A Terrible Secret
By: Metal Squirrel Chaos (A.K.A. Sword of Squirrels)
She landed softly on the ground, eyes darting back and forth. Her breathing was heavy, her blue furred chest rising and falling in large bursts. “k,” she said to herself, “looks like the coast is clear.”
Rainbow Dash, the fastest young flier in all of Equestria, the pegasus that had achieved the impossible feat of the Sonic Rainboom, stuck her head out from behind the building to scan the streets. Nopony she knew was around. Good. She looked up at the very building she was hiding behind. Ponyville Hair and Care, the local hair styling and barber shop. She looked through the nearby window to see the owner, a unicorn named Clips, was using his magic to sweep the store inside. That could only mean that there were no customers. “Awesome,” she exclaimed, before slipping from behind the building and into the front door.
“Hey Clips,” she squeaked as she closed the door behind her. A quick glance confirmed her earlier suspicion that the shop was otherwise empty.
“Hey Rainbow Dash,” the older colt said as he put his broom and pale away. “Come in for the usual did you?”
“Yeah,” the pegasus said, still speaking low, “the usual stuff.”
“You should get your mane cut too,” he offered as he turned to the large shelf full of hair care products behind him. “It’s looking really shaggy, girl.”
“Sorry Clips,” Dash said, “but you know I’m the only one who cuts my hair.”
A sudden ringing, the signal of the store door opening, made Dash freeze. The voice that followed it made her cringe.
“You do?” came a pristine and regal accented voice. Dash did not have to turn around to know who it was.
“Rarity!” Rainbow Dash greeted with a shout, “What are you doing here? It’s Friday, you usually don’t pick up your hair supplies until Saturday.”
“Why yes I…” the white unicorn said as she stepped into the store, but stopped speaking as she processed what her friend had just said. “Why yes I do,” she continued, “how did you know?”
“Oh,” Dash blushed, her eyes darting around the room for escape routes, “I just sort of see you come in here every Saturday. I fly by a lot, weather job and all right?”
“Hmm,” Rarity said, looking Rainbow Dash over, “If you say so, darling. Anyway, I would have waited until tomorrow, but I used up all the conditioner on our hair before the Gala and needed to resupply early.”
“Oh, right,” Dash remembered, reaching a hoof around to rub the back of her head. “I guess I just forg-,“ she gasped as she brought her hoof back around, staring at something Rarity could not see.
“What’s wrong, dear?” Rarity asked.
“Here you go, Dash. Sorry that took so long,” said Clips, who was walking back to her with a bag in his magical grip.
“Oh hey look at the time thanks Clips see you Rarity,” Rainbow Dash spoke in one breath, tossing the money on the counter, grabbing the bag in her teeth and sprinting out the door. Before Rarity could even say goodbye, she was air born.
“What on earth was that about?” Rarity asked.
“Dunno,” Clips said. “I can never figure that girl out. But she left her receipt.”
“Oh?” Rarity said, now noticing the slip of paper where Rainbow Dash had just been standing. The unicorn picked up the paper and read it. “Hm. Wait,” she gasped, “these are ingredients for…hair dye.”
Just outside of the town border of Ponyville floated a large home made of clouds. Such houses were perfect for a pegasus, and Rainbow Dash had always been proud of hers. She had designed it herself, and had been proud of the rainbow falls that trickled from the sides.
Not today, however. Today the falls had run dry. They were supplied by weekly shipments she ordered directly from the factory in Cloudsdale. A single can a week was enough to run the waterfall, with plenty left to spare. The problem was that the shipment was late. Dash had asked Derpy Hooves if the package had arrived, but the mailpony had denied seeing it this week.
Rainbow Dash stood in front of her mirror in her bathroom. Staring back was not the Rainbow Dash most ponies knew. Her rainbow colored mane had begun to chip away, small flakes of various colors falling from her head as she moved it. She sighed and turned on the faucet, splashing her face and head with the water. The flakes of color fell faster. She looked up again as the last of the color disappeared from her mane. What was left was a snowy white head of hair, completely void of any color at all. The sunlight coming through the window hit her locks, and seem to absorb the light, beginning to glow.
When she was born, her parents had been shocked. The doctors had examined her, and determined that she was perfectly health, but her hair had no pigmentation. But pure white hair brought her other problems.
It was bizarre for a pony to have pure white hair. Even the so called Great and Powerful Trixie had a single light blue streak through her mane. Dash’s hair, on the other hoof, was completely colorless, a blank white. For the longest time, she had been proud of her hair, and thought herself unique.
