“I can’t believe this!” Rainbow Dash hurled her saddlebags at the wall of her room. The contents exploded in a pile on the floor, but she didn’t care.
“Kick ME out of flight school… AGH!” After all the hard work she had put in! She had even pulled extra practice sessions, even though the staff had asked her not to use the equipment after hours. She had needed the extra practice, though, to pull off all those extra-dangerous stunts the instructors refused to teach her. But that didn’t matter, now. She was out. She flopped into her bed and stared at the ceiling. Her mind roiled and churned like stormy ocean waves. Terrible ideas formed and were cut off mid-way by even worse ones. She didn’t know what she would do now. Flight school had been her purpose in life. She felt as if a door had been slammed shut in her face. She would have to get a menial job on the weather crew, if they even took flight school dropouts. Everypony would hear of her expulsion and laugh at her. She burrowed deeper into her resting spot, wishing the world would just disappear.
“Um… excuse me…”
Rainbow Dash looked up at the quiet voice. Floating outside of her window, there was a nervous looking pegasus pony with a yellow coat and pink hair. Dash struggled for a name to place to her face, as she knew she had seen this pony before.
“I… um, you weren’t in class today, and I heard that you were kicked out, and, I just… wanted to see if you were ok…”
Rainbow Dash let out a groan and buried her head in her cloud. She was right! Everypony already knew! She didn’t think she would be able to show her face in Ponyville again. Maybe she would move to Phillydelphia… Or hide away in the Everfree Forest… she shuddered at the thought.
“I’m… I’m sorry, but… Don’t beat yourself up over it…” the other pony began soothingly, gently floating into Dash’s room.
“You don’t understand!” Rainbow Dash reared up and shouted at her visitor, who shook timidly and drew back. The sight of her quivering made Dash recognize the pony as Fluttershy, one of her classmates. Seeing the effect of her outburst, Dash realized she was letting her anger get the best of her, and lowered her voice.
“Sorry. It’s just that, what am I supposed to do now? There’s no hope for me, I couldn’t even graduate flight school, and now my life is ruined, and everyone hates me, and…” she trailed off and slumped back down, continuing to absentmindedly gaze at the ceiling.
“Um, actually, Rainbow Dash, I thought your flight routines were, um, pretty good…”
Rainbow Dash rolled over to look at Fluttershy. Dash hadn’t paid much attention to Fluttershy before, as Fluttershy was usually very quiet in class. Fluttershy, seeing that Rainbow Dash was listening, continued.
“I’m always so scared when they make me do flight routines, but you look so… so natural,” she stammered, shuffling her hooves awkwardly as she searched for the right words. “You obviously really enjoy flying, and you’re just so good, and I think it would be a waste if you just… let this… get you down.” Dash sat up.
“Yeah, but what would the Wonderbolts think of a flight school dropout? Not much,” she spat out bitterly. “Every day I spent at that place was so that I could learn to fly well enough to be a part of their team. And now I’m out.” She beat her wings angrily. Uselessly.
Fluttershy moved forward to comfort Dash, but was interrupted by a harsh voice.
“Hey! Who are you?” A griffon abruptly flew in and landed near the two pegasi. She eyed Rainbow Dash defensively, and then turned to glare at Fluttershy.
“What are you doing here? Can’t you see Dash isn’t in the mood to deal with you right now?”
Fluttershy shrank demurely. “I, I, um, I’m sorry, I was just trying to-“
“Well get lost!” The griffon screeched at Fluttershy, who skittered away from her.
“Calm down, Gilda, she’s trying to make me feel better.” Rainbow Dash said. Gilda kept her gaze on Fluttershy for a moment longer. Fluttershy trembled under the scrutiny. Gilda then turned to Rainbow Dash.
“Hey, Dash, you okay?” She said, a note of tenderness entering her voice.
“Well, not yet.” Rainbow Dash said tiredly. “You know how much that flight school meant to me. It was a chance to be good enough for the Wonderbolts.”
“Well, cheer up, Dash, who needs that stuffy old school?” She said, playfully punching her friend on the shoulder.
“With their lame mottos and rules, ugh, they drive me crazy. Don’t let them get you down, eh?” Rainbow Dash looked at Gilda and smiled weakly.
“Well, sorry,” Gilda said, “but I have a flight lesson to attend, so I can’t stick around, but I’ll come by once I’m finished.” With that, she swooped off into the daylight and flew away. Rainbow Dash followed her with her eyes, as her smile slowly dropped into a frown and she lay down again.
“Well, um, as I was saying…” Rainbow Dash jumped at the voice. She had forgotten that Fluttershy was still there.
“You can’t just… give up over this.” Rainbow Dash lifted a hoof into the air. She gazed at it intently, and began to recite.
“Junior speedsters are our lives, sky-high soars and daring dives, junior speedsters; it’s our quest, to someday be the very best...” she let her hoof fall and swing listlessly. “What a load of rubbish.”
Fluttershy began to speak again.
“It’s just, it looks like you love flying a lot, and I think it would be a shame if you… let other people get you down, if it makes you happy…”
“Yeah, well, alright, but just give me some time. I need to think about this.” Rainbow Dash turned away from Fluttershy, signaling that the conversation was over. Fluttershy nervously opened her wings, not sure whether she should depart.
“Well… um, I live over by the Everfree forest… um, if you want to talk.” With that, she quietly flew away.
Rainbow Dash reflected on her visitor’s words. The more she thought about them, the more she agreed with them. She wasn’t going to get any closer to meeting the Wonderbolts if she just moped around. She stood up, determined. Nopony could keep Rainbow Dash down.
With that, she took a galloping start and leapt off the cloud. She unfurled her wings, with one thought on her mind.
She beat her wings powerfully, accelerating quickly. She would show them. She would show them all. The wind began to rustle her hair.
All the people she knew, she didn’t know, who thought they knew her. This was for them.
The wind began to sting her eyes.
For the sleepless nights she had worried, for the long hours she had spent flying.
The wind started pulling back her facial muscles.
For the people she loved and the people she hated.
The wind was evaporating the sweat off of her body as soon as it formed.
Every muscle in her body was pushing, pushing, for speed.
For the Wonderbolts.
Her mind went blank as every ounce of her being went into flight. A shockwave rocked her body. Had she been going slower, she would have heard the magnificent boom accompanying it. If she could see through her blurry eyes, she would have seen the rainbow following in her wake. But the only sensation she could feel was speed. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world. She looped about in the sky, enjoying the thrill.
As she slowed down and landed back on her cloud, she wiped her eyes and saw the rainbow trail she had left. And that shockwave… Her mouth dropped in awe as she realized what that meant. She had done the mythical sonic rainboom. Now she knew how to impress the Wonderbolts. She grinned.
“Well, they don’t call me ‘Rainbow’ and ‘Dash’ for nothing!”