Cloudsdale was not a city of many secrets. There are things to be said for cities on hills which apply even more to cities in the sky, and chances were that if you were a pony living somewhere in Equestria, you could look up on a clear day and spot the pegasus settlement swaying in the atmosphere.
But looking at Cloudsdale was not the same bag of oats as being in Cloudsdale, and for those who ate and played and slept and lived within its borders, theirs was a sight not even the Princesses, dwelling within their twilit spires of ivory and stained glass galleries, could lay claim to.
Cloudsdale enjoyed two sunrises a day. This was not a secret, but a fact, and facts are rather boring. This was only the natural consequence of overlooking two horizons: the one far in the distance that welded earth and sky together in a blue line wider than vision, and the one running along the edges of the city's hoofprint.
The city's secret, rather, lay with that second sunrise like th
A Fire on the East -1-A Fire on the East -1-3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
"Mama?" Beneath the glowing, ash-strewn sky, the butter-colored filly's voice did not carry far over the armored pegasi galloping past her, their hoofbeats pounding in her ears. "Mama? Where are you?"
"Fluttershy!" An ochre mare in golden armor spotted the filly beneath the confusion and raced over, tearing up bits of cloud as she went. No sooner did the mare reach her did she scoop her up and take off, pumping her wings for altitude.
"What are you doing out here?" the mare demanded. Though her peppermint mane fell into Fluttershy's face, the filly could see the fatigue hanging beneath those orange eyes. "Why aren't you with the other foals?"
"II couldn't keep up with them." Fluttershy's head drooped to her chest. "I w-wanted to, but I was scared, Mama. My wings won't carry me like everypony else's." She unfurled one of them as far as she could manage, and even for a foal her wings were tiny. Most of her primaries had yet to molt into pinions. Looking at them, how insignificant a
A Fire on the East -4-A Fire on the East -4-3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Fluttershy and her friends stepped out of Princesses' tower just as the last of Flamewithers' shops closed for the night. With Twilight's cloud-walking spell active on the non-pegasi of the group, Pinkie Pie wasted no time testing the springiness of the cloud beneath her hooves.
"Hey, Rainbow Dash!" she squeaked, flailing her hooves. "Look at me! I'm flying just as high as you are!"
The pegasus cackled. "Oh, yeah? How high can you go?" With three potent flaps of her wings, she ascended to a height halfway up the Princesses' tower.
While the others watched Rainbow and Pinkie play catch-me-if-you-can, Fluttershy found herself at the forefront of the group. The cloud beneath her hooves rumbled with the sound of distant explosions, and a persistent breeze warmed her wings as it blew in from the east.
She turned to the others. "Um, girls?"
A wild bounce sent Pinkie Pie tumbling end over end, releasing a shower of party props and musical instruments from her saddlebags. Only a quick s
A Fire on the East -3-A Fire on the East -3-3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
An instant of darkness, a universe of pressure, cold and unremitting against her coat. Immobilized in a drop of cosmic amber. Then the infinite dark pulled back like the snatching of a stage curtain, Fluttershy registered the supple give of a cloud beneath her hoovesand then the eastern breeze swirled across her face.
The breeze was hot like the blast of an opened oven: dry, and impatient.
"Ugh. Twilight?" Rainbow Dash was rubbing her mane back in place some ways off. "I wish you'd told us to expect that before you popped us up here."
Applejack's eyes had yet to stop rolling in opposite directions, but they were getting there. ""I'm with Rainbow on this one, sugarcube. A warnin' would've been appreciated."
"Pffft. Beginners," Pinkie Pie sang to herself as she cartwheeled around, looking for all the world as if she had not suffered anything worse than a trip to the park.
Twilight, reaching behind her head with a hesitant laugh. "Sorry about that. I guess I've done this befo
A Fire on the East -2-A Fire on the East -2-3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The candle helped. She spent the night loafing in a field of sunny, summer grass as a lavender breeze drifted over her.
The next morning, Angel helped Fluttershy ready medicines for the early patients before they ate a quick breakfast of field greens and vinaigrette topped with watercress and cilantro. When the pegasus journeyed outdoors, the sky glowed with the warm purple of an early morning. She heard low thuds rumbling over from Sweet Apple Acresprobably Applejack, she thought, bucking her spring crop while most other ponies slept. Fluttershy's morning patients kept her too busy to visit the farmpony in the mornings, which was fine. Even though they had lived close to each other for years, she hardly knew what to talk about without feeling like a nuisance to the hard-working mare.
The pegasus began her rounds with a chipmunk resting beneath the eaves of her cottage. The gash on his paw was healing nicely and only needed a fresh bandage. A little paw tapped her
A Fire on the East -5-A Fire on the East -5-3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
What did you do when one of your best friends caught fire? The question was as ludicrous to Rainbow Dash's mind as the actual situation. Flames rushed over Fluttershy's coat as if she were doused in kerosene, and yet she did not budge.
"Fluttershy!" Even as she called the pegasus' name, Rainbow suspected she might as well have tried to yell up to her friend in space. Her own voice sounded remote to her, like it was trying to cross a vacuum to reach her ears. But, short of burning herself as well, yelling was the only thing Rainbow could do. "Fluttershy!"
The other pegasus failed to respond, at least out loud. What took only a few moments seemed like hours before Fluttershy's back left leg buckled. Like the toppling of dominoes, her other legs failed one after the next so that her body twisted toward the ceiling. Her eyes, wide enough to see into another world, did not blink.
Rainbow Dash could do nothing but stand by as her friend collapsed, the flames leaping to replace the space she