• Published 12th Aug 2016
  • 796 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.

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A Heart Warming Tale (Bonus Chapter)

Author's Note:

I wish all of you ponies a Merry Warming's Eve and (whatever ponies call New Year's Eve) too! Here's the bonus chapter and I'll be back only in January. Have a great end of year everypony!

With the approach of Heart's Warming Eve holiday many residents from Ponyville prepared themselves for the upcoming festivities in the best way they could. The weather team has been pounding snow over the town for three days in a row and the brutal drop on the temperature drove away many citizens from the streets. Few were those who adventured themselves into the freezing sea of white that covered the whole region, and those few who came out quickly returned, either with a cold or simply by giving up.

The townsfolk had been discussing the aerial event with great interest. The perspective of the event that would take place in the next week had been greatly increased due the amazing performances that Ponyville's team displayed during the first week of training. Of course that some minor incidents alarmed many to the dangers that such race could proportionate to the participants.

"I miss him..."

Rainbow's ears perked up as she heard the distinct voice of one of her teammates. The cyan mare, along with few of her friends, was helping to set the decorations inside Twilight's castle. The idea of staying inside the castle, where much likely they would all turn into ponysicles, became much more inviting after Twilight performed an spell that would isolate the inner walls from the harsh environment outside.

Rainbow Dash was hoping that the holiday would help to ease the tension among the group. The first week of training, despite promising in terms of flying, was downright terrible in terms of friendship.

It seems that ever since Spitfire's visit Lightning Dust was slowly turning back into that same mare that cared nothing more than winning and being at top. The only reason that she wasn't cut off from the team for that attitude was because Gilda wouldn't have none if it despite the complain from the rest of the team. The griffon insisted that Dust needed her own space to cool off, and even when Thunderlane got hurt the griffon managed to calm everypony down.

The day Thunderlane got injured was a nasty one, it reminded Rainbow Dash of her flying course with Lightning during the first days in the academy. Lightning never noticed what happened with Thunderlane until Cloud Chaser was at her face yelling so much and calling her names that Rainbow never heard of before.

Whatever blind mood that Lightning was in seemed to break as soon she saw the black stallion being attended by pegamedics, one of his his front legs sustaining a nasty injury. Ever since that day nopony heard any other word from Dust. The daredevil remained in silence for two whole days no matter how much Gilda or Twilight insisted on trying to get her to talk.

Rainbow knew Lightning was sorry for what she did, but Dust was too scared of saying the wrong thing and getting kicked out. She knew better than repeating the academy mistakes, at least a few of them.

To hear Dust's voice again was kinda of a relief, but her condescending tone worried the cyan mare. Rainbow slowly approached the other mare with guarded expectation. It was very possible that any sudden contact would retract Lightning back into her shell of loneliness.

Lightning stood at one of the windows, her eyes fixated on the view outside but without really paying attention to it. Her face was devoid of any visible emotion, she seemed frozen in her own thoughts.

"It's been few years from today..." Lightning said without giving any sign of noticing Rainbow nearby her. "...grandpa gave me my first Wonderbolt collection item. A poster with signatures from all the members at that time. Wind Rider, Stormy Flare, Firefly, Lightning Silver....mom and dad weren't around to join but...."

Rainbow felt a tug near her stomach as she heard all the mentioned names of the Wonderbolt legends. She had a very unpleasant suspicious to where this story was going.

"....it was the best Warming's Eve I ever had. At least I actually remember sharing it with somepony. Then...."

Lightning paused as she forcefully tried to recollect memories she's been suppressing for most of her life. It pained her too much to think about it, but after dealing with so much disgrace she felt like torturing herself with such memories wasn't going to sting that much as it normally would.

Rainbow knew what Lightning was trying to say and it saddened her to see a pegasus so broken and hopeless like this. To think that a big part of this had her hoof in it made that feeling ten times worse.

Unbeknownst to the two mare pegasus the other ponies stopped their activities to listen into the conversation.

"He always said I should be a Wonderbolt. That I was a natural and nothing would make him more proud than see me graduating. " The ghost of a smile seemed to solidify at Lightning's face. "He actually was Spitfire's instructor, her and all the other current Wonderbolts. I barely can remember but I think I saw Fire Streak once while visiting the academy with grandpa. They would perform new aerial maneuvers for an upcoming event. He wanted me to be there and see how amazing it was to be a Wonderbolt."

