• Published 18th Dec 2011
  • 4,173 Views, 72 Comments

A Tale of Two Ponies - Silicas

Luna is pregnant with a colt sired when she was still Nightmare Moon. What will come of this?

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Chapter 14: Freefall

Chapter 14: Freefall

Starshade trotted small circles in the corner of the hospital’s waiting room.

“Sit back down, Starshade,” Applejack insisted, again.

It was hard to keep still; he was worried.

“We’ll all know how bad it is in a bit. There’s no sense in trottin’ around like that and makin’ so much of a fuss about it.”

“I know,” the colt returned, still tracing a circle with his path.

He was not very worried about Fluttershy, though. She had been rather talkative as she was carried to the hospital. Even with what appeared to be a broken leg, the yellow mare had continued insisting that she could walk on her own.

No, the young foal was not worried about her; he was worried about himself. What if Fluttershy would have to spend a long time in the hospital? What if she could not take care of him for some time?

The colt’s tired eyes went wide. What if she can’t take me to the Wonderbolts show? What if I miss it?

He traced a hoof against the cold hospital floor. It had no answer for him.

“Don’t worry, Starshade,” Twilight Sparkle said, shutting the door to the library behind the colt. “The doctor said she’d be out in time for Nightmare Night. That’s less than two weeks away, you know.”

Starshade nodded slowly.

“Besides,” Twilight continued, “If you want, we can visit Fluttershy every day.” The purple mare nudged the blue stallion standing beside her. “With Cobalt taking care of the library now, I’ll have plenty of free time to take you to see her after school.”

The stallion smiled weakly. Maybe it was just that Twilight was not paying attention, but it seemed to Starshade that Cobalt was really uncomfortable about something.

“Are you sure it’s okay that I’m staying over here?” asked the foal. “I mean, I know Cobalt’s already living here and stuff.”

Twilight sunk to her knees and smiled at the colt from his eye level. “Starshade, I know you’re a bit scared. I know you just want to be with Fluttershy right now, but she needs to rest. You need a place to live, and we all agreed that this library would be better for you than Applejack’s farm. Besides, it’s not like you’re causing any problems here. It’s only for two weeks or so, after all.”

Starshade shied a couple of steps backwards. This mare was not Fluttershy – not that he even wanted to be with Fluttershy – and clearly did not understand what was going on. While she was right that the library was probably best for him, even though he would have preferred staying with Rainbow Dash, she did not seem to realize what she was causing Cobalt to go through.

Twilight Sparkle frowned. Beside her, the stallion’s gaze was flicking back and forth between bookshelves and the patch of floor in front of him.

“I remember when I started living in here in Ponyville,” offered Tantalus quietly. He was still avoiding making eye contact with the colt. “It was really scary and overwhelming at first. But as soon as you find yourself a warm bed and some open hooves to take you in, you’ll realize that you shouldn’t have been worrying about anything.” He looked at Twilight Sparkle for a moment as he finished, “We’re not in short supply of that here, I think.”

The stallion’s gaze shifted directly to Starshade for the first time since they had entered the library. “Come on, let me show you where you’ll sleep,” he said.

His smile looked a little less forced, now.

Starshade lazily opened an eye. From the opposite side of the room, he could still hear the raspy snores of the small dragon that had accompanied him to sleep. Still, he did not mind; it was neat to be able to sleep with a dragon.

It was early in the morning, but Starshade figured that it was as good a time as any to begin his weekend. He shuffled out from underneath the scratchy covers of his temporary bed and into the bathroom.

Grabbing his toothbrush and squeezing a thick line of minty-flavored paste onto its bristles, he began brushing his teeth. Fluttershy usually had to remind him to brush, but now it seemed that most every morning since he had moved into the library he remembered. He did not want Fluttershy to be disappointed with him.

Besides, he wanted to look his best. The Wonderbolts show would be in…

The colt paused, half of his mouth still lathered with toothpaste.

Wait. Is it today?

“Scootaloo!” Starshade banged his hooves against the wooden door. “Scoooootaaaloooooo!

The door of the small house on Zapapple Way opened slowly. But instead of Cheerilee, or even Scootaloo, a blue-coated unicorn stood in the doorway.

