• Published 27th Jul 2012
  • 6,025 Views, 198 Comments

Hope in the Storm - PegasYs

With Rainbow Dash's future so uncertain, she begins the story of her past.

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Chapter 4: Goodbye Canterlot

Chapter 4

The rain stopped the next day. I lay in my room, not thinking, not moving. The sun broke the clouds, and shone light into the small window of my bedroom. I looked up from my pillow, my face sticky from condensation, my body heavy as rocks and my brain pounding in my head. In the corner of the window shone the seven colors of the rainbow. I looked up at it, and new tears began to make their way to my chin. I started crying loudly. Why did the sun have to come, why couldn’t the clouds last forever. The storm was supposed to bring hope and life, why did it take from me the thing I cared about the most? I grabbed the nearest thing I could throw and, being a small filly, ended up just throwing my pillow at the window, yelling in pain and longing, wishing the rainbow would just go away.

I heard the door creek open behind me. Aero was standing in the doorway. He gave me a brotherly look, and then hopped up on the bed with me. He reached out his hooves, and tears welled up in his eyes. I ran towards him and hugged him, sobbing and shaking and crying for what felt like hours. He began to cry too, holding me close.

The front door closed outside, the sound echoing down the small hallway. Aero and I separated, and walked outside slowly into the hallway, my head hanging, my small hooves hitting the carpet like bricks. Valiantwing was standing in the foyer, looking down at us, with a sympathetic smile on his face. His barding was loosely fitted on his body. He walked slowly down the hall, stopped in front of us. He picked me up, and held me over his shoulder, stroking my mane slowly. I was a broken faucet, and I didn’t seem to be running out of tears anytime soon. He shushed me softly. Aero was sobbing quietly, holding onto my father’s hind legs.

“Rainbow, I want you to know, she is still with you. She has been with you ever since the day you were born, and will stay with you forever. She loved you more than anything in the entire world. I love you more than anything in the world. She will never be gone from you.”

I squeaked, and couldn’t help but make a small smile. It quickly faded as I remembered that I would never see her again, and the waterworks continued with renewed vigor. He set me on the ground, and I collapsed on the floor. Valiantwing walked over to Aero and, patting his head, walked into his bedroom, closing the door shut behind him.

The school year was almost over. Aero and I were spending much more time together, trying to stay out of the house as much as possible. Not a single day went by where I didn’t think about my Mom with a heavy heart, and often cried myself to sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night from a terrible dream, and would go into Aero’s room, and sleep in his bed. It got to the point where Aero had just moved into my room to help me feel safer in the night, our beds on separate sides of the room. Sometimes he would try to tell me the story mom would always tell me, but he wasn’t as good at it. It made me feel a little better. If I was having a really bad day, he would join me and sleep in my bed, and made sure I fell asleep soundly. He never was angry when I woke him up crying in the middle of the night.

Sometimes I would wake up with him holding my tail in his, and when I asked him about it, he said it helped calm me down when I started making sounds in the middle of the night.

I started getting in a lot more trouble. Aero and I would do little pranks around town, and ponies started getting annoyed with us. I found myself meeting and talking with the bad crowd of foals at school, Aero always sticking with me, always by my side, making sure I didn’t make any huge mistakes. Aero was becoming somewhat of a big brother to me, and wanted nothing more than for me to stay safe, even though I didn’t always listen.

Valiantwing was starting to spend a lot more time in his room when he would come home. He wouldn’t pick me up and kiss me like he used to, just walked past me, and tousled my mane. Sometimes, during dinner or one of the rare times he would come visit us in the living room, I would look over at him and he would be just staring at me, often with tears in his eyes. Aero and I were often left on our own, because Valiantwing would work sometimes late into the night.

On one particular warm spring day, Aero and I walked into the house after pulling a nice prank on Mr. Dew, which lead to me accidentally crashing into a shop awning, causing the scaffolding to fall on a shopkeeper’s cart. I flew from the scene, not wanting to get in any more trouble that day. Aero, however, stayed behind and apologized to the clerk, and followed shortly after me. As we entered the house, we were met with Valiantwing sitting in the recliner in the corner of the room. He was holding two envelopes in his hooves.

