Earth And Sky - Part 2Part 2 - Falling Into Place
Sweetie Belle wobbled a bit on her gold painted platform horseshoes as she struggled to keep her balance on the slowly rotating dais that dominated the center of her sister's workroom at the Bijou Boutique, the crown jewel of Canterlot's high fashion scene.
The elaborate headdress and wig she wore was threatening to pull her forward onto her primrose white face, and probably would have succeeded in doing so were it not for the weight of her billowing gown and the sweeping pair of swanlike wings that adorned it. The young unicorn mare wasn't the most coordinated pony in Equestria, and the tightness of the harness that underpinned her costume was making her a little light headed, which wasn't helping.
Rarity gazed at her sister with a critical eye over her horn rimmed glasses, smartly tapping a hoof on the hardwood floor to signal to the shop assistant who was hitched to the windlass downstairs. The turntable came to a sudden stop, causing Sweetie Belle to lur
Earth And Sky - Part 24Part 24 - TurbulenceEarth And Sky - Part 243 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Twilight cut a fine figure in a plum colored party dress adorned with glittering silver sequins that swept like a comet's tail from a large moonstone clasp at her neck, and Spike for his part was looking quite dapper in his tuxedo jacket and sparkling tie, but few if any of the attendees for the Grand Pegathalon's Opening Ceremony took notice of them. Tonight, while the competitors, race officials, reporters, and VIP spectators arrived, Twilight was intent on doing the noticing, and recording her observations for her and Rarity's benefit.
Shortly after the delegation from Harmony Aeronautics had arrived at Maddie's, an exclusive club occupying most of the upper tier of Madison Mare Garden, the lavender unicorn had sent Apple Bloom and Pip off to mingle with the crowd, and took Spike with her to stake out one of the candlelit booths with a good view of the velvet roped main entrance.
As soon as the waiter had dropped off their drinks, and a basket of pan roasted aga
Earth And Sky - Part 25Part 25 - And They're Off !Earth And Sky - Part 253 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
A jangling of brass bells shattered the silence in the darkened stateroom, prompting a low moan and a half mumbled protest from its occupant. "Mmmnnhh. Opal put down that xylophone, mommy still has the frogs to let out..."
The bells rang again, seemingly more insistently, drawing forth another moan, then a rustling of silk bed sheets as Rarity lurched half upright and shoved her sleep mask up off of one eye with a hoof. Her horn glimmered with a corona of blueish white magic, floating the gilded alarm clock off of the shelf to squint at the time. She let out a low growl as the bells jangled again.
With a huff of irritation she flopped out of bed, her violet mane tightly bound in curlers and a scowl on her face, and slumped across the room to the ornate phone set. Her magic flickered as she yanked the gold plated cone off of its receiver arm, wincing as it bounced off of her forehead and swung loose on its cord.
She centered herself with a sigh and tried agai
Earth And Sky - Part 18Part 18 - ChandellesEarth And Sky - Part 183 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The gentle wind undulated the surface of the meadow far below as two stallions hovered a furlong above in the warm summer air, one on the sky blue wings he was born with and one on wings of canvas and wood that he had been given by his employers. Said employers, in the person of a lavender colored unicorn mare who made up half of the partnership that helmed Harmony Aeronautics, watched them from the ground with her horn glittering as her young dragon assistant stood by to write down her steady stream of observations and readings from a small weather station.
Soarin met Pip's eye as he laid out the latest challenge facing the dashing test pony, gesturing toward a three sided box formed from shimmering purplish magic. "Okay, now this last maneuver is called a chandelle, which is essentially pulling a tight U turn while gaining altitude. It comes in real handy if you find yourself in a box canyon, or a blind alleyway if you're flying street level in town."
Earth And Sky - Part 22Part 22 - Cleared For TakeoffEarth And Sky - Part 223 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Raindrops cocked an ear and looked up from a weather map of the valley at the sound of a hoof politely rapping on her door. She dropped the red pencil she held in her teeth, smoothed back her deep blue forelock, and called out in response. "Come on in, it's open."
The door opened with a creak, revealing Rumble standing there with his youthful brow furrowed and a triplicate form held gingerly in his teeth, as if he expected the paper to explode if he handled it improperly. Behind him Soarin stood with a determined gleam in his eye.
The younger stallion nervously cleared is throat as he spoke out of the side of his mouth in a low voice. "Uh, Chief, I got kind of an unusual request here." With that, he stepped forward and laid the form on her desk, stepping back with a wince as she craned her neck to read it over.
