• Published 16th Jan 2013
  • 4,914 Views, 462 Comments

The Gift of a Feather - AJ

A feather from Rainbow's wing was his prize possession for 10 years. Now he's back.

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The Gift of a Feather

For most creatures Equestria is the ultimate paradise. The friendship, the harmony between the monarchy and their subjects, the stunning countryside... all of that is just a small part of what makes it so indescribably desirable to outsiders.

I live here in Equestria. Throw that in with the fact that I’m twenty years old, a pegasus stallion, tall, and a fair flier (I think anyway). Looking at myself from a distance I suppose one might say I'm in an enviable spot. Right now, I’m on my way to the royal city itself, Canterlot - the home of the Princess and the dwelling place of some of Equestria’s social elite. Here I am, trotting up the road on the side of the mountain, with puffy white clouds outlined against the brilliant blue sky and the sun shining beautifully. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Before you start getting green with envy, though, you might want to know why I’m going there. I’m not going there because I can afford to live there. I’m going there to start my new job. Flier like me, you probably think I’m a Wonderbolt, or at least a foal-flying trainer, right? Nope. When you have as little connections as I do, it’s hard to get a job that requires flying. I’m actually going to Canterlot to start my new window-washing job. Great living, I know. But it could be worse! Up until now, I haven’t exactly had the best of luck with jobs… or employment and that sort of thing. I’m hoping this will be kind of a breath of fresh of air, and who knows- maybe I can get a better job and move to a pegasi city like Cloudsdale someday.

On the subject of where I’m going to live, well… let’s just say I’m kind of still trying to figure that out. To be completely honest, I’ve kind of been trying to figure that out for years now. Don’t feel bad too bad though - sleeping under the stars has its perks... seriously! If I can find a nice patch of grass somewhere that isn't privately owned, maybe in the courtyard outside of the castle (if the guards don’t kick me off), and the summer breeze is as cool as and gentle as it’s been lately, I should be comfortable during Luna’s nights. Winter is a different beast, but I'll deal with that when we get there I guess.

My name is Sonic. Sonic Rain is my full name. When I was a foal I was known for my amazing velocity in the air, as well as my equally amazing lack of control (which resulted in me crashing into things- a lot). My parents named me after the more positive quality, so I do thank them for that. I got the last part of the name Rain when I was also a very young foal; I used to lie on my back and play in the rain, and whenever I got pulled inside by my mom, I would cry to back outside and play in the rain. So that’s why I’m called what I’m called.

My coat is a solid color, but it’s kind of a tweener between grey and light blue. My mane and tail are both the same; streaks of (bear with me) dark blue, blue, light blue, dark gray, gray, and light gray. My cutie mark is a yellow lightning bolt going through a raincloud, no doubt for my speed through the air. Ever since I was colt, I’ve been kind of a drifter, though I spent a lot time in the western region. For just as long, I haven't been sure where my next meal is coming from. Again though, don’t feel too bad. I usually find something, and that’s a lot to be thankful for right there. There is a lot of lush and edible plant life in Equestria, even if I can't get in on any of the more eloquent meals that most ponies enjoy. I’ve even made a few friends along the way, and even though they haven’t stayed with me to this day, I still relish the time that I spent with them.

For all that glass-half-full talk, I am hoping to settle down somewhere. I’m tired of drifting across the land and losing the friends that I’ve made. I may be really dreaming now, but I want to find a job that can really take advantage of my flying skills, and who knows, maybe I can get enough money for a house.

Oh, there is one more thing you need to know about me. It involves the only real dream I have, or have ever had. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the kind of job I have, or the kind of place I live. Consider this; as I was walking the long road up the side of the mountain to Canterlot, I thought I lost it. I thought I lost the one thing I own. The mere sight of it, much less the feeling I get when I hold it against my heart, driving away bad feelings or emotions I’ve ever had. It wasn’t in the snug spot where I usually kept it in my mane. I looked all around the road where I was walking, and I didn’t see it there either.

“Where is it,” I cried as my mind was running to hysteria. All these years I've never lost it; how could I let my sole possession - in fact my life and my hope - get away from me? Then I felt it tangled in my mane and sighed the most relieved sigh there ever was in the history of ponies.

What I thought I lost, which if I had would be a greater tragedy then sleeping in the snow or going three days without eating, was a feather. Yes, you read that right. Just a feather. I cradled it in my hoof and pressed it against my cheek for comfort. I’ve kept this feather for ten years. It’s the loveliest light blue color you’ve ever seen, but not a light blue from my wings.

It all started on a bright and sunny summer day in the pegasi city of Cloudsdale. I was only ten years old, and my flying needed work. I had great speed, but for the love of heaven I could not control myself worth a feather, so my parents decided to enroll me in a junior speedster flight camp to literally get my flying under control.

I was the only foal of my parents, and Cloudsdale was the third city we’d lived in during my lifetime. We spent the first five years of my life in Baltimare, before heading off to the west coast for just two years, and that was after I finally made a few friends in my home city. Nevertheless, just as we got comfortable in the west, for whatever reason my parents decided we were to pack our bags and head out, this time to the city of Manehattan. We were only here for two and a half years before we moved yet again, finally to Cloudsdale. Good ol' Cloudsdale.

