• Published 12th Jan 2013
  • 11,696 Views, 566 Comments

The Demon's Angel - Radiant Dawn

Wake up, go to work, be a human...but what if this all changed by the arrival of someone special? How much will change, and will it be a good change? Most of all, how important is your universe to you?

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Chapter 10: The Elements

Chapter 10: The Elements

Things had started out well so far, and I was pretty damn happy about that. I mean, from what I've been told by Twilight Sparkle and Rarity - the white unicorn - Fluttershy is extremely shy. The very fact that she was so forward towards me and friendly was a great sign on my part, and I was confident that if I could make good with the shyest pony most of the denizens of Ponyville know, the rest couldn't be that hard.

"Well darling, I haven't had the pleasure of meeting you before. Where did you say you were from?" Rarity asked.

We were on our way to meet another one of Dashie's friends, Applejack, at a place called Sweet Apple Acres. The two unicorns took it upon themselves to find out as much as they could about me, which I didn't mind. I didn't remember much, so I didn't really mind telling them what I knew.

I sighed and shrugged to the brilliant white unicorn. "I'm not sure, actually. I come from another world - I know that much - but beyond that, nothing. Dash could probably tell you more than I could, in all honesty."

The pale yellow pegasus that was currently flying beside me nodded to her friend. "Oh yes. Rainbow Dash told me all kinds of things about his world. She made it sound so beautiful. And she was able to swim at the beach!"

Twilight Sparkle raised an eyebrow. "Rainbow Dash swimming? Now that I'll have to see before I can believe it."

I shook my head. "Not likely. I distinctly remember her telling me that it was because she had wings here that she never swam. Apparently feathers soak up a lot of water, and as you can imagine, that would cut down on swimming by a lot."

The violet unicorn smiled sheepishly. "Oh...yes, I guess that makes sense." She then nodded towards a gate leading to a huge orchard of apple trees. "Well, we're here: Sweet Apple Acres."
I stepped forward into the orchard and instantly heard a strong-accented voice coming from in front of us.

"Big Mac, Ah need them shears over here pronto! Ah can't clip these dead branches without 'em." the obviously female voice said.

There was a deep grunt before I heard a heavyset set of hooves approaching from the left. "Hold yer horses, sis, Ah'm comin'." A huge red stallion stepped out in front of me. I mean this guy was big...almost as big as me. He looked over and noticed us and looked towards a tree. "Uh, sis...we got comp'ny."

The tree he was looking at rustled around a bit before a brown stetson hat fell out, with an orange pony right behind it. The pony - obviously female - had a long blonde mane and tail. Beautiful as they both were, it was clear her purpose was working, not eye-candy. With every trot she made towards us, I could see the thick muscles of her body move, and I couldn't stop staring in awe.

She finally stood right in front of us with a warm grin. "Howdy Twi, Ah wasn't expectin' y'all ta be here so soon." She then looked up at me and smiled again, extending a hoof. I took it and she started to shake my hand violently. "Howdy there pardner, and welcome ta Sweet Apple Acres. Ah'm Applejack, owner 'a this fine farm." She released my now sore arm and kept right on smiling. "Ya must be Koa, raht?"

I rubbed my elbow joint and smiled. "Yep, that's me. I take it Dashie already told you about me?"

"Yep, she did. Told me yer one hay of dragon, if ya get mah meanin'." she finished with a suggestive eyebrow raise.

A gasp was heard from next to me, and Rarity laid into the orange mare with anger. "Applejack, that is hardly proper! Apologize for your lewd behavior immediately!"

I waved a claw at the two of them and grinned. "No need, Rarity, it's all good. Dash had to know Applejack was gonna ask me, which means she also knew it wouldn't bother me." I then looked directly at Applejack and smirked. "To answer your question, I'm not sure. I didn't hear any complaints for any of those three hours though...unless of course complaints sound like moans. In that case, I didn't get the memo of that change."

The three mares standing (and flying) next to me were now blushing furiously, Rarity with her mouth open in shock.

Applejack just grinned back and patted me on the arm. "RD was raht, you 'n me are gonna get along just fine." She then turned to my stunned companions. "Anyway, we're just about ta have lunch. Y'all wanna join us?"

Rarity finally found her voice again, but she looked embarrassed. "Oh dear, we wouldn't want to impose..."