She looked up sharply at the both of them after she'd glanced it over. "Leave of absence? Soarin, you haven't even been working here long enough to
Earth And Sky - Part 29PART 29 - Headed SouthEarth And Sky - Part 292 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
A murky haze nestled among the dense clumps of dun colored foliage in the southern reaches of the Haysead Swamps, obscuring vision beyond a pony length away for the two scrawny unicorns. They sat back to back in the mud beneath a pair of bat winged contraptions that had been propped up on half rotted tree branches to provide them with a modicum of shelter from the constant drip of moisture from the low, yellow grey clouds overhead.
All around them, the vine choked, twisted outlines of trees echoed with unidentifiable animal calls, along with the ever present sound of water spattering on leaves. A quartet of spent rocket motors lay discarded in a nearby puddle, their payload of magical fire long since burned out leaving them cold, hollow shells.
Doctor Insanity let out a huff and tried to wipe condensation from his spectacles with a damp, muddy hoofkerchief for the umpteenth time, only succeeding in smearing around the layer of filth already on the lenses as he sc
Windfall - Part 11A sound of hoof steps in the doorway caused the group of ponies to look up and see a tired looking Nurse Redheart, standing with Granny Smith at her side. The ancient mare was dabbing her eyes with the hem of her shawl and grinning from ear to ear. The white medical pony smiled at Applejack. "Cabbage Leaf was wondering if the Apple family would like to come in and meet their newest member."Windfall - Part 113 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The blonde earth pony drew herself up and caught her breath, tears welling in her eyes. Her voice trembled as she answered. "Why yes, I surely would, Nurse Redheart. I s-surely would."
With that she traded some quick hugs with Twilight, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash, and hurried up the steps, pausing and giving Pinkie a hug as well, and then fell into step beside Granny Smith, helping the Apple family's matriarch make her way back inside. Apple Bloom came bounding excitedly down the stairs with a towel draped over her withers, a beaming, disheveled Zecora in tow. The younger sister took up her position o
Windfall - Part 3A full throated argument was in strident swing in the muddy courtyard of Sweet Apple Acres main compound as the apple trees lashed and rustled in the wind and rain on the farm's rolling hills. The Apple family's latest farm dog Naomi skittered back and forth across the front porch of the farmhouse, barking frantically and wagging her tail in unalloyed canine excitement, largely ignored by the assembly of equines.Windfall - Part 33 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
On one side stood a mud splattered white earth pony mare draped in an orange rain poncho marked with the crest of Equestrian Emergency Services, water rolling down her sodden nurse's cap and pink mane as she glared at a furious female zebra clad in a dripping dark cloak, gold rings adorning her neck and ankles as she hiked her bristling, black and white tail in agitation.
Off to the side of the argument's ground zero, two earth pony sisters stood watching with a mixture of dismay, annoyance, and worry on their faces. Both mares were bundled up in raincoats and galoshes, shiny
Windfall - Part 5A flourish of warm brass echoed over the pristine towers of Canterlot, as the sun descended below the dark layer of clouds that currently obscured the valley and distant Ponyville from the lofty mountain capitol city. An answering call of silvery horns sounded as a bright crescent began its ascent on the opposite horizon.Windfall - Part 53 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
In an oak paneled lecture hall at Canterlot University, Twilight Sparkle's vivacious voice rang out as she levitated a stick of chalk and drew complicated sigils and runic equations on the broad expanse of green slate. "... and so, by process of elimination, we can determine that the magical field tastes like grape-ade." With that, she emphatically underlined a string of symbols and rounded on her audience, beaming with satisfaction. "Does anypony have any questions?"
Her smile tightened a bit at the corners as she beheld a largely empty hall, with a scattering of undergrad unicorns, half of whom were struggling mightily to appear politely awake while the other half m
Windfall - Part 8A pair of pegasi lounged on a terrace outside the VIP suite at Madison Mare Gardens, looking down at the busy street in front of the stadium's main gates. Down below, a cyan pegasus mare with a multicolored mane and tail stood with folded wings amongst a throng of colts and fillies, looking for all the world like a swan swimming in a lake of swirling manes, tails, stubby horns, and small fluttering wings. She was dressed in a sweat stained, form fitting blue and yellow bodysuit with jagged lightning motifs, the signature uniform of the celebrated Wonderbolts Stunt Flying team.Windfall - Part 83 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Shootin' Star popped a grape from a nearby fruit tray into his mouth and cast a scathing glance at the spectacle below. "Just lookit' that show boatin' glory hog down thar." He muttered, his Appleloosan drawl more pronounced than usual. "She just cain't git enough, can she?"
The lean, blaze yellow mare reclining on a deck chair next to him shook her head, ruffling her fiery orange mane, and chuckled, fixing the y
Earth And Sky - Part 15Part 15 - Cloud ControlEarth And Sky - Part 153 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
A warm summer breeze rustled the stubble of a recently mowed alfalfa field at the edge of Sweet Apple Acres. Low, shaggy haystacks dotted the broad surface, drying in the sun beneath a billowing procession of cumulous clouds drifting lazily across the azure sky.
Twilight Sparkle's brow furrowed pensively as she pored over a dog eared flight manual, pinning its fluttering pages down to the checkered blanket beneath her with a hoof to keep from losing her place. She looked up anxiously at the windsock and wind speed meter that Apple Bloom had set up on a nearby pole. "Hmm. I hope that crosswind isn't going to give us too much trouble."
The young handymare was currently busy articulating the flight harness' left wing with her ear perked for squeaks, while Pip stood patiently and craned his neck backwards to watch her work. The red headed earth pony pulled a socket wrench from her tool belt and tightened one of the joints, speaking matter-of-factly out of
Earth And Sky - Part 30PART 30 - Fly By NightEarth And Sky - Part 302 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Pip blinked in wide eyed disbelief, almost losing his grip on the tray of sewing notions he'd been holding in his hooves. "You... you mean to tell me that by dropping these... er... these tokens at my hooves that they wanted m-me to... to..."
Rarity paused from carefully stitching up the tears in one of the Luna Moth's cloth wing membranes, looking at him over her horn rimmed glasses. "Yes, my dear colt. Quite enthusiastically so, from what I've seen of the looks they were giving you."
A wry smirk compressed one of her alabaster cheeks. "Believe me as a professional with some knowledge of how elastic works when I say that a garter does not just slip off of a mare's leg unless she wants it to."
She gave a slight roll of her eyes as she turned her attention back to reinforcing the stitching. "Although that sort of behavior is almost criminally forward, in my opinion. A proper lady should be able to charm a colt without hurling her
Earth And Sky - Part 31Part 31 - Collision CourseEarth And Sky - Part 312 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Applejack was circling Soarin as soon as they both came up for air from their greeting, staring in horror at the healing slashes across his flanks and the deftly repaired tears and muted blood stains on his flight jacket. "Land sakes! What did those varmints do to ya?"
Her voice cracked slightly as she brought a hoof to her mouth and stared at the red stripes across his cutie mark. "Just... just look at ya!" She let out a sob as tears began pool at the corners of her apple green eyes.
Soarin turned to face her and took her into a tender hug with both forelegs and wings. "Shh... It's okay, sweetheart. I'm fine. Really." He gave her a wry smile. "I'm not much to look at even on a good day anyway."
He pushed her back to foreleg's length, his admiring gaze playing across her gingham and lace finery and her plaited golden locks trailing beneath the hat she'd worn on their first magical date. "But look at you! What did I do to deserve this
Earth And Sky - Part 33Part 33 - AfterburnersEarth And Sky - Part 332 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
As Appleloosa slept under the clear desert night, a black dirigible that could easily have been mistaken for a dark cloud drifted over the sturdily built frontier rooftops, wreathed in a sooty cloud of concealing smoke. The softly chugging engine that drove its turbines gave off a faint, sickly green glow from within the billowing mass, as it headed with sinister purpose toward the rough hewn structures that comprised the town's modest correctional facilities.
While the townsponies slumbered snug in their beds, blissfully dreaming of anything except what passed furtively overhead, the inky shape coasted to a stop over the yard separating the impound shed from the jailhouse. A harsh din arose almost instantly from the large, aggressive dogs who patrolled below, the furious canines futilely leaping and snapping as the aircraft sank down from the sky over their heads.
A hatch opened in the bottom of the black dirigible's gondola, and a barrel branded with three Z's
Earth And Sky - Part 21Part 21 - Word Gets AroundEarth And Sky - Part 213 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
It had been a long, stressful day for Twilight Sparkle.
As soon as Professor Destiny and his cohort had been dragged off to the guardhouse and the princesses had taken their leave, a veritable stampede of reporters had galloped onto the field and surrounded the owners and staff of Harmony Aeronautics in a tumult of questions, strobing flash bulbs, and the scribbling of pencils on pads.
Rarity had stepped forward in her inimitable fashion and soon had the clamoring herd of press ponies eating out of her hoof, but despite the elegant fashionista's best efforts a torrent of inquiries were being relentlessly directed at Twilight as well, putting her even more on the spot than she'd been with the pegasi of Ponyville.
The worst part of the whole affair was that it had been agonizingly superficial. Any time the scholarly unicorn had found herself warming up to an answer she was giving, a glazed look in the eyes of the questioner, or a gentle nudge and shake of the h
Earth And Sky - Part 19Part 19 - Rising To The ChallengeEarth And Sky - Part 193 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Twilight took a nervous glance out the window of the ready room through a crack in the curtains she made with her horn. A sliver of dazzling blue sky showed between the heavy drapes, before vanishing as she stepped back and turned to face her partner with a dubious expression creasing her brow. "It looks more like a big garden party than a technomagical demonstration out there, Rarity."
The elegant alabaster unicorn gave a toss of her impeccably styled mane. "Of course it does, darling, the very flower of Equestrian society are in attendance."
She stepped forward and threw the curtains wide with a flourish of magic, revealing the broad grassy expanse of the Royal Parade Grounds, ringed by a semicircle of sparkling white grandstands, which bustled with activity as a multitude of well dressed ponies mingled, chatted, and savored the fine food and beverages brought by a busy cadre of liveried servants.
High above, alternating banners of white with
Earth And Sky - Part 27Part 27 - Sticking To The PlanEarth And Sky - Part 272 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The Friend Ship touched down with a thud on a grassy field on the outskirts of Fillydelphia, followed by another heavy thud as Spike landed and secured the balloon with a few quickly driven tethers tossed to him by Twilight and Apple Bloom. He stepped up to the forward platform and gently helped them disembark.
As the two mares cracked their necks and stretched their legs, a cheerful voice called out to them. "Hey there! Doc Sparkle! Apple Bloom! Spike! Am I ever glad to see you guys!" They looked over to see Soarin approaching with a wide grin on his face, with a pensive looking Pip in tow.
Behind them a loose arrangement of support balloons and unhitched wagons stood in the middle of the field. In their midst, Pegathalon athletes stretched their wings, chatted, and allowed their crews to see to their needs. At the edges of the field a herd of fans had gathered in what could only be called a festive atmosphere, with picnic lunches, pennants, and balloons
Earth And Sky - Part 37Part 37 - Escape VelocityEarth And Sky - Part 372 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
As the storm died away and the skies cleared overhead, a sad little mound of sand shuddered and stirred. With a pop, Professor Destiny's gas masked head and scrawny neck sprouted from the ground and warily scanned his surroundings. There was nothing around him but windswept dunes and emptiness.
His shaky voice sounded in the stillness, muffled by the dust choked filter canister hanging from his snout. "Oh brother, where are you?"
A hazy winged shadow glided across the ground, prompting him to look up with hope dawning in his bloodshot eyes behind sand scoured goggles. His ears levered back in dumfounded horror as precise v formations of white winged, bronze armored pegasi flew overhead. He shook off the rest of the sand, climbing unsteadily to his feet.
His horn sparked to life with sickly green magic and caused the buckles on his helmet to break as he tore it off, his jaw dropping as the gleaming battalion darkened the skies. "E-egads! It's the Air Cavalry! W
Earth And Sky - Part 41Part 41 - AerobaticsEarth And Sky - Part 412 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Soarin's lonely vigil wore on into the night, and his eyelids were beginning to droop as he sat on the pillowy tuft of cloud and fought back the urge to nod off. A nagging sense of obligation kept him from curling up and going to sleep, as badly as he both needed and wanted to, a desire to face Baron Redtail when he and his retinue arrived. If he arrived. As dearly as Soarin wished to avoid the duel entirely, it somehow felt wrong to assume the griffins' late showing meant he was off the hook.
The gentle, cool breeze off the bay and the low murmur from the Pegathalon's racer's camp below was doing him no favors, and his chin began to inexorably drift toward his chest. He slouched in his seat, just beginning to drift off, when he suddenly woke with a start to a voice speaking behind him. "Uh... Y'got a minute to talk a li'l bit, Lieutenant?"
Soarin rubbed his eyes and turned to see Shootin' Star standing a short distance away on his own little cloud, the hood on his
Earth And Sky - Part 42BPART 42 - Pie In The SkyEarth And Sky - Part 42B2 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Miles away Twilight, Rarity, and Apple Bloom clustered around the crystal radio in the Friend Ship's cabin, eyes wide in shock and horror as they listened to the live newscast from Canterlot. Static crackled through the brass bell of the speaker as the announcer's tinny voice could be heard. "... a scene of unimaginable chaos and destruction, as the stray fireworks have damaged the hull of the Ambrosia and have apparently punctured the gas envelope. The timely arrival of the Royal Air Cavalry means that rescue operations are underway, as our brave boys in bronze work to move the collapsing airship away from inhabited areas."
A buzzing crackling thud could be heard. "Fillies and gentlecolts, the airship's lightning chamber has just breached. I repeat the lightning containment chamber has broken open. Citizens of Canterlot are advised to stay clear of tall trees or rooftops, and any unicorns be advised not to go outside with wet manes. I've
Earth And Sky - Part 35Part 35 - Riding ThermalsEarth And Sky - Part 352 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Deep in the wilder corners of the San Palomino desert, where there was little but stretches of yellow sand and hot, empty air, the red sky and glowering sun of the morning had been taken as a sign, and interpreted by minds ancient and rapacious as a call to action. A flicker of movement appeared in the eye socket of a bleached buffalo skull staring a lonesome and long forgotten vigil toward the east. A smoke like trail arose from the bony hollow, gaining a tenuous hint of substance that resolved into a phantom figure of an emaciated horse flaring a pair of buzzard like wings. It reared with a rattling hiss and took to the sky, bearing a cloud of dust in its wake with a beat of its ragged pinions.
Similar trails mounted to the sky as other ghostly forms arose, whinnying a keening chorus as they swirled and gathered their momentum into a storm.
Professor Destiny and Doctor Insanity cut twin lines of black smoke across the glaring sky as they crossed over the
Earth And Sky - Part 32Part 32 - Holding PatternsEarth And Sky - Part 322 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The sun was low on the horizon as Strongheart gave a huff and gently butted one of her more fervent tribesbulls to move him along. "Go home, Wool Over Eyes, he's not The White Buffalo. He's a very naughty boy!"
She cast a glare up at Flies Like Thunder, who cleared his throat sheepishly and avoided her gaze. The buffalo princess and a contingent of tribal elders had been working tirelessly all afternoon to disperse the ecstatic herd of Tatanka's adherents.
Finally, the flying buffalo shaman and his faithful pegasus pony sidekick Long Range had space to touch down on the street, which was pockmarked with a million cloven hoof prints. Townsponies were just beginning to poke their heads out of their doors and windows to survey the aftermath of the stampede.
Flies Like Thunder pawed at the ground, still not quite able to meet Strongheart's eye. "Thanks for your help, cousin. I'm heap sorry about all this."
The honey brown buffalo cow rolled her eyes. "It i
Windfall - Bonus ChapterEPILOGUE:Windfall - Bonus Chapter3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
They visited for only a short while, whispering heartfelt congratulations and blessings on the infant foal, before Cabbage Leaf and Granny Smith shooed everyone out so the little family could take their rest.
Windfall was wrapped in a soft blanket and laid in a beautiful crib that the younger Apple sister had constructed out of the family's namesake wood, the fragrant planks sanded to such smoothness that they felt like silk to the hoof. Apple Bloom beamed with pride to see her niece nestle in with another precious sigh, as Applejack smiled and ruffled her little sister's mane.
Big Macintosh and Fluttershy climbed back onto the bed together after the lights in the room were lowered, sharing a kiss as Granny Smith gently closed the door.
The aged matriarch of the Apple Clan said her thanks to Cabbage Leaf and slipped her a bag of bits, that the stocky earth pony in turn cheerfully split between herself, Nurse Redheart, and Zecora. Their business concluded, the midwife, herbali
Windfall - Part 9A blare of brass rose from the gramophone in the corner, a bright sting that heralded the rise of a driving bossanova beat formed by a backbone of piano, rhythm guitar, bongos, and maracas. A vibrant orange pegasus mare sashayed out onto the compressed clouds of the studio floor, a gauzy skirt of purple, red, and gold swaying and floating around her hips as she shook them in time to the music, the butterfly and flowers cutie mark that adorned them seemingly brought to life by her movements. She clenched the long wire stem of a silk rose in her teeth, with a spitcurl of her magenta mane hanging down roguishly over her right eye.Windfall - Part 93 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
As the trumpets began to shimmer around the core of the rhythm, she was joined by a strutting pegasus stallion wearing an embroidered jacket and a wide brimmed hat with little red pompoms hanging at intervals around it's circumference, a picture of a mango adorning the lime green hide of his flanks.
The two circled, drawing ever closer as the driving tempo and f