Whenever we moved, I would lose all my friends so my parents would become my only friends every time we moved. My relationship with my parents was… unique, to say the least. When I was a young foal, they often took care of me together, lovingly playing with me and bringing me the kind of joy and comfort that one should expect from parents. I'm not quite when exactly it happened - maybe on one of our moves - but there came a time though when it seemed like I started bothering them more and more, and we started spending less time together. “Why don’t you make some friends, that way your mother and I can finally have a break?” my father used to say. It made me terribly sad to think that I was starting to become a nuisance to my parents. Being around them and seeing them happy had always made me happy, and seeing them sad had made me sad.

My body has filled out nicely, but when I was little, I was actually small for my age. I was a cheerful (and probably fairly cute) little colt, but so are all foals. I've never been the most confident, and when my relationship with my parents seemed to inexplicably deteriorate it got worse. I was shy, but upon arrival in Cloudsdale, I vowed to make some friends at any cost. If I could have someone to love and spend time with other than my parents, then it would make me feel a lot better, and hopefully it would make my parents happy, too. So now, on the first day of flight camp, I was determined to make a change - and some friends.

So first day at flight camp, up on the puffy white clouds of Cloudsdale I stood in a line with twenty other fillies and colts facing our flight instructor and waiting for orders. All around us was the obstacle course that featured various flying “challenges” that might be used to turn us foals into better fliers. I was eager to talk to some of my new fellow cadets though afraid they might think I'm boring or laugh at wild flight crashes. Our flight instructor walked down the line and was giving us all good, hard looks- but not too hard; remember, we’re just foals. I think everypony was probably a little intimidated. I remember being so excited that I barely stand still. I was energetic, young, and innocent, and when the flight instructor, a cream colored stallion with a brown mane and white cap had his back turned I leaned over to the colt on my right.

“Hi, I’m Sonic. What’s your name?” I whispered in my eight-year-old high-pitched voice.

“Thunderlane!” whispered back the charcoal-grey colt with a mane that was white and grey. Just as I leaned back into place, the flight instructor stood before me with a rather menacing look of disapproval. Please don’t send me away. I haven’t made any friends yet! Frightened, I did my best to look straight and answer his questions as best I could.

“Do you have something to say, little one?” he asked. I looked straight ahead and avoided all eye contact. I hadn’t been to flight camp before, and I didn’t know exactly how to act. But thankfully, I knew, or at least I thought I knew, that it’s good to scream and to address your flight instructor as “sir.” Couple that with the fact that I was utterly terrified, as most foals were of adults. I didn’t want to start off in timeout.

“NO, SIR!” I squeaked. He raised his eyebrows with surprise. My mother once explained to me that this was how both the Princess' royal guards and the cadets in the Wonderbolt Academy addressed their superiors, so looking similar I assumed it must be the same here.

“Why have you come, little one?”


The flight instructor smiled, which in turn made me feel much better. Adults really do like it when you talk loudly! Looking back on it, I’m sure this was not how was used to being addressed.

“At ease, cadet!” He said.

“YES SIR!” I said, not holding back a smile. He laughed.

“At ease means you can speak softly, cadet!”

“YES SI- uh, I mean, yes sir,” I said, blushing in embarrassment. My moment in the spotlight was over for now, and the flight instructor took a step back and addressed the new group of foals.

“No need to be scared! I can guarantee that you will all make friends and improve your flying. If you listen to me and follow my instructions, there will be no problems. Understand?” he said, and everypony nodded their heads in agreement. Many of the foals that were nervous like me began feeling a lot more relaxed... we had one of the nice adults. Still I knew we had to obey him, but I had to make some friends so I could not be a burden to my parents as much anymore. The cream colored stallion smiled at me once again before addressing the rest of the foals.

“You may all call me sir, as this little one has demonstrated,” he said, nodding to me. “Now, I want twenty laps from all of you. Hop to it! Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” he said, flapping his wings and propelling himself upward while blowing his whistle.

Just like that, we were in business. I knew I had a serious lack of control, but that wasn’t going to prevent me from partaking in flight camp. Like every other foal, I thought this, along with everything else, was a race. So I lowered my head and closed my eyes, before stretching my wings quickly and getting myself ready for takeoff. I flapped my wings slowly, which were strong for colts my age, before opening my eyes with determination to the blue sky above me. I began pounding my wings as fast as I could and pushed off the ground with my legs. Like a slingshot, I turned onto the obstacle course and darted my way through the air towards the first turn, with the wind in my mane and water in my eyes from the speed. Ready or not, I was about to find out.

Just before the first turn was a set of three rings that we were required to fly through. They were separated by only about ten feet, each ring about five, ten, and fifteen feet off the clouds respectively. Upon approaching them, I was suddenly filled with fear. What if I lose control and everypony laughs at me? I closed my eyes and braced for failure, not before opening one eye as I came to the first ring. I turned my wings so that I could descend low enough to enter the first ring, the lowest one; I shot through it like a cannonball, and with no time to spare, I fearfully headed towards the next. I flapped my wings violently, just barely propelling myself high enough to make it through each ring.

