After the last week I can use some more pony in my life.
Dash led us to the Starwing Café in my Equestria Dreamscape. The café was located in this large spiraling helix-like cloud that looked like a tree trunk with various branches projecting from it. On an evening like this most of the diners were sitting outside enjoying the view from the nighttime sky and the fliers in the Lightning Lantern Festival. link
An area surrounded with lanterns was designated as a landing area for customers of the café. Dash turned us into the wind and brought us in to land. I was very happy that both us pulled off a textbook landing and touched down almost simultaneously. A stallion maître-de came swooping over and landed. In a gracefully gesture he extended a wing so we could hang our lanterns on one of his primary feathers. In one smooth motion swung his wing and placed the lanterns on tray nearby. With this task accomplished he turned and addressed us.
“Good evening! Welcome to the Starwing Café! I am Star Feathers the maître-de here, I assume you have reservations for this evening?” After a couple seconds he recognized Rainbow Dash.
“Oh Ms. Dash! Ice Hoofs sent us word today that you would be dining with us tonight! All arrangements have already made, please follow me. Don’t worry about your lanterns I’ll have someone bring them. Couples usually like to have them on their tables when they dine during the festival.”
Dash giggled nervously at the maître-de comment. “Oh were not a couple! We’re just good friends.”
The Star Feather’s face remained stoic and he bowed his head. “I’m sorry Ms. Dash my mistake. I made an assumption. It is just that lanterns carried by couples usually glow the same color as yours are.”
Dash laughed again. “But ours are not the same Brick’s here is pale green and mine is…”
Dash’s voice trailed off as she stared at the tray with the two lanterns sitting on them when we had left the pavilion mine had been pale mint green and RD’s had been topaz yellow. Now they both were a bright yellow green and slowly pulsating in time with each other. True the lanterns do change color but it did seem odd that ours were the same now.
“Why don’t I show you to your table said Star Feathers.”
We took off and followed our maître-de. The Starwing Café like many things in Cloudsdale was made with flight as the expected mode of movement. Star Feather led us up in a long arcing flight above most of the other dining areas. As we climbed higher I heard Dash squeal excitedly.
“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! We’re going to be sitting in the Grand Pavilion!”
Star Feather’s landed us on the topmost platform of the café. There were about half a dozen tables all situated around a central cooking area where a team of pegasi was preparing meals. There was also a bar with a couple bartenders stationed to prepare drinks for customers.
The maître-de showed us to our table, left us a couple of menus and then excused him self. A couple minutes later a buspony came by and delivered our lanterns, which were still glowing the same color.
I turned back from looking at the departing waitress and made eye contact with my boss. In the lantern light it was hard to be certain but it seemed like she might’ve been blushing. She quickly looked away and stuck her muzzle into the menu. Several seconds of rather awkward silence followed, I coughed and spoke up.
“So, I’m not familiar with pegasi cooking that much. Can you make any suggestions?
“If you’ve never tried lightning seared celery you should.” Said Dash. “Yeah it is only celery but marinade and cooking makes it, and the celery is locally grown.”
I stared incredulously over the top of menu. “Grown locally? How? Dash, we’re sitting on a cloud.”
Dash looked up from her menu. “Yeah, but they’ve fabricated growing beds out of stable structural clouds and water and sunshine are no problem!”
“Yeah but what about the soil.” I was pretty certain pegasi were not hydroponic farming in the clouds.
Dash was still flipping through her menu. “From what I’ve been told the initial soil was brought up from the ground. However Cloudsdale now composts almost everything it can, still a large part of the soil is now poop that has been lightning zapped.”
I was taking a swig of my drink when she said this. It was only with supreme effort that avoided spraying it all over the table.
“Cloudsdale zaps its poop?” I giggled. Dash rolled her eyes.
“Yes Brick, Cloudsdale zaps the poop. What else could it do? Just unload multiple tons of it on the countryside below? Talk about the worst case of plop bombing ever! link Celestia doesn’t send it to the moon so zap it we do. I have an aunt who works for the Cloudsdale city works so I know way too much about it.”
Eventually one of the assistant cooks came over and took our order. One of the charms about pegasi cooking and in particular the Starwing Café was watching the food being prepared in front of you. It was like being at a Benihana’s restaurant link except they were using Tesla coils to cook the food. It was definitely something to watch.
