• Published 3rd Jul 2012
  • 3,506 Views, 16 Comments

Dusty Roads - KrisSnow

Rainbow Dash earns her life's dream, but Soarin isn't sure she really wants the job.

  • ...

Chapter 3

# 8 #

She started showing up more regularly. We had a show in Appleoosa, for the first time ever, and Dash met us there. She even got some of the buffalo tribesmen to watch, though they couldn't pay. Apparently she had friends among them.

Half a dozen of us were working out together with Dash, coaching her on some of the weight machines, when Fleetfoot showed up with a letter from Canterlot. Spitfire broke the seal and read, then tapped the rainbow girl's wing. "Leave off of that. We have to talk about something."

"Yeah?" She looked scared of Spitfire's expression.

"We ran a background check on you and it came up sunshine and rainbows. Why, it's almost like you're a national hero. So you have a security clearance now."

"Why do I need one of those? I thought the Wonderbolts were totally private these days."

"Not completely. We're still on call for the Equestrian military; we just don't advertise that." Spitfire tapped the sturdy cloud wall with a hoof. "Epona Two isn't just an army hand-me-down either. There's one more thing to show you."

I said, "This part isn't for fun, Dash. If you're serious about joining the team, you're going to be on reserve for some pretty dangerous things, if your people need you. And it could even mean leaving Ponyville behind on short notice."

Spitfire added, "If you need time to think about it, or you don't want that weight on your wings, we'll understand."

"Are you kidding? I'll never leave Equestria hanging! Element of Loyalty, right? Heh."

I wasn't sure how much of her bravado was real. But I'd seen her hiding a nasty story from me -- the details of what Discord did in that labyrinth -- and knew she could feel vulnerable. The more I thought about Spitfire's worry for her, the more sense it made. Dash needed to look cool in front of everypony, all the time, and not just in front of her idols. It hurt her even to admit she wasn't sure of something.

I gave her time. "It's a little late today. Let's do this tour tomorrow, all right?"

So we did. And Rainbow Dash was just as enthusiastic as before. Maybe she really wasn't worried after all, at least until we swore her to secrecy.

Boilerplate, our technician, unlocked the door to the skunk room. None of us went in there often. We let Dash look inside at what filled half of Epona Two's lower floor.

Let's put it this way. Their Royal Highnesses know there are other things out there as dangerous as Discord and Nightmare Moon. The power of weaponized friendship can't beat them all. And the Princesses trust Dusty Roads' heirs with something we don't want to describe. In a better world, it wouldn't exist, but we'd have a worse world if this thing weren't prepared.

Our new recruit stepped into the room and stared at what was in there. Boilerplate talked about where it'd come from and what we could do with it. He spoke without the pride he had for describing our other gear. Then we all backed away like it'd leap out at us, and locked the door. The walls here were scrying-resistant metal under the cloud veneer.

We've had a few people walk quietly away after seeing that room, and throw away their dream of flying with us. Dash was quiet for long enough that I thought she might be one of them. I leaned forward a bit. She said, "So you're more than stunt fliers."

Spitfire had a hoof on her shoulder. "Someone has to be. Wearing the uniform isn't just about being fast and cool. There are other speedy pegasi out there. We've been watching you for reasons besides your 'Sonic Rainboom' trick."

"Wow. I had no idea. I mean, you showed up last time we had a dragon problem, but this is... overkill for that."

Spitfire said, "We'd never go all-out for something like a dragon attack. Which means someday, you might have to fight for Ponyville or Cloudsdale or someplace else, knowing you're not doing everything you could."

"What would qualify for this kind of treatment?" Dash asked.

"There was an... invader called an Infernal --"

I interrupted. "Let's not get into that story today. The question is, now that you know more about the job, do you still want it?"

She turned to look at me, wings wavering in confusion. I wanted to shelter her with a wing, but she had to get through this moment on her own. Learn to glide through it. "Why didn't Celestia send you in for Discord? He was tearing things apart!"

I've seen the hallway where the Princess keeps the actual artifacts Dash and friends used. The stained glass windows show a cackling mare made of starlight standing astride the world; a misshapen dragon-horse thing dangling ponies like puppets over a pit of fire; and a few other things. The prison of Tartaurus exists for a reason. "We did get the signal to come in, and the authorization to go all-out if we had to, but we were far away and you beat him first. Even Celestia was scared, and she had Luna on her side that time."