Then came school. Before she even learned to fly, she was put in basic knowledge schooling, also known as kindergarten. There, she faced her classmates, who immediately belittled the small pegasus for her unique attributes. She was teased and laughed at, and when she tried to get the teacher to help, the older pony had instead told her to sit in the corner and stop badgering the other students. Rainbow Dash knew the teacher was siding with the bullies, and learned the hard way that her unique trait made her an outcast.
She remembered begging her mother to let her stay inside, probably forever. The next day, her mother came in with a can of liquid rainbow, straight from the clouds factory. She mixed it with some other chemicals used in hair dying, and used a brush to apply it to the blank mane. When she was done, Rainbow Dash looked in the mirror to see a pony with every color of the rainbow streaking through her hair, and instantly fell in love with the look.
Ever since that day, her hair was dyed every morning. Eventually she learned the recipe from her mother, and began to make the mixture herself. Luckily, the unique nature of liquid rainbow meant it would always reapply in the exact same spot. She only needed to brush up and down her mane and it would always come out perfect. This was perfectly convenient, as she couldn’t imagine painting each color individually. It was also very hard to get out of one’s hair without completely drying out, being waterproof and heatproof.
Dash opened the cabinet under her sink, and pulled out the can. Opening it, she saw the can was almost empty, only a pool of fluid remaining at the bottom. If she did not get the shipment in time, she’d have only enough spare rainbow to last a week, if that.
Rainbow Dash calmed herself, as she began to pour the mixture together. What were the chances the package wouldn’t show up for an entire week?
“Something is going on with Rainbow Dash,” Rarity spoke in a hushed tone. “I believe she is keeping something from us.”
“What would Dash have to hide?” asked Twilight Sparkle, as she winced, trying to breathe. Rarity was pulling the saddle strap too tight again.
The white unicorn looked her friend over, studying the design and color and how they matched with its wearer’s features. “I don’t know, dear, but it must be something important. She just became so flustered and impatient.”
“This is unusual for Rainbow Dash, how?” asked Twilight.
“And the hair dye products?” Rarity asked back. “Why would somepony like Rainbow Dash need such things? What about her being the only one who cuts her hair?”
“I guess,” Twilight shrugged, “she just doesn’t trust other people to get her mane right?”
“Even me?” Rarity said as she began to look through her hats, “I’m insulted.”
“Well, what did Clips say?” Twilight asked.
“He said,” Rarity repeated, “that Rainbow Dash comes in every Friday, early in the morning, and buys those three products each time. And she knows I go there once a week as well, on Saturday. I’m just saying it’s suspicious. What could she hide that is so important she can’t tell us?”
“I’m sure she has her reasons,” Twilight decided. “I think it would be best if you just dropped it, Rarity.”
The white unicorn sighed as she picked out a rather splendid hat for Twilight to try on. “If you say so, dear, I’ll drop it,” she said as she placed the hat on Twilight’s head. “For now,” she whispered.
The rest of the week was uneventful for the circle of friends. Rainbow Dash seemed nervous around Rarity at first, but when the white unicorn did not bring up the events again, the normal routine returned.
Rainbow Dash was beginning to worry, however. She asked Derpy Hooves every day if her package had arrived, but the mailpony only shrugged. “Sorry, Dash, no package today either. I’ll tell you if I find anything.”
“Well, thanks anyway,” Dash said as Derpy turned to leave. She paced the floor of her home, beginning to really worry. She wondered if she had enough vacation days left to take a private trip to Cloudsdale. Perhaps she could get the liquid rainbow right from the factory. A quick glance at her job schedule made it clear this was not going to happen. “Man, I have got to stop using my sick days to take naps,” she moaned.
Soon, Friday came again. The pegasus circled Clip’s store, searching for any sign of her friends. When she found the coast clear, she dipped down and landed outside the window, peering in. Oddly, she did not see Clips anywhere, but the store still seemed empty, and the sign said it was open. Rainbow Dash gently pushed the door open, and stepped inside. “Clips, you in here?”
“Oh, hello Rainbow Dash,” came a voice that was distinctly not Clips’. A white, regal pony stepped out from behind the stairwell, smiling. “I didn’t expect to see you here again.”
“Rarity,” Dash yelled. “What are you doing here? Again?”
