"Through a Glass Derply" by Thanqol
The clouds were dark and gloomy overhead, and flickering sparks of bright colour danced through them like shooting stars. The clouds rumbled with both thunder and industry. In the few gaps between the clouds enormous machines could be seen trundling through the sky, pulled by flights of pegasus ponies. With Fall completely out of the way, the pegasus ponies were working overtime to get winter ready on schedule. But, look as she might, she couldn’t see one rainbow break those gloomy skies.
It was getting cold fast with the pegasuses at work and Twilight Sparkle was kicking herself for not remembering the warm boots Rarity had made her. It said right there in Rainy Day’s book that temperatures were due to drop by an average of two degrees a day after the running of the leaves, and that it was appropriate to wear warm weather clothing after it dropped below fifteen degrees. While today had started at 15.2, she should have remembered that by evening it’d be less than 14 and resultantly cold.
“Can you see Rainbow Dash, Spike?” Twilight Sparkle asked as she kept walking home. The lack of rainbows the entire day was very apparent. And the pegasus pony couldn’t sleep through this, right?
“I don’t think so. She’s in charge of the weather squad, maybe she’s managing?” Spike said, yanking on her mane as he leaned backwards and looked up. Twilight winced but ignored it.
“Oh Spike,” she said, a little condescendingly, “Firstly, while she’s in charge of Ponyville’s weather squad, the Cloudsdale Winter Team operates under its own managerial system. And secondly, Rainbow Dash leads from the front. I don’t think she has the patience for a desk job.”
Twilight flinched reflexively when approaching the door to her house, and pushed it open with magic before stepping into range. Her mouth dropped open in shock.
The library was in shambles. Thick fluffy clouds filled the room. Rainbow Dash was lying on her back, holding a book up in both hands – a big, heavy book – and reading. Reading was perhaps a strong word here. It seemed more like a combination of glaring, squinting and tossing it up and down in the air.
“Rainbow?” She asked. Rainbow Dash jumped, causing the book drop to the ground with a crash, and turned around in mid air so she was leaning over the edge of the cloud. She quickly covered with an expression of confidence.
“Hey Twilight. Just – uhh – “ her voice wavered for a second, “What’s up?”
“Rainbow? What are you doing here?” Twilight said, still not sure how to reconcile these images. “And what’s with the mess?”
Spike picked up the book Rainbow had been reading. “The Egghead’s Guide to Running?”
“Hey, give that back!” Rainbow Dash said, launching herself from the cloud so fast the room blurred and loose scrolls were blown around. Twilight shook a Scroll of Town Portal off her horn just in time to see Rainbow drop the book again. “I mean. Whatever. You can have it.”
“Rainbow,” said Twilight, smiling and walking closer to the aloof pegasus, “I’m really glad you want to learn, but shouldn’t you be getting ready for winter?”
Rainbow looked extremely uncomfortable. “Well, you know, they can do without me for a few days. And they’ll just bug me about the Rainboom.”
“So who’s representing Ponyville in the weather team?”
“Ahh, that’d be...” Rainbow mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like ‘Derpy’, and then jumped off her cloud and landed on all fours. “Anyway, yeah, I should probably go check on them. It’s not like that book taught me anything I didn’t already know.”
Twilight nodded, keeping eye contact with Rainbow Dash while Spike slipped the book into the saddlebag of Rainbow’s blue weather vest. “Anyway I spent enough time napping here. I’ll get back to work. Make sure winter hasn’t burned down.”
She hurried out the door. Immediately, Spike burst out into laughter. “Rainbow Dash the egghead?”
“Spike,” Twilight said reproachfully, picking a group of books up with her magic and putting them back on the shelves, “It’s a good thing that she wants to learn more. There’s a lot Rainbow Dash could learn if she took the time to read.”
“Rainbow Nash? No, too obscure.” Spike thought aloud, rubbing his chin. “Nerdbow... Brainbow Dash?”
“This is serious!” Twilight said, “We’ll go and check on her tomorrow and make sure she’s on the right track.”
She went over to the window to close it and a muffin instantly impacted on the closed glass, rattling the house and making her hair stand on end.
“If she’s not busy making sure Winter isn’t replaced with the Muffin Season,” Twilight said, looking up at the ominous sky.
As Twilight approached Rainbow’s cloud castle the next morning, she noticed something being thrown up and down in the air. As she got nearer, she noticed it was a book – the book Spike had snuck her. She watched the throwing for a few minutes at the base of the castle, and then called, “Rainbow!”
