Author Note: Credit goes to Silfir of the EquestrianStudy IRC channel for giving me this idea.
Rainbow Dash took a deep breath as she gazed out over Ponyville. It had taken a whole day's worth of boring schedule meetings and several hours of hard work to get the sky arranged the way she needed for this moment. Below her, a crowd comprising most of the town's non-winged pony population was gathering in the streets, and several pegasi perched on the larger clouds throughout the course. All of them were watching her with bated breath, waiting for the show to begin. She would never admit this to anypony, but all the attention was making Dash a little nervous. It wasn't as bad as at the Best Young Flier competition, not by a long shot, but she still felt like she'd swallowed a butterfly or two. The only regret in Dash's mind was that she hadn't worked up the nerve to send a letter inviting Spitfire or one of the other Wonderbolts to come witness the show. If they could see this, she'd probably have been invited to join the team on the spot.
Dash shook her head to chase away her stray thoughts. All that mattered now was the performance, the biggest, coolest showcase of her aerobatic talent ever. Sparing one final glance around at her audience, Dash spread her wings and crouched down to prepare for take-off. In front of her was a line of vertical cloud columns, a direct import of the first phase of her Best Young Flier routine. After that would come a series of loops and barrel-rolls around other cloud obstacles and pegasus observers, followed by a series of tricks closer to the ground that incorporated some of Ponyville's buildings, and then a steep ascent in preparation for her signature Sonic Rainboom finisher. She even had a few (admittedly half-baked) back-up plans in case she failed the last one. She took another breath, let it out slowly, and then leaped forward, wings pumping at full speed to reach her top velocity as quickly as possible.
In and out, left and right, she weaved effortlessly between the columns, needing to slow down only the tiniest bit to ensure she maintained control. As she passed the final column, Dash allowed herself to add a little flourish to her wing-beats before zipping away to the next stage. The course of clouds she would be looping and spinning around at this point would take her well outside the town proper and away from most of her audience, but she'd had everything arranged so she'd be visible from the streets for the majority of the section. Things went smoothly until about halfway through, when one of Dash's hooves clipped a cloud as she flew over it, knocking her off-kilter for a second. Fighting to regain control, Dash scowled back at the offending cumulus, silently cursing it for being a little too high. Regaining balance, Dash turned her gaze back to her front and suddenly found herself with a face-full of brown, quacking feathers. What the duck? she thought as she and the flying waterfowl got into a brief wing-slap fight trying to break away from each other. By the time they'd untangled themselves and the duck had flown off with a seething glare, Dash had fallen well below her flight course. Grumbling, she flapped back up and tried to regain her momentum. She ended up skipping most of the second stage out of frustration and moved on to the low-altitude stage.
The town-flying went far, far better. The crowds cheered her as she flew past, several gasping as she flew dangerously close to several buildings. Her crowning moments were plucking an apple off the top of a pyramid of the red fruit with her mouth without slowing down or upsetting the rest, and the flight into Pinkie Pie's apartment above Sugar Cube Corner, up into her attic, and out the highest window without touching a single thing (as witnessed by Gummy and Madam Le'Flour). After pausing for a few moments to pose for the crowd and catch her breath, Rainbow flew to the town square and then began heading straight upward. Higher and higher she climbed, glancing back occasionally at the rapidly shrinking town below her. The Sonic Rainboom required the best her wings could give her, the force of gravity and, most importantly, a lot of space to pick up speed. Once she was sure she was high enough, she turned herself around and dove, sticking her hooves out straight to minimize her air resistance as she pumped her wings faster and faster and squinted against the howling wind blowing around her. Down and down, faster and faster she went until she began to feel the air begin to bend around her in a tighter and tighter cone. Yes, I'm going to pull it off! Dash thought, smiling as best she could against the cheek-flapping wind, Another Sonic Rainboom!