“Oh,” Rarity said, putting on her most innocent face. “Dear Clips needed to run an errand. Since I’m such a good person, and one of his best customers, I volunteered to watch the shop while he was gone.”
“Ah, well, um,” Dash stuttered, not sure what to do in this situation. “I need to go.”
“But you just got here, Rainbow Dash,” Rarity pointed out. “Are you sure there’s nothing you want?”
The pegasus gulped and backed away toward the door. “Well…I…just wanted some shampoo.”
“Shampoo?” Rarity asked.
Dash could see the disbelief in her eyes. “Um, yea, I just ran out yesterday and I need to wash my hair really bad.”
Rarity shook her head and gave a heavy sigh. “Rainbow Dash, I’m insulted. Such a terrible lie. Why it’s almost as bad as Applejack’s.”
“Hey!” the pegasus took offense. “That was a lot more believable than anything Applejack-eeep!” she clasped her hooves over her mouth.
“Ah ha,” Rarity shouted, triumphantly. “I knew it. I knew you were keeping a secret from me. And I think I know what it is.”
Rainbow Dash backed into the wall, feeling like she was going to sink to the floor and melt away. “You do?”
Rarity nodded, “Dear Rainbow Dash, I am the most fashionable pony in Ponyville. Did you really think you could keep a secret like this from someone with my stylish senses?”
Dash felt her knees getting weaker. “Yea, I guess it was inevitable,” she squeaked, feeling herself get smaller.
“I mean,” Rarity went on, “to think I wouldn’t find out about you secretly styling your hair at night.”
“Yea, I-wait what?” Dash stuttered.
“You come in here every week and buy supplies to die your rainbow mane another color. After all, having all the colors of the rainbow must get boring. But someone like Rainbow Dash is just too tough for something so girly, right?” Rarity asked knowingly.
Dash resisted the urge to let out a huge sigh of relief. “Wow Rarity, I can’t believe you found me out like that. You won’t tell, will you?”
“I promise, your secret is safe with me,” Rarity said. “I still don’t see why you’re so embarrassed about it,” she noted as she walked closer to her pegasus friend. “Besides, now we can style your hair together. Oh it will be ever so much fun.”
Dash cringed. “Uh, no thanks, Rare. I don’t know if I’m ready for all that.”
Rarity sighed. “Still too shy to be a lady. Oh very well, I will tell not a soul. On one condition.”
Rainbow Dash gulped. She did not care for that line. “What kind of condition?”
Rarity leaned in closer, right next to Dash’s ear. “What color are you dying it tonight?”
“Uh,” Dash thought quickly, “Apple green.”
Rarity coughed and pulled back. “Ugh. Green hair,” she sighed. “Well it’s your mane my dear, but I implore you not to leave your house with it.”
“Not a problem,” Dash said, sighing inward. Well played, Rainbow Dash, well played. “So, um?”
“Oh right,” Rarity remembered, turning back to the shelf and magically grabbing the three ingredients Dash needed. “That will be ten bits please.”
Rainbow Dash set the money on the counter and picked up the bag in her teeth. “Thanks again, Rarity,” she said through the plastic, before taking off through the door and up into the sky.
Rarity sat herself on the rug behind the counter. “Silly Rainbow Dash, being so nervous over something like styling.. Although, apple green? I guess there is no accounting for ta-,” Rarity’s sentence ended as she looked back at the supply shelf. The white unicorn turned her attention to the Apple green dye color sitting gently on it. “She didn’t buy any colors. Hmm.” Rarity turned her attention toward the sky, watching a streak fly off into the distance.
“Oh no, oh no. What am I going to do?” Dash said to herself in panic. She scraped the brush against the empty can of liquid rainbow, trying desperately to work the remainder off the walls. She knew it was not nearly enough.
She looked behind her. The remaining liquid rainbow had allowed her to coat her tail, but there was none left for her mane. She cursed her habit of doing the easy job first. “Ok, calm down Rainbow. You can figure this out,” she said to herself, looking in the mirror. Her white mane fluttered in the slight breeze coming from the window. She could swear it was mocking her. “Nopony can know. But its ok, I just have to clear the sky really fast in the morning tomorrow, and pray that no one wants me for anything.”
“Rainbow Dash,” yelled a voice from below. Dash recognized the voice. It belonged to a particular purple book worm unicorn.
Dash moaned and put her foreleg over her face. “Oh man. What do I do now?” She looked around the bathroom frantically, before her eyes landed on the perfect solution.