We ordered a thin crust pizza that was brushed with olive oil that had been infused with garlic and herbs. Then it was covered with a layer of gouda-style cheese, chopped black olives and sliced hothouse tomatoes and then baked, when it came out the chef sprinkled fresh chopped herbs on it. I also ordered a side of the lightning seared celery for us which was surprisingly good; the celery had been marinated in a sweet, salty almost soy sauce-like mixture. We also got a side order of effectively fried falafel patties with a creamy yogurt sauce poured over them. For dessert we had crepes filled with vanilla gelato and fresh made caramel drizzled over them.
Dash stared her coffee and swirled the contents in the cup. She had mellowed out some during the dinner, but now that the eating was over some of her nervousness had returned. Finally she looked up at me.
“So, ah, Brick how long have you and Petina known each other?”
“Um, let me see it would be.” I did some quick mental calculations. “Twenty two years roughly.”
Dash stopped swirling her coffee. “Twenty two years.” She said it slowly with a slightly stunned voice. She then looked away.
“I imagine Carousel must wonder sometimes about Petina’s interests and uh hobbies…especially in the bedroom. I would suppose it could get um, ah, noisy at times.”
I took a sip of my coffee. “True but since she often sleeps with Petina and I she’s pretty aware of what is going on and Petina has discussed her hobbies with Carousel on many an occasion.” Dash’s head snapped back and she stared wide-eyed at me.
“So you are regularly sleeping with two mares. Oh I see.” She seemed to deflate a little at this comment. “Well I guess you don’t have to go far to graze then do you?”
Remembering Ice Hoofs comments I decided to take blunt approach. “Dash is there something you’d like to ask me?”
Dash looked down at her coffee cup and fidgeted in her chair for a second or two. “What’s it like?”
“What is what like?” I replied. Dash continued to stare at her empty coffee cup.
“What’s it like to have a relationship, to love somepony? What’s like to have somepony you can be so open to and trust so much?”
Dash put her head on the table. “Horse apples, I sound like an idiot!” Growled my boss. “I’m supposedly strong, courageous, and here I am sounding like a timid little school filly!”
I smiled at my boss. “Dash it is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.” I paused and collected my thoughts. “Being in a relationship is one of the most amazing and enjoyable things one can experience, it is also can be one of the most frustrating, terrifying and infuriating things, often at the same time.”
RD grinned at me. “Yeah I imagine a relationship with Petina could be terrifying at time!”
I shook my head. “You have no idea how terrifying it can be, but at the same time she genuinely cares about me and would never do anything to deliberately cause me harm. She’s just has certain, um, needs, and I have to let her wander afar so can graze where she likes. But then again she’s willing to let me run free to, the important thing is that we always return to each other.”
I decided to take a gamble and roll the dice. “Boss is there somepony you wish you were in a relationship with? Is there some stallion who has caught your fancy?”
Dash once again got this bashful look in her eyes. “That’s one of the things I am not certain about Brick. Am I looking for a stallion, or.” She paused. “Or another mare? At this point I have no clear feelings one way or the other. It’s rather confusing for me at times.”
I nodded my head. “You may not know until you meet that special pony, and you may not know it right away. All I can say is when that time comes be honest with them and yourself.”
Dash looked at me and smiled. “Thanks for listening to me babble Brick.”
The rest of meal passed in a much more relaxed fashion, and eventually we flew back to the hostel. Our lanterns had extinguished at the café so we just left them there. We landed on my balcony and I turned to her.
“Well it has been a great evening Dash. Thank you for your company.” Dash yawned.
“Yeah it has been fun. Thanks for talking to me.”
Suddenly Dash leaned forward and gave me a peck on the cheek and smiled at me.
“Sweet dreams Brick.” Then she rocketed off into the nighttime sky leaving me standing on the balcony.
To be continued.
Sorry for not posting for a while life got busy again. After being accused by several of my coworkers of having an affair with Rainbow Dash link in my Equestria dreamscape, my weather work was very so-so for the remainder of the day. I desperately wanted to talk with her but weather business kept us separated for most of the day, and when we were together I was too busy doing cloud work.
Finally as the day shift was getting off work I was able to get a moment. She’d dismissed us for the day and was about to leave when I spoke up.
“Hey RD! You got a moment? There’s something I need to discuss with you about tomorrow’s low pressure system.”
“Yeah sure Brick, what’s up?”
