"I'm a pony now… Ponies are cool."
- Doctor Whoof
Morning in Ponyville… A small-time country town of a couple hundred equines max. Located about fifty miles from Canterlot, slightly downwind from Cloudsdale, and adjacent to the Everfree Forest. If you were to chart it, the town would barely show up as a blip on the scope compared to bustling cities like Manehattan.
Like any morning, the air was crisp, clean, with a sharp cool bite of dew that had yet to be evaporate. The sky was clear, the sun only just peaking over the hills as Celestia got the day rolling. Birds, still asleep in their nests, had yet to fill the air with the familiar sounds of a cool spring morning. It was quiet, peaceful.
The sound was like a thunderclap that shattered the stillness for miles. A brief flash of light, and a rolling wash of color that flowed across the sky that were the telltale signs of only one possible thing.
A sonic rainboom.
"YEAH!" Rainbow Dash shouted as she pulled out of her dive, a rainbow streaming along behind her like a ribbon. "That's three in a row!"
"Well," Another pony below commented as Dash ripped by in a blur. "I reckon that if anypony was still asleep in Ponyville, they're awake now…"
Applejack turned and looked over her shoulder at the village before turning her head back. It took a second to trace the rainbow trail Dash had left at the speed she was going. It wound around and up into a sharp half loop before coming down through a cloud hoop that had been set up just before dawn.
"Still," she continued. "You're getting better at this."
"No kidding!" Dash shot by and made a sharp bank, bleeding off some speed. The color streamer she left behind began to fade as she did so. After a few seconds, Dash brought herself around, swept her wings back, and caught the air in such a way as to bring her almost to a stop. As one last bit of flamboyance… Just before she touched down, she let one flap of her wings pick her up, and did a summersault, landing next to applejack with a huge grin on her face.
"You were right though," she continued. "It really is easier to pull off when it's cold. I punched through the barrier a few seconds early."
"You can thank Big Macintosh for that one," Applejack shrugged. "He's the one who found out about it. Why? I have no idea. And honestly, I probably don't want to know. But big brother's like that sometimes."
"Well, tell him thanks for me." Rainbow Dash replied. "Maybe I'll try it during the next Winter Wrap Up. See if I can't scatter the clouds AND crack the ice on the lake all at once."
Applejack laughed a little at the thought.
"Make that a three for one sugarcube," she smirked. "You'd probably wake up all the hibernating animals at the same time."
"Oh!" Dash grinned almost from ear to ear. "Oh! Even better! If I do it low enough, maybe the shock wave will clear the fields too, then I could-"
Applejack tuned her friend out around that moment, squinting when she noticed something small and black in the distance above them.
"Hey," she interrupted Dash's excited ranbling. "RD, did we have any odd weather planned this morning?"
"What?" Dash furrowed her brow at her friend. "No. Not that I know of anyway. The only thing on the schedule today is a spring shower, and that's not until three."
"Then could you tell me what that is?" Applejack pointed a hoof at the speck.
"Tha-" Dash looked in the direction Applejack had indicated with her hoof. "I'm not… that looks like a Pegasus. But that's awfully high for this early. It gets really cold when you go high, so I tend to avoid that in the morning."
"I could be wrong," Applejack squinted. "But it looks like its falling…"
"Hard to tell from here," Dash frowned, squinting as well. She was starting to make out details now. "Let me take a look… Yeah, Pegasus… Jet black… descending fast… odd wobbling moti-"
Rainbow Dash stopped and squinted harder. Wobbling was bad. Pegasus do not 'wobble' when flying. They FLY. After a few seconds of hard squinting, she reared her head back, her eyes going wide.
"Oh my gosh!" she snapped. "They're in a flat spin!"
"Huh?" AJ blinked. "I'm sorry… A what?
Rainbow Dash tore off the ground, shouting back.
"Falling Leaf Spin!"
"Falling leaf…" Applejack frowned and thought about it for a moment.
"What the hay does THAT mean?" she looked up.
Rainbow Dash was already out of earshot.
"Aw horseapples!" Applejack stomped a hoof and took a glance at the falling pony again. By her guestimates, they looked to be coming down roughly somewhere over the orchard.
Taking off at a gallop, she tried her best to gauge if Rainbow Dash was going to get there soon enough.
Rainbow Dash, on the other hand, already knew she had plenty of time. The Pegasus was falling like an autumn leaf. Wings extended but limp, spinning round and round. It was better than a dive, seeing as it slowed it down, but one would still smack into the ground pretty hard. Any Pegasus worth their wings knew that a Falling Leaf Spin was easy to correct. Just tuck in your wings, drop for a moment, and straighten out. Presto! No problem.
Assuming of course, you were awake enough to realize you were stuck in a Falling Leaf Spin. Any Pegasus in such a condition had more things wrong with them than just losing control of their flight.
Yes, so long as she didn't do anything foalish, like stopping for breakfast, or getting hung up at a snail crossing, Dash would easily make it on time. The issue was predicting exactly where the victim was going to land.
"Alright," she growled. "Where are you going?"
Rainbow Dash came to a sharp stop in mid air directly below the falling Pegasus. Glancing up, she watched the victim for about a second before her eyes darted to the side.
"I gotcha!" she snapped, rushing up and to the side. "I GOTCHA!"
Another quick glance and Dash made a minor correction, drifting backwards a few feet. It was obvious at this point the victim was completely out of it.
"That's right!" Dash squinted. "Right…"
Dash lept to the side a few feet, hooves out to catch as she got directly below the unconscious winged pony.
They collided with a thump, the velocity of the falling pony dragging Rainbow Dash towards the ground. It was a little harder than she expected, causing her to drop more altitude than she wanted, smacking into the ground with about the same force as somepony falling out of bed.
Rainbow Dash grimaced at ending up the unfortunate bottom of the stack, but was happy to note that the pony she'd caught seemed unharmed. A quick glance confirmed what she thought. Whoever this Pegasus was, she was out cold.
"Hey RD you okay!" Applejack came running up at a full gallop.
"I'm fine!" Dash responded as her friend slowed to a trot. "Help me with her, would you?"
"I gotcha covered," AJ nodded, bending down to help lift the limp pony.
"Wooo-ee," she commented as she did so. "Would ya' look at the wings on her."
Dash slipped out from under the Pegasus and took a glance herself.
"No kidding," the Pegasus tilted her head. "Only pony I've seen wings that large on is Princess Celestia. Think they're related?"
"No clue," Applejack shrugged. "Let's get her over to the barn. Maybe she can tell us when she wakes up."
"Good idea," Dash nodded. "Come on."