• Published 2nd Jul 2017
  • 1,076 Views, 61 Comments

Stories in Stone, Last Dance - TDR



All stories must end, even those in stone. The final book of the Stories in Stone series.

  • ...
1
 61
 1,076

Last Rainboom

Stories in Stone
Last Dance
By TDR

Last Rainboom

[ 55 years after the defeat of Tirek]

The steady tick of the clock was the only sound in the office save the slow breathing of the mare present at the desk.

Countless trophies and awards dotted the walls of the small office, newspaper clippings of heroic actions, Wonderbolt autographs, and a signed and framed copy of the very first print of the first Daring Do book, passed along to her from the author's own collection after she died during an expedition gone wrong.

Various combat medals covered another wall. Various awards from Princess Luna, Celestia, Cadence, and Princess Twilight for her actions during the The War of Gods, the Tirek invasion, and her bit part in the 32 hour war.

There was even a massive color painting of the epic Rainboom that had been preformed at the top of the Manterhorn during the War of the Gods.

Right now Rainbow Dash didn't give a shit about any of that.

Right now she felt old.

Right now her focus was on the three objects sitting in front of her on her desk.

The first was in a picture frame made of apple wood, with four figures in the picture. Herself with a long mane pressed up against the side of a massive red stallion with a straw colored mane and a half lidded eyes both had a smile on their faces. He was holding a small earth pony filly with light blue fur like her, and a straw colored mane like the his. Buzzing in the air behind them was a bright red colt with a rainbow colored mane like his mother. Zap, Fuji, and Big Mac.

Her foals were both still around, though she had evidently pissed off both of them not long after Big Mac died. Neither of them had wanted to take after her, though with only Zap having wings that didn't matter. Perhaps she had played favorites with her little colt too much, but he had very little interest in flying, he grew up wanting to take after his father. Given his build she couldn't blame him, he took after his father in size and as such there was no way he could pull off a Rainboom.

Fuji on the other hoof took after her in every way save having wings. She was short tempered, easily distracted, and super quick for an earth pony. And unlike Zap she loved flying. She gained her cutiemark building a working ultra light glider when she was seven.

Dash had barely noticed in her attempts to get her older brother into the air. Efforts that failed. And because of her insistence and her disregard both of them drifted away from her.

When the Draconic power Mac had constantly running through him finally caught up with him she didn't know how to take it. The silent mountain of a stallion had kept his problems to himself despite how bad the doctors told him he was. The red stallion continued on as if every day was the same as the one before, until one day in the fields his heart just stopped.

Dash had reacted poorly. She lashed out at her family and friends and everyone else, leaving the farm and moving to New Cloudsdale, not wanting to ever see anything apple like again.

Then Fluttershy died.

Dash didn't even attend the funeral.

It took Twilight and Pinkie Pie both to drag her out to the tree that marked her grave.

All it took to get her to stay however was to see how bucked up her best friend Applejack was. A lot of soured relationships got a bit better after that.

The second item on the desk was an image of Starfall and Peach Blossom along with their foal. The pair of them had passed on only a few years before Big Mac and if it hadn't been for her husband Dash likely wouldn't have made it through that time.

Loyalty was always hit the hardest when it came to loss. And Dash nearly always had some other pony to lean on when loss hit. She didn't know how Jer'rahd dealt with it, though according to Luna the answer was usually 'poorly'.

She never really knew her parents as she was abandoned at a young age, growing up in a orphanage in Cloudsdale. She had few friends and more than a few who wanted to beat down the scruffy filly with a chip on her shoulder and something to prove.

She was never adopted, no one wanted to try and tame a filly like her and once she came of age she got a job pushing around clouds until she made enough bits to set up a place where one of her few friends lived, Ponyville.

It didn't take her long to make the weather team, her skill in the air easily making up for her lack of training in the field, though in time she managed to get a degree in that, honorary, for her actions with the other Elements of Harmony, but well deserved by that point.

She thought she didn't need anything, she had fans, she had friends, a secret colt friend, and she was on a fast track to being a Wonderbolt.

Then Starfall showed up.

The mare was so insistent and smothering once she found out their relation that Dash didn't want anything to do with her. But in the end, it wound up being one of her best decisions. Sure it was annoying, but between Starfall and Peach Blossom she knew what it was like to have parents.