Dash shook her head. Her mane and tail looked a little duller in the dim hall outside the room. "Even she was, yeah. But someone has to be ready for that kind of thing, right?" We were crowded around her, waiting for her decision. "What if I have to run off to use the Elements with my friends? The six of us have to be together for that, and I don't think even Spike could replace me."

"If that happens," I said, "you'll get pulled in different directions. Bound to happen. If it's so important a problem that you're actually needed as the Element of Loyalty, that's worth skipping an air show for. We'll all be on alert anyway. If it's just that your friend's having a party and we need you elsewhere, then you have to decide what you're loyal to."

Spitfire added, "Tell us you're not missing an important party right now."

Dash scuffed the floor with a hoof. "Actually, AJ's birthday is tomorrow. But I wasn't gonna forget that one."

"Did you write it down?"

"I'm not the one who obsesses over schedules."

Spitfire said, "Maybe you should start, then. If you still think joining us is right for you."

"I do! Of course I do. You do more cool stuff than I even knew about."

Our leader looked relieved; I wasn't so sure. Spitfire said, "Great. Next visit, we'll go back outside and test you with formation flight. You're not used to flying with anyone that can keep up with you."

Does not fly well with others, I thought, hoping it wasn't true.

# 9. #

She was terrible at it the first time. The "go insanely fast" part of our shows is actually the easy bit, and that's the one she had down. We whipped out the contrail generators for practice, so she could try flying between her wingmates' trails of smoke and lightning.

"Do I get one of those?" Dash asked. The smoke effect is an enchantment in the suits.

She was wearing Dusty's beat-up goggles, which irritated me almost enough to show it. We weren't performing in conditions that really required the full costume, though goggles are always good. I kept to the gentle arc we were flying in. "Not yet. Besides, you have that rainbow trail thing going for you. How do you do that, anyway?"

She grinned and zoomed around me and Spitfire, wrapping us up in a multicolored blur. "Some kinda innate magic. Twilight says --"

She mistakenly veered right at me. I recoiled to avoid a head-on crash, directly to the forehead. Still she clipped one of her wings against my head. I was glad it wasn't a hoof to the face this time.

I yelped, glad for the goggles, and banked until I could spot my wingmates. Spitfire was hovering safely; Rainbow Dash was stalled and falling. I had the most speed built up, so I raced down after her and matched speed until I could prop her up in midair. "Calm down and glide!"

To her credit, she recovered her wits. Her wings fluttered out. One of them was banged up from smacking me upside the head. We got her flying level, then hovering with only lazy wingbeats needed to keep her in the air. I let go of her just as Spitfire got within reach. "All okay?" our captain said.

"Y-yeah," said Dash. "Sorry!"

"Back to Epona. Now." We all perched on the cloud deck and checked for injury. I was bruised, and Dash had only lost a few feathers. Stardream equipped her cloud-walking and wind-resistance gear and trotted right out to patch us up.

Spitfire had a tougher time hiding her mood than me. "What was that, Dash?"

"We were just talking about the rainbow trail thing, and --"

"And you went out of formation! The whole point of this exercise was that you don't suddenly veer off in a different direction. If I'm leading your formation and heading for a mountain, you should be so focused on keeping position that you hit the mountain too!"

Dash winced as she got zapped with a healing spell. "Sorry! I just got carried away."

"Half-hour rest, everyone, and then we go back out and get it right this time." Spitfire stomped inside as heavily as one can do on clouds.

The new mare flopped onto the deck, sniffling. I knelt nearby and said, "I'm ticked too, but I've seen worse rookie mistakes. Can I hold those goggles?"

Without a word she stripped them off, taking a green hair from her mane with them. I sat and held them around one hoof. The brass and glass were old, but recently polished. "Spitfire and I were new once."

"She trusted me with these things, and I've already messed up in front of her."

"Now, see, there's your problem. The 'in front of her' part. Quit trying to impress the Wonderbolts, Dash. That was the dumbest thing Spitfire ever did."


I stared off into the sky, and told her about Dusty Roads. "He was unflappable. Dusty was the one who invented some of the team's moves, like the inverted nose-to-nose diamond formation. You can't be a total hothead and get that one right. You'd get somepony killed. That's why for a while, he regretted picking Spitfire as one of his civilian wingmates.

