Rainbow Dash soared above the clouds, skimming above them with the warm sun on her back. She loved flying and wished she could spend every minute of it in the air. She glided left and saw a particularly big tree in her path.
‘I can try my tree-top slingshot move on that baby!’ she thought eagerly. The tree loomed closer and closer into her path and Dash tried flapping upwards. Suddenly, she couldn’t move her wings…Dash looked and saw they were tied with rope.
“What the hay?! What’s going on?” panicked Dash, tugging at the ropes with her mouth. They wouldn’t budge and she turned just in time to see the tree trunk before hitting the tree head on. Blackness surrounded her, and Dash fell.
Dash stirred and groaned. “Where am I, was I dreaming?” she thought groggily. The bed that held her was not the least bit comfortable and the room was dimly lit by a candlestick in the far corner, multicolored balloons surrounded her and the light bounced off them in odd ways. She moved her hind leg, which was bent under her in an awkward angle and felt stinging on while adjusting her wings. Tears welled as pain shot through her sides and but she gritted her teeth and attempted to crane her neck to see a pony walking towards her in the dim light. Another terribly sharp pain ran through her and Dash blacked out as the white pony trotted towards her.
“Hello? Dash? Wake up Dash! Wake up!” a familiar voice rang out
“Urrrrgh, is that you Pinkie?” groaned Dash sleepily, already knowing the answer.
“YES IT IS! WERE YOU SURPRISED!?”
Dash turned and cautiously cracked open an eye to see Pinkie Pie inches away from her face
“GAH!” recoiled Dash, “Pinkie don’t get so clo-OW!”
“Nononononono don’t move a muscle, you can’t yet you’re too hurt. Nurse Penny said you have to stay right where you are because if you do then you’ll put more pressure where you’re sore and since you’re so super duper sore you can’t move at all because you’ll just hurt yourself more and if you do tha-“
“PINKIE!” interrupted Dash, “Can you tell me what happened?”
“I’ll go and get her, be RIGHT back!” and Pinkie bounced out the door.
“Ya’ll won yer bet is what happened.” Applejack stepped into the room with a stern look on her face. “Yer lucky Fluttershy was out collectin’ earthworms when you were pullin’ that silly stunt of yers.”
“Applejack, can you tell me what happened, why I’m here, and where I am?” said Dash pleadingly.
“I’ll tell ya what I know Dash, but you ain’t gonna like it.”
“Just tell me already!”
Applejack lowered her voice a bit “Well, 2 days ago one of yer Pegasus friends bet ya to fly out to tha middle of tha Everfree forest and back with one of them pinecones from tha biggest tree in tha forest. Well, ya did, but some sorta freak storm cloud messed ya up when you were headin’ back and ya’ll got messed up pretty good. Flutters spotted ya and gathered ya up in that cart of hers and pulled ya back to Ponyville.”
AJ walked up to the little stand and dropped 5 bits and an apology card from Dashs friend Cloudkicker.
“Ah’knew that ego of yers would wind up hurtin’ yerself one day, now you’ve really outdone yourself. I think somepony is owed a big thank you.”
Dash thought hard, and remembered vaguely accepting the bet from her Pegasus friend and soaring through the skies, but that was it.
“Dash adjusted her neck again and looked at AppleJack worriedly. “Applejack, how badly did I get hurt?”
“Very Miss Dash, please don’t move until I properly adjust your bed” said Nurse Penny with Pinkie trailing behind her. “You’ve been bruised in several spots; have a cut above your left hind hoof, and two badly sprained wings that have been troubling me with creating a proper sling since you arrived.
“Really? Cuts and bruises? Phew, I was really worried there for a bit, so how long till I’m outta here nurse?”
The three ponies looked at each other worriedly
“Well, once I get this sling on you and prescribe you some pain relievers Miss Dash you’ll be O.K. for leaving Pony General…
“That’s great news then I-“ Dash looked at the ponies closely, even from her bad angle she could tell there was worse news on their faces. “I uh, is something else wrong?”
“That’s just it sugarcube, there is, but ah don’t think none of us got tha heart to tell ya” Applejack said softly.
Pinkie trotted over to the hallway and gingerly pulled a big mirror over to the left side of the bed and adjusted it so Dash could see her back.
Dash gasped at what she saw in the mirror, and despite being in front of her friends the crushing realization of what had happened shocked her. AJ and Pinkie got close and tried comforting her but it wasn’t going to help. Her jaw dropped and she tried to say something, but nothing came out.