And then over the course of two days they were both gone.

She had lost her position in the Guard by savagely attacking the stallion who set up the train attack, though she managed to get it back during the 32 hour war. Not that she cared. She was still a Wonderbolt. She had lost her parents, her husband, alienated her foals, but she was still a Wonderbolt, the Commander of them in fact. It was the one dream she had left to hang onto.

Or at least she was until the end of the week.

The paper work for her physical was the third thing on the desk. Her last medical check up had failed her on too many points. She was too old to fly with the team. Eyesight, reaction time, even her heart were all starting to go, old injuries flared up and new ones lingered longer. She was being forcefully retired.

She didn't have anything else at this point.

She could ask Twilight, maybe, ask her to waiver the check up for a bit, to leave her in, but the purple alicorn hadn't been doing well herself with the string of deaths that had gone on recently. She would probably want Dash to retire too, just so an accident wouldn't claim her. Besides even now Rainbow Danger Dash was too proud to ask for help like that.

The cyan mare sighed, pushing up from the desk with a small pop of her knees. She crumpled the paper tossing it into the waste basket and shucked off her flight jacket showing the rumpled Wonderbolt uniform underneath.

She needed to think, and to do that she needed to fly.

Grabbing her goggles she left her office heading out to the training track.


The Wonderbolts Academy was still on the top of a massive plateau, despite the upheavals wars and everything else. It had been since the Wonderbolts were founded. It was part of the same chain of Mountains that included the Maneterhorn and from the edge of it you could see New Canterlot in the distance.

The place was crowded countless other ponies rushed about going about their business with a short salute or a nod to Dash as they passed. Most of them were more than used to their commanders patterns and seeing her stroll about the grounds in a flight uniform without her rank on it was more than enough to let most of them know she was thinking something over and needed to stretch her wings. For the most part she was left alone.

A few rookies evidently didn't know that last part.

“Commander on deck!”

“At ease. I'm just here to use the cloud course.” Dash waved at the four pegasi and the changeling down as she started working out the kinks in her wings.

While the Wonderbolts were still primarily a pony run show, since she had taken over they had accepted trainees of other races, Griffons, Changelings, Harpies, and in one case a young dragon. That one had only just missed making the team, which had the teams uniform supplier thrilled that they didn't need to figure out how to make a suit for a Dragon.

“Sir, Commander Sir?” a voice asked a bit hesitantly.

“Hmm?” Rainbow Dash asked glancing over to note the Changeling before her with the others standing back a bit watching in expectancy. “Whatcha need cadet?”

“ Yes, ma'am I mean sir..... I mean...” The changeling stammered as Dash raised an eyebrow. “Right any way we were wondering if you were planning to do anything about your record?”

“My record?”

“For the Canterlot Run.”

Rainbow Dash frowned. The Canterlot Run was a round trip flight from the training area to new Canterlot leagues away. When she first came to this post she made the flight daily running between Sweet Apple Acres and the base. Her record had been twenty five minutes for the whole round trip flight. Back when she used to take her lunch break with Big Mac, back when she cared about leaving the base, let alone her office.

“That's still a thing? When did you cadets start treating my old lunch route as practice?” Dash sighed.

“Err sorry sir, but didn't you start officially timing the run?” the Changeling asked.

Lunar, she remembered now, Cadet Lunar. Good maneuverability and speed, crappy stamina. The Changelings had started naming their young in honor of their new Queen a while back, though this one was the first one she had met working on getting into the Wonderbolts. Still if he was here he had passed the Guard training already.

“Yeah, I guess, but what about it? My best time was Twenty five and fourteen.”

“Yes Sir... but that bumps you off the top ten.”

“Really? News to me. Who's top now?” Dash asked walking over to a wooden board that was set up near the training hall.

1st. Firefly 13:25
2d. Star Scream 13:36
3rd. Iron Eagle 14:55
4th. Wash Burne 15:00
5th. Thunder Strike 15:32
6th. Cosma 16:22
7th. Swift Wing 17:10
8th. Scootaloo 17:20
9th. Goose 18:49
10th. Topper Harley 20:17

“Seriously? The Dragon beat my time?” Rainbow Dash frowned looking at fifth place. “ And when did Scoots do this?”