Lightning's eyes glistened when remembering her first time in a Wonderbolt event, she saw all the glory and magnificence of what they could do, she wished nothing more than to get at that level one day.

Unfortunately all the glee and joy was quickly shattered into utter shock and terror as her grandfather suddenly plummeted out of control and crashed head on into one of the few towers installed for the weekend show.

He died right on impact, probably quick enough to barely feel any pain. His finals moments being on wondering on what went wrong and his granddaughter watching everything.

Lightning was taken home by her mom and dad later that day. Her parents where shaken by what happened, especially her mother. The accident made her ill for weeks. This forced her dad to leave Dust under the care of her uncles until things went back to normal.

They never did.

The tragedy of the death of a renowned Wonderbolt member shook many fans around Equestria. Many ponies, including even Princess Celestia, attended to his funeral being held at Canterlot. The accident caused many ponies to wonder if the Wonderbolts would cease activities. Thankfully, despite all the suspicious and worry, the Wonderbolts kept their routines after two months of pause in respect for their fallen member.

Lightning coped with this the only way she could think of. Her desire to be a Wonderbolt not only a dream, but also a promise and a way to thank her grandfather for being there when nopony else was.

"Lightning, I...." Rainbow paused unsure of how to respond. She really couldn't understand Dust's pain of losing somepony that close to her, not like that. The cyan mare looked around to see her friends all standing there, their faces a mix of shock, sorrow and shame. Most notable one being Cloud Chaser, who probably was deeply regretting all the insults she made against Dust few days ago.

"It's not like I expect you to understand Rainbow. " Lightning said without waiting for the cyan mare to say anything else. "You never lose. You always win, no matter what."

"I lost!" Rainbow blurted out before thinking. She couldn't stand this whole idea of Lightning thinking that Rainbow was perfect. "I lost Gilda! I lost Tank! I lost my mother! I lost.....you."

Lightning blinked as she finally gave signs of being a living being once she turned around to face Rainbow and, much to her surprise, every single pony else standing in a mid circle behind her.

One of the ponies in the circle moved forward to talk with Lightning, his mane style and coat colors immediately giving away who it was.

"Thunderlane, get back here." Gilda whispered with urgency. The griffon felt bad enough that everypony decided to eavesdrop in a private conversation. Unfortunately the stallion ignored her as he approached the mares in his own pace. His front leg covered with a huge bandage.

The stallion stopped briefly as he glanced back at the other ponies gathered around him.

"I think we should be finishing the decorations, how about we do that?" He suggested with a charming smile but with an undertone of seriousness that nopony failed to notice.

Very slowly the group around them dispersed but thankfully in silence. Some few ponies here and there hesitated for a second before moving away. Rainbow Dash saw Gilda and Twilight urging her to leave Dust alone. At first Dash resisted but a quick glance from Thunderlane made her mind as she slowly moved away.

Lightning remained quiet as she felt waves of embarrassment for letting such memories come out for everypony to listen. She didn't want their pity, she just wanted to be left alone in a way she didn't have to worry about what they think of her.

Yet, that black coated stallion remained at her side, the same one she inadvertently caused his injure few days back. He slowly made his way to her side, sitting on his haunches as he contemplated the view outside through the same window Lightning's been staring at.

"What a week, huh? Cloud Kicker was trying to set me up many times when Cloud Chaser and Flitter would make a visit at the hospital." Thunderlane attempted to start a conversation using light humor. Lightning did not respond to his attempt, this made the stallion frown as he realized that there was no beating around the bush in this one. "It was not your fault. "

"Yes, it was!" Lightning spat back instantly catching Thunderlane off guard. Perhaps the mare has been bottling up her guilt more than she should. "I was you partner. I was responsible to guide you through the track and I ignored you completely! I'm...."

"Sorry?" The stallion suggested as she hesitated. "I'm not mad at you. I understand how you feel Dust." Lightning huffed in disbelief.

"How? How can you know how I feel?!" Lightning asked somewhat desperately. Thunderlane's face grew somber as he accepted the fate this conversation would lead him into.

