• Published 28th Jun 2012
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A New Hero - Alex The Lone Wolf



What if there was another pony who joined the pony gang? (Look at longer description...)

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Wonderbolts Academy

Episode 59 – Wonderbolts Academy

After I rose out of bed, I already started my way out the door. I looked up to see a sunny clear sky. This caused me to think about today's pending adventure.

Suddenly, a light blue face appeared in front of me in an upside down position. The bright rainbow mane hung from her head as she stared at me with a curious expression.

"Watcha doin'?" She asked.

"Nice to see you too, Rainbow…" I returned. "Nothing at the moment."

She flipped her body around in the air to where I could see her correctly. "That's awesome because I need you to come over to my place really quick."

"Huh?" I drew out a questionable expression. "Why? Are we training today?"

"Better." She formed a bright smile. "I'm sure there's going to be a surprise for you in it."

"Um…" I could only express before she grabbed my hoof and forced me up from the ground. I quickly spread my wings and began flapping them in order to stay by her.

"Come on!" She slightly lunged her head to the side in order to gesture me to follow her.

"Right behind you, Captain…" I muttered, initiating our leave.

When we arrived under her home in the clouds, I noticed the rest of the girls there. There was a huge sun umbrella covering Twilight's area, providing her with enough shade to read the book in front of her. A picnic basket also sat by her. Rarity sat on my right after her, sipping on a glass of water as she wore dark purple shades with hot pink trimming. Then, there was Applejack by a plate full of apples. She was munching on one as she laid down on her stomach. Fluttershy was by her in the same position, only she was observing the scenery and her surroundings. Pinkie Pie sat in front of them, eyeing the mailbox excitedly and carefully for some reason.

I looked around, a little confused. "What's going on?" I asked.

Pinkie gasped. "You didn't hear?!" She quickly sat up and dashed over to me. "Dashie is waiting for an acceptance letter from the Wonderbolts!"

As Pinkie spoke, Rainbow tried to shush her and make her stop talking, but she failed. "Pinkie! That was supposed to be a surprise for Alex!"

"Oh…" She released a small nervous chuckle. "Sorry…"

Rainbow smiled proudly nonetheless. "That's alright. It's not the main surprise I have for him." She crossed her forelegs as she flew.

"Okay…" I returned, trying to put the pieces together. "So…you're waiting to be accepted in the Wonderbolts? Huh?"

"Not exactly. You see…" Rainbow began explaining the situation. "I'm going to be enrolled in the Wonderbolt Academy." She gazed out towards the sky. "It's like a boot camp for those who want to have the chance to be in the Wonderbolts. Knowing how I'm an awesome flyer, I'm sure to get in. Then, I'll start training there. I'll get in the Wonderbolts in no time!"

"Well, that's great, Rainbow!" I encouraged. "I'm really glad to see you becoming closer to your dreams by the minute."

She returned a light smile. "Thanks, Alex." She chuckled a little. "I can't wait to see how surprised you are when my letter gets here."

"What?" I responded. "Why would I be surprised?"

"Hm. You'll see… Come on." She joined the other girls, sitting between Twilight and Rarity. I walked over to Fluttershy, lying myself down on her left side. We shared a look and smiled. I nuzzled her playfully a bit, causing her to giggle softly and kiss me.

Pinkie Pie released a nervous squeal, beginning to jump around the mailbox and never taking her anxious eyes off of it. "Ooooh, I wish the mailpony would just come already! I can't wait another minute to find out if Rainbow Dash got in or not!"

"Pinkie Pie, you're more nervous than Rainbow Dash." Twilight raised her eyes from the book and commented on Pinkie's behavior.

Rainbow Dash immediately scoffed. "I'm not nervous at all. When I get into the Wonderbolt Academy..."

Pinkie clenched Rainbow's coat with her hooves. "IF you get in!" She shook her. "If you get in! Don't jinx it!"

"I'm telling you, it's in the bag." Rainbow Dash assured and pushed her hooves away.

"Don't jinx it!" Pinkie warned greatly once again.

"She is the best flyer in Ponyville." Applejack added, chomping on another apple.

Rainbow ensured this, dashing past us in flight and blowing our manes, along with Applejack's hat, which Applejack quickly caught. "In Ponyville?" She rapidly maneuvered to a nearby cloud and instantly formed it into a slide. "I'm probably the best flyer in all of Equestria." She spoke as she easily slid down with her wings outstretched. "I wouldn't be surprised if they just went ahead and made me a Wonderbolt on the first day." She flew calmly on her back and landed back near us.

"You have a lot of credibility for it." I added. "I don't see why not. You're pretty much the only one there that's done much more for Equestria than just fly expertly."

"I wouldn't say the only one…" she returned.

I raised an eyebrow, still becoming confused about these odd things Rainbow was mentioning. However, this expression was quickly broken when a familiar voice arose from a distance. "Rainbow Daaaash!" I quickly looked to see a familiar gray Pegasus with a blond mane fly towards us. "I've got your letter for you!" She announced when arriving in our area.

Rainbow Dash quickly snatched the letter without question, but I was more concerned about the pony delivering the letter. "Derpy…!" I performed a quick flight towards her. "Where the hay have you been all this time?"

"Sorry." She apologized with her cheery smile. "I've been busy with work."

"…You work as a mailpony?" I asked, noticing her saddlebag that contained one more last letter.

"Yup! I saved the last mail for the best! I just finished with my morning." She answered.

"What about that last letter right there?" I pointed towards it.

"That's for me! But first, I want to see Rainbow Dash get into the Wonderbolt Academy!"

"Wait… How did you know that Rainbow Dash—"

"Enough talkin'!" Rainbow ordered. "Watch as I open my ticket to my dreams!" She gripped the top part of the letter with her teeth and ripped it off. As she flapped her wings, she held the letter with her hooves and quickly began reading through it. However, her expression changed to the opposite direction, indicating a bad signal. "I... didn't get in." She announced sadly. These thoughts raced through my head, trying to figure out the reasons why in Equestria would Rainbow Dash not get in. On the side, I heard Pinkie Pie gasp horridly as Derpy as the others returned frowns and surprised expressions. After a moment, she presented the paper to us and revoked her frown. "Gotcha!" She laughed, revealing the green checkmark on the letter and removing our frowns from our faces. "Ha, you guys are so gullible. Like I wasn't gonna get in!"

"So what's the surprise you kept bringing me on about?" I asked.

She tossed the paper over to me. I caught it with my magic and began scanning through it to see what the "surprise" was supposed to be. "I may have mentioned you when applying for the Wonderbolt Academy."

I widened my eyes and looked up from the paper. "You didn't…"

She rubbed her hoof on her stomach and observed it from front and back. "Did I?" After seeing the proof on the paper, Rainbow continued to speak. "Apparently, an Alicorn gets automatically accepted, seeing as they're super rare and special."

"But, Rainbow…! I don't want to be in the Wonderbolts!"

"You don't have to be!" She quickly flew over to me and grabbed my cheeks, squishing them. " Don't you see?" She removed her hooves. "This is the best chance for you to get better with your flying! I'm already a great coach, but imagine being trained by a Wonderbolt? You should become as awesome as me in no time! Well…maybe not as awesome…but a great flyer!"

"That's…actually pretty smart of you, Rainbow…but…" I sighed. "I'm not really…familiar…with their type of training. It's focused more on discipline…so I've heard…"

"Come on, you've been through worse things. The type of training shouldn't matter. What matters is how amazing your flying becomes!"

"Well… I suppose I can give it a sh—"

"I got accepted!" A giggled occurred afterwards, drawing our attention towards a dancing gray Pegasus to our side.

"What?!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed. "How did a Pegasus like you get in?"

Derpy stopped dancing and faced Rainbow. "I don't know. But they must have really liked those muffins I've sent them!"

"Huh?" Rainbow was really surprised at this. "But—"

Pinkie Pie quickly rushed towards her and began squeezing her tightly. "I'm just sooooooooooo happy for you!"

While this was occurring, I walked over to Derpy. "Why'd you want to get into Wonderbolt Academy?" I asked. "I don't think you ever had dreams of becoming one…"

The grin on her face faded away a little. "Well… The truth is…"

"Come on, Alex!" Rainbow Dash called after finally being freed from Pinkie. "We've got to get moving! The sooner I get there, the sooner I get to show my stuff!" She dashed between Applejack and Rarity, retrieving the saddlebag they had packed for her.