I emerged from the set of rings unscathed, and was shocked and happy. I did it. I did it! I smiled triumphantly as I reared the corner, but the smile didn’t last long; I was drifting into the set of “bumper” clouds. I desperately turned my body in the air and flapped violently, brushing the clouds with my hind legs. Before I knew it, I was back on the straight path, putting some serious distance between the ponies that were behind me. I desperately weaved my way through the next obstacle – a set of flags – at high velocity but little control. I was gaining confidence in myself; even though they were just laps, I was in second place. Before long, I found myself already finished with the first lap and ready to repeat the course all over again for lap number two.

Something unexpected caught me off guard as I came to the first set of rings again; a small and shy-looking filly was feebly struggling to fly up through the rings. Her coat was a shiny yellow and her mane was a bright pink. She was struggling mightily to get off the clouds and through the rings, and her wings fluttered weakly. This young filly was clearly very frightened and humiliated. That poor filly looks so scared, just like I am... I thought to myself. Maybe if I help her, she won't be scared anymore.

I spread my wings and the let the wind catch them so that I slowed down. My young heart pitied her and related to her, as I had also been so scared myself. Maybe she could become my first friend, I thought. So as the fliers from behind approached us, I lowered myself down to her and encouraged her.

“Hi there,” I chirped, and she wilted down. Her eyes were a lovely green, but there was so much fear in them, even towards me. “Don't be scared, I’m not the bestest flier either - I crash into everything.” I gave her as friendly a look as I could muster and reassured her. Right on cue, suddenly I realized I was approaching the next set of rings much faster than I had before having had a lap to build up to it - I beat my wings swiftly and clumsily propelled myself forward through the first ring, and as I flapped desperately to get up to the second, I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I let out a cry as I shot through the air and closed my eyes, my legs hitting the ring as I flew through. I flapped my wings and sped up despite my failing control, and I ducked to avoid hitting the third ring with my head and hit it with my legs instead, which sent my body twisting and flailing through the air.

“Oh no!” I cried. Knowing it was a spectacular fail in front of everyone I started to wonder how I could make any friends if I humiliated myself in front of all of them. I had lost all balance and control, and just before the turn, I flew face-first a flag. It covered my head so I couldn’t see anything at all, and then I started to scream. Unable to see anything at all I sped up right into the bumper clouds and bounced off of them until I landed harshly on the plush cloud below, tumbling and flipping all about. After stopping and lying still for a few moments, I felt around my face with my hooves and pulled the flag off of my face.

I pulled the cloth from my face and opened my eyes, and standing right there before me were two young colts my age. One of them had a dark brown coat and a cream-colored mane, and the other was a caramel color with a dark brown mane. They were laughing - delightedly, loudly - at my humilitation, and my heart was crushed.

“That was the worst flying I’ve ever seen! Maybe you and Fluttershy can pretend to be Earth ponies for the rest of your lives!” scoffed the brown stallion, whose name was Dumb-bell. His friend, Hoops, joined in on the taunting.

“Yea, they should call you, uh… Crashie!” he said, and the two of them broke out into laughter. Their words were like crushing blows from a club that bruised my insides. Behind them I could see the young filly, Fluttershy, looking on with great sadness and embarrassment for me. I thought to myself that if everyone felt this way about me, maybe I was just an all around worthless colt. So I sat there on my flank, unable to talk or move.

I just stared at those two, who were wailing with laughter at me, and I felt like crying. My eyes welled up with tears, and I wanted to fly home. A moment ago I only wanted to make some friends and help the little filly through the rings. Instead, I embarrassed myself. Who would want to get to know me now that everypony was laughing at me? It looked as though I would have to tell my parents that I didn’t make any friends at flight camp. I lowered my head in shame and wiped my eyes. Mommy and daddy will be so disappointed in me.

“Look at him now! I think he’s gonna cry!” said Dumb-bell, and the two of them broke out in yet a louder round of laughter. I turned my head away from them so they couldn’t see my tears.

But then...

Just as my head reared away from them and I had closed my eyes, there was a sound a rushing wind and a mixture of light blue and rainbow flashed before my eyes and landed on the clouds, standing directly between my tormentors and I. I realized it was the pony who had been in first place all that time - I had been so focused when I was flying I hadn't got a good look until then.

The most humiliating moment of my life was over, and my emotions of sorrow and pain were suddenly replaced with shock and awe. What had come between us? I looked on, and I saw what appeared to be a little filly, with a light blue coat and a messy rainbow mane and tail, standing in front of me. I had never seen such a pretty filly before... at once the glorious colors of the sun, the sky, and the clouds seemed to radiate around her in reverence of her. She whipped her tail in fierce defiance against the two colts.

“Losers!” she said in a high-pitched, raspy voice. Is she... is she defending me? Out of nowhere I now felt this new-found strength inside of me. I couldn’t believe the life and beauty that shined from her. My curioustiy immediately took ahold. Is this an angel sent to protect me? Dumb-bell snorted with anger. "He was in second place and he's way faster than either of you!"

