• Published 4th Nov 2012
  • 4,861 Views, 76 Comments

A Single Spark - Star Grazer

Sometimes, all that's needed to start a journey is a single remark.

  • ...


One of these things is knowledge. Though we may forget what we know at points,
The important things will remain forever.

Two weeks had passed, and once more mare's laughter could be heard. This time, however, it was not central to Fluttershy's cottage, nor was it limited to just two mares. Instead, it was a gathering of six, all of whom were enjoying themselves within the confines of Sugar Cube Corner, which, at the behest of Pinkie Pie, had been closed in order to house the birthday party that had been planned for Rainbow Dash.

The laughter had begun when one of her various presents had been opened and one of those attending had made a remark, the cyan pegasus now looking rather confused at the object before her. "What is this?"

"It's a leash, darling, in case Tank tries to get too far away from you on one of your times away from your house." Said leash had obviously been designed by Rarity, the sapphire jewels embedded in it shining as Dash tilted it ever so slightly.

"That makes sense, I guess. The guy's too slow to really get away, but it might be good if I'm not looking or something. Thanks Rarity!" Rainbow Dash set the leash down, looking up to grin at her friend.

Rarity waved a hoof negligently in return. "It was of no bother, Dash. Besides, I've had an abundance of sapphires for quite a while now, so it was a good way to put them in somepony else's hooves." Rarity did still examine the object she had made for her friend, spending a moment to take it to herself and wipe at one of the sapphires that had managed to gather dust.

"Still, gotta thank you for it. Twi, you get something for me too?" Rainbow looked around a moment, slightly confused by the lack of another present for her to open. Twilight simply giggled, before nodding.

"Of course I got you something, Dash. It's just not a present I can really wrap. I'll show you it once the party's over." She looked over to Pinkie, a somewhat concerned look on her face. She had a lot riding on the hope that the party would be ending early, in order for business to start back up.

Pinkie simply giggled. "Well, I won't make it too super-duper long, but it's still a party! Dashie's here for more than just presents, after all!" Dash gave a nod, as Pinkie trotted off into the kitchen, returning soon with a somewhat oversized birthday cake for the pegasus. "She came for the cake, too! I made it extra-special, just for her!" The pink mare laid the cake down on the table in front of the rest, pulling out a knife to cut the cake, as well as several plates, from seemingly nowhere. As the others watched, she sliced off a hearty portion for Rainbow, moving the piece over to the eager birthday-mare's plate to put it down. "Enjoy!"

Rainbow quite quickly dug into the cake, causing her friends to giggle at the display, before Pinkie moved to cut out pieces of cake for the rest of them. After several more minutes of conversation and eating, the party relaxed, the now-full ponies content to chat mildly in their seats.

However, that would come to an end as the party came to a close, Pinkie waving the others out so that she could clean up for the opening of the store, the members of the group parting ways and giving goodbyes to one another. All except for two, Twilight and Rainbow Dash, who remained outside.

"So, Twilight? What's this gift you got for me?" She was currently floating in the air, her smile wide as she waited on her friend to bring her yet more good news on her birthday.

"Nothing special, really. I was thinking about what you told me about Cloudsdale a while back, so I thought that instead of getting you a gift now, why don't I do something else?" Twilight began to trot to the library, waving a hoof to get Rainbow to follow her. "I still think that there's more to your past than just hanging out at a few places, and so I came up with an idea for a gift."

"Well, you gonna tell me what it is or not?" Dash maneuvered herself so that she was in front of Twilight, so that the purple mare could keep track of her. The mare in question rolled her eyes, stifling a chuckle as she nodded.

"Oh, fine then. I'm taking you to Cloudsdale on a visit. Anything there I'll pay for, I've already gotten all the bits we need, and for a variety of things you might want as well. I'll be taking the balloon, though, so it'll be a little slow." Dash spun around with that, her eyes curious.

"Wait, an entire trip to Cloudsdale? And not just for food or something?" She let herself down to the ground, the fact that she was in front of Twilight forcing the other mare to stop moving.

"And I'll be paying for everything, too." Dash stared at her for a moment, Twilight's grin wide as she figured this to be a response in the positive. This proved to be correct, as Dash rather suddenly grinned, zipping forward to give her surprised friend a hug.

"Oh my gosh! That's awesome! I've never gotten a free ride for an entire day before! Way better than that book you got me last year!" Dash beamed at Twilight, the hug quite short, characteristic of the brash mare's nature.

Twilight coughed, raising a hoof to the back of her head. "Yeah... well, you already have all of the Daring Doo series, so what else could I get you? This saves me the trouble of scouring the library for a book, and it means I get to learn more about you. Let's not go back to last year, though. Have you even read that book?"