"Wow…" I rubbed my head. "Well, sorry for the…sudden goodbye…but…see you girls la—"

"Come on!" She grabbed me by my coat on my back and forced me off the ground to begin flying. "See you guys in a week!"

I looked directly at Fluttershy, feeling a little blue that I wasn't even able to give her a hug before I left. However, she managed to smile lightly and wave at me.

"Wait for me!" Derpy announced and began flying towards us as well.

"Good luck!" Applejack wished.

"Won't need it!" Rainbow returned.

"DON'T FORGET TO WRITE!" Pinkie Pie's voice echoed throughout the entire airspace, shocking me for a bit.

"Whoa…" I commented, noticing the aftermath from the wave of volume.

"This is going to be so fun!" Derpy exclaimed. "Especially since I'm going to be with my best friends in the world!"

"Ugh." Rainbow expressed. "Derpy, this isn't supposed to be fun. We're receiving high quality training from the one and only Wonderbolts. However, it will be fun for me, because I'll see myself being the best out of all the rookies there."

"Oh…" Derpy frowned and slightly lowered her head.

I patted a hoof on her back and sent her a warm smile. "Don't worry. We'll still have fun."

She managed to lightly smile after my comment.

When we finally entered into the academy in the sky, we looked around to see many ponies on the clouds. Several lifted upwards to the sky, several performed tricks on the obstacle course, and several trained on the training grounds. Rainbow Dash returned a competitive yet excited look.

"Oh yeah! This is gonna be sweet!"

"Whatever you say…" I responded as I continued to look around. "Where are we supposed to go?"

Rainbow Dash scanned the area. "Over there." She pointed to a spot near the flagpole holding a red flag. "That's where all the recruits are at."

We flew towards where the pegasi were at and landed at the end of the horizontal line. I remained silent in the line, standing between Derpy and Rainbow Dash, until I felt some curious eyes creep up on me. I slowly looked towards my right, which was Derpy's way. Every pony, except Derpy, was just staring at me. I could only look at them back for a few seconds and turn my head away awkwardly. "Must be surprised of an Alicorn joining them…" I muttered softly.

"Just watch." Rainbow Dash heard my comment and responded. "I'll be drawing their attention away from you. No sweat."

"You're excessively proud today." I answered.

"Gotta be. I have to stay positive if I really want to impress the Wonderbolts."

"Uh-huh…"

When they finally stopped gluing their attention towards me, for the time being, I couldn't help but notice familiar pegasi in the line, mostly from the event with bringing water to Cloudsdale. The pony I recognized most was the huge bulky white one with tiny wings. He was too busy flexing his muscles to the mare by him. After, the last pegasus seemed to join us. Her coat seemed to be of a light opal color, while her mane and eyes, to be put simply, were different shades of amber. She landed at the end of the line, to Rainbow Dash's left. I looked around as everypony seemed to have their suitcase and saddlebags ready. Derpy and I seemed to be the only ones without one…

"Well lookie what we got here." A voice suddenly sounded, causing for everypony to look at one direction and quickly straightened their posture. Wondering why they did this, I followed their example anyway. "Betcha'll think you're Wonderbolt material, don't ya?" The mare walked in front of us, revealing herself. She looked familiar. Spitfire, if I remember correctly.

"Yes ma'am!" Everypony but I answered.

Fortunately, Spitfire didn't seem to tell the difference. "Think you got what it takes to be an elite flyer?" She asked, pacing in front of us and eyeing us carefully.

"Yes ma'am!"

"Well then. Let me be the first to tell you..." She began. "You don't!" She placed her hoof on somepony in the beginning of the line, surprising me. I began feeling a little nervous. Never have I encountered a pony that gave such an outburst like that… Well…excluding my father… "If you had what it took to be an elite flyer, you'd already be a Wonderbolt!" She began walking towards more of my way. I didn't know why, but I continued to grow more nervous, feeling my body shiver and tremble on the inside. "Still think you're something special?" She exclaimed towards the pony near the white buff one.

Trembling in fear, she shook her head and responded. "No ma'am!"

Spitfire then shifted her attention towards the white one, eyeing him and startling him. Afterwards, she looked at his wings, which she was about to make a comment on, despite his large appearance. "Ya think you're hot stuff?" He quickly lowered himself in defeat.

Spitfire shook her head and moved on to the next pony in line…Derpy. Oh no… Will she be able to handle the pressure and not to mention such terrifying outbursts…? She analyzed her from hoof to mane. She then placed her attention towards Derpy's eyes, which of course were crossed. "What's with those eyes?" Spitfire began, causing me to flinch at the thought of what Derpy might react with. "Do you have some problem with your eyesight or do you think you're just better than everyone else here to fly with those kinds of eyes?"

"No, ma'am!" Derpy quickly responded, returning a somewhat bold statement.

"Listen here, muffin." Spitfire placed a hoof on her chest. "Your muffins may have been appealing enough to the others to get you in here, but I'll let you know right now that that won't fly by me. If you think you can impress me by flying swiftly with crossed eyes like that, then be my guest. But unless you really just want to be kicked out of this Academy, then I suggest you fix them!"

I heard a gulp and it seemed that Derpy ended up listening to her orders. Spitfire remained silent and began moving down the line. Oh Celestia… Help me out in this…

She stopped in front of me and I could feel her eyes creeping all over me. I looked straight ahead, as every other pony was doing, but inside I was only wondering desperately on what she was going to do. I braced myself for whatever she was going to throw. However, I had a very good guess on what was the first thing she was going to bring up.

"An Alicorn, huh?" She finally brought to my attention. "Are you really here to become a Wonderbolt, or are you just here so you can get special attention from the others?"

She glared at me, waiting for my answer. "…no, ma'am?" I returned, not quite as bold as I usually would be.

"So, which is it!?" She exclaimed, getting a little more into my face.

Ugh…why are you acting like this, Alex? "…none of those, ma'am…"

"Oh, really? Mind telling me the truth then?"

I sighed inside my mind, just wanting for this fierce interrogation to be over already. "…I want to become a better flyer, ma'am…"

"A better flyer?" She replied with an intimidating and unbelievable tone. However, she paused for a moment and added an unexpected continuation. "…Just don't think you're getting any special treatment just because you're an Alicorn…"

Finally, she moved on, allowing me to calm my nerves.

"You look like you're the worst flyer in the whole academy!" She told Rainbow Dash as she looked over her. This statement caused Rainbow Dash to furrow her eyebrows in an irritated manner. "You'll probably quit after the first day!"

"No ma'am! I'd never quit, ma'am!" Rainbow Dash responded, clearly revealing no sign of nervousness.

"Ha." Spitfire released and moved on to the last pony. "What about you? Bet you couldn't fly past the first flagpole without getting winded."

"Try me, ma'am." The mare responded.

"What's that?" Spitfire lowered her shades.

"Let me show you what I've got, ma'am."

"Ah. You want a chance to prove yourself, huh?"

"Yes ma'am!"

"Well then, now's your chance. Give me five hundred laps! All of you!" She announced loudly. Everypony released a moan. "Now!" She ordered, blowing her whistle and initiating us to begin our laps.

I began flying, feeling the last of my nerves slip away. Rainbow Dash, of course, flashed by me every time, but I wasn't bothered. Derpy managed to stay by me, speaking with me as we continued to fly at a normal pace.

"That was a little scary…" She told me, no longer having her crossed eyes. "I never thought I'd you see that nervous… You don't seem like the pony to be that way…"

I remained silent for a moment. "Let's just say… She awfully reminded me of someone…"

"Who?" She asked.

Knowing as she still has no clue about that experience, I shook my head. "You wouldn't know why if I told you."

"Oh, okay…"

We continued our five hundred lap flight, which really wasn't much of a problem until after the first one hundred laps or so. By then, our fatigue was already setting in, but we couldn't stop, especially since Spitfire was down below, watching us. This was all good practice for my wings, but maybe this was too big of a step…?

"Lap four-hundred and ninety-nine!" Spitfire announced, directing towards Rainbow Dash and the other competitive mare. They seemed to be getting along quite well… After a few seconds, they passed us once again. "Five hundred!" They immediately stopped while Derpy, I, and the other cadets had to complete our laps.

I was panting heavily when I finally finished. I didn't even land smoothly. I just allowed myself to fall to the ground as my sweat dropped from my head. Derpy was tired as well, but not as much as me. She landed by me and provided shade by stretching out her wing to cover my face from the sun. "Thanks Derpy…" I managed to hack out.