There was a crash as the book came down and Rainbow was instantly up at the edge. “I wasn’t doing anything!” Rainbow shouted.
“Uh... Rainbow, why were you throwing that book around?” Twilight asked, stepping back a bit.
“Oh. It’s you.” She slumped down onto her elbows. “It’s too blurry up close. I don’t know how you do it.”
Twilight gasped, clapping her hooves together. “Rainbow! You need glasses!”
“I need what now?” Rainbow said, completely deadpan. She yelped when she realized she was glowing with purple light and being towed along behind Twilight. “Stop! What are you doing?!” She shouted, flapping her wings violently against the confines. “Help! Ponynapper! Help!” Struggling and shouting soon gave way to begging. “At least don’t take me to Rarity. She’ll froo froo it all up!”
Twilight looked up at the trapped pegasus with an evil smirk, “So you’ll go along with it so long as it’s not Rarity?”
Rainbow Dash glared at her, and then struggled with all her might against the bindings. Twilight held her in place and eventually the pegasus slumped. “Yeah. I guess.” She muttered, defeated.
“Great!” Twilight said, putting her gently on the ground and releasing the spell. Rainbow Dash twitched – she hadn’t expected that and looked like she was a second away from bolting, but she looked at the spring in Twilight Sparkle’s step, rolled her eyes and let out an extended “Urgghhh”.
Then, slower than the pegasus had ever gone in her life, head downcast, she began to trot after Twilight Sparkle.
“This. Is. The. Worst.” Said Rainbow Dash, looking at her reflection with an oversized pair of heavy black lenses.
“Try these! I had a pair like these when I was just a filly!” Twilight said, dropping another pair onto the pile next to Rainbow Dash. Rainbow flicked her head to the left, tossing the glasses to the side, hooked her nose under the new pair and tossed them back onto her head in a swift and dexterous motion.
“What do you think?” Twilight said, eyes gleaming so brightly Rainbow was actually a little afraid of letting her down.
“I... think... they probably look better on you,” Rainbow Dash said, flicking them into the air. Twilight caught them and put them on. That drove home to Rainbow just what she was in for. She ducked and hid behind a display while Twilight was looking at her reflection.
She was breathing heavily. Glasses? Seriously? She wouldn’t be able to show her face in public again. Rarity swanned on about Exile, but Rainbow Dash knew that you packed cold with a side of antidepressant. And with the Winter team in town...
“Can I help you?” said a voice, which caused Rainbow to dive under a table. She glanced out to notice a somewhat sceptical dark blue pony with an empty glass cup cutie mark. She smiled brightly. “Hi. I’m Glassblower.”
Dash extended a hoof from under the table. “Rainbow.”
Glassblower shook it. “So what’s the problem, Rainbow Dash?”
“None of these are cool,” grumbled Rainbow Dash into the carpet.
“Oh really? I think these would look great on you,” said Glassblower, picking out a small set of rectangular, wire rimmed glasses and offering them to the pegasus under the table. Rainbow put them on. Glassblower angled the mirror downwards so she could look.
At first, she hardly noticed them. They were discreet, like a small pattern of silver around the bottom of her eyes. The longer she looked at them the less she seemed to notice them. She brightened up a little, and raised her head a bit, bumping it on the roof of the table. She kicked the table aside in a momentary flare of frustration, and found herself standing in a dramatic kicking pose with a reflective white glint covering her eyes.
“Ooh, how about these, these are very –“ Twilight said, coming around with another set of giant, bulky glasses and stopping still to see Rainbow Dash.
“What do you think, Twilight?” said Rainbow Dash, switching instantly into brash and cocky.
“They’re... wow!” said Twilight. Rainbow Dash let out a little sigh of relief and then straightened, looking absently at one hoof.
“Well, thanks for taking the time, but I’ve got some blizzards to whip up,” Rainbow Dash said, confidently walking out of the shop, dropping a bag of coins as she left.
The next evening, Fluttershy, walking towards Rainbow’s cloud castle, noticed a set of cracked silver-wire glasses lying on the ground outside. They were so pretty she picked them up and carried them up to the castle, sure that they’d been dropped.
