• Published 1st Sep 2019
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Who Is Pinkie Pie? - Irrespective

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5. - Maybe I Could Show Her Some Of My Moves

* * Ω * *

“He kissed me.”

Rainbow Dash stared at her reflection in the bathroom mirror, a forgotten toothbrush dangling from her mouth and a tube of toothpaste still in hoof. The silken touch of Long Run’s lips on hers had not diminished during her restless evening, and even now, she wanted to reach up and touch her own lips, as if to keep the impression from fleeing.

A swirl of confused emotions tumbled and cascaded through her like a crash landing from a poorly executed stunt, but her efforts to corral them only seemed to scatter them further and make them stronger. Rainbow knew why Long Run had kissed her, of course. He had been trying to mess with her head, get under her skin. It was an old tactic that she, herself, had taught him way back in junior speedsters, and anypony who had been smooched by her could attest to its distracting power. A Rainbow Dash Kiss was like another Rainbow Dash had just snuck up and sucker punched you, and the vibrant mare had lost track of how many races she’d ‘influenced in her favor’ by doing so.

So, she was confident in her own immunity to the effects of the trick when it was tried by somepony else. Twilight Sparkle, for one example, had attempted it once during a particularly frustrating day of speed training, but Rainbow had rebuffed her effort with a grin and with the advice to add more oomph to it.⁽*⁾

⁽*⁾Rainbow had also informed her that a little lip gloss went a long way.

But for some stupidly frustrating reason that she couldn’t quite grasp, Long Run’s kiss had done exactly what hers were supposed to do. Rainbow’s memories of what happened after the surprise smackeroo were hazy and blurred together, and to tell the truth, she wasn’t sure how she had gotten home that night, let alone when. Even sleep had been fleeting at best, as her brain had decided to put the infamous moment—and more specifically, how she had felt during it—on continuous repeat for the entire evening.

“He kissed me,” she repeated to her reflection.

This was stupid. She was Rainbow Miriam Dash, Winner of the Best Young Flyer Competition, Element of Loyalty, and a Wonderbolt, to top it all off! One measly little touch of the lips should not affect her like this!

The thought gave her a shot of confidence, and with a smirk, she boldly grabbed her toothbrush and began to scrub. There was no way she was going to let Long Run, of all ponies, get the best of her!

“Yeah!” she shouted to her reflection as she polished her incisors. “I’ll show him! Nopony pulls a fast one on Rainbow Dash! I’m gonna go to that flight lesson, I’m going to watch as he fails to teach Twilight a better way to fly, and then I’m going to rub my victory right in his smug face! I hope you brought your A-game, Long! Dash is coming for you!”

With that declaration, Rainbow Dash spat out the remaining toothpaste, gargled a large helping of mouthwash, and then gave herself a winning smile in the mirror.

But the stubborn memory of Long’s lips came back, despite her bravado, and her forehoof gently touched her lips.

With a snort and a forceful stomp of that same hoof to the ground, Rainbow Dash darted through her front door.

Then, after extracting herself from the mops and brooms, she closed the closet and vanished out her real front door at record speed.

* * Ω * *

“Okay, I think it’s time I made it official.” Long Run swallowed hard as he tilted his head upwards to find the top of Princess Twilight Sparkle’s front door, but his neck hit its limit before he reached the peak. “I am a certified, grade-A moron.”

What in Equestria had he been thinking when he agreed to give the Princess of Friendship a flight lesson?! Or was the answer simply that he had not been thinking, and now his actions had finally come back to bite him in the flank? How in Luna’s full moon was he supposed to teach anything to Twilight Sparkle?

“I should just go home,” he muttered to himself. “Dash will gloat, of course, but a lifetime of teasing is better than this. This has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.”

“I don’t think it is,” Pinkie Pie replied, and Long jumped sideways with a yelp. “You’re just overthinking it, silly!”

“I really wish you’d stop doing that,” Long wheezed, a hoof on his chest. “Where’d you come from, anyway?”

“I was in the bush over there,” Pinkie replied with a casual wave to one of the topiaries in front of the castle. “They’re perfect for sneaking. But we’re talking about you, not me. Twilight is super nice and super-duper friendly, but that’s why she’s the Princess of Friendship, of course! Just knock on that humungus door, say hello to Spike when he answers, and Twilight will be here before you can say ‘Bob’s your uncle!’”

“Bob’s your uncle,” Long Run dryly repeated.

“No, my uncle is Chicken Pot Pie, but nice try,” she said with a giggle. “Now get to knocking!”