“Fraid so sir.” the changeling offered.” And Air Commander Scootaloo was the one who set up the sign and the rules a few years ago I think.”

Rainbow Dash flattened her ears. If she was younger she would have gone for this right off. She was still fit, but at her age there was no way she could keep up with some of the younger fliers here. She might get back on the board, but taking the top time again....

“Are you going to let this stand sir?”

Rainbow Dash frowned ,looking back at the Changeling and his companions, all of them seeming poised waiting for an answer. Sure she was old and tired, but most of these cadets had grown up hearing about her and Starfall and what they had done, they were staring at her now with stars in their eyes. She looked back at the sign pulling on her goggles and stretched her wings.

“Buck no.”

Sure she might fail, but she was going to try. Rainbow Dash never could let a fan down.


The time trial was simple. A little box with a stopper was set up by the scoreboard, the pony looking to challenge the time would tap the button to start and tap it again to save the time when they got back.

There needed to be at least one witness at the buzzer to make sure the time was right, and another where the course looped around which was the flagpole in the market of the Ponyville district of New Canterlot.

Dash didn't need to be told where the marker was she was the one who declared it as such after all.

She reached out a some what shaky hoof and tapped the buzzer rolling off the side of the cloud and letting instinct take over as she fell off the edge of the plateau.

She wasn't sure why she was doing this, she didn't need to prove anything to anyone any more. But it was flying and it was a challenge and so Rainbow Danger Dash was off.

Some of the cadets took off with her flying along in a tight formation behind her cheering her on as she flew.

Clouds drifted past as the ground grew closer, the angle easy enough to keep as she glided conserving her energy for the moment. This wasn't so much a race to her, it was just flying. It felt like no time before she rounded the flag pole, the spotter having picked out a cloud over where the Carousel boutique used to be, where a monument now stood of the Element's of Harmony. The old place burned down not long after Rarity's death and rather than let Coco build a new one the town put up a statue to the five mares and the Princess who came from their town to save the world from Nightmare Moon years ago. There was one just like it in New Cloudsdale with herself and Fluttershy in the fore front, though Angel Bunny had far more statues in her old home town then she did.

The trip back took her over Sweet Apple Acres, a place she still wasn't fond of seeing, though she could see those out in the field working and immediately spotted Zap and Applejack. As the pair looked up at her, she flattened her ears, adding another stroke of her wings to speed her on, her body slowly warming up from the sun above, the long flight working out muscles she had long forgotten. The route was over all too soon as she glided up to the bell tapping it.

“Twenty minutes and fifty one seconds. You shaved off a good four minutes sir.” Lunar smiled. “ Not enough to get you back on the chart, but a great improvement for your age...”

Dash's ears flattened to her skull at the comment about 'her age' though she did little more than whip her tail and stretch her wings again as she looked back towards the town in the far distance.

“I'm just getting warmed up cadet.” Dash boasted slapping the timer and setting off the bell as she dove off the cloud again to the cheers of the small crowd of cadets.

'Ding'


“20:01 sir. You're back on the chart.....” Lunar stated.

'Ding'

“She's going again?” Lunar blinked as the Commander dove off the cloud.


“ 18 even......”Lunar gasped.

'Ding'

A crowd had started to gather at this point watching as the old mare launched herself off the cloud.
Dash smiled offering a wave as she dove off the cloud with a huff.

What the buck was she doing? Her wings hurt her lungs hurt, she hadn't gone for a flight this long in ages and for one that was a strain like this, she was never a marathon flier.

Dash grumbled to her self banking through a errant raincloud getting a mouthful of watery cloud stuff and a soaking to cool her off.

She spun around the edge of the pole looking down at a small crowd that had gathered, one that was growing larger as the word of what was going on trickled down. Every pony knew the name of Rainbow Dash and to hear she was attempting something again brought in interest.

Flying over the farm they were still there. Applejack and Zap.... watching her. She kicked up the speed further. She didn't feel tired, and the burn of her wings straining was starting to feel comfortable as she set into a rhythm. She didn't feel like stopping.


