• Published 6th Jul 2012
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Legacy of the Pegasi - secret89



An ancient pegasi myth has returned. It will take three special pegasi to turn back the storm.

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Ch. 8: Pegasi Pride, Mountain Mayhem and Surprise Spelunking

Legacy of the Pegasi:

Chapter 8: Pegasi Pride, Mountain Mayhem and Surprise Spelunking

Rainbow Dash paced about nervously upon a small cloud in Ponyville's own skyfield. Occasionally her ears would perk up, suddenly glancing toward the horizon, or over the edge of her well worn, rutted perch to the ground below. For several seconds she would anxiously look about, body rigid in anticipation, only for it to subside, her eyes falling and ears drooping slightly. She would then mutter a few inaudible words to herself, seeming to regain some measure of confidence, and proceed once again upon her tracked path upon the cloud.

Just relax, Rainbow. They didn't forget. I mean, it was just yesterday. There's no way they could have forgotten, right? I did save Soarin's life, and Spitfire even told me about the audition. And besides, its still morning, I'm sure they're on their way. A slightly more relaxed smile appeared on the stunt mare's face as she seated herself near the edge of the cloud. But as the seconds dragged on into minutes, it slowly faded. Agitation slowly started to build, cracking away at the mare's static posture. Glancing worriedly about, Rainbow quickly found herself pacing about in the relative comfort of the circular groove imprinted in the cloud. Don't worry, they didn't forget, they couldn't forget...

Right?

Suddenly, Rainbow Dash froze. Her ears perked up, twitching about, as a nervous tingle rushed within her. It was faint, barely audible to the naked ear, but to a pegasi, the sound was unmistakable.

Wing beats.

All of the prismatic filly's pent up anticipation evaporated in an instant, now replaced by a tumultuous combination of fear and panic. Oh crud, oh crud, oh crud! This is it! Rainbow snapped her eyes shut, a flurry of stress filled thoughts coursing through her. This is it! What if I mess up? What if they don't think I'm good enough? Desperation started to seep in, eager to join fear and panic. No, I can't think like that. I'm Rainbow Dash. I broke the light spectrum barrier. I'm the element of Loyalty. Eyes opening, the mare set her jaw resolutely. I can do this.

The wing beats were louder now, growing steadily behind her. Rainbow could clearly feel the gentle shift in the air, small waves displaced the by newcomer's flight. Now or never Rainbow. She thought, deftly turning around to greet the newcomer.

“Hey Rainbow!” A cheery and youthful voice called out.

Dash's world shattered around her, all of her awesome mental preparation slipping away and crashing at her hooves. “Scootaloo! What are you doing here!?”

The copper filly took several wing strides before alighting on Rainbow's well worn cloud.

“What do you mean? I had to be here! This is history in the making!” The teenaged filly announced happily. However, her jubilation was short lived, as she took note of the now peculiar cloud. “What in the hay?” The filly lowered her snout to the hoof trodden imprint. “Is that a rut? In a cloud?”

Rainbow roller her eyes, ignoring the inquisitive pegasus. “Right. Sorry. I thought you were somepony else.”

“I mean is that even possible?” Scootaloo continued to gape at the trench. She stuck out a hoof, gently prodding the indentation like it was some sort of wonder of nature.

Rainbow shot a deadpanned expression at the entertained filly, coughing slightly to capture her attention.

“Oh! Right!” Scootaloo slid over next to the cyan pegasus. “So, feeling a little nervous huh?”

Scootaloo's question drew Rainbow back to her earlier frustrations, but she didn't betray her inner worries. “Yeah right! I've practically got this in the bag!” The stunt mare proclaimed in sham confidence, gesturing lightly with her hoof for emphasis. “Piece a cake.”

Unfortunately, Rainbow wasn't the best liar, and Scootaloo certainly didn't need the Element of Honesty to see that. The younger mare craned her neck around, eying the cyan pegasus' stress induced track. She turned back to the now slightly less confident mare, brow raised in disbelief. “No worries huh?” She said flatly.

Rainbow Dash huffed loudly. “Okay, fine.” The rainbow filly seated herself on all fours roughly, letting her facade fall. Scootaloo was one of the few ponies outside the other Elements that she could confide in without feeling too weak. “I'm nervous. I mean, this is big. What if I fail? Or they don't think I'm good enough?” Rainbow turned to face the younger pegasus, uncertainty written upon her face. “This may be my only chance.”

Scootaloo rolled her eyes. “Yeah, right. You know that isn't going to happen. You've done way too much already for the Wonderbolts just to blow you off like that. How many pegasi can do a Sonic Rainboom, not to mention pulling it off like it's nothing?”

Rainbow smiled weakly at the compliment. “Yeah. I guess so.”

“Besides,” Scootaloo continued, “I bet you've got some sweet new moves to blow the 'Bolts away.”

Rainbow opened her mouth to reply, but her words were devoured by a sudden onslaught of panic. Stunned rigid in silence, a single sentence played through Dash's mind. I don't have anything prepared.

“I don't have anything prepared.”

“Huh?”

“I don't have anything prepared!” The rainbow filly jumped to her hooves, turning wildly on her surprised friend.

“I don't have anything! Anything at all!”

“What? What do you mean you don't have anything?”

“I got so caught up with Soarin' and Spitfire, and the Wonderbolts, and some... other... stuff, that I completely forgot!”

Rainbow Dash groaned aloud in frustration, burrowing her head into the cloud at her feet with a gentle 'pomf'.

“What am I going to do?” Came the mare's muffled voice.

“We've got to come up with something. Fast!”

Scootaloo yanked Dash from beneath the cloud, fully intent on helping her distressed friend.

“Come on Rainbow Dash!” Scootaloo pleaded, hovering just above the cyan pegasus. “All we gotta do is-”

However, the copper filly's words fell away. Much like Dash had been earlier, Scootaloo was stunned silent by the sound of wings through the air.

Scootaloo dropped softly next to her friend. Doing her best to be supportive, the younger filly turned to offer her encouragement.

“Preparation or not, I know you can do this.”

Dash sighed again. “Thanks Scoots.” She turned to meet her friend's even gaze. “When I got you backing me up, how can I go wrong?”

Scootaloo felt a slight tingle in the back of her mind, just as Rainbow made her reply. It was momentary, almost unnoticeable, but completely new. It had felt as if something inside was reaching out to the pegasus in front of her, searching out some kind of connection.

“Something wrong kiddo?” Rainbow spoke up, taking note of the filly's curious expression.

“No, no I'm good.” Scootaloo lied. “Just a weird feeling, like-”

Much louder wing beats returned both pegasi to the present predicament, eyes forward to greet their esteemed guests.

The rhythmic whooshing of powerful wings continued to fill the air, a formless trumpeter announcing the approaching group. Even before they had arrived, both Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo were filled with images of the majestic pegasi.

The Wonderbolts didn't disappoint. Finally coming into view, the expert formation of the stunt pegasi crested over the roof tops of Ponyville. Spitfire proudly led at the front of the flight, her sharp and angular wings cutting through the air like a blade. Soarin' was equally impressive, his large and dynamic wings propelling the stallion in powerful strides adjacent and slightly to the rear of his captain.

Rainbow Dash took a deep breath, surveying the formidable approach of her long time heroes.

“Hey.”

The cyan pegasus turned to the teenager beside her.

“No sweat.” The copper filly smiled, extending her wing. “You've got this.”

Rainbow smirked in reply, slapping her own cyan wing to the copper filly's. The small act of camaraderie helped ease her nerves, so much so that she didn't notice the gentle pulse that had passed between herself and the filly beside her.

Filled with a greater sense of confidence, Rainbow Dash returned her gaze to the Wonderbolts. She scanned across the formation, taking note of each Wonderbolt. Rapidfire... Wave Chill... Surprise... Fleetfoot... Spitfire...

Dash's mind screeched to a halt as her eyes fell onto one very particular Wonderbolt.

Soarin'. Aw, crap.

She quickly swatted away images from the hospital, ignored the flare in her ethereal connection to the stallion, her stumbling of words and hasty exit, thrusting it all behind a wall of determination and brashness that she took a measure of pride in.

Finally reaching the two awaiting pegasi, the Wonderbolts broke formation, flying circles overhead. One by one, each stunt pegasus landed a short distance away on one of the many clouds that surrounded Rainbow and Scootaloo's own in the sky field.

Rainbow Dash counted ten Wonderbolts, some doing a number of stretches or minor drills, others lounging about, still others making small talk with their teammates.

The prismatic mare frowned. “Wait a minute. I don't see Spitfire or So-”

A pair of winged shadows jetted across duo's cloud. Both Rainbow and Scootaloo looked skyward, searching for the owners.

Up above, Spitfire and Soarin' streaked through the sky downward, only a wing length apart. Suddenly, Soarin' propelled himself in front of Spitfire, barreling down onto the small cloud.

Scootaloo flinched slightly. “Um, Rainbow, remember last time he did that...”

There was no time to reply. A split second later Soarin' flourished his wings out, leveling out at the last second, a yellow blur streaking behind him. He impacted the cloud only a few hoof steps away from the two mares, violent ripples vibrating through the cloud. Stance wide and head down, the stallion finished the display by rearing on his hind hooves, flourishing his wings about for effect as his fore hooves pawed at the air.

Rainbow could only gawk at the spectacle before her as Soarin' settled, an unconscious warmness coming to her cheeks. Thankfully, her awkward stare was fleeting, as a rush of air billowed out from behind her.

The two fillies barely had enough time to twirl about, catching a glimpse of the yellow blur that shot up and rolled over them. Snapping back forward, Dash and Scootaloo now greeted two Wonderbolts, as Spitfire alighted next to her teammate.

“Hmph. Showoff.” Soarin' remarked casually.

“Me? A showoff? What do you call that landing just a second ago? You trying to put on some kind of show for these fillies?” Spitfire gestured to the other two mares, a wicked grin on her face.

“What?! Of c-course not!”

Spitfire simply laughed.

All the while, Rainbow was lost in a swirl of awe at the two pegasi before her. Though she felt leaps and bounds better from before Scootaloo had arrived, Dash couldn't help but feel the slight pressure and intimidation from the acrobatics and stunts from the best fliers in Equestria. Even after she had come to know Spitfire and Soarin', their own performance's reminded her of what they were capable of.

Guess I just need to step up my game, Rainbow mentally steeled herself.

“Hey Spitfire, Soarin. What's up?” Dash greeted the two Wonderbolts casually.

“Hey there Rainbow Dash. Glad to see you're here and ready to roll. We would've been here sooner, if it weren't for some... complications.”

Dash and Scootaloo looked confused at the yellow mare's reply.

“Is something wrong?” Scootaloo quipped.