And then the duck returned. With friends. A lot of friends. And a goose for good measure. Dash threw her front legs in front of her eyes as she found herself assaulted from all sides by a flurry of beaks and wings. Her momentum destroyed by the attack, the mach cone began to quiver in preparation for snapping back against the creature who dared try to break the sound barrier. Under attack and with only a split-second to react, Dash implemented Escape Plan 2: curl into a ball and hope for the best. The snap-back launched the cyan pegasus upward and toward the Ponyville Park, taking a few ducks and the goose along for the ride. Dash remained curled for several seconds before lashing out against the pecking birds. She grabbed the goose around the neck and began wrestling with it in mid-air, snorting and growling in response to its angry hisses. Her flailing rear hooves and wings kept the ducks from growing too close, but they refused to give up. All of a sudden, the birds broke off the attack and flew away, save for the goose that Dash still had in a neck-lock. "Ha!" Dash shouted, "That's right you stupid birds! You never stood a chance against-"
CRASH! SN-SN-SNAP! THUD! Hoooonk…
"Oooow…." Rainbow Dash moaned as she released the goose and put a hoof to her head to stop her eyes from rolling around. As her vision stabilized, she saw that she'd hit a tree, taking several branches down with her before coming to stop on a park bench. The goose stood unsteadily next to her, hissing in anger before trying to waddle away and collapsing in a dizzy heap. "It's your fault," Dash muttered darkly, "You didn't have to join those dumb ducks. And they didn't have to- OW!" She'd tried to sit up, only to discover a number of very painful spots along her back, back knees, and right wing. Grimacing, she shifted herself until she was laying on her stomach on the bench, looking outward for signs of help. After a few minutes a pale yellow pegasus with a long pink mane appeared, flying in her direction with a look of great concern.
"Rainbow!" Fluttershy exclaimed, coming to a stop in front of the prismatic-haired pony, "Are… are you ok? I mean… that was such a bad crash and all, but at least you're alive. Sorry about the ducks…"
"Don't worry Fluttershy," Dash said, smiling despite the pain, "I've been through worse. I'm just a little banged up and… What?" Fluttershy was staring at Dash's back with a look of barely concealed horror. The cyan pegasus looked back and felt the blood drain out of her face. Her right wing was hanging limply by her side, and bent in ways a wing was never meant to bend. "Oh no." Fluttershy reached out a hoof toward the broken wing tentatively, halting several times until Dash shifted herself closer to her friend. "How bad is it?" she asked, "and be honest. I… can't feel it at all past the root anymore."
"That's not good," Fluttershy whispered, feeling up and down the wing, her frown growing ever bigger as she examined it. "It's broken in at least three places," she said at last, "and if you can't even feel it…"
"No hope of fixing it, huh?" Dash said, eyeing the appendage. Fluttershy shook her head sadly. "Well, that sucks," Dash said flatly, "That really sucks." She glared at her wing for several seconds while Fluttershy checked on the rest of her injuries, and then swept her gaze around the park. So far, no other ponies had shown up, a fact that made Dash grateful.
"Well," Fluttershy said at last, "you've got a light sprain in your right back knee, but everything else is just bruising. Oh, and the wing of course… You should go see Nurse Redheart as soon as possible."
"Right," Dash said, nodding once, "I'll get to that. But first, would you loan me a wing?"
"What?" Fluttershy gasped.
"Just for a few minutes," Dash said reassuringly. "I can't show up at the medical tent with this after all," she added, poking the broken wing with an elbow, "I just need to get up to my house to grab a spare, and I'll bring yours right back."
"I… I don't know," Fluttershy said, looking around nervously, "We're out in the open…"
"Look, there's nopony around," Dash said, gesturing with a hoof, "you just need to lay low for a little bit; hide in a bush and say you're comforting a scared bunny or something; no one will think twice about it. Now come on, I can't get home otherwise. Or, I could just borrow that thing's wing." She pointed to the goose, who was still hanging around. It hissed at her again.
"Now Dash," Fluttershy said with clear disapproval, "you know it doesn't work that way." Dash chuckled and gave Fluttershy a small grin. The yellow pegasus took several nervous looks around, and then sighed and said, "All right. Let's get that broken one off first." She grabbed the base of the broken wing and started to pull.