Dash shook her head, still smiling. "I stuck it in my house somewhere, I don't really know where it is." Dash had taken back to the air by now, her pace a bit swifter now that she knew what was coming up. "Good thing Pinkie keeps her parties early, isn't it?"

"I was counting on that, yes. Otherwise the gift wouldn't be all that great, wouldn't it?" Twilight got an absent nod in response as the library began to come into view, Twilight's balloon already set up and ready to go. "Hopefully Spike can take care of the library while I'm gone."

"What are you worried about, him burping and sending half the place to the Princess?" Dash smirked, Twilight chuckling at the comment as she hopped into the balloon's basket, doing some checks on it to make sure it was set up right.

"More like him not checking out the books. When I lent you those Daring Doo books the first time, he forgot to. If I hadn't know beforehoof that you were the one that had them, it would have been a nightmare." Twilight threw a glance at the library, before smiling as she started up the fire that would make the balloon rise. "I know him better than that, though."

"I should hope so. You've only known him since you got your cutie mark." Dash floated around idly, waiting for Twilight to get the balloon off of the ground. It lifted up relatively quickly, years of use with it meaning that the unicorn had plenty of the experience needed to operate it.

As it rose, Twilight nodded in response, only really half paying attention to Dash. "I have known him for a while. Cloudsdale drifts to the south, right?" Dash gave a general sound in the affirmative, and Twilight began to steer the balloon in the direction they were to be heading. "Good. We're on our way!" The pegasus grinned with that, watching as the slow balloon began its way in the general direction of where Cloudsdale would be. It would take a few moments for it to get up to full speed, but once it was, Dash was able to casually fly next to it as it made its way across the sky.

"So, what do you have planned for us, Twi?" Dash turned attention from in front of her to the mare towards her side, watching as Twilight paused for a moment to think.

"I was actually planning on leaving that up to you, Dash." She stopped speaking, before looking to Dash and chuckling at the slightly concerned look she was given in return. "Don't worry, you have the entire way to think, and I have a few places we could check out if you can't think of anything."

Dash snorted, turning her muzzle back forward to watch where they were going. "Figures you'd lay that bit of information on me at the last minute. You could have given me some time to think."

Twilight rolled her eyes, looking to her friend. "Like when? We were kinda busy with Pinkie's party earlier, and today's your birthday. When was I supposed to tell you?" The pegasus took a few moments before replying.

"Dunno. Before we're on our way, at least." She crossed her hooves, frowning. "It's been a long time since I've been there, Twi, so I don't remember much about it. I'll try to think of something. I don't want your gift to turn into us walking around getting lost."

Twilight giggled in response. "That won't happen, trust me. Like I said, I have a few back-up places we can go to, and if we have time we can probably go to them anyways."

"So you leave me to choose where to go, and you plan all the back-up stuff?" Dash raised an eye brow at that, her retort causing Twilight to smirk.

"It's still way more than you ever do." Twilight laughed as Dash's face went from an expression of confusion, to one of shock, and finally landing on one of irritation as she snorted.

"Hey! I've gotten all of us out of trouble without any planning, and half the time things end up badly with your plans anyways!" Dash smirked, proud of her response, even as Twilight shot her a somewhat offended look..

"We've been finishing Winter Wrap Up in record time ever since I took over as organizer, though. And I planned this all for you. I do think some credit is in order for that." Dash mulled that over for a short moment, before letting the subject drop.

"Fine, whatever. Just let me think of what to do." Twilight would give a nod with that, turning her head back forward to make sure she wasn't drifting the wrong way, looking over every so often to chuckle at the unusual look of concentration Dash had on her face.

An hour or so later, Cloudsdale came into view, and it only took the two mares a few more minutes after that to reach it and land the balloon, Twilight casting her cloud-walking spell while Dash flew loops to keep her patience. Finally, the purple mare hopped out of the basket, smiling up at her friend as she did so. "All right Dash, I'm ready!" The pegasus let out a sigh of relief, and zipped down to where Twilight was standing, moving to hover a bit to her side.

"Finally. What's it take to cast that spell? It can't be all that hard." Dash promptly let her wings fall to her sides, and landed with a small poomf, a bit of cloud coming up as she landed, but she didn't fall through as would be expected with most non-pegasi. "See? I'm standing with no trouble." She started to trot away, Twilight quickly following and shaking her head.

"It's not quite like that Rainbow. The spell's rather complicated, since clouds aren't actually solid." Dash slowed for a moment with that, poking the cloud with a hoof, said hoof only pushing in a little ways.