"What you need is some energy." She offered and opened her saddle bag. She pulled out a muffin and quickly shoved it down my throat. I coughed out pieces of the muffin as I did not eat it properly. Nonetheless, it helped a little. Derpy helped me up.

"Now, I'm thirsty…" I looked around. "Is there someplace we can get something to drink?" I asked.

Derpy scanned the area. "I think that's the cafeteria right there." She pointed towards a building that presented a sign which depicted food."

"Come on. I need all the water I can drink…" I announced with an almost raspy voice and began walking.

When we were inside, there was actually an upside to being in the Academy. The food looked delicious, even when I was enormously parched. It was somewhat of a buffet. There were different sections that contained different plates of different types of meals. As soon as I spotted the first liquid drink I could find, I rushed towards it, filled a glass with it, and drank it all down like I've never done before.

"Punch…?" I expressed after looking at my empty glass.

"Come on! Let's eat!" Derpy exclaimed and clapped her hooves cheerfully.

After we grabbed our meal and dessert, we spotted Rainbow Dash and that other mare with her. We decided to go sit with them.

"Hey, what took you guys so long?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"We were just strolling around and checking out the scenery." I responded sarcastically, but with Rainbow Dash, it wasn't obvious.

"Okay…" She replied. "Anyway, this is Lightning Dust." Rainbow Dash presented a hoof towards the other competitive mare. "Lightning, this is Alex and Derpy."

Derpy and I both returned a greeting.

"So you're here to become a better flyer, huh?" Lightning Dust directed towards me. "Never thought I'd see an Alicorn needing to become one. I thought they were already good flyers."

"Alex hasn't had his wings since the very day he was born, so he got a little of a… late start…"

"Huh?" She asked, confused about the matter.

"It's a long story…" I quickly added and began to consume my food.

It wasn't long until Spitfire called everypony out again for the main event of the day. I began feeling like I didn't belong in this Academy, but I had to shake it off because this was pretty much the best opportunity to take in order to increase my wing skill the quickest way.

Before actually getting started, we were given Wonderbolt-styled uniforms to put on. Rainbow Dash was so eager and excited when she did. It seemed like she felt invincible wearing that suit. To me, it was nothing really amazing…

We were all gathered towards the area where pegasi usually took off in flight. Spitfire stood in front of all of us with something huge hidden behind by a violet cloth. She then began explaining what we were doing and why we were there in the first place. "The Wonderbolts are the fastest, best precision flyers in the world. And spin-outs can still happen. And when they do, a Wonderbolt must be able to recover quickly. This..." She signaled the assistant behind her, who removed the cloth and revealed what was behind Spitfire. "…is the Dizzitron." It was actually some sort of large machine. It appeared to be a large target while having a cogwheel in the middle and one on the side to its right. "It's gonna make you very, I repeat, very dizzy." …Very dizzy…? "Your task is to try and recover, and fly straight again. As soon as possible. Once you have recovered, you must come in for a smooth landing. Now, who's first?" Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust immediately and voluntarily rose their hoof. "You." Spitfire directed. Rainbow Dash thought Spitfire had picked her, as she placed a hoof on her chest. However, she was surprised when she actually picked the pink pony near her. "You're up."

"Me?" The mare responded fearfully. She looked past Spitfire, observing the Dizzitron. She gulped.

"Now!" Spitfire commanded, rushing the frightened mare. Nonetheless, her first victim placed herself inside the strap. "Ready?" She asked.

The mare looked both sides and replied in a nervous tone. "Yes ma'am!" She placed her goggles on.

"Go!" Spitfire ordered, allowing the assistant to turn on the machine. It began circling around, both the main wheel and the cog wheel. As I could only observe the machine moving faster and faster, I began getting my nerves back.

"Oh boy…" I muttered under my breath.

"Release!" Spitfire shouted. The wheel stopped and the mare was thrown off the machine. She flipped in a circular motion in the air several times, slowing down eventually. When she was in the right position, she tried to regain herself. She managed to skid lightly to a stop, but still remained dizzy as she wobbled on the floor. "Huh. Fifteen seconds." Spitfire commented, looking at her stopwatch. "Decent. But I wouldn't go writin' home about it! Who's next?" Rainbow Dash quickly lifted her hoof, having Spitfire notice her as the mare was pulled away. "Alright, Rainbow Dash. Let's see what you got."

"Yes ma'am!" Rainbow Dash saluted boldly and quickly strapped herself in. She placed on her goggles and braced valiantly for the ride.

"Okay, go!" Spitfire clicked her stopwatch as the machine began spinning. "Release!" Rainbow Dash was released after a few seconds. However, Rainbow quickly recovered her balance and sped to where we were in a matter of seconds. "Six seconds?" Spitfire commented with widened eyes. "That's an academy record."

"You made it look so easy." The pink mare whispered.

Rainbow Dash removed the goggles from her rolling eyes and chuckled. "I make everything look easy."

"Okay Lightning Dust, you're up." Spitfire called.

As Lightning Dust began preparing herself, she requested a favor from Spitfire. "Ma'am, can you put the Dizzitron at maximum speed?" She strapped herself in. "I wanna push my limits."

Spitfire shared a look with her assistant. "You sure about that?"

"Yes ma'am." Lightning placed on her goggles.

"Okay. You asked for it." She signaled the other assistant by the machine. He pulled the lever to start it. As it spun up, he increased the speed, which surprisingly was on the turtle speed at first. The target spun wildly, beginning to make me feel dizzy by just looking at it. "Release!" Lightning was released, and I thought she might have actually been too cocky. However, almost as fast as Rainbow, she recovered herself and dashed down towards us, surprising Spitfire. "Six point five seconds. Not bad."

Lightning Dust walked over to Rainbow Dash, creating a hoof bump with one another.

"Next!" Spitfire exclaimed, shocking everypony.

Completely unexpected, Derpy shot her hoof in the air.

"You?" Spitfire returned, walking towards her. "You want to go on the Dizzatron so quickly?"

"Yes ma'am!" Derpy answered with a bright smile on her face.

"What's the occasion?"

"It just looks easy and fun, ma'am!" Derpy continued to smile brightly.

"Oh! Easy and fun! Watch out! We have a bad pony over here!" Derpy returned a slightly confused expression towards Spitfire's mocking statement. "Tell you what. You prove to me how easy and fun it is, and I'll let you keep those eyes of yours crossed." Derpy formed a happy agape mouth when she heard this. "BUT, if you don't, you'll be cleaning the mess hall every night you're staying here… Deal…?"

Derpy formed her agape mouth towards the opposite way when she heard that last statement. Nevertheless, she placed on her goggles, formed a determined expression, flew over to the machine and strapped herself in. "Deal."

Spitfire seemed to be intrigued by Derpy's sudden change. Nonetheless, she looked over to the assistant and signaled him. I don't know if Derpy forgot to mention to change the speed, but it looked like it wasn't changing. This frightened me. I looked at Derpy prepare herself in a bold manner, hoping she wouldn't fail somehow. The machine began spinning. It spun so fast that I couldn't even see Derpy clearly anymore. My heart was pumping fast for her.

"Release!" Derpy was flung and thrown through a cloud, disappearing from our eyes. There was an awkward silence for a few seconds. Everypony looked at each other in silence. However, my eyes were glued to the spot where she disappeared.

"Come on, Derpy…" I muttered under my breath.

"Well, looks like it wasn't fun for her after her all." Spitfire expressed as she was about to click the stopwatch.

However, I began hearing distant laughter and glee. Derpy revealed herself after flying through the same cloud. She continued giggling as she slowly landed before us. "Hahaha! That was fun! Can I go again?"

Spitfire widened her eyes greatly and looked at her stopwatch when she clicked it. "Twelve seconds… At that speed…" She shook her head in disbelief and walked over to Derpy. "Not bad, kid." She placed a hoof on her shoulder. "You proved me wrong. You don't have to clean the mess hall and you can keep those crossed eyes of yours."

"Alright!" Derpy cheered and crossed her eyes again, freely.

I smiled warmly at her victory, but it was cut short when Spitfire placed her attention on me. "You! The Alicorn!" I widened my eyes in surprise at her call. "Why don't show us some of us your stuff?"

Uh-oh… I remained silent and hesitant for a moment. However, I knew I had to do it. "…okay…" I answered, feeling a little like Fluttershy now. I despondently flew towards the Dizzatron and nervously strapped myself in.

