'A Precious Rainbow'
THE IRON PONY
Two sets of hooves raced down the dirt path towards the finish line. One set light brown; the other set cyan blue. Neither was giving an inch. The uproar of cheers from all around grew louder as the finish drew ever closer.
"I'm not gonna just give this to ya, Rainbow. I respect ya too much to do that. You're gonna have to take it." Applejack managed to say through her heavy breathing.
"I...don't expect anything less!" Rainbow replied, equally tired, ready for this to be over.
The cheering came from all around. From the spectators to the left and right, from the front behind the finish line...
Even the racers behind them were cheering the two leaders on. It was almost deafening.
The race had been just like last year's, except without all the trickery that had caused them to tie for last. To be sure, this was going to be a race to remember. The finish was just seconds away. Rainbow's heart pounded against her chest.
A photo finish pony stood at the side of the finish line, ready with a instant-develop camera, ready to snap away the moment the first hoof crossed the finish line.
The pair of ponies came closer...closer...
Just two strides away, Rainbow let out an exhausted grunt as she lurched forward to touch the checkered dirt first.
There was the flash from the camera, and there was cheering all around as Applejack and Rainbow clumsily skidded to a halt; Rainbow somersaulting a few times in her exhausted state.
As Applejack helped her friend to her feet, making sure she was okay, the spectators quieted down for a moment, as the photographer blew on the freshly developed photo, waiting for the image to appear, to reveal the winner. He squinted at the photo, and then his eyes widened as he raised the picture to the sky.
"It's Rainbow Dash by a nose!"
The crowd returned to it's overpowering volume as tears of joy overcame Rainbow, falling back on her haunches, and Applejack congratulated and hugged the wingless Pegasus.
"You did it! You did it!" she screamed over the uproar of the crowd.
The other racers came and tiredly congratulated the overwhelmed Rainbow as they came across the finish line and caught their breath. The cyan Pegasus joyfully sobbed as her breaths slowly came to her easier. Twilight and Spike descended from the weather balloon, and likewise congratulated Rainbow on her stunning victory.
As more racers crossed the finish, the cheering slowly died down, and space was made for the Top 3 podium, and minutes later, the Medal Ceremony began. Princess Celestia came through the crowd from her chariot, had three medals to give out.
Rainbow was taken aback for a moment, as she noticed the Princess' left hoof was dipped in the liquid rainbow, along with everypony else's.
She first awarded the Bronze to the third place finisher, who gave a short bow afterwards, and then she walked to the other end of the podium to the waiting Applejack.
"Applejack, I understand that you've been housing Rainbow down by the farm. It takes a strong friendship to support a friend's decision when you don't always agree with it. Congratulations." the Princess said, placing the Silver medal around Applejack's neck, and then came to center podium, where Rainbow stood still breathing a little heavily, tears still streaming down her face.
"And Rainbow Dash, it is absolutely astounding what you have accomplished. You've not only fought a rigorous physical battle of recovery, but an emotional one as well."
She gently hung the shimmering Gold medal around Rainbow's neck, and placed her rainbow-covered hoof on her shoulder.
The top three gave short bows, and Celestia nodded in return, and went to greet other race-goers.
"I did it...I really did it..." Rainbow said to Applejack, both of them hopping off the podium.
"You sure did, Iron Pony." Applejack said, and the two shared another hug before their other friends came to congratulate Rainbow.
"Rainbow that was amazing!" Fluttershy said, rather assertively.
"So where should we go celebrate?" Spike asked.
"Yeah, where would you like to go, Rainbow?"
"Actually guys, I'm worn out. And even though I ignored everypony's advice by running this race, you guys are right. I'm not fully recovered yet, and I need to still rest up. So I think I'll be heading back to the farm with Applejack."
She turned to her friend, the silver medal hanging around her neck.
"If that's alright with you."
"Why of course it is, Sugarcube."
The pair of ponies began walking back to the Acres, now just half the distance due to the location of the race. As they walked through the front gate, Applejack put an arm around Rainbow's shoulder.
"That was a fantastic race, Rainbow. Even though I initially disagreed, I'm proud of you for following what your heart told you."
"Thanks, AJ. And thanks for not letting up. I thought you'd be mad for me storming out yesterday."
"Not at all. It wasn't right of me to break my promise like I did."
Rainbow smiled at her friend.
"Well, at least I still can beat you in one thing..." AJ teased as they passed the horseshoe sand pit.
"Oh yeah? Care for a rematch of that too, Applesnack?" Rainbow asked, flipping a horseshoe up with her front hoof and catching it with her mouth, standing at the throw line.
"You might inch one out in running, girl, but you ain't out-throwing the Apple family horseshoe champ."
AJ picked up a horseshoe, and joined Rainbow at the throw line, the Pegasus smirking at her with hers still between her teeth.
Applejack took aim, lowered her head down in preparation, and threw.
Hey there, everypony. I'm thrilled that everyone's been enjoying this little Cupcakes breakaway of mine. It seems I've struck some literary gold that I haven't seen in awhile. So I didn't want anybody to panic when they saw "Epilogue" pop up.
Due to the overwhelmingly positive words and feedback you've left for me, I'm going to see if I can expand a little more on this story. I can't tell you exactly how long it'll be, but "Cupcake Killer" a sequel to this, is currently in the works. Thanks everyone!