Soarin' stepped forward before Spitfire could reply. “Nah, we're all good; the team had a few hiccups on the way to Ponyville, no biggie.”

Spitfire looked slightly annoyed at the stallion's frivolous excuse, but let it go.

“Wait a minute, aren't you supposed to be in the hospital?” The teenaged filly replied, zeroing in on the stallion.

The realization crossed through Rainbow's mind as well. “Yeah, how are you out and flying like that already? I've been through some rough landings, and even though I'm pretty awesome, I never got back that quick.”

“Uh, well, Wonderbolt training ya know?” Soarin' lied. “And well, I just uh, got better?”

“Well, I'm glad to see you're okay.” Rainbow replied. Her own words sunk in immediately after she spoke, an embarrassed look overtaking her as she tried to recover. “I mean, it just means you're even more awesome!” Unfortunately, she found herself in a deepening hole. “Er, I mean... because you're a Wonderbolt, not because I uh, well um. Yeah.”

Soarin' and Scootaloo seemed confused at the normally confident mare's jumbled reply, while Spitfire brought a hoof to her face, sighing.

Though she nervously grinned outwardly, inwardly the prismatic mare berated herself. Come on Rainbow Dash, get a hold of yourself! An angry voice resounded in her head. Its just Soarin'! You don't even know him... like... that.

The voice fizzled out against the crashing tide of emotions.

“Okay enough small talk.” Spitfire spoke up, rescuing RD from her verbal tailspin.

Jumping lightly into the air, the fiery mare shouted out. “Alright everypegasi, circle up!”

The sky was immediately filled with the sound of flapping wings, as the core of the Wonderbolts flight team closed in around the small cloud at the center of the skyfield.

Rainbow quickly scanned the winged perimeter that encircled the group. Name after name came to mind as her eyes continued to pass from face to face. But they weren't just names. Each carried with them a unique story of adventure and daring, each Wonderbolt a hero in his or her own right. Easy there Rainbow pony, they're pegasi, just like you. She mentally reassured herself, trying her best not to magnify what felt like extremely scrutinizing gazes from all around her.

“First things first.” Spitfire started, looking down at Rainbow and Scootaloo. “You know Soarin' and I well enough. But, since this is an audition of sorts, its only fitting you meet the rest of the team.”

Brief introductions followed as Spitfire called out each Wonderbolt, who in turn introduced themselves to Rainbow and Scootaloo.

“And finally, we have Surprise and Fleetfoot.” Spitfire finished, gesturing to a snow white filly and ice blue stallion.

“Hey! How ya doing!? It is soooooo nice to meet you!” The white pegasi chirped happily, landing snugly between the orange filly and the cyan mare.

“Uh, hey.” Scootaloo replied awkwardly, doing her best to put some distance between herself and the overly cheery mare.

“Yeah, we're uh, we're good.” Rainbow greeted, all too familiar thoughts of a pink earth pony coming to mind as she took in the white Wonderbolt next to her.

Spitfire sighed. “Surprise, what did I say about meeting new pegasi?”

“Never pop out of clouds with bowls of hot fudge at passing pegasi? Oh! Or was it not to drop welcome packages filled with fire crackers from fifty thousand feet on pegasi's door steps!? Oh, or maybe it was always use the thundercloud on stallions and snow storms on the mares?”

Scootaloo and Rainbow exchanged an eerily knowing glance at the white mare's ramblings.

Spitfire stared flatly at the happily oblivious Wonderbolt. “Personal. Space.”

“OH!” Surprise leaped into the air, hovering above the slightly more relaxed pegasi. “I was just getting to that one!”

Spitfire shook her head dismissively.

“Hey, don't forget about yours truly!”

An ice blue pegasi with a near white mane landed in front of Rainbow and Scootaloo.

“I wanted to make sure you met the pegasus who really runs the show around here.” Fleetfoot spoke suavely to the two fillies, slicking back his mane. “From behind the scenes, of course.” The stallion finished, casually winking at Dash.

“Yeah. Right.” Rainbow Dash countered sarcastically.

“You do?” Scootaloo looked up at the stallion in disbelief. “But I thought that-”

“Yeah, that's Fleetfoot.” Spitfire cut in, yawning. “Don't listen to anything he says.”

“Hey!”

Several of the other Wonderbolts chuckled. Even Soarin' smirked at his teammate's wounded charm.

Fleetfoot shot a nasty look at the Wonderbolt second-in-command. However, his scowl was quickly replaced by an evilly mischievous grin.

Soarin' suddenly felt very, very afraid.

Fleetfoot sided up alongside the cyan mare. “I've got it on good information that you happen to be on the radar of one of our very own Wonderbolts.” The ice blue pegasus glanced back at a very rigid Soarin'. “And I don't mean the official Wonderbolt kind of business, either.”

Soarin' stared daggers into Fleetfoot, even as he felt a nervous flutter in his chest. I'm going to kill him.

“What are you talking-” Rainbow started, but was cut short by Spitfire.

“Alright, alright, cut it out.”

Fleetfoot rolled his eyes in annoyance, but did as he was told, rejoining the rest of the Wonderbolts hovering around the cloud.

“So, you've met the team Rainbow.” Spitfire addressed the cyan mare, landing next to her. “How about you let everypegasi know a little about yourself?”

Soarin's ears perked up slightly at the yellow mares query. For some reason, he was very curious to see what the cyan filly would say.

Rainbow was taken aback. “Uh, yeah, yeah, sure.” She fumbled over her words slightly. Normally the confident mare had no issue talking about herself, proclaiming her superior flight skills and sure-fire destiny to be a Wonderbolt to the citizens of Ponyville. However, these weren't the villagers or farm ponies of the small earth pony town who now awaited her reply.

“My name's Rainbow Dash, but then you all already knew that.” She laughed lightly, feeling some of her old swagger return. “I'm the weather pegasus here in Ponyville, but believe me when I say that's just a temporary thing. I've actually done some pretty awesome stuff, and not just that Sonic Rainboom that I'm sure you're all thinking of.”

“Like what? Oh, tell me, tell me, tell me!” Surprise piped up eagerly.

Dash grinned, suddenly feeling more at ease. “Well, try saving Equestria, oh about, three or four times, give or take.”

Several murmurs bounded between assembled group of Wonderbolts, some in disbelief, others in tacit admiration, still others choosing instead to measure the boasting mare, looking for a hint of falsehood. The words 'element' and 'Loyalty' also seemed to pop up. Interestingly enough, 'Celestia' seemed to come up, followed by some rather colorful language.

Wow. Soarin' thought, genuinely impressed. He knew of the Elements and their bearers, but beyond that, he knew little of the details.

“So that whole element of Loyalty thing is no joke, huh?” Fleetfoot cut in, once again separating himself from the pack.

“Yep. Defeated the god of Chaos, kicked some Changeling butt back in Canterlot, and even freed Princess Celestia's sister. Course it wasn't just me, the other elements, my friends, helped too...” Rainbow Dashed grinned at her smaller companion. Scootaloo simply huffed in feigned annoyance. She had long ago given up on trying to dampen Dash's ego.

“Celestia huh?” Fleetfoot spat suddenly, his sudden change in demeanor not lost on the two Ponyville pegasi. “Figures.”

“Uh, yeah.” Scootaloo started slowly. “She's the one who gave them the elements in the first place.”

“Sounds like something she'd pull.” One of the assembled Wonderbolts said off hoof. “Manipulative as ever. Can't even do her own dirty work.”

Rainbow arched a brow, as she surveyed the pegasi around her. Sour faces, some even in disgust surrounded her, Spitfire and Soarin' included, all seemingly directed at the Equestrian ruler. “What do you mean...” She began cautiously, but was again cut off by one of the assembled pegasi.

“Yeah, did you hear the latest news from back home?” Another Wonderbolt announced, this time more directed at Spitfire and Soarin'. “You two weren't back Cloudsdale when it happened.”

“What are you talking about?” The Wonderbolt Captain replied, though she seemed to already know the answer.

Yeah, really? The cyan mare pondered, equally puzzled by the sudden change in Wonderbolts around her.

“A bunch of unicorns showed up at the Senate from Canterlot. Something about Cloudsdale being 'insurrectionists.'”

“Archon's spit!” Fleetfoot cursed, pawing his hoof angrily at the already abused cloud. Several other Wonderbolts added their own creative expletives. “Those uptight, self important weaklings need to buck off. I'll show them an insurrectionist! Cloudsdale would be better off without 'em. Tartarus, they need us more than we need them!”

“Hey! Two of my best friends are unicorns!” Rainbow finally retorted, a little louder than she meant.

An awkward silence filled the air. Dash continued to glower at Fleetfoot, who seemed genuinely surprised. “Hey, relax Rainbow. Didn't mean anything personal by it. I'm sure they're cool if they're with you.”

“I think we're getting a little off track here.” Spitfire cut in, trying to diffuse the situation. “Even if Celestia does need to take a hike.” The yellow mare added snidely.

Several Wonderbolt snickered at their Captain's remark.

Soarin' smirked along with his fellow Wonderbolts, but caught Rainbow eye as he did so. The wary look on her face hit him like a wall, as the stallion quickly averted his eyes. Despite this, he could feel a gentle strain in his mysterious connection, clearly colored by Rainbow's demeanor. Somehow, it felt wrong. Like an abuse in the ethereal stream between them.

“We can discuss politics later.” Spitfire announced, erasing the supernatural connection from both Dash's and Soarin's mind. “Right now, we've got a sky with no pegasi in it.”

The mare turned to Rainbow. “You ready to show us what you got?”

Rainbow nodded quickly, still somewhat frazzled by the previously abrupt exchange. She could feel the butterflies lurch within her stomach, but ignored it. Time to blow them away.

“Alright then.” Spitfire gestured to the rest of the Wonderbolts. “Everypegasi, get airborne.”


Rainbow Dash collapsed on a lone cloud high above the Ponyville Skyfield, drenched in sweat, and heaving deep gasping breaths. Her wings lay limply by her sides, the winged muscles burning from exertion.

“Come Rainbow, keep it together.”

Bereft of any prepared routine, she had simply decided to go freestyle. However, there hadn't been anything easy about it in the slightest. Spitfire and the rest of the Wonderbolts were spread about the Skyfield, simply watching the prismatic mare as she pulled out every spin, flip, dive and roll she knew, each woven into a complex tapestry of aerobatic routines and maneuvers. The simple fact that not just Spitfire was watching her, but that the combined experience of the ace Wonderbolt squad was evaluating her every move pushed the athletic mare well beyond any kind of informal audition. In short, she had put herself through the grinder.

“Just... a little bit... more.” The cyan mare worded slowly between gasps. “Just one more move, that's all I need...”

