Ashleigh Ball

is

INSIDE THE SONIC RAINBOOM


[Note: You can watch the following video as a great accompaniment for this story: youtu. be / -hojHpRDUTQ just remove the spaces]


Phase 1: failed

Yes, it had to be that stupid [bleah!] classical music. That stupidly slow tempo threw me off and I…would have broken my right wing on that pillar if it hadn't been made out of water vapour…but the stadium stand practically felt like ROCK that smashed on my face. And those three foals taunting me didn't help much. It…would also have been less painful if my three friends weren't right above them watching me blow my entire routine. As for Rarity…well, I didn't have to worry about her; she was too busy showing off her stupid butterfly wings to the whole city that I doubt she noticed me crashing and burning. Couldn't she at least have picked some music that went just a little FASTER?


Phase 2: failed

I thought I had it down pat. I even heard my friends cheering for me, obviously LOUDER than Fluttershy's teeny-tiny voice…not that she could shout any louder than a whisper, that poor filly. But no, that stupid piece of cloud broke off from the main cumulous and smashed right into my face, throwing my balance off, making me hit the cloud with my wing which sent me—and the cloud—spinning out of control. I didn't know where the cloud went to until I straightened out…and just in time to see it burst into vapour right above Princess Celestia's VIP balcony! For a moment I thought the royal guard was going to arrest me right there and then and banish me or throw me in a dungeon or banish me and throw me in a dungeon in the place I got banished to…!

But no, they stayed where they were. Either they were too busy watching Rarity…or they would arrest me after the competition was over. I was never going to see my home, Cloudsdale, or my friends ever again after today!

But…if I was going to be banished, then I would go out with a bang.

I was going to complete that sonic rainboom…if it was the last thing I did in Cloudsdale.

And judging from the way the princess' guards were looking at me (I don't think they ever forgot how I taunted them back at Sugarcube Corner), it certainly seemed that it was the last act I was going to perform.

Ever.

After completing her graceful spins (much more graceful than mine, I have to sadly admit) Rarity was talking to herself, but I didn't pay much attention to what she was saying, not with me being so worried about being banished and all…until she took off in a slow ascent.

Oh, right, the music was almost over, so we both had to pull off our grand finales.


Phase 3

"Looks like this is my last chance to turn things around," I said to myself. "Phase three, the sonic [gulp] rainboom!"

I have never talked to any part of my body before, but if there was an ever more appropriate time, it was now.

I turned slightly and said, "Wings, don't fail me now!"

Not that they ever had, mind you.

With that, I took off on a fast vertical sprint, eventually overtaking Rarity in altitude, and going higher and higher. I needed all the altitude I could get in order to get my full gravity assist for this.

Yes, I had done all of this before…but for some reason, I could just NOT pull it off again! Why was I only able to do it when I was a filly? Why?

In Celestia's name, WHY?

It was getting harder and harder for me to breathe, with the air getting thinner and thinner, and I felt like my wings and tail and hindquarters were getting heavier and heavier, trying to pull me down, and I was having more and more trouble getting support from the ever thinning air, no matter how much I strained to beat my wings against the pull of gravity.

I was almost gasping when I looked up at the sky; it was slowly changing colour from light blue to dark blue, and maybe it was just my imagination but I thought I could see a star or two in the middle of the day and—

I thought I heard the crowd gasp in surprise, probably astonished by some move that Rarity had just pulled off—

And then there was another gasp, it sounded like they were shocked or even horrified by something—

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Rarity? What was she so frightened about?

I looked down and—

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

I can honestly say I had never been so frightened in my life.

Not even when we faced that manticore, or Nightmare Moon, or that dragon, or those parasprites.

But either Twilight's spell wore off too soon, or Rarity ascended too high. Whatever the cause, her fru-fru wings had simply vanished, and now she was plummeting from some 2 kilometres toward the unforgiving ground.

I had a few falls myself, but I was always able to stop before hitting the ground (after all, it's not the fall itself that kills, it's the sudden stop at the end), so I was perfectly familiar with the horror and terror that was very much going through Rarity's head right now.

But what was worse, the Wonderbolts—a brave lot, I tell you, I'm so proud of them—jumped off their balcony and had tried to save Rarity, but with all the flailing she was doing, she accidentally knocked out all three of them! And those three other apprentices had obviously no rescue experience ever, and no one else jumped after them because every single pegasus had done the math in their heads:

No one could fly fast enough to try a second rescue attempt.

Rarity, and the Wonderbolts, would die below the Cloudsdale Cloudiseum.

NO!

I COULDN'T LET THAT HAPPEN!

Forgetting the competition, I turned around and screamed, "HOLD ON, RARITY, I'M COMING!"

I doubted that Rarity heard me, but I didn't care.

I took the fastest dive I had ever performed.

In one second, the Cloudiseum flashed past me as I dove through its centre, flying faster and faster toward my flailing friend, and my idols.

