We were cleaning out a certain house on the outskirts of Ponyville when we came across a box. It was locked, so of course I got curious. Inside was a collection of papers, neatly folded and organized. Took me a while, but I realized they were letters. A lot of them were damaged, faded or otherwise unreadable, but I was able to copy out the legible ones. None of them are dated, but I've organized them according to how I found them in the box.
I thought you might want to take a look at them.
Hey everypony. How're things in Ponyville? Awesome as usual, I bet. How's the weather? Is the new chief weatherpony doing her job well? It's probably all good, so long as the Mayor didn't pick Derpy. Just kidding. I'm sure she'd do an alright job.
As for me: being back in Cloudsdale is a bit weird after living in Ponyville for so long. I mean, the last time I came here was for the Young Flier's Competition, and that was how many months ago? And I haven't actually stayed here since…well, since I left for Ponyville. But still, it's pretty awesome being back in pegasus home territory. There's just something about Cloudsdale: the cloud buildings, the open sky, the endless hum of the weather factories…
And, of course, the Wonderbolts.
I'm sorry I left so suddenly, but I just couldn't pass up this opportunity. I mean, how often does a pegasus get specially invited to join the Wonderbolts? Apparently Spitfire's been thinking about it for a long time, and Tornado Day just sealed the deal. When I got the letter, my mind kind of just blanked. I was halfway here before I realized what was happening!
I should have said goodbye first, though. You guys are my friends, and it wasn't right for me to do that to you. I promise I'll never do it again. Pinkie Promise, even.
My parents have been really supportive. I'm staying with them right now, and they keep congratulating me whenever they see me. It's nice to have them so proud of me. Not that they ever haven't been – I am Rainbow Dash, after all! Joining the Wonderbolts is on a whole new level, though, and they haven't stopped bugging me about it.
I've actually retreated to my old room to get away from them, and writing a letter is as good an excuse as any. Not that I've been avoiding writing to you guys or anything. I've just been really busy practicing and stuff, and I'm only going to get busier. All the same, I'll always find the time to write a page or two at some point. I don't even need to Pinkie Promise on that one.
Now, I don't want to cause you any trouble, but can I ask for a couple of favours? (Please?)
Say hi to the new chief weatherpony from me. I trust the Mayor's decision, but could you make absolutely sure that she has a chat with Applejack about optimum rainfall conditions for crop growth? It's easy enough to avoid a flood or drought, but it's a lot harder to arrange a bumper crop. Applejack, this means you specifically have to hunt her down if she doesn't find you first.
Also, my house is going to need looking after while I'm gone. Fluttershy, seeing as you're the only pegasus, I'm going to have to ask you to do a bit of housesitting for me. Nothing much, just collecting all the mail that'll show up until I change my address and making sure it doesn't float off over the Everfree Forest or anything. Other than that, it should take care of itself.
And one last thing, for all of you: keep me in the loop. A part of me is always going to be part of Ponyville, especially so long as all five of my best friends live there. Don't ever forget about me, okay? Not that you'd ever do that. I'm pretty unforgettable, after all! Just keep sending me letters about whatever's going on. Even if you think that nothing's really going on, I want you to say so.
Initiation is tomorrow, so I'm going to wrap this up now and try to get some sleep. Not going to lie; I'm pretty nervous. But I know you guys support me no matter how far away we are. I promise to make Ponyville proud!
Keep on being awesome!
Oh. My. Gosh. This is real. This is happening. I'm actually a Wonderbolt!
I mean, I always knew it was going to happen, but even when I got that letter I guess a part of me suspected it was some kind of prank (Yeah, I totally did suspect Pinkie). But now that I'm actually in the Wonderbolts' training centre, wearing the blue and gold jumpsuit, flying with Spitfire…it's so real. Part of me still doesn't believe that this is happening.
Spitfire is so cool in person. I like to think I know a thing or two about coolness, and trust me, she is only like the coolest thing to grace this planet. Actually getting to fly with her is pretty much a dream come true! And she's really nice too. She's cool, but not cold, you know what I mean? Like the coolest big sister ever. The best part was when she said she was actually kind of jealous because she's never pulled off a Sonic Rainboom! Equestria's coolest flier, jealous of me? So cool!
Have I mentioned how cool she is?
Spitfire's pretty busy most of the time though, so I've been learning a lot from Soarin'. He's been teaching me some things, mostly formation flying and a couple of thermalling tricks. But man does the guy have an appetite. I've only seen one pony eat more than him at a buffet (take a guess who).
So yeah, I've been having a blast here. I'm staying with the Wonderbolts now – they have a whole tower all to themselves, right on the outskirts of town. If you're at the top and the sky's clear, I swear you can see forever. I waved down at Ponyville last night. Not that you would have noticed, but hey, it was worth the effort.