Rainbow Dash, fastest flier in Ponyville, had all of her feathers blown off.
She left the hospital a few hours later despite Nurse Pennys resistance to the idea. The sling wrapped over her back and held her stinging wings steady enough, and Dash had taken some painkiller to numb her body, but her head was swirling with the reveal of what happened to her. Talking to her friends would probably cheer her up but she just didn’t feel like it right now, Pinkie had run off to the Sugarcube corner, probably to bake her something for later in the day, and Applejack had left with her.
“Um, hi Rainbow Dash,” squeaked a quiet voice above her. “It’s nice to see you moving again.”
“Hi Fluttershy, I feel better I suppose.” replied Dash quietly.
Fluttershy landed next to Dash and gave her a nudge “That’s good, because when I found you I was so upset because you looked so hurt and I just couldn’t think straight.”
“I’m sorry you had to see me like that, Applejack’s right, if I wasn’t so, ugh, GOSH I hate it when Applejack is right” Dash kicked a rock in her way and watched it roll off the path
Fluttershy smiled “Well yes, but see the thing is, that whatever happened didn’t really hurt y-“
“Wait wait wait, you were there in the forest right? You were nearby! Do you remember what was happening in the sky?” Dash said turning to her friend suddenly
Fluttershy glanced to the ground,“Umm, yes, I told Twilight when she asked me if I saw anything weird happ-“
“What was it?!”
“Oh I don’t know what it was, but I remember it getting really really hot for a bit, then a big strong wind came and blew away my baskets everywhere and it just stopped.”
“Fluttershy, that’s really odd, I’ve never heard of anything like before”
“That’s what Twilight said too, she’s been in her library trying to figure out what happened since you- Oh we’re here” Fluttershy landed and folded her wings.
Dash stopped and looked up, she hadn’t realized she had walked to her home. A big beautiful cloud house she had made herself, and now she couldn’t even fly up to it. She sighed and pawed pitifully at the ground.
“Um, would you like some help getting home?” said Fluttershy stretching out her wings.
“No. I mean. Yes. But....” Dash turned her head away. “I don’t need to go home yet, but thanks anyway Fluttershy, I’m gonna hoof it over to Twilights.”
“Ok Rainbow Dash, if you need any help just let me know, buh-bye!” and Fluttershy flapped away.
Dash shook herself in frustration. Not being able to get into her own home, such a useless pony. Why even bother walking to a place you can’t get into, and with Fluttershy offering her help only made her feel worse. She turned around and tugged at her sling, which gave her a small jolt of pain. The medicine was starting to wear off
“Oh Dash! Rarity wanted you to drop by her store today, she has something for you” Called out Fluttershy from behind a treetop “said it was important!”
“K, thanks Fluttershy!” and she disappeared. ‘Hmmm, thought Dash, something for me huh, might as well drop by since it’s on the way to Twilights house.’
It was already dusk by the time Dash arrived at Twilights tree library and she walked up to the door painfully. Rarity had designed Dash some sort of saddle that would cover her sides so as not to be feel awkward with her wings, but at the last minute had scrapped her work and promised to make something even better for her the next day. The medicine had completely left her system and every step sent pain through her sides, all she wanted to do was sit down for a while and relax, but she needed to see Twilight. It was bugging Dash all day about how she lost her wingfeathers and she was sure that if anyone could have an answer for her, it was Twilight Sparkle. Dash walked up to the door and was about to open it with her mouth when Spike stepped out.
“Rainbow Dash. Whatcha doin’ here? Shouldn’t you still be in pony general?” he asked with a worried look on his face.
“Nah, I’m ok enough to walk a bit, but I need to see Twilight, is she inside?” responded Dash nonchalantly.
“Yep, she’s been digging through her books all day and night trying to figure out what happened to you.”
Dash blushed hearing that but quickly hid it with a fake cough, she didn’t know Twilight was cooped up all this time answering a question that Dash didn’t even ask yet. “That’s really sweet o- hey where ya going Spike?” Spike was walking with two empty baskets. “Twilight asked me to head to the market to pick up some food, see ya soon.”
“Ok then, see ya later” Dash trotted into the Twilights house and upstairs. It was messy in her library today when it was usually neat and organized; no wonder Spike looked so frazzled. There were small piles of books stacked in various parts of the rooms, and a large map of different cloud types strung up on one of the books, a few that Dash recognized.