Thunderlane, Stratus and Windfall had already left so at least I didn’t have them hanging around to make this anymore awkward, so it was relatively easy to get Dash alone. Once that was accomplished I told of the day’s events.
I had been a bit worried that RD would blown off concerns as being no problem, or she would ‘ve told me to be a stallion and deal with it myself. Much to my surprise she was surprisingly understanding of my plight.
She patiently listened to my tale and when I was finished she closed her eyes and nodded her head.
“Brick, come with me for a minute.”
Without further explanation she launched herself into the late afternoon sky and I followed. We flew in silence for about five minutes gaining altitude the entire time until we were about five thousand feet above the valley floor. Dash picked a small, random cumulus cloud and landed on it, for about a minute she was silent, and then she spoke.
“Brick, I want you to understand that I never meant for you to catch fire over what I’m a doing. What Thunderlane and his gang did today was pretty cowardly, and I’ll make certain they understand exactly how I feel about their actions today.”
“So what will you tell them if they ask you about what you’ve been doing out at our cottage?” I asked.
“I’ll tell them it is none their business. You were right about me coming out to your place just to hang out. You, Petina and Carousel are a blast to be around, and I am big pony and I’ll choose which ponies I hang out with and where I go. If any them give me any lip I’ll buck them into next week!”
I nodded my head in agreement. “Yeah but I feel like you’re fighting my battles for me, do you want me there when you confront them?”
Dash smiled. “Nah, that won’t be necessary. In many ways this is my battle. First off, I’m the head weather pony in Ponyville and I will not standby and have one of my team members being harassed while on the clock! I consider it a direct challenge to my authority, if I don’t stomp this right now it could get out of control!”
“Second, as I said it’s my life I’ll choose who my friends are and where I go, and yeah Brick I consider you a friend. You’re hard working and for a pony that couldn’t even fly a year ago you’ve come a long ways. You got potential, you’ll never be as awesome as me but you got talent. ”
“Finally, I am suppose to be Element of Loyalty so I am not going to leave you out swinging in the breeze over this. If Thunderlane, Stratus and Windfall don’t have the courage to confront me over this I’ll call them on it! In public if need be.”
“Thanks Dash. I’m glad I’ve got you in my corner, and thanks for taking the time to talk to me.”
Dash smiled at me. “Hey no problem, besides consider it repaying a debt back to you.”
“What debt?” I asked.
“Remember last fall when Captain Firewing came out to Sweet Apple Acres and started acting like a hard ass on us? link Remember how I got into a funk over it and you got me flying level again? link Well consider us even now.”
Then prismatic mare stretched and yawned. “Now I’m going to get a bite to eat and then take a hot bath. After that I’ve got a Daring Do novel waiting for me! You’re off tomorrow but I’ll drop in the afternoon to say hi. You have a good evening alright!”
With that she launched herself into early evening sky. I watched her dive for the valley floor until she was tiny dot of blue. At that moment I consider myself very lucky to have her as a friend. Then I launched myself into the sky and headed for home.
To be continued.
It was another session of dream training link for Applebloom in my Equestria dreamscape. Having removed her signature red bow from her mane and having given it a thorough brushing, the little filly climbed into bed. She fluffed her pillow and then extinguished the oil lamp on the nightstand beside her bed. Pulling covers up around her she closed her eyes and began the process entering REM sleep.
First she cleared her mind of the day events and concentrated solely on her breathing. She breathed in slowly, held it for a second, the just as slowly she’d exhaled. As she did this Applebloom imagined all the stresses of the day slowly flowing out of her. A couple minutes of this found her in a very peaceful state of mind. Now she began second stage of her immersion. As she inhaled she repeated in her mind.
“I’m falling asleep, I’m beginning to dream.” When she exhaled “I wish ta see Princess Luna so we may continue my lessons.”
She repeated this mantra over and over again and quickly descending into a state of restful slumber. After a couple of minutes of this her dream eyes open and she found herself standing on the front porch of Sweet Apple Acres where Luna usually met her at the start of her lessons. It was a beautiful spring evening, with long wispy cirrus clouds flowing across a star-filled sea of indigo blue.
Applebloom closed her eyes and visualized her location pendant with Luna’s name on it. When the little filly opened her eyes again the pendant was around her neck. With a front hoof she lifted it up and stared at it. The needle was slowly sweeping as it tracked the approach of her teacher and good friend. A few seconds later the Princess of the Night came swooping down out of the nighttime sky and landed gracefully in front of her.