Applejack cut her off before the unicorn could go further. "Y'all wouldn't be imposin' none. Ya know we always make more 'n we can eat anyway. Yer friends, and yer always welcome." She turned to me. "And fer you, y'all ain't lived 'til ya tried one 'a our apple pies."

I nodded and smiled. "Sounds great, Applejack. I'd be happy to join you, since you say it's okay." My stomach growled loudly and I chuckled. "I am a little hungry, to be honest."

She let out a hearty chuckle herself before turning and leading us to the farmhouse. "Y'all dragons eat a lot it seems. I hate ta think 'a how Twi keeps up with Spike's appetite."

Twilight Sparkle giggled and shook her head. "Spike's still a baby, so it's not bad. When he starts getting older though, I'm going to make him get a job to help me pay for it."

As we approached the farmhouse, the big red stallion stood by the door with a smile. "Well howdy Miss Twilight, Miss Rarity, 'n Miss Fluttershy." He then looked at Applejack and gestured towards me. "Who's yer friend, sis?"

Applejack patted me on the back with a grin. "This here's Koa, the guy RD told us about."

The stallion nodded and held out a hoof, which I took and shook firmly. "Well howdy, Koa. Ah'm Big Macintosh, AJ's big brother." He then gestured inside. "Washbin's in the back. Y'all wash up b'fore ya sit at tha table."

We all followed the two farm ponies inside and did as we were told, washing our hooves - or hands in my case - before sitting down at the large wooden table laden with all sorts of good-smelling food. Being ponies, there were no chairs, of course, so I just sat cross-legged on the ground as well. Luckily, I was tall enough so that I could still rest my hands on the low table.

Before I could grab anything, Rarity slapped my hand with a hoof and shook her head with a scowl. "It is polite to wait for everypony to sit down first."

I nodded and watched as a little yellow filly with a big red bow sat down, and then an old green mare that hobbled and did the same. After that, everyone dug in.

I was about to ask what was what before Applejack passed a plate to me, with a few items already on it...only one of which I recognized. She pointed to the plate and started explaining. "Now that raht there is an apple fritter, those 'r apple dumplin's, and that," she ended, pointing at a slice of pie, "is our world-famous apple pie."

I smiled at her and picked up the apple fritter first. I took a bite expecting something perhaps a little bland, but my mouth exploded with flavor. I tasted baked apples, cinnamon, and a light flaky crust, all done perfectly. After that, I tasted the dumplings, which were soft fried dough with apple mush inside (AH-MAZE-ING!). Lastly, I took a bite of the apple pie.

We have a winner...

The pie was by far the best thing on the plate...and honestly, was probably the best thing I'd ever tasted. To put it simply, I didn't even know food could be that good...but I was wrong...very wrong.

We finished lunch pretty quickly and I, wanting to be a gracious guest, volunteered to do the dishes with the small filly. Applejack seemed a little put off at first with wanting to be a great host, but I assured her I just wanted to do a little something to pay her back for the best meal I'd had. She finally caved and let me do the dishes while she went off to speak with Twilight Sparkle and Rarity about who-knows-what. I could tell the small filly wanted to say something to me, as she kept glancing over at me curiously, opening her mouth for a second, but then going back to drying the dishes I handed to her.

As we finished, she finally worked up the courage to speak to me and tapped me on the leg. I kneeled down so that I could speak to her without her having to look up so far. "Yes?"

The filly giggled and smiled. "Ah like yer voice, mister." She then composed herself and grinned. "Anyway, Ah was just wonderin' if it's true that y'all were tha one that saved Rainbow Dash."

I shrugged. "Well technically, it was the princesses and Twilight Sparkle who brought her back...but I was the one who looked after her while she was away."

"Really? Where was she?" the filly asked with curiosity.

I pointed out the window to the sky. "Somewhere out there is the world I came from. That's where we were." The filly was about to ask another question, but I headed her off. "Yes it's true...I'm not from this planet at all." I then smiled and nudged the filly with a finger. "By the way, what's your name, little one?"

She giggled again. "Y'all sound like Princess Luna when ya talk like tha'." She cleared her throat and stood proudly. "Ah'm Applebloom, youngest of tha Apple family. It's a pleasure ta make yer acquaintance mister..."