“17:01 one, you've taken seventh place.” Lunar shouted to her.

'Ding'

“Seriously? The changeling gasped as the crowd of Cadets and instructors cheered. A few of them looking worried and took off after her, either to catch the old mare when she finally gave out, or to stop her from pushing herself too hard.

This was a mistake.


Dash could hear the wing beats behind her a brief glance back showed some of her training fliers following behind her as well as her second in command. A stallion named Skyfall. He was a cocky bastard, but he was skilled, reminded her greatly of herself in truth.

“Commander that's enough. You're getting to old for rookie games.” Skyfall called out, the amber and gold Pegasus called flapping hard to catch up with her flying along side of her as he glanced over to her noting the way she kept her eyes focused ahead of her. “ Please stop.”

Buck he had to have gotten a copy of the report. Still there was something in his tone, not to mention the addition of that hated word that seemed to flip a switch in Dash. She had long ago been a prankster, a lazy show off who didn't take and gruff from anyone.

Now everything was rules and regulations, drills and safety manuals. It was never just flying any more.
A small portion of that mare she used to be bubbled up from her core and she turned her gaze to the stallion her red eyes staring at him through her goggles as she cracked a small smile.

“ Make me.”

With a snap of her wings Dash surged ahead of the group as if she was starting a race.


“16: 05” Lunar stated.

'Ding'

Her audience cheered.


The trainers were calling after her , her second in command had tried to stop her. They couldn't seem to catch her so they lay ahead of her in wait trying to trap her and she slipped right through their hooves.

No one was going to catch her. She felt great, the cheering crowds, the freedom of flight, it was as if all the weight of her years was lifted and she was a young mare again training for the Wonderbolts.

A glance back showed a few shadowy forms hidden in the setting sun. The closest one looked to be a black Pegasus, though she had a pair of odd goggles that made it look like she had a horn. The sun seemed to fade around her and Dash didn't recognize the mare, probably a rookie. Maybe they got a pegaicorn? There were a few more of those nowadays.

Dash offered the mare a grin and sped up out distancing the mare, who now had a look of surprise on her own features as she struggled to keep up.


“14:45” Lunar called

'Ding'


This one was stubborn. That black mare just wouldn't give up and was still hot on her tail. Clearly she wanted a race. She hoped Skyfall was taking notes on the rookie because she would be after his job soon enough with flying like this.

The others had given up trying to catch her as she rounded the flag pole a sizable crowed gathered in the market. She caught a glimpse of Fuji looking out of her workshop on the main street and Pinkie Pie watching her from a park bench along with Discord, the pair of them seemed sad for some reason. Then she was over the farm again, with Zap and Applejack and the other farm hooves staring up at her.

The black mare pressed on gaining once again as Dash began the climb back towards the base.

She was persistent, but Dash was stubborn and poured on the speed.


“ 13:40” Cried an astounded Lunar , the entire flight camp seemed to be gathered at the point now watching as Dash rounded the cloud.

'Ding'


The black mare was gaining on her again.

Dash was having none of that and stretched her fore limbs out in front of her, feeling the air resistance gathering before them. The air started to buckle and fight back against her as she pressed forward harder. The dark mare was on her hooves though suddenly she wasn't, as the air ripped open with a nimbus of light sending a rainbow of colors out from Dash as she broke the barrier with a Rainboom.

The streak of rainbow light whipped around the flagpole with more screaming and cheering.

Over the farm the black mare started to catch up again some how.

Dash smiled as the black mare closed in.

Challenge accepted.

Dash pushed harder.


Lunar didn't even have a chance to call out the number before there was a Ding and the clock reset.

“12:00 even......” he stammered.


This had to be a trick, or the mare was using magic. It was the only way the black mare could be staying so close to her.

Dash would not accept that, she couldn't stand cheating.

There was a crowd.

She was in the air.

Her family and friends were watching.

She was going to win.

She pushed harder and the air gave up first.


A second thunderous Rainboom shook Canterlot Castle as Princess Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia watched from a balcony. The rainbow line in the air was stretching all the way across New Canterlot and back up into the sky towards the Wonderbolts Academy.

“What is Rainbow Dash doing?” Twilight asked with a small frown as a third Rainboom rocked the castle.


