Earth And Sky - Part 31Part 31 - Collision Course
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
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 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 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