Earth And Sky - Part 14Part 14 - Machinations
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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 5Part 5 - Getting In On The Ground FloorEarth And Sky - Part 54 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 3Part 3 - Research, Experimentation, Testing, More TestingEarth And Sky - Part 34 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
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 14 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 44 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 2Part 2 - Falling Into PlaceEarth And Sky - Part 24 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 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 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 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 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 30PART 30 - Fly By NightEarth And Sky - Part 303 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 313 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 333 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 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
Earth And Sky - Part 27Part 27 - Sticking To The PlanEarth And Sky - Part 273 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