"Ready?" She asked. Before I could make sure she lowered the speed first, she called out the order to begin. "Go!" Dear Celestia… The wheel began spinning and quickly escalated to its top speed. I could not describe how horrendous it felt. I don't know why, but I hated the feeling I got when ponies usually loved it. It felt like hours until I heard Spitfire. I was released from the wheel. I was spinning so uncontrollably that I tried to even use my magic to help, but it was pretty much useless. I managed to turn my direction towards the others, but I still couldn't fly straight. I attempted to flap my wings, but my situation became worse. Soon enough, I crashed right on the spot I began in. Everypony could only groan in my pain as I slowly slid down the machine and fell on the ground, losing conscious.

When I began opening my eyes, I released a groan. My vision removed its blur and I could clearly see Derpy staring at me with concerned eyes.

"Derpy…?" I asked, not fully aware yet.

"Are you okay, Alex? Your crash looked really painful…"

"Ugh…" I placed a hoof to my head and rubbed it.

"Listen up!" I heard Spitfire announce, despite my condition. "For the rest of the camp, you'll be working in pairs. 'Morrow morning I'll post the teams including who'll be lead pony, and who'll be wing pony. Good luck." After that announcement, she left.

"…was I out for that long?" I asked.

"Hehe." Derpy giggled. "Yeah." She grabbed my hoof and helped me back up.

I shook my head and thanked her. "I'm expecting to be your wing pony." I told her in a silly yet serious manner.

"Hey, Alex." Rainbow Dash walked up to me. "You, okay? You took a pretty big hit there." Rainbow Dash brought up with a slight smirk on her face.

"Yeah… Yeah… I'm fine…" I sighed and rubbed my face. "I don't ever want to do that again…"

"Probably want to get used to it." Rainbow advised. "There's going to be plenty more where that came from." She chuckled. "Better hit the bunks. It's going to be dark soon." She turned around, ready to walk off. "See you tomorrow, Alex!"

As she and Lightning Dust walked away, I stayed behind with Derpy.

"Aren't you going with them?" I asked.

"I'm not really tired." She responded.

"Well, come on. Let's go walk around or something." I offered.

"Okay." She accepted with a smile.

Stopping at a lake when the sun was setting, we both sat down and relaxed for a bit.

"Oh." I expressed, remembering something. "I forgot to ask you again."

"Huh?" She returned a confused expression.

"Why do you want to become a Wonderbolt? Not in a bad way, but I've never seen your goal as being one." I asked.

"Oh…" She released a frown as she stared into the water.

"I'm sorry… I didn't mean to sound bad…"

She shook her head. "No, no… It's not that… It's just the reason why I want to be a Wonderbolt."

"Well… What's the reason, if you don't mind me asking?"

She remained silent for a moment. She shook her head and looked almost like she wanted to cry. "A lot of ponies see me the way I don't want them to see me. They see me as clumsy and too easily distracted to do anything. Sometimes… I feel like I am clumsy and all those other things they say when I screw things up…" She sighed. "I guess that's why I don't have a lot of friends…" She looked at me with gloomy eyes. "I guess I look pretty sad to you now, don't I?"

After looking at her with empathetic eyes, I shook my head. "Derpy… You're a lot stronger than I am."

"What…?" She questioned with a slightly surprised expression. "How?"

"There's…still a lot you don't know about me… But I used to be really depressed. I couldn't ever smile until my true friends, the girls, entered my life. But you… You always can find a reason to smile when times are tough." I chuckled. "It actually makes me feel weak compared to you."

"But you're not." Derpy quickly added.

"I know…but… You know what I mean."

"Right…" Derpy paused for a second. "Well, just so you know… I consider you one of my true friends. You're the only pony who actually believes I can do something. You know… All that good stuff you've said about me."

"Well, it's all true." I confidently replied with a light smile. "After the time I've spent with you, I've seen how some ponies see you as clumsy, annoying, unreliable, etc. But it's not true… Sure, you might make some mistakes. But that's why you learn from them. To me, you're a pony with a really good heart, no matter the mistakes."

Derpy released a small smile and quickly embraced me. "Thanks, Alex."

I placed my hooves on her back and patted her lightly. "You're welcome." She pulled away, allowing me to continue on with my question. "So, how does that relate with you becoming a Wonderbolt?"

"If I become a Wonderbolt…" She sat up and stood on her four hooves, looking out towards the moon that was now visible. "I'm sure ponies won't see me as some clumsy oaf anymore. They'll see me as some pony responsible and capable of tasks besides delivering mail and baking muffins. No longer will I be known as clumsy old cross-eyed Derpy."

"Wow…" I released, never really experiencing a deep Derpy. "That's really noble of you…"

"You really think so?" She asked, facing me.

"Yeah. You're really confident in achieving this goal… Just to let you know…" I sat up and stood by her. I placed a hoof on her shoulder. "I support you all the way, if this is really what you want."

"Thank you again, Alex…" She expressed.

I nodded. "Just be yourself. That's all that matters, at least to me…"

It seemed that Derpy just couldn't hold back another hug, so she quickly squeezed me once again, which was a little tighter this time. When she pulled away, she smiled brightly. "You're the greatest, you know that?"

"Oh, come on…" I responded with a hint of embarrassment and a platter of modesty.

Derpy released a small giggle. "Well… I guess we better get some sleep then. It seems we have a big week ahead of us."

"You've got that right…"

She expressed one last smile and waved. "Goodnight, Alex."

"Goodnight, Derpy." I returned.

Afterwards, she headed towards the dorms where the mares were staying.

I decided to go check out the dorms the stallions were going to be sleeping in, but I felt like I wasn't really going to like it…

As soon as I entered the large room with bunk beds, every one of the stallions weren't asleep at all. They were all excessively talking about who was tougher and who they'd think will be the lead pony and wing pony. I sighed, which was actually a bad move. They turned towards me and stared at me a little as I walked. When I walked to one of the beds that weren't taken, they immediately began bombarding me with questions about my appearance.

"So you're really an Alicorn?"

"Do you actually get to talk with the Princesses?"

"How come you're the only Alicorn here?"

"How is it that you're an Alicorn but can barely fly?"

"You should totally hoof-wrestle Snowflake."

Seeing that putting the pillow over my head was clearly ineffective, I sighed once again and removed my head from under the pillow. I looked at all of them as they awaited my answer. "Listen guys, I'd love to answer your questions, but I'm feeling a little hungry, so I think I'm going to get myself a snack." I jumped off my bed and began walking off.

Once I was outside in the night-blue sky, I rubbed my head, feeling my eyes scream for sleep. I groaned.

"I don't think those guys are ever going to let me sleep…" I spoke to myself.

"Did I hear somepony say 'sleep'?" I heard a voice speak above me, startling me a bit.

I looked above to see Princess Luna smiling at me from the cloud she was on. I looked around; making sure no one was nearby. Afterwards, I quickly lifted up into the air and met Princess Luna on the cloud. "Princess Luna, what are you doing here?" I questioned.

"I heard you had become a part of the Wonderbolt Academy." She responded.

"I see." I yawned. "Well, the stallions are too busy staying up and talking about all these things. It's like they don't even care about sleep."

"You need not to worry about sleeping around such bothersome stallions. You can sleep away right here on this comfortable cloud."

"What if Spitfire or somepony else finds out I'm here? I don't think she'll be very happy…" Luna released a small smile and focused her horn. She created a magic bubble around the cloud. "What'd you do?" I inquired, looking around.

"You could say I casted an…invincibility spell." She answered. "However, it takes quite amount of power and concentration, so I'll need my rest as well."

"Hm…" I commented. "So I guess you'll be staying with me, huh?" I asked.

"Well…" Princess Luna slightly looked away. "If you do not feel comfortable about it, I can find another way for you to sleep comfortably…"

I released a soft and tired smile. "It's okay. You're my Princess. Of course I feel comfortable by you." I laid down and nestled my head on the amazingly comfy and soft cloud. "Goodnight, Princess."

"Goodnight, Alex…" She responded softly. "Don't worry… I'll watch over and protect you…"

Before I fell asleep, I felt something in my heart about her last statement. It was just so…kind and warming to hear that. It felt really special and…just…so amazing…

A tune that sounded loudly from a horn woke me up. I opened my eyes and shook my head. I groaned and stood up, beginning to walk. However, I had forgotten that I was on a cloud, so I almost fell towards the ground below. A pair of hooves quickly caught me by the side and pulled me back onto the cloud.

"Careful, Alex." Luna spoke.