“Hmm, where the heck are you Twilight…oh, there you are” spotting her friend nose deep in a book hovering in front of her “not too surprising I guess...” she muttered to herself as she trotted over.
“Hey Twilight” said Dash nonchalantly.
“Not now Rainbow Dash I’m bu-RAINBOW DASH!” Twilight dropped her book and hugged her surprised friend “You’re okay! I was so worried when I found out what happened”.
“Oomf, that’s ok, but can you get off? Still kind of sore…” Dash said rubbing her neck a bit.
“Sorry about that, it’s just so good seeing you out of that bed” recoiled Twilight “I visited a few times but you were out cold each time and the nurse ponies didn’t want to wake you.”
“How-How are you feeling Dash?”
“It hurts to everything, the medicine wore off ages ago, it’s sort of a dull throbbing pain” Dash winced as she saw Twilights eyes darting around her cuts and bruises and her wings. “Something I wanted to ask you Twilight…”
“Stop, I know what you’re gonna say, and it’s not a problem.” Twilights Sparkles horn glowed and she closed her eyes, and Dash felt magic easing her bruises and mending her cuts and pain “I’ve been looking it up all day on healing magic, and discovered it wasn’t so difficult to get a hang of, feel better right?”
“Right on Twilight, I feel like a brand new Pegasus pony” she jumped and returned Twilights hug “but there’s something else I need to ask you...”
“Oh right, about what happened” Twilight walked over to a small piece of chart and using her magic begin illustrating, “From what I’ve gathered from Fluttershy is that it got very very hot extremely fast and immediately afterwards a strong wind blew straight down.” An arrow darted across the middle of a large circle she had drawn,” here’s you, unfortunately getting caught right in the middle and taking the full brunt of the wind.”
Dash said nothing for the moment, intensely trying to figure out what happened while she absentmindedly stretched her bony wings. “After cross-referencing the descriptions of the heat and winds and the damage done to the trees I’ve concluded that you flew straight into a particularly intense downburst.”
This new weather term puzzled Dash “Down what now?”
“Downburst” repeated Twilight “A powerful and unpredictable atmospheric wind that blows with intense heat and force, they’re incredibly uncommon, and you just happened to fly right into the 2nd recorded one in nearly 150 years.”
“Well, that’s…a bit scary that something like that can come out of nowhere and ruin everything, it’s just my luck too”.
The room fell silent and Dash shifted nervously “Well, you’ve solved one thing Twilight, but I need your help with another.”
Twilights ears fell and she stopped to listen to Rainbow, this was the question she’s been dreading to answer for the last couple of days.
Dash stretched out her bare wings and stepped forward hopefully, “Can you get me flying again Twilight?”
“Oh Dash” Twilight turned her head and took a deep breath “I-I can’t, it’s beyond what I can properly do with my skills.”
“Please Twilight, don’t make me beg, I need this one huge favor from you” she pleaded with a hollow voice.
“Dash, looking over my books I realized that despite how good I am at magic now, using it to regrow your wing feathers means concentrating my magic to heal something that takes years to happen in just a few moments, and if I mess up, even a little bit, it could seriously damage you and…and…well. I can’t risk doing that to you after what happened.”
Dash bit her lip, tears streaming down her face. “Twilight, you don’t understand. My wings, being able to fly, it’s who I am. It’s going to be years before I can take to the air again, and I’d just be completely out of my game when I’m fully recovered.”
“You’ve seen what happens when I mess up a spell, remember the parasprite fiasco I caused, and then during last year’s winter wrap up. Dash I-“
“If you lost your magic wouldn’t YOU feel the same?! If you can’t use your magic, the stuff you’re excellent at, what people know you for, what makes you YOU!” Dash sniffed and galloped downstairs.
Twilights said nothing and paced back and forth the room for a bit. She eventually looked up and around her messy study; her horn glowing she summoned The Magic of Healing and flipped open to Pegasus’. Twilight knew it was reckless to even think about attempting such powerful healing magic, but Rainbows words struck home. She would feel so out of place losing a talent she’s spent years practicing, and seeing Dash, the toughest pony shes met in Ponyville nearly crying in front of her really hit hard. She reread the page 3 times, closed her book, and trotted to the staircase.
Seconds later the book magically opened, and a page tore itself out and flew down the staircase after her.
Dash was wiping her eyes when Twilight showed up behind her “Listen, Dash, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you upset.”