Aero was the first to speak, “What are those, Dad?” I had the same question, but he beat me to it.

Valiantwing sighed, “I wish I didn’t have to do this. Rainbow, Aero, ever since your mother passed, I haven’t always been here to take care of you. I’ve been hearing a lot of things from ponies around town of you two causing trouble. I don’t want you to be unsupervised for so long, and you two need more care than I can give you with work getting in the way, especially with my new promotion.” He stood from the chair, and handed the tickets to the both of us. The one he gave me had my name on it, along with a stamp that read C.F.S.

“I’m sending you two to Cloudsdale. You will be spending four years going through the Cloudsdale Flight School. I want you two to come home for the winter holidays, and during the spring. Once this school year ends, I will fly you to Cloudsdale.” Aero was wide eyed; he had often talked about Cloudsdale, saying that all the fastest pegasi in Equestria had come out of Cloudsdale flight school.

I didn’t know what to think. I had lived my whole life in this house, in Canterlot. I didn’t want to leave all my school friends behind, even if my most important friend was coming with me. This is the house where I had all my friends, where everything I can remember about my mother happened. I didn’t know if I could leave it behind.

“Hopefully, you both will have your cutie marks by then, and once you graduate, you will be able to find jobs in Cloudsdale. Rainbow, since you will undoubtedly be a Storm Scout, you will come home as soon as you get your cutie mark, and you will begin training with me.” I nodded, and hung my head. Aero walked to his room, excitement in his eyes and his walk.

Valiantwing kneeled down, and tilted my chin up to face him. He looked at my eyes for a minute, smiling warmly.

“I want you to be strong, honey. I know it will be hard to move to a new place, but you will still be able to come here during holidays. Maybe new scenery will be what you need to get your mind off everything that’s happened in the last few months.”
My lower lip quivered, tears started welling in my eyes. I did not cry. I had to be strong. For my father, for my mother.

The year was over, and summer had begun for the foals in Canterlot. Aero and I were packing our things; we would be leaving for Cloudsdale in a few hours. I walked into every room of the house, saying goodbye to the home that I had spent my entire life living in. Aero was really anxious to go. He wouldn’t stop talking about how great Cloudsdale was going to be. Truthfully, I was really scared. I didn’t want to go somewhere I’ve never been before, without either of my parents there. It would be the first time I’ve been without my father or mother for more than a few hours.

Aero stopped his packing, worried about how quiet I was being. "It'll be fine, Rainbow. Cloudsdale's filled with tons of young pegasi just like us, and we'll both make a lot of friends. Besides, I'm never gonna leave you alone, you'll always have me."

I smiled, not really feeling any better. Aero, satisfied, returned to his packing.

Dad came home with a rental carriage in tow. Aero and I packed our saddlebags onto the back of the carriage and got aboard, headed to our new destination, the place we would be living for the next few years. I choked up as we took off, and our house was no longer in view. Aero kept me preoccupied most of the trip with jokes, trying to cheer me up.

Several hours passed. I had dozed off halfway into the trip, but was awoken when the carriage lurched to a stop. Valiantwing came around to the back of the carriage, and opened the door for us to get out. I looked out over the lip of the carriage, and saw that we were stopped on top of a thick cloud surface. Aero just jumped straight out of the back, gliding down to the vapor floor, touching down with a soft poof. I decided to climb slowly over the lip, and test it with my hoof before stepping out.

“Come on, Rainbow! We’re pegasi, it’s not gonna hurt you or anything,” Aero said, hopping up and down on the cloud, to prove his point. At that particular moment, the cloud opened up below him, and he fell through the floor. I screamed, and backed up into the carriage. He popped back up, and flew over to me, picking me up in his hooves and dropping me on the cloud.