"Fleetfoot's the biggest perfectionist in terms of skill. She gets upset if she makes a mistake, but not because anyone saw her do it. Sometimes you see her stomp off after a show, but you don't even notice what little error made her mad. Me, I usually manage to shrug my mistakes off so I don't get distracted and mess up again. But Spitfire takes it all personally.

"When the Wonderbolts were just me, her, Dusty and his two army buddies, Spitfire made a little mistake at a show. By then, Dusty was letting her take the lead more and more. I think it was more than professional interest. Spitfire kept trying to dazzle him and prove how worthy she was. So at a show in Trottingham, she started a Barrel Roll Break at below normal altitude. Cooler for the audience, a little riskier for the fliers. Nothing we couldn't handle. But she could tell that Dusty was mad at her. She took that as criticism of her sloppiness. And Dusty didn't stop the show, which was a mistake. He always did have some of her hothead streak."

Dash interrupted. "Trottingham? I think I know the show you're talking about. The one where --"

I was lost in the memory. "So there was Spitfire, true to her name, angry at herself in the middle of a show for messing up. The boss had glared at her, and thousands of ponies below were watching her botch a performance. She had to make the next move something special, to redeem herself.

"The next one was a Razor Edge 360 to Delta Cross combo. You know the one. Pairs of fliers spin around with inches between their wingtips, and then we zoom horizontally toward a single point and flip up and out like flower petals, a second before we all collide in a giant feather explosion.

"Spitfire was supposed to sit that one out. Five fliers, two pairs, remember. But no, she got involved. Right as I was spiraling in for the Delta Cross, up comes this fifth trail of smoke right between us all. Unscheduled. We could've reacted a little better except that Spitfire forgot her trail would obscure the distance between the other four of us. So, suddenly I was about one hoof from my partner and less than a quarter furlong away from the other pair -- and I couldn't see exactly how far. Felt like my blood had frozen and time slowed down. I did the safest thing I could think of, which was to bank sideways instead of up. The way Spitfire imagined, we'd all be blooming up and out from our near-collision with her in the middle, streaking toward the sun. Would've been awesome, and we do a version of that move on purpose now. Instead, the four of us veered off in completely different directions. That wouldv'e been okay too. Except that Dusty's direction made him slam into his wingmate Hornet, who managed to kick me in the chest and break a rib.

"It was messy. Nopony died, but it was the closest we'd ever come. The show ended right there. Even our medic was furious."

Rainbow Dash cringed. "I heard about that show. But I thought the move was supposed to go like that, with her in the middle. She just made it up on the fly?"

"And nearly got us all killed."

Dash looked toward the base's front door. Spitfire was still nowhere to be seen. "But she's team captain now. How'd that happen?"

"Dusty had been grooming both of us for the job. She's better than me at the knock-their-shoes-off showmanship, and she enjoys the autographs and photographs more. I didn't mind. I knew we both had Dusty's respect. More than his respect. But Spitfire almost lost it that day. Dusty's reaction was... weird, though. He announced he was taking the blame, and retiring from the Wonderbolts effective immediately. The press reported it that way. What really happened in private was that he threw those beat-up goggles at Spitfire and said, "You're never, ever going to forget this lesson."

"A lesson?" said Dash. "Did he do anything to her?"

"Didn't need to. The stare he gave her would've left even me quivering. And he was a fright to look at, bandaged up in a hospital bed. He could never fly quite right afterward. Spitfire was..." I decided to spare a little of her dignity, by not telling Dash how the girl had looked. "She came to my own hospital room, upset, and told me what had happened. I tried to console her. So that's how Dusty Roads' official career ended and Spitfire got hit upside the head with some responsibility. Ever since then, she's tempered her actual personality with some by-the-book management."

Dash looked thoughtfully at the goggles wrapped around my hoof. "She thought I should have them, after we raced."

"Maybe there's a lesson in that." I nosed at the brass one more time, to take in the scent of all the smoke and lightning the headgear had been exposed to. Flying with the original owner had been the best time of my life so far. Now, though, it was time to quit thinking about Dusty quite as much. I took the goggles in my teeth and hooves and helped slip them onto Dash's head. "Your mane fits in well, by the way. You've got some fire red and ice blue. Though you seem to favor Spitfire's side of the family." The hot colors were usually draped over her forehead, with the cool ones in back.