"Ow ow ow!" Rainbow cried in pain, "Geez, Fluttershy, be careful!"
"Sorry," Fluttershy whispered, "I… I haven't had to do this in a long time. I… I could go get somepony else to do it… if you want."
"Nonono!" Rainbow said, hooves waving wildly, "That'll take too long. You do it. Just… be more gentle."
"Ok…" Fluttershy said, "If you're sure." Rainbow Dash nodded before laying her head down, closing her eyes, and gritting her teeth. Fluttershy gripped the wing again and pulled, giving it a slight twist every now and then. High-pitched pain noises escaped Dash's mouth as the yellow pegasus tweaked the busted limb until it twisted significantly to the left and came free, leaving behind a deep dimple of bare flesh in Dash's side. The cyan pegasus let out a relieved sigh and opened her eyes.
"Oh yeah," she said, grinning broadly, "That's better." She raised her head and nodded to Fluttershy's right wing. "Your turn."
"R-right," Fluttershy said, spreading her wings and turning until Dash could grip the base on her right side. She shuddered a little as Dash gave the wing an expert twist and pulled it off. She held the wing out to Fluttershy, who took it in her own mouth and inserted the yellow wing into the dimple. With a wrenching twist that made Dash wince, she secured it in place and then stood back. "Well, how does it feel?" the yellow pegasus asked.
Rainbow stood up slowly, favoring her right rear leg, and spread her now mis-matched wings out. "Hm," she said, giving them an experimental flap, "They're a bit unbalanced, but I think I'll be able to stay in the air." She hopped up and flapped harder, achieving a wobbly hover. She had to flap slightly faster on her right side to stay upright, but other than that everything seemed to be in working order. "All right," she said, "Hide yourself in that bush over there. I'll be back in a jiffy. Oh, and Fluttershy," she added as the one-winged pegasus turned to go hide, "you might want to think about getting some new wings; this one feels way out of date."
"I'll think about it," Fluttershy said at a barely audible volume. She trotted over to the bush and wiggled her way into it as Dash picked up her broken wing and took off into the air to find a cloud to use as cover while she headed toward her house. The goose watched the pegasi go and then waddled over to the nearest patch of grass to get some food.
Down the path leading to the park's entrance, just barely in sight of the broken tree and bench and unnoticed by any of the winged trio, four ponies stood staring at the recently vacated spot with hanging jaws and pin-prick pupils.
Forty-five minutes later, Rainbow Dash returned to the park with an all-new set of cyan wings. She was upset at having taken so long, but since she hadn't encountered any other pegasi on her way to her house, she'd had to endure the long, patience-testing process of removing and replacing her wings by herself, and then had taken a few minutes to wrap her sprained leg. She'd stashed the broken wing and its partner in a bag for later disposal (most likely by being dropped into the Everfree for some random beast to snack on) and placed the loaner wing into a saddlebag for discretion. Fortunately, the park was still deserted when she arrived, save for that stupid goose, which was sitting on the bench under the tree Dash had hit. The two eyed each other warily as Dash came in for a landing, and then looked away pointedly at the same time. The cyan pegasus looked around the park to make double-sure that no earth-bound ponies were around before approaching Fluttershy's bush. "Fluttershy?" she whispered, trying not to look suspicious, "It's me, Rainbow Dash. Sorry to make you wait." There was no response from the bush- not even a peep or a squeak. Frowning slightly, Dash stuck her head into the bush. "Hello," she said, impatience coloring her whisper, "Are you in here?"
"Gotcha!" Rainbow found herself flung backwards and pinned to the ground as Pinkie Pie practically exploded out of the bush and landed on top of her.
"Pinkie Pie!" Dash exclaimed, "what in Equestria are you doing!"