"Oh, Luna…" I rubbed my eyes. "Thank you. I had forgotten I stayed up here." I released a quick yawn and looked below. "I better get going before any pony sees me coming from an invisible cloud."

"I understand. Have a nice day, Alex. I'll be here if you wish to sleep in peace once again…"

I returned a small beam. "Thanks Luna. I'll see you tonight then." Afterwards, I opened my wings, flapping them as I waved Luna goodbye. She returned to Canterlot Castle as I descended back to Academy grounds. I noticed ponies starting to head towards the mess hall, which reminded me of the wall posting dealing with wing pony and lead pony.

When I arrived in the area, I spotted Derpy already gazing at the wall with a bright grin. She noticed me walking towards her. She unexpectedly hugged me in joy. "Guess what?!" She exclaimed excitedly.

"What?" I asked through a short chuckle.

"They put us both as a team!"

"Really? Let me guess. You're lead pony?"

"Nope!"

My expression changed to a confused one. "What? Then who is?"

"You, silly!"

My eyes widened. "Me?" I rushed over to the posting and noticed what she spoke of was true. "But… I'm a terrible flyer!" I turned around to face Derpy. "I crashed at the Dizzatron. You flew almost perfectly at the top speed!"

"You said it yourself, Alex." Derpy responded. "One mistake doesn't make you who you are."

I was caught off-guard by her statement. I realized how true it was. "You're right…but… I probably should go talk to Spitfire… just to make sure she didn't make some mistake."

"I'm sure she didn't." She grinned. "Come on soon so we can grab some breakfast. I know what I'm having!"

"Hm." I smiled softly. "Yeah…"

"And you made me a wing pony!" I heard Rainbow Dash's voice echo throughout the hall as I walked towards Spitfire's office.

"Because I believe you and Lightning Dust will be an unstoppable team. Do you not think you'll be an unstoppable team?" Spitfire answered.

"Yes ma'am! I mean, no ma'am! I mean... We'll be an unstoppable team, ma'am."

"Then what's the problem?"

"I think I should be lead pony, ma'am."

"And I think Lightning Dust likes to push herself a little harder than you do. That's why I made her lead pony. Got it?"

There was a pause for a second. "Yes ma'am…"

"Good." Afterwards, I heard stomps on the desk, reaching the open door to her office. Rainbow Dash walked out sadly, passing me and keeping her head down. I was disturbed by her appearance. Never before have I seen her in such a state…at least… rarely… "What is it, Alex?" Spitfire's slightly annoyed and cold voice startled me. I looked towards her as she continued to stamp these flyers with her hooves.

"Um… May I come in, ma'am?" I asked.

"Go ahead." She continued. I walked, noticing two guards that were separated on each side of the room. Wow… "Let me guess. It's about the wall posting, isn't it?"

"Yes, ma'am… I just want to know… Why did you make me lead pony. I crashed on the Dizzatron. Derpy executed it almost perfectly. Don't you think Derpy deserves to be lead pony instead?"

She stopped stamping her hooves on the flyers and looked at me with one eyebrow raised. "Are you questioning my decisions?"

"No, ma'am." I quickly replied, a little nervously. "It's just that… To put it simply… I sucked."

Spitfire looked at her desk for a moment and sighed. Then, she returned her attention back towards me. "Derpy may have performed the task better than you, but that's not the reason why I made you lead pony. You said you wanted to be a better flyer, correct?"

"Yes… ma'am?"

"If you really want to be a better flyer, you have to not just follow orders. You have to have the experience of leading others as well, this case, in flight. Being a lead pony is not all about flying the best or having the shortest time. It's about leading your fellow wing pony to victory and knowing what's best for your team. If you and your wing pony are successful, and I don't mean finishing first, then that shows me that you truly are willing to be a better flyer. But if you don't… well, it doesn't look so good to me then. Do you understand?"

"I…I think so, ma'am…"

"You're not going to fail your wing pony, are you?"

I formed a determined look when I thought about her. "No, ma'am. I'll keep her safe and guide her in the right direction."

"Then get to it!"

"Thank you, ma'am!" I saluted and walked out the office.

After breakfast, everypony, including Derpy and me, got their pins, which symbolized their rank. They were both identical except in color. The pin that was gold was the lead pony rank. The one with silver was the wing pony rank.

We all were then led back towards the takeoff area. There was each a couple to every team. Derpy stuck by me, completely comfortable of the fact that I was lead pony. However… I looked to Rainbow Dash's team, which consisted of her as wing pony and Lightning Dust as lead pony. I couldn't say the same for Rainbow Dash…

"Today you will all be participating in a flag hunt." Spitfire walked in front of us, giving our directions. "We'll divide you into two teams. Red…" One of her assistants held up a red flag among a group of ponies. "…and blue." A blue flag was lifted among Rainbow Dash, Lightning Dust, Derpy, and me. "Whoever finds the most flags of the opposing team's color wins."

Everypony cheered.

"Oh, this is gonna be so much fun!" The pink mare told her teammate.

"If you think this is gonna to be fun, you are sadly mistaken." Spitfire quickly attended to. "This is for training purposes. This is not recess. Lead ponies and wing ponies must fly together. If any pair splits apart, they will be immediately disqualified." Spitfire emphasized. "Do you understand?"

"Yes ma'am!" We all responded and placed our goggles on.

"Then let's go!" She blew the whistle, beginning our "training".

As our team lifted into the skies, Lightning Dust looked towards us. "You guys scout over there, we'll scout over here!"

"Got it." I responded and began turning towards our objective area. "C'mon Derpy." She followed me. As my eyes scanned any area capable of holding a flag, I spoke to Derpy. "No need to rush." I advised. "We could easily miss the flags if we move too fast. Look especially in any dark or hidden spots."

"Found one!" Derpy exclaimed cheerfully. She pointed towards a mountainside, specifically a hole where a very faint and barely visible red flag was shown.

"Good eye, Derpy!" I praised as she returned a delighted and bright grin with closed eyes. "Let's go get it!" Derpy and I dashed towards the hole, slowing down to make sure we didn't crash inside. "Grab this one; I'll look for anymore on the way back towards where we started."

"Got it, Captain!" Derpy replied both playfully and seriously at the same time. She grabbed the pole part of the flag with her mouth and brought it with her on the outside.

I left my eyes scanning every part of the area around us as I stuck close by Derpy. It wasn't until we began passing a waterfall that was not too far away. I noticed something red being flushed by the pouring water as it remained on the rock. "Derpy." I mentioned, stopping and keeping my eyes on it.

"Hm?" She asked, looking at me as she kept the flag in her mouth.

"I think I found one, come on." I waved my hoof in a gesture to follow me.

She did so. We both flew over to the waterfall, landing near the rock which held the flag. I observed it for a moment, noticing a slight issue. "We can't get it so easily…"

"Why not?" Derpy asked after placing the flag on the ground near her.

"I'm not sure, but the pressure of that water coming down might hurt one of us if we just rushed in there and tried to pull the flag out." I sighed, tapping my chin with my hoof. "Problem is… How do we get it…?" Derpy looked on the ground for a moment and picked something up. She threw it towards the flag, causing it to angle more to the right and clearly reveal its color. I gasped, realizing that Derpy found the answer. "Derpy! You're a genius!"

"What?" She asked, not knowing what she actually did.

"Let's play this safe." I directed. "Stay here and keep throwing rocks at the flag so it can come out enough for me to grab it, okay?"

"Okay!"

I flew towards the stream at the end of the waterfall, signaling Derpy to start.

She began throwing rocks at it, eventually knocking it off the rock. It began floating along the stream. I quickly dove enough to retrieve the pole with my mouth and bring it back to Derpy.

"Hoof bump!" I cheered, holding out a hoof towards her. She giggled and energetically bumped my hoof. "Come on, we better get these flags back to Spitfire!"

She nodded and we each held the flag, returning both of them to base.

When we placed the flags before Spitfire, she seemed impressed.

"Wow." She expressed while lowering her shades. "You brought two?"

"Yes, ma'am!" Derpy responded cheerfully.

"Impressive. First three flags down, keep up the good work."

We then continued our searched for more. Looks like Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust found the first one…

When the event was over, our team ended up winning, despite the red team having more ponies. I guess Spitfire "evened us out" by having the two best flyers and us in one team while the rest of the cadets were on the other.

"Nice job, guys." Lightning Dust praised as she walked past us.

