• Published 21st Jan 2017
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The First Wonderbolt - Essay Jay



When an unnatural phenomenon sends Rainbow Dash back in time, she must adapt to an Equestria at war while all the while looking for a way to get back home.

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Issue 1.3 - A Little Odd

“You little punk, get back here!” Rainbow began to chase Firefly as Firefly led them to her apartment. Weaving in and out of bustling streets, they both laughed as it soon became a game of cat and mouse.

Rainbow didn’t know why she was having so much fun with a completely unknown filly she had only met an hour ago. Maybe it was to relieve the stress she currently felt with the thoughts that were going on in her head. The possibilities of what might be happening at that moment. Or maybe it was just because Firefly reminded her of Scootaloo.

As if the idea of falling through a portal into the future or the past wasn’t enough, she was being daunted and concerned by a few ponies. She hadn’t seen looks of worry like those since… Well, she’d never seen faces like those on anypony she’d known. The closest she’d seen to expressions like those were when she was trying to get the crystal ponies to cheer up.

Why here, why now? And why her? Why Rainbow Dash, the best and most awesome flyer and Wonderbolt in Equestria? By now, she had determined that she was most certainly not in present day Equestria, so Rainbow slightly faltered at the idea that her titles were now moot. Even if, Rainbow would insist on calling herself that.

Who knows? It was probably still true.

“Try and catch me, Skittles!” Firefly squealed, running up to a street corner and hiding behind a trash can.

“I’ll get you Small Fry,” Rainbow shouted, stopping as she reached the same street corner. “Hm, I wonder where she is?”

“In my house, dummy!” Firefly then announced before running to a door and opening it, slamming it shut behind her. Feeling slightly betrayed, Rainbow raced to the door and cried out in annoyance.

“Hey! What happened to ‘a place to stay’?” Rainbow complained, pounding on the door before huffing in annoyance and leaning on it. “Figures. Little filly from Brooklyn, a pegasus, no less, tricks me into chasing her around town before shutting me out. That little-”

The door opens all of a sudden, causing Rainbow to stumble backwards and fall in a feathered heap. Getting backing up with a tint of red on her face, Rainbow glared at Firefly. “What’s the matter, feather-brain?” Firefly smirked, and added, “As you were saying?”

“You just caught me a little off guard, is all,” Rainbow allowed, “And I wasn’t going to say anything, but you’ve got something on your wings.”

“What?!” Firefly said in alarm, stretching her own wings out and scanning them. Spotting nothing, she cocked an eyebrow to Rainbow. “Liar.”

“Gotcha!” Rainbow said before bursting in laughter. As her bout of laughter ended, a thought popped into her head. One that was unbearably unpleasant… and one that she had to confront. “Hey, Firefly…”

“Yeah, Miss Dash?” Firefly asked, noticing the sudden change in mood and responding accordingly. She could almost sense what she was going to ask before she asked it.

“Why do you live in a place like this and not in a cloud house somewhere like Cloudsdale? And your friend, where does she live?”

The look on the filly’s face already told her everything she needed, but Firefly still opened her mouth to speak. “Hey, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. I’m a stranger, remember?”

“But… you still feel like the sister I never had,” Firefly muttered, “Even if I didn’t know you ‘til just know.”

Rainbow could feel her heart burn at those words. She could almost see an orange filly with purple hair looking up at her with the same look Firefly had. Firefly looked away, walking into the apartment and motion for Rainbow to follow.

“My dad went into the military. He’s somewhere out there, fighting who knows what battle while my mom is out there with him, being a nurse pony. And since both of them are out doing war stuff, they left me with my Aunt here in Brooklyn. She’s an earth pony. Which is why I live on the ground. It’s annoying, and I hate it.”

“Your aunt, or you being stuck on the ground?” Rainbow asked, and Firefly said the latter. Ruffling the filly’s hair, she chuckled. “Heh, trust me, I know how you feel.”

“And my friend is sort of the same deal. Kinda,” Firefly added. “She lives with her aunt like me, which reminds me…” Firefly began, “Aunt Ter! I’m back, and I brought somepony with me!”

A cry of alarm could be heard from within before the sound of pans clattering met their ears. Wincing, Rainbow could hear hoofsteps begin to approach. After a moment, a pale yellow mare with a messy orange mane stepped into view.

“Firefly?” Ter asked, widening her eyes at the sight of Rainbow. “Oh dear. Miss, I’m sorry for any troubles Firefly caused. Tell me what she did and I’ll-”

“Aunty, she’s with me,” Firefly groaned.

“Uh, yeah, I’m with her.” Rainbow gestured to the pink filly beside her. She could see the mare widen her eyes in surprise before cocking an eyebrow suspiciously at Firefly.