Dash slipped the goggles over her eyes, and wouldn't quite look at me. "I promise I won't mess up like that. Not again. I'll do everything by the book."

"Not everything, I hope. Spitfire's only a martinet when it comes to keeping the performances safe. I wouldn't want either of you to lose the crazy streak the rest of the time." Even I liked the Moonspire Run.

"You think I'm crazy?" Dash said.

"Crazy awesome; how's that?"

She giggled. It was great to hear her relax a little.

"How's your wing?"


I hopped up into the air and stretched my wings. "Spitfire's still sulking, I guess, so we've got time for a quick lesson in formations. Want to try that before she's back and staring at you?"

Dash sprang up too. "Definitely."

I hovered nearby, feeling the beat of air from her wings. "The general idea is that you have to sense how close you are, like this, and use that to know whether it's safe to move any nearer. How are we now, for instance? Shut your eyes and tell me based on the air currents."

"Maybe... you could get just a little closer?"

# 10. #

I was alone in Dusty's room, looking over the photographs. He'd kept some old shots of blocky, dour old Epona One. And that group photo with his wings around me and Spitfire. It really hadn't been that long since I joined, had it? I'd started out younger than our new recruit. The one who was late at this moment.

Fleetfoot nudged my wing. "What do you think? We must soon to Baltimare go."

It was an hour after our scheduled departure. Dash was supposed to come along, not to formally be in the show but as a sort of ascended fangirl and roadie. The idea was to start giving her experience with the backstage stuff, so that she wouldn't be doing that giddy, unreasonably cute "ohmygosh" thing. But she hadn't bothered to show up. Spitfire had some patience, but after this much waiting she wasn't happy and had let us all know it. We were all kind of hiding downstairs from her.

I said, "It's up to the boss. But it's not like Rainbow Dash to stand us up like this. I'm starting to think something's wrong."

"The mare may have just another birthday party forgotten."

My wings drooped. "She would've told us. After that last practice session, I thought she understood. She should know better!"

"Not everyone does. Not every dashing newcomer qualifies." The letdown was personal for Fleetfoot. Not that she was eager to retire, but I'd seen the mare quietly nudging Dash along in her lessons. Handing down some of our lore and tricks.

I bowed my head to Fleetfoot. "I'm going to find her and see what's going on. Tell Spitfire --"

"You can tell me yourself," Spitfire said. She hopped down from the staircase.

I said, "Don't blow up at her just yet. There might be a good reason she's late."

"Fair enough. Fleetfoot, make sure everything's in order so that we're ready to go when we get back. With or without her."

Spitfire and I took wing from the deck of Epona Two, on course for Ponyville. I was cursing to myself, trying to figure this situation out. If Dash hadn't ditched us for a good reason, she'd probably just made her last mistake with us. And if she did have a good reason, she was probably in trouble. I wasn't sure which option scared me more.

We soon found out. The base was hovering east of the mountains, so it wasn't until we flew past Canterlot that we saw the smoke rising from Ponyville.

Spitfire shrieked something and dived. I hovered for a moment to get a better view. A big white building was engulfed in flame, and some nearby houses were catching. Normally it wouldn't be a big problem, but it was a dry month and a cloudless day. The city of Cloudsdale was currently far away, too. This was the kind of bad luck that could actually get somepony killed. I swooped back toward the mountains to grab any rainclouds I could find.

To my surprise, they were already claimed. A grey pegasus was struggling with a mass of sullen-looking nimbus she'd corralled. "Oh hi!" she called out, waving a hoof in my general direction. "Rainbow Dash said to go south and find some clouds!"

"This is east."

"Oh. A little help?"

"Right!" I quit staring at her crossed eyes and hurried over. We pulled and shoved the unwieldy blob of cloud over the mountain and hurried it toward Ponyville. "What's on fire?"

"The hospital!"

I pulled faster. We could see the town below, where other pegasi were bringing in little clouds from all directions and the rest of the town fought with magic and buckets. A cheer went up as everyone spotted us with the giant flying sponge. Fliers hurried to help us wrangle it over the hospital. Hundreds of people, including a couple of griffins and a zebra, were starting to block the blaze with water and wind and spells. Strangely, someone had convinced some woodland creatures to scurry around with buckets.

I slapped hooves with the wall-eyed girl. "Got it under control? Where's Dash?"

"She's inside pullin' people out!"