Anyway. So the Mayor picked Raindrops to be the new chief weatherpony? Good choice. I probably would have picked her myself. She knows more about weather than I do! Not nearly as awesome of a flier, but she'll be able to manage things just fine.
And about Fluttershy…gotta admit, I laughed pretty darn hard at that. Did she really turn over the entire town looking for me? And that bit about the Everfree Forest? On the one hoof I guess I'm sorry for causing so much trouble. But on the other, my sides still hurt from laughing so hard.
Don't worry, I'll come back to visit sometime. Maybe after I'm done training, and I'm a true Wonderbolt. You've got to see how I look in the jumpsuit. It's a vision of pure awesomeness. And then I'll do a Rainboom, just for you.
Keep on being awesome, guys!
Hey everypony in Ponyville.
Sorry it's taken so long for me to write again. Spitfire and Soarin' have been flying me into the ground lately. I finally got a day off and well, I thought of you guys.
Basically just writing to say I'm doing fine, and I hope you guys are too. You're only a day's flight away, but it feels a lot farther than that. Not sure why.
I've also got a question: how's Scootaloo? It's kind of embarrassing, but I just completely forgot about her and I'm really sorry about that. I've never told anypony, but I actually owe her a lot. Yeah, I can see you laughing now, and I can't blame you – I've always brushed her off like a crazy fangirl, which she basically is. But the thing is, she believed in me. I know you guys all believed in me too, but this was different. Scootaloo always expected the best of me, and letting her down would be like kicking a puppy or something. I couldn't do that, so I always tried my best for her.
And gotta admit, I liked the attention. So I'll send her a letter, maybe with some Wonderbolts souvenir or something. Could I ask you guys to make sure she gets it?
Now that that's off my chest, guess what? I'm going to be doing my very first show soon! Cadance and Shining Armour's first anniversary is coming up, and of course I'm going to be there! Royalty only get the best, and the Sonic Rainboom is the best of the best. So long as that Change-thing Queen or whoever doesn't show up, it'll be the best party ever!
I guess the rest of you will be going, right? I can't wait to see you all then! We'll party Pinkie Pie style until the sun goes down, and keep going until it comes right back up again!
Until then, keep being awesome!
What else am I supposed to say?
I'm sorry, guys. I basically ruined everything.
You know, I didn't mean to crash into the East Tower. I was just trying to pull off the most difficult move I've ever tried. And hey, I've never actually thought about what happens when I hit something while at supersonic speeds, seeing as I've never actually crashed before.
In retrospect, trying to weave a rainbow trail in a corkscrew pattern around the tower was a terrible idea.
Please don't hate me for running away. Everything else was completely my fault, but please just don't hate me for flying off afterwards. I couldn't face you guys after that. I was just about ready to disappear off the face of Equestria, and I pretty much planned to do so.
Fleetfoot and Rapidfire caught up when we were halfway to Manehattan. I wanted to quit the Wonderbolts. They wouldn't let me. Long story short, they bucked a little sense into me. Screwing up doesn't mean giving up. As long as I don't give up, I haven't failed completely.
I hit my limit while trying that move. So now I've just got to raise my limits.
I'm still sorry for what happened. I know it doesn't mean much, but it's the best I can give. I can't give up flying – not gonna even try – so the only thing I can do right now is train harder than ever so that I can use the Rainboom completely safely.
I'm so, so sorry.
Guess who? It's been a while since I wrote anything, but I'm still around. Bet you all thought I disappeared, didn't you?
I got the thermos of cider you sent, AJ. I can't even begin to say thank-you. All those years fighting with Pinkie for a taste…I guess Cider Season is kind of a part of what it means to be home. It meant so much to me, and I savoured ever drop of it (well, after I drained half of it in one gulp).
Is it fall already, though? I didn't even realize it. This high in the sky, the days seem to just melt into one another. We don't even really get seasons up here. So, the Running of the Leaves is going to happen soon? Hey, maybe since I'm gone this year, Applejack will actually have a chance of winning! (I'm kidding, I'm kidding…you won't have anypony to tie with you for first, is what I meant.)
Maybe I'll show up for the Running, though. Actually, scratch that. I'm definitely coming home for that. It's been too long. I'll ask Spitfire for a break from training. She'll understand. She's just cool like that. And if not, then I'll go anyway.
Oh, I almost forgot! I missed Spike's birthday, didn't I? Oh man, I'm so sorry! To make up for it, I hunted down a really rare cloud-gem – yeah, that's right, gems can grow in clouds. It should be attached to this letter. Give it to the little guy for me, okay?
And I also got the thermos cleaned and filled with some rainbow juice. Yeah, you can drink the stuff! If it's treated properly, anyway. Share it around, okay AJ?
I'll see you all in a week or so. Keep being awesome until I get there!
It's almost the end of winter, isn't it? Fall just zipped right by, and I swear I didn't even notice!