"Storm Rider." I answered for her.

The filly smiled and nodded. "Tha's a strong name ya got there. Ah can't wait ta introduce ya to mah friends!"

I chuckled and patted the filly gently on the head. "All in good time, Applebloom."

I walked outside the front door to find Applejack up in a tree snipping off branches again, and when she saw me she smiled and waved. "Hey pardner. Ah'm real sorry, but Ah got work ta do. We'll talk another time, kay?" I nodded and waved back. "Alraht then, see ya later."

With that, I joined up with the three other mares that were waiting for me near the gate.

"Well darling, it seems as though you've made quite a good impression upon Applejack. She is one of the most loyal friends you could ever hope to have, next to Rainbow Dash, of course. It appears you are already making valuable friends." Rarity said with a wide smile.

I nodded and sighed. "Yeah, that's good." I looked towards the sky, where Fluttershy had told me the pegasus city of Cloudsdale was. "I miss Dashie though. I wish I didn't have to go these few days without her. Maybe I'm being needy, but I don't want to be away from her."

The kind yellow pegasus rubbed my shoulder gently and smiled. "We know you miss her, Storm Rider, but you don't want to hurt her, do you?" I shook my head. "Well until you learn to control your new body and the instincts better, you have to be careful about things like that. Animal instincts are very strong, so you need to be careful. Oh...I don't want to think about what would happen if you lost control."

I sighed again and scratched my face. "Yeah, me neither...which is why I'm not trying to follow Dash to Cloudsdale."

Twilight Sparkle nodded and gestured back towards the town. "Well Storm Rider, we have one more Element of Harmony to meet: the Element of Laughter. I'll warn you ahead of time she can be a little…intense."

We walked through the town until we came across a building that looked as if it was made of candy, with a colorful sign on the front that read "Sugarcube Corner".

Rarity smiled at me and gestured to the building. "This is the Sugarcube Corner bakery where our eccentric friend works and lives. Whatever you do, don't mention cup-"

She was interrupted as a pink ball of fluff burst through the front door. "CUPCAKES!" The ball of fluff happened to be a pink mare with a poofy magenta mane and tail. She had beautiful blue eyes and wore a smile that could melt the coldest ice. The pony looked at me and gasped. "Hey, you're new here! I know that because I know everypony in Ponyville! Well, you're a dragon, but Spike's a dragon and I know him! Spike's so mu-" Her rambling was cut off as Twilight Sparkle placed a hoof over her mouth.

The violet unicorn smiled sheepishly at me. "Told you." She then looked back to the pink mare and smiled, gesturing to me. "Pinkie Pie, this is Storm Rider. He's the dragon that Rainbow Dash told us all about."

The mare named Pinkie Pie removed the hoof from her face and smiled. "Oh, so you're the awesome dragony-guy! Dashie told me all about you. She said that you took care of her after…" the bubbly mare trailed off, and her demeanor completely transformed…even her appearance. Her mane went from fluffy to straight, and she seemed to lose a lot of her color. Tears began to well up in the corner of her eyes and she looked down at the ground. This stark transformation of character was scary, to say the least. Pinkie Pie took a shaky breath and continued. "I remember that day so well…it was one of the saddest days of my entire life."

Fluttershy landed next to her friend and hugged her tight, cooing to the teary earth pony softly. "There there, Pinkie, it's okay now. Dashie's back. She's safe, and everything's okay now. Everything's okay…"

Both mares then looked up at me with smiles, and Pinkie Pie's mane started to poof up again. The pink pony stepped away from her yellow friend and stood on her hind legs, wrapping me into a hug with her cheek against my chest. "Thanks for taking care of Dashie for us." She then released me and her mane exploded to full poofiness. "Well, that's over…no more saddy-waddy time! All of you come inside and get some fresh cupcakes. I just baked them!"

We all headed inside the bakery, and the first thing that hit my nose was the lovely smell of baked goods. I originally guessed that the diet of a dragon would be radically different from what it was when I was a human, but apparently it was much the same…save for the fact that I had to eat more often. We all sat down at a table near a window by the door, and I could instantly feel the stares of every pony in the room, save for the four mares I was with now.