“What are you doing here, Rainbow Crash?" he snorted angrily. "You gonna get flying lessons from this wrecking wonder?” Wrecking wonder... The comment hit with force and I turned my ahead away ashamedly still sitting on my flank, but again to my amazement the rainbow filly trotted forward and stuck her snout right in his.

“No, I’m here to keep you from being a jerk, jerk! You got nothing on this little guy or Fluttershy. At least they’re not big meanies,” she said. Here is this little filly whom my young heart mistook for an angel, a filly I’ve never even seen or talked to, and she’s defending me with such confidence. Dumb-bell, although boiling inside with anger, turned to his friend and raised his snout.

“Come on, Hoops, we’re better than these losers,” he said, and the two of them fluttered their wings and began flying down the rest of the course.

I could barely comprehend what just happened. Through no action of my own, my tormentors stormed off, unable to continue their taunting - and still standing there with her back to me was the radiant young filly with the rainbow mane and tail. I was overtaken in wonder and astonishment. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t do anything.

She turned around, and for the first time I saw the windows to her soul... Her eyes. They were a strong shade of magenta; when she first turned around, the toughness and fortitude that she displayed with Dumb-bell and Hoops was still lingering, and I saw plainly the defiant grit that had been directed at them, but once she got a good long look at me, her eyes eased up, and started to become very tender until she had almost a bashful look on her face. I suddenly never felt warmer than I did right there as she looked at me like that. I couldn't understand why would she defend someone like me, but the gratitude I felt for her doing it was stronger than any feeling I'd ever felt before.

She walked forward with the same look of sensitivity and embarrassment, and smiled at me bashfully. I still couldn’t move... and I was still wondering if she was an angel.

“Don't worry about them. Those guys are a buncha losers,” she said. Her high, raspy voice was somehow more comforting to me then anything I’d ever heard. For a while I was speechless but finally I freed my tongue.

“W-why would you help me after a crash like that?” I asked, and there was still some lingering shame in my voice. Little did I know it was about to disappear. Her eyes somehow got even softer, and then lit up, and my heart with them.

"Dude, that was like the most wickedest wipeout I've ever!" she declared excitedly. I managed an even bigger smile. My wipeout was wicked? As in cool? She smiled and patted me on the shoulder with her hoof. "Besides, that was awesome how you tried to help Fluttershy get through the rings. And you're really fast! Not as fast as me of course. But still fast.”

I was in love the moment she turned around and looked at me, but this just sealed the deal. I felt so far from worthless, and even though she was the coolest, fastest athlete I'd ever seen she had looked at Fluttershy and me with compassion.

“Are you - are you an- an angel?” I whispered.

Looking back now I realize that's about the sappiest and least original thing anyone could say, but I was only a small colt and that was my very genuine intuition about her and I seriously wondered if it was the case. At first she didn't seem to know how to process the question, but then she started laughing which made me turn red with embarrassment. It was a nice and delightful embarrassment, though, not anything like the kind of embarrassment I had suffered moments before.

“No!" she cried, like I was being silly.

“O-oh,” I stuttered. She let out a high-pitched laugh that tickled me, and walked closer with big smile on her face that I couldn’t help but return.

"I’m a really awesome filly though. I'm nine years old,” she declared proudly. Just one year younger than me. She chuckled some more, and I looked down at the ground sheepishly for a second. “You’re funny! What’s your name?”

“My name’s Sonic… uh, Rain. Sonic Rain. But I like Sonic, or Rain. Or Sonic Rain,” I replied. Even as a kid I was hoping that I wouldn't always be this nervous when I replied.

“Sonic?” she said, turning her head. “I’m Rainbow Dash,” she said, putting her hoof to her chest. Rainbow Dash. It somehow captured all of her awesomeness and was still pretty. "You know, you have a *really* friendly face," she stated out of nowhere, smiling brightly. Apparently the praises I sang to her in my heart were gushing out of my expression. “You wanna be my friend?”

My heart melted, and eyes stared wide with love. She wants to be my friend? Moments ago, I thought I was saddened beyond all hope of ever being happy again, and just like that, I was now the happiest colt in the land. All thanks to the beautiful, amazing blue filly with the rainbow mane and tail. I had never felt like this before. I just wanted to leap for joy.

“Of course I will be your friend... you’re like the awesomest pony ever,” I declared.

Rainbow Dash raised her front leg for a hoof bump. At first I didn't know what she was doing, as I had never hoofbumped before but picked up quickly enough what she was asking, and beyond flattered I raised my right hoof slowly until it pressed all the way against hers. As soon as they touched, I was filled with an indescribable happiness that shined right through my eyes. She wasn't really expecting it to happen this way, but she didn't protest. Instead her ears dropped and her cheeks turned a rosy red while she stared back at me. All I could think about was how much I wanted the two of us to be best friends forever, and the more she stared back... the more she seemed to be feeling the same way.

I couldn’t wait to tell my mom and dad that not only did I make a friend; I made friends with the most amazing pony ever. Mommy and daddy will be so happy. But this was more about my parents. Rainbow Dash and I were friends now. That meant now I had someone to love and play with.