Twilight Sparkle sat on the ground outside, waiting. “Rainbow, are you up there?” she asked loudly, trying to get her pegasus friend’s attention. “Maybe she went out? Maybe she’s hanging with that DJ.”
“Right here, Twilight,” said Rainbow Dash as she poked her head out from the side of her cloud.
The unicorn smiled as she turned her head upward again to speak. “Hi Dash, I was just…why are you wearing a towel on your head?” she asked.
Rainbow Dash had wrapped her dark blue towel around her hair, tying it tightly to keep it bundled. “I just got out of the shower, hair’s still wet,” she lied. “What do you need?”
“Oh,” Twilight shrugged. Rarity’s words briefly rang in her head, but she dismissed them. “I was just going to ask you a favor. I was planning to have picnic on the hilltop tonight to do some star gazing, but I just heard from Fluttershy that the pegasi are planning tonight to be overcast.
Dash grinned, guessing her plight. “And you want me to clear the sky over the hill for you?”
“Not the entire sky, but just where I’m gazing. I don’t want to disrupt the cloud formation too much,” Twilight corrected her friend.
Rainbow Dash reclined on the cloud, weighing the needs of her friend against her own personal plight. It would be dark out, and Twilight would be the only one there. She could keep her secret safe if she kept airborne, far away, and had something to hide her head. “I think I can help you,” Dash said with confidence.
“Great,” Twilight said, “then meet us at the hill overlooking Everfree Forest tonight.”
“No problem.” Dash smiled, before her eyes went wide. “Wait, us?”
“Oh yes,” Twilight said. “Everypony’s going to be there. I always invite all my friends when I go stargazing, remember?”
Rainbow Dash froze up. This was suddenly a bad situation. Keeping her secret from just one pony would be easy, but everypony there at once? Someone would have to notice. But it would be impossible to back out now, or Twilight would get really suspicious. She turned back to the librarian. “Well ok, I’ll be there tonight. Tell Applejack to make those little apple pie things.”
Twilight giggled. “Ok, I’ll be sure to tell her. See you there, Rainbow Dash.”
Dash let out a sigh as her friend left, and walked back inside. Closing the door she removed the towel, seeing a lock of her snow white hair fall in front of her eye. “Oh, why did I have to be born with freak hair?” she asked herself.
She stayed that way for several minutes, before a knock at the door startled her. “Ah, who’s there?” she shouted.
“Hi Rainbow Dash,” came another familiar voice. “Got the mail for you.”
“Derpy,” Dash said, quickly bundling her hair in the towel again. She ran to the door and pulled it open. “I have never been so happy to see you.”
The strange eyed pegasus blinked at Dash’s reaction. “Well, I got your mail if you want it. Sorry, but that can you’ve been waiting for still didn’t arrive.” She shuffled her head into her saddlebag and pulled out a few letters.
Rainbow Dash felt her entire body slump, hitting the cloud floor with a thud. “Awww. What could be keeping it?”
“No idea,” the other pegasus said through the envelopes in her mouth. She could see that Dash was deeply troubled. “Well, I guess I’ll just put your letters on this table then?”
Rainbow Dash buried her face into the cloud and grunted a confirmation.
“Ok then,” Derpy said as she set the letters down. “See you later.” As quickly as she came, the grey pegasus was gone, shutting the door behind her.
Scraping herself from the floor, Dash looked out the window at Ponyville below. “What am I going to do?” she asked herself. “I need to hide it under something, but this towel isn’t going to cut it. Oh, what would the Wonderbolts do?”
Her eyes lit up as an idea hit her like a ton of bricks. “That’s it!”
The woods were quiet that night. Only the sound of crickets echoing through the trees. Five friends ascended a hill that stood in a clearing, the forest around Ponyville giving way to it. At the top of the hill, anypony could see where the normal forest ended, and the Everfree Forest began. As the pegasus had promised, the sky was completely covered by thick clouds, hiding the stars and moon.
“So where’s Rainbow Dash?” asked Applejack, carrying the food in her saddlebags. “She’s usually the first pony anywhere.”
“Dunno,” bounced Pinkie Pie, “I haven’t seen her all day. I hope she doesn’t have a tummy ache, or a runny nose, or a stubbed horse shoe, or-“
Twilight Sparkle, who was carrying her favorite telescope, interrupted her hyperactive friend. “I talked to her Pinkie. She’s fine, though she did seem slightly…off.”