“Seven minutes.” Lunar called her blue mane whipping from the wind being kicked up by the ray of light that was the commander.

'ding'


The air screamed around her ears sounding like music. Dash felt parts of the suit she was wearing start to rip and tear, falling free of her in shreds and being burned up in the rainbow light.

This feeling, she had felt it once before. The first Rainboom she had ever done as a filly, the excitement was there, the lack of fear, and the speed she was putting out.

As she soared past the farm in a blur she was certain she had seen some one else other than Zap and Applejack. On top of the hill where Fluttershy was buried.

A white Unicorn mare with purple hair and a yellow Pegasus with pink hair.

Her shadow was closing up behind her and her wings beat faster, the air didn't even try to resist her now giving in the moment she pushed.


“Four minutes.” Lunar called out of habit more than anything else.

There was a near completed loop of rainbow trail covering the entire length of the course, the rain booms were going off two or three times a loop and she was still getting faster. There was no more gusts of wind as she came by it was now a constant stiff breeze.

'ding'


A swirl of dust and debris followed in her wake as she whipped around the flagpole , the loop feeling like it was getting even smaller with each pass.

The black mare behind her was falling further and further behind with each pass and Dash continued to push feeling a rushing thrill she hadn't felt in years.

Dash didn't want to stop, she never wanted to stop, she wasn't tired, nothing hurt any more, she wasn't even lost in her own thoughts or depressed. She was doing what she loved, flying.

There was a rumbling crackle of lightning as she pushed through again and a wave of heat that followed in her wake as a Rainboom made of fire and lightning burst from her form as she pressed on faster than any had thought possible, and started picking up more speed.


The occupants Wonderbolt Academy were all gathered around the exercise field. All of them silent as they stared at the blur of light and sound that was their commander.

The ringing of the bell was constant now. Barely a second passing before it chimed again and the bell itself was starting to glow from the friction.

There wasn't a soul at the academy who wouldn't be telling this story for as long as they lived. An unbeatable time from a legendary Commander.


Dash thought this was some sort of nirvana of speed. She could see everything and everyone was going so slowly. The training camp, the town the farm, no one seemed to be moving any more. Everything flickered around her as she took it all in like a film she could see all points along her loop at the same time, take in every detail.

Applejack and Zap were in awe. Fuji was watching with an expression of shock. Pinkie Pie was crying. She could see Twilight and Celestia on the balcony of the castle. The air rumbled with the constant explosions of light.

There were five figures on the hill now. The yellow pegasus, the white unicorn, an orange pegasus and a gray furred pegasus mare with purple hair. Behind her and next to the pegasus stallion was a blue pegasus stallion she didn't recognize, though she felt she should know.

She spotted the black mare again standing in the middle of the apple field talking to some one. Unlike every one else this mare was still moving. Dash watched as she faded away and another figure stepped out of the tree line.

A tall bulky stallion with red fur and short if messily cropped straw colored mane and tail. A green apple adorned his flank and a bit of straw hung lazily from his mouth as he moved into the clearing looking up at her.

“Mac!”


Princess Twilight Sparkle watched as the the line of rainbow colored light suddenly veered off course dropping down to Sweet Apple acres.


Far above the surface of the moon Equss floated silently in space. The blue green and white surface suddenly turned much brighter as a ring of rainbow colored light erupted from near New Canterlot. The glowing nimbus ring radiating out from the source, rapidly running over the entirety of Equss, before collecting at the point of origin and winking out with a bright flash.


There was surprisingly little damage. The great Rain Boom had knocked trees flat in a circle of the orchard, though they could easily be set back up and be right as rain.

Princess Twilight Sparkle trotted towards the small crater in the center of the field, looking down at the massive burn mark shaped like her friends cutie mark that had been seared into the grass and soil down to the bedrock.

She glanced back to Applejack and Zap, neither of whom believed what had happened.

Twilight flattened her ears to her head, her magic picking up the only thing in the small crater, a pair of flight goggles with a crack in one lens.

Thus Rainbow Danger Dash Apple followed her husband away from Equss in a way that ensured she would not be forgotten by anyone.

Author's Note:

And thus Dash becomes the first to outrun death, until death cheated.