Fluttershy noticed this, and she spoke up with an uncharacteristically loud voice, "It's not polite to stare, you know!" She then seemingly realized what she just did and squeaked cutely in embarrassment. "Um…I-I mean, p-please don't stare…"

I placed a hand on the pegasus' back and rubbed lightly, causing her to look up at me. "Thanks for that, Fluttershy. I don't like being stared at. It makes me feel like a freak."

The white unicorn then placed a hoof on my hand that was on the tabletop, smiling gently. "Darling, you are not a freak in any sense of the word. True that Spike is the only dragon that resides in Ponyville – and he's just a baby – but simply because you are a rarity in Ponyville, that does not make you an outcast." She gestured to her friends that sat around the table, and even Pinkie Pie who was now walking out from the back with a tray of cupcakes. "You have watched over our dear friend after the terrible incident that took her from us. It is because of you that she was able to return safely, and you have both our respect and friendship. Any pony that is so uncouth as to judge you before getting to know who you are and what you have done is not fit to be in your presence. Remember that."

Twilight Sparkle gazed at the other unicorn curiously. "Wow Rarity…that was very deep."

The bleach-white unicorn smiled and tousled her mane softly. "Well dear, I am much more than beauty and style, after all."

I smiled and squeezed the white hoof before pulling away. "Thanks Rarity. That actually makes me feel a lot better."

Pinkie Pie then set a wonderful-smelling tray of rainbow-frosted cupcakes on the table, smiling as she did so. "Alright everypony, this batch is on me! Dig in!"

To put it simply, the cupcakes were incredible…literally. By that I mean I can't even think of a word to describe how perfect they were. The outside had just a slight crisp to it, while the inside was moist and flaky. The rainbow frosting had a wide array of flavors – none of which I could identify – that all blended perfectly together without being too sweet. The best part, however, was that I could have more than one.

Amazing, right?

We all finished the heavenly treats and waved goodbye to the fun pink pony before heading back out to the main square of Ponyville, which held a small park where foals, young colts, and young fillies were all playing, with or without their parents nearby. It was a great image, one that I thoroughly enjoyed and treasured. It was then that I took the image to heart for a personal reason.

This was what I would be fighting for.

Rarity then decided to speak up, a slight sigh escaping her lips. "Well my friends, it has been lovely spending time with you all, but I must get back to the boutique. I have a few orders to fill before the week's end, so I bid you all adieu." We all nodded and waved goodbye to the fashonista.

Twilight Sparkle spoke next, looking a little ashamed. "You know, I left Spike all alone at the library. I should really get back to him, okay? I'll see the two of you later then?"

I nodded. "Yep, I'm staying up at the palace for now I guess, so you'll know where to find me."

The violet unicorn nodded and smiled, reaching out a hoof and shaking my hand again. "It was a pleasure, Storm Rider. We'll meet again."

After Twilight Sparkle returned home, that just left Fluttershy and I alone now. She looked up at me and smiled. "Well I've already done my chores for the day, so I don't mind spending time with you if you want some company."

I nodded. "Well I'll be heading back to the palace in the evening, but that's probably not for another few hours. I'm free until then. What do you want to do?"

She looked up at the sky, thinking to herself for a moment before grinning cutely. "Well, I've always loved to spend time by the river near Sweet Apple Acres. The environment and cute animals there always help me relax."

I smiled and nodded my head in agreement. "Relaxing is good for me, let's go." I then followed the pegasus towards our destination.

We arrived at an open field to the north of Applejack's farm to find a huge rock sticking out of the ground, and a small river next to it. Fluttershy was right…it was beautiful here. Something about the area and having the kind pegasus by my side calmed me as much as the night I had spent with Luna, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. So, with nothing else to do, I lay my head back with my hands behind my head and closed my eyes, simply enjoying the ambience around me.

"Storm Rider?" said a soft voice a few feet away from me.

It took me a second to realize she was calling me, as with a new name, it was going to take some getting used to. I turned my head to look over at the pegasus with a smile. "Yes Fluttershy?"

She blushed a bit and cleared her throat. "Umm…do you l-love Rainbow Dash?"

"I do…a lot, actually. Why do you ask?" I responded, now curious.

She sighed and smiled. "I just wanted to make sure that you really cared about her. Rainbow Dash has had some bad relationships before. I just want to make sure you wouldn't be another one."