“Rainbow Dash!”

Dash's ears perked up as she picked up the friendly voice of Scootaloo. Wobbling to her hooves, the cyan mare greeted her pegasi companion.

“Hey Scoots.” She grinned weakly.

“Are you okay?” The copper teenager landed next to her mentor, clearly concerned.

“Pff. Kid, do you even know who you're talking to?”

“Come on Dash. You're going to hurt yourself if your not careful.”

Rainbow snorted. “I'll be careful after I'm a Wonderbolt. Well, no, actually I won't.” She grinned cheekily at the younger filly.

Scootaloo ignored the remark. “So, do you think you've convinced them?

“Not sure.” Rainbow replied absently, pulling at several mismatched feathers in her wings. “So, just to be sure, I'm going to knock 'em dead with one more go. Really blow them away.” She beamed a confident smile at the filly, adrenaline coursing through her as she announced her end game.

“Sounds like a plan to me.”

Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo spun around to see Soarin' and Spitfire hovering silently behind them.

Unconsciously straightening her posture, Dash quickly hid the sore and tired features from her face, adopting instead her tried and true cocky expression. “Glad you approve. Any suggestions?”

“Hmm. You've done pretty good by my standards.” Spitfire put her hoof to her chin in mock contemplation. “So, nope. I got nothing.”

Dash inwardly sighed in relief. Even though she had challenged Spitfire outright, she was glad that she wouldn't have to tax her wings further.

“But its not me that you have to impress.” The Wonderbolt Captain suddenly announced happily, turning to her second in command. “Soarin'?”

“Huh?”

“What?”

Both stallion and mare exclaimed, staring in confusion at the yellow pegasus.

“What shall Rainbow Dash's final test be?”

“Oh, right.” Soarin' replied, stepping forward. “Well, just for the record, you've done amazingly well so far Dash.” The Wonderbolt stallion spoke evenly, but the slight fidget in his wings said otherwise.

For her own part, Rainbow found herself at a strange, almost rhythmic calm under the pale blue stallion's gaze. Whether it was the adrenaline pulsing through her, the uncertainty of Soarin's looming challenge, the magical tether that seemed to float between them, or a combination of the three, Rainbow wasn't sure. All she knew was that she wanted to be around the stallion in front of her.

“Amazingly well by your standards, maybe?” She advanced toward the stallion slightly, taking him off guard with her suddenly flirtatious voice. Wait. What?! Rainbow simultaneously thought within her mind, surprised at her own action. What in the hay am I thinking?

Scootaloo looked up at her friend like she had suddenly contracted the plague, moving to put some distance between herself and the cyan mare. Since when did Rainbow Dash act all filly like?

“Uh, well, erm.” Soarin' stuttered and stammered, barely maintaining composure. However, despite his momentary lapse from Rainbow's unexpected reply, he could feel a tranquil soothing overcome him. Bolstered by the sudden clarity, he addressed Dash steadily.

“I have something in mind.” The Wonderbolt started vaguely. “If you think you can handle it.”

“I can handle anything you got.” Rainbow countered, herself more composed as she took another gleefully defying step toward the stallion.

“A speed test.” The Wonderbolt stallion continued, trying not to smile.

Rainbow eagerly pressed for more details, advancing still toward the stallion. “What kind of speed test?”

“To Pegasi Peak and back.” Soarin' openly grinned down at the shorter mare. “No breaks. Fast as you can.”

Rainbow took a final step in front of the stallion, now very close as her rose colored eyes challengingly met Soarin's own emerald eyes. She held her stare, daring the Wonderbolt to abandon his competitive focus.

He didn't.

Rainbow Dash suddenly broke into an aggressive grin. “Done!” She announced, abruptly turning about, her tail swatting Soarin' on the muzzle as she did so. Crouching low the athletic mare thrust herself upward with a powerful kick, simultaneously spreading her wings and diving off the edge of the cloud.

Soarin' stumbled backward slightly, in part from Dash's impressive take off, and in part from the playful swish of her tail. The blush on his face said the rest.

“Well played Soarin'.” Spitfire congratulated. “And good luck. You're gonna need it.”

“Bleh. I think I'm gonna puke.” Scootaloo stated flatly.

“Uh, yeah. Thanks Spitfire. I think.” Soarin' replied.

Moving toward the edge of the cloud, he could still see the cyan mare's rainbow trail as she raced toward the distant mountaintop. He could have felt worried, claimed that he was being manipulated by some invisible bond between himself and the cyan mare. And if not that, then when did Soarin' all of a sudden not look like a complete idiot in front of a filly, especially a mare like Rainbow Dash?

Instead, the stallion smiled. You know what? I really don't care either way.

Straightening his own wings, Soarin' approached the edge of the diminutive cloud.

“Going somewhere Soarin'?” Spitfire asked, slightly confused.

Soarin' grinned back at the yellow mare over his shoulder. “Just going to make things a little more interesting.”

Taking a quick glance at Rainbow Dash's fading trail, the Wonderbolt leaped from the small cloud, tearing after the prismatic filly, his own competitive adrenaline urging his wings onward.


Pegasi Peak. The tallest point in the Dragon's Scar mountain range, the mountaintop was a notable landmark amongst Equestria's citizens. To the earthbound ponies, the peak was an impressive display, a towering palisade that stood alone against the backdrop of the sky. But to the pegasi, it held a far greater meaning. In the time before the uniting of the tribes, the lofty mountaintop and its surrounding clouds had served as a home for the migrating pegasi. Legends told of how the mythical Archon Pegasi crafted the first military outpost from the clouds in the sky scape around the highest reaches of the mountain. Over time this refuge would expand into the grand city of Cloudsdale, the ever migrating floating city of the Pegasi. However, despite the impressive grandeur of the winged ponies' capital, it was never forgotten where the Pegasi had first found refuge, cementing Pegasi Peak as the spiritual birthplace of the Pegasi in Equestria.

For this particularly moment however, the mountaintop was just another challenge in a filly's quest to join the greatest fliers in the land.

Rainbow Dash streaked across the Equestrian sky, lungs burning and wings straining, as she closed the distance with her target. Random thoughts seemed to swim in and out of her mind, from the Wonderbolts dislike of Celestia to her own uncharacteristic exchange with Soarin' only moments ago. Even the memory of the mysterious tension from earlier in the week seemed to come up in Rainbow's mind, dragging along with it the resurgent memories of the stunt mare's parents. And yet, they were all fleeting, lost against the wind as adrenaline carried Rainbow beyond her troubles, propelling her instead further along to Pegasi Peak.

Despite her physical exhaustion, Rainbow Dash outwardly beamed. It's about time something felt right for once, even if I don't understand it.

She was just now halfway to the mountain. It seemed to call out to her, the reflective summit glowing like a beacon from the noonday sun.

So zeroed was her focus, that Rainbow Dash nearly missed the slight twinge, almost like the slight tug of a rope from within her. But it wasn't her assailant like in days past. Instead she felt a soothing calm wash over her, encouraging her.

Not now! I need to focus!

She tried to ignore it, instead re-focusing on the rocky titan before her. But this was easier said than done. The tug seemed to strengthen, and in doing so furthered strengthened the mare, much to her chagrin.

“Come on, I really don't need this weird stuff right now!” Rainbow gritted through clenched teeth.

The tether seemed to respond. Instead of swatting back in rebuttal, or drumming on Dash's mind, it simply gave a playful mental push.

Rainbow's wings faltered slightly, as the startled mare yelped.

“What in the hay?” The cyan mare called out, quickly regaining her course.

She hadn't expected that. Even now Rainbow could tell there was something more about the link. It wasn't another random encounter. There seemed to be a personality behind it. She could feel the muted character, its dual nature of playful mirth and steadfast resolve swirling around her. Almost something familiar about it. Where have I felt this before?

Another feeling hit the mare this time. However, she felt nothing from the persistent aura. Instead, she felt as if somepony were physically staring at her. Confused, Rainbow searched the sky before her, but no pegasi, no ponies of any kind were in sight.

Annoyed once more, Rainbow tried to push herself beyond the feeling of unease, even the comfort that she somehow swore was laughing at her right now.

Then, quite suddenly, the final puzzle in Rainbow's latest curious mystery fell into place. Rapid wing beats thundered behind her, growing in intensity. Rainbow knew even before she snapped herself around.

“Soar-?”

The ballistic Wonderbolt exploded past the filly, dragging a current of windy carnage with him, not at all unlike his flight through Ponyville.

Caught in the onslaught of the jet stream, Rainbow spun about haphazardly for a few moments, before righting herself for the second time.

“Pah! Argh!” Dash snorted in frustration. “Really? I mean come on! Really!?”

A decent distance away from the mare, Soarin' had rounded about. Flying at a more leisurely pace he met up with the disheveled mare.

“Heya Rainbow Dash!” Soarin' called out cheerily.

Doing her best to ignore the weird combination of emotional butterflies and annoyance, Rainbow risked a quick glance at the stallion.

“Do you mind not trying to wipe me out with a tornado?”

Soarin' rolled over above the filly, flying upside down as he matched Rainbow's pace.

Though the move was admittedly impressive, Dash was more intrigued by the Wonderbolt's lack of a reply. Instead, she could feel the stallion looking at her awkwardly, his neck craned back as he continued to fly upside down.

Frustrated at being ignored, Rainbow looked up at the stallion.

“Soarin', just what are you-”

Without warning, Soarin' stuck out his tongue, barely touching Dash on the nose. Then, flashing a goofy yet daring grin, the Wonderbolt shot off toward the top of Pegasi Peak.

Rainbow Dash stopped momentarily. “What the...”

Her mouth hung agape as she stared stupidly ahead, cheeks flushed. The completely absurd and random nature of what had just happened was not lost on her, but one thing stood out above the swirl of disbelief, elation, and frustration. She knew where the sudden character from before had come from. Or more importantly, who it had come from.

Rainbow smirked. “Oho, it is on fly-boy.”

Ignoring the pain in her wings, Dash pushed herself forward, her second wind summoned by the thrill of the chase. A speed test was on thing. A race was completely different.

Several seconds later Dash had caught up with the Wonderbolt, weaving in and out of the characteristic Wonderbolt thundercloud trail. Diving low, Rainbow hid under the Wonderbolt's cloud trail, stealthily sneaking forward. Even as she matched the Wonderbolt's speed, Rainbow remained directly below Soarin'. As seconds passed, Dash could tell that the stallion was confused as to where the filly had gone. Every so often he glanced behind himself, clearly confused as to the cyan filly's location.

Dash smiled. “Gotcha now Soarin'.”

Rainbow put on a burst of speed, pushing her wings as she shot upward. In a streak of cyan and all the colors of the rainbow, she flew in front of the Wonderbolt, barely grazing his fore hooves with the tips of her wings.