Applebloom bowed to her. “Evening princess I’m a ready for my lessons.”
Luna smiled and nodded her head. “And good evening to you to Little Bloom. Tonight I have special lesson and a treat that I think you’ll find really fun!”
“What’s that?” Asked the butter cream yellow filly.
“Close eyes and you’ll find out.” Said the Defender of Dreams. “Close your eyes and let me take you there.”
Applebloom did as her instructor told her. She felt her location change. No longer could she feel the wooden planks of the porch beneath her hoofs. Instead she felt herself sink slightly into a cool, spongy like surface. The usual smells of the farmstead vanished and were replaced with a fresh, clean scent. Then Luna spoke again.
“You may open your eyes now.”
When Applebloom opened her eyes her first though was she standing in a vast field covered with very low ground fog. However as she got her bearings she realized that instead she was on top of a cloud. Below her were the valley and the surrounding lands. The little filly looked up at her mentor with amazement in her eyes. Luna looked down and smiled.
“Tonight Little Bloom you’re going to learn how to fly in the dream realm!”
“Really!” Exclaimed the little filly. “I’m going have wings like ya? Wow! Um, will I have to preen and take care of them in my sleep? Will they molt? Scootaloo says molting is awful? Will they be the same the color as my coat or will they be the color my mane?”
“This verbal avalanche might have gone for hours had Luna not gently raised a front hoof and asked for silence from the little filly.
“Will you have wings? Only if you desire them in your dreams.” Said the Princess of the Moon. “However you should remember that you are lucid dreaming so you can fly with or without them. It all depends on how you want to go about it. However I might recommend trying it without wings first since it would give one less thing to keep track of and you would not have to worry about all that molting or preening then.”
“Okay.” Said the little filly. “So, um, how do I fly then?”
Luna smiled. “Well you’re technically doing it already since all you are standing on is a cloud, but come with me and we’ll start practicing the basics.”
Luna led Applebloom over to the edge of the cloud and then launched herself into the night sky. Making a long, slow, graceful circle she came back around and hovered level with the cloud about twenty feet from it edge. She smiled and looked at the little filly.
“Now Little Bloom come to me. Just step off the cloud and walk toward me as if you were in a field around your farm. Trust me you will not fall.”
Applebloom looked at the ground several thousand feet below and stepped back hesitantly. Part of her knew she was dreaming but still the ground seemed so far away. The highest she’d ever been was on the Ferris wheel at Ponyville Fair. She looked up nervously at the princess.
“What am I stepping off onto?” Asked the filly anxiously. “There is nothing under ya, what would I be walking on?”
“You won’t be walking you’ll be flying.” Said the Luna confidently. “Remember you are dreaming and right now you are in my dream fabric. We are sharing a lucid dream I won’t let you fall.”
“If that is true why do ya still flap yer wings?” Asked the Applebloom.
Luna turned her head and looked at her large, beautiful flapping wings, then she looked back the butter cream yellow filly.
“For myself it is habit since I have had wings for centuries but if I wanted to.”
Luna closed eyes for a second and suddenly wings froze in the middle of a sweep. Yet the princess remained where she was in the indigo night sky. Slowly Luna opened her eyes, they were now glowing like moonlight reflected on still water.
“You have nothing fear here Little Bloom. This is my realm and what I say is how it is. Now keeping looking into my eyes and walk toward me. Trust me.
Slowly Applebloom extended her front hoof off the cloud and placed as if she was walking across the floor of her room. She felt it rest on something spongy but solid. Step by step the little filly walked off the cloud and toward her mentor. The sensation was like walking on a forest floor covered with heavy leaf litter. She continued walking until she stood by her mentor’s side. Luna nodded her head.
“Good! Excellent!” Exclaimed Luna. “Now let’s take a little stroll.” Luna then slowly began moving away from the cloud. Applebloom followed all the while keeping her focus on her teacher. After a few minutes Luna started moving at a faster pace and the little filly had to start trotting to keep up. After about ten minutes the Princess brought the little filly back to the same cloud they had started on.