"Seems pretty solid to me." Twilight stared at her friend for a moment, before sighing.

"It's not that simple. You're a pegasus, your body is made to be able to stand on clouds. For other ponies, we can't do that normally. It has to do with the hooves of a pegasus, along with a bit of passive magic."

Dash gave her a slightly confused look, before shaking her head and chuckling. "I walked myself into this one. Whatever, go ahead and lecture me."

"It's not a lecture! It's a lesson." The unicorn snorted, before clearing her throat and speaking. "As I'm rather certain you know, Dash, unicorns and earth ponies can't exactly use clouds as things to stand on. Pegasi, since they had to deal with weather manipulation for as long as recorded history shows, have had to use clouds on an almost daily basis. It's how Cloudsdale was originally formed, after all. They needed a convenient spot, and where better than on the clouds themselves. Moving on, pegasi changed a bit, much how earth ponies have gained an affinity to the earth, and unicorns with magic, they developed further wing power and refined their ability to control clouds."

Dash stared at her for a moment, tilting her head slightly. "Basically, we all changed to fit what we did the most?"

Twilight gave a satisfied nod with that, rather glad that her speaking wasn't going over her friend's head. "Precisely, ponies specialized for their tasks. Part of that specialization for pegasi was the change in their hooves. Passive magic is still used nowadays, but it's much easier now for you all to stand and work with clouds than back then. On the physical aspect of it, pegasi hooves aren't actually a solid chunk." Twilight chuckled as Rainbow looked at her hoof, about to make a retort. "Pegasi hooves are perforated, meaning that they have a bunch of really, really small holes in them. It allows the water in clouds to catch in the hooves, and lets you, with the help of some magic, push the clouds around rather than sliding over them. For ponies like me or AJ, our hooves can't do that, and we don't have that sort of magic. I have to simulate that magic in order to walk on clouds, but since my magic is a bit more advanced, I don't need to rely on the perforation to get a good hold on the clouds with just the spell."

Rainbow was still staring at her hoof, squinting in an attempt to see any holes. Finally, she shrugged. "Whatever. I just stand up here." She looked around, frowning, before turning her head down a side street. "I think we go down that way."

Twilight nodded, following the other mare. "So, where are we going, anyways? You haven't exactly told me."

"I think it'd be cool to check out the coliseum I told you about. Only for a little while, though, since there's hardly anything to do there." Twilight's eyes went wide, the mare shaking her head, even as she continued to walk with the cyan pegasus.

"What do you mean 'hardly anything?' That's one of the oldest cloud structures in pony history, and you just say it's 'hardly anything?'" Dash looked back at Twilight, before chuckling.

"Calm down, Twi, it's just a building. You've seen a lot better than it. Hay, you could probably design better than it, you're such an egghead." The other mare rolled her eyes, letting out a soft snort of irritation.

"I'm hardly a designer, Dash. About the best thing I've ever designed is a rather ornate tulip sandwich when I got bored during lunchtime in Canterlot." Rainbow snickered at that, turning her head once more to Twilight, who tilted her head in response to that. "What?"

"Seriously, Twi? A sandwich? I didn't know that you played with your food." She laughed as Twilight stared at her, before reining in her laughter, grinning. "Oh come on, that's just... so not you!"

"Oh, is it? I was a filly at the time!" She rolled her eyes, before chuckling slightly, the banter somewhat entertaining. "Now come on, let's go see what your idea of 'hardly anything' really is." Dash rolled her eyes and gave a nod, increasing her lead just a bit to get them to go faster.

A few minutes later, the structure came into view, Twilight letting out an audible gasp as she saw it. The construct was far larger than many of the buildings surrounding it, and even with a rather large chunk of it missing due to the difficulty of maintaining such a large building, it still proved a rather imposing sight. Still, Dash rolled her eyes at Twilight's indulgence in the ancient coliseum. "Stop ogling it, Twi. We're here for me, not for you to check out some old, dusty cloud building."

Twilight somewhat reluctantly looked away from the coliseum to look at the indifferent pegasus beside her. "Dusty! There's no dust up here! Besides, we're looking at a historic relic from before Equestria was even united! Do you have any idea of just how significant this thing is?" She waved a hoof at it, as if doing so would persuade Rainbow to think her way.

Rainbow Dash took a moment to respond, scrutinizing the coliseum before finally responding. "It looks pretty cool, I guess. It's been a while since I've really seen it." Twilight just sighed, resuming her trotting, the pegasus idly following her.