The flight instructor suddenly landed right beside us and towered over us with his height.

“You guys have some laps to do,” he said. Rainbow Dash looked at me and smiled, and her eyebrows lowered with determination.

“I’ll race you,” she said, with a certain tone that suggested respect, if anything I'm guessing for my raw speed. With those words, I was all but as tremendously excited as a little colt could be. My friendship with Rainbow Dash was now official.

“Yeah!” I declared. Again, Mr. Original, I know... but we thrust ourselves off the cloud together and began making up our lost ground, side by side. It was the perfect way to start a friendship with this special pegasus.

Even as I’m recalling this right now, I’m smiling from ear to ear. Following that day, Rainbow Dash and I became closer than family. She proved to be everything I ever wanted in a friend, and much more. She introduced me to her friend Fluttershy, and the three of us could be seen together often. Though a wonderful and kind filly, Fluttershy (as her name would suggest) was not always up for everything we did given her delicate nature, so sometimes she was not with us - which was perfectly fine of course, but that only meant more time for just Rainbow and me. She would even fly with me back to my home (my parents were most pleased that I had found someone to spend time with other than them), showing me all kinds of new moves she had learned, and she pulled all kinds of pranks on me that reinforced the innocence of our friendship.

There was never a bad moment with her. She was tough, brave, and adventurous; and beneath all that was a softer side of her that I think I’ve come to love the most. She radiated awesomeness, and she knew it and wasn’t afraid to tout it - but she loved her friends. Along with Fluttershy, I became her best friend, and even in spite of my parents, life was so good at her side.

You cannot see my expression, but might you be able to sense it in the tone of my voice; this the part of recollection where the smile on my face is fading. I've already told you a little bit about myself, and my current situation... a reality of life that everyone knows is that sometimes things happen that you're not quite prepared for. I was not prepared for what happened one fateful day, going towards almost a year after I met Rainbow Dash. I had grown in maturity and wisdom in those months, but I was still only ten to eleven years old. What I didn't realize was just how mature I was going to have to be. Just like my age of the day, it was just over ten years ago, and like my first encounter with her, I remember it too well.

It was a bright, sunny day, just like our first encounter. We had finished flight camp the day before, and so the fillies and colts didn't really have anything to do until school started. You can guess what that meant; playtime with Rainbow Dash. So at the crack of dawn I hopped out of my bed and left our house (which was made of clouds) and headed to the rainbow fountains. The rainbow fountains are waterfalls where the pegasus make the rainbows, and it's also the spot where Rainbow Dash told me to meet her on this particular day.

In intervals of trotting and anxious wing flapping, I bounced on and off the clouds on my way over to see her. My mind was filled with thoughts and ideas for the day, all of which involved nothing but ridiculously fun activities. We could play tag, we could tackle each other while we're flying... maybe she'll dare me to try some of this rainbow fountain... Either way, I wanna spend the whole day with her today. Picturing her smiling at me was making me giggle with delight as I bounced my way over to the falls.

When I got to the falls, I realized I had beat her there. I looked up into the sky, and the dark purple clouds overhead were becoming a more bright pink the closer they got to the rising sun. Behind the clouds, the twinkles of the stars were still visible - at least where the sun's light was not as strong. I looked at it in awe, and slowly I sank my flank down the clouds and looked all around me. It was the most glorious sunrise I'd ever seen. It's so pretty... I wish Rainbow Dash were here to see this. I wonder where she is? Maybe she got lost. I was too young to realize that Rainbow Dash knew Cloudsdale a lot better than I did, so she certainly wasn't lost. Typically by myself I had the attention span of a sparrow, but the beautiful colors all around me were enough to keep my attention and awe for at least a while. Eventually I fell on my back onto the clouds, and stared at the sky, waiting for my playmate.

I'd say maybe an hour passed, and still no Rainbow Dash. I was able to dream away most of that time in my wild imagination before I started to wonder about her. Among the things I pondered was our first encounter, where she saved me from humiliation. Well, the bad kind, at least. She didn't even know me, and she stuck up for me. I let my head fall to side into the cloud like a pillow and stared forward, and the sun was now high enough to where the sky was turning blue. How can anyone be so nice, and so tough at the same time? I was truly perplexed. She was a lot tougher than I was, at least when she saved me. She had taught me to be much more confident and upright, and she had made me a lot stronger inside.

It was starting to appear as though she had forgotten me, the thought of which was genuinely disappointing. She was supposed to meet me at the rainbow fountains, and she wasn't there, even after an hour and a half. Rainbow Dash would not desert me, would she? Maybe I'm a lousy friend, and I haven't been nice enough to her. I had always thought to myself if my parents didn't like me, at least Rainbow Dash did. It's still morning. She'll come here... I know she will. She's the bestest friend ever. I was depressed at the mere thought of losing Rainbow Dash, and even though I had hope, I sadly got up and made my way over to rainbow fountains. I peered in, and my light green/bluish eyes looked back at me. A random thought occurred to me at that moment. I wonder what the rainbows taste like?