Over the next hour of dreamtime Applebloom grew more, and more confident with this new form of travel. Soon she was galloping fast enough to keep up with Luna as the princess rocketed through the dream night sky. The little filly learned how to gain and lose altitude. She discovered how to dive and plunge through the sky and how to treat clouds like white, fluffy piles of leaves. She laughed and squealed with joy this was amazing! This was wonderful! Eventually though Luna had to call an end to her lesson.
“Sorry Little Bloom but must call an end to our lesson for tonight, but please keep practicing in your own dream fabric the next time you fall asleep.”
“Do ya have to go now?” Asked the little filly with a pouty face. “We were having so much fun tonight!”
Luna strolled over and hugged the little filly. “Yes I am afraid this is all for tonight, but we’ll do this again next time, okay. Now I am going to detach you from my dream fabric and return you to your own. Rest well little one.”
Applebloom suddenly reached out and hugged Luna. “I love ya princess.” Said the little filly softly. Luna stood stunned for a moment then she closed her eyes and nuzzled the littlest of the Apple Family.
“And I love you to Little Bloom.” Whispered the princess.
To be continued.
Because I pushed myself too hard in my Equestria dreamscape I found myself grounded with a bad left wing. link Problem was I was now grounded on the floor of Rainbow Dash’s cloud home, which floats about nine hundred above the valley floor.
It quickly became evident that I could not even spread the wing to full extension never mind trying to flap it and it was really starting to hurt. Dash had me remove my panniers then she went into the kitchen and quickly got some ice from the icebox. She returned a couple minutes later with an icepack for my back. After placing it on the trouble area she went back into the kitchen and started heating a kettle. With kettle going she went into the bathroom and came back with a small metal tin in her mouth. She set it on the ground next to me and opened it up.
“These are Foalsmane leaves, they’re really good at relieving muscle pain. Chew on a couple of them, but watch out they taste awful!” The prismatic mane mare then went and checked on the status of the kettle.
I was already familiar with Foalsmane link and she was not kidding about the taste, but I forced myself to chew and swallow a couple of the leaves. Bleah! Dash came back with a hot compress and removed the ice pack, over the next hour she alternated between ice pack and fresh hot compresses on my back.
My wing was no longer stabbing with pain, now it just had a constant burning sensation. The Foalsmane seemed to be helping some, I was able to slowly extend the wing but it wasn’t going to be supporting any weight. I was still lying on floor with my chin resting on a throw pillow feeling dejected.
“Right! Now stage two.” She said.
Without warning she climbed on top of me and straddled me with her hind legs, she then rested herself on my haunches. This might have been a fascinating little scenario except for the fact that she started working her front hoofs into the tender spot on my back. Needless to say I started making the appropriate yelps, screams and whimpers as she worked the trouble area with greater and greater force.
“Oh quit whining Brick! You’re crying more than a little foal! If we’re going to get you airborne again we need to get these muscles to relax.”
Over the next half hour she worked her hoofs along my back and under my left wing. Slowly the pain subsided and it started to feel really good. Dash discovered a couple of small knots in right wing flight muscles and massaged them out to.
I was just lying blissfully there with my head on the pillow and eyes closed enjoying an excellent back rub when Dash suddenly lifted my now very limp left wing and began nibbling, tugging and preening my flight feathers with her teeth. It was most this odd almost electrical tingling sensation. I quickly lifted my head and looked back at her.
“What, are you doing?” While it felt kind of odd I was in no hurry for her to stop it.
Dash looked confused. “What does it look like?” She muttered with one of my flight feathers in her mouth. “I’m preening your feathers. Gently pulling on them helps relax the muscles and stimulates blood flow, and with all the flying you’ve done today they could use a preening. Besides it feels good when it’s done right and since I’m doing it it’s awesome! Now let me get back to work!”
I wasn’t going protest since she was right it felt awesome. In fact she could just keep doing what she was doing for as long as she liked.
“Oh.” I sighed. “I need to teach Petina or Carousel how to do this, or find some pony who can do it.”
“Um, I can do it.” Stated Dash in a somewhat quiet voice.
I lifted my head and looked back at her. “Do what?”
“Um teach Petina or Carousel how to do it!” Said Dash rather quickly. “ Ah, it isn’t hard to learn and they’re a couple of smart ponies, so um they should be able to pick it up no problem.” I couldn’t help but notice she suddenly was blushing a bit.
Rather quickly she climbed off my back. “Well I’m done, why don’t you stand up and see how if feels.”