"What's it look like Dashie?" Pinkie said with a huge grin, "I'm making sure you stay right here!" Before Dash could form a response, Pinkie looked up and shouted at the top of her lungs, "I've got her girls! Come on out!" The sound of clopping hooves filled the air, and Dash began to struggle to escape, but Pinkie refused to be thrown off or even slightly budged. Dash's eyes darted around, but she couldn't find the source of the hoof-steps, even as they drew closer. Suddenly, two spots of air began to glow purple and then resolved into the form of Applejack, who had a length of rope coiled in her mouth, and Twilight Sparkle, whose horn was aglow with magic and mouth spread in a wide, giddy grin.
"What's going on here?" Rainbow demanded as AJ passed one end of the rope to Pinkie and the pair began to tie the pegasus up, "Is this some sort of prank? Let me go!" She writhed and fought, but the two earth ponies kept her pinned until her legs were trussed up and her wings tied to her sides. Meanwhile, Twilight had removed Dash's saddlebags and was searching through them. "Hey, that's my stuff!" Rainbow protested, "What's the big idea girls?"
"This," Twilight said, pulling her head out of the bag, followed by a folded, pale yellow pegasus wing wrapped in the aura of unicorn telekinesis.
"Oh horse apples," Dash muttered, irises shrinking in horror, "Please, please don't go waving that around Twilight! I beg of you!"
Twilight gave her cyan friend a smug smile and put the wing back into the saddlebags before throwing them over her back and levitating Dash off the ground. "Mission accomplished girls," she said to AJ and Pinkie, "Let's head on back to headquarters."
"Aye aye Captain Sparkle," Pinkie said with a salute.
The goose watched the ponies leave with an expression that any non-avian would find unreadable, assuming anyone was around to try. After the group had left its field of vision, the goose hopped down from the bench and began to waddle away toward Whitetail Wood.
Twilight Sparkle and her crack team of pegasus catchers and interrogators - comprising those among her friends who lacked wings – gathered in the library to celebrate the success of phase one and the initiation of phase two. Their goal: to learn the deep, dark secrets of the pegasi through any means necessary, whether it be through bribery, charm, tickling, or simply asking politely. After passing around the celebratory cookies and punch, the two unicorns and two earth ponies gathered around their two captives, eyes and smiles shining in anticipation. Fluttershy, still lacking her right wing, cowered under the scrutiny and tried to hide under a table. Rainbow Dash, on her back and trussed up like a turkey, alternated between glaring at her friends and swallowing nervously.
After letting the two sweat for a bit, Twilight took one step forward and levitated Dash's saddlebag over to hang in front of her. "Rainbow, Fluttershy," she said, voice dripping false sweetness, "would you mind explaining this?" A pale yellow right-side pegasus wing floated out of the bags, which Twilight let drop to the floor. Fluttershy gazed upon the wing with big, wet eyes, but kept her mouth resolutely shut.
"I'm not saying anything," Dash said, her voice rising a little to spoil her veneer of confidence.
"Now darlings," Rarity said, "We're not judging you. We're just a little curious is all."
"Just a little curious?" Dash retorted, "You ambush and tie us up because you're just a little curious? Excuse me if I don't believe you! I'm not saying anything."
"Yer being mighty talkative fer not sayin' anything," Applejack said with an arched eyebrow. Dash bit her lip and glared at the farm pony.
"Look Rainbow," Twilight said with a sigh, "I know you're probably embarrassed or something, but all four of us saw you and Fluttershy… exchanging wings earlier. Besides, we're friends, right? We'll keep this between the six of us, right?" She looked around and received nods from the other three. "All I need to know," Twilight continued, "is how does all this work? Are pegasi not actually born with wings? How are they made? Do they wear out?"
"Can other ponies use them?" Pinkie cut in, "because it would be so cool if I could borrow your wings and fly around!" Fluttershy and Dash exchanged a horrified look as they imagined Pinkie Pie with the gift of flight.
"I don't think so Pinkie," AJ said, "I mean, look at Fluttershy there. She's got a bit of a dent there where her wing's supposed ta go. Unless that dent's made by jabbing the wings in…" She glanced at the pegasi, who both remained tight lipped and refused to meet anypony's gaze.
