• Published 24th Jun 2012
  • 12,933 Views, 377 Comments

LOYALTY - Crowne Prince



Rainbow Dash and Soarin's friendship turns out to be one heck of a wild ride and a whole lot more.

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6 - Dashing Do and the Outrageous Boredom

1700 hours. Dashing Do reaches Canterlot and prepares to infiltrate the enemy base. Reports say the main entrance is fifteen minutes from the city, but Dashing is much quicker than the average pegasus. She calculates she'll make it in five minutes. The skies are clear. No pony in sight. She prepares to storm the enemy territory, right through the front gate. The target comes into view and

Whoa.

Rainbow Dash, who looked exactly like Soarin' at the moment, stared in awe at the Wonderbolt headquarters nestled among the towering mountain peaks. The compound was not so impressive in terms of size as it was in terms of masterful craftsmanship. It was at once stylish and practical. Even from the air it was clear each pillar, each arch, each cloud was placed with the same sense of purpose Rarity had in her work. The fashionista would swoon.

Sturdy, simple cloud pillars ringed the outside of the circular structure, leaving a wraparound hallway and a series of doors open to the air, yet protected by an overhang. The polished floors were made of the same cloud marble that graced the Princess’ throne room, except this design broke up the solid white with alternated tiles of slightly darker marble. Lush green private gardens brought color and life to the clouds running around the outside of the building. The bottom of the complex was almost level with the ground. Outer clouds faded into mist and then nothing, blending in with the mountain pasture.

The sky pegasus flew over the headquarters to reach the North entrance. An overhead view revealed that the center of the compound was cut out. The site was a practice field that looked as if it could be fitted for most occasions: derbies, obstacle courses, performances. It was empty now.

Dashing Do checks to make sure her mouth is closed and her disguise is secure so she doesn’t blow her cover. Yep. Same pale hooves. Descending, she could somewhat see Soarin’s reflection on the polished marble leading to the main entrance. Her unwieldy hooves clattered clumsily and noisily on the landing.

Clack, clack, clack. Left, right, straight, left. Left, right, straight, left. She trotted brusquely through the main archway and turned left along the open hallway. An earth pony, probably a staff member, trimmed a hedge in the adjacent garden. A staff member… or a spy! Danger lurks around every corner.

Dash made a right around the incoming corner and flung open the large engraved double doors to find herself standing face-to-face with danger in the flesh.

“Whoa!” Soarin’s voice shouted, doubly startled.

“Geez Soarin! Watch where you’re flinging that door. What’s up, you look like you just heard your own voice for the first time.” One of Spitfire’s eyebrows arched up questioningly.

Dash broke into a sweat, semi-panicked. I’m alone here with Spitfire. Alone. Spitfire. But it’s not me, it’s Soarin’. W-What if the two of them are – what if she tries to–! Her brain overloaded with the possibility she was about to get way too familiar with Soarin’s personal life. Soarin’ Dash took a step back.

“What’s gotten into you?”

Me, thought Rainbow Dash.

Spitfire’s temper flipped before Soarin’ could escape. “You seriously better be here to get your rump in uniform, or I swear, I’ll not only drag you through the process, but you’ll be going to the ribbon cutting without a tail.”

“Uniform! Got it!” Soarin’ Dash squeaked and zipped down the hall, scampering around a corner and into a corridor of rooms on the right before the fiery mare could make good on her promise.

“Your other right,” Spitfire’s voice called flatly.

The sky blue stallion scrambled across Spitfire’s field of vision.

Dashing Do barely escapes the clutches of the enemy and finds safety in a hidden cavern. She slammed Soarin’s door behind her, barring it with her forelegs and panting. Spitfire was scary when she was keeping her friends on the right track.

The room was spacious and appeared to have a separate private bath attached. Twilight could live here and never leave if Spike brought her new books and food from time to time. But I guess that’s true for any room.

Early evening spring sunshine filtered through an open hole in the cloud roof. The light illuminated a large circular blue throw rug covering most of the space. At one side of the room, an expansive but simple bed sat on a slightly raised dais. Dash went over and tested the mattress with a hoof. I could really go for a nap right about now.

No! I’ve got a mission to complete first. Can’t let Soarin’ down.

There were a number of interesting things in the room. Pictures, posters, and trinkets lay about some select pieces of furniture. Dash felt the impulse to explore every nook and cranny and inspect every item. This wasn’t the time to be slacking off, though.

There sure was a lot of cool stuff.

One look won’t hurt. The pegasus slid over to the first thing that caught her eye: a golden object mounted on the wall. She gaped openly at the Ω. Even a foal would recognize a horseshoe of honor.

Ssshtck! The idling pony started at the strange noise. It came from the hour hoof on a clock with the Wonderbolt emblem. The hour hoof was the only hoof the clock possessed, which was kind of awesome in a weird way. The time prompted Dash to get moving. She only had a little over two hours before she turned back into a pumpkin. Oh wait, heh. Wrong story.