Slowly I rose to my hoofs and tested my left wing. I had a full range of motion in it, but it felt very weak.
“Well it doesn’t hurt anymore but I doubt if I can put any load on it. So what’s next?” I asked.
Rainbow Dash nodded her light cerulean blue head. “Well it is not surprising that it’s weak. I wouldn’t try flying on it until morning. “
I coughed once. “So where do I sleep tonight if not in my own bed?” I looked around what passed for the living room. The couches were nice for sitting on but not for getting an evening of shuteye. “ Do you have a guest bedroom?”
Dash got a sheepish grin. “Well technically yes but I’ve been using that room to store old weather records and work-related stuff. Besides there is no bed in it.”
“Got a sleeping bag I can use?” I asked Dash but she just shook her head.
“Uh no, I loaned it to AJ so her and Applebloom and Big Mac could go camping and she hasn’t returned it.”
I sighed and shook my head. “Well can you get me a blanket a pillow please I’ll find a place on the floor out here.” Dash started scuffing the floor with one hoof and staring at the far wall.
“Um, my bed is big enough for two ponies.” She said while continuing to stare at the wall. “And lying on the floor might aggravate your wing again. “ She looked at me with forced bravado. “You don’t snore do you?”
I just shook my head. “No has ever complained if I do. So what are we going to do about dinner? Since I’m starting to get a bit hungry, got any ideas? Your icebox looked kind of empty.”
“Hee, hee! Yeah I usually don’t keep whole lot of food here, it just seems to go bad before I get around to eating it. Except for my winter provisions. Uh, I often just go down to the Bucking Mare and grab a sandwich or two; I could go down and pick up some for us. It’ll be my treat! How’s that work for you?”
I nodded my head. “Thank you, it’s appreciated.”
So dinner that night consisted of cheddar and onion melt sandwiches on rye bread and a large carafe of lager that Dash brought back from the Bucking Mare. By the time I’d finished dinner I was really starting to feel drained. A day of solid flying had really taken its toll and several large mugs of lager were contributing to my grogginess.
My left wing was now just numb and a bit tingly. I gave my tail and mane a quick brushing and I was ready for bed. Dash’s bed was hardly as large as the one in our cottage, but there was definitely room for two adult ponies. Not surprising there was a comforter with the Wonderbolts logo emblazoned on it, and the linens had been recently changed. I crawled under the blankets plopped my head down on one of the pillows. Across the room Dash was sitting on a stool and brushing her tail. I closed my eyes and almost immediately I dropped off to sleep.
To be continued.
The rest of my first day in Cloudsdale went fairly uneventful in Equestria dreamscape. After filling out enough paperwork to feed the bureaucratic beast I had a date for my exam to become a full-time weather pony. From there Dash and I picked up the keys for our rooms at the Royal Equestria Weather Service Hostel. Before we went and the hit the cantina in the headquarters we dropped off our panniers and the parcel with the printer fliers in our rooms. Except for married couples housing in the hostel was segregated into quarters for mares and stallions. They weren’t completely off-limits to each other but visits by the opposite sex, especially in the evening, were discouraged. While we were there it also gave us each a chance to clean up a bit after a day’s flying.
My room was somewhat Spartan in appearance, but the bed was comfy and the linens were clean as was the rest of the room. The room did not have individual bathroom facilities but there were communal bathrooms and showers at the end of the hall.
What the room did have was a spectacular view. There was a balcony entrance to my room that provided me with a breathtaking view of Cloudsdale. Celestia’s sun had set hours ago and now the lights of city glowed like constellations in the nighttime sky.
I rendezvous with Dash back at cantina and enjoyed a pleasant dinner there. The food was hardly four-star fare, but I have had far worst. My mushroom and grilled onion Panini was very good. Also it was fascinating watching the kitchen staff using carefully controlled lightning as source of heating to cook the food
As we enjoyed our meal a fair number weather ponies who dropped by our table to say hi to Dash or the introduce themselves. Several things soon became obvious to me.
One, Ponyville has been a lot more laid back about the fact that it has all of Mane Six and the winner of last year Best Young Fliers Competition living there. Here in Cloudsdale Dash was something of local celebrity. Even Fluttershy was now viewed by many as a local mare who had made it good.
Second, Rainbow Dash had been a fairly popular pony even before all the events of the last year and a half. Many of the ponies who dropped out table had gone to school with Dash or had brothers or sisters who had been classmates of hers.