Rarity's chosen waltz faded from my ears, and in all the excitement, my chosen rock piece began to play at full volume inside my head; the hard and fast rhythm helped me flap my wings in the correct—and speedy—cadence.

But the ground was coming up fast, TOO fast, and for a moment I thought that every other pegasus was right: Rarity and the Wonderbolts had started their fall too close to the ground, and while they had already reached their terminal velocity and would not accelerate anymore, there was no way any normal pegasus would be able to overtake them and pull out of the dive while still holding on to them—

NO.

I wasn't just any normal pegasus.

I was RAINBOW DASH, the fastest flier in all of Equestria, the only pegasus to have ever performed a sonic rainboom.

I had done it before.

AND AS SURE AS HELL I WAS GOING TO DO IT AGAIN!

My wings beat faster and faster; they were practically clawing against the air; I almost begging gravity to pull me faster—

Oh no.

There was the sound barrier again.

The air was piling up in front of me, and the faster I went, the more solid it felt against my front hooves and nose.

No, it was slowing me down!

More than a solid wall, it now felt like a giant rubber band, stretching against my hooves and nose, almost daring me to snap it, mocking me, LAUGHING at me like those three idiot foals.

It was going to bounce me back, and Rarity and my heroes were going to die…

Must fly faster…

Must overcome…

Must snap that barrier…

Must ignore the heat from friction that was threatening to burn off my hooves…

Damn! How did I pull this off before? I was just a filly when I first did it, so why couldn't I pull it off again? I mean, I was older, bigger, stronger, fast—

Older.

Bigger.

BIGGER!

Of course!

The fastest pegasi have almost ALWAYS been young mares, not the older stallions. Pegasus stallions are larger and heavier, and while they also have air sacs and hollow bones, their additional mass makes it harder for them to become airborne from a cold start. In fact, in the vertical sprint competition, it was always the young and thin fillies who had the fastest speeds, and the stallions' speeds were—on the average—two-thirds that of the mares.

Not to mention that, being smaller, the mares and the fillies generate less drag and didn't have that much air resistance to overcome.

When I first did the sonic rainboom, I wasn't exactly in a streamlined position, but I smashed through the sound barrier nonetheless.

And yesterday…

OF COURSE! Yesterday I only had ONE hoof in front of me, and I got bounced right off, but now, if I could just make myself smaller…

And faster…

I grit my teeth, ignoring how the wind was blowing my lips back against my face, and this time I placed BOTH of my hooves in front of me.

Faster…

"Gyaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh…!"

I felt like my wings were going to get torn off by the wind…

Faster…

And then, I felt the barrier bend and stretch in front of my hooves.

Faster…

I had to squint now, the wind was blowing away my tears faster than my eyes could generate them.

For a moment, I thought I saw Rarity gasp when she saw me…

Faster…

Yes, lay your ears back, flatten your body, flatten it, stretch it…

I lowered my nose, placing it right between and behind my front hooves…

Faster…!

I then tilted my hooves forward, angling them toward the wind, as if I was going to dive into water, and making their front edges cut wind resistance even more…

Faster…!

The air was now so hot that I thought my hooves were going to melt and my eyes were going to blow away from their sockets…

Faster…

It was searing right through my mane and tail and my blue fur…! Aaahhh!

Faster…!

Yes! Opening my mouth practically shoved fresh air inside my lungs and air sacs, circulating it effortlessly, and giving my wing muscles an unlimited supply of oxygen!

I tucked my stomach in and placed my tail between my rear hooves, trying to streamline myself in ways I never thought possible…

Faster…!

The air crackling around me again, but this time the electricity was much more intense than I felt it all those years ago; maybe it was due to my additional surface area that I was generating so much static…

Or was it pegasus magic?

FASTER!

BANG!

It's hard to describe how that feels. It's something like diving into water, and you sorta feel a sting in your hooves, but this…this was like…diving into a wall of AIR…

But the air had to yield to speed.

To MY speed…

Despite what others may tell you, I myself didn't hear the bang, though. I was flying faster than sound, but I did feel the air explode around me, away from me, as if it was…

Afraid of me…

Yes, not even AIR could hold back The Great Rainbow Dash™, ha ha ha!

Much less when I had four lives to save, of course.

I left the shockwave of the sonic rainboom behind me, and let my mane and tail generate the rainbow as I continued my dive.

And I flew faster.

Some say I was assisted by The Element of Loyalty, which I represent.

Some say that there's no way that the Element could have helped me, because I wasn't wearing my magical necklace then.

Twilight Sparkle would then argue that the necklace itself wasn't the source of the Magic of Loyalty. She would say that the magic came from within ME.

Well, if adrenaline and fear for your friend's lives is what she defined as "magic", then I suppose she's right.

But the bottom line is that, with 2 meters to go, I scooped up Rarity with my front hooves and somehow tossed the three Wonderbolts on my back before they could hit the ground, and I made a ninety degree turn as I pulled out of that dive at Mach 5.