"Oh, and just think," Rarity declared, "There's an entire niche missing from the fashion scene. Designer wings, can you imagine it?" Fluttershy shook her head slightly and Dash rolled her eyes. "I really don't understand this," Rarity said, "Why is this such a large problem for you? Is this little secret really more important than… us? Your friends?" Her voice began to slide upward in pitch and acquire an ear-piercing timbre. "Fluttershy, hooow could you BE so unkiiind to keep us in the dAaark?" Fluttershy winced under the combined assault on her ears and her character. However, a deeper, more important obligation gave her the strength to resist. Rarity then turned her attention to Dash and began to whine at her. "Rainbow," she began.
Suddenly, every window in the library flew open and admitted a veritable flood of winged shapes. Birds of every type flew around the room: Blue Jays, Red Jays, Green Jays, Pink Jays, a couple Pink Flamingos, three hawks, a buzzing buzzard, humming birds, a flock of sparrows, pigeons and doves, partridges, ducks of all sorts, and one goose. The ponies shrieked as the avians flew around and began to harass them with beaks, talons, wings, and other, less polite methods. Rarity ran for cover almost immediately, fearing for the state of her mane while Pinkie simply sat back to gauge the situation, ignoring the tugs at her hair until the birds got bored and left her alone. Applejack and Twilight exchanged befuddled looks before running around trying to get the birds out. Since the birds could fly and AJ's rope was busy with Rainbow Dash, the earth pony was forced to catching birds one at a time and flinging them toward a window. Twilight, meanwhile, was able to snag entire groups and levitate them outside, only for the birds to return seconds after being released. "Somepony close the windows!" the lavender unicorn shouted over the cacophony of bird cries.
"I'm on it sugarcube!" Applejack replied, glad to have a task she was more suited for. She fought her way upstairs and began working her way back down, closing and locking windows as she went while Twilight continued shoving birds out of her home as fast as she could. Pinkie eventually took the hint and started to help Applejack, mostly by bouncing around acting as a shield against the birds, and soon only one window was left open, and one ticked-off looking goose was all the remained of the bird invasion. The goose and Twilight stared at each other for several seconds before the bird honked, turned up its beak, and flapped out the window. "Well, that was exciting…" Applejack drawled.
"Um, girls, we've got a problem," Pinkie said. The others turned to look where the pink pony was pointing, and gasped. The spot where their captives had lain was now empty save for a pile of rope. Even the detached yellow wing was gone. Twilight facehoofed.
"There, that's the last of them." Fluttershy dropped the bag she was carrying onto the cloud porch outside Rainbow Dash' house and then flopped down tiredly. Rainbow Dash nosed the bag open and looked inside.
"Geez Fluttershy," she said, "Why do you have so many old wings? Most of these are filly-sized for crying out loud! I'm amazed somepony didn't stumble onto these before."
"Oh, I couldn't just throw them away," Fluttershy insisted, "There are so many wonderful memories attached to each pair. Look." She dug into the bag and came out with a small, well-used wing. She set it on top of the bag and said, "This is one of the wings I had when I got my cutie mark."
"Yeah, I can understand keeping those ones," Dash said, "but the rest…" she trailed off, trying to find a nice way to continue the lecture, only to be interrupted by a loud honk and a flurry of wings. The goose landed on the cloud and looked at the pegasi expectantly. "Oh, hey there… Goosey," Dash said, "I know we got off to a bad start and all, but thanks for bringing in the cavalry. Why'd you do that anyway?" Goosey honked and flapped its wings. Dash raised an eyebrow and looked to Fluttershy for help.
"I think he means something like 'we feathered folk have to stick together,'" the yellow pegasus said. Goosey nodded.
"Oh, so we're cool then?" Dash asked. Goosey hissed at her and looked away. "I owe you one, don't I?" Goosey nodded and gave the pegasus a smug glance. Dash sighed and rolled her eyes. "Ok, fine, just don't ask me to do anything stupid or embarrassing." Goosey made a pleasant sound and flew away. "Right," Dash said, "Let's get these wings put away." Fluttershy nodded and followed her friend as she picked up the bag and flew into the cloud house.