Third, a fair number of stallions and couple mares were very interested in introducing themselves to me. At first it seemed like they were just trying to be friendly to the new pony in town, but soon I started notice a pattern to their questions. They went something like this:
“So how long exactly have you and Dash been friends?”
“So you’ve been in Ponyville for a year and in the weather service for less but the word around the office is that Dash is looking to make you her assistant?”
“So how did you two meet?”
“Are the rumors really true that Dash has been acting as your personal flight instructor?”
None of the ponies asked outright if we were dating or having an affair but in my mind I could see ponies connecting dots in their mind.
After completing our meal Dash decided to take me over to her parent’s place on the offhand chance they actually were in town. Her suspicions were confirmed when she found there place unoccupied and a neighbor told us they were out of town again. After leaving an “I missed you note.” We headed back to hostel and called it a night.
The next day I got a thorough tour of the REWS headquarters and got to meet some of the ponies who generated the work orders I had to carry out back in Ponyville. The more I heard the more I marveled at how much coordination it required.
We had lunch in the cantina again. We were just leaving when a young, brilliantly violet stallion with four stark white socks came swooping in and landed in front us.
“Ha! The rumors around the office were true! Exclaimed the stallion. “Dash it’s good to see you!”
“Ice Hoofs!” Exclaimed Dash. “ How have you been? A little bird told me you got a sweet promotion.”
“Soon to be senior weather manager for Canterlot!” Said the stallion proudly. “Youngest pony ever assigned to such a prestigious post! Happy Sun was so surprised when I got it! She’s a little grumpy about moving to Canterlot but she admits it’s a great post!”
“Happy Sun?” Asked Dash.
“Oh right you don’t know yet!” Ice Hoofs cocked his head slightly and showed us a simple white gold earring. It took a second for me to recognize it as traditional pegasi wedding earring.
“We got married on New Years Day this year. Still get use to having this earring but even it was ten times heavier she’s worth it! We’re even thinking about starting a family in couple years.”
Dash reared up on her hind legs and gave Ice Hoofs a big hug. “I’m happy for you! She’s a very lucky mare!”
Ice Hoofs looked over at me and smiled. “And who is your stallion friend Dash?”
Dash giggled a little. “Oh this here is Sky Brush. He’s a good friend of mine from Ponyville and he’s one my best upcoming weather ponies. He’s never been to Cloudsdale so I’m showing him around town. Also he’s helping post some ads for the upcoming Best Young Fliers Competition. As the defending champion I want to make certain the stands are packed when I win it again! Brick here has been a big help getting me prepared this year.”
Ice Hoofs cocked a quizzical eyebrow at me. “Well best of luck. By way will you two be participating in the Lightning Lantern Festival this evening?”
“Is that tonight?” Exclaimed Dash. “That’s why I heard several ponies around headquarters talking about. Yeah, we’ll be there. Brick here should get a kick out it!”
Ice Hoofs smiled at us. “And course after the festival it is tradition to enjoy an excellent meal. Someplace other the headquarters cantina, which I can help with.”
The violet stallion quickly drew a business card from the satchel around his neck and then a fountain pen. He scribbled something on the back of it, and then presented it to us.
“I am good friends with the owner of the Starwing Café, I’ll send a clerk over to make reservations for you two tonight. Just present this card and your dinners will be on me tonight!”
Dash hugged Ice Hoofs again. “Thanks! Oh but if we’re going to participate in the festival I better go get us signed up for it! Brick I’ll be right back!”
Before I had a chance to reply prismatic mare shot off like a bolt. Ice Hoofs watched her go and then turned back to me.
“She’s one of the good ones Sky Brush. Equestria needs more like her and the Mane Six. I’ll be honest when I was in school with her I had a serious crush on Rainbow, but then again so did a lot of stallions and quite a few mares.”
“However I don’t know if she ever went on a serious date while she was in school. Many a pony tried to ask her out, but I don’t remember anypony having any success. Therefore the fact she’s hanging out with you has me and a lot of other ponies wondering around the office.”
Ice Hoofs looked where RD had flown off and resumed speaking.
“She has tons of raw potential and is probably one of the best fliers in all of Equestria, but she’s also one of the most naïve and socially dense ponies around.” He looked back at me. ”Between you and I do you have any designs for her?”