Startled, the stallion sputtered about, losing his thundercloud trail.

Rainbow couldn't resist the urge to tease.

“Haha! How you like that!” Rainbow called over her shoulder, wasting no time to press her advantage.

She was going to need it. She had only just finished taunting the stallion, when Soarin' righted himself, zeroing in on the cyan filly. The quick reaction took Rainbow by surprise, cutting her victory short. Instead, she felt the stallion's determined gaze upon her. Somehow, someway, she could almost feel his bemused grin.

Catch me if you can. Rainbow thought to herself.

The Wonderbolt slowly began to gain on her as the two shot like bullets across the sky. Just the thought of Soarin' in pursuit put a smile to Dash's face, barely suppressing a foalish laugh. Come on Rainbow, what's gotten into you? You can't be acting all softy! Not when- oh ponyfeathers!

From the corner of her eye, Rainbow caught what appeared to Equestria's fastest cloud. However, at the last second, she caught a glimpse of Soarin's blue tail whipping in the wind, just as the stallion thrust the cloud right into her flight path.

“Gah!”

Rainbow impacted the modest cloud, the vapor dissipating around her. Shaking her head, she could make out the stallion gleefully blowing a raspberry at her as he made for a much closer mountaintop.

Rainbow tore after the Wonderbolt in a flash. Playing dirty huh? Two can play that game!

Now much closer to the ancient mountain, Soarin' and Rainbow Dash entered the massive cloud complex that seemed to perpetually circle Pegasi Peak. So dense were the clouds around the mountaintop that it was more like a labyrinth of tunnels that twisted and snaked about. Few pegasi knew about the complex, and far fewer knew how to navigate it, save for one prismatic mare.

Purposefully lagging behind the Wonderbolt, Rainbow broke away her pursuit as the stallion entered one of the many cloud-tunnels. Remaining just outside the cloud formations, Rainbow smirked to herself. You're in my backyard now Soarin'.

Banking hard to the left, Rainbow increased her speed as she hugged the outer shell of the cloud tunnel. She would have to be especially quick if she wanted to return the favor.


Soarin' barreled down the surprisingly darkened cloud tunnel. He hadn't exactly planned on finding himself in a twisting passage way, but then the whole series of events that had unraveled from moments ago could hardly have been called a well thought out course of action. And in reality, he had no one to blame but himself. Not that I'm really complaining. The stallion thought, thinking back on his earlier stunt that had kicked off the impromptu race.

Nevertheless, Soarin' was admittedly at a disadvantage. With Rainbow gone from his sight once more and the stallion forced to stay on his wingtips as he navigated the treacherous passage, Soarin' felt slightly on edge. The small channel suddenly took a nosedive as the Wonderbolt barely avoided colliding with the ceiling.

“Come on Soarin', stay focused. Rainbow's not going to give an inch.”

Twisting and banking, the pegasus stallion deftly continued to maneuver the challenging maze. But his focus was wavering. Something, like the presences from before, flitted just outside his mind. Ugh. Again? Despite his agitation, Soarin noted that it had a sense of familiarity to it, a certain aggressive personality and spunk that Soarin' swore he knew from somewhere. It even felt as if it were flying with him, just outside his mind.

A sudden rise in the cloud tunnel took the stallion by surprise. Flourishing his wings about, the Wonderbolt pushed against his own momentum, vainly trying to avoid a crash. But under his own power, and the speed that he was currently going, he knew he wasn't going to make it. Despite his own admission, Soarin' fought against the outcome. At the last possible second, when the stallion was bracing for the inevitable, Soarin' shot upward with a new kind of power. A high pitched laughter seemed to resonate just beyond his ears, ringing with a distinctive crack as Soarin' swore he felt a second pair of wings bolster his own.

Though this new activity was startling, Soarin' didn't have time to ponder, more thankful that he hadn't repeated his crash from the previous day. Instead the stallion found himself leveling out from the constant jerking and zigzagging of the tunnel, a solitary beam of light flitting across his muzzle as the end of the tunnel presented itself.

“Finally!”

So focused was the stallion on his escape, that he almost missed the return of his would be rescuer from moments before. Only this time, there was no angelic support. Rather, Soarin' only felt a sly aura fall over him.

“Oh, this can't be good.” Soarin' muttered to himself, groaning.

Feeling like he was destined for some kind of trap, the Wonderbolt nevertheless pushed himself harder to reach the end of the tunnel.


Rainbow hovered as quietly as she could, her back alongside one of the many cloud-tunnel exits. A sly grin spread across her face, as the filly waited patiently. Though she couldn't hear him yet, Rainbow felt the stallion more acutely now, her own aura more attuned to the stallion's distinctive own. Perhaps it should have frightened the prismatic mare how much she could control this new found ability, or what greater implications it had, but in the heat of moment, she didn't care.

And besides, there's payback to be made.

The echo of flapping wings bellowed out of the tunnel, startling Rainbow slightly. But it did little to dampen the mare's plan. Instead, Rainbow found herself stifling a foalish laughter, such was her excitement.

Several seconds passed as Dash pushed herself a few hoof steps away from the cloud side of the cloud tunnel. Eyes closed, she continued to feel Soarin', his pace quickening as she felt his own aura searching her out. She couldn't help but grin. The fact that the stallion knew something was coming, but not exactly only made the payback that much sweeter.

Soarin' was very close now, his wing beats echo louder through the tunnel.

And in three...two...one, now!

Rainbow locked her hind legs back and bucked the cloud wall in one solid motion, a wall of cloud cascading inward to the tunnel, and directly into Soarin's path.

There was a muffled 'what the buc-!' followed by the sound of a pegasus impacting the soft blockage at the exit of the tunnel.

Rainbow Dash erupted into laughter, barely able to stay in the air. “How's it taste Soarin', to get a dose of your own medicine?”

Dash continued to laugh, as the stallion's head finally surfaced from the collapsed cloud tunnel.

Rainbow took a moment to gaze at the Wonderbolt's peculiar situation, then burst into laughter once more.

Soarin' simply stared up at the giggling filly. Her laughter filled his ears as realization suddenly dawned on him. So that's where it came from. A knowing grin settled on the stallion as his own aura finally zeroed in on the cyan mare.

Rainbow wiped a tear from her eye. Somewhat more settled, she looked down at the trapped pony. Or at least, had been trapped.

Soarin' climbed to his hooves finally pulling himself from the wreckage of stone-cloud. A delightfully aggressive smile beamed across the stallion's face as he looked up at the prismatic mare, readying his wings.

“You better fly, filly.”

“Ha!” Rainbow started to involuntarily giggle again, blasting off toward the mountaintop before the flutter in her chest could get the better of her. Settling more into her usual focus, she tried to straighten out . Come on Rainbow, since when do you act all mushy? Seriously! What gives? You're not some wimpy mare like Rarity!

Unfortunately, more pressing circumstances seemed to take hold. Soarin' was once again gaining on her, as the two now descended into the snow capped ridges and valleys of Pegasi Peak.

Even in the middle of summer the mountaintop was a treacherous place. Blizzard winds whipped through the steep gorges, pelting unwary travelers with sleet, hail and snow. And even in the rare absence of a snow storm, there was always the risk of an avalanche from tons of snow that piled high upon the rocky titan.

For two racing pegasi, such dangers were an afterthought.

Dash barreled down into the first narrow gorge that presented itself. In here the winds were much more vicious, whipping around the corners with gale force. Coupled with the tight passageway and hairpin turns, Dash was having difficulty maintaining control.

Easy there Rainbow. Just gotta lose Soarin'. The cyan mare laughed inwardly. Heh. Easier said than done.

Dash's words were more true than she may have realized. Soarin' was only a few seconds behind, matching Rainbow turn for turn and dodge for dodge.

The stallion gritted his, eyes squinting against the sting of the wintery winds. Holy Archons this is crazy! Soarin' thought, pulling into a dangerously tight turn to gain on the stunt mare.

Up ahead, Rainbow continued to lead Soarin' through the gorge.

Tartarus he's fast! Rainbow made a quick glance over shoulder, just as Soarin' barreled around the corner like a sling shot. He was gaining on her slowly, only a few wing strokes behind. Grimacing, Rainbow set her jaw as her wings pushed her into narrow straightaway. Come on Rainbow, gotta pull something new!

Up ahead she got her answer. The gorge was becoming increasingly more narrow. Eventually the two walls came together to form a dangerously scant crevice that was covered in a think layer of ice.

Frowning, Rainbow Dash glanced up above the narrow passage. Clouds hung just above the crevice, obscuring where the gorge came together.

Perfect.

Pacing her flight, but not so much that Soarin' would catch her, Rainbow purposefully remained low. She tucked her hooves in close, just barely avoiding the jagged rocks and sharps icicles that jutted forth from the bottom of the steep basin.

Soarin' shadowed Dash lower into the gorge, straining to avoid the frozen spikes that threatened to clip his hooves. What is she do-? The Wonderbolt suddenly took note of the narrowing canyon, with the massive cliff face rising up to meet them.

Grinning smugly to herself, Rainbow gauged the approaching stone wall. Lets see how agile you are Soarin'. And ready... Go!

Taking a slight dip downward the cyan propelled herself upward sharply, and into a roll, barely clearing the crest of the cliff face.

Soarin' eyes bugged in disbelief as the mare disappeared into the hazy clouds above. With no time to move, the less agile stallion did the only thing he could. Putting on a final heavy thrust for a modest gain in altitude, the stallion tucked his wings in tight.

This is going to be rough. The stallion thought glumly.

Thrusting his hooves outward, Soarin' made his body a slim as he could, and braced for the inevitably jarring impact.

Rainbow raced through the cloud, bursting out on the other side. “Ha! There's no way he made it over-”

The bursting of cracking ice cut through the windswept air, shaking the landscape. Looking over her shoulder Rainbow caught a glimpse of Soarin' as he pummeled through the ice, his body somehow maintaining his absurd velocity. Losing control, the stallion violently cut into the side of the gorge, tremors rocking the surrounding area.

“Soar-!” Dash started to exclaim, but was again cut short by the gut wrenching rumble of the mountain around her.

Terror filled Rainbow eyes as looked toward the top of Pegasi Peak. Rock and snow rumbled near Soarin's impact, steadily cascading down the side of the mountain, intent on filling the gorge in a hail of suffocating snow and ballistic rock.

Pulling as hard as she could, Dash vaulted up and over, somersaulting back to where Soarin' had crashed. She frantically looked about, fully aware that she would be crushed if she remained in the gorge.

“Soarin'!” Rainbow called out against the wind and the angry rumble of the avalanche.