Rarity, a picnic blanket of her own design draped over her back, gave a low “hmm” and though back to the events earlier that day. “I guess she was just shocked we were having a picnic. You did spring this on us a bit last minute, Twilight.”
“Sorry about that,” the librarian blushed.
“Well she better get here soon,” Applejack insisted. “I reckon we need her to move the clouds so you can stargaze anything.”
“Over here, guys,” came the voice of Rainbow Dash from far in the distance, just as the five ponies finally reached the top of the hill. They each squinted toward the sky to see Dash hovering far above their heads. The darkness of the cloudy night, and the distance, made it hard to see the pegasus, but her voice was very distinct.
“What’s she doing all the way up there?” Fluttershy wondered aloud.
“Don’t know,” said Pinkie Pie, who suddenly smiled. “Maybe she’s hiding something under that hat.”
“Hat?” Rarity asked, before squinting harder. Indeed, she saw the outline of something on Dash’s head, covering her hair. “Oh no. By Celestia’s mane she’s wearing a hat.” She knew that could only mean something went wrong.
“Rainbow, what in tarnation are you doing up there?” Applejack asked.
“Yea Dashie,” Pinkie Pie interjected, “come down and eat with us. I brought a cake,” she offered.
“That’s real tempting Pinkie Pie,” Dash yelled back. “But I have to stay up here and help Twilight see the sky. Besides I’m not all that hungry.”
Pinkie blinked, her smile disappearing. “Rainbow Dash? Not hungry? When we have all this delicious food?” Her face turned into an investigative scowl. “This doesn’t add up.”
“Now Pinkie,” Twilight Sparkle said. “Be respectful. I’m sure Dash has her reasons.”
“Maybe,” Applejack grinned, “she’s just trying to keep her girlish figure.” The farmer pony snickered, and then burst into a laughing fit.
“Oh ha ha, I heard that!” the pegasus yelled from above. “You’re one to talk, Miss Iron Hind Quarters.”
The other ponies, except Applejack, all burst into laughing at the comeback. The farmer pony just rolled her eyes. “Ok, Flygirl, why don’t you come down and join us?”
“Uh,” Dash stuttered, averting her gaze to her friends below. “Well I need to stay up here and move the clouds right?”
“Oh,” Twilight chimed in. “You can just move the ones in front of the moon, please. I can stargaze later. I’m starving.”
“Come down and join us,” Fluttershy said. “At least, if you want to.”
Rainbow Dash groaned. “Ok guys, just give me a moment, ok?” Before they could protest, she disappeared into the clouds above. A sliver of bright light pierced the clouds, before it began to widen. Dash circled the hole in the cloud cover she had made, pushing the clouds back to let the moon shine down, the sliver of light growing until the top of the hill was completely illuminated.
The ponies wowed as they saw the half moon hanging in the sky. “My stars,” Applejack said.
“Princess Luna sure did an amazing job tonight,” said Twilight Sparkle.
“She sure did,” Pinkie Pie agreed.
“I wonder where she is right now,” thought Fluttershy. “I hope she knows we appreciate her work.”
“Hey,” Rainbow Dash called as she swooped out of the clouds, landing on the hill to join her friends. “Don’t forget who cleared the sky so you could enjoy it.”
All eyes turned to the newly arrived pegasus. Most everypony stared at her in bewilderment, except for Rarity, who narrowed her eyes in disgust. Dash stood there as innocently as she could, her face a nervous grin. The hat on her head, protecting her secret, was an old Wonderbolts Cap she had gotten as a souvenir after seeing one of their shows when she was much younger. Luckily, it still fit her well. She took a moment to pull it tighter, making sure not a flock had escaped. “What? I can’t accessorize every now and then?”
“No offense, Sugarcube,” Applejack said, “but it looks kind of odd on you.”
“It looks tacky is what it looks like,” Rarity spat her opinion.
“Don’t listen to them, Rainbow Dash,” Pinkie said as she bounced toward her pegasus friend. “I think you look cool with it on. But then you always look cool. Probably because you’re so cool. You’re so cool I wonder how you don’t’ freeze in the night air, or how you can fly with icicles on your wings, or-“
Dash would normally have basked in such praise, as nonsensical as it was, but today she felt only a bitter taste in the words. There was no chance her friends would think she was cool if they found out. She adjusted the cap again, tightening its grip on her head. “Uh, thanks Pinkie, I think we get the idea.”
“Well,” Twilight Sparkle said, “I think that walk worked up an appetite. So what do we have to eat?”