OUCH—

AND—

DOUBLE—

FREAKING—

OUCH.

Yeah, I know, I know. My additional mass kinda put a bit of a strain on my internal organs as the g-forces demanded payment from me because I broke the laws of physics.

I hope no one finds out of how the following day, I went to the Cloudsdale Hospital to take care of a few hernias and strained muscles and ligaments.

After all, I WAS carrying four other ponies, besides my own body weight, back up again to the Cloudiseum, 2 kilometres up in the air.

Wait.

I WAS CARRYING THE WONDERBOLTS ON MY BACK!

"Whoa!" was all I could say, as I looked back at them, with my own self-generated rainbow behind them.

Anyway, as I rounded over the Cloudiseum, I suddenly heard:

"A SONIC RAINBOOM! SHE DID IT! SHE DID IT! WHOOOOOO!"

I was wondering who was screaming so loudly, even above the roar of the rest of the audience, who was clopping and cheering at me and the rescue I had just pulled off.

But, sadly, I couldn't fly at Mach 5 foreverin fact, I was at that speed for only a few seconds and then I decelerated rapidlyso I stopped flapping my pained wings and let myself coast on my own momentum around the Cloudiseum, and a few seconds after that, the rainbow trail stopped.

The rainbow itself would stay in place for a few more minutes, though.

As I slowly ascended up through the bottom of the Cloudiseum, straining with what little strength I had left, the crowd cheered even louder, but there was one voice who was cheering louder and above the rest. I let the competition assistants take the Wonderbolts and Rarity off me and take them to Sick Bay, and with their weight off my back and my front hooves, I landed on the platform, giving my exhausted wings a rest, and looked around to see who was cheering so loudly. It was hard to search for that voice because now the audience was being covered by falling confetti—

"A SONIC RAINBOOM! WHOO! YES!"

I couldn't believe my eyes.

Fluttershy!

Little meek and shy Fluttershy!

That timid yellow pegasus mare was jumping up and down on her seat and SCREAMING HER LUNGS OUT!

There was NO WAY that she could have been the same pegasus mare who could only give me a whispered "…yay…" yesterday!

But then again, no one ever said that the Element of Kindness had to ALWAYS be soft-spoken.

Still, THAT'S using the old air sacs, ha ha ha!

I almost laughed at my long-time friend, but it was right there that I realised that the crowd—including Princess Celestia and her guards—were cheering at ME!

Princess Celestia was CLOPPING AT ME!

I looked back at the crowd, and saw those stallion bullies were the only ponies who weren't cheering.

They were just sitting there, with their mouths open, and from the looks in their faces they looked as if they had just seen a ghost.

Or maybe they had a sudden flashback of how I pulled off the stunt in front of their noses all those years ago.

Pegasi don't gasp for air, not with our air sacs, so I wasn't out of breath, but looking at the crowd made me feel like I couldn't breathe deep enough to catch my breath.

I wasn't flapping my wings, but I felt like I was floating.

Or maybe the blood hadn't returned fully to my brain, ha ha!

And for a moment my eyes welled up. I thought I was going to cry, and I almost did…

…but maybe it was just my eyes filling up after the wind blew away my tears.

I turned again, and saw the assistants fly Rarity closer to me.

"I did it!" I said, tucking my tired wings in, almost not believing it myself.

"I DID IT!" I repeated, just to make sure all of this wasn't a dream.

"You sure did!" replied the make-up laden unicorn mare, and it seemed that she was gasping for air for the both of us combined. "Oh, thank you, Rainbow Dash! You saved my life!" she squeaked, almost sounding like Fluttershy in her shyer moments.

I think she wanted to cry, but I wouldn't blame her if she did. After all, I was almost crying too.

"Oh, yeah, I did that, too," I suddenly realised. After all, that HAD been the reason why I had to pull off the sonic rainboom again.

I extended my wings and pumped my hoof in victory:

"Hah! Best day EVER!"

Well, there was the date I had with the Wonderbolts, but I'm not going to tell you what happened there [wink wink].


Written by The J.A.M.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and all characters and indicia are © Hasbro.

All characters were created by Lauren Faust.

Music by Daniel Ingram.

Ashleigh Ball is Rainbow Dash

Tabitha St. Germain is Rarity

Andrea Libman is Fluttershy

Based on "Sonic Rainboom", written by M.A. Larson.

Physics consultant: Francis Thompson (deathaura40s of DeviantArt)

No copyright infringement is intended or implied. I did all this for the fun of it.

All of the characters, places, and events portrayed in this fanfic are fictitious. Any resemblance to any real persons, ponies, places, or events is unintentional and purely coincidental.

¡Zacatepóngolas!

Until next time, remember:

I

AM

THE

J.A.M. (a.k.a. Numbuh i: "Just because I'm imaginary doesn't mean I don't exist")

Good evening.

[WARP!]