"That's good enough, I guess. Come on, let's get going. I'd rather we didn't eat dinner late or anything." Dash raised an eyebrow at that, her pace picking up slightly to catch up to her friend.

"Dinner? You were planning to stay here for that long?" Twilight nodded in response, and after a moment Dash grinned. "Sweet! A trip here with a friend, and free food!" Twilight rolled her eyes, giggling at Dash's approval.

"Of course. You didn't think that we'd be leaving here without food, now did you? I didn't go out of my way with you to just run around and go back." They entered the coliseum as she spoke, the cloud supports seeming all the more massive up close. Twilight's interest drifted towards their surroundings, leaving the two in silence for a few minutes, before Rainbow began to get bored.

After inspecting one of the supports, absently noting it's design, Dash turned back towards Twilight, who was busy scrutinizing another pillar. "Hey, you mind if we moved on? History isn't exactly my thing."

Twilight seemed about to retort, before sighing and nodding. "All right then, Dash. I guess I can come back another time to check it out." She spun around, looking about for a bit, before heading out, her friend moving along beside her. Once they had left, she spoke up once more. "So, where to now, Rainbow?"

"I guess we could see if my parent's house is still there. They sent me a letter saying that they had moved to Las Pegasus or something, and I haven't gotten around to visiting them just yet." Twilight gave the mare a reprimanding look, Dash rolling her eyes in return. "Look, I kinda have a lot going for me right now. Element of Loyalty and saving Equestria and everything. Kinda busy to go out of my way for a family visit."

Twilight simply sighed. "Because you've totally saved Equestria within the past few months." She looked back up, smiling at Dash, her previous irritation gone now. "So, what was your old house like, anyways? I've never really seen a cloud house besides yours, and yours is a bit ostentatious to be the average pegasus house."

"Osten-what now?" Dash shook her head. "Whatever. Yeah, my house isn't the typical house you'd find. It's more of a whole bunch of clouds that I stuck together and thought looked cool. It works." She thought for a moment then, before nodding. "It wasn't all that special. Just a main room, a hallway, and a few bedrooms. My parents weren't exactly rich or anything."

Twilight smiled at that, nodding. "I had figured. Where is it?" Dash pointed her hoof in the general direction they were heading, and the unicorn rolled her eyes. "I meant specifically, Dash."

"It's been years, Twi! Do you really expect anypony who doesn't have egghead memory to remember where their old houses from childhood were?" Twilight laughed, before nodding.

"I guess not. I should be glad that you remember something of what it was like." Dash gave a sound in the affirmative, and Twilight chuckled. "Why don't we visit there for a few hours before heading somewhere to eat?"

"Sounds good to me." She picked up the pace a bit, Twilight following suit. "Not much to look at, but I guess we could check out the neighborhood."

It took the two a long while to even find the neighborhood, Twilight's suggestion to look around for a few hours diminishing to one hour in the process. It was rather modest, as Rainbow had said, but it was still her old home, and both considered it worth the time taken to find it. Afterwards, as they traveled out of that particular part of the city, Dash frowned.

"Where are we gonna eat? I mean, we could grab something at one of the shops, I guess." The pegasus flew up a bit, looking around for a moment to see if she could see anything, before coming back down. As she did so, Twilight had a smirk on her face.

"I actually was doing some checking in some books in the library, and there's a rather good place pretty close by here. I think. Come on, I'll lead the way." Twilight would move ahead with that, Rainbow soon following after her. After a while, the dining establishment came into view, and the purple mare grinned. "Ha! I was right!"

Dash chuckled. "Yes, egghead, you figured out where we can eat." Twilight rolled her eyes at that particular comment. "Thanks, Twi, by the way."

"It's not problem, Dash. Let's go eat." Dash grinned, and was quick to take the lead to the restaurant. It turned out to be nothing special, aside from the large area set aside outside of the building in order for customers to be able to dine outside comfortably. The two got their orders rather soon, the establishment not currently all that busy, and they began to dig in.

Neither talked all too much during the meal, although the casual comment or observation made by either one either sparked a small conversation or a laugh from the other, oftentimes both, and by the time they were finished, both were satisfied in terms of food and chatter.

Twilight shifted a bit in her seat as she laid the necessary bits on the table, making sure that they wouldn't fall through, before standing up and stretching. "Well, we should probably get going. I'd rather not have to fly around in the dark."

Dash gave a wide grin in response as she floated up into the air. "Hey, night flying is awesome! It's like regular flying, but you don't know if you're gonna hit a tree or not mid-flight." Twilight gave the pegasus a long stare, Rainbow finally shrugging in response. "What's the point in flying if it's never risky? Besides, I've never hurt myself too badly because of it."