“There’s my super amazing delicious wonderful cake!” Pinkie Pie offered while bouncing around with the cake somehow perfectly balanced on her head.
“I brought the usual, along with some extra,” Applejack said, setting down her saddlebag on the ground.
“And I brought sandwiches,” Fluttershy commented.
“Daisy or sunflower?” Dash asked.
“Both,” Fluttershy corrected, pulling out one of each from her saddlebag, both in plastic bags.
“Well then,” Twilight said, “let’s chow down.”
“Yea, I’m starving,” Dash said as she moved toward the sandwiches.
“Wait,” Pinkie Pie said, her eyes narrowing at Dash. “I thought you said you weren’t hungry.”
“Uh,” Dash thought quickly, biting at her lower lip. “Well, moving those clouds must have worked up an appetite too. Yeah.”
Pinkie stared at her pegasus friend for a few moments, eyeing her up and down. The rest of the ponies stood in silence as the pink party planner gazed into Rainbow Dash.
“Oh, ok,” she finally said, bouncing around the campsite, humming a song to herself.
Everypony on the hill began to eat, filling their empty bellies with the feast they had brought together. Rainbow Dash ate slowly feeling better as she ate.
Rarity ate slowly and carefully, which was nothing unusual, but her eyes kept fixing on Rainbow Dash, eyeing her hat. When the other girls were engaged in conversation, Rarity leaned close and whispered. “I’m guessing the job didn’t go well? Did you not have time to wash it out?”
Dash gulped, nearly choking on a bit of daisy sandwich. “Uh, yea, it was kind of a mess. I’ll get it cleaned up later,” she said as softly as she could.
“Honestly dear,” Rarity said, a little louder, “You don’t need to be so embarrassed. Just because it’s something more girly than what you’re known for, I don’t think you need-“
Before she could finish, Dash stood up sharply. “Hey, guys,” she called out to the rest of her friends. “Since this moonlight’s really cool tonight, how about I clear out more of the clouds around it, and we get some more light out here?”
“That would be great, Rainbow Dash,” Twilight mentioned.
Before anyone spoke another word, Dash jumped into the air and sped toward the hole in the clouds she had made a short time ago. In a blur she began the process again, pushing the clouds back as the moon was now completely exposed, as well as the stars that twinkled around it. Her friends all wowed in amazement as the night sky was revealed.
The pegasus hovered at the center of her creation. She could hear her friends cheering and chopping their hooves in appreciation for her work. She turned to them and took a bow. “Thank you, thank you Equestria, you’re too kind,” she yelled. She did not feel the slip from around her head, or the sudden breeze through her main, nor did she hear the clopping and cheering cease. She did not notice any of this, even as she rose her head up. Her friends were all staring, their eyes wide and some mouths gaping open.
“What?” Dash asked. “What’s wrong with you guys?” She could not see the moonlight reflecting off of her mane, how it let the silver light of the moon illuminate it against the night sky, shining like a beacon.
“My stars,” Applejack said, not knowing what else to say.
“Oh my,” Rarity said as well. This was not what she had expected at all.
“Rainbow Dash,” Pinkie Pie yelled, “you lost your hat.”
Dash heard these words in slow motion, and felt a tight grip on her chest. Her forelegs reached up to search for her cap, but she only felt the night air and familiar locks of her mane. She tried to find an excuse, a lie she could tell, something to avoid what she knew was coming, but nothing came to her. Her mouth would not make words, only tremble.
Her breathing became erratic as she looked at her friends, who were still staring at her. She felt her eyes tearing up. “I…I’m…” she tried to speak, but still the words refused her. With a sudden scream, Rainbow Dash shot forward and over her friend’s heads, speeding back to Ponyville in a blur.
“How long has she been locked up in there?” Applejack asked as the five remaining friends stared up at Rainbow Dash’s home.
“All day,” Rarity answered.
“We’ve been calling her,” Fluttershy chimed in, “but she won’t answer any of us.”
“I tried offering her sweets,” Pinkie Pie informed her, the normally cheerful face stuck in a deep frown, “I tried inviting her to go pranking with me, I even told her I was throwing her a party.”
“Are we sure she’s even inside?” asked Rarity.
“I heard shuffling around earlier,” Twilight explained, “and we haven’t seen anyone come in or out.”
“Let me try, then,” Applejack offered, stepping forward. “Rainbow Dash,” she yelled, “stop being a scared little filly and come out of there and talk to your friends. For Pete’s sake you’re a full grown mare, this is ridiculous.”