Long shook his head, took a deep breath, and with none of the courage that he wished he had, he gave the door a few tepid knocks. “Ah, gee. Nopony home. Guess I’ll just have to try again sometime next year.”

Unfortunately for Long Run, the door swung open on surprisingly silent hinges before he could turn tail and flee, and Princess Twilight Sparkle herself emerged from the interior, a large grin on her face. A dozen books floated around her, some open and some not, and she wore a set of saddlebags that were bursting at the seams with an assortment of books, scrolls, loose papers, and who knew what else.

“Hey, Long Run!” Twilight greeted the dumbstruck instructor. “Thanks for coming by today. I’m really looking forward to this flight lesson. I stayed up all night researching everything I could find on the mechanics of flight, and I see what you mean about Rainbow Dash teaching me how to fly incorrectly. I’ve been practicing some new wing positions, too, but not in the air. I figured I should wait until you could double-check my method. So, where should we go for the lesson? The Wonderbolt Basic Training Manual suggests finding a large open area, but Flights O’Fancy’s Aerodynamics: A Modern Study says that it’s best to start in a familiar environment and to go slow. Rainbow mostly had me up in the clouds when she taught me, but that led to a lot of hard landings, so I think I’d rather avoid that.”

Somehow, Long managed to float up to the surface of the sea of words, and he quickly offered his reply before another wave came crashing down on him. “Well, Flights O’Fancy was an idiot, so we’ll not do anything he suggests.”

Twilight gasped, and her wings flared upward. “What?! O’Fancy was one of the pioneers of modern aviation!”

“And showed us all the wrong answers. He was a pretentious egomaniac who stole lousy ideas from anypony in the vicinity and mangled the words so he wouldn’t get sued. His books are garbage that have put more young pegasi in the hospital than tornadoes, and I’d burn them if I were you.”

For one long moment, Long worried that he had turned Twilight Sparkle to stone. Her eyes were open wider than he thought possible, a faint whiff of steam was coming out of her ears, and he could hear the distant echo of thunder somewhere in the background.

Then came the screech, and Long tumbled backward, down the stairs, and into a bush with its volume. “How could you say something like that?!”

“Yeah, you probably don’t want to suggest that something bad should happen to a book,” Pinkie said as she helped him out of the foliage and back to his hooves. “Like, any book, really.”

“Look, Princess, forget I said anything about the books,” Long quickly offered. He didn’t need his lesson getting derailed before he’d even started, to say nothing of the fact that Twilight stood at the top of the stairs with her wings flared and her horn sparking with magical rage. If he didn’t act fast, she was likely to pounce on him and then banish him to the moon for the heresy of suggested book destruction. “In fact, why don’t you leave all of that stuff inside. Things will go a lot smoother if you do.”

Long Run had the feeling that he’d just asked the equivalent of ‘please chop off one of your legs for me,’ but it was true. With a great deal of reluctance, Twilight Sparkle levitated the books and the saddlebags back into her castle, and with a long breath, she stepped outside.

“No books?” Twilight asked.

“That’s right.”

“Not even a brochure?” asked Twilight, her lower lip quivering ever-so-slightly.

“No,” said Long.

“How about a pamphlet?”

“No.”

“A few loose notes I put together?”

“No!”

Twilight Sparkle took in another deep breath, put a hoof to her chest, and then drew it away from herself. “Okay. No books. So where do we start?”

* * Ω * *

“Rainbow Dash!” Pinkie called out with a wave of her hoof. “Down here!”

“Pinkie Pie?” Dash dropped down to her friend, who was comfortably seated on a cumulus cloud. “What are you doing up here?”

“Long Run invited me to watch the flight lesson. He’s going to explain what he’s doing while he teaches Twilight.”

“Oh, really?” Rainbow folded her arms and glared at Pinkie. “He wants to turn you against me too, does he?”

“Easy there, Rainbow,” Long quipped from behind her. “Green is not your color.”

“Shut up,” Rainbow grumbled, her wings rustling as she touched down on the cloud.

“Testy this morning, aren’t we?” Long landed in front of her, waggled his eyebrows, and gave her a smug grin. “Does this mean you’ve already realized that I’m right?”

“I did not teach Twilight wrong!” Rainbow stomped her forehoof and snorted. “Where is she, anyway? Did you lose her already?”

“Not at all.” Long pointed with a hoof. “She’s flying through my obstacle course at the moment. I want her to be familiar with the layout before we get started.”