"I mentioned before, but....I lost my mother and father when I was an young coat. My brother Rumble was still a little foal at the time. It was....difficult to get around what happened. I worked my plot off so me and my brother could keep living decently. Rainbow Dash always took me as lazy but truth is that I used to grow tired really fast. I couldn't go after my dreams because I had a brother to take care of. If wasn't for Flitter and Cloud Chaser helping me with him I don't know what would've happened."

Lightning remained in silence, but this silence was more out of astonishment than anything. She always believed to be a victim of the greatest tragedy, never for once she stopped to think that might be other ponies out there suffering much more than she was.

"Thunderlane...." The mare knew she had to say something, to give him her support somehow. Yet, Lighting couldn't bring her to think on anything decent to say, she hardly knew how to comfort others. The stallion noticed her struggle and chuckled at it despite the heavy atmosphere created.

"Hey, no need for, as Rainbow Dash likes to say, sappy words. I grew dealing with this and....you're strong enough to do the same. Actually.....I finally understand why you were like that back at the academy. I had no idea you were putting so much pressure on yourself."

"I though Rainbow would understand. I gyess I was wrong at that time." Lightning said while adjusting her scarf. She actually hadn't brought one when she moved to Ponyville, but Lyra was kind enough to give a red one she had for spare.

Lightning's week at Ponyville granted her the possibility of meeting a variety of ponies from all kinds. The Cutie Mark Crusaders was the most exotic group of foals she ever saw. Her introduction to Applejack, Rarity and Fluttershy was a bit odd since those mares still had hoof back regarding Lightning's attitude due tge academy incident. Pinkie Pie was.....Pinkie Pie. Spike was a very eccentric dragon. Princess Luna visited Ponyville through the course of the week, she was very interested on meeting Ponyville's flying team. The princess announced her status of manager of Canterlot's team, though she did not revealed any names. It blew Lightning away to see how friendly and informal most ponies were around Luna. As if all of them were close friends that lived in the same house.

"Why don't you join us? It's kinda cold at this corner despite Twilight's spell." He kindly offered.

"I don't know. I don't really mind." Lightning replied stubbornly. Thunderlane rolled his eyes at her evident distress about joining the festivities.

"I rather have you being near the fireplace and the tree when I give you my gift."

Lightning blinked several times while wondering if she heard that right. A gift? For her? She couldn't even remember the last time she received one, aside from that special one she gained from her grandfather.

"You don't have to. " Dust replied quite guilty. "I don't have anything for you."

"True that." The stallion admitted looking smug." You can let me stare into those beautiful amber eyes of yours if you want."

Lightning couldn't help but laugh at it. Really smooth Thunderlane.

"Rainbow's right, that kind of flirt will keep you single forever." She said while smiling at his attempt. Thunderlane seemed unaffected by her response. Actually he seemed quite satisfied with the result.

"Hey, it's not bad if it's true." He said confidently. "I'll be right back. I hope to see you by the fireplace when I get back."

"Urgh, alright then. I'll be there. " Lightning relented to his request. Thunderlane gave a quick before flapping his wings and flying out of the room.

Lightning slowly trotted from her spot towards the other ponies, few familiar faces gathered at the fireplace. Nearby them stood a giant tree that has been heavily decorated during the last hour.

"I know I wanted an extra sized, but Davenport said it would take two weeks to have that deliver." Sweetie Drops said to her friends while holding a glass of wine." This is actually tasting great Cherry, were did you get this?"

"Oh, that's actually from Berryshine. I think she wouldn't mind if I got one since she has dozens of those. Besides are you and Lyra moving togheter? I can't really help but think it that way." Cherry replied while giggling. Star Hunter, Noteworthy and Sea Swirl seemed quite interested on hearing that answer.

Sweetie's face flushed red as she muttered a response that Cherry barely could hear. Lightning was about to turn her back to them already, she wasn't interested on romantic gossip, but Lyra came right into her path before she could leave.

"Oh, hi there LD!" Lyra greeted cheerfully. In Lightning's opinion Lyra Heartstrings was the cross between Cloud Kicker and Minuette.

"Hi Lyra. Thanks for the scarf by the way." Dust replied cautiously. She wasn't sure how to interact with such eccentric ponies.

"Oh, that?! Pfff, nothing to worry about. I'm glad you liked it!" Lyra replied loudly much to Lightning's embarrassment. She could easily drive attention when she wanted to.