I started to do the only thing I could think of to answer this question. I lowered my snout to the water to try a taste, but before I could, there was a sound of rushing wind and a flash of light blue with a rainbow trail, and before I knew it, I was blasted into the clouds and was tumbling back and forth over until I landed face up with a familiar face staring down at me with a big smile. Who do you think it was? The look of shock on my face was quickly replaced with an excited grin.

"Rainbow! I thought maybe you- "

"You thought what? That I forgot to come? I'd drink from the rainbow fountain before I left a friend hanging. My parents made me go to the doctor first thing this morning and wouldn't let me skip. I forgot all about it! I'm really sorry about that," she said, and fluttered off of me before helping me up. "Seriously, what were you thinking drinking from that?? That stuff is spicy! I mean even for me... Well, it's not too spicy for *me* - I'm sure I could have some right now if I really wanted, but you know... I'm in the mood..."

She stopped - she was caught off guard by the fact that I was still staring at her with a huge smile. I didn't even really hear what she was saying about the fountain - I was just so overjoyed that she had come, especially when I had just started to doubt her. How could I have ever even thought that? The blue filly gave me a slightly awkward look as I kept showering her with a beaming smile as though she wasn't sure what was wrong with me.

"Are you ok?" she said. I didn't really know what to say, or what was the right thing to say. But I spoke what was on my mind anyway. "When you look at me like that, I-"

"Rainbow, you're the most awesome, most loyal, most nicest pony I know. I just... wanted you to know that," I said, blushing. Her ears fell down when I finished my sentence and she pulled her head back in embarrassment. Once again, her softer side showed, and she smiled and turned red. This was the only time I'd ever seen her like this, since I asked her if she was angel when she first appeared before me. She was so confident and energetic, typically this side of her was rare. It was as if no one ever complimented her like that before.

"Yeah? Well you're the second most awesomest pony in the world, Sonic," she replied, with a deeply flattering look.

I didn't how to respond. I couldn't. To hear something like that from her was like the best thing that ever happened to me. I came close at the first encounter with her, but it was nothing like this. It felt like my little heart was going to explode. She moved in unexpectedly and wrapped her front leg around for a quick hug, and I felt the life inside me bursting with delight. This was beyond anything I had ever felt. I wondered how it could get any better than this.

This particular wonderful feeling would prove to be an extremely significant one. As happy as I was at that moment, it took only an instant to fade away as Rainbow Dash withdrew, her smile disappearing as her gaze caught something behind me.

"Um, did you know your parents are here?" she said.

I turned my head around swiftly, and she was right. My parents were trotting towards us, and they didn't look too happy. They looked serious, as though they had something urgent on their minds that included me. My mom - a light purple pegasus with a light blue mane, strutted just to the right of my father, a blue pegasus with a grey and white mane. Rainbow Dash looked at me uncomfortably and my heart sank as I looked back at my parents with fear for myself. Typically my parents did not venture after me when I left the house, so whatever this was, it was important. I'm not in trouble am I? What's going on? They stopped about fifteen feet in front of us, and my heart began to pound. I had told my parents about my friend, but I never actually introduced her.

"Hi mom, hi dad. This is my friend, Rainbow Dash," I chirped, and Rainbow Dash lifted a hoof for a wave.

"Sonic, there you are. We're very sorry to have to tell you this now, but there's been a change of plans," said my father, looking directly at me and nowhere else. It was as if she didn't know she was just introduced to somepony.

"A change of plans?" I said, my voice trembling. What did that mean, a change of plans? My father stepped forward, and thrusted the sword through my soul.

"Your mother and I have decided against living here in Cloudsdale. We're moving to Los Pegasus, and we're moving today."

It was literally too much for me to handle. My worst fear- which had never even occurred to me, which should've occurred to me given my parents' nomadic past- had been realized. I was devastated, and I felt like I was going to fall right through the clouds all the way to the ground, barely able to flap my wings. Having Rainbow there however gave me a courage I never would have had if she hadn't been there. No! I can't leave! I wanna stay with Rainbow Dash! She's my best friend!

"But I don't want to leave!" I declared. "I want to stay here with my best friend. You told me to make friends and stop bothering you, I thought this would make you happy."

"You didn't want to come here to Cloudsdale, either, but it happened," he retorted.

"But- but that was before I met her!" I pleaded desperately with a furious point of the hoof as Rainbow Dash looked on with disbelief.

"You can't move!" she said, and for the first time ever I saw tears forming in her eyes. "Sonic can't leave!"

"I'm sorry, but he has to," said my mom to her, and my father stepped forward to put away any hope I had that they were joking. His eyes narrowed and his voice rose with anger, his right hoof stomping on the cloud.

"You're coming with us, and another word of protest and you'll feel the back of my hoof!"

There has been no moment in my twenty years of living that was more unexpected or more crushing than this. It all happened so fast and I was supposed to just deal with it. I had to fight back my tears and the only thing that was giving me the strength to do that was my desire not to cry in front of Rainbow Dash. I kept staring at my parents, who stood their ground, and I was breathing heavily with a look that desperately pleaded for them to be kidding. Everything we did together, everything I liked about her, would no longer be a part of my life. I had to leave the best friend I ever had.