“Aunt Ter, this is Rainbow Dash. Can she stay with us for a bit? She has nowhere to stay and she’s pretty nice.”

Ter eyed Rainbow up and down, noticing her uniform and goggles. “Hmm… sure. Supper’ll be done in a few, so the both of you just sit tight.”

“Oh no, I don’t need any food, I’m just-” Rainbow began, but she wouldn’t have any of it.

“My home, my rules. Make sure Firefly doesn’t run off again, Celestia knows I need help watching over her and you just might be the answer to my prayers.” With that, Ter retreated back into the kitchen.

“O-kay,” Rainbow slowly uttered, and Firefly sighed.

“Yeah, Aunt Ter is alright. I mean, I’m the one who’s rebelly here and I know I’m a hoofful.”

“You do know I’m going to leave tomorrow, right?” Rainbow questioned, scanning the living room of the apartment.

“Yeah,” Firefly muttered, “But without any food or water, how are you going to reach ‘Ponyville’?”

Rainbow raised a hoof, opening her mouth before closing it again in defeat. “You’ve got me there,” Rainbow allowed, grumbling as she sat down beside the filly on their couch.

“You know, I might've asked the same thing to you if you came crashing into Ponyville,” Rainbow said.

“What?” Firefly asked.

“I might've asked if you were a spy, too.”

Firefly smirked at that. “Sky’s weird like that. But she’s my best friend so… I make fun of her and we beat each other up. It’s pretty great.”

“I have some weird friends too,” Rainbow laughed, thinking about Pinkie and Twilight. “I’ll make sure to drop by once I meet with them tomorrow. Maybe I can even show you some of my tricks!” Rainbow said, stretching her wings out and grinning. “I’ll perform my most awesome stunt ever: the sonic rainboom!”

“Sonic what-now?” Firefly asked.

“You’ll see.”

“You should probably get that uniform off if you’re going to eat with us,” Firefly began as she could already here plates clacking and silverware klinking. “My aunt won’t stop pestering you, that’s for sure.”

Rainbow looked down at her uniform with some form of disdain before sighing. “You’re probably right,” Rainbow agreed, taking her goggles off before beginning to take it off. Soon, it lay as a heap with her goggles set on top of it. Upon doing so, Firefly could clearly see Rainbow’s cutie mark.

“Wow, what does your cutie mark mean?” Firefly questioned eagerly.

“Dinner’s ready! Come on over!”

“Maybe another time, kiddo,” Rainbow smiled before they both walked into the kitchen.


“Are you a soldier?” Ter asked Rainbow as they ate the spuds that she had prepared. Rainbow choked on her food at the question, as she had not been expecting it.

“Yes, she is!” Firefly quickly said for her polychromatic friend as Rainbow began to cough. “Which is why… I asked if she could stay with us. Yeah. Because she doesn’t have a place to stay right now and she’s going to try and find her home tomorrow.”

Ter seemed to accept the answer and Firefly sighed in relief. Noticing Rainbow’s look of disbelief as she continued to hack and cough, Firefly whispered to her. “Hey, just shut up and stick to the plan.”

Rainbow nodded as she hit her chest in an attempt to dislodge whatever was stuck in her trachea. Soon enough, she huffed with air from the effort. Quickly finishing her meal, she stayed at the table as Ter and Firefly still ate theirs.

“I’m going to sleep now, Aunt Ter,” Firefly announced before excusing herself from the table. As she began to walk out of the dining room, Firefly motioned for Rainbow to follow. “Come on, I’ll show you where you can sleep!”

Rainbow nodded before shooting a glance at Ter. “Hey, uh, thanks for the dinner, I guess.” Ter smiled at the thanks.

“You’re my guest. I can’t have you starve yourself in my care,” she shrugged and Rainbow made a sheepish expression before she followed Firefly.

Upon hearing the clinking of plates and silverware being washed in the kitchen, Firefly stopped at her room. “Well, there’s really only two rooms: one for me and one for Aunty. I’ll get some blankets and stuff ready for you if you want to sleep in my room. I know it’s not as great as a cloud, but yeah.” Upon opening the door, Firefly walked and motioned to her mattress and around the room.

“If you really want,” Firefly paused, “You can sleep on the couch in the living room.”

Rainbow almost said yes to that, as the thought of sleeping on the ground horrified her. Normal beds were bad enough compared to cloud beds, but the ground? Sheesh. “Uh…” Rainbow began, her eyes darting between the filly’s hopeful eyes and the door to the main area before sighing. “...Sure. I’ll sleep with you. But I’m not using blankets for a mattress.”