Of course she was. But I still missed a heartbeat thinking about her in there with the smoke and fire. A second later I was at ground level, going in after her.

It was a nightmare inside. Pegasus lungs aren't good in smoke, either. I put on my goggles for what they were worth, took a few deep breaths outside, and bounded back in. Just then, a door smashed next to me. An orange mare had bucked it wide open. She and some others were clustered in a glittering violet bubble of air, centered on -- "Twilight Sparkle!"

"I dropped one back there!" she said, trotting right past me with a look of panic in her eyes. She and her friend Applejack were toting some unconscious ponies by might and magic. But it was obviously hard even for the mad genius unicorn to keep up the air spell, her levitation, and enough roving magic to keep anything from collapsing on her head at the same time. Her horn sparked with exertion.

I hurried past them, deeper into the fire. I kept my wings folded tight and tried not to breathe. There! I spotted a heavy earth pony in a full-body cast, lying on the floor. I had to drag him by one leg, which probably hurt him worse, and I was close to passing out.

"Allow me," someone said, and my passenger floated delicately into the air. Rarity, the famous belle and businessmare of Ponyville, was wobbling on her hooves. Even with her mane scorched and her lungs heaving she kept her levitation going, saving me some work.

"Now that's how to treat a gentleman!" I said. I let her lean on me as we helped each other toward the exit. "Where is --"

"Coming through!" Spitfire blasted through the shattered door behind me. Her mane was a comet, caught by actual flames. And she had a colorful blur clutched in her hooves. I stared as they crashed and skidded outside in a mass of tangled feathers.

Rarity and I hurried outside too. Twilight looked to that dragon kid, who held a quill and clipboard. "That's everyone!" The unicorn breathed a sigh of relief. A whole wing of the hospital looked ready to collapse, but was propped up with an upturned cannon and an even more inexplicable wall of cake.

"Thank Celestia!" said Twilight. She feebly conjured a spray of water to help put out the flames. The pegasi had the roof under control, and the earth ponies had cleared everything flammable out of the way.

That other pegasus -- Fluttershy -- was cuddling a terrified bunny and murmuring, "You did great, Angel."

"I don't know, Gummy," the baker Pinkie Pie was saying to no one in particular. She was holding a spellbook. "I'm not even sure 'Wall of Cake' is in this edition."

Rarity and Applejack had crouched beside Rainbow Dash, and I hurried over too. "Is she okay?"

"She'd better be!" said Spitfire. My captain looked battered and scorched, and ready to cry. I kept my goggles on and nodded, over and over, until a medical pony shooed us away.

# 11. #

"You can see her now," the same nurse said. It was crowded outside the makeshift medical tent. We crowded inside all at once, over her objection. Me, Spitfire, Dash's five fellow Elements, and her young admirer Scootaloo. If Dash didn't have a fan club yet, she would now.

Rainbow Dash was propped up in bed, mostly intact. Her amazing mane and tail had gotten charred, which was a shame -- but they'd be back. And her rose-colored eyes were weepy. "I'm so sorry, guys!"

"Sorry?" I said, stepping forward. "The mayor's going to give you and your friends another award for your collection, after you helped save so many ponies."

"But I promised I'd be there for you! For the Wonderbolts! I told Derpy to go tell you, but then one of the cows kicked over a lantern and the fire got even worse and --"

Twilight fluffed Dash's pillow by magic, and discreetly set a book on the table beside her. "I don't think even the Wonderbolts outrank saving Ponyville." She looked over her shoulder. "No offense." Spitfire and I nodded.

The rainbow girl sniffled. Every one of us started forward as though we were going to give her a group hug, but then we all stopped when she said, "I've got something to say. I stayed up all night thinking about it. Guys... I can't join the Wonderbolts."

We clamored. She held up a bandaged, sky-blue hoof. "I'm supposed to be this big pony hero now, but I don't feel like it. I only count as the Element of Loyalty if I'm actually sticking with my friends. I ditched you five once before, even if it wasn't really my fault. So now I feel like I'm getting pulled apart. If I go with you, Soarin and Spitfire, I'm not there if my friends need me. What kind of super magic loyalty would I have if I left everypony behind for the sake of... of some silly filly dream of mine?"