"Um, Dash?" Fluttershy asked as the cyan pegasus stashed the bag in a newly-created box of clouds, "About Twilight and the others…" Dash paused and gazed at her wall blankly for several minutes.
"Yeah," she said, looking over her shoulder at her friend, "we have to do something. Maybe just get them to Pinkie Pie Swear not to tell anypony?" The sound of large wings came from outside the front door, followed by a very muffled knock – clouds don't make the best door-knock material. Fluttershy and Dash exchanged a glance before heading to the door. They froze when they saw two stern-looking pegasus Guards standing outside, and then dropped their jaws when they saw Princess Celestia behind them, looking quite unhappy.
"Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy," the Princess said as the pair dropped into bows, "How serendipitous to find you both here. Do you have an explanation for this?" A scroll floated from behind the alicorn and unrolled itself in front of Dash and Fluttershy. "I received this letter from Twilight Sparkle a short time ago," she explained as the pegasi read it, irises gradually shrinking as they made their way down. In summary, the letter detailed the wing-loaner in the park and a lighter version of the attempted interrogation.
"I'm so sorry Princess!" Dash cried, throwing herself to the ground… cloud in front of Celestia, "I didn't know they were watching! I had to borrow a wing and I could've sworn Fluttershy and I were alone, and I swear they didn't get anything out of us before the birds showed up. I'm sooo SORRY!" She broke down into sobs alongside Fluttershy as the Princess and her guards regarded them critically.
"This is extremely serious," the Princess said after a moment, "For thousands of years, the Secret of Wings has held up despite the investigations of many a curious earth-walker and the… occasional slip-up by inattentive pegasi." Fluttershy cringed as Celestia cast a glance at her. "Every time, we have been able to divert attention away from the Secret, or convince the investigator to forget what they found. However, this time the ponies involved are the Elements of Harmony, and one of them is my prized student. Do you realize the position this puts me in girls?"
"Um…" Fluttershy mumbled, averting her gaze as she tried to sink lower into the cloud.
"I cannot allow Twilight to continue investigating this," Celestia continued, "and simply banishing her and the others is out of the question. But at the same time, to alter her memory… I can't bring myself to do that."
"But… Princess Celestia," Dash protested, "The… the Secret-"
"Could you bring yourself to wipe your friends's minds Rainbow Dash, Element of Loyalty?" Celestia snapped. Dash gulped, feeling heat in Celestia's gaze. "This is part of the problem," the Princess said, "I can't saddle you with the task, forcing you to break trust, nor force Fluttershy to do what would be viewed as an unkindness."
"I'll do it," Fluttershy said.
"What?" Celestia and Dash said in surprise.
"I'll do it," the yellow pegasus repeated with greater confidence, "They'll never expect it from me, and since they won't remember me doing it, they won't be able to see it as being mean." Dash looked at her friend in amazement; she hadn't even back-pedaled into shyness like she normally did after showing her confident side. She simply stood on the cloud, wings held open as she looked at Celestia with determination.
The alicorn regarded Fluttershy for a moment before nodding to one of her guards. The pegasus reached into a satchel hanging from his armor and pulled out a small cloth bag. "Slip these herbs into a flavorful drink such as juice," Celestia instructed as Fluttershy took the bag, "When your friends drink it, they'll forget the last twenty-four hours. It will be up to you to come up with a believable reason for their sudden amnesia. Good luck." With that, Celestia turned away and spread her wings, followed by her guards in perfect unison. With practiced discipline, the three ponies took off and flew back to Canterlot in an equilateral triangle formation.
"Wow," Dash said simply, finding herself unable to voice the thoughts running wild through her head.
"So," Fluttershy said, losing a fair amount of her confidence, "How… how do we explain…?"
"Hm…" Dash thought, "I know!" She dashed into another room and returned a few seconds later with several large bottles balanced on her back and out-stretched wings. "Alcohol fixes everything!" Fluttershy simply stared at the bottles as Dash grinned like a giddy school-filly.