Twilight snorted, but was satisfied by the answer, moving to trot away from the restaurant, Rainbow in tow. "That I know, at least. Hopefully we can find the balloon. I did make sure it was rather obvious where I put it."

"Twilight, everything around here is white. I'm pretty sure that balloon is going to stick out more than you do." Twilight tilted her head slightly at that.

"I stick out? How so?" Her friend simply stared at her, before shaking her head and chuckling.

"Twi, for being so smart, you really aren't that good at social stuff. You're a unicorn in a city that has maybe one or two unicorns that visit a month. You're kinda obvious."

Twilight thought on that for a moment, a hoof absently moving up to touch her horn. "I didn't really think about it. I guess you're right." Dash smirked, doing a small loop in the air.

"Course I'm right! Now let's get out of here, so you don't have to be scared of the dark." Twilight snorted, turning her head over to Rainbow.

"I am not scared of the dark! I'm merely concerned about my well-being." Rainbow snickered, ending the snicker with a smirk at Twilight.

"Oh, calm down, it was just a joke. That's the balloon there, right?" She pointed a hoof towards a purple object a little while away, and Twilight nodded.

"I think so. I don't see anything else purple around here, besides myself." The two moved a bit faster at that point, eager to finish up their trip on a high note. Soon, they were moving away from the floating city, Twilight in her balloon and Rainbow Dash flying beside it. They flew in silence for a few moments, before Dash gave a small cough to attract her friend's attention.

"Hey, Twi? Thanks for all this. I mean, there wasn't really anything that you gave me, but it was nice spending time with you. You lock yourself up in that library so much, I hardly even realize you're here sometimes."

Twilight giggled, before nodding. "I do that quite a bit. It was fun hanging out with you like this, Dash. Maybe we should follow up or something." Dash smiled in response.

"That'd be cool, Twi. You wouldn't really think it, but you're pretty awesome." She paused for a moment, before adding onto her statement. "For an egghead librarian, at least." Twilight laughed at that, returning the grin to Dash.

"Rainbow Dash? Calling me awesome? I think I'm dealing with the wrong pony here." She giggled as Rainbow swooped closer to the balloon, a slight frown on her face.

"Hey! I'm as awesome as awesome can be, so I should know when somepony else is, too!" That sent Twilight into laughter, and Dash's brows furrowed. "I'm being serious here!"

Eventually, Twilight stopped, and looked to Rainbow Dash, a smile still hovering on her lips. "That's why it's so funny, Dash. Hearing somepony be so serious about something so... subjective as awesomeness is amusing."

The pegasus snorted in response, crossing her hooves. "See if I ever give you a compliment again, egghead." Twilight's slight smile broke out into a full-fledged grin with that, and she gave yet another chuckle.

"It'll happen eventually, I'm sure. I'm too awesome for it not too, apparently." Rainbow huffed in response, choosing not to give a proper verbal response.

The rest of the trip passed in idle chatter, mostly just the two commenting about their surroundings as the world around them took on a darker hue, the sun beginning to disappear from the sky for the day. When they reached Ponyville, the balloon landed near the library, most of the lights inside on, enough light having faded to warrant it. Twilight hopped out, and looked over to Dash, who floated for a moment beside the balloon.

Dash landed after a few seconds, smiling over at Twilight as she spoke. "I'll see you later, Twi. I'll be sure to hang out with you some more." Twilight gave a nod and a wave, and after another moment the pegasus had spun around and vanished into the oncoming night.

Twilight didn't notice as she let her gaze linger for a second or two longer over the spot where Dash had been, and by the time she had turned around and trotted into the library, her thoughts were already on another topic, and the entire day had been filed away in her mind as a pleasant memory, more immediate manners now needing to be attended to by the purple mare.

Author's Notes

First of all, I'm extremely grateful to all of you who have liked and favorited this! It's been quite an inspiration to keep going with it, even if I already had a lot to begin with. I'm quite glad that this fic has gotten as successful as it has, even if it isn't the greatest thing out there, I'm sure.

Second of all, I'm extremely surprised that this chapter got as long as it did. I don't expect the rest of the chapters to be anywhere as long as this is, but anything can happen.

And yes, the first traces of attachment are forming! It's nothing major yet, but enough to get them started. Things will still continue to be as realistically paced as I can make them, so I do apologize if it seems a little slow. But hey, if you all were sticking around at the end of my first chapter, I must have something going for me.

And so, I say thank you to everyone who's reading this! I hope you continue to read, and continue to enjoy what I'm putting out.

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