I closed my eyes shut as I imagined falling down to the ground far below. I had definitely never flown this high before. I slowly opened one eye, and saw Aero sitting in front of me grinning.

“That was a dirty trick!” he laughed at me.

“You would have never gotten out of the carriage if I hadn’t helped.”

I was resting safely on the soft surface. It felt sort of like cool cotton, and gave a little bit when you pushed down on it. Aero was making a big show out of swimming in it, doing a backstroke through the clouds.

I looked up, and saw where we had landed. The sky was dark, and the moon was high up in the sky. In the distance, there was a huge city made out of clouds. It was lit up with bright lights, making it look like a giant glowing ghost. I began walking around, shakily putting one hoof in front of the other. I might be able to get used to this. Valiantwing started walking towards the city and we kept closely behind him.

We came upon a small hotel on the outskirts of the city.

“We’ll sleep here tonight, and I’ll take you two to get enrolled in the school tomorrow morning. I think you’re really gonna like it here, Rainbow. There’s lots of space to fly around freely, without crashing into so many shopping carts.” He ruffled my mane and smiled. Despite my mood, I still laughed at his comment.

We walked into a small room with two beds, and a tiny bathroom. It was late, way past the time I normally slept when I was little. I flew over to the nearest mattress, and buried myself under the covers. Aero came to sleep with me, and Valiantwing slept by himself in the other bed. I didn’t fall asleep right away. I thought about what flight school was going to be like. It was scary sleeping in a different bed, so I turned to Aero, and he wrapped his tail around mine.

“Are you nervous? About school tomorrow, I mean.” He was trying to keep me talking, so my thoughts wouldn’t drift away to unpleasant things before I fell asleep.

“I’m not nervous,” I lied. I wasn’t nervous about meeting new pegasi, but I was worried about being in a strange new place without either of my parents. Aero caught wind of my thoughts.

“Don’t worry Rainbow, I’ll always be here to make sure you don’t do anything too stupid. We might not be in the same classes, but I’ll make sure we see each other every day,” he said softly, and embraced me. I giggled quietly, thinking that Valiantwing might already be asleep.

“Just think, you’ll get to go home once you earn your cutie mark, and join the Storm Scouts,” he said. I felt bad for him. He was tying his hardest not to show his jealousy. I knew how much he wanted to be a Storm Scout. I wanted to make my father happy, but I had never really thought about what I was really good at. I sort of thought it was in my blood, and it was bound to happen no matter what.

“Yeah, but then you will be here all by yourself.” I frowned at the thought of my best friend being all alone in a strange place.

“I’ll be fine Rainbow, at least you will be safe at home.” He kissed my cheek. I didn’t say anything. I smiled, blushing slightly, and fell into a soft sleep.

We stood outside the Cloudsdale Flight School gates. They were made of clouds, fashioned into bars, propped open. Through the gates was a huge courtyard, made out of, you guessed it, more clouds. It was late in the afternoon, the sun was below the cloudline already, and everything was bathed in orange light. Young fillies and colts were going about their business, playing with their friends, flying through the air, or just lying on the soft, poofy clouds. It wasn’t much colder than Canterlot, only a few hundred feet above the altitude of the capital of Equestria.

This was it. Valiantwing was standing with us, looking off into the distance. He sighed deeply. Bending down low, he offered his forelegs for our embrace. Aero and I rushed over to him. We stayed there for a good minute, then he let us go.

“I will write to both of you every week. I expect at least one or two letters back from each of you every so often. You both will come home to stay with me for Hearth’s Warming. It’ll go faster than you think, you both will make a ton of new friends, and as soon as it started, the year will be over, and you will be back in Canterlot. I will miss you both deeply. I wish there was a way I could keep you around, but I think this will be for the best.

“Aero, I want you to watch after Rainbow. Make sure she doesn’t get into too much trouble. Are we clear?” Aero gave him a little salute.

“No problem Dad, I’ll keep an eye on her.” He looked at me, smiled, and offered his hoof for Valiantwing to shake. Valiantwing picked him up and hugged him, rubbing his mane.