"Well, I didn't say-

"Hey Lyra! It's true you're moving in with Drops?"Noteworthy asked sounding quite snarky. Lyra's happy face quickly morphed into abnormal seriousness once she glanced at her partner. Sweetie Drops was sweatdropping intensely as she felt the unforgiving glare coming from Lyra.

"I'll be back at you later." Lyra said to Lightning, she sounded more like a stallion than anything.

Having a bad feeling about this Lightning turned around to get away from the possible conflict. She accidentally collided with another pony while looking back to make sure the group forgot about her.

"Oh, sorry. I wasn't.....Thunderlane?" Lightning asked once she took note of the stallion staring at her with a mischievous smile.

"Wow, didn't know you missed me that much. If you wanted a hug so bad you could just ask." He said full of himself. Lightning didn't know if she should laugh or hoof him in the face.

"Jerk. I was just distracted. " Lightning replied somewhat annoyed with the teasing.

"Sure thing. And....I kinda wondered what to give you for a present. I didn't want it to be cheap but special. So...."

The stallion slowly revealed a small pony plush he's been hiding on his back. Lightning stared confused at the somewhat familiar object.

"I was always a big Wonderbolt fan since little." Thunderlane said looking extremely sheepishly. "Soarin was my favorite since his academy days, he was really nice to all the ponies that were visiting the training grounds that day. I knew I wanted to be like him when older. My mother knew how much I idolized him and made me this."

Lightning's jaw dropped slightly once she realized the huge ammount of importance this gift had for him.

"No! I can't! This means too much to you! I would never forgive myself if I accepted this."

"Oh." Thunderlane seemed extremely dissapointed as he placed his precious item back into safety. "Well....I feel dumb now."

"You're not. " Reassured Lightning. She was scared but truly touched he would go to such lenghts to make her feel better. He clearly cared and would demonstrate that through doing such wonderful gests. "That was....really sweet of you."

Thunderlane nodded but feeling too embarrassed to look at her. Not wanting to see him like this Dust knew she had to return the gesture somehow.

With a quick deep breath she placed her hooves around the stallion's chest into a firm hug. Thunderlane flinched in shock from the sudden action, his eyes widening in surprise from the unexpected hug. Slowly the stallion wrapped his hoofs around Lightning to return the gesture.

They stood like that for what seemed a minute. Probably would've lasted more if wasn't for an scratching sensation Lightning felt at her hooves.

"Thunderlane." Lightning said somewhat venemously. "If your wings raise another inch I'm gonna rip them off." Thunderlane smiled nervously at her threat.

"Sorry. I'm kinda sensible to contact and you're so warm."

"Oh my Celestia! Is that how you flirt?!" Lightning asked feeling an inexplicable urge to laugh.

"Well I-

"CLOUD KICKER!YOU'RE DEAD!"

All the room went silent as Gilda's raging scream exploded into their ears. All ponies stared at her to understand what's going on.

The griffon was standing among the rest of the Mane Six, the closest one to her being Rainbow Dash.

What they could all immediately see hovering between the two was the undeniable sight of a mistletoe.

Rainbow Dash's face was a deep shade of purple as she looked at anywhere else but her friends. Gilda seemed completely livid as she stared into a specific corner of the room.

Following her avid stare all the ponies quickly figured out where the culprit of this prank was.

"Nah, nah Giddy. You and Dashie must follow the tradition. Now kiss, smuack-smuack." Kicker said while pouting her lips in mockery.

Gilda's pupils shrank into tiny dots before she flew after the obnoxious mare with a strong desire of vengeance.

"Eeeeppp!" Cloud Kicker flapped her own wings in fright once she saw an infuriated griffon heading at her. Both fliers made their way outside leaving a whole room of ponies laughing at Kicker's antics.

"That mare." Thunderlane said after the laughter finally calmed down. "One of these days Kicker will have it coming at her."

"She's lively, I'll give her that." Lightning said without worry. "And I wanted to thank you for what you did. I haven't felt like this during an Warming's Eve for years."

"You're welcome." Thunderlane said seemingly happy. "Do I get a 'thank you' kiss?" Lightning rolled her eyes though she was actually humored.

"Happy Warming's Eve to you too. Thunderlame."