I smiled and nodded to her. "Twilight Sparkle told me that you were protective of Dashie. I'm glad she has such a caring friend."

The pegasus smiled back at me and nodded in return. "Oh yes. Rainbow Dash and I have known each other for a long time…ever since flight camp when we were just fillies." She smiled as she looked at the sky, laying on her back. "She protected and stood up for me when some bullies made fun of me because I'm such a weak flier."

"Oh…I'm sorry. They shouldn't have done that, Fluttershy. That was mean." I said with as much empathy as I could muster.

She shrugged and smiled. "Thank you Storm Rider, but I've never been a strong flier. Not like Rainbow Dash." Her expression then turned a little sour and her voice dropped to a whisper, though my sensitive hearing could still make out what she was saying. "After all, what kind of pegasus is afraid of heights…"

Just from that one sentence, I could tell that a fear kept her from doing what she wanted to do. She wanted to fly…but fear of heights kept her from doing so. She wanted to soar through the sky and feel the wind in her mane…but fear caused her to be unable to.

I crawled over to her and looked down at her. "Fluttershy…I don't even know how to fly. You're not the only one who has trouble with flying. And just like you…I really want to." She started to deny it, but I raised a hand to silence her. "Fluttershy, I see the way you stare at the sky…and I can tell just by the way you talk about Rainbow Dash's flying ability. You wish you could fly like she does, don't you?"

The mentioned pegasus said nothing, but after a few seconds nodded. She then sighed and lay down on her stomach, her face resting on her hooves while looking at the sky. "I do…ever so much. I just wish I weren't so afraid…"

I smiled and patted the pegasus on the back, taking sure not to touch her wings…afraid I would break them or something. "Well Fluttershy, I'll make a deal with you: if you help me learn how to fly, I'll help you get over your fear. How does that sound?"

"Y-you really think you can?" the yellow mare asked, a tint of hope in her voice.

I shrugged. "There's only one way to find out. I mean I might be incapable of learning to fly…but like overcoming your fear, there's only one way to find out." I then looked at her again directly into her vivid blue eyes. "If you don't give up on me, I won't give up on you. Deal?"

She seemed to consider the options for a minute before nodding and smiling, shaking my hand with her hoof. "Deal."

I nodded resolutely and stood. "Alright, well let's get started with the hard part first…" I then tried my best to mentally locate the muscles, feeling around my back. I felt them for a brief second, and knew I'd found them when my wings extended with a gust of wind, knocking my poor pegasus companion over. I rushed over to her and helped her up with a sheepish smile. "Heh, sorry about that Fluttershy."

She shook her head a bit to clear it before her eyes widened. "I've never come across wings that strong before. I think yours might even be stronger than Rainbow Dash's."

I raised an eyebrow and stood up again, using the newfound muscles to flap my wings in a forward movement. This caused a blast of wind to rush towards the forest, shaking a large number of the trees and blowing some leaves off. "Hmm…must have something to do with my abilities. I hope I can learn to control that."

"What do you mean, Storm Rider?" Fluttershy asked with a confused expression.

I pointed towards the sky and smiled. "Watch this." She turned her eyes skyward and watched as I conjured up a cloud out of nowhere, quickly growing it in size until it was dark and menacing. Her jaw dropped open in shock and she stared at me. I just chuckled and nodded. "Yeah…I have power over storms, it seems. I can control wind, rain, and…" I flexed my magical "muscle", and a bolt of lightning forked its way across the sky, causing the little mare to jump into my arms.

She looked at me and blushed at what she'd done, flapping her wings and floating in the air in front of me. "Wow…I know Rainbow Dash will think that's incredible…but that's a little scary for me. I don't like storms."

I dissipated the storm, returning the day to a sunny afternoon. "Well don't worry Fluttershy, I'm not going to do it for no reason. I just did that to show you. Something tells me you wouldn't believe me if I just told you."

She nodded. "Okay Storm Rider, look at how I flap my wings. I want you to do the same thing."

