• 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 1.5 - An Implicit Demand For Proof

Rainbow Dash flew with her eyes forward, her dirtied uniform donned once again.

The wind blew past her, her mane waving furiously as she pumped her wings. Her saddlebags lay snug beneath her clenched teeth, make-shift fastened claps fashioned so they were safe. With slightly cracked goggles and her hooves in front of her, the world around her was a blur.

Her uniform, most of all, had taken the brunt of her outburst. Green grass stains and mud coated it, cuts and tears ran all along its seams. The lightning insignia that had prominently boldened the blue of the cloth was now worn down, it’s yellow a pale comparison of what it used to be. Wrinkled and shorn, it lay as an ultimate reminder.

But all thoughts of Ponyville were gone.

She couldn’t accept it. Instead, she was going to Cloudsdale. To find her home. And after that, the Crystal Empire. Rainbow just couldn’t wrap her hooves around the thought. It burned her alive.

She didn’t want to believe it. She just couldn’t. All the memories she had created… the friends she had made… they can’t have all just disappeared on her like that. They couldn’t have.

Small trickles of water occasionally escaped the goggles that so easily masked Rainbow Dash’s emotions. From the outside, she seemed stone-hard, an immovable force, an unstoppable object… and yet, her soul was shattered.

They’re gone, Rainbow… You know that…

Rainbow shook her head. She shouted at her mind.

NO!

She flew up.

She flew up and up and up… into the clouds above her. She burst through the cloud cover, her fury knowing no bounds. Each new cloud she encountered, she punched it. And with each cloud she came into contact with, it burst apart into each and every separate water molecule. Even then, it did nothing to calm Dash’s nerves. Her mind raced, her heart beat, and she cried with every single swing of her hoof.

Rainbow could see Cloudsdale in the distance. Flying through every single cloud she could see, not bothering to hit them anymore, she quickly came upon her home city. Rainbow pools and loud factories dotted the glorious cloud citadel, rainbow falls and pegasi dominating the entire city. She hadn’t come to Cloudsdale for sight-seeing. No, Rainbow had only one place she needed to go to, and only one place in mind.

Her home.

Her home in her city. Where her Mom and Dad lived.

She wanted to know. She wanted to make sure. She wanted to see whether it was all just a dream and she could just return home and think of it all as one big nightmare.

You know it is, Rainbow… you know it’s all real.

The voice in her head, her rational side; she knew it was right. But she didn’t want to.

She didn’t…

But she did.

Rainbow Dash had a surprisingly good memory, contrary to popular belief. She wasn’t just the cocky daring mare everypony had gotten to know her as. Proven when Twilight had successfully taught her the things she needed for the Wonderbolts exam, she knew. She knew that her house was right where it should be.

And it wasn’t.

“No… no… please...” Rainbow whispered. Pegasi around her glanced at her worriedly, but didn’t pay her any more attention in fear of backlash. After all, she looked like a soldier. A beaten, worn down soldier that was pleading at a house in the suburbs of Cloudsdale.

Rainbow’s magenta eyes glistened as she lifted her goggles. It was her house. But at the same time… it wasn’t. The sky tree that was supposed to be on the front lawn wasn’t there. The front lawn itself was too fancy and floral for somepony like the likes of Rainbow’s parents. She knew her own kin. She knew herself.

Pulling her goggles down, she remained in the air a few seconds longer. And in the air she hovered, a mysterious figure to those in Cloudsdale and a trespasser to the ponies who currently lived in Rainbow’s home. As tears began to streak down from beneath Rainbow’s goggles, she resolutely flapped her wings, away from the house.

It wasn’t her house. Not yet. And not for a long time.

With that thought, she left Cloudsdale, looking beyond Canterlot’s range.

Towards the Crystal Mountains.


She flew with all of her might.

She had already left… left the Everfree in her dust, Cloudsdale not far behind. She wasn’t stopping for a single second. Not one. She wanted to see it for herself. She wanted to see Equestria at war.

Even though she knew it would break her. Even though she knew it would be the final nail in the coffin. Even though it would cement everything she had come to know about her situation.

Rainbow Dash sliced through the air effortlessly. The only thing slowing her down being her saddlebags and her own tired physique. She had somewhat lightened her load however, as she had eaten most of rations already just trying to keep the energy going for her to stay awake.

In no time at all, she would be able to ditch her saddlebags and fly unburdened. And as she flew, she could already see Mount Everhoof nearing her, or in reality, she was nearing it. Canterlot Mountain flew past her as well, taking a full five minutes to truly fly past. Canterlot lay beneath her as she pumped her wings, no castle to make it the shining capital it would eventually become.

She could still see the Castle of the Two Sisters’ pristine condition in the midst of the Everfree forest in her mind’s eye, it’s shining bricks and wooden bridge mocking her. She could still see the way it seemed to stand as another reminder. Another drop in the bucket. Closing her eyes, Rainbow could still see herself refusing the Shadowbolts’ proposal to betray her friends, the broken castle as a backdrop. Her first real time bonding with who would eventually become her best friends. The Castle’s perfect condition stood as a testament.

She had felt the presence of the Princesses there. At the time, a thought had occurred to her that she might be able to speak with the Princesses, but even then, she knew it would be useless. She probably wouldn’t even be able to get an audience, and even then... Rainbow still remembered when Twilight had an entire week of insanity resulting from a stable time loop; all that she had gotten from Twilight’s explanation as it had begun to hurt her head. It was only a week.

With each new train of thought in her mind, a corresponding memory seemed to surface beside it. And with each new impression, each new idea and theory, an equally hurting memory came to mind. Pinkie’s antics, Fluttershy’s kindness, Rarity’s posh tendencies, Twilight’s egghead-ness, Applejack’s competitiveness… Rainbow’s loyalty was breaking inside her.

As the Crystal Empire began to come to view, so did the battlefields. Large expanses of field were mostly what remained past Canterlot, and what she saw shook her. It surprised her more than she would have liked to admit. As the sun set behind Rainbow, the lights that illuminated the clouds became more prominent.

Rainbow lifted her goggles in shock. For the first time in her life, she could see it first-hoof. She could see the magic zipping wildly and ponies falling. This may be only one battle, but one battle was enough. With it only being a few kilometres away from the Crystal Mountains, she stopped flying and observed. Observed the one thing nopony should ever experience.

War.