“Huh? Wha–?” the mare said groggily, looking around at a height far above the pegasus foal’s. “Who’s there?” Trixie looked down. Her eyes stuck on the colt for a moment. The gears in her head were turning, but had not quite clicked into place yet.

The colt smiled up at her. “Hello! Who are you? And where’s Scootaloo?”

Trixie took a step backwards. “You. You’re Starshade.”

“Yep. Now, uh, is Scootaloo there? We’ve got to get ready for the Wonderbolts show!”

“It’s four o’clock in the morning. She’s sleeping, along with the rest of Ponyville.”

“Yah. So, uh, can you get her?” The colt tried to look into the house, leaning his head around the blue mare.

“Is there even anypony else here with you?” Trixie asked, blocking him as he tried to squeeze past her.

“I did wake up Twilight. She’s just really slow.” The foal lifted a hoof and pointed it back down the road. “See, she’s right there.”

Trixie blinked, squinting down the street in the direction that Starshade had indicated. She saw a blob of purple coat and frizzy mane trotting sleepily in their direction.

She froze. “Did you, uh, say ‘Twilight Sparkle’?”

“Ya–” The door slammed in Starshade’s face before he could finish his answer.

“That was weird,” he said to nopony in particular as Twilight trotted alongside him.

The purple mare put a hoof around his side. “Starshade, I told you to go back to sleep.”

“Do you know who that was?” asked the colt, ignoring her. “She’s really mean.”

“I don’t know; I didn’t get a good look at her. But I bet she’s not a mean pony, just really tired. It’s four o’clock in the morning, you realize.”

“Yah, she told me, before she slammed the door in my face. I know this is Scootaloo’s house. What’s she doing here?”

“Probably just a guest or something. I did see that Cheerilee had an ad for a room up in the marketplace, too. Come on, let’s get back to the library before you wake up anypony else. We’ll head off to the Wonderbolts show before lunch. I… need to get some more sleep.”

“Hurry up, Twilight!” “Yah, come on.” “Oh this is going to be so awesome.”


“What’re you waiting for?”


Wake up, Twilight!

Twilight Sparkle’s eyes shot open. “What? Huh? Are we there?” She put a hoof to the base of her horn, massaging it gently. “Oh Celestia my head hurts.”

Rainbow Dash was looking down from directly above the purple mare, the eager smiles of Starshade and Scootaloo blocking out anything that she might have seen in the blue pegasus’ periphery.

Dash blinked. “So, you getting up or what?”

“Are we there?”

“Well, duh.”

Twilight sighed, pushing the pegasus to the side as she sat up. “Fine. Fine. I’m moving.”

She looked around the train car for a bit. Not much had changed; the last time she had been on this train, she had been trying to find Applejack. Now, where Pinkie had once been bouncing up and down in juice-induced agony, Cobalt was sitting and smiling at her.

“Don’t worry. We’re still pretty early,” he said. “You can sleep a little more before the show starts.”

Finding her way to her hooves, Twilight followed Rainbow Dash and the foals out of the train car.

The blue pegasus, already several meters ahead of Twilight, whirled around and called back, “Come on, Twilight! If we want the best seats, we’ve gotta hurry!”

“I’m… ahhh… coming,” mumbled Twilight through a yawn.

As Tantalus passed by Rainbow, he heard her whisper, “I don’t think ‘a little’ is going to cut it. She’s practically sleeping on her hooves.”

The stallion looked back. Still on boarding platform, just beneath the sign that read Dodge Junction, Twilight was standing. She was not moving and eyes were closed.

“I’ll go get her,” Tantalus said.

“Yah. We’ll just catch up with you at the show.” Grabbing a map from a nearby stand with his magic, Tantalus turned back towards the purple mare. “See you then, Dash,” he said over his shoulder.

He knew just what Twilight needed to wake up.

Starshade was having trouble keeping track of Rainbow Dash as she spiraled overhead. As the streaks of rainbow mane shot past him, he could hear small snatches of her excitement.