"Yeah…" Rainbow Dash slowly walked past us as well, holding the tip of her left wing in pain. "Nice job…"

"Rainbow Dash." I called her. She stopped and turned around to face me. "Do you need some help…?"

"Nah. Just clipped my wing. That's all."

"Here." I walked up to her and focused my horn on the tip of her wing. I performed a light pain reliever Twilight had taught me not too long ago.

Rainbow Dash felt this and flapped it a little. "Thanks, Alex. I really appreciate it."

"You're welcome. Take it easy, okay?"

"Heh… I'll try…" Afterwards, she began walking away. I felt a little unhappiness coming from her, but there was nothing I could really do…

That was the last event of the day. Derpy and I grabbed some dinner. Then, Derpy headed off to sleep. I met with Luna again in the same area as last night.

"You seem happy to see me." I told her playfully as I made myself comfortable on the cloud.

"Well... I'm not lonely when I'm with you. It's a very nice feeling." She expressed.

I smiled warmly. "I know you what you mean… I'm really glad I help you stop feeling such loneliness when I'm with you. In a way, you do the same for me."

She returned the same smile. "Rest now, little one. It appears that this academy wakes you early in the morning."

I scoffed in a laughing matter. "Little one?" Nonetheless, I rested my head and closed my eyes, sighing softly. "If I only had a mom like you when I was little…"

I unexpectedly felt Luna's hoof rub my back gently. This surprised me, but it felt really…loving and warm…just…like a real mother would…

The next morning, I became conscious the same way as the day before. Then, I gave Luna her farewell and told her that I'd come back the same night. I had breakfast with Derpy, Rainbow Dash, and Lightning Dust. Lightning Dust was excited for the upcoming event that would take place today. Derpy was excited as well, believing that she and I will do as great as or even better than last time. I could only agree with her with a smile.

Afterwards, we all were summoned to the takeoff track that was in the clouds instead. Spitfire was already there, waiting for us with those two assistants of hers. When everypony was present, one of her assistants blew the horn he held loudly. This caused Spitfire to turn around and angrily push it down, away from his lips.

"Today we'll be doing our famous air obstacle course." She announced, presenting the rings of cloud in front of us. "The object of this exercise is to work on your precision flying under extreme circumstances. And don't worry about winning. It's not a race. Now everypony, get on your marks!" Every one of us placed on our goggles and readied ourselves.

One of the assistants blew the whistle, initiating our takeoff. Every couple flew off at a time as the assistants signaled for us to do so. While Derpy and I were waiting for our takeoff, I looked at her. "Don't worry. Just stick close and we'll make it through this."

"Roger that, Captain!" She responded.

After we were signaled to fly, we both jumped from the ground and began flapping our wings. We began going through the hoops. However, during this exercise, I heard a poof. I looked below to see a pink cloud coming our way in a rush. Derpy didn't notice.

"Watch out!" I quickly placed my hooves in front of Derpy, stopping both of us. The pink cloud passed upwards in front of us by an inch. I released a breath of relief. "That was too close." I looked at Derpy. "Go through the hoops but be sure to keep an eye where those clouds are coming from, okay?"

She nodded and we continued on through. We made sure to take it slow and careful while going through the first part of the obstacle course to ensure we weren't hit by one of those pink clouds. Fortunately, Derpy and I were able to make it through, reaching some huge stormy cloud. I could hear the strong winds and thunder coming from inside. Lightning flashed. I stopped, causing Derpy to stop as well. "Uh-oh…" I stated with hesitation.

"Hey, as long as we stick together, right?" Derpy comforted me.

Realizing it, I nodded. "Yeah. Let's go." As soon as we entered, I could already feel the rain spray on our coats. The strong winds were a bother as well. They seemed to be pushing Derpy away from me, so I quickly grabbed her hoof and pulled her closer. "Keep a hoof on me so we don't get separated!" I exclaimed in the weather in order for her to hear me.

"Okay." She managed to say while being bothered by the winds as well.

Flapping my wings harder, I had to guide her through the storm. Eventually, I saw a small hole of light protruding at the end of the stormy tunnel. "There's the exit!" I began pushing on harder, feeling the light coming closer and closer to me.

When we finally made it, we could see the last part of the obstacle, ready to engage it. However, the ponies ahead of us had all been forced back towards us, as Derpy and I were the last ones. Completely unexpected, their crash brought us along for the ride as well, pushing us back and landing on the cloud not too far away.

I groaned as I sat up and rubbed my head. I looked around for Derpy, only to see half of her body stuck in the part of the cloud. I quickly pushed myself up and rushed over to her. I placed my hooves on her flanks and pulled greatly until she was successfully out. Once she was, I grabbed her hoof and helped her up. "Are you alright…?"

"Mh-hm." She nodded. "Thank you." She looked around, noticing the other teams helping each other out. "I wonder what happened."

"Me too." I agreed. "Everypony crashed except Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust."

"They must be really good then."

"Everypony okay?" Spitfire and her assistants met with us on the cloud and asked.

With groans, everypony answered. "Yes, ma'am."

"Well, come on, come on." Spitfire gestured back towards the course. "Dust yourselves off and continue with the obstacle course!"

Every couple went at a time in order to be in an organized line again.

"So you're fine to go on, right?" I asked Derpy, just to make sure.

"Mm-hm." She nodded.

"Alright." I patted her twice on the back. Then, when signaled to do so, we took off to complete the course.

The last obstacle wasn't that challenging. Derpy and I just had to take it slow and not rush through it. Following that method, we were able to carefully stay away from the high pressured winds. It reminded me of those strategic traps from the Daring Do novels.

When we finally finished, we were allowed to recover our energy in the mess hall.

Derpy and I grabbed our lunch and walked to find the table Rainbow Dash was in.

"You and I make a pretty good team, don't you think?" Derpy asked.

"Yeah." I agreed. "This definitely makes up for not seeing you all those days since the wedding." Derpy and I reached the table Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust were on. We both sat down. "Looks like you two finished early again." I was disturbed when I saw Rainbow Dash messing around with her food in a gloomy matter. "Rainbow… Are you alright…?"

"Huh…?" She asked, slightly lifting her head to notice me. "Oh, yeah… I guess…"

"Eh." Lightning Dust commented. "She must feel bad since we beat everypony else so easily. Come on, it's not our fault we're the best."

I became slightly annoyed at that comment, but I let it slip, since Rainbow Dash was that kind of pony… But… It was just the idea of something bothering her which bothered me.

After lunch, we gathered outside once again for what appeared to be the last event of the day. We were ordered to remove clouds, just like Rainbow Dash did back at Ponyville. Never doing that before, I figured it couldn't be too hard. Once the whistle was blown, we all raced towards the clouds to do our job with our teams.

"Have you ever done this before, Derpy?" I asked her as we headed towards the group of clouds.

"I don't think so. One time, maybe." She responded.

"Well, I've seen Rainbow Dash do it many times before, so I think you just kick or punch them or something." I looked around, seeing other couples separate. "Looks like we don't need to stick together for this one. Just be close when removing the clouds, okay?"

"Got it!" She saluted and we began attempting to remove the clouds.

As we were doing this, the assistant back on the ground was keeping count on how many clouds disappeared for each team. The team that removed most of the clouds won, which would obviously be Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust.

Getting rid of the puffy clouds wasn't hard. All it took was one quick swipe of the hoof against them. However, I didn't have the skills Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust had, so I couldn't remove them as quickly as they did.

There were some clouds that were thicker, leading the rest of the cadets to repeatedly punch and kick them. Derpy found one of them, and I saw her struggling a bit with it. I flew over to her side and helped her with a mighty kick.

"Are you doing alright?" I asked with a warm smile.

She wiped her forehead and nodded. "This takes a little hard work, but it's still pretty fun!"

I chuckled a little until heavy winds intruded our area. "What the… Are there supposed to be these kinds of winds here right now?" I placed my hoof in front of my face and noticed something strange. "Is that… Is that a tornado…?" I asked, noticing a dark object spin around rapidly.

"Uh…" Derpy mentioned as she became a little worried now. "I don't think there are supposed to be any tornados right now!"

I was alarmed to see the tornado coming our way in a rush.

"Watch out!" I grabbed Derpy and forcefully lowered her away from the tornado's grip. As I looked back to see where it was going, I noticed it had reached where the assistant was keeping score. He had to flee to escape. The board was broken to pieces. Then, I now noticed it was heading towards a hot air balloon. Inside that balloon were familiar ponies… "Are those…?" I tried to focus my eyes and realized those ponies were the girls. I gasped and quickly looked at Derpy. "Stay out of the tornado's way! I'll be right back!" Afterwards, I hastily raced towards them.

