"For she's a jolly good pony, for she's a jolly good pony! For she's a jolly good pony, who saved all of Ponyville!"
Sitting at the head of the long table in the town square, a spot free Rainbow Dash blushed as the song ended in a loud cheer.
"Thanks, everypony," she said. "But it wasn't all me. I couldn't have done any of it without Rarity, Snapdragon, Lemondrop, Ditzy, and all the other pegasi…"
"This is no time to be humble, Dash!" Snapdragon called out. "It was mostly you!"
The mayor stood up, raising a glass to her. "She's right, Rainbow Dash. Without you and your fantastic sonic rainboom, Ponyville would no longer be here. Despite being ill and unable to fly, you risked yourself to save all of us, our businesses, and our homes. For that, we thank you!"
As the ponies cheered again, Rainbow Dash looked around at the small town and sighed contentedly. The wind and hail had caused damage, of course, but it would have been much worse if any of the tornadoes had reached the village. And in the week since the storm, the industrious ponies had managed to repair almost all of the broken windows and torn shingles, and cleared away all the blown branches and debris.
"Here, Dashie, you have to try this apple muffin! Ooh, and these little apple tarts, and some of this apple cake!" Pinkie Pie piled plates of desserts in front of her, stacking them in a wobbling tower that threatened to spill apples, cream, and frosting all over them at any second.
Rainbow laughed cheerfully and flapped her wings, flying to the top of the stack and rescuing a whole apple pie from certain demise. Turning a backflip, she landed beside Rarity and set the pie in front of her.
"Oh, it feels so good to fly again!" She winked at the unicorn. "So much better than falling, eh, Rarity?"
Rarity also laughed. "Definitely. That's something I won't be forgetting anytime soon!" Though everything had worked out in the end, she had been terrified that Rainbow's crazy plan wouldn't work and she wouldn't spot her friend in time, or that her levitation spell would fail to catch the pegasus before she struck the ground.
"I still don't know why you didn't come get me," Twilight Sparkle said, frowning at her apple crumble. "The two of us working together would have made catching her a lot easier."
"There wasn't any time, darling" Rarity said, lifting a fork with her magic and taking a delicate bite of apple pie. "The third tornado showed up so suddenly and was moving so fast, we never could have made it to the library and back before it hit."
"I wasn't even sure we would make it to the top of the storm in time," Rainbow added. "I have to give Cloudkicker some credit there—the featherbrain had some stamina at least." She gave her head a little shake. "But if he ever tries to work the weather in this town again—"
"Wouldn't worry about that, Sugarcube," Applejack said, draping a hoof over Rainbow's shoulders. She and her family had weathered out the storm on their farm, which had suffered no more damage than a few broken branches and enough fallen apples to supply treats for the party. Now she lowered her voice conspiratorially, "Seems the mayor thought Cloudkicker could do with a little more trainin' in the weather business and sent him back to the Cloudsdale flight school."
"Aw, really?" Pinkie Pie started to pout. "I kinda liked the snow." When her friends all looked at her like she was crazy, she shrugged and said, "What? I like making snowponies!" Quickly polishing off the rest of the goodies in three huge bites, the pink pony jumped up and grabbed Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash by the hooves, dragging them to an open space of grass nearby and producing a phonograph out of nowhere. A loud Stratosphere song filled the square. "Come on—what are we sitting around here for? Let's party!"
"The boutique is going to be so quiet again—you leaving today, my parents coming back for Sweetie in a week." Rarity sighed. "And just when we were getting along so well again."
"It's not like I'm moving to Manehatten, Rarity." Only Rainbow's rump and tail were visible under Sweetie's dust ruffle as she searched beneath the bed for any library books and get well cards she may have forgotten. "I'm still going to be right above Ponyville—we'll see each other every day."
"But living in that little cloud cottage?" Rarity tsked. "I still can't believe your beautiful house was the only one in all of Ponyville to be destroyed by the storm."
"Well, it was made of clouds. And the cottage is only temporary—I've got plans for a new place that's going to be even more awesome than my last one."
"You know you're welcome to stay here until it's finished."
"I'll manage." The pegasus backed out from under the bed and blew her bangs out of her eyes. "This place is great, Rarity, but I can't wait to sleep on a cloud again."
Deciding that nothing had been left behind, the two mares went downstairs, where Sweetie Belle was waiting beside the saddlebags containing Rainbow's pajamas and other possessions. The little filly's head was hanging sadly and she sniffled when Rainbow gave her an affectionate nuzzle.
"Aw, what's wrong, kiddo? You aren't still sad about not getting your cutie mark, are you?" Rainbow asked her. "Cuz you were still the best nurse ever, even if it isn't what you're destined to do."
"No." Sweetie wiped her eyes. "I just wish you weren't leaving. I liked having you here."
"Me too. But it's okay—I'll see you around. I still have to beat you in Bubble Jump, you know."
Sweetie snorted derisively. "You can try anyway. But you'll never beat the champion!"
"Sweetie Belle!" Rarity admonished, shaking her head. "Lovely, Rainbow Dash, that's your influence for sure!"
Rainbow laughed and hugged the filly, then slung her saddlebags onto her back.
"Time to get going," she said a little sadly. "I've got a cloud house to build." She stepped out the door, blinking in the bright autumn sunshine, but hesitated on the doormat.
"Is something wrong?" Rarity asked her. "If you forgot anything, you can just pick it up later."
Rainbow turned around suddenly and flung her hooves around Rarity's neck, squeezing her tightly. The unicorn gasped in surprise, then returned the embrace.
"Thanks, Rarity," Rainbow whispered. "For everything." Sniffling, the pegasus turned away quickly so nopony could see the tears in her eyes. "See ya later!" she shouted, jumping into the air and whooping as she spun a barrel roll.
"I'm really gonna miss her," Sweetie murmured, leaning against Rarity.
"Me too, darling." Rarity nuzzled her sister and turned to go back inside. Sweetie sighed and followed.
"I really hope she likes her present though. Wish I could have seen her find it."
"Present?" Rarity paused, looking at the filly in confusion. "Oh, Sweetie Belle, did you make her another card? That was nice."
"Even better!" The filly grinned brightly. "I didn't want her to be lonely without us, so while you two were upstairs, I hid Bobo in her saddlebags."
Rarity gaped at her beaming little sister. "Y-you did?"
"Uh huh! When Rainbow Dash gets home she's gonna be in for a big surprise!"