“And Rainbow, I will miss you more than anything in the world. You are my daughter, and I don’t want to see you go. I want you to stay out of trouble, you hear me? Keep Aero close, and just remember, Mom is always going to be with you. She never left you. She is with you more than anypony else. You two stay close, you both are the most important friends that you have, and you need to be with each other. I love you sweetie.” He kissed me on the head, “Please write to me, even if it’s just to tell me how your day was.”

I choked back on tears, “I will Daddy, I-I’ll miss you too.” I hugged his foreleg.

“Now, I want you guys to have fun, but not too much fun. Don’t do anything so fun that they have to send you home early.” I laughed, and let go of his leg. Aero walked through the gates, and after a brief moment of being torn, I followed after him. I turned to look at my father one last time, but he had already started walking the other way.

We made our way through the courtyard, both of our steps a little heavy from the events from earlier.

We came to a fork at the end of the yard. One path lead to the filly sleepy quarters, and the other lead to the colt rooms. We both had the letter, telling us which room we would be staying in.

Aero turned to look at me, “Well, I guess this is goodbye for now.”

“I guess so,” I said rather weakly. I hung my head.

“It won’t be for very long, Rainbow. We need to stick together. We’ll see each other soon.” He grabbed my tail in his. “Plus, I have to make sure you don’t do anything stupid, So I’ll be dropping in on you unexpectedly every once and a while.” He punched me playfully in the foreleg, and pulled his tail away, his cheeks turning a brighter shade of red.

We were silent for a little while. He eyed me for a second, then spat on his hoof. I looked at him, and then did the same to mine. We clasped our hooves together, like we did that first day we met.

“See you tomorrow, Rainbow.”

“See you tomorrow, Aero.”

I came upon the door, marked 1511. Yep, this was the place. I unlocked the door with the key that was given to me in the envelope. I walked inside the small room, not unlike the hotel we had stayed in the first night we came here. There were two beds, and a tiny bathroom by the door. It seemed that nopony else was there. Just as I thought I was alone, I heard a thump come from the far bed in the room.

“Hello, is anypony there?” I called out, getting a little scared. I walked around to check the other side of the bed. Sticking out the edge of the bottom of the frame, was what looked like a long pink scarf. Only, it wasn’t a scarf. It was shaking. It was a tail.

There was a pony under the bed.

“Hello? My name is Rainbow Dash. I’m not gonna hurt you. What’s your name?” the pony didn’t respond.

“…Are you staying here? That would make us roommates! This is my room too.” She turned around, and looked up at me, completely hidden except for the front of her face. She was pale yellow, and hid part of her face behind her straight pink mane.

“No reason to be scared. What’s your name?”

“I… I-I’m…” She closed her eyes, and squeaked.

“Come out of there, you don’t need to be scared of me.” She inched forward, and slowly came into full view. She was taller, and relatively thin in comparison to most of the foals our age.

“Fluttershy,” she breathed out, I barely understood what she said. She was starting to get on my nerves a little bit.

“What was that? Didn’t quite catch that.”

“I-I’m… Fluttershy.” She was staring at the rug.

“Nice to meet you… Fluttershy?” I offered my hoof to shake, she just shrunk away.

“Well, it’s late. I think we should get some sleep.” The thought of sleeping in the same room as this scaredy-pony made me feel like the bravest pony in the world. I walked over to my bed, and jumped in. I turned off the light, and Fluttershy climbed into her bed and hid under the covers.

I was already starting to feel homesick. I tried not to think of my mom, but I still couldn’t keep her out of my mind. I missed having Aero in the same room as me, always there to hold my tail if I got scared. I thought about the story, and that only made me more homesick. Thinking about seeing Aero tomorrow made me feel a little better. My thoughts kept moving towards home, and I started softly crying. I shut my eyes, trying not to look into the unfamiliar darkness in the room. I missed my mom, I missed my father.

I wanted everything to go back the way it was.