I shook my head. “No, we’re just friends.”
Ice Hoofs nodded his head. “Does Dash have any designs for you?”
“Not to my knowledge. She hasn’t made any known to me” I replied.
Ice Hoofs scuffed a front hoof on the cantina floor. “That’s because she might not yet know yet herself Sky Brush. Like I said her blind spots can be maddening at times. However I do know this, Dash’s mood can turn on a bit and if she suddenly decides she wants you in her life that way you better have your answer ready. Whether that answer is yes or no you better know in your heart what it is.”
Ice Hoofs suddenly had a serious look in his eyes. “If you don’t have a clear answer to that question you’ll just end up stringing her along and it’ll just make the final outcome harder for both of you. I have a mare of own now that I love more than anything in the world, but I still don’t want to see Dash take an unnecessary fall if it can be avoided. She is the Element of Loyalty and she instills that kind of loyalty in others almost instinctively.”
Ice Hoofs placed his right wing across my back and gave me brotherly hug. “So just remember this. If you break her heart, I’ll break your wings. Just keep that in mind.”
Then before I think of a reply he flew off.
To be continued.
For several reasons, one them being space, Rarity decided to handle the test-fitting of Spike, myself and Big Mac outfits not at her boutique but instead at the Ponyville day spa. Rarity also had all the mares show up so she confirm that all the final alterations to their dresses were correct. Of course most of the mares decided to take advantage of the spa’s facilities while waiting for their final fittings.
Like her own gown, Rarity had actually been dabbling off and on with a suit for Spike for several months. Originally she’d intended to give to it him at the next Hearth’s Warming Eve, but with the invites to Service to the Crown Day she had accelerated its completion. Of all the outfits this had been technically the most difficult one for her to do. Spike’s non-quadruped form forced Ponyville’s resident fashionista to think outside her usual comfort-zone.
Spike’s jacket was a deep-eggplant purple silk with amethyst and gold buttons. The edges cuffs and waistline were trimmed with gold thread. A white silk poets shirt with matching cravat were complimented by cummerbund of deep pine-green satin.
For footwear Rarity went all out and designed a pair of black leather boots that worked very well with the young dragon’s non-hoofed feet. The final touch was a diamond-shaped fire ruby that served as a brooch Spike’s cravat.
My ensemble was the easiest since she already had my measurements on file. My long-tailed jacket was deep navy-blue fine wool with sterling silver and lapis lazuli buttons. A brilliant cool-white silk with matching spats was accompanied by cravat of cobalt blue satin. Just as pleats were all the rage this year’s fashionable mare, cravats were a must for the well-dressed Canterlot stallion!
That left Big Mac who Rarity referred to as “A diamond in the rough”; all he needed was a bit polishing. This was one of the reasons Rarity decided to handle the initial fitting of stallions at the day spa; it was excellent opportunity to give us all a good cleaning!
Now I have enlisted the services of Lotus Blossom and Aloe who run the spa, but Big Mac had never set hoof inside the place. In fact the thought had probably never entered the big stallion’s mind. However Lotus Blossom and Aloe seemed to be rather excited at the idea of giving the big red earth pony a make over.
Before the stallion could muster any useful defense or argument, he found himself tossed into a bath with two svelte earth pony mares who proceeded to give him a very through cleaning. After a methodical cleaning, haircut and hooficure, Big Mac was sent down the assembly line to Rarity who had his outfit waiting. After about fifteen minutes of fussing, complaining, muttering he emerged from behind the dressing screen.
Big Mac’s jacket was deep red-black wool with shorter tails than my jacket. His dress shirt and cravat were done in rich, warm-white silk that accompanied by a cummerbund of deep green. The buttons of his jacket and cravat brooch were of garnet and gold.
Big Mac just stood there staring at himself mirror trying to figure out who this strange stallion was looking back at him. All the mares present seemed to approve of his appearance and even AJ gave him a good-natured ribbing about sweeping some mare off her hoofs in an outfit like that.
Slowly the big stallion began moving around the spa trying to get familiar with these strange new garments. As he did the mares gathered gave him various compliments and words encouragement. Petina through this had been giving the big red stallion a serious looking over, and when given a chance offered him one of her famous, oh so quotable compliments. At that moment I discovered that earth ponies can teleport because Applejack suddenly materialized next to her big brother and was glaring at Petina.
To be continued.