Twilight shut us all up with a flash of light. "NO! It's not going to happen like this! Rainbow, do you know how much grief I've gotten for trying to keep my life neatly organized? If you really care, you can make the time to work with the Wonderbolts and still be around sometimes. I could even teach you some of my scheduling methods."

Applejack said, "What Twi is meanin' to say, sugarcube, is that we've got the town covered. Not that we can't use your help, but you're entitled to your own life. And Ah know how competitive y'all are. So go out there and make Ponyville proud!"

"Yeah!" said Pinkie. "And then when you come back you'll have lots more cool stories to tell us at your homecoming party!"

We were quiet enough for a moment that the pegasus Fluttershy felt she could talk. "Um. You know, all five of us owe you for getting our marks. If you do your big amazing Sonic Rainboom someplace else, some other foal is sure to see it and just light up with joy, and maybe then they'll find their own special talent." She scuffed a hoof against the floor. "I mean, if that's what you want."

Rarity took her own turn. "Darling, we've gained quite a lot from having you as our friend. But we don't own you, and we wouldn't dare to take the sky from you. There comes a time in everypony's life when one must stop hoarding a friend's attention and set them free to find their own life of romance and adventure. Go with the blessing of all of us."

Dash was sniffling, trying to look brave and cool in front of us even now. "But all you guys are assuming the Wonderbolts even want me. We never decided that. I dreamed that one day a letter would show up at my door and wham, I'd be on the team. But I don't even know if I can always be there for their shows and for -- other stuff they do."

Spitfire and I looked at each other. We'd talked about this, of course. She said, "Would you still want to be on the team after all you've gone through?"

Dash's voice cracked as she said, "Heck yeah!" She let her gaze roam around the room at her friends. "I love you guys, you know?"

Spitfire and I turned and walked out of the tent. And then we came back, carrying a fancy blue invitation and a matching gold-lightning uniform and goggles.


# 12. #

Dash tells me she wrote a letter to Celestia about the last few months. It amazes me that she and her friends are so close to the Princess that they can chat almost like equals. But then, they're all amazing mares. Our new recruit especially.

I suspect that the Princess will personally see a letter if it's on our fancy stationary. I'll take the chance of being laughed at by the ponies in the palace mail room, and write something a little sappy if I can find a moment when Spitfire won't peek. I guess she knows what I'm going to write, though. Basically this:

Being part of our team takes more than speed, agility, guts and style. You have to love what you're doing, and you have to love who you're with. Our new flying ace definitely does. I asked her, see, and she said yes. And her official flight debut is tomorrow, so it's going to be that much cooler of a show. For both of us. We're performing at Ponyville, skimming along the dusty roads and way up into the heavens.

Comments ( 12 )

Great story! It was perfectly paced, nothing happened too soon or to late. Nice job!:rainbowkiss:

Thank you! Nice to know someone liked it.

Very nice story. A great take on the 'Dash joins the wonderbolts' plotline. Though I'm wondering where the 'romance' part came in, maybe it was subtle and I just missed it.
I noticed a lot of words that I'm assuming you meant to either bold or italisize for emphasis were in the format of _word_
e.g. "flash of light. "_NO!_ It's not going to"

Oh no, for some reason I thought there was going to be more!

I haven't read Moonspire Run, so I missed that reference. Regardless, I liked the story. And, as usual, I'm jealous of you for putting perspective on the Wonderbolts in a well-written, interesting way. (laughs)

I'm used to posting in a text-only format. I guess HTML is more appropriate for this site?

Re: the "_"s, yeah, those are meant as italics/underlining and come from a text-only format. I've gone back and replaced them with HTML italics tags.
Romance: Well, it's not really emphasized, so I'm not sure if the tag applies.


Okay, first off, HTML tags don't work here. You have to use the BBcode tags if you want formatting.

Secondly, this definitely deserves the Romance tag. It's not overstated, but at least the last paragraph has some definite mentions of shipping.

...and you have to love who you're with. Our new flying ace definitely does. I asked her, see, and she said yes.

Yeah, there's no way that's just in my head.

I didn't notice that the HTML wasn't working. Fixed; thanks.
Yup, that speculation at the end was intentional, also some hints like the close formation flying lesson. Maybe the third season will develop the Wonderbolts more and advance RD's story with them!

Nice story, definitely worth reading :)

Glad I saw a link to this, great story.

You cannot reference the Great Chicago Fire and get away with it! >:(
But this was a great story nonetheless! Good job

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