"I hate alcohol…" Dash moaned as she pressed a hoof against her head to try and stop the pounding. Considering the way she felt, part of her wondered if spiking her friends drink with the amnesia powder had actually been necessary. Still, it was better to be safe than sorry, and nopony had noticed anything strange about the drinks she and Fluttershy had mixed up during the party the previous night. Dash smiled through her hangover as she recalled how easy it had been to lure Twilight, Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie into Fluttershy's cottage on the pretense of divulging everything regarding removable wings. And with Pinkie being Pinkie, turning the confession into a party had been easier than… well, anything Dash could imagine at the moment. Over the course of the evening, Fluttershy had administered the amnesia drug multiple times to cover the moments when an inebriated Rainbow had let something slip, but those slips had ultimately served to keep the earth-walking ponies from getting suspicious and the booze flowing.
Flowing a little too freely perhaps, Rainbow thought as she stood up and surveyed the room, which was littered with empty bottles and passed-out ponies. Twilight was sprawled across a table with her tongue lolling out into a puddle of liquor. Rarity was lying on the couch in a surprisingly lady-like manner with a wine bottle for a pillow. AJ was awake, judging by the mumbled curses and slitted eyes, but she wasn't moving from her spot on the floor. Fluttershy was nowhere to be seen at first, but as Dash continued to look she came out from the kitchen with a platter of food on her back and a bucket full of water held in her mouth. "Mornin' Shy," Dash muttered, walking over to help her move Twilight and set the platter on the table in her place.
"Morning," Fluttershy responded quietly, "How are you this morning?"
"Dying," Dash grumped, eyeing the food with trepidation. She selected a slice of carrot and chewed it slowly, praying that her stomach was willing to play along.
"Do you think it worked?" Fluttershy whispered, looking around the room.
"Well, only one way to find out," the cyan pegasus said. She made her way over to Applejack and prodded her with a hoof. "Wake up farm girl," she said in a slightly-too-loud voice, "Chores are waiting."
"Consarnit Rainbow," Applejack hissed, grabbing her head, "Not so loud. Hey, where the hay's mah hat?" Her eyes flew open and she looked around. "Fer that matter," she said, "why the hay are we in Fluttershy's house? What happened?"
"I don't know," Dash lied, acting confused, "Do you know Fluttershy?" The yellow pegasus just shook her head, and then squeaked and ran into the kitchen. Retching sounds emerged a few seconds later.
"Oooooh, my head," Twilight moaned as she returned to the land of the living, "what's going on? I… oh dear, I can't remember anything from yesterday." Dash hid a smirk as the unicorn spotted an empty bottle and kicked it away from her. "Dear Princess Celestia," Twilight muttered, "I've just learned a valuable lesson: never drink alcohol. EVER." She flopped over onto her back and let her eyes roll back.
Mission accomplished, Dash thought with a mixture of pride and relief. She turned to walk over to Rarity and contemplate waking her when a loud gasp caused several alarms to go off in her head, painfully.
"Rainbow!" Twilight exclaimed, propping herself up with one front leg as she pointed with the other, "What happened to your wings?" The volume of the shout woke Rarity and the content of the question pulled Fluttershy to the door of the kitchen. Rainbow felt the blood drain from her face as she looked at her sides, both of which were noticeably lacking in feathered appendages. She bit her lip as she looked around at the four ponies who were staring at her with various kinds of shock. Wait… four? Dash's panic increased three-fold, Where's Pinkie Pie? As if in answer, a banging sound echoed from upstairs, followed by a loud "woo-hoo!" from outside. Rainbow led the charge to the door and burst out into the yard, scanning the sky furiously. Her eyes grew wide as she spotted a pink shape in the air flying around in circles. As the others joined her, the pink shape flew in close enough to make out: it was Pinkie Pie with a pair of cyan wings stuck onto her sides.
"Hey girls, check this out!" Pinkie said with her usual enthusiasm, "I've got wings! This is so cool! I've got to show everypony!" She flew off toward town before any of the others could collect their senses. Rainbow and Fluttershy were the first to recover, and they went from gaping at the retreating figure to staring at each other, and then promptly fainted.