"Say goodbye to your friend, Sonic," said my mom.

Naturally, I tied my best to cope with what was happening... but the reality was I didn't have the slightest idea of how to do that. I was beyond sad. I gazed one last time into those beautiful magenta eyes and saw nothing but pain. I looked down my hooves and my voice cracked with every word.

"I'll never forget you. Thank you for being my... for being my friend," I said, somehow forcing myself to look back up into her eyes. I did my best to give her a smile, to leave her with something positive, but it was to no avail. She was frozen, still staring at me with a look of utter sorrow. I waited patiently for her to say something, but the words never came. Not they needed to. I looked at her a little longer before I felt the gentle touch of my mom's hoof on my shoulder. Then I turned my head slowly and my mom put her hoof around my neck and started pulling me back until I was walking away from her completely with my head held low. It appeared that I was going to leave without a word from my friend. But that was ok, I understood that she was maybe too shocked and too sad to talk.

My mom and I reached my father, and the three of us began walking away, and that's when the most timeless moment in my life began. The most desperate sound came from behind us; it was from the high, raspy voice of my beloved friend. I turned my head in shock and planted my hoofs in the clouds, as my parents took a few more steps before they too stopped and looked back at her.

Rainbow Dash trotted toward me, and even though she was visibly struck with grief, her eyes were radiating of a kind of affection I'd never seen in any pony before. She stopped about five feet in front of me, and for a long moment, uninterrupted by my parents or anything else, she and I gave each other a bit of a soul stare, taking a moment of silence to lament the loss of the other. She finally took two steps forward until she was face to face with me, and she slowly turned her head back towards her left wing. She closed her eyes, and with her mouth she gently bit down on one of her feathers, and without flinching - not in the slightest - she pulled her head and plucked it from her wing. Her eyes moved right back on me, and she brought her hoof to her mouth until she was holding it, and then she placed it an inch from my chest.

I reached gently with my right hoof and accepted the feather, and tear ran down the side of my cheek. I looked up back at her and felt a love I'd never felt in my entire life as I stared back into her eyes. This meant beyond any doubt that I meant something to her, and it seemed to prove the real value of my very being. I fully understood the depth how much I loved this filly, and I belonged to her body and soul.

Rainbow Dash slowly turned her head and started walking away, and that was it. That was the last time I ever saw her, and my mom once again placed her hoof on my back and started pushing me forward until I was walking side by side in between my two parents. I placed the feather in a safe place inside my mane, and began looking at it and it treasuring it with all my heart. It was my personal gift from Rainbow Dash, and it would be the only thing I'd have to remember her by. But it would have to do, and I remember taking the oath I've never broken at that moment. I will guard you and love you for as long as I live.

Back to the present, Canterlot is truly a beautiful city. The palace of the princess is breathtaking, and I got here just in time for sunset. I may feel out of place here - as in I may be at the bottom of the social class - but I'm still excited to start window-washing. Maybe I could get some money, and move my way up until I can somehow get a job utilizing my flight skills, and who knows? I hang on to the hope that someone will see me someday.

I am now laying down in a patch of grass just outside the castle, and so far, I have not been asked to leave by any of the guards. The soft grass is just what my head needs right now after the trip it took to get here. Anyway, I suppose you are still wondering how I came into this kind of situation. Well, I'd like to take you back in my past again. As a matter of fact, why don't we pick up right where we left off.

I would like to add that even though my parents had begun to become distant in my life, and even though they had just dealt me a rather painful blow by moving again, despite it all I had still loved them. They're my parents, and they brought me into the world. Even as a foal I comprehended well these things.

After I had received the feather from Rainbow Dash, my parents and I continued walking. In the time we walked, we said nothing to each other. I just looked at my new feather, and my parents walked and stared blankly at what was in front of them. It wasn't until we were almost to the edge of the city that my mom finally spoke.

"We're not taking the train, it will take too long. We're going to fly directly to Los Pegasus. That means you'll have to fly on my back," she said. At this point, I had stopped crying, and I wiped my nose one final time and nodded my head in agreement. I had never heard of anyone flying directly to a city before, but if that's what my parents wanted, then I had to obey. Any other time, I might've been excited but now the adventure meant nothing to me. I could only think about how much I loved Rainbow Dash, at how happy I wanted her to be for the rest of her life, and how much I wanted to see her smiling at me again.

So when we got to the edge of the city and I got on my mom's back; I climbed up to her neck and held tightly as she spread her wings, and alongside my father we took off into the air, at first flying a little higher before we began a slow descent. We were definitely flying to the south west, because the sun was setting at about two o'clock from my vision. Below me was the glorious countryside of Equestria, and everything looked so small. I had lived on the ground before, so this was not completely alien to me, but it had been a while.

We flew for a long, long time. I rested my head on my mother's neck and closed my eyes, but I didn't sleep. I thought about what lie ahead, but mostly I thought about the her. I thought about all the good times I had with Rainbow Dash, and I did my best to relive the time when she defended me from the bullies in my imagination. Maybe I'll see her again one day.