Something came from the house above, a light incoherent mumbling.
“Uh,” Applejack stuttered, “what was that?”
The window suddenly opened, and Rainbow Dash stuck her head out. Her mane was covered by a multicolored blanket, hiding her shame. “I said I’m not coming out. Ever. Now go away,” she shouted before violently slamming the window shut again.
“You can’t stay up there forever, Rainbow,” Applejack pleaded.
“Why are you acting like this anyway?” asked Twilight. “We understand your hair is an odd color, but,”
The window suddenly flew open. “Odd?!” the distraught pegasus shouted. “Odd? I’m a freak Twilight. My hair has no color. I’m a colorless blank haired freak. How can you say that’s not a big deal? I don’t even deserve the name Rainbow Dash.” Her eyes were full of tears, and her voice was shaky. She slumped against the window sill. “I’m a freak and a liar. I’ve been lying to you guys for years.” She pulled the blanket around her face, beginning to sob gently. “What good is a friend like me?” she asked, before backing up and shutting the window again.
Pinkie Pie broke the silence that followed. “What do we do now? She’s more upset than ever,” she said.
“We need to show her that we’re still her friends,” Twilight chimed. “But how?”
Rarity’s eyes suddenly lit up. “I’ve got it!” she shouted in triumph. “I’ll be right back.”
The four other ponies all stared as the unicorn turned and ran back to town.
It took Rarity a half hour to return, but when she did, she brought what each pony knew was exactly what they needed.
Rainbow Dash lay across her bed, whimpering into the pillow. She had long ago run out of tears, and instead had curled herself up on the bed to try and sleep. Her friends had made that impossible. They continued to heckle her from below, not letting her even sleep through her humiliation. It felt like salt in the wound to her. Twilight Sparkle trying to make light of the subject had hurt the most. “No big deal,” she said to herself in a mocking tone. “How can she think that? Stupid Egghead probably hasn’t read that book yet,” she sighed, before pulling the blanket over her head again.
“Daaaaaash,” came a familiar pink voice from below.
The pegasus moaned. “Can’t I get any sleep? Can’t I just pity myself in quiet?” she complained to herself, before sliding off of the bed and moving to the window. She opened it and stuck her head out. “What do you want nooahhhhh?” she let the word trail off into a gasp, gazing down at a sight she did not expect.
All her friends were there, staring up at her, all wearing smiles. And each of them had pure, white hair. Even Rarity. Both mane and tail were all bleach white. It was obviously dye, but the effect was no less dramatic.
“What? What is this?” Dash asked in shock.
“Come on down,” said the white haired Applejack, “and we’ll tell you, Sugarcube.”
Rainbow Dash could not bring herself to deny them. Her jaw was locked in a wide, open gasp, and steadily she made her way to her door and opened it, before gently floating down to join them, the blanket still wrapped around her. “What did you guys do?”
“We dyed our hair, silly,” Pinkie Pie pointed out.
“We did it so you would trust us,” Fluttershy mentioned. “We wanted to show you we’re still your friends.”
Dash just looked at each of them, her eyes somehow finding tears again, sniffling. “You…you jerks. You giant, colossal jerks,” she cried. “Why? Why don’t you hate me? I’m a freak. I’ve been lying to you for so long.”
“Now quit that talk right now,” Applejack snapped as she approached the pegasus. “You’ve been sulking about this all day and it’s time to stop.” She reached forward and grabbed the blanket around Rainbow Dash, and yanked it off.
Dash recoiled, but did not resist. The removal revealed that the color had chipped out of her tail as well, her mane and tail both shining brilliant white in the sunlight. She averted her eyes, still unable to face her friends.
“Rainbow Dash,” said Twilight as she and the rest of the ponies approached, “we’re your friends. How could you think we’d be upset over this? After all we’ve done together you thought something like your hair would make us hate you?”
Dash thought for a few moments, still facing away. “Yes?” she answered. “I mean, everypony else did.”
“Oh no,” Fluttershy gasped. “Did other fillies make fun of you when you were younger?”
“Dash, again I am insulted,” Rarity chimed, “To think you’d consider us in the same vein as young riff raff who don’t know any better.” She rubbed her hoof through her newly colored hair, actually enjoying the look. “I like to think I’m a bit more classy and refined than that. Now I’m not sure about certain other ponies in our company,” she said with a coy smile.
“Yea yea, Miss Fancy Pants,” Applejack laughed, “I get the quip.”