Rainbow’s eyes followed to where Long was pointing, and it only took a moment to pick out where Twilight was amidst the scattered and variously-shaped clouds. The Princess was humming a little tune to herself as she glided around a pillar, but she waved once she saw the new arrival. “Hi Rainbow! Glad to see you made it.”

“You’re making her run the Vol en Palier en Douceur, aren’t you?” Rainbow asked Long as Twilight landed in front of them.

“It’s all the rage amongst the nobility nowadays,” Long answered. “Normally, I charge extra for these lessons, but I’ll let it slide this time since you’re the Princess, Princess.”

“So, what kind of obstacle course is this?” Twilight asked. “I didn’t see anything like this in any of my books.”

“A simple test,” Long answered. “I want you to fly over the tops of the clouds, but I want you to fly as close as you can without touching them, and without disturbing them. Once you do that, come back here.”

“Got it,” Twilight said with a determined grunt.

“This isn’t a race, so don’t rush your way through it. Speed is Dash’s thing, and I’m sure she taught you that right. What I’m looking for is form and control. Go ahead and start, when you’re ready.

“Pinkie, you should come up here.” Long patted the cloud to his left as Twilight took off and moved to the first cloud. “You won’t fall off, I promise.”

“I hated this test in flight school,” Rainbow grumbled.

“Well, duh. Speed junkies like you don’t care about looks. You just want to shave fractions of a second off your time,” Long said.

“Yeah, but Missus Gusty always made me run a dozen of these for warm ups. ‘Form first, Dash! Speed later!’” Rainbow dropped her voice to properly imitate the scraggly and rough tone of the ancient flight instructor, and she waggled a hoof with an exaggerated tremor. “‘You’ll never be a Wonderbolt flappin’ your wings around like a drunk hummingbird!’”

Long Run snorted in amusement. “Yeah, that sounds like her. She was always yelling, wasn’t she?”

“I don’t think she knew how to talk in a normal tone,” Rainbow Dash said with a scoff. “But she did show me how to pull off a lag displacement roll.”

“Watch this, Pinkie,” Long pointed to Twilight, and a wing slowly reached out to wrap around Pinkie’s shoulders. “This is why Rainbow hates this test. Twilight is going too fast to clear both lower and upper clouds, so once she gets over the one, she’ll run face first into the next.”

“Why are they so close together, then?” Pinkie asked.

“To teach balance and coordination,” he said, but then he grinned and sat up a bit straighter. Sure enough, Twilight soared over the lower cloud, yelped when she saw how close and how high the next cloud was, and promptly went face first into the puffy column. “Too fast, Twilight! Slow it down! You’ll destroy half the course if you keep doing that!”

“I was going slow!” Twilight shouted back as she freed herself.

“Not slow enough! Hang on.” Long took off with a flurry of flaps, leaving the party pony to wilt under Rainbow Dash’s intense glare.

“Um, Dashie? You’re kinda freaking me out,” Pinkie said. “You really should try blinking every now and then.”

“I am blinking,” Rainbow curtly replied unblinkingly.

“Why are you staring at me, anyway? Do I have something on my face?” Pinkie rubbed one cheek with a hoof, then checked to see if anything had transferred. “Don’t tell me I have a booger in my nose!”

“You don’t have a booger,” Rainbow snorted, and she forced her stare off of Pinkie and onto Long. If she was being honest, Rainbow Dash really wasn’t sure why she was glaring at Pinkie Pie, or why her vision had started to go red when Long had wrapped his wing around her friend.

All she knew for sure was that she didn’t like it. She didn’t like it one little bit.

“Remember, take it slow!” Long touched down next to Pinkie with a grin. “Think about the move before you make it! She’ll get there, eventually.” Long turned to Pinkie, but nodded towards Twilight. “I do have to admit, she’s not as bad as I was expecting. Dash only taught her a little wrong, not a lot wrong. It shouldn’t take too much to get the Princess set.”

“I think that means you owe Rainbow Dash an apology,” Pinkie said with a grin.

Long groaned, but his grin remained. “You had to say it. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to confess. Fair is fair, though. Rainbow Dash, I humbly concede that you mostly taught Princess Twilight Sparkle how to fly correctly. I offer my most heartfelt apology for my egregious mistake.”

“Don’t you forget it, either,” Rainbow huffed playfully. “But it's all right. You were right, too. I can’t show her how to fly like a proper Princess, so I’m sorry I got upset. Forgive and forget and all that?”

“What were we talking about?” Long smirked and gave Rainbow a friendly hoof bump. “It never... happened...”