- - -

Dashing Do escapes the enemy camp, using their own foolishly designed ceiling window. But even with the special item to complete her disguise, the danger ahead is nothing to neigh about. The next part of her mission brings her directly into the heart of enemy activity, which happens to be so incredibly boring it’s a wonder any pony lives to tell the tale. Will our hero’s disguise hold? Will she stay awake long enough to find out?

Herds of ponies in high attire filled the area below. Somehow they managed to be a crowd and yet maintain respectable personal space between one another. It was bizarre. They were listening to a mare giving some sort of dedication speech or something. The mare’s hair shifted precariously when she moved her head.

After landing at one end of the herd, Dash used Soarin’s extra bulk to move through the elites. “Comin through! ‘Scuse me! Watch out!” It wasn’t necessary to say anything because most of the frou-frou folk moved out of the way when they noticed the shock of gold on blue approaching. Man, where’s the fun in that?

Soarin’ Dash joined Surprise in the much more familiar group of Wonderbolts. His arrival did not go unnoticed. Surprise’s yellow mane flounced as she whipped her head around, clipboard in mouth. The bottom edge of the wooden item pressed against Dash’s nose. Surprise hissed through the clipboard and under the drone of the orator, “Ssshoarin’! Fou’re leht! A full shishteen mimuts leht! Fi crownted!” A series of ticker watches adorned her foreleg. “Ahm flad shou mahde it. Feh party’sh afout foo fart.” Surprise wrinkled her brow. “Ssshtart.”

Clapping and cheering that rivaled Fluttershy lilted – barely – through the air. Polite pony voices said phrases like, “good show”, “superb”, and “simply divine”. Ugh. Soarin’ Dash managed to maintain an amicable expression (no eyerolling!) while holding the clipboard.

Heeeey.

A pony cut the ribbon in front of the gallery doorway and Surprise beamed and waved while the press snapped pictures. Flashes of light continued with Surprise and towering-hair mare, Surprise and the gallery coordinator, Surprise and the crowd.

Dash set the clipboard down and checked off Soarin’s name. She noticed the time slot next to it and sighed. Another two hours. The cartwheels in Rainbow Dash’s mind started to turn. This opportunity was too good to pass up. Heh-heh-heh.

“Hello? Equestria to Soarin’,” Surprise waved a hoof in his face. “You better get to mingling! The artist didn’t ask us to come here and scheme up our next greatest move, you know. Chop chop clop clop!”

“Oh! Sure thing, Surprise.” Soarin’ Dash quickly followed the other ‘Bolts into the building.

The gallery could fit a selection from two or three artists at once, though Dash knew they would only be among the finest artists in Equestria. Finest cultured artists, that is. No place like this would ever accept street art or anything cool, not unless a popular pony did it first.

Arrangement of the pieces on display was simple, yet effective. Plenty of space between every image gave room to contemplate individual pictures at various angles and with a crowd. Despite the spacing, the theme of the art tonight was obvious. Dash quickly changed her mind about the gallery not displaying anything cool. Pegasi flew among tremendous, towering cumulonimbus. Spectacular wings spread across night-dappled skies. Wonderbolts tore through cloud derbies.

Before Rainbow Dash could bounce with glee, Fluttershy’s voice popped into her head. “No, Rainbow Dash,” her friend insisted, “acting isn’t about strength or speed, it’s about pretending to really be that pony. I – I know because I could never get on stage, but maybe another pony could, s-so.” Fluttershy was right. Soarin’ wouldn’t jump up and down like a hyper fan in front of pictures of himself.

He would jump up and down like this! She lifted Soarin’s head and giddily pranced in place near one of the paintings. Some of the royals merely shook their heads and smiled primly at the hopeless Wonderbolt. In the image nearby, a lone flyer raced through an immense thunderhead with no sign of escape. Lightning arched at his wings.

Curious about the next painting, Soarin’ Dash headed in that direction, noticing that his earlier happy clip-clopping had attracted the attention of a small retinue of followers. They waited for the socially appropriate time to strike up a conversation. This happened when Dash stopped in shock at the scene before him.

It was her.

Her face was swept clean of any features, driving all attention to the streaming rainbow mane and tail. They moved with an unearthly wind in the closed room. The mare stood valiantly, effortlessly, with a heavy alicorn statue bearing down on her. It was the very moment she’d caught it; the moment before she’d lost her footing.

“A stunning piece, yes? Of course she collapsed right after that, destroying no small amount of fine architecture.” A pure white stallion with a constellation on his flank addressed Soarin’ Dash. His companion added, “Quite a disaster.” The refined mare smiled. “It was the most exciting gala I ever attended.”

Two fillies stood together nearby, nibbling on tiny, fancy foods they had pulled magically from a silver platter carried by a posh pony. A lace kerchief dabbed at the corners of one of the fillies' mouths before she spoke up. “If I recall correctly, you were there that evening as well, Soarin’?”

“O-Of course!” Rainbow Dash tore her eyes from the memory. “Yes, I was there.”

“And does it not bother you that you were upstaged by a common mare?” the young aristocrat asked.

These ponies are trying to egg me on!
Common mare…!