Before I was even close, their balloon had been caught and was now swinging wildly in the tornado. My eyes widened and my heart beat rapidly as I began panicking crazily inside at the sight of each one of the girls falling to their doom. Reaching them, I managed to only get Fluttershy. Seeing the girls continue to fall as they screamed, I had no time to waste. "Fluttershy, use your wings!"

Fluttershy realized this and quickly began flying, allowing me to race towards the others. I began growing worried because at my speed and theirs, I felt like I wasn't going to make it. However, a flash of rainbow below the girls relieved me. It was Rainbow Dash. She constructed a major cloud to be able to hold the girls. When they landed on the cloud, Rainbow Dash bounced them back up to catch. Oh Celestia… How the hay am I going to hold all of them? Nonetheless, I flew upwards to meet Fluttershy.

"Fluttershy, get Pinkie!"

When they lifted into the same altitude we were in, Fluttershy held out her hooves in a flinching matter to catch Pinkie. Rarity was the nearest pony to catch, so I quickly held out my hooves and caught her. Seeing Fluttershy manage to catch and hold Pinkie, I hurryingly focused my horn to place a dark blue aura around Twilight and Applejack. I struggled mentally to keep them held in the air. Some box reached Pinkie. She grinned and caught it with her hooves. Eventually, Rainbow Dash rushed towards us, helping me by carrying Applejack. Finally, we descended towards the training grounds to place them safely on there. While Twilight, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack were released onto the ground, Rarity opened her eyes to realize she was still healthy and alive. She shook her head as I remained in the air, looking at her to make sure she was okay. As soon as she noticed me, she immediately threw her hooves around me in joy, causing me to release a smile.

I placed her on the ground.

"Are you guys okay?" Rainbow Dash quickly questioned.

"Uh-huh." All of them but Pinkie Pie answered, relieved.

"Pinkie Pie!" Rainbow Dash noticed Pinkie on the ground for some reason with her box.

Pinkie opened her eyes and noticed Rainbow looking at her. Her mouth trembled as if she was about to cry in joy. Water filled her eyes. "You..." She placed her hooves around Rainbow's neck and pulled herself towards her. "…remember me!"

"Well... yeah, of course I remember you. But... what are you all doing here?"

"We wanted to bring you both a care package." Applejack explained. "Didn't realize you'd be in the middle of some crazy tornado drill."

Derpy landed near us. "That was so scary! But I'm glad you all are okay!"

Over conversation was suddenly interrupted. "That... was... awesome!" We looked to our side to see Lightning Dust appear from the crowd.

Unaware of what she was talking about, I could only return a confused look.

"Awesome? My friends could have been smashed to pieces!" Rainbow Dash scolded.

Every one of the cadets was now looking at Lightning Dust with irritated eyes.

"Yeah, but they weren't, right? Can't say the same for the clouds. We totally wiped them out with that tornado. The other cadets will have to be up there for days to bust as many as we did." After that statement, she held out a hoof towards Rainbow Dash as I formed narrowed irritated eyes.

"A hoof bump? Seriously?" Rainbow Dash placed her hoof on top of hers and pushed it away. "You made me clip my wing. You sent half of our class into serious tail spins on the obstacle course. You unleashed a tornado that nearly demolished my friends!"

"Yeah, and?" She asked, making a gesture and facial expression that reminded me a lot of Starlight.

"And I get that you want to be the best. So do I! But you're going about it in the wrong way."

"The Wonderbolts don't seem to think so. After all, Spitfire did make me the leader and you the wing pony."

After a moment of silence, Rainbow Dash could only sigh. "You're right. She did." She then turned around and began walking away. Under her breath, I could hear say something faintly. "I'm done with this…"

"Rainbow, wait." I called after her, galloping enough to reach her and stay by her side. "Where are you going…?"

"I'm talking to Spitfire. I'm not doing this anymore…"

"What…? You don't mean…"

"I do… So you better stay here."

I thought for a moment as I continued to follow her. Then, I responded. "I'm coming with you."

As soon as we reached Spitfire's office, Rainbow Dash placed her hoof on the door and opened it. Spitfire lifted her head in irritancy. "This better be important." Rainbow Dash walked in as I stayed at the door. "You're supposed to be up there busting clouds with your partner."

Rainbow Dash performed a salute. "We're done with that, ma'am."

"Already?" Spitfire returned widened eyes and removed her shades, glancing at the clock. "That's an academy record! Explain your methods."

"That's why I'm here ma'am. Lightning Dust decided to use a tornado." Rainbow Dash explained.

"A bit excessive for cloud-busting." Spitfire commented. "But judging from your time, it was obviously an effective tactic."

"Yeah, well that 'effective tactic' nearly took out my friends!" Rainbow emphasized. "No disrespect ma'am, but there's a big difference between pushing yourself as hard as you can, and just being reckless. And if being reckless is what gets rewarded around here, if that's what it means to be a Wonderbolt, then I don't want any part of it."

"What are you saying, newbie?"

Rainbow Dash placed her badge on the desk firmly with a bold expression. "I quit." Afterwards, leaving Spitfire with a shocked expression, she walked past me.

Spitfire noticed me and furrowed her eyebrows. "You're not quitting on me too, are you?" She asked with not a worried expression, but an irritated one.

I looked at the floor for a moment and then walked towards her desk in silence. "…Rainbow Dash is right."

"I thought you wanted to become a better flyer?"

I remained silent for a moment. "…I do… But… Based on Lightning Dust's behavior and her being rewarded for it, it seems to me that this is no suitable place to become a better flyer if our learning experience is just going to be disrupted by her recklessness." I shook my head. "Rainbow Dash tried to do her best and do things the right way instead of rushing through them. That deserves to be rewarded…" I lifted my head to look at Spitfire. "To be honest, the way things work around here disgusts me." I removed the lead pony badge from my suit and looked at it for a moment. "Sorry ma'am, but I'm going to have to quit too." I placed it on her desk and walked away, leaving her office.

"You did what?" I heard Applejack ask in a tone of disbelief as I met back with them.

"Being a Wonderbolt was your dream!" Rarity added as Rainbow Dash pulled the strap on her saddlebag.

"Not anymore." Rainbow shook her head.

"I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash." Twilight placed a hoof on her. "I know how much this meant to you."

Afterwards, Applejack placed a hoof around Rainbow Dash, which led the rest of the girls to join for a sad group hug.

"You're leaving…?" I heard nearby, causing me to turn around. It was Derpy. She had an almost trembling frown on her face.

I looked at the ground, feeling terribly awful for leaving her at the academy, just like that. "Yeah… I'm sorry, Derpy…"

"Who's going to be my lead pony…?"

I placed a hoof on her shoulder. "You'll make a great lead pony, Derpy."

She looked away sadly. "It won't be the same…" I could see some water appear in her eyes, causing for my feelings inside to stir around in a depressive state. She looked back at me and hugged me.

"I'm sorry, Derpy… I really am…" I apologized as I rubbed her back.

"Alex! Rainbow Dash!" I heard, startling me and causing me to look at who shouted the names. "How dare you storm out of my office without giving me a chance to respond!" Spitfire trotted towards us, looking as if she was about to scold us even more. I pulled away from Derpy and joined Rainbow Dash's side to take whatever Spitfire had to throw at us. "The Wonderbolts are looking for the best flyers in Equestria, but you were right." She removed her shades and stared at the ground, surprising both of us. "Being the best should never come at the expense of our fellow ponies. It's not just about pushing ourselves. It's about pushing ourselves in the right direction. You've shown that you're capable of doing just that." She looked back, facing the two assistants that were holding Lightning Dust for some reason. Spitfire glared at Lightning Dust angrily and ripped the badge off of her uniform. She then pointed her other hoof towards the other direction, signaling her to leave as the assistants escorted her out. She only walked away gloomily as she lowered her head. She glanced back for a moment and then continued on. Even if Lightning Dust did something completely inappropriate, I still didn't feel like the result for her was right… "You're no wing pony, Rainbow Dash." Spitfire placed the gold badge on her. "You're a leader."

"OhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygoshOhmy goshOhmygosh!" Rainbow flapped her wings excitedly.

"What about you, Alex?" Spitfire faced me. "Are you still willing to stay with us for a while longer?" She asked, holding the gold badge out to me.