Rainbow glanced with Long to Pinkie when his eyes moved to her. Though she couldn't see it now, she thought that, just for an instant, she had seen a hint of pink in the cloud behind Pinkie Pie, and a glint of light from a reflection.

Pinkie Pie's sudden cry of pain stopped Rainbow from wondering what she had just seen, and when Pinkie jumped up with the yelp, Long quickly leapt into action to keep her on the cloud.

“Woah, careful!” Long twisted sideways and upwards, wrapped Pinkie up in his hooves, and pulled her back from the edge. “It’s a long way down from here. Are you all right?” he asked, his nose dangerously close to hers.

“Oh, I’m fine,” Pinkie answered in a soft and grateful tone. “Thanks for catching me.”

Rainbow’s tail lashed at her haunches as Long slowly stood but kept Pinkie in his embrace, and a forehoof tore a large divot from the cloud beneath her.

“What happened?” he asked. “Are you hurt?”

“No, I’m not hurt,” Pinkie said as she got lost in Long Run’s copper-colored eyes. “I don’t know what happened.”

“You probably just had a near-miss with a bird,” Long said. “They’ll fly up in the clouds sometimes and end up hitting you when they come out.”

“Yeah,” Pinkie murmured. “That must have been it.”

“All right!” Rainbow snorted, and she separated the two by forcibly inserting herself between them. “That’s enough of that! You’re supposed to be teaching Twilight how to fly like a Princess, birdbrain. Get back to work!”

“Oh, don’t mind me,” Twilight giggled from behind them. “This is far more interesting than the flight lesson.”

“You got through the course already?” Long glanced over the obstacles and grinned. “And you only displaced two clouds! Not bad. Come land over here, and let me show you something.”

The princess did as she had been asked, and Long helped Pinkie to stand before moving with her and Rainbow to Twilight’s side. “Okay. So, let’s work on your form. Hold your wings straight out to your sides, please. Good. Pinkie, let me show you what I was talking about the other day about angles and gliding. In this position, Twilight can…”

Rainbow lost track of the conversation as Long Run casually put a wing over Pinkie and pulled her in closer to himself. The edges of her vision began to go red again, and inwardly, she seethed in silent rage. If there was any sort of rational or coherent thought in her head, it was promptly drowned in a sea of righteous anger that felt like it would make her explode.

But somehow, Rainbow Dash remained in control of herself as Long Run showed Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle the wing angles and controlled motions that provided the other Princesses with the elegant grace that was expected of ponies of their rank and stature. The thrumming, pulsing pressure in her ears prevented her from hearing what was being said, and her eyes remained locked on the lack of a gap between the pink mare and the tawny stallion’s sides.

“Here, I’ll show you what I mean.” Long Run stepped away from Pinkie, and the world suddenly rushed back to normality when he reached out and pulled one of Rainbow Dash’s wings straight out. “It’s a simple issue of surface area. Rainbow’s wings are pretty typical for a pegasus, but as you can see, they’re smaller than Twilight Sparkle’s wings.”

“And the smaller surface area means that Rainbow—and most pegasi—need to flap their wings more to obtain lift,” Twilight added, with just a hint of smugness coloring the words.

“Right. This translates all the way up, so Princess Celestia hardly has to flap at all to obtain the same lift that Rainbow needs to stay aloft. If Princess Celestia ever flew anywhere, that is. Now, the trick to extended flight is all about the conservation of energy. The Princesses could probably fly around the world twice and never break a sweat, but for us small-winged pegasi, the increased wing beats means we need to be more judicious. That’s where wasted motions and incorrect positions really come into play; cut those down and out, and you have more energy to use.”

Rainbow inhaled sharply as Long gently spread the feathers of her wing apart. “Hey, hey! Watch where you’re putting those hooves!”

“My apologies,” Long quickly offered, but with a grin. “I thought you liked having your feathers ruffled.”

Rainbow Dash suddenly felt an intense burning in her cheeks, and she had to avert her gaze from the other three to keep from totally embarrassing herself.

“Now, Princess, when you run the course this time, try to focus on keeping the spread of your feathers outward, like Rainbow is demonstrating for us. The extended spread will give you more lift, and that should be enough to get you over those tricky low-to-high obstacles. Get it?”

“I got it,” Twilight said with a determined grin.

“Good. When you’re ready,” he said with a wave of his hoof.

Twilight took off once more, and Long released Rainbow’s wing. “Did that answer your question, Pinkie?” he asked.