Let me tell you, winter flying is a whole 'nother story. Hey Flutters, remember when we were in the pageant? The part of the story where we flew through a blizzard? I actually had to do that. High Winds went with me, and we did some long-distance flights through the mountains way in the north. By the end of the first day I swear my feathers were iced together, but we bunked down in a cave for the night, lit a fire, and in the morning we were off again.
That went on for a whole week. Nonstop flying through bone-chilling winds and snowstorms so thick you can barely see. To be honest? I'm not sure how I'm still alive.
You guys are about to wrap up winter, aren't you? Make sure you listen to Twi from the beginning this time, alright? Raindrop's taking my place leading the pegasus team, I bet. Tell her this from me: trust that Twilight knows what she's doing. The sooner she gets that, the better.
As for me, I don't have to help wrap up winter anymore – but that doesn't mean I'm not busy. Spitfire's letting me do shows again. I have to give a hundred and twenty percent just to keep up with that and the brutal training. But I'm not whining, of course. Half of the practice I do is stuff I set for myself. The Wonderbolts aren't expecting any crazy moves out of me anymore, but that doesn't change what I expect of myself.
Wondercon's coming up in a couple of weeks, at least. So I'll get at least something of a break. You guys should come down to Manehattan. I'll make sure to give you a show worth watching!
And, like always: Keep being awesome.
Has it really been a year? I swear the months flew by without me even noticing.
So much has changed since the day I left. It keeps getting harder to keep track of everything. And, I don't know, but every letter makes it seem like we're farther apart. I don't mean that I'm homesick or anything – I'm Rainbow Dash - but I still kind of miss you guys. Maybe you could visit sometime?
But hey, let's talk about some of the good news! Scootaloo sent me a letter last week, saying she's finally figured out how to fly! She's probably all over the place now, isn't she? I'm so proud of her. When I first met her she was about ready to give up, you know. And now she's the pluckiest filly I've ever met – 'cept for me, of course.
And Sweetie Belle finally got her Cutie Mark! What was it again? A songbird, I think. Totally fits – her voice is one of the most awesome things I've ever heard. Tell her congrats for me.
Oh, yeah, happy birthday Pinkie Pie! I suppose by the time you get this it'll have been two days ago, but may all your wishes come true! I'm really sorry I couldn't be there for the party, but like I've said before, I've got a lot of responsibilities now as a Wonderbolt.
Speaking of which, Spitfire just gave me my own wing! I felt so cool afterwards. Most Wonderbolts don't get assigned their own wing until their second year at least. It's kind of weird, because my wingmates are all technically my seniors, but they're really supportive and the coolest team a girl could ask for.
Weird, isn't it? It's like that one show never even happened. Now I'm like a local celebrity. I know I've always kinda likes saying I'm the best and all that, but it's weird having everyone else say it too. They say I'm the greatest flier of the century. Don't worry, I'm not letting it go to my head – not while I still remember Mare-Do-Well, anyway – but it's pretty darn cool.
And last of all, happy birthday to you too AJ, because I know that's coming up and I might not get a letter out in time.
Keep being awesome, guys.
I'm sorry, AJ. You shouldn't be getting this letter. I should be there, not here in Cloudsdale.
I can't pretend I know what you're going through. I don't think any of us can. But you know we all loved and respected Granny Smith. She was pretty much the coolest old lady ever.
I remember the first time I came to Ponyville. You and I got off on the wrong hoof, yeah, but I couldn't help liking Granny Smith. It was right after zap apple season, and she gave me the last jar because of my mane. Up until then I felt like I was alone. If she hadn't given me that jar, I might not have stayed. And we might not have become friends.
I know you'll do what's best, AJ, and I don't just mean with the farm. You're a lot stronger than I am, in a lot of ways. Same for Big Mac. You'll get through this, I know.
Don't stop being you, Applejack.
Hello, friends in Ponyville!
I know it's been a while, but I hope you haven't forgotten about me. The fastest mare in Equestria still has time for her best friends ever.
And yes, that title is now official. Ever since I accidentally pulled a Sonic Rainboom during the Wonderbolts Derby I've been unofficially banned from the race, but everypony knows that I can out-speed all the rest of the Wonderbolts.
Scootaloo was here last week with her parents on vacation. She paid me a visit, and showed off her Cutie Mark. I thought it was a target of some sort! Then she explained to me that the X was for eXtreme. I laughed at that. But she really does have some hardcore stunts that she can pull off, both in the air and on the ground. I can't wait to see where she goes.
Thanks for the cider again, Applejack. This year's batch was just as delicious as always. I wonder if Appleloosa apples make cider that's just as good? You'll have to test that, if you really decide to buy the land there.
And Rarity, your new line of dresses for pegasi is a hit here in Cloudsdale. I bet your boutique is overloading with orders! Can't say I'm surprised, though, since you're pretty much the most awesