Earth And Sky - Part 3Part 3 - Research, Experimentation, Testing, More Testing
Over the following week, the usual sketches and fabric swatches of high fashion dress designs that lined the walls of the Bijou Boutique's workroom were rapidly covered over with a profusion of diagrams and drawings of different wing shapes. A chalkboard filled with magical equations stood in the corner, with disused ponikins shoved behind it looking as if they were taking shelter.
Twilight Sparkle reached up to pull a pair of goggles down over her eyes and skimmed over her notes for the umpteenth time, calling out to the adolescent dragon stationed in the corner with a quill and clipboard in his claws. "Okay Spike, lets start recording the proceedings now." She cleared her throat, assuming an official tone of voice. "Sparkle/Belle Personal Flight Harness, Mark One, Test One."
She stood on the turntable platform, decked out in a stripped down version of the Princess Celestia costume comprised of the basic harness attached to a c
Earth And Sky - Part 1Part 1 - Necessity Is The MotherEarth And Sky - Part 13 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Clouds of steam from the engine mingled with the fine mist of a drizzly spring morning as passengers disembarked from the express train from Canterlot.
Among them, a lavender coated unicorn mare paused to savor the pervasive scent of apple blossoms that hung in the air, smiling up at the familiar hoof carved sign hanging over the station house proclaiming her destination: Ponyville. She cast an apologetic glance over her shoulder as the passenger behind her irritably cleared his throat, and hastily stepped down onto the hoof scuffed concrete of the platform.
When she'd moved a bit out of the way of the milling crowd of earth ponies and unicorns, she paused again to properly stow the book she'd been reading, which had been hovering at her side like a dutiful companion since she'd exited the train. She pulled an umbrella from her saddlebags and opened it over her head. There it floated in a cloud of sparkling purple magic, its shaft balanced like the poin
Earth And Sky - Part 4Part 4 - Hard LandingsEarth And Sky - Part 43 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Soarin let out a cry of pain as he slammed into the lockers, then sank to his knees with a low, miserable moan, the wind knocked out of him.
A younger pegasus stallion with a dusky purple coat and a white mane stood over him, eyes wild, wings flared, and teeth gnashing in rage. Between his bandaged forehead, the multicolored stains of assorted fruits on his yellow and blue flight suit, or the bits of glass clinging to his disheveled hair, he appeared to have plenty of reasons to be angry. "Just what did y'all think y'were doin', y'overstuffed feedbag? I coulda broke my consarned neck!"
The sky blue pegasus looked up at his teammate with wavering eyes, wheezing as he struggled to push himself upright. "I... I'm sorry. I don't know what happened."
The angry stallion got in Soarin's face. "I'll tell ya what happened, ya sorry sack of oats." He reached out a hoof, jabbing him in the gut to emphasize his words. "The load shifted in flig
Earth And Sky - Part 5Part 5 - Getting In On The Ground FloorEarth And Sky - Part 53 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Apple Bloom perched on a step ladder, articulating the wooden spars of the flight harness' redesigned wing, which now bore as much resemblance to the fins of a fish as it did the wings of a butterfly. Satisfied that the hinged attachment points were solid as well as moving smoothly, she gave Twilight a confident nod and climbed back down the ladder, folding it up and flipping it onto her back to move it out of the way.
The lavender unicorn stood on a square platform occupying the center of one of Sweet Apple Acres' hay barns, which had been partially cleared out to give Twilight, Rarity, and Apple Bloom someplace to work. A stout rope connected the harness to a pully, with Applejack holding the other end as a safety measure.
Since they'd arrived on her farm with this new project, the blonde earth pony had been watching their progress with an air of detached bemusement, but when time came to test the latest iteration of the wings she was adamant a
Earth And Sky - Part 6Part 6 - ArrivalsEarth And Sky - Part 63 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
As the group of mares and their accompanying dragon made their way across the broad, cobblestone expanse of the town square, they began to take note of a steady stream of ponies converging on Sugarcube Corner with looks of excitement on their faces. The majority seemed to be fillies and colts.
Twilight cocked a curious eyebrow. "Huh. Looks like a party. I wonder what the occasion is."
Spike flared his wings expectantly and licked his lips. "Maybe they're giving away free samples."
Apple Bloom shook her head. "That ain't likely. Sugarcube Corner hasn't done a giveaway in a long time. Not since ol' A.J. "helped" with the..." She fell silent as her elder sister shot her a glare.
Applejack let out a snort of annoyance, then pursed her lips thoughtfully as they approached the milling herd of ponies surrounding the sweet shop. "A party ain't too likely either, seein' as they're short hoofed with Pinkie bein' set t' have her foal any day now."
At this Rarity chimed in. "Well
Earth And Sky - Part 2Part 2 - Falling Into PlaceEarth And Sky - Part 23 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
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 7Part 7 - GroundedEarth And Sky - Part 73 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The impromptu birthday party started to break up as the sun began to creep toward the horizon. Fluttershy gathered her brood, wished her heartfelt blessings on the new arrival and proud parents, and set off toward Sweet Apple Acres.
Caramel kissed his wife good night and left soon afterward with Tootsie in tow, smiling fondly as his eldest rattled off an ever growing list of things she wanted to do with her brand new baby sister, whilst internally bracing himself for the herculean task of getting the hyperactive filly to settle down to sleep for the night single hoofed.
Rainbow Dash took off with Soarin to pick up their saddlebags at Sugarcube Corner and then go find her old house among the drifting cloud banks over Ponyville. The rainbow maned pegasus bid a cheerful farewell to all of her old friends, save for Applejack with whom she only exchanged a terse, awkward nod before leaving. Soarin cast a lingering glance over his shoulder at the blonde earth pony as they v
Earth And Sky - Part 10Part 10 - Home CookingEarth And Sky - Part 103 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Rarity and Twilight's hushed but vivacious voices could be faintly heard coming from the parlor, spinning their tale of the development of the flight harness with the occasional question or outburst of soft, sandy voiced laughter from Rainbow Dash.
Meanwhile, the Apple sisters busied themselves washing up after dinner. The two mares worked in silence save for the clink of glasses and plates and the rattle of casserole pans under the gushing of the faucet and the soft rhythm of the scrub brush strapped to Applejack's hoof.
Presently, the freckled farm mare sent a sidelong glance to her younger sibling. "So... I couldn't help noticin' that y'all're more than a li'l bit taken with Pip."
Apple Bloom's cheeks went bright red and she avoided meeting her sister's gaze, becoming inordinately engaged in polishing the plate she held in her hooves. She let out a nervous laugh. "What... whatever'd give y'all that idea? He's just our test pony. Any interest in his parts... I
Earth And Sky - Part 13Part 13 - Connecting FlightsEarth And Sky - Part 133 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The rich velvet curtains by the doorway rustled imperceptibly, parting and falling closed as the princesses settled themselves on an elegant divan and motioned Twilight, Rarity, and their companions to make themselves comfortable on the richly brocaded cushions scattered about the opulent lounge suite reserved for the royal sisters and their guests.
Princess Celestia gave her prized student an encouraging smile and gave a bob of her tapering horn. "Now, Twilight, what is this matter that you and your friends would like to bring to our attention?"
At her side, Princess Luna sat with a look of guarded interest on her dusky face. "Yeah, lay it on us."
The scholarly unicorn mare smiled back, and her violet eyes began to gleam as her horn sparkled to life. "I'd like to start by thanking your Highnesses on behalf of myself, Rarity, and the employees and friends of Harmony Aeronautics, a new company that we founded under town charter in Ponyville to develop a brea
Earth And Sky - Part 9Part 9 - ObsolescenceEarth And Sky - Part 93 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Big Macintosh bounced lightly on the tips of his hooves, his deep, gentle voice coming out in a singsong rhythm to the giggling accompaniment of his son Bud, who sat perched on the massive stallion's broad back fluttering his tiny apple green wings. "This the way the ladies trot, so do we, so do we..."
He shifted his tempo to a more strident hop, which in turn caused the little orange maned foal to escalate from giggling to cackling. "Here comes a country colt, hobbledy gee, hobbledy gee!" He finished the rhyme with an emphatic bounce on his hooves.
The huge red stallion stopped and looked over his shoulder, blinking in consternation as he suddenly realized that Bud was no longer sitting on his back. He cast his panicked gaze around the barnyard of Sweet Apple Acres, looking over to Fluttershy, who sat on a rocking chair on the porch with Bud's twin sister Blossom cradled in her forelegs contentedly drinking from a bottle. The butter colored pegasus gave he
Earth And Sky - Part 11Part 11 - DeparturesEarth And Sky - Part 113 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
A few days later Rainbow Dash and Soarin stood on the front terrace of the chromatic maned mare's old home, now officially transferred over to the newly transplanted stallion's ownership, looking the airborne structure over with a measure of satisfaction as the early rays of the sun played across its billowing clouds and columns.
The sky manor was looking much better from when they'd first arrived, with the wisps scraped off and the rainbow fountains showing a bit more of their old color. A weekend's work by several of Dash's old friends from the weather patrol, most of whom were rapidly becoming Soarin's new friends as well, had taken down those parts of the baroque structure that were too decrepit and consolidated the house into a very serviceable dwelling for a bachelor pegasus. Empty bags of cloudcrete mix lay in a pile waiting to be dropped off at the dump, and a few pieces of flat packed furniture shipped in from the Cloudsdale Skykea lay by the door r
Earth And Sky - Part 12Part 12 - High NotesEarth And Sky - Part 123 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The new Royal Opera House was a tour de force of monumental Equestrian architecture, one of the most striking features of the Canterlot skyline. It rose over the domes and cupolas of the city, a row of concentric, horseshoe shaped arches with almost perfect acoustics anywhere within its cavernous interior.
Beyond the performance and appreciation of the finest pony music from ancient folk tunes to classical operas and symphonies to jazz and big band combos to rock and roll to the latest in cutting edge magilectronica and wubstep, the grand structure served a secondary purpose as a stage for the Equestrian elite to parade and perform for one another in their own esoteric dramas of social status and ostentation. For many of the creme of Canterlot culture, the show that went on among the marble pillars of the entry hall was the main event, while whatever lavish performance went on on the actual stage inside was merely the pretense for it.
Central to it all, as they wer
Earth And Sky - Part 8Part 8 - ContactEarth And Sky - Part 83 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Mayor Mare took a moment to throw open the windows in her office and breathe in the fragrant morning breeze that always blew through Ponyville this time of year. It was subtle, compared to the sweetness that pervaded the air when the apple orchards were in full blossom, but to longtime residents it was at once ever present and comfortingly in the background, the smells of grass being cut, of attics being aired out, of mist being brushed off of the cloud homes of the local pegasi.
For a town known for more than its share of tomfoolery and shenanigans, sitting so close to the unpredictable wilderness of the Everfree forest, very little actually changed in Ponyville from year to year, and that was just how the aging public official liked it. The Mayor's heart beat in time with the slower beat of days, weeks, months, and years, her love for her home town unchanging as she'd gone from dyeing her mane grey to hide the pink to dyeing it a pale pink to brighten up the grey. Of
Earth And Sky - Part 14Part 14 - MachinationsEarth And Sky - Part 143 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
A perfunctory "thoomp" broke the stillness of a tiny, cluttered office, heralding the arrival of a message capsule through the building's pneumatic tube delivery system. This caused the skinny, pale yellow unicorn slumped over the paper choked drafting table to stir and flick an ear at the unaccustomed sound. Nopony ever sent messages down here.
His face peeled free of the blueprint he had been working on as he sat up groggily. He pushed his bifocals up his narrow snout with the side of his hoof as his horn sparked with green magic, enveloping the message and floating it over. His eyes widened as he saw it bore the gold and royal blue insignia of the head office, and hastily unscrewed it with his telekinesis and read over the note contained inside.
The rawboned stallion drew in an alarmed breath as he finished, and exclaimed to nopony in particular. "Great Hurricane's Ghost! What the everlovin' hay does the big boss want with me?"
With that he leapt down f
Windfall - Part 1Caramel's voice sounded from deep in the closet by the door, his mellow tan hindquarters the only thing visible as he rooted about, his brown tail lashing in mild agitation. "Sweetheart, do you know where I put my umbrella?"Windfall - Part 14 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Pinkie Pie's chipper voice called out over a faint clattering from the direction of the kitchen. "You left it hanging on the coat pegs by the back door."
The earth pony stallion backed out of the closet and trotted across the empty tile floor of Sugarcube Corner and disappeared through a swinging door marked "Employees Only". A couple of moments later his plaintive call came from the store room. "Aw, now where did I leave my rain slicker? It was just here yesterday!"
Pinkie's voice in the kitchen chirped in reply. "On the rack in the bathroom, remember? From when Snails brought Gummy over from Froggy Bottom Bog for his weekly bath!"
"Oh right, how could I forget?" Came the stallion's mildly pained reply as he cantered out of the back room shaking his head, an umbre
Windfall - Part 2Rarity's employees at the Carousel Boutique had just finished drawing the blinds and hanging the "Closed" sign in the window when they heard the gentle tapping of their boss' hooves on the polished floor to draw their attention.Windfall - Part 24 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
A brisk smile crossed her alabaster face as her red rimmed glasses settled onto her nose. "Well done, darlings. Now that you've finished I'd like to take a few moments to discuss all the orders for the GGG as well as give you the overview for this year's Fall collection."
She turned and summoned a cork board festooned with drawings and fabric swatches from the back room with the glittering magic from her horn. "I'll be returning to Canterlot tomorrow to oversee the work at The Bijou personally, so you'll be on your own until I return for the Summer Sun Celebration."
At this her two assistants, Snips the apprentice tailor and Thimble the seamstress, exchanged a concerned glance. Rarity usually preferred to keep a tight rein on the Gala dresses her boutique produ
Windfall - Part 7The ponies gathered in the parlor of the farmhouse at Sweet Apple Acres sat in silence, too anxious to talk but still drawing comfort from each other's presence.Windfall - Part 74 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Caramel shared the love seat with Pinkie Pie, gamely trying to sip his coffee or take a bite of a pfeffernusse without spilling or getting crumbs all over due to his fiancee's relentless oscillations.
The pink mare herself was looking a tad green around the gills, and was uncharacteristically uninterested in any of the apple based baked goods freely on tap in the kitchen.
Rarity huddled on the couch wrapped in a rustic quilt, her mane bound up in a red and white checked towel, a cup of tea cooling on a barrel converted into an end table next to her. She was looking a bit peaked herself, her deep blue eyes never settling for long on any particular point in the room, although whether it was from her recent ordeal or simply from being immersed up to her horn in the Apple family's down home country decor she declined to say.
Windfall - Part 10Granny Smith stayed in her rocking chair knitting merrily away as all the younger ponies in the parlor leapt to their hooves and went thundering out the front door into the drizzling rain of the darkened courtyard. The wizened mare shook her head and chuckled to herself over the clack of her needles.Windfall - Part 104 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Applejack skidded to a stop and started to bark orders, her tail lashing behind her. "Apple Bloom! You go and rustle up as many lanterns as y'can, light 'em up, and git Rarity t' help ya hang 'em in the treetops in a line toward th' barn! Caramel! You come with me to the barn and help me drag th' big hay wagon out into th' yard. Twilight! I need you t' whip up any spells you might think'll help! Stay here and keep an eye peeled, and holler if ya see her! She'll be comin' in hot! Pinkie, you..."
As the other ponies scattered to their tasks, the blond farm mare paused and looked back at Pinkie Pie, who stood jittering up and down on the porch with an expectant look on her face. Applejack pur
Windfall - Part 6Spike the dragon lounged in a nearly pony sized basket next to Twilight Sparkle's desk in the office shared by several of Canterlot U's junior faculty and student teachers, seemingly flipping lazily through an advanced and esoteric tome of magical theory.Windfall - Part 64 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
In truth, he was perusing the four color panels of the latest issue of Thunderpony tucked neatly into the pages of the larger book. He'd picked up a lot in his years as the lavender unicorn's assistant, and knew how to choose books to get the best startled double takes from any students or faculty who happened to pass by.
His stomach rumbled a bit, and he glanced at the somnolently ticking grandfather clock that stood by the door, noticing that Princess Celestia's beaming portrait on the dial had been replaced by Princess Luna's shyly smiling visage.
As the comic book he read wrapped up on a cliffhanger, he began to mutter petulantly under his breath. "Is this it for our hero? Will Thunderdragon ever... eat... again... Will the nefari
Windfall - Part 4Before any of the chastised mares could respond, the Apple family matriarch looked up toward Sweet Apple Acres' front gate with a grin spreading across her wrinkled face as a cheery voice sounded over the muddy courtyard . "Another Apple about to drop on our heads, eh Granny?"Windfall - Part 44 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
All eyes turned to see a stout mare draped in a heavy canvas cloak and broad brimmed hat pick her way across the churned up mud of the courtyard, bulging saddle bags hanging from her sides. When she stepped into the light she revealed a broad, olive green face with a bluff, open smile.