She threw Soarin’s head up boastfully. “Bother me? No way! I’m one of the fastest, strongest flyers in Equestria. I would’ve caught the statue myself if my back hadn’t been turned.” Soarin’ Dash lowered his voice, looking them in the eyes and building anticipation. “A split second can make the difference in the race, you know.” The fillies eyes glittered. She totally had them.

A bright lavender pegasus in a sultry, fine linen gown joined them. “I do so enjoy seeing you race. Tell us again what it is like to fly in the derby, Soarin’.” Sensing something interesting was going on, other ponies gathered.

Rainbow Dash tried as best she could to explain the pure energy of racing. Her audience was hooked, whether by her amazing description or the fact she was Soarin’, she couldn’t tell. She related tales of heroism and awesomeness, making some, uh, minor adjustments.

“Fleetfoot marched right up the dragon’s snout and,” Rainbow Dash noticed Rapidfire headed her way, “and whew! I really need some of that punch.” The purple tinged beverage glistened in a crystalline bowl far from the crowd.

A unicorn in the middle of the small gathering raised her dainty hoof into the air. “I shall fetch some.”

A pony nearby curtsied. “That’s quite alright, darling. I can bring our charming fellow a glass.”

Charming?

“Oh my, Sparkling Whine, you got the seat closest to Fancypants last week. Do let the rest of us have a chance.”

Rainbow Dash was oblivious to the impending social disaster, but she ended it. “That’s okay, I can get my own.” She managed to weave out of the fans in their temporary paralysis. Social etiquette, however, requires one to be able to react quickly to even the most outrageous surprise. Dash took a step toward the hors d'oeuvres table.

The mares followed.

Soarin’ Dash took some more steps and looked back.

The mares stood closer, looking expectantly at him.

Oh no. Ohhh no.

Dash took off. The herd of mares stampeded after the streaming tail of their prize.

Soarin’ you are so going to owe me for this!

~~~

Spike rolled on the floor in a fit of laughter. “You forgot to tell her about the fillies?”

“I didn’t think of it until just now,” Soarin’ protested. Spike continued laughing.

“This is rich. I can just imagine it. Rainbow Dash trying to deal with a pack of lovestruck mares! Ahahaha-heh. The look on her face! She wouldn’t even know what was going on until it was too late!”

Soarin’ smiled helplessly at his fatal mistake.

“Yeah buddy, you better smile while you’re still alive,” Spike joked, wiping a tear from his eye. “Between her and Pinkie Pie, those two could out-prank Celestia. And that’s saying something.”

~~~

That’s the last one. The visibly downtrodden – and literally trodden-upon – Soarin’ Dash mouthed one final signature. A peppy yellow pegasi clutched it adoringly in her mouth and flounced off. Dash let her thoughts turn inward. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, planning my revenge. I could order a bunch of pizzas delivered to Soarin’s flat. That’s not very original, though. How about I do something crazy in public? Nah, too brutal. Or maybe I should invite one of those fans to visit his room tomorrow? She shuddered. No way.

Who do I know around Canterlot that I could-

“Hoy! Mate!” A truly captivating stallion smoothed his way through the orderly herd. His mane and tail shone like the natural element he was named for. The pony’s sleek, perfectly balanced form was made even more gratifying by the glass of punch he held. “Oi thought ya might need this.”

Soarin’ Dash took the offer and savored every life-giving drop. Lightning Streak continued, “Look, oi wanted to say sorry about the other day. Ah didn mean to steal the show from yeh. After ya fearlessly took on those fans back there, the least oi can do is apologize. Whadya think?” He held out his hoof.

Soarin’ Dash knocked hooves with Lightning Streak and said, “No hard feelings. Glad to have you back.” It was basically what Dash told Applejack every time they settled a fight. She’d just been through hell, so she tried to push in Soarin’s favor. “You owe me the next delicious pastry you come up against, though.”

Lightning Streak’s laughter glistened. “Sure thing. See yeh back at HQ.” His shining hair flashed when he turned and trotted away, wings stretched for flight.

The longer part of two hours had been eaten up by the fan ponies. A new wave of Wonderbolts showed up to relieve the first shift.

Finally! I’m so outta here.

Soarin’ Dash crept around the fringes of the hors d'oeuvres table, noticing Rapidfire’s head turning to and fro as if he were looking for something (or somepony). The gray stallion exchanged words with the fresh Wonderbolts, who were snatching snacks and drinks before heading out to socialize. Soarin’ Dash used the opportunity to sneak past Rapidfire and get safely to the gallery entry. Soarin’ could explain later why he kept avoiding his friend.

It looked like Surprise was going to stay the whole time. She saluted Soarin’ Dash as he left. He bobbed his head in farewell and stepped into the early night air.

I should have just enough time.

~~~

Across the city, a tiny bell announced the new customer into the small shop. The ponies seated around tables looked in mild surprise at the fine blue stallion and in more surprise at his well-equipped entourage.

The pegasus took a seat at the counter.

“Hey, Pony Joe!”