Rainbow Dash turned to face away from her the moment she arrived, glaring off into the distance. Fluttershy dropped the broken, beautiful glasses on a cloud desk and cleared her throat with a sound like a mouse coughing. “Rainbow?” she asked quietly, and got no response. Rather than risk raising her voice, she crept closer. “Rainbow?” She neared Rainbow’s shoulder and saw for an instant those deep purple eyes puffy and red before the Pegasus sharply turned her head the other way.
“Yeah, what?” She said, putting on a confident voice.
“You dropped your glasses.” Fluttershy said quietly.
“Those aren’t mine. I don’t need glasses.” Rainbow Dash said harshly. Fluttershy cringed back a little.
“Oh. I just thought...”
“You thought what?” Rainbow Dash snapped around, right up in Fluttershy’s face, “You thought that I was a bookworm? That I couldn’t handle a simple winter? That I –“
“... that they would look good on you.”
They both stared at each other in shock.
Rainbow Dash stood up. She walked past Fluttershy without a word. Fluttershy looked downcast, but reminded herself that she had to be strong, that Rainbow Dash had probably just had a really bad day, that –
“Does this prove you wrong?”
She turned around.
Rainbow Dash was wearing the broken and bent glasses.
“No,” she said happily.
“All right Derpy,” said the Forepony, “You’re in charge of these snowflakes. Be absolutely careful with them. We don’t have any spares this year.”
“I understand, do you want them entangled or disentangled with the Pattern?” Said Derpy, completely enthusiastically.
“The matrix that imbues the connectivity. Entangled or disentangled?”
“Disentangled?” Guessed the Forepony, not sure what the heck was going on. Derpy looked worried at this.
“Okay. If you say so.” She said, hopping into the air.
Five minutes later, the snow was all falling upwards – and towards the Sun. Slicks of water marred the beautiful ice crystals where they were beginning to melt.
“The horror! The horror!” Screamed at least one pony.
There was a crash as multiple hooves impacted on the soft floor of Rainbow’s castle.
“Rainbow Dash!” Shouted the Forepony as she groggily emerged to meet them. “We need your help, on the double! Derpy derped the snowflake load, we’re going to get a monsoon if we don’t stop it!”
“Well, I can see why you came to me,” said Rainbow Dash, shaking herself awake, “But I’m afraid my echolocation isn’t working –“
“Echolowhat?” Said Weight Lift.
“It’s what bats use to see,” said Rainbow Dash, lowering her head to glare at him in the eye. She’d read a bit about bats.
“Oh. Sorry for calling you a bat, Rainbow Cr – Dash,” cringed Weight Lift.
“So I guess I can’t fly until –“
“Rainbow!” Came a shout from below. Everypony looked over the side.
Twilight was there, holding something in her mouth. Rainbow hopped down over the side to meet her. “Twilight?”
“I got you a work pair,” Twilight said, dropping a set of goggles on the ground in front of her.
“What?” Dash said.
“That’s why I was only looking at giant sized glasses,” said Twilight in that self-satisfied explaining voice, “I was looking for a set that could be made into goggles.”
Dash hooked the goggles around one hoof. She picked them up and pulled them down over her eyes. They glinted in the winter sunlight.
With all the snowflakes in the sky there were rainbow lights everywhere.
“Hurricane formation six, on me,” said Rainbow Dash, leaping up into the sky.
The residents of Equestria felt a cool wind, tinged with rain and flavoured distantly of ozone. It blew across the land, from Stalliongrad to the fortress of Princess Celestia. For a moment everypony took a breath and looked outside for the oncoming storm.
A vast stormfront boiled through the sky, lead by a thundercloud that flashed with Rainbow Lights. As it tore across fields and mountains it left a trail of gleaming white snow like a bridesmare’s dress. Quite a few ponies were caught off guard and buried instantly by the unexpected snowstorm, a succession of heads popping out of the snow for miles in the storm’s wake.
The hurricane broke up as it reached the Everfree Forest, pegasus ponies peeling off in all directions and flying in formation back to their homes.
As she watched the pegasus ponies start to land outside their snow covered homes, Twilight dictated her letter to Princess Celestia.
“Sometimes we get so worried about our outside appearance we forget that it’s what’s inside that makes us who we are. Sometimes ponies need help and it’s a true friend who can accept that without judgement,”
Twilight looked up at the cloud castle, where Rainbow Dash was reading a story out loud to Fluttershy.
“And sometimes it’s a true friend who’ll give help without being asked.”
Spike blew on the finished letter and it soared away.