Earth And Sky - Part 25Part 25 - And They're Off !
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 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 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 29PART 29 - Headed SouthEarth And Sky - Part 293 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
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 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 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 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 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 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 28PART 28 - Any Landing You Can Walk Away FromEarth And Sky - Part 283 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Rarity made an entrance in her usual style, a vision of fabulousity in white silks and sapphires that reflected the vista of blue waters and fluttering white sails on Horseshoe Bay that filled the panoramic windows of the Ambrosia's forward ballroom. The towers of Baltimare were visible out the starboard side, lit up by the bright morning sun that turned their windows to gleaming gold.
An elegant brunch was being served by pony chefs in spotless white caps and tunics off to one side, but the finely dressed passengers of the massive airship were crowding around a large blackboard mounted on an easel in the opposite corner.
Her curiousity piqued, Rarity plucked an apricot from one of the silver bowls, giving the attendant a warm smile and a bob of her glittering horn, before making her way across to the milling group with the fruit trailing in her wake like a phoenix chick behind its mother. The high class ponies stepped aside and gave her ple
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 26Part 26 - BarnstormingEarth And Sky - Part 263 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The start of the race had been a giddy, terrifying thrill for the Harmony Aeronautics team aboard the Friend Ship. Twilight and Apple Bloom had crowded to the forward rail and watched in alarm as the race course filled with thick black smoke from the B.A.T. 19s' rocket engines, placing all the other racers in grave danger as they suddenly found themselves flying blind.
The lavender unicorn mare had breathlessly ordered Spike to pour some extra flame into the envelope, raising the balloon higher as she grasped the forward mounted telescope and peered at the vapor choked race course. She was only dimly aware of Apple Bloom rearing anxiously beside her with a pair of binoculars clenched between her hooves.
After what seemed like an eternity of wondering what was happening inside the cloudy trail, all three occupants of the pink and purple airship whooped and cheered, pumping hooves or clawed fists as they spotted the rainbow contrail breaking through the wall of smo
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 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 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 44 - EpiloguePART 44 - Those Magnificent Mares and Their Flying MachinesEarth And Sky - Part 44 - Epilogue2 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The rolling hills of Sweet Apple Acres gleamed with pinkish white blossoms as they rustled in the warm spring breeze.
Applejack knelt in the grass at the foot of a large, gnarled apple tree that ruled the clearing, gazing with a wistful look in her eyes at two stones set among its deep set roots, the simple inscriptions and cutie mark carvings worn down by twenty years of sun and rain. Her blonde mane shone like burnished gold, and was braided with white ribbons beneath a flowing veil, and an antique wedding gown trimmed with lace and embroidered apples and leaves pooled around her like snow against the verdant green.
She cocked an ear and slowly turned as a deep voice called to her from the edge of the clearing. "Ya ready, sis?"
There her tower of a brother stood, a gentle smile on his ruddy face and a bright bandanna around his massive neck. He held her battered old cowpony hat in the crook of his broad hoof. Applejack rose
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 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 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 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 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 3Part 3 - Research, Experimentation, Testing, More TestingEarth And Sky - Part 33 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 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 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