“Yeah, it makes sense now,” Pinkie said with a vigorous nod. “Thank you for explaining that to me. If I had wings, I bet your explanation would help me be the bestest flyer since Rainbow Dash!”

“Why yes, I do believe it would,” Long Run said with a cheesy grin for his pegasus friend.

“Uh huh, yeah. Sure,” Rainbow absentmindedly replied.

“Say, Pinkie, when we get done, do you wanna go get something to eat?” Long asked, and Rainbow’s attention snapped back to the two of them so quickly that there was an audible pop.

“Sure!” Pinkie said with a vigorous nod. “I can tell you all about Holder’s Boulder. Just don’t touch it, whatever you do!”

“I gotta go,” Rainbow suddenly announced, and without further warning, she jumped off the cloud and fell into a steep dive.

Pinkie and Long said nothing as they watched Rainbow Dash streak away, but once she had become a small cyan dot in the distance, Long drew in a long breath.

“Well, that was unexpected. I wonder what’s gotten into her.”

* * Ω * *

“Stupid Long Run,” Rainbow Dash muttered. “With his stupid kisses and being friendly with Pinkie. I could blow in one of his ears, and the other one would flap in the breeze.”

It was all his fault. It had to be. Rainbow Dash had never been flustered like this before, and it had to be because of Long Run’s annoying antics. Oh, sure, he looked like he was harmless and innocent, but Rainbow knew better. He clearly was trying to mess with her, on a level that was far beyond anything that could be considered reasonable. The innocent requests for lunch after playing with her feathers was all just a game, a ruse that he was using to toy with her.

Well, she wasn’t going to fall for it. It would be a cold day in Tartarus before Rainbow Dash let Long Run get the best of her! She refused to let his antics affect her anymore, and she was going to march right over to Sugarcube Corner and give him a piece of her mind. Once he knew exactly how she felt about his inappropriate stunts, the matter would be settled and everything could get back to normal.

Unless he wasn’t trying to mess with her…

Rainbow refused to let that thought stay, and she snorted the ridiculous notion out. If he wasn’t trying to mess with her, then the only other reasonable explanation for what she was feeling was…

“No!” she barked to herself. “That’s just dumb!”

“What’s dumb?”

Rainbow yelped, lept backwards, and promptly fell into the fountain in Ponyville’s town square. She shot out of the water half a second later, and landed on the edge of her impromptu bathtub with a coughing wheeze to clear the water from her lungs.

“Oh! I’m so sorry, Rainbow!” Fluttershy patted Rainbow’s back with a hoof in an effort to help Rainbow breathe again. “I didn’t mean to frighten you!”

“Well, don’t sneak up on a pony like that,” Rainbow groaned with a large cough.

“I’m sorry.” Fluttershy stepped back so Rainbow could hop back to the ground, and her forehoof pawed at the dirt while her eyes watched the motion. “But, um, what did you mean when you said ‘that’s dumb?’ It sounded like something was really upsetting you.”

“It’s nothing,” Rainbow said. “It’s just Long Run. He’s trying to mess with my head, y’know? But he’s being dumb about it, and I’m going to go talk to him.”

“Oh.” Fluttershy bit her bottom lip. “This isn’t because he’s been dating, um, Pinkie Pie, is it?”

“No!” Rainbow shot the answer out with more force than she would have liked, and Fluttershy cringed. “I mean, no. It’s not that. I could care less about that. He wants to date Pinkie Pie? Let him. It’s no feathers off my wings.”

Fluttershy flashed a happy smile. “That’s good to hear. You two have been such good friends for a long time. I’d hate to see you two fighting over who he dates.”

“He’s not dating Pinkie,” Rainbow said defensively.

“He’s not?” Fluttershy tilted her head to one side. “I heard that he was. Pinkie, um, told me yesterday about their first meeting at Sugarcube Corner, and it really sounded like they went on a date to me. In fact, I think they’re on a date right now.”

“What?!” Rainbow shouted, but then she cleared her throat and turned her gaze towards a stray puff of cloud in the sky. “I mean, good for him. I’m sure he and Pinkie will have a wonderful time together, and... and…”

“Um, Rainbow Dash?” Fluttershy hesitantly put one hoof on Rainbow’s shoulder, but she stood off to one side to keep from getting kicked by Rainbow’s rear legs. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine. I gotta go,” she announced, and she took off without another word.

And once the stars cleared slightly from her sudden impact into the nearby light pole, Rainbow slowly flapped towards Sugarcube Corner.

* * Ω * *