Granny Smith held up a hoof in welcome. "Just the gal I was a-waitin' fer. Howdy, Cabbage Leaf. Y'got my note, I reckon."
The sturdy mare nodded. "That I did, Granny. Sorry if the weather slowed me up a little gettin' here."
Nurse Redheart blinked in recognition and stammered. "C-cabbage Leaf, the... the midwife?"
The new arrival nodded again. "Right a roonie."
She squinted her eyes and peered at the flustered nurse from under the
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 114 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
Earth And Sky - Part 17Part 17 - All Of The AboveEarth And Sky - Part 173 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
As Pinkie and Fluttershy frolicked overhead with their children, the pegasi of Ponyville drifted away one by one or in small groups, their curiosity sated and replaced by assorted pressing needs to get back to whatever they'd been doing. Soon, only three winged ponies remained.
Raindrops and Rumbles touched down in front of Soarin and Applejack, the yellow mare clearing her throat and pawing sheepishly at the ground while the young grey blue stallion averted his eyes and self consciously ruffled his wings. By the grave looks on both of their faces, they appeared to be bearing unhappy news for the sky blue former stunt flyer.
Soarin gave them a cautious smile. "Hey Rum. Chief. What's up?"
Ponyville's senior weather mare opened her mouth to speak, closed it, and looked away, nudging her underling with a wing. "Go ahead. Tell him."
Rumbles fidgeted, and looked at Soarin with a flickering gaze set in a hangdog expression. "I... I'm sorry, Soarin, but I'm afraid I
Earth And Sky - Part 23Part 23 - Lighter Than AirEarth And Sky - Part 233 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
After the spectacle of the two competing teams of inventors officially entering the Pegathalon and Spitfire's vociferous protest, the rest of Moonrise Court's docket of supplicants was rather drab and uninteresting in comparison. By the time the allotted hour and a half had passed, the ponies in attendance almost applauded when the princesses called an end to the proceedings and dismissed them to the anteroom for punch and cookies. With a final fanfare, the immortal regents of day and night departed, Princess Luna to the royal orrery to update her star charts and Princess Celestia to a well earned night's rest.
Professor Destiny and Doctor Insanity made their way out of the throne room with a final scathing backwards glance at their rivals. The black mustachioed unicorn stopped at the archway and called out to Harmony Aeronautics with a scowl and a flourish. "Mark my words, you deluded dilettantes, this night may have been yours, but WE shall win the day!"
Earth And Sky - Part 16Part 16 - New HeightsEarth And Sky - Part 163 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Raindrops and Cloudchaser escorted the small, sodden cumulous overhead, the trailing runoff from the overloaded cloud splashing ponies on the ground as the two pegasus mares made a bee line for the circular burnt patch with its speckling of stubborn flames. The pale lavender weather worker took hold of the cloud and guided it in a figure eight pattern as her bright yellow partner hopped lightly on its crest, sending cascades of water to quench the remaining fires.
Soarin, Pip, and Spike touched down next to Twilight and the Apple sisters as the patrol pegasi went about their work. With a nod of satisfaction, the spotted earth pony stallion tugged a cord on the harness and caused the wings to refold themselves with a clack. "Well ladies, I think we can suffice it to say that the flight harness has performed admirably under duress."
Apple Bloom batted her eyes at Pip as a blushing smile spread across her face. "My hero!"
With that, she reared up, throwing her forele
Earth And Sky - Part 20Part 20 - Pre-Flight ChecksEarth And Sky - Part 203 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Rarity's face froze somewhere between a winning smile and raw, spark spitting fury, and she turned this unnerving hybrid expression on Professor Destiny, who took a nervous step back in spite of himself and the precarious weight he balanced on his back. The alabaster hued fashionista's voice came out in a strangled trill. "Do excuse us for a moment, sir. I'd like to have a little word with my partner here."
The black clad unicorn stallion gave a halting bow. "Of... of course."
Twilight turned from staring down the interloping inventor with a quizzical look on her face. "Rarity? What ow ow ow ow ow."
Before she could finish her question a shimmer of blue white magic enveloped the tip of her ear and dragged her along in her partner's wake, digging furrows in the turf with her hooves as the elegant unicorn mare stomped off breathing little puffs of steam out of her nostrils. The lavender scholar found herself roughly spun around to meet a p