I glanced at Derpy, noticing how she returned a surprised expression that was just waiting to be bombarded with happiness. I looked at ground and then at Spitfire. "I suppose I could stay here for the remainder of the week." As expected, Derpy instantly beamed with happiness, grinning widely. Spitfire was about to place the badge on me. "But." I stopped her. "I want to talk to you about Lightning Dust first."

"She's expelled, don't worry about it." Spitfire answered.

"That's just it…" I continued. "I believe she deserves a second chance…"

"Huh?" Spitfire replied, holding confusion in her face.

"I know she did something completely wild…but it was just a mistake… We all make mistakes. None of us are perfect. Her mistake might have been a little excessive…but… she was only trying to prove herself to be the best and guarantee herself a spot in the Wonderbolts. I don't think her whole dream of being a Wonderbolt should be crushed by that… Punished? Yes. But to receive something that ultimately doesn't give her a chance to get back up and change for the better? No offense ma'am, but some of the blame falls on you. If you hadn't rewarded her for her previous actions, it may have not escalated this far. But, like I said, we all make mistakes." I sighed. "I think she deserves another shot. But this time, you know who the better lead pony is, and you can even punish her to where she knows not to do it again. At least just let her have a chance to follow her dream…"

Spitfire looked towards the ground and sighed. She picked up her whistle and wiped it a bit. "That's quite a favor you're asking from me, Alex... I don't follow the advice of just anypony." I formed a frown, feeling like she was going to decline my offer. "But. I know you're a stallion of good word, and you only want the best for everypony. So…" She looked at me. "Fine. I'll give her another shot, but I'm keeping a close eye on her." I replaced my frown with a grin. Spitfire turned around and faced Lightning Dust, who was just about to leave. She blew her whistle loudly, causing for Lightning Dust to turn her head. "Get over here!" She shouted.

Lightning Dust slowly walked back towards us, feeling like she was going to be let down even more. "I'm sorry, ma'am. I screwed up. Can I just go?"

"You're not going anywhere." Spitfire answered, surprising her. "You can thank your fellow cadet here." She gestured towards me. "You're getting another chance, but I'm keeping my eye on you. You even think about pulling another stunt like that, then there are no more chances! Got it?!"

"Y-Yes, ma'am!" Lightning Dust responded and saluted.

Spitfire placed the wing pony badge on her. "You follow Rainbow Dash from now on, got it?"

Lightning Dust appeared to be a little disappointed on her switched position, but almost being expelled and losing what she had completely, it was better than nothing. "Yes, ma'am!"

Spitfire placed on her shades. "Now all of you, get out there and give me twenty!" She shouted out.

"Yes ma'am!" Rainbow Dash, Derpy, Lightning Dust, and I exclaimed. Afterwards, we rose up and joined the other cadets, who were waiting on what the outcome was going to be. Despite the conflict, each of us left to take on Spitfire's orders.

"Wait! You didn't even get to open your care package!" I could hear Pinkie exclaim behind us.

I chuckled at this.

Maybe at lunch…

The remaining days at the academy were pretty short. Lightning Dust never really went beyond a "Thank you", and that's because she barely managed to say it. She appeared like she was really grateful for her chance to reach her dream once again, but it seemed like she didn't want to lose her toughness, so she didn't show emotion too much. Nonetheless, that didn't really matter. It just made me content to see that she was able to have something to look forward to.

Of course, in the end, no pony was told whether or not they were going to become a Wonderbolt, but it was more of a step completed towards that direction. Rainbow Dash told me that Spitfire would keep a close eye on her in figuring out whether or not she'd become an official Wonderbolt. I was glad to hear that. I figured that Lightning Dust didn't have such a high chance as Rainbow Dash did, but she did behave better and was willing to be her wing pony as long as she had the chance to be. From that, I could feel that she at least regained some of her trust.

Back home at Ponyville, Derpy decided to accompany me as I walked Fluttershy home. After I tried to make up with a deeply passionate kiss for the affection I didn't show her all week, I allowed her to retire inside her cottage for sleep.

I flew with Derpy by my side on the way to the main part of town.

"So, did Spitfire give you any hint on becoming a Wonderbolt or not?" I asked.

"Hm…" She thought. "Nothing major. But… I don't think I want to become a Wonderbolt anymore."

"Huh?" I responded with a surprised expression. "Why not?"

"Well… I've been doing some thinking… I then thought about what it'd be like if I did become a Wonderbolt. Would I actually like or love being a Wonderbolt in doing what they do? I only actually wanted to be a Wonderbolt so ponies could take me more seriously. But I never thought if I'd actually love being a Wonderbolt. That got me thinking. If I became a Wonderbolt, what if I become so busy that I won't be able to see and hang out with friends like you? So… I'm probably not going to be a Wonderbolt after all. If ponies can't take me seriously and don't want to see me for who I really am, then I think they shouldn't be my friends, don't you think?"

I could only return a warm smile. "Of course… If ponies only want to see you in a good way because of your reputation and social status, then they aren't true friends." Derpy smiled brightly with her eyes closed. "Hey, why don't you send that as a letter to Princess Celestia?" I offered.

"Huh? Really? Me send a letter to the Princess?" She asked.

I nodded. "Of course."

"How?" Derpy's excitement grew.

"Come on. Let's go to my friend Twilight's house."

Arriving at her home, I knocked on the door.

Twilight soon answered. "Oh, hey Alex." She noticed Derpy and became lightly surprised. "Oh, this is your friend Derpy, right?"

"Yeah. She has something she'd like to share to the Princess in a letter."

"Oh really?" Twilight didn't seem to mind. "That'd be a first. Come on in."

She invited us in, which led Derpy to look around in amazement. "Wow! You have a lot of books here!"

"Well, I do love my books." Twilight giggled and called Spike. "Spike!"

Spike walked down the stairs, yawning. "Uh-huh?"

"Before you go to bed, can you send a letter to Princess Celestia from Alex's friend?" Twilight asked.

Spike seemed to perk up and become a little energetic. "Sure! It's been a while since I've sent one!" He immediately pulled out a quill and scroll.

I looked at Derpy and nodded. "Go ahead."

"Oh!" She responded and then thought. "Um… Dear Princess Celestia, you may not know me, but you can call me Derpy! I've discovered a little something about friendship. First off, a lot of ponies don't really take me seriously in life. It could be because I may look funny or weird when I really just want to have fun. I thought about becoming a Wonderbolt. I even enrolled in Wonderbolt Academy this past week, but then I did some thinking and realized how I probably wouldn't love being a Wonderbolt. I realized how I only wanted to become one because I thought it would make ponies like me more. I then learned that true friends accept you for who you are." Derpy glanced at me. "If friends only like you for what you do or because you're somepony famous, then they aren't real friends at all. My best friend Alex taught me that. He taught me that I should just be who I am and not change for any other pony. Your friend, Derpy!"

"Nicely done." I complimented with an appreciative smile.

"Yes, that was excellent." Twilight added as Spike sent the letter. "Nice to have you alongside us, Derpy."

Derpy opened her mouth in happiness. "Thanks!"

Seeing her joy just made me feel so warm inside. "Come on, Derpy. We better let Twilight sleep. Goodnight, Twilight!" I expressed as I began walking Derpy out of the tree.

"Night!" She answered with a light giggle.

I closed the door, leaving Derpy and me outside.

"I just can't express how much I appreciate your help, Alex." Derpy mentioned and embraced me again. "You're such a true friend and I'm glad I met you! Thanks to you, I think I'm going to be meeting more friends very soon!"

I smiled and placed my hoof on her back. "I just love to see my true friends happy, Derpy. I love to help them in any way I can as long as it makes them smile."

Derpy giggled and pulled away. "I need to make you a muffin cake someday."

"I bet it'll be delicious."

"Hehe." Derpy looked out at the night sky for a moment. "I should be getting home now, Alex. Goodnight!"

"Goodnight, Derpy."

She began flying home while I walked to mine.

"I see everything went well?" Luna asked me, who seemed to be waiting by my door.

I chuckled a little. "Yeah, I guess… Thanks for being there for me, Luna. I appreciate it." I hugged her for a moment, which surprised her a little. When I pulled away, she was sending me a warm smile. "Goodnight, Luna."

"Goodnight, Alex."

She retired to Canterlot Castle as I entered my home.

As I readied myself for bed, becoming comfortable under the covers, I closed my eyes. Before completely falling asleep, I could hear Luna say one more thing.

I'll be in your dreams, watching over you.

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