Spotting a window in Firefly’s room, Rainbow dashed out and looked for the nearest tame cloud. Spotting several small tufts, she rounded them up and morphed it into a cloud that could occupy her body. Now with a makeshift cloud bed, she zoomed back into Firefly’s room, cloud in tow.

“Woah…” Firefly whispered, having watched Rainbow’s display of weather magic. “I wish I could do that. I miss my cloud bed…”

“You’ll get there one day, Small Fry,” Rainbow moaned as she lay back on her cloud. “Aw yeah, that’s the stuff.” As they both began to settle down, Firefly on her bed and Rainbow on her cloud, a silence fell in the air. Feeling something needed to be said just so the air wasn’t so empty, they both began to think of something to say.

“Rainbow Dash-?”

“Hey, Squirt-” The two began to say at the exact same time, when the door to the room opened up, startling both parties and causing both to fall off their respective beds.

“Are you all settled in…?” Ter said cheerfully before. She paused as she heard the dull thuds that accompanied two bodies hitting the floor.

“Aunt Ter, how many times have I said to knock before coming in?!” Firefly shouted, huffing. “This has gotta be the hundredth time at least!”

“Ow…” Rainbow muttered, nursing the bruise on her muzzle for she had face planted.

“Sorry,” Ter shrugged, glancing once at the cloud bed Rainbow had made.

“I’ve been here for ages and still,” Firefly sighed, climbing back to her bed. Rainbow said nothing, her face heating up as she realized how she must’ve looked. She promptly flew back onto her cloud and shoved her face between the crannies of her cloud.

“So, uh, where’d you get the cloud from?” Ter asked Rainbow, waving her hoof through the cloud and disrupting some tufts of condensated water.

“Outside,” Rainbow said.

“O-kay,” Ter punctuated, taking in the scene of them trying to sleep. “I guess this is goodnight. Sweet dreams, Firefly!”

“Yeah, sure,” Firefly waved her hoof, and Ter closed the door behind her.

Another silence thickened as the two recovered from the small surprise. “That shouldn’t have surprised me nearly as much as it did,” Rainbow muttered, finally rolling over. “Ugh, now she’s gonna see me as ‘not cool’.”

“Yeah, well, that’s my aunt for you. Fine one moment, unexpected the next.”

“Your aunt is weird.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

Firefly began to think of what she was going to say earlier before she remembered. “Hey, Skittles-”

“Don’t call me that,” Rainbow groaned, scraping some cloud and throwing it at Firefly as water.

“Hey! If you can call me ‘Fries’ or whatever, I can call you names too. It’s not like you’re in charge of me,” Firefly humphed.

“I’m older, and that means I am in charge,” Rainbow smirked, thinking she had won the argument.

“And that’s the only thing you’re better than me at: being old,” Firefly remarked. Firefly could feel the daggers boring into her fur from Rainbow’s fiery gaze.

“You know what, Firefly?” Rainbow said, trailing off.

“Skittles,” Firefly teased,” Skittles, skittles, skittles!”

“Small fry, fried chicken, chicken little!” Rainbow shot back.

“Hey, that’s not cool!” Firefly replied, “I only gave you one name!”

“You were asking for it, squirt,” Rainbow shook her head with a laugh.

“Stop calling me that too!” Firefly cried, now standing upright on her bed. “You’re a complete stranger, why am I even talking to you?!”

“Because I’m cool and you know it!” Rainbow shouted, and Firefly paused at those words.

“Okay, maybe. But also because you… okay, fine.”

“Hah!” Rainbow pointed a hoof at Firefly, now laying across her bed.

“Shut up,” Firefly mumbled, getting back into her sheets. As they both calmed down, Firefly once more began. “Where are you from?”

After their little argument that held little to no real basis whatsoever, the question caught her a bit off guard. Not that she would say so to this Scootaloo-wannabe. “What?”

Firefly repeated the question. “Where are you from?”

Rainbow scrunched her muzzle. “Well, I’m from Cloudsdale, obviously.”

“It doesn’t hurt to ask,” Firefly said.

“I’m going to sleep,” Rainbow finally announced quietly, her voice seeming like thunder in the peaceful air.

“Then goodnight,” Firefly said, rolling over to face the window on her left, facing away from Rainbow. After a peaceful quiet finally fell through the room, Firefly gazed out the window. Thinking and thinking. “Are you still awake, Miss Dash?”

After a moment of silence in which Firefly thought Rainbow had fallen asleep, she could her the soft rolling of her cloud bed. “Don’t call me ‘Miss Dash’. It makes me feel old.”