As I watched, time seemed to slow down as I focused and analyzed her wings during hovering. With each upward flap, the wings would fold a little to move through the air easier, but upon the downward flap, the feathers would all spread out and the wing would fully extend, increasing its surface area. While watching her, I carefully angled my wings to be perpendicular to the ground (I had to hunch a little to do this) and gave a downward flap to see how it worked. To my surprise, I actually lifted off the ground about a foot, though I immediately felt myself wobble, so I landed again. As Fluttershy continued to hover, I tried again, but this time with about four times the force. I shot into the the air, about twenty feet above the pegasus. I wobbled a bit again, and instinctively used my tail and some wing movements to steady myself.

When I turned my head, I noticed that Fluttershy had flown up to me and was smiling. "Okay, good...now watch my wings when I fly forward." I nodded and did as I was told, simply flapping my wings to hover in place. I noticed that her wings were now moving in an elliptical shape, and the force of the flap was not just down, but also back. I leaned my body forward and did the same, surprised at how easy it seemed to be. Before I knew it, I was whizzing by the trees...and while I probably wasn't going anywhere near as fast as Rainbow Dash could go, I was definitely moving a lot faster than I would have been if I were running on the ground.

When I flew down and landed - albeit a little roughly - I found Fluttershy standing there with a huge smile on her face. "You did it, Storm Rider! That was amazing! I've never seen a pegasus pick up flying that fast...it's almost like you were born to fly!"

I chuckled and nodded. "Well I distinctly remember taking Dashie skydiving once. With how well I did it, I guess that I've been doing it for quite some time. It must be all that training I guess." The pegasus looked at me confused, and I just sighed. "It would be like an earth pony being dropped out of the sky some few thousand feet in the air, and then using a parachute as the only way to keep from splatting into the ground."

Fluttershy gasped in shock. "Oh my...that sounds really dangerous."

I shrugged. "Yeah it is, but that's why people do it. I mean so long as you know what you're doing, there's no real danger...but it's the feeling of falling that fast towards the earth with the wind whipping by you that makes it so thrilling. I guess that's what Rainbow Dash must feel like all the time."

I practiced for another hour or so until the sun was hovering above the horizon, and then walked Fluttershy home. I kept getting more weird looks on the way there, but by now I didn't care. I'd learned to fly and met some good friends...so today was a good day. The hour of twilight was truly beautiful, the oranges, violets, and reds of sunset adding a perfect atmosphere for me.

As I arrived with Fluttershy back at her cottage, I couldn't help but notice the abundance of animals around us. She must have quite the gift to have so many wish to be around her, and I smiled at the sight.

She turned to me as we reached her door. "Thanks for today Storm Rider...I really needed it." She then looked at me hopefully with a small smile. "D-did you really mean it when you said you would help me?"

I nodded. "Of course I did. If you want help with something like fear, I'm more than happy to assist. You just let me know when and I'll be there."

She nodded and stepped into her home, standing at the doorway with a smile. "Thank you...I really appreciate it. I'll tell Rainbow Dash all about your first day when I talk to her tomorrow."

I smiled and bowed. "I'd appreciate that, Lady Fluttershy."

"Dashie was right, you're silly." she said between giggles. "Well goodnight Storm Rider. I'll see you in a few days then." With that she closed the door and walked inside.

After leaving Fluttershy's house I immediately used my new flying capabilities to make my way back to the palace, racing there much faster than the carriage I rode to Ponyville (I mean I wasn't carrying anything, but still...it was pretty rad).

I dropped in at the palace in time to see the two princesses helping each other to bring night into being. Not wanting to interrupt, I simply hovered overhead, actually having the best vantage point to see it. After the moon and stars had taken their places in the sky, I landed with a light *thump*, causing both of the princesses to gasp from being startled.

"Storm Rider? Ugh...you frightened us." Celestia said with a deep breath. She then raised an eyebrow. "Wait...did you fly here?"

I nodded. "Yeah...Fluttershy taught me how to fly. That's what I spent most of the day doing." I pointed to my wings and smiled. "These babies are pretty strong, actually."

Celestia then nodded and yawned. "Well that's nice, Storm Rider. I'm glad to hear you're progressing. However, I will be off to bed now, so goodnight to the two of you."

"Goodnight Celestia. Sleep well." I responded.

Luna hugged her sister and smiled. "Sleep well, sister." Luna then turned to me and smiled...and then everything started to go dark for me. "Storm Rider? Are you alright?"

As my vision started to tunnel and darken, I could hear her screaming my name...leading to silence and darkness.