“... seats are so much better … lifetime opportunity … bet they’ll see … right at the front …”

The colt shook his head. The mare was starting to squeak like Fluttershy.

Scootaloo nudged Starshade with an elbow. “This is going to be so awesome! You see those seats that Dash got us?”

“She certainly seems excited about it,” he said.

Above them, the blue pegasus shouted, “Let’s get moving, you foals. We’ve got a show to see!”

Starshade and Scootaloo bounded after the fast flyer. Before long, the two winded foals made it to their destination, a large field outside some sort of orchard. Dozens and dozens of temporary bleachers were arrayed around the open space with several hoops and tall poles dotting the interior. The stands were already more than half full, and new spectators were trickling in at a steady pace. Considering how early they were, it was more than likely that the show was completely sold out.

In the center bleacher, bouncing up and down in excitement, was Rainbow Dash. Throughout the crowd, Starshade spotted several pegasi dressed in a bright blue and yellow uniform. One of them was talking to Rainbow.

“Is that a Wonderbolt?” asked Starshade as he pointed a hoof at the pony in front of Dash.

Scootaloo nodded. “Yah. I wonder what’s up. Hey, I bet if we hurry over there, we might get a chance to talk to that one.”

“You think?”

“Yah. It’ll be awesome.”

As Scootaloo and Starshade closed the distance to Rainbow Dash, it was apparent that the blue pegasus was only getting more and more excited. Around them, several of the Wonderbolts were already leading a hooffull of other pegasi into the sky.

“What’s going on, Dash?” shouted Scootaloo as soon as she was in range.

The rainbow mare barely turned to look at the foal, but the Wonderbolt whipped around to answer her. Scootaloo instantly recognized the flyer; it was Spitfire.

“Hey kid,” said the mare.

“Hey!” Starshade chirped back.

Scootaloo did not answer; her mouth was not moving like she wanted it to.

“So what’s going on?” continued the colt.

“We’re just getting a few volunteer pegasi to help us round up some clouds,” Spitfire answered. “They’re a bit further out than we expected, and we’d rather not get all tired before the show.”

Scootaloo’s jaw finally started moving up and down. “So, you’re getting Rainbow Dash to help you?

“Seems like it. Unless, of course, she needs to be looking after you two.”

The response both Dash and Scootaloo was immediate, and loud. “No.

The older pegasus continued, “I’ve got two friends on the way. They should be here any second now. It’s not a problem at all.”

Scootaloo burst into the conversation. “Is there anything I can do to help too?

Spitfire frowned. “Well, not right now, no.”

For a moment, Scootaloo looked heartbroken.

“But,” the mare continued, the frown morphing into a playful grin, “We are going to be doing something at the end of the show for all the foals. I’ll try to make sure we grab you two, alright?” The flyer extended a hoof and lightly ruffled Scootaloo’s mane. “All right then,” Spitfire continued, turning to the sky, “Come on, Dash. We shouldn’t be more than fifteen minutes. Soarin’s organizing the volunteers somewhere over there. I’ll go pick up a few more pegasi and join you in a bit.”

In a flutter of feathers, the yellow stuntmare and blue pegasus were gone.

And I thought that Rainbow Dash had been squeaking like Fluttershy before.

“That was so awesome! We’re gunna remember this forever.”

Starshade looked to his side. Scootaloo was bouncing around in small circles, flapping her small wings in ecstasy as she jumped.

Starshade found himself grinning widely.

“I wonder what they’re going to have us do,” Scootaloo said as she came to rest.

“I bet it’ll be awesome,” Starshade returned, settling his rump down on the bleachers.

Starshade blinked. Wait. Where did that one go?

The Wonderbolt had vanished behind a cloud. The entire crowd was staring at fluffy white mass, silently waiting for something to happen. Beside him, Scootaloo was staring at the spot where the pegasus had vanished.

Dash was seated on the opposite side of the colt, clenching her hooves and whispering, “This one’s gunna be awesome! This one’s gunna be awesome!”

A loud bang split the near-empty sky, vaporizing the white formation in an instant. Five winged Wonderbolts shot out in a blur of blue and yellow, whipping up the wispy remnants of the cloud into a whirling mass with their synchronous wingbeats. From out of the glare of the sun, a sixth flyer appeared, speeding towards the center of circle formed by the other Wonderbolts. Starshade recognized the orange and amber mane; it was Spitfire.