“Alright, Skittles,” Firefly smiled. She could already picture Rainbow silently groaning. After that image faded, her expression reverted to that of reverie. “Er- Rainbow… you’re like the big sister I’ve never had.” Rainbow stayed silent, pondering those words. She had heard that very same sentence uttered by another pegasus filly she had grown fond of.

“I know I’ve only known you for like, three hours, but you just… I don’t know…” Firefly tred to explain, but couldn’t seem to formulate her words. “Sorry, not cool, I know, but… yeah.” Hearing another rustle, she assumed Rainbow had shifted in her cloud bed once more, and Firefly sighed, staring out the window and now at the moon that had emerged from above the rooftops of Brooklyn. Soon enough, the snores of Rainbow Dash began to fill the air, indicating her slumber.

“Like the sister I’d always wished for…” Firefly mumbled as her eyes began to droop. Just as she fell asleep, the moon glinted with a sheen, as if smiling, but Firefly would not remember, a dream of flying and being with family now all that filled her mind.


Firefly woke up to the sound of bustling. Opening her eyes and rubbing them in confusion, she sat up to see Rainbow Dash back in her uniform, stuffing her saddlebags with some supplies and rations. Confused, Firefly emitted a soft moan. “Rainbow? What are you doing?”

“I’m leaving as soon as possible,” Rainbow said, placing her goggles on her head and double checking each saddlebag. “There’s no need for me to stay any longer.”

“But what about breakfast and food and water?” Firefly asked, throwing the sheets off of her.

“Ter was already awake when I woke up and she gave me some stuff for my journey. You don’t have to worry about a thing, squirt. I’ll come back, don’t worry. Once I get my friends together, I’ll see what I can do.”

“But you only just got here!” Firefly argued, “Don’t you want to rest and hang out and lay back?”

Rainbow clasped a bag shut before turning to Firefly with a frown. “As much as I’d like to, something happened, and I need to talk to my friends about it. Something very, very bad, and if Starlight is to blame…” Rainbow looked away, clasping her other bag before slipping them and securing them onto her flanks. Each clasp had somehow been fashioned with her cutie mark: a cloud with a rainbow-styled lightning bolt.

“If there’s a war, then Equestria needs me and my friends more than anything right now.”

Firefly looked at Rainbow curiously. “What do you mean?”

Rainbow grinned. “Well, me and my friends are in charge of the Elements of Harmony. They hold the greatest magic in Equestria, the magic of friendship!” Rainbow’s eyes glinted with awesomeness. “And me? I’m the Element of Loyalty! I’m sure you know what that means.”

“The Elements of Harmony?” Firefly inquired, putting a hoof to her muzzle in thought before shrugging. "Ehh... I got nothing."

Rainbow paused slightly at those words. “Uh, what? What about my friend Twilight? I'm sure you've heard of her. She became a flipping princess!"

“Twilight?” Firefly said, “Never heard of her.”

Rainbow could feel a small blow to her gut at those words. It… was possible for ponies to not have heard of Twilight becoming a princess, but it just didn’t add up. “Look, Small Fry, I’m going to find my friends, and I’m going to help save Equestria. After that, I’ll come back and make sure you’re alright, capiche?

“Capoosh caposh!” Firefly ended, and Rainbow grinned wryly. Holding a hoof up, Firefly eagerly met Rainbow’s and they both made explosion noises as the clopping sound of hooves echoed.

“I’ll be back before you know it. You’d love to meet the Cutie Mark Crusaders.”

“The who in the what now?” Firefly asked as Rainbow began to flap her wings and shoot out the window.

“You ask a lot of questions!” Rainbow called, “See ya soon, squirt!”

“Bye, Skittles!” Firefly cried, waving a hoof as Rainbow soon became a small speck on the horizon. Sighing, Firefly began to mope. “Aw shoot, I thought we could hang out and have sister things…”

Just then, the doorbell rang and she could hear the door opening. A familiar voice followed. “Firefly?” Sky’s voice asked. “You free today?”

Bursting out of her room, she zoomed over to where she knew Ter must be. Jumping up and down and fluttering her wings, Firefly asked, “Hey, Aunt Ter, can I hang out with Sky?”

“As long as you’re both safe,” Ter said, shooing Firefly to the door and Sky. Firefly giddily hoofbumped and hugged Sky before they both dashed out the door. “Come back before sundown this time!” Ter shouted, and Firefly called out in reply. Shaking her head, Ter closed the door and glanced into Firefly’s room still seeing Rainbow’s cloud.

She slowly watched as it began to turn a slight grey, sending a shiver down her spine.

Author's Note:

Tell me if Rainbow's characterization is a bit off. I feel like it might be, but I need a second opinion.

How are you liking it so far? Tell me in the comments!