When it was completely dark outside we descended into a forest and my parents finally landed. I was barely awake at that time but I was curious as to where we were and why we were there. It seemed as though it was a two day trip.

"Where are we?" I asked my mom as she touched down and lowered her head for me to get off.

"We don't want to travel during the night, so we're resting here tonight."

My eyes were dim but I looked into the dense sea of trees and was rather frightened at the darkness, not to mention all the critters that were in there that were making noises. I ran over to my mom and wrapped myself around her leg for protection. We met up with my dad, and the three of us walked over the shelter of a pine tree. My parents laid me down, and even though I was still a little afraid, I felt better that they were there to guard me. I laid my head onto the soft bed of pine needles, and began drifting away. I saw my parents lie down beside me and that was my last vision until I was too tired and finally closed my eyes and fell asleep. Amidst all the scary things that come from a forest at night, at least I could now get some rest. I drifted into one of the deepest sleeps I'd ever have, and dreamt of Rainbow Dash.

My mind slowly came back into consciousness and I could start to hear the sounds of the forest around me. My eyes began to open ever so gently, and I could see the rays of the sun shining through the trees in front of me, as well as through the branches of the pine needles. The forest itself was actually quite beautiful during the day, I quickly realized. I rubbed my eyes with my hooves and sat up, looking over my shoulder for my parents. They weren't in the shelter of tree.

"Mom?" I called. I stood up and looked around, and ventured out of the bottom of the tree.

"Dad?" I cried, as loud as I could.

I looked around, and they were nowhere in sight. I was bewildered. Where could they have gone. I called to them again. I ran forward in one direction, then ran around to another. I kept looking. The more I looked, the more my breaths got heavier and heavier. So did my heart.

I looked around for an hour or so, wanting so badly not to believe it. A shadow of grief and sadness that grew into something that cannot be described started to consume me. Eventually I gave up looking. Tears started flowing freely from my eyes as I fell to my knees and looked up into the canopy. I never felt more alone in the world then I did right then. My sorrow and despair had drained me of all and any energy I had, and I fell forward on my face until I was lying in the dirt. I didn't know what to do now. I was only ten years old. Where would I go from here?

After a few hours of lying on the ground, I just remember taking out the feather that Rainbow Dash had given me, and staring at it. It was my only consolation. Every moment I looked at that feather and my heart poured out with love, but also sadness. I pictured her smiling face, and it breathed solace into my young, innocent heart. Someone in this world had still seen meaning and value in my life, and this same pony was my hero, my admiration, and my happiness. I love you, Rainbow Dash.

I didn't do a single thing that entire day. I didn't eat. I didn't drink. I just laid in the same pine-needle bed that I slept the night before trying to get ahold of myself, and lamenting. I slept there again the next night. I woke up the next morning after the worst two days I'd ever experienced, the two days I lost everything. The following day I knew for certain I was on my own now. It must be hard to think about what one would do in that situation. Well, I was only ten, but I was old enough to know I was going have to find food and water for myself, and the pine tree shelter was going to have to be my temporary home.

The adventures of my life only got started on that day. Fortunately, the details of this part of the story are going to end now; those tales are going to have to wait for another day. I will add, however, for your comfort, that things did get much better for me, at least for a while. Just three days after I woke up alone, I discovered about midday in the middle of the forest a most peculiar-looking hut. It's inhabitant nearly scared me to death when she appeared right behind me; her coat and mane were stripes of white, grey, and black; later I learned that she was not a pony, but a zebra. She looked at me with tremendous fascination, confusion, and pity as I fell the ground and cowered in fear before her. I will never forget the first words she ever spoke to me as I covered my eyes at her hooves.

"How is it that a poor and helpless lonely foal appears to me without a goal? Why do you cry, my little friend? Do not fear me, for I you cannot offend."

As I said, the details may come another time but this zebra took me into her own home on that day and acted as a mother figure to me. She fed me and raised me, and for three years I stayed with her and learned from her. That's not to say, of course, that it wasn't a struggle to get over the abandonment by my parents. It was extremely difficult, and I attribute my getting over it to this zebra who I love so dearly and my most beloved foalhood friend, Rainbow Dash. Zecora taught me to me let go, and in many ways I owe her my life along with Rainbow.

I cannot describe the comfort and consolation that Rainbow Dash continued to bring me and it was with her help that I was still able to become a happy and cheerful colt. You see, that's why I guard the feather so tightly. Every single day since she gave it to me, I've thought about her. My crush was born on the day she rescued me from humiliation, but she became my life the day she gave me this. She must be a mare now. She was a year younger then me and I'm now twenty, and what a beautiful mare she must be, for she was the prettiest thing my eyes had ever seen when she was only a filly.

Now you understand what this feather means to me. I left Zecora seven years ago, and ever since then, I've been living on my own. I have slept outside most of my life, spending many a nights looking at the stars while pondering my life of which she has been such a huge part of. One day soon, maybe when I have made enough money for a home, I should very much like to find her. I will look for her in every city and town if I have to. She may not even remember me, and she may even have a boyfriend or a husband for all I know. But I would give the entire world just to see her one more time. To just see her smile again...

Author's Note:
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