Tufts of cloud trailed the mare in a sparse column as she rocketed between the other flyers, hooking laterally as she leveled out. Spitfire traced a circle just above ground level, an action mirrored in the opposite direction by the Wonderbolts above her.

One loop. Two. Three. Five. Starshade was getting dizzy from watching her.

“Look!” whispered Rainbow, grabbing the colt’s head with one foreleg and pointing with the other. “In the middle. The cloud wisps, they’re spinning.”

Starshade focused his eyes in the empty void between the lone flyer and her comrades. He could see it now; the column that Spitfire had created was spiraling, the opposing currents from the top and bottom forcing it into a thin, nearly-solid white rod.

“Wow,” whispered the colt, mouth now as wide as Scootaloo’s was beside him.

Dash was shaking her hooves even more violently. “Here it comes. Here’s the finale!”

At the end of the ninth loop, Spitfire pulled up. The mare continued the motion, extending it into a full vertical twist. Flying upside down, the mare shot in a bee line perpendicular to the rotating column, arching her back as she neared it. Twisting again into a straight vertical, the mare rammed the rod head-on at its base, splitting it lengthwise down its central axis as she soared into to the sky.

Distinct thin shards split off from the column, deflecting over Spitfire’s body and out into the open space around her, the continued motion of the other Wonderbolts bending them into smooth curves that looked like ribbons twirling around a maypole.

As Spitfire reached the elevation of the other flyers, they broke off of their circling formation and, looping back, followed her into the sky. The flyers were rapidly closing the distance separating them, their paths contracting into a single point that would inevitably end in a collision. Starshade held his breath, tracing their paths wordlessly with his eyes. Just before the moment that they would have hit, they vanished in a fiery orange glow.

Starshade shielded his eyes; the Wonderbolts had flown into the disc of the sun.

The crowd erupted in cheering.

I told you so!” shouted Dash over the noise of the celebrating ponies as she wacked the colt on the shoulder with a forehoof. “Bucking. Amazing.”

Starshade only nodded. He knew it now: he was going to be a stunt flyer; he was going to be a Wonderbolt.

After a few moments, the voice of the announcer filled the makeshift showground.

Ladies and gentlecolts, that’s our show. Thank you for attending today’s Wonderbolts Flight Demonstration and remember Cherry Hill Ranch for all your seasonal cherry needs: quality cherries, grown right here in Dodge Junction since E.S.M. 964.

Starshade and Rainbow Dash both stood to exit the bleachers. Scootaloo, however, remained seated.

“Come on, Scoots,” Starshade said. “Let’s get going.”

Scootaloo frowned. “But Spitfire said that they were going to do something for the foals at the end of the show!”

Before Starshade could answer, the announcer’s voice returned. “Oh, um, and those of you with young pegasus colts and fillies please be sure to stop by the signature booths for an opportunity to Fly With the Wonderbolts, sponsored by the Cloudsdale Young Flyers’ Association: inspiring the next generation of Equestria’s greatest flyers.

Scootaloo smiled. “See?”

Beside her, Starshade was looking at the ground. “Did you hear what he said? ‘Fly with the Wonderbolts?’ We can’t fly, Scootaloo.”

Rainbow Dash corralled the little pegasi with her hooves, saying, “Naw. I think I’ve got an idea of what they’re going to do. You foals are just the right age. Besides, I have a feeling that Twilight and Tantalus aren’t going to show up anytime soon. They missed the entire show.”

Scootaloo was bouncing up and down as Starshade cantered in small circles around her hooves. From a distance, Spitfire looked on with a smile. She was glad that Cloudsdale had finally agreed to fund the fly along.

Stretching her wings, the mare nodded to the two other Wonderbolts beside her. “Soarin’, you get the two colts; Fleetfoot, get the fillies on the left; and I’ve got the orange filly and the blue colt.”

Soarin’ grumbled. “I still don’t think this is a good idea.”