Abject terror and pumping adrenaline filled filly as she darted this way and that, dodging the small rocks that were just a prelude to full fury of the avalanche.

“Soarin! Where are you?! SOARIN'!”

A slight tingle, sprung to life in the back of her mind. A split second later a light blue blur shot from below, blindsiding the cyan mare, just as a massive boulder crashed downward, directly where she would have been moments ago.

Shooting upward, Soarin' pulled into a sharp turn, just behind the confused mare. “Rainbow! FLY!”

All she heard was his voice, but it was all Dash needed. Pushing her wings onward in the flight of her life, the pegasus took in the catastrophe before as she streaked ahead.

The massive cliff faces on either side of the gorge shook violently, heavy boulders and waves of snow pouring into the canyon. Already Soarin's point of impact was filled, the snow and rock racing alongside each side of the gorge, filling it at a terrifying rate. Unfortunately for the two pegasi, they were trapped in the massive trench, compelled to race forward in a gauntlet by the raining of rock and snow overhead.

It was now a race against the mountain.

Soarin' dodged his way along side Dash, the cyan mare barely avoiding her own stone adversaries as the missiles crashed down toward her.

“-inbow!”

Dash jerked her head toward Soarin', barely able to make out the stallion against the roar of the mountain.

The Wonderbolt pointed fiercely ahead.

Eyes forward, Dash made out what appeared to be a small cave against the side of the gorge, the entrance protected by an overhang on the edge of the cliff.

The cyan mare nodded mutely to the Wonderbolt, both pegasi zeroing in on their one shot to make it out alive.

They were only a few hundred hooves out from the small alcove, as both pegasi banked toward the left.

We got this. We're going to make it. Dash drummed through her mind.

The mountain seemed to believe otherwise. A massive crack resonated through the air, a singularly violent tremor racing through the mountain. As if on cue, an enormous boulder broke away from the side of the mountain, thundering down toward the pegasi.

Both pegasi continued to fly unaware. Only a few hoof steps away, Rainbow ears perked up as she glanced overhead. Time seemed to slow as the boulder bounded off the ledge, fully intent on crushing the pegasi.

A single word flashed through Rainbow's mind. No!

In an agonizingly long second Dash turned to Soarin'. The stallion's eyes went wides as he saw the boulder rolling toward them. Locking eyes with the stallion, Rainbow banked hard to the left ramming the Wonderbolt, pushing him into cave. A split second later the massive rock collapsed on the mare, burying her in the snow.

Soarin' rolled several times as he impacted the ground at high speed, finally coming to a painful stop against a wall of ice.

“Rrrgh...” Soarin' groaned, trying to push himself to his hooves.

“R-Rain... Rainbow!” The stallion stuttered, swaying about as he tried to gallop to the edge of the cave. Images of Rainbow Dash trapped under the snow pulled Soarin' from his stupor, as the stallion skidded to a halt at the exit.

“Archon's spit! Rainbow! Can you hear me!” The stallion madly dug his hooves at the snow, ignoring the gashes that were already there. A terrible fear snaked through the stallion as he continued to clear away the snow, his hooves shaking.

“Rainbow, answer me damnit!”

Desperation coursed through the Wonderbolt. Still clawing away through the ice and snow, Soarin' could feel the ethereal tether flail about, madly searching about. There was an absence from before, he could feel it. No longer could he feel the aggressive and angelic presence. No longer could he feel the comforting smile that had watched over him. No longer did he feel Rainbow Dash.

No, Rainbow. You're still there. YOU'RE STILL THERE! The Wonderbolt screamed internally, still digging with wild abandon. His aura suddenly felt weak, incomplete. The connection started to fade.

Soarin' slowed, finally coming to a stop. Dropping to his haunches, the stallion stared ahead, wings splayed outward without regard. No...

The wind howled through the mountain forlornly, the only sound that could be heard.

Soarin' bowed his head in silence. Rainbow Dash. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry...

A monumental tug pulled in the stallion's mind. His aura flared as the Wonderbolt felt the magical connection roar to life excitedly. The renewed power seemed to guide his eyes, settling on a red tuft jutting from the snow.

Soarin' felt his heart jump in his chest.

“Dash!” The stallion scrambled to his hooves, rushing forward.

With renewed strength Soarin' cleared away the snow and rubble. Rainbow Dash lay just outside the impact of the boulder, unconscious.

“Rainbow! I've got you! I've got you!” The stallion babbled between gasps.

Gingerly he lifted the delicate mare from the snow. Beyond several deeps gashes and bruises, the cyan filly seemed amazingly unharmed. Despite this, she was still unconscious.

Sitting down, Soarin' rested Dash against his side, draping a protective wing around the smaller mare. Rainbow's head lay limply against the stallion, her eyes still closed. “Come on Rainbow, wake up! I've got you, you're okay!” The stallion nearly cried. “Please, wake up!”

Holding her close, Soarin' felt for magical bond that connected the two pegasi. It was there. But Rainbow was weak, her aura barely vibrating with the strength and confidence that Soarin' had come to know.

“No way you're backing out now Rainbow Dash.” Soarin' said firmly, gazing down at the stunt mare. “No way you're leaving after all you've done. Not when I've only just gotten to know you.”

The ethereal connection seemed to tighten. Still holding the filly close, Soarin' could feel his aura ignite, his own power, his own warmth traveling to the weakened filly. The stallion could barely contain his excitement as he felt himself strengthen Rainbow. Her aura pulsed. Once. Twice. Three times.

Less than a second later her aura exploded, filling the cold and darkened cave with the strength that Soarin' had so sorely missed.

Immediately Rainbow Dash's eyes shot open. Gasping for breath shakily, the filly desperately grasped at Soarin'. The stallion held her close, a wave of relief washing over him.

Thank the Archon! The Wonderbolt thought thankfully. “I've got you Dash. You're okay... you're okay.”

Dash shivered violently, as Soarin' continued to hold the still very shocked mare. She coughed as her breath still came in gasps. For a minute the two simply remained silent, Dash clinging to the Wonderbolt as her body involuntarily shook.

Soarin' could feel Dash's heartbeat slowly return to normal. Gradually her rattled breaths evened out, becoming more steady.

Feeling the mare move, Soarin' let go, letting the shaken mare get to her hooves.

“Are you okay?”

“Um, yeah, I think so.” Rainbow replied shakily, avoiding the stallion's gaze.

Despite looking away, Soarin' could make out slightly reddened eyes, accompanied by a gentle blush.

“Right. Well.” Rainbow huffed in a sudden agitation, putting some distance between herself and the Wonderbolt. “What happened?”

“That boulder,” Soarin' motioned to the large rock that blocked the entrance of the cave “nearly crushed us. In fact I'm pretty sure that thing landed on top of you. There's no way you...” Soarin' faltered for a moment; his words had nearly been a reality only seconds ago. “There's no way you should have survived that.”

Dash remained silent, but her wide eyed appearance and violent shudder spoke for her. Slowly she turned, staring at where her body had been moments before.

“Yeah... I don't know how... I felt this massive weight suddenly pushing down on me, but I didn't actually feel anything touch me. Really... weird.”

Rainbow looked once more to the large stone, a muted stare on her face. Suddenly she perked up, turning toward the stallion.

“You're not hurt either?”

Realization spread across Soarin's face as he glanced about his body. Aside from a collection of bruises and several cuts, the Wonderbolt was largely unharmed. “Yeah, I guess I already forgot about that. Breaking through the ice and ramming into the wall of the gorge... it's just like you said. I didn't actually feel the impact, just all the grinding. Some kind of... barrier?” The stallion looked to Dash quizzically.

“I don't know. But...” Rainbow paused, seeming to measure her words carefully. “I think I know what might be causing it.”

Soarin's ears twitched up, noting the heavy tone in Rainbow's words. “Like a kind of magic around you?” Soarin' replied, matching Rainbow's statement.

“That you can feel another through, their strength...” Rainbow trailed off, anticipating Soarin's reply.

“Like a presence watching over you.” The stallion grinned, shooting a charismatic grin to the filly. “Like the one that saved me in the tunnel.” Soarin' thought aloud. “It was you, wasn't it?”

Dash smirked, even as the confirmation rushed through her in a tingling sensation. “I felt you too. Right before you blasted me with that cyclone.”

Soarin' grinned sheepishly. “Yeah, sorry about that.” However, a more somber expression overtook the stallion. “So, that means you've felt it too then right? The tension, like-”

“There's something in the back of your mind? Yeah. It's been driving me crazy for the past few weeks. Up until recently, actually.” A thoughtful look overcame Rainbow Dash. “Like right now. It uh, it kind of goes away whenever I'm around you.” Dash admitted awkwardly.

“But its been more than that too.” Rainbow continued. “I've had these, these vision like nightmare things.” The athletic mare paused for a moment, gauging Soarin's reaction. The stallion seemed to hang on Rainbow's words, almost expectantly so. “Almost every time, it's had to do with the Twin Storms.”

“Then, did you talk to somepony? A ghost?”

Rainbow took a deep breath before answering. “Yeah. If a dead pegasus from thousands of years ago talking to you through a book counts.”

Soarin' blanched. “Wow.” The stallion paused for a moment. “At least you didn't have to get into a fight with yours.”

“What?” Rainbow exclaimed in disbelief, staring at the Wonderbolt.

“Er, yeah. Long story short; that little flight I had over Ponyville.”

A heavy silence settled between the two pegasi, the weight of the situation laying thick in the air.

“He will return.” Rainbow quoted quietly, staring ahead sullenly. She looked up toward Soarin'. “Lightning Streak said that. And the storms will come too.”

“Commander Hurricane told me to find two others, and something about saving some kind of legacy.” The Wonderbolt regarded Rainbow Dash with a weak smile. “Guess I can check part of that off.”

Dash ignored the remark, a more frustrated expression overtaking her. “What do we do? Up till now this whole thing has been one big nightmare.”

Soarin' sighed. “We need to sort all this out. I promised Spitfire I would tell her what's been going on these past few days. We can pool what info we have and go from there. Though its only the two of us right now; we still need to find the third pony.”

Rainbow's mind lit up like lightning, Scootaloo immediately coming to mind. No. It still might not be her. She thought hopefully.

“Yeah. But I think we're getting a little ahead of ourselves. If you haven't noticed, we're still stuck in this cave.” Dash replied, gesturing to their stony prison.

“Actually, it looks more like a tunnel.” Soarin' replied, turning toward the darkened rear of the cave.

True enough, far to the back of the cave was the small outline of a tunnel, a cold but gentle breeze breathing forth across the two pegasi.

“Well, we're not getting anywhere just standing around.” Rainbow announced. “Let's see where this thing goes.”

