• Published 12th Aug 2017
  • 3,136 Views, 27 Comments

Red and Gold - Rose Quill

Sunset returns home to face the consequences and finds things she didn't expect.

  • ...

Afternoons, September 26 - October 4

I slid off the platform in Ponyville, heading for White Tail Woods. Glancing up, I saw a handful of small fluffy clouds drifting by. Spying a low hanging one with a polychromatic tail dangling off the side, I stopped.

"Hey, Dash?" I shouted. As expected, I got no answer. "Dash!"

I heard a snort, then the cloud shifted slightly as the tail retreated slightly.

I growled in disbelief and reached out with my magic and gave the tail a sharp yank.

"Yeouch!" the Pegasus shouted, bolting into the air. Looking down she saw me and came down to land. "I think you've been spending too much time with AJ. What is it with always grabbing my tail?"

"Sometimes it's the only part we can catch," I said. "I need a favor."

"Can it wait till after my nap?"

"I'm sure I can find another Pegasus willing to do an awesome stunt during the Running of the Leaves," I taunted casually. "I hear Soarin has a house outside Canterlot, maybe..."

"Sheesh, ok, ok," the cyan pony muttered, rubbing the back of her head. "If it's that far off I'm sure that I can manage. But why are you asking me to help? Last I heard we were still kind of shakey after that whole business with the pardon."

"I understand what was happening in there now," I said. "And if you ever feel like you have to speak up again about something, don't tiphoof around with me. I trusted somepony very much like you once upon a time, and I'd like to trust you the same way." I stuck out my hoof.

She smiled and bumped my hoof in return. "Deal," she said, ruffling her wings. "Now, this got anything to do with admitting to Fluttershy how you feel?"

"Does everypony know my feelings better than I do?"

"Who do you think guided her to you that night?" she asked, one ear tilting in amusement. "She's been my best friend since flight school. We talk a lot."

"Then yeah," I said. "It's about admitting to Fluttershy."

"Then I'm in," she said. "What's the plan?"

I collapsed, trying my best to catch my breath. Two winged forms came and landed in front of me.

"Almost," Dash said, looking at her stopwatch. "Just a few seconds shy."

"I'm not trying for a record, Dash," I panted. "Just getting into shape."

"I think she's as ready as she's going to be, Dash," Twilight said. "Besides, I didn't do any training and I took fifth place my first year."

"That fills me with curiosity," I muttered as I stood and gave my coat a shake to knock off dust from my last timed trial. "But another time. Right now I just want to collapse in one of the ponds out at Sweet Apple Acres."

Twilight laughed. "I can imagine. It may be Fall, but it's still pretty warm," she frowned for a second. "You know there are still some ponies in town that gossip about you, right?"

"And if I see them or hear it, I'll address that then," I said, wiping my brow. "I'll just say what I feel, and if they don't like that, that's fine. It doesn't mean that my words didn't get near their hearts."

"That sounded deep," she said. "I guess that trip to the Crystal Empire did some good."

"Yeah," I nodded. "When I came here, I suddenly discovered that I didn't really have a purpose anymore. But that's ok. It's ok to live and not have a purpose, sometimes."

"How'd you get that from the Empire?" Dash asked.

"Some of the outlying farms don't have the benefit of the shield the Crystal Heart projects," I said. "I visited one and asked why they didn't move closer to the warm part of the region, and they told me that nothing worth doing is easy. Sometimes you can't grow anything without fighting for it, especially if it's important."

Twilight nodded while Dash cocked her head. "I guess that makes sense," she muttered. "It wasn't easy to get into the Reserves."

"But right now," I said, turning to head towards the castle. "I need a nap and a bath."

I only had a week left before the Running, and I still had to find the words to say.