Fleetfoot laughed loudly and poked the stallion in the side with a forehoof. “What, big boy? You scared of a couple of foals?”

“No.” Soarin’ looked to the mare on his other side. “I’m worried about you, Spitfire. Rapidfire hit you hard; you should be resting that right wing of yours.”

Spitfire waved a hoof. “My brother? It was barely a scrape; I’m fine.”

“We had to have a unicorn teleport him out. We’re just lucky the crowd didn’t miss him.”

“Damn it. I’m not missing the first day of this for the world. Now get to your foals. We’ve got young flyers to inspire.”

Soarin’ sighed. “Your call, boss. Just be careful.”

Spitfire twisted her head around and looked at the two foals on her back. They were heavier than she had expected.

The yellow mare smiled through gritted teeth. “You two ready?”

“Yah,” Starshade said with a nod.

Scootaloo was much louder. “Go fast! Go as fast as you can!

Spitfire flipped her head around, chuckled slightly, and spread her wings. “We’ll ease into it slowly. Just hold on tight.”

The mare lurched forward. For a moment, she ran along the ground, slowing building speed into an open gallop. Crouching down, she pushed off the ground and flapped her wings.

The filly on her back was yelling. “Woooooo! Can you believe it, Starshade? We’re flying! We’re flyyyyying!

Starshade let out a deep breath, keeping his eyes tightly closed. He could feel the wind flowing through his mane. It felt good. It felt right.

His lips moved in a whisper. “Yah. We’re flying.”

“What? I can’t hear you!” shouted Scootaloo from behind him.

“I said, ‘We’re flying!’”

Starshade opened his eyes as Scootaloo tightened her grip on his shoulders. Spitfire was picking up speed.

“How you foals doin’ back there?” the flyer yelled, glancing back slightly.

Scootaloo answered instantly. “Awesome! Go faster! And go higher! Way higher!”

“You sure?”

“Yah,” Starshade yelled, “do it!”

Spitfire lowered her head and squinted her eyes, ignoring her heaving lungs and the burning muscles in her right wing. “Just hold on tight!

Starshade peeked over the edge of Spitfire’s back. He could see the bleachers far beneath him shrinking rapidly. The image of the other two Wonderbolts and their passengers stretched into a blur. His head whipped through a cloud, leaving drops of cool moisture clinging to his coat. He could no longer hear Spitfire’s breathing over the rush of the air around him.

Taking another breath, Starshade inched out his wings from his sides. As they extended to their full lengths, Starshade felt the wind pull against his primary feathers. He looked back. Behind him, Scootaloo was doing the same thing, eyes closed.

Starshade let his eyelids relax again. “Pegasi are meant to fly.”

“What?” Spitfire yelled back. “I– Ah!

To his right side the colt heard a terrible tearing sound. Immediately the Wonderbolt under him lurched right and pitched downwards. For the second time in his life, Starshade felt that terrible falling feeling in his stomach.

As his hooves ripped away from Spitfire’s lower neck, he heard Scootaloo shout his name.

Starshade opened his eyes. He was falling, his wings battering uselessly against his sides in the periphery of his vision. He could see Spitfire and Scootaloo directly above him. The Wonderbolt was spiraling rapidly towards the earth and the filly was facing downwards, looking past Starshade and on to the ground. Her wings were spread wide, her primary feathers fluttering in the open air. She was getting further and further away from him.

Starshade looked over his shoulder and towards the ground. Scootaloo was not getting farther from him; he was getting farther from her.

And closer to his death.

He looked back. He could see her mouth moving, shouting instructions at him. He knew what he needed to do, but he could not twist his body around; the air rushing past him was too strong.

Above him, Scootaloo was in a dive. Her wings were beating against her sides, forcing her faster and faster towards him. In that moment, he realized that Scootaloo was flying. Not falling, not gliding, but flying.

Some part of him forced a smile onto his face. It was what she was meant to do.

But not me. I’m going to die now. The ground was close. Only a few more seconds and it would all be over.

An explosion of color filled his field of vision. Moments later, something struck him hard in the side. He heard a familiar voice in his ear. It was Rainbow Dash.

“I’ve got ya, kid.”

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