“Don’t say that, I’ve been thinking” she wiped her eyes once more “I’ve been thinking, that despite all my friends trying to help me and make me feel better, I’ve just been thinking of myself and my problems. If I hadn’t been so full of myself this would have never happened in the first place, and well, I’m the one that should be apologizing.”
Twilight smiled and gave her friend a big hug (avoiding her wing bones) which was thoughtfully returned. She wasn’t sure exactly how to respond to this though.
“Apology accepted, you’re a great friend to everyone here, and after what you’ve went through its understandable.”
Twilight stepped back and cleared her through, her horn began to glow. “Spread out your wings Rainbow Dash, and close your eyes too, you cannot move for this.”
Excitedly, Dash hopped on the empty table and shut her eyes tight. A ripped page floated in front of Twilight and hung there while she reread it one more time, eyes taking in every last word. Closing her eyes, she focused her magic on the pony in front of her. She gingerly held her friends outstretched wings in place with her magic.
‘Start growing,’ she willed through her magic, ‘grow…grow now, hold in place and steady.’ Shutting her eyes now, she focused everything on that command, diligently repairing and mending snapped quills and rearranging missing feathers.
The Pegasus shuddered on the table, it was an exhilarating feeling, almost like flying. She could feel Twilights magic probing around her sides, tingling her bare wings and prodding at her. Completely washed by violet light, Dash relaxed and shuddered once more. She felt her wings jitter and tremble as the magic pulsated through her body. Her legs buzzed with energy that made her want to run, but she stood rigid as she felt it flow from her hooves to her muzzle. Another voice flowed through her thoughts, speaking calm commands, it was Twilights. ‘Her voice in my head, how weird’ thought Dash dreamily, as her wings continued to repair themselves. Suddenly, her friends magic left her and she let her wings drop.
“PHEW!” exclaimed Twilight, panting heavily “That was probably the most grueling spell I’ve done yet.” Feeling like she ran for miles, Twilight let herself fall backwards; hooves comically dangling in the air.
“Dash? Are you okay?” said Twilight cautiously
Rainbow Dash stood proudly on the table, wings fully outstretched and repaired. She beamed at her friend. “HOORAY YOU DID IT!” She jumped off the table and flew in circles all around the room, nearly knocking into several little statues and book piles.
“Thank you thank you thank you thank you a MILLION TIMES OVER!! I was sure you could do it and you did!” Dash exclaimed and did several loops.
Twilight blushed and got to her hooves, “Well, I wasn’t, but it seems like everything worked out fine and you’re back to your normal self.”
Rainbow Dash landed from across the room and happily trotted over to her friend.
“Wings are fine, feathers look properly proportioned, you look like you’ve got all your energy back and you-“ Twilight stopped short and gasped.
“I’m what?” Smiled Dash as she got closer, she watched Twilights eyes dart back and forth as she walked and that’s when Dash froze.
“Taller” said Twilight, in an odd voice. Twilight and Dash were nearly eye-to-eye a few minutes ago, but now Dashs muzzle was nearly brushing the top of Twilights forehead.
“Well, I told you that I was probably gonna mess up. I didn’t just grow your wings back, I grew YOU in the process.” Twilight groaned and fell back on the floor. “I’m such a screw-up.”
Rainbow Dash fell down next to her and took a few deep breaths. “Twilight, as big as a screw-up you think you are, you’ll never top me.” She adjusted her wings and let them splay out, one wing neatly lying on Twilights belly.
“If it weren’t for you, I’d probably be sitting under my house right now feeling horrible about my life, but you were here for me. If you didn’t screw up for me, I’d have to live with my screw-up for years.”
Twilight smiled and looked at Dashes wing covering her hooves, squinting; she could see the tips of her feathers were tinged slightly purple.
“Thanks Rainbow Dash. You’re a good friend. Just promise me you won’t get into anymore situations like this?” said Twilight.
“I’ll get around to it,” Dash said looking away; Twilight glared at her, Dash shut her eyes smiling.”Just kidding!”
Spike kicked open the front door with vegetables and other foods piled high in the baskets. He peered between the little gap piled with food.“Uhm, what are you both doing on the floor? Didja fall?” Twilight giggled and ignored his question. “Spike, take a letter.”
“Dear Princess Celestia,
Today I learned that when accidents happen it can really turn your world upside down. When you’re friend is in great pains and really needs your help, sometimes the right thing to do is give them that help despite your own personal fears and regrets of past mistakes. Holding yourself back when you know you can help out of fear is just as bad as not helping at all.”