Still somewhat unsteady, Rainbow sauntered past Soarin' toward the rear of the cave. However, despite Dash's bold proclamation, her legs seemed to have other ideas.

Without any indication, Rainbow's legs began to violently shake. “Ah!” The prismatic mare squeaked in surprise as her legs suddenly gave out from underneath her.

Only a hoof step away, Soarin' jumped forward to catch the falling mare, gently propping her up.

“You're still in shock Rainbow. You need to take it easy.”

Rainbow growled in frustration. “Fine. But don't think I'm some damsel in distress or something, got it? I can handle myself.” The stunt mare stated resolutely. “Usually.”

“Perish the thought.” Soarin' replied, an involuntary smile spreading across his face.

In spite of her stubbornness, Rainbow opted to accept Soarin's assistance, if only grudgingly so. With a wing draped over his back, the two pegasi moved toward the tunnel, Soarin' moving slowly for the injured mare.

Rainbow flashed an irritated, if not flushed face toward the stallion. “Not a word to anypony about me being all filly like, got it?”

Soarin' suppressed the urge to laugh. “I promise. Not a word.”

Sighing gratefully, Rainbow took the moment to relax somewhat, resting a little more so against Soarin' as the two continued to walk.

“Stupid legs.” Dash muttered to herself, glancing at her traitorous limbs.

Soarin' simply chuckled lightly to himself.

The two moved in silence through the twisting passage. After what seemed like hours the two battered pegasi came across a massive cavern, nestled within the center of the mountain peak. Streams of light light found their way into the vast subterranean area, peering down from large crevices above. Tiny snowflakes gently cascaded down in the beams of light, helping to illuminate the icy cavern in an almost ethereal glow.

Both pegasi stood in awe of the quiet and still majesty of the shimmering cavern. For a time neither spoke, simply content to admire the vast expanse before them. The cavern seemed to go on forever, sparkling ice lining the grand heights of the subterranean expanse.

“Wow.” Rainbow said silently, her voice in perfect clarity against the backdrop of Pegasi Peak's hidden beauty. Though she had never considered herself a cultured pony like her friend Rarity, Rainbow Dash couldn't help but marvel at the display before her.

“No kidding.” Soarin' added, himself starstruck, peering about the titanic cave. “But at least we've found a way out.” The stallion added, squinting at the light the streaked down from large crevice above.

“Hold on.” Rainbow cut in, stepping forward. “Something feels different. Don't you feel it?”

Soarin' frowned for a moment. “I don't feel anything. What are you-”

“No, not like that.” Rainbow cut off the Wonderbolt. “Like before. Its almost like I can feel other pegasi here. Like when I felt you before.”

Soarin' nodded silently. Closing his eyes, the stallion attempted to tap into his new found power, feeling for the magical aura that had affected him so many times before. Reaching out, the stallion suddenly felt what Dash was talking about. Besides the powerful aura of the mare beside him, Soarin' could make out the dim ambiance of pegasi nearby, despite the duo being the only ponies in the cavern.

“Whoa.” Soarin' said after several seconds, taking some time to assure himself of Rainbow's claim. “But that doesn't make any sense.” The stallion turned to his fellow pegasi, a confused look on his face. “We're the only ones here.”

“Guess we better take a look around.” Rainbow grinned. “That's what Daring Do would do.”

Somewhat surprised by Rainbow's comment, Soarin' trotted ahead to catch up to the eager mare as she made her way across the bottom of the ice covered cavern.

“It's weird. I've felt something similar to this before.” Rainbow said off hoof, still trotting ahead. “Like there are pegasi all around us, but we can't see them.”

Soarin' shivered slightly, suddenly aware of the spooky feelings Rainbow was talking about. Any yet, despite the unnerving feeling of dozens of pegasi around him, the Wonderbolt felt one aura stand out above the rest. The signature was unmistakable.

“I feel them.” Soarin' said shakily, twisting his head about the cavern in paranoia. “But there's something else too. Something stronger. It's Commander Hurricane.”

“Lightning Streak.” Rainbow said flatly, coming to a stop astride of Soarin'. “You're right. I can feel her more than the rest. But why her, and why here?” Rainbow asked rhetorically, bringing a hoof to her muzzle. “Any ideas?”

Now both in the center of the hollowed cavern, Soarin' turned to the rainbow mare. “Well, there are a lot of legends about Pegasi Peak. Supposedly this is where Commander Hurricane and the remaining pegasi initially made their home after leaving Skythus."

“Yeah, but that's just it. That stuff is just a bunch of myths. Stories.”

“Yeah...” Soarin' said thoughtfully, the image of violently amethyst colored eyes coming to mind. “Stories.”

“Well, thinking about it isn't going to get us any answers. Come on Soarin'!” Rainbow called to her companion, clearly impatient.

For a time the two pegasi continued to move forward through the cavern. Yet, as they progressed, the air around them seemed to become thicker, the sensations of nearby pegasi intensifying. Both Soarin' and Rainbow's ears twitched slightly, suddenly aware of the distant whispers that seemed to travel amongst the gentle fall of the snow flakes around them. As if this sudden change was not enough, both pegasi were further enticed by the strengthening presence of their respective herald.

“Hey what's that?” Soarin' pointed ahead. “Just over there. It's looks like something in the cave wall.”

Looking ahead to where Soarin' had gestured, Rainbow took in the view before her. Illuminated by easily the largest beam of light in the cavern, was what appeared to be a raised platform of stone that jutted out from the cave wall. The massive dais easily scaled half the height of the cavern, so much so that neither pegasus could make out what was at the top. At first glance it appeared to be a coincidentally natural formation from years of erosion. But as the two pegasi continued to trek forward, closer inspection proved otherwise.

“These are... stairs?” Rainbow said aloud, stopping at the base of the stairway.

Soarin' peered down at the steps. “Hewn right out of the rock.”

“Oh man, this is just like out of a Daring Do story!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed excitedly.

“Well this is Pegasi Peak. This is where the pegasi first made their home when they made it to Equestria.”

“Geeze Soarin', I didn't know you where such an egghead.” Dash teased, laughingly lightly.

However, the stallion seemed to take no notice, a thoughtful look on his face. “And actually, that would explain a lot. Like why we're feeling these-”

A sudden gust of chilling air blew by the two pegasi, whipping about large cavern. Caught in the abrupt and noiseless wind, the gentle falling of snow flakes swirled throughout. Both pegasi shivered, but it was not the chill in the air that they felt. Whispers traveled amongst the wind, hundreds of half voices calling out at random.

“It's getting stronger.” Soarin' spoke up, failing to suppress the fearful quiver in his voice. “Commander Hurricane... he's here, somehow.”

“Y-yeah. S-same here.” Rainbow chattered, involuntarily scooting closer the Wonderbolt next to her.

“Come on. Whatever this place is, it's got be important. Can you fly?”

Rainbow gingerly extended her wings. “Ow. Yeah, I don't think so.”

Soarin' cringed slightly as he attempted to spread out his wings. “Me neither. Looks like we've got a bit of a climb.”

Dash nodded quickly, falling in step next to the stallion as the two slowly made their way up the icy steps. Darkness enveloped the two pegasi as they climbed, forcing the two to remain close for fear of falling from the treacherous heights. As the pair continued to climb, the swirling of echoing whispers began to fade, and with it the bone chilling wind. The unnatural stillness from before returned, further punctuated by the sightless ascent.

Though the ghostly whispers had faded behind the two trapped pegasi, Soarin' still felt on edge. Thank the Archon for the dark. Soarin' thought. I don't need Rainbow thinking I'm some kind of little colt. However at the thought of the prismatic mare to his side, Soarin' realized how awkwardly silent it had been between the two, only the sound of their hooves echoing throughout the cavern. Maybe I could think of something to say if I didn't feel so rattled. The Wonderbolt pondered. Hmm. Unless...

Keeping pace with the Wonderbolt beside her, Rainbow couldn't help but shiver slightly. Though she had more or less composed herself at the base of the stairs, the sudden return of the ethereal whispers frightened her. Painful memories from the first time she had heard the voices of screaming pegasi streaked through her mind. Thankfully the whispers had remained amongst the winds of the cavern floor bringing some measure of relief to the mare. And though she'd never admit it aloud, having Soarin' nearby had helped ease her still shaken nerves somewhat. Thank Celestia no one can read my mind. Rarity would never let me live it down.

Rainbow gazed ahead, taking note of the small streams of light that began to hazily light their ascent. Though, this is whole thing is still pretty cool. It's like I'm in a Daring Do stor-

Dash froze. Her aura flared momentarily, as Rainbow felt something brush along her strength, channeling it outward. However, it suddenly subsided, as if the intrusion was anything but.

“What in the-” Dash started to exclaim. But her aura again surprised her. Rather than the dormant state that it seemed to stay at, the ethereal power guarding her now almost seemed, happy? Since when does this thing have a mind of its own? Rainbow pondered. It was almost as if it were enjoying the company of another, pulling on Rainbow's own emotions. Which could only mean...

Rainbow's aura gleefully flared again, feeling her own power once again channeling outward.

“Soarin'!” Rainbow exclaimed, calling out in the darkness to the stallion next to her. “What are you doing?!”

The Wonderbolt cringed. Busted. He could feel Dash's wings fidget slightly as his aura brushed against her own.

“Ah, er...” Soarin' stuttered. Despite the darkness, the stallion could feel Rainbow's rose colored eyes boring into him. “Sorry about that Rainbow. I was just trying to ah, relax a bit, so... I uh, just figured I'd try this new ability we got, and uh...”

“You figured you'd play a game of hoofsie with it?!” Rainbow accused the stallion, failing to keep just a hint of laughter from her voice.

Ah ponyfeathers. One heck of a way to break the ice Soarin'. The Wonderbolt thought glumly.

“No, no, no!” Soarin' stammered, trying to dig himself out a deepening hole. “I was just trying to relax, since this magic thing we've got going-”

“Oh, so we've got something going on huh?” Rainbow accused again, grinning. It really was a shame that she couldn't see the expression on the poor stallion's face.

Soarin's mind went numb for a split second. “What?! No! I mean, not like that!” The stallion sighed. “Look I'm sorry. I won't do it without asking again. It just seems important that we practice these new abilities we have.”

“If you say so pal.” Rainbow commented lightly, a playful grin on her face. “But I've got my eyes on you.”

Soarin' was about to reply when his own aura practically jumped out and around him. It was a blow for sure that had hit him, but it held a certain playful attitude about it. The resulting surge of emotion said the rest.

“Hey!” Soarin' exclaimed, turning on the mare beside him, his wing flaring open against Dash “What was that?!”

Though he couldn't see, the Wonderbolt swore he could feel Rainbow's sly smirk upon him.

“Oh, that?” Rainbow replied innocently. “Practice.”