“But…what about me lying?” asked Rainbow Dash, who was now able to meet her friends eyes..
“We all have our secrets,” Twilight pointed out.
“Even the best friends don’t tell each other everything,” Rarity agreed. “I’ll admit…I have been sneaking sweets late at night, and might have blamed it on Sweetie Belle when she noticed.” The fashion unicorn blushed.
“I’m terrified of bats,” said Fluttershy. “They’re so leathery and they make creepy squeaking noises. But I can’t tell them that, because I’m supposed to be good with all animals.”
“I use to throw parties, but not invite anyone, just practice, sort of,” Pinkie Pie confessed.
“I sometimes make a mess of the books just so I can make Spike clean them up,” Twilight mentioned. The rest of the ponies all turned to her with odd looks. “It keeps him busy. You don’t want a hyperactive baby dragon. Trust me.”
The group then turned to Applejack, who stared back.
“What? I got nothing to hide,” she insisted. “Element of Honesty, remember?”
“Nothing at all?” Twilight said in amazement.
Applejack stared her friends down, but sighed and caved in. “Well, ok. Remember that injury Big Macintosh suffered n his side? That was sort of my fault. But that’s all you get to know about that.”
“See, Rainbow Dash?” Twilight said as she turned back, trying to ignore Applejack’s story. “Everypony has secrets. It’s ok to keep them.” She approached Dash, who recoiled and slunk back, before Twilight put her hoof around the pegasus’ shoulder. “Just remember, we’re your friends. If you need to tell us something, you can. And judging by your reaction to this whole thing, I think that secret needed to come out. It was wrecking you.”
Dash slowly loosened, her tears drying up as they fell from her eyes. She stood up straight again, as Twilight took her hoof away. “Guys,” she squeaked, voice still shaking. “I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry I kept it from you, even though you say it’s ok. I’m sorry I reacted so stupidly. And I guess I’m sorry you found out how you did.” She looked at all of them, sniffling again. “You guys are my best friends.”
Before anypony could react, the pegasus shot forward and embraced Rarity and Twilight in a tight hug. Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack joined in as the group embraced each other, comforting the still shaking Rainbow Dash.
The group kept up the hug for several minutes, until Dash’s body stopped shaking, and her breath evened out. Her tears had dried again, and she stepped back from them. “Guys, you’re all great. Thanks again. But,” her face sunk again. “I still don’t deserve my name.”
“Actually, you do,” Twilight Sparkle said, a smile brightening her face. “It’s funny actually, you see if you combine all the spectrums of light-“
“Oh no,” Dash groaned, recognizing that tone in Twilight’s voice. “Lecture time.”
The six friends, reunited, trotted their way back to Ponyville. On Pinkie Pie’s insistence, they would soon throw a party in Rainbow Dash’s honor. Why? Because what better excuse does Pinkie Pie need than the return of one of her best friends.
Twilight Sparkle wrote a detailed note to the Princess, detailing that she had learned the importance of giving friends their space, and not intruding on their privacy, but also that it was ok to keep a secret, as long as you don’t let it rule your life.
Rainbow Dash learned a lesson about friendship, and herself. She learned that her hair was beautiful and unique, and that she should never have been embarrassed about it. That said, she also mentioned that as soon as the can of rainbow arrived from Cloudsdale, she would continue dying her hair with it, as it was something she was simply used to, and as good as her white hair was, the rainbow mane was still cooler looking.
She also let Rarity cut her hair once. Once. She refused to ever sit in a single barber’s chair for two hours ever again.
Meanwhile, at the Ponyville post office, a certain blond pegasus sighed gently as she sat behind the counter. Letterknife was sick, and Boxie Brown was out of town, so she, Derpy Hooves, was in charge of both delivering the mail in the morning, and running the post office in the afternoon. It was exhausting, and rather boring, so she was glad it would be over in only a few more days.
Derpy groaned and shuffled her rump. Not a day after Boxie had left; the stool she would normally sit in had broken right out from under her. With nothing else to sit on, she had pulled up a box from the back. But the box was not exactly comfortable. In fact, her rump was sore just sitting on it.
“Stupid box,” she groaned, rolling off of it. “What is in you that’s so uncomfortable?”It took a moment for her to realize that the box had a shipping label on the side. This was not a supply box, but a package. She began to read the label.
FROM: CLOUDSDALE CLOUD FACTORY
TO: RAINBOW DASH OF PONYILLE