“Thanks for coming with me Pinkie Pie.” the technicolor pony told her companion. “I haven't been here in a while.”
“No problem Rainbow Dash.” she replied oddly quite. “I know how much it means to you.”
“Shall we?” Rainbow Dash made her was through the dim stone corridor. Every corner was lined with dust and cobwebs. With each step they kicked up a small cloud of debris. “Being here bring back all kinds of memories...” She turned a corner and opened a large rusted door, holding it and motioning Pinkie Pie to go inside. She let the door shut behind them and creaked as it did.
Gilda faced Rainbow Dash with a stern look. “This next flight test could be dangerous...” She left Rainbow Dash's side and walked to the opposite side of her living room. “I just thought I should stop by...even if it has been a while.”
“What are you trying to prove with this? I understand pushing yourself to the limits but...” the cyan pony trailed off. “This is pointless!”
The pink earth pony trailed close behind Rainbow Dash as they began to descend down a long fight of stairs. The end couldn't be seen by the light of their torch. Every step upon the stone floor resounding in the air and seeming to carry endlessly.
“Watch your step.” Rainbow Dash warned after hearing Pinkie's hooves skid a little.
Once again her memories drifted off.
“Just...if the worst should happen to me...make sure you take care of my locket!” the griffin gripped the gold chain she wore around her neck. “You know how important it is to me.”
Rainbow Dash smiled “So thats what has been weighing you down all these years? No wonder you lost to me so many times!” she joked, attempting to lighten the mood.
“Same old Dash.” she turned and rolled her eyes.
Starting to laugh a little the pegasus replied “Don't worry G. When I take that locket from you it'll be because I left you a mile behind in a race! Until then I'm not letting you out of my sight!
Gilda turned smiling. “Ha! Good luck with that!!” She rustled Rainbow Dash's mane with her claw.
“Come on G, you know I hate that!” she shouted still laughing and shooing her oppressor away.
“We where so close...even after our little falling out she came back from time to time...” Rainbow Dash stammered reminiscently. “Maybe I should have treated her better, I dont know...”
The two still making their decent into the uncertain darkness. Minuets rolled by before Pinkie Pie replied. “I'm sorry Rainbow Dash...”
“It's alright. I've come to terms with it a long time ago.” the blue pony sighed. “She was the only one that ever could keep up with me.” she said with a smile.
“Alright this is the big one! This totally decides who's the best flier in the world!!” Rainbow Dash shouted to Gilda through her hooves.
“Get ready to eat my dust!” she cried back with a determined look.
Their course was set. They'd been planning it for years, each time Gilda got the chance to visit. Painstaking research and travel to each location. The blueprints where massive. It was truly a test of endurance, one that even Rainbow Dash doubted was possible for her or her friend. And that worried her.
“3, 2, 1, GO!!” Dash yelled. Both jetting off at speeds that blew part of Rainbow Dash's house in slightly.
The two soared over Ponyville completely and dove straight into the Everfree Forest. When they were younger they would do this on dares. Now it became the just a simple part of their race. They swerved and zig-zagged through trees, occasionally one passing the other and every so often passing through a cluster of nymphs, knocking them clear out of the air. The hazards of the forest had become mere child's play. Soon they cleared the forest entirely and entered a straight field of barley as far as the eyes could see. Rainbow Dash swooped low grabbing some and tossing it in front of the griffin.
“Oh really Dash?” Gilda teased, unsurprised for the dozen or so times she'd done it before. She dove down grabbing a talon full and returned fire. The midair grain fight forced both into a fit of sneezing. Gilda took this chance to pull ahead a little just in time for the next leg of the race.
The air stared to chill and snow became visible in the horizon. The griffin bolted upward as they approached a towering mountain. This was an area Rainbow Dash still hadn't gotten used to. The chilly air freezing her hooves and making her breath becoming visible with ever huff. This didn't slow her down however, if anything it drove her harder to push herself. She followed Gilda up to the summit of the mountain as she grazed it with her talon who looked back at Dash just as she did the same to the checkpoint.
Rainbow Dash looked down from where she was, hurtling to the earth. It was awe-inspiring. The frozen landscape just miles away from a perfectly temperate acreage. “Ah, there's really nothing like flying!” she mentioned to Gilda.
Gilda turned with a reaction “How long do you plan on hanging back there? Are you ever going to try to pass me?” she mocked as she put one claw over her beak. “Or is it you are too entranced by my lovely behind?~”
Rainbow Dash laughed and shook a hoof at her faining anger. Then began a complete vertical nosedive only to swoop back up. This gave her a slight boost in front of her feathered friend.
“Nice one.” Gilda called to her. “Guess you haven't gotten as rusty as I imagined.”
“I learned from the best...ME!” She called back, Gilda rolling her eyes.
This went on for hours, neither one stopping for even a slight breather. They had explored distant lands, spiraled through ravines, bolted past forests and shot through expansive deserts. They truly had designed the perfect obstacle course. Rainbow Dash could tell Gilda was a tired as she was.
“Hey! Wanna call it a draw again?” trying to announce a trues.
“No way dude!! Not again! It's time to get serious! I'm gonna break all the records!” Gilda glared determined upwards. “I'll fly past the clouds and see the stars closer than anyone has before!”
Rainbow Dash laughed to herself. “Yeah, whatever. Be back by sunrise! I'll be waiting for you on our hill!” hearing that Gilda spiraled through the night sky and pierced the clouds, rising higher and higher. The pegasus watched until she was out of site and flew to their usual cliff overlooking the ocean.
The sun sky turned from dark blue to bright orange as the sun began to rise. Rainbow Dash waited. She looked around with no sign of Gilda and still she waited. She paced back and forth until finally the day had turned to night again. Her mind wandered to the impossible and she took off in search of Gilda.
“It wasn't long before I found her... … ...I found her in a distant valley. It was far too late by then.” Her voice cracking as she made her way to the final few steps. “If only I went with her...maybe thing would have been different...”
“...Rainbow Dash...” Pinkie Pie hugged her misty-eyed friend. “It's nobody's fault....”
They made their way through a small room with a large stone monument. Rainbow Dash opened her satchel and placed four candles in front of it and lit them. The room grew only slightly brighter as the flames flickered. Rainbow Dash sat on the stone ground in front of the vault. Pinkie Pie joined her, both closed their eyes as tears fell from the pegasus's face.
An hour of silence flew by before the candles burned down to nothing. Finally the pegasus stood up. “Okay, we can get going now.”
“Only if your ready.” Pinkie Pie looked up solemnly.
She paused for a second looking at the memorial and sighed. “Yeah, lets get going. Lead the way.”
Pinkie Pie got up and slowly made her accent back up the stone walkway. As Rainbow Dash started for the stairs she turned back one more time, this time she held the locket Gilda had left her. Slowly she opened it to reveal a picture of herself and Gilda. It was the last picture they took at Flight Camp with the words “JUNIOR SPEEDSTERS FOREVER” scrawled on the inside. She smiled and closed the locket as she muttered “Only for you Gilda,....only for you...”