The stallion grinned. “Okay, okay, very funny.”

For a time the silence returned between the two pegasi, but without the awkward tension from before.

Rainbow smiled to herself. Maybe she was acting a little filly-like. But if there was ever a time for it to happen, it might as well have been now. Trapped in an ancient mountain cave with one of the Wonderbolts and the undeniable chance at action and adventure further ahead? It wasn't a mare's typical romance, but then again, Rainbow Dash was hardly the typical mare. I'm practically Daring Do already. Rainbow laughed lightly to herself.

“So, you know a little bit about this place, huh Soarin'?” Rainbow asked the stallion, finally able to see the Wonderbolt within the growing light.

“Yeah I guess you could say that. I've always been a bit of a history buff. Pegasi history to be exact.”

“Wow. I was only joking before, but you really are an egghead.” Rainbow teased.

“Well, I know that Daring Do would take my side.”

Rainbow Dash frowned. Soarin' was clearly playing the wrong game. Rainbow liked to think that she knew Daring Do personally, despite Twilight's talk of 'fictional characters'. There was no way Daring would pick Soarin over her, even if he was a Wonderbolt.

“Really?” The mare challenged in a disbelieving tone. “How do you know she would?”

“Well, for starters,” Soarin' began, a smug look on his face. “Daring Do took an extensive amount of time to research the history of the Hidden Temple of the Griffins in order to find the Emperor's Scepter. And then there was the time she had to decipher the dead language of the Lost Unicorn Tribe to escape the Eternal Cage. Or even when she had follow in the hoofsteps of Commander Hurricane to find the ancient capitol of the ancestor pegasi, Skythus.”

The dumbfounded mare's mouth hung agape, as Rainbow's mind struggled to process what she had just heard.

“You're a fan of Daring Do?! You read Daring Do!?”

Soarin' smiled slyly. “What gave it away?”

“That is entirely too awesome. A Wonderbolt that's into Daring Do like me!” Rainbow nearly squealed in delight. “I take back what I said before about you being an egghead. But, just so we're clear, Daring would still totally team up with me.”

Soarin' laughed. “If you say so Rainbow.”

The two pegasi continued to climb the stony heights of the cavern. The glow from the pillar of light beckoned them forward, growing with every step.

“So.” Rainbow suddenly quipped, turning to Soarin'. “Which is your favorite book?”


Several debates later, the two pegasi neared the summit of the rocky plateau.

“No way.” Dash shook her head dismissively. “No way Daring would do something like that. She'd out smart those Griffins in a heartbeat.”

“Sorry Rainbow, better take a rain check on this one. We're almost at the top.”

Sure enough, the two pegasi had finally scaled the rocky steps. Like the rest of the cavern, the scene was of utter stillness. But where the icy floor was a darkened abyss, the top of the stone table was bathed in a gentle column of light. Sparkling flakes of snow floated down in the light, further spreading the light throughout the mesa.

“Wow.” Soarin' commented softly, slowly crossing into the light.

“Uh, yeah.” Rainbow added without interest. “But there's nothing up here.”

Soarin' pulled his eyes away from the golden rays. True enough, there was nothing before the two pegasi, right up until the stone floor met the cave wall. Only the untouched layer of snow blanketed the area.

“Maybe. Let's take a look around.”

Separating, both pegasi began to circle around the seemingly empty plateau, hoof tracks trailing behind them. But it was a fruitless endeavor. Even the stone wall at the far end of the stony mount failed to provide any clues.

“Ponyfeathers.” Rainbow swore, turning from the rock wall. “All that build up and no payoff.”

“You find anything?” Soarin' called from afar, walking toward the center of the platform.

“Nothing.” Dash replied, making her way to meet the stallion.

“It just doesn't make any sense. This place has to mean something. Why else would have heard all those voic- whoa!”

Soarin' suddenly tripped, falling flat on his face.

Rainbow stifled a chuckle as she reached the embarrassed stallion. “Geeze Soarin', I thought Wonderbolts were supposed to be graceful.” Dash peeked her head down in front of the stallion. “You okay?”

Soarin' stared at the mare flatly, and proceeded to blow a puff of snow in Dash's face.

“Gah!” Rainbow sputtered, flailing backward.

The Wonderbolt got to his hooves smiling smugly. “I'm doing pretty good now, thank you.”

“Ugh.” Rainbow grimaced, rubbing snow from her nose. “Okay. I deserved that.”

Soarin' made no comment, instead turning to where he had fallen.

“Interesting.”

“Huh? What is it?” Rainbow peeked her head around stallion.

Right at Soarin's hooves and past the thin layer of snow was a clear incision in the stone. Evenly chiseled away at an angle, the cut went several inches into the rock.

“Too bad neither of us can fly. It would make things-”

The flourishing of wings cut off the Wonderbolt.

“Well would you look at that.” Rainbow commented lightly, inspecting her wings. “I'll just be sec.”

Soarin' immediately eased his wings to their fullest extent. Any sign of injury was gone. “Hm. Again with the rapidly recovery.” The stallion commented studiously.

Flying close to the ground, Dash zoomed about the plateau. A small blizzard followed a second later, blown about by the mare's wake. In no time at all, the area was cleared of snow, revealing the mystery underneath.

From the air Rainbow Dash took in the sight below her. The cut in the stone turned out to be a simple, but very large circle, taking up nearly two thirds of the stone table. Okay, that's something I guess. Still kinda a rip off though. Rainbow frowned.

The flapping of wings announced Rainbow's fellow pegasi, as Soarin' hovered alongside.

“Oh. Its a circle.” The stallion remarked disappointingly.

“Yeah, I hate to break it to ya Soarin', but I think this whole pegasi history stuff is a dud. I mean, isn't a lot of that stuff just supposed to be a legend?”

Soarin' frowned. “There has to be some reason for this. It's too deliberate. And it can't be a coincidence that its at Pegasi Peak.”

Both pegasi landed at the center of the circle.

“So what else do we do?”

Soarin' took one final look at the simple engraving. Sighing, the stallion turned to his companion.

“Go home I guess. I'm all out of ideas.”

“Sounds good to me. Being underground this long is-”

An icy howl, louder and stronger than either had experienced before, barreled past the two pegasi.

“Whoa!” Soarin' exclaimed. The Wonderbolt was driven backward, his wings caught in the forceful wind. Years of storm flight training kicked in, saving the stallion from being cast off the edge of the cliff.

Rainbow found herself caught in a whirlwind of snow and ice, carrying her up above the stony platform. “What...the...hay?!” The athletic mare grimaced, urging her already worn wings against the freak squall.

Then, as quickly as it came, the violent gust subsided, dissolving in the rest of the cavern.

Soarin' slowly rose to his hooves. “What in Tartarus was that?!”

On the other side of the platform, Rainbow lay on her backside after being unceremoniously dumped out of the air. Rolling to her side, the mare clamored to her hooves. “I have no idea. But what I do know is that this place is nuts!”

“Yeah, lets get outta here.”

The blue stallion started to walk toward the other side of the mountaintop, but froze when his eyes went to the stone floor.

Where the plateau had before been cleared by Rainbow Dash, it now had three perfectly laid stripes of snow. Running parallel to one another, the outside two converged with the center, which ran all the way to the staircase. On the other end, the snow paths stopped at a dead end in the center of the circle.

Rainbow caught sight of the unnerving spectacle as well, her eyes flitting between Soarin' and the phenomena before them.

Without warning, Dash's aura erupted, a powerful sensation overtaking the mare. “Soarin'!” Rainbow called out. “I can feel her. Lightning Streak.”

No sooner had the prismatic mare finished speaking, then Soarin' found his own aura engaged, the steely presence of Commander Hurricane upon him.

“Yeah. I can feel Commander Hurricane too. It's... a lot stronger than before.”

Both stood in rigid anticipation. They didn't have to wait long.

The clopping of hooves cut through the tension like a knife. Both Rainbow and Soarin' remained still, the stark sound of hooves ascending the stony mount echoing louder. The 'steps' reached the top. But there was no pony to fill them. Rainbow Dash and Soarin' simply stared as three sets of hoof prints walked across the snowy carpet. Which each step, the echoing aura of Commander Hurricane, Lightning Streak, and a third unknown presence thundered around the awestruck pegasi. The trio stopped, halting at the end of the icy path. With this, the presences faltered, lowering to just a whisper upon the two explorers' consciousness'.

Soarin' flew over the path, a noticeable quickness in the beat of his wings. The stallion landed lightly next to Rainbow Dash.

“Is that, I mean, is that who I think it is?” Rainbow pointed to one of stationary tracks.

“I'm not sure. Only one way to find out.”

“Yeah.” The mare took a deep breath. “Let's do it.”

Shivering slightly, both pegasi closed their eyes. Their simmering auras calmly emerged, lightly bounding off one another. Rainbow had to resist the magnetic pull that her power seemed to have toward the stallion next to her. Likewise, Soarin' strained to keep his focus on the task at hand, his own aura twisting toward the mare next to him.

Both pegasi suddenly felt a tiny tap against their ethereal power, casting ripples about. Opening their eyes, the pair greeted the culprit. In the center of the circle and right at the end of the snow paths was what appeared to be a hovering orb. It was very still, yet the surface fluctuated and shifted as if it were made of water. And, much like water, the orb appeared semi transparent, a curiously gray haze swirling about within.

“That definitely takes the cake.” Rainbow mumbled, her eyes peeled on the hovering sphere.

The rainbow mare took a step forward, clearly intent on observing up close.

Soarin' nearly grabbed Dash by the tail. “Hold on Rainbow. I don't think we should get too close.”

“Oh come on Soarin'.” Rainbow challenged. “There's no way I'm passing this up after all we've been through. And besides, this thing is practically calling to us? Can't you feel it?”

“Yes...” Soarin admitted grudgingly. Commander Hurricane's presence seemed to spike every time the the orb rippled, the legendary pegasi's aura striking Soarin' like lightning bolts.

The stallion moved alongside the mare, hoping to persuade her otherwise. “But that's all the more reason to be suspicious.”

“Maybe for you. But I'm checking this thing out. Guess you'll just have to tag along if you're going to stick nearby me.” Rainbow replied suavely, winking at the Wonderbolt.

Soarin' rolled his eyes as he move alongside the adventurous filly. Fleetfoot did said something about 'manipulative mares'. Maybe he was onto something. The stallion thought glumly.

The two slowly began to circle the shimmering globe. Approaching the other side, both pegasi peered into the orb.

Simultaneously both Soarin' and Dash were overwhelmed by the unmistakable aura of the pegasi's greatest heroes. But this only served to reinforce the real shock that both explorers now beheld. Just beyond the veil of the smoky water stood the shimmering visage of Commander Hurricane and Lightning Streak, as if the two pegasi were standing just a few hooves away.

