you. I was going to wait for Thunderlane and Whooves, but I think they can handle just fine. It's always enjoyable to be in the company of such fine mares and...." Star Hunter paused as he glanced at Gilda with intrigue. "....griffon? Forgive me Gilda, but how do you refer about a female griffon?"

"Oh! I know! I know!" Twilight exclaimed enthusiastically while shaking her hoofs on the air like a naive cheerleader.

Rainbow Dash was on the verge of exasperation with the cringy behavior from her alicorn friend. Lightning Dust just stared at the odd turn of events, though she was somewhat curious about the stallion.

Thankfully the situation cleared out few moments later as Twilight made her way back home while the rest of the group went straight towards Sugar Corner.

Star Hunter, being curious to know more about Lightning, spent the rest of the walk sharing his experiences during the academy and with his friends. He was trying to make Lightning believe that her absence did have an impact in their group.

"Sure, the whole Lord Tirek incident was kinda scary. Imagine not being able to fly all of sudden." Star Hunter shuddered at the memory. "Also Starlight Glimmer was terrible back in her old ways, but she changed since then. Now she's Twilight's student and all. We rarely see her outside the castle. If somepony like her was granted a second chance, despite all the wrong doings she made, I really don't see why you and Gilda can't get along with everypony else."

"After all the stuff you told us I would be amazed myself if we couldn't." Dust replied with a chuckle. True to be told she felt a lot better with her chances of socializing when hearing about ponies like Starlight being granted with the benefit of doubt.

"Hey Hunter, how good are you of a flier?" Gilda was already planning on setting the main four fliers. While Rainbow Dash was an absolute choice the same couldn't be said for Lightning.

Gilda saw very few of Lightning's skill to form a conclusion, she doubted even herself to be in enough shape for the tests. The griffon wouldn't said it out loud, but she didn't want the primary team to be only of mares. While Gilda, for being a griffon, would have a huge advantage regarding stamina, the same couldn't be said about mare pegasus in general. Twilight stressed herself to the griffons about the importance of all the members being able to keep their pace, independent of the lenght of the marathon. As if the different tests and obstacles along the way wouldn't require lots of energy from the competitors.

Star Hunter was wondering what kind of answer he could provide to the griffon without souding arrogant or doubtful about himself.

"I'm not really the kind that talks about myself, I did join the Wonderbolt academy but hardly ever got a praise despite my efforts."

"Any regrets?"

"Regrets?" Gilda's question surprised Star Hunter. "Well, not really. It's just not as intense as I expected."

"You sound dissapointed." Dust accurately pointed out. Star Hunter smiled guiltily.

"I guess things have been far too chilling than I wished them to be. This is why I really want to join this event. I've been exercising ever since the first day of announcement." He informed proudly.

"Which already puts you ahead of everypony except me." Rainbow Dash couldn't help but boast herself along the way. "I'm really eager to see you on the tests tomorrow. Let's see how much better you got since that wing power test."

"Is that a challenge?" Hunter asked while grinning mischievously. The stallion would be more than glad to prove himself against Rainbow Dash. Maybe he couldn't be faster, but he had some tricks up his horseshoes.

Of course that the word 'challenge' had the magical effect over a egocentric mare like Rainbow Dash.

"You bet! You couldn't catch me even if you were the fastest stallion alive."

Star Hunter glanced towards Gilda with a sad smile.

"She's right Gilda. I can't catch her. At least I will always live with proud knowing Rainbow Dash couldn't never catch the fastest female griffon alive."

That remark hit right on a sore spot Rainbow didn't know she had.

"Bring it on Star Junker!" Rainbow really was getting up on her game with the insults, which was rather unusual of her.

The stallion merely laughed at her attemp of provocation. Gilda and Lightning shared an knowingly stare of recognition.

Star Hunter was a very likely candidate for the main four.