Both Rainbow Dash and Soarin' stood rigid, unable to tear their eyes from thousands of years that was only a step away. Commander Hurricane and Lightning Streak seemed to be flesh and blood, more real than either the cyan mare or the Wonderbolt had encountered up to that point.

“Soarin'.” Rainbow started, disbelief etched on her face. “Are you seeing this?”

“Y-yeah.”

The seconds ticked by as neither mare nor stallion could pull away from the image before them. Though they seemed real, both Commander Hurricane and Lightning Streak appeared frozen. Even the landscape behind them seemed to ignore passage of time, tiny flakes of snow suspended in the air.

Without warning Rainbow raised a hoof, moving forward to the liquid window as if in a daze.

“Rainbow! Wait!” Soarin' barely had time to exclaim.

Unfortunately the stallion was too late to restrain the mare. Dash's hoof barely grazed the floating orb, a gentle ripple rolling across it's surface. For a moment, the orb seemed to only oscillate, the small waves dissipating. The stony plateau was suddenly deathly quiet, the random howling of wind through the tunnels absent. Even the light seemed to be still.

Soarin' held his breath, transfixed in anticipation by the surreal object in front of him. Rainbow lowered her hoof mechanically, taking a step back next to the Wonderbolt. She too was tense, her eyes not once leaving the anomaly.

The last ripple crawled upon the watery window. Then all was still. No longer did the sphere gently hum. It appeared smooth like a marble. The inside continued to shift and flow about, but smoky haze was changing. Slowly the orb began to clear, steadily becoming transparent.

A moment later, Soarin' and Rainbow Dash beheld the whole form of Commander Hurricane and Lightning Streak.

Both ancient pegasi blinked.

The two explorers barely had time to breath as the sphere soundlessly expanded a hoof all around. Then again. And again.

“Soarin'! Run!”

Both pegasi turned to run, but the warning came too little too late. The orb exploded, the spherical wave enveloping Rainbow, Soarin' and the entire cave in the blink of an eye.

Rainbow stopped abruptly as she witnessed the wave overtake her and pass through the cave wall. She had expected water to come crashing down upon her. Instead the orb had passed through her like a rattling breath, instead bathing the world around her in shades of gray. Even her own coat and mane were bereft of color.

What in the hay is going on? Rainbow thought, inspecting her bland tinted coat. Looking to her left Rainbow found Soarin' seemed to be thinking the same, glancing about himself.

“Should I even say it?” Dash said aloud.

The Wonderbolt looked to the mare. “Uh, no I think we're good.”

“Is this really necessary?”

Both Soarin' and Rainbow Dash nearly jumped out of their skin, whirling about.

In the center of the stone table, Commander Hurricane and Lightning Streak stood aside of one another, garbed in armor and focusing intently on a large stone slab. The hazy outline of a pony stood in the third place next to the stallion commander, its identity shrouded by the wisps of gray smoke.

“Entirely.” Commander Hurricane replied flatly, not turning from the task before him.

Rainbow Dash and Soarin' stood very still. Neither of the two legendary pegasi before them had noticed their presence.

“I don't think they can hear us.” Soarin' dared to speak.

There was no reaction from Hurricane or Lightning Streak.

Rainbow leaped in air, flying directly in front of the ancient pegasi. She proceeded to shake a hoof in front of the pair's eyes, drawing no reaction from them.

“Looks like they can't see us either.” Rainbow called back.

Soarin' ignored Rainbow's impulsiveness, instead choosing to get closer to the two military heroes.

“I just don't see the need.” Lightning Streak announced again. “We won! The threat has been dealt with.”

“On the surface, yes.” Hurricane replied calmly, turning to his Lieutenant. “But I shouldn't have to remind you of the power of an Archon.”

A whisper suddenly emanated from the hazy visage, almost like a voice moving in and out of an echo.

“Yes, I do.” Commander Hurricane stated resolutely, regarding the smoky persona beside him.

“Sir, with all due respect, you need to let this go. What happened was a tragedy for sure. But you can't keep blaming yours-”

“I will blame myself!” Commander Hurricane suddenly shouted, rounding on the mare next to him. The large stallion glared for a moment at Lightning Streak, before composing himself. “Far too many and far too much was lost because of me. I will do everything in my power to prevent Typhonis from returning.”

Again the half words floated just outside Soarin' and Rainbow Dash's ability to hear, as Commander Hurricane once again turned to the haze beside him.

The larger stallion grimaced. “The Royal Sisters mean well. And I do truly believe that they will lead this new nation to prosperity. But there are some things that they are not and will not be equipped to deal with.”

The stallion returned to the slab in front of him, gazing at it solemnly. “As to your question of our own mortality, that is why we are here. To ensure that the future will be ready.”

Commander Hurricane rose a single hoof, drawing his distinctive dual bladed weapon. “Now come, focus your legacies. I will do the rest.”

Lightning Streak complied, closing her eyes. Her helm began to glow lightly, a collection of light emanating just above her brow.

A similar glow emanated from the center of the hazy figure, gathering in a similar manner.

Commander Hurricane closed his eyes. Slowly his bladed hoof began to glow.

Rainbow Dash and Soarin' suddenly felt immense surge of power, unlike any they had felt before. It flared around and about their aura's, each of which were thrown into a frenzy, trying to tap into the radiating power. But while the two pegasi felt the ethereal force released before them, it passed through like an echo.

Both the Wonderbolt and stunt mare shared a worried glance, shrinking back from the scene before them.

Immediately the light from Lightning Streak and the hazy figure shot toward their commander, pooling around his hoof. A second later the light shot in a single beam toward the stone slab, bathing the stone in a magical glow.

“May this aid those who come after us.” Commander Hurricane whispered, guiding the light that radiated from his blades. “That they will be worthy of this power.” The light intensified, spilling out into the engraved circle on the mesa.

Rainbow Dash and Soarin' ducked low, bringing their wings up to shield their eyes. The light continued to intensify, luminous walls shooting up from the circled groove.

“And preserve the legacy.”

The light suddenly exploded all around the ancient pegasi. The massive ball of light lit the entire cavern, casting stark rays from the loftiest heights to the depths below. It engulfed Commander Hurricane and Lightning Streak, accompanied by surreal waves of power that continued to hammer all around the Rainbow Dash and Soarin'.

The brilliant sphere made one final surge, rivaling Celestia's sun. Then it winked out, leaving the Wonderbolt and the stunt mare temporarily blinded.

Slowly sight returned to the two pegasi.

“Ugh.” Soarin' groaned, clutching his head. With some difficulty, the stallion rose to his hooves. “You okay?”

“Yeah.” Rainbow grunted, rising from the ground.

Both pegasi turned back to the center of the mountain. No trace of Commander Hurricane or Lightning Streak was left. The snow paths were gone and along with them the mysterious hoof tracks. However, in their place was something that had not been there before. The large stone slab lay in the center of the circle, a fading glow glinting off its surface.

The duo mutely walked over toward the stone block, staring at the shimmering surface. Various unknown markings were etched in the surface.

The two pegasi turned to one another.

“What was that?” Soarin' stated rhetorically.

“A memory.” Rainbow replied.

Soarin' gazed at the mare curiously. “A memory? How can you be sure?”

“I can't prove it, but the way that power moved around us. I could feel it, but it was like feeling the wind from a storm. I could feel it around me, but not directly.”

“I guess that makes sense.” Soarin' said, still unsure about the whole situation. Though he had felt the same sensations that Rainbow had described.

“Well, memory or not, we've got bigger things to deal with right now.”

Rainbow sighed. “Yeah. No kidding. Were they talking about us? About the future?”

“It would seem so.” Soarin' replied, turning his gaze to the stone before him. “This stone has something to do with it.”

Rainbow moved closer to the slab, peering down at the markings. “I've never seen these before. Are we supposed to read it?”

Soarin' took a closer look. “I've never seen them either. But...”

“What?”

The stallion grinned. “I think I may have an idea. Stand over there.” The stallion pointed to where Lightning Streak had been moments ago.

Rainbow complied, as Soarin' took up his own spot in the center.

“Alright. Tap into your power. See if you can reach out to the stone.”

Dash nodded. Closing her eyes, she found her aura within her, gently reaching forward.

Next to her, Soarin' did the same. He could feel around the stone, his ethereal power sensing the residual power upon the block from Commander Hurricane.

“Is anything happening?” The cyan mare asked excitedly, her eyes still closed.

The Wonderbolt opened his eyes. The stone remained unchanged.

“Huh. I could have sworn that was going to work.”

Rainbow opened her eyes. “What? After all that!” The mare fluttered into the air in frustration. “That big speech about trying to help the future and avert a disaster, and all we get is a dumb rock with some stupid symbols that doesn't do anything?!”

Soarin' sighed. “Well, either we're not the ones they were talking about, or we didn't do it the right way.”

“What do you mean?” Rainbow asked, a tinge of worry in her voice. For some reason, she was afraid of what Soarin' was about to say.

“I mean we didn't do it just like they did.” The Wonderbolt stated. “There was another pony with Commander Hurricane and Lightning Streak. Whoever the third one is, we need to find them.

Rainbow landed haphazardly, fear shooting through her. Images of Scootaloo came to mind once again. By the Archon, please don't let it be her.

“Yeah. I guess so.” Rainbow stated dismissively, trying to change the subject. “So now what do we do?

“Go back.” Soarin' looked up toward the light that peeked down from the crevice overhead. “We've got a lot to figure out.”

“You can say that again. I don't know how Daring Do does it.”

Soarin' smiled at the mare's humorous comment. Despite everything that had transpired, Dash still found a way to lighten the mood.

“Not to worry Rainbow Dash.” Soarin' said in mock arrogance, jumping into the air. “Should you find yourself unsure of what to do or in danger, you'll always have Daring's number one ally, Soarin' the Wonderbolt.”

“In your dreams bud.” Dash came back coyly, joining the stallion in the air.

The Wonderbolt simply laughed.

Flying side by side, Soarin' and Rainbow Dash reached the large crevice overhead, leaving the cavern and Pegasi Peak behind.

Author's Note:

Well I finally finished Chapter 8 of LoP. (I abbreviated my story, does that make me cool now?) Not exactly early April, but I guess that's what happens when you're writing and new ideas keep popping up. This is easily the longest chapter I've ever written for anything. And since its about three times as long as one of my normal chapters, I hope makes up for the lack of updates. I've come up with a lot of ideas (especially during my time away with military duties) related to lore, plot and a bunch of stuff for the long run. As always feel free to criticize, offer praise, etc. especially if it happens to pertain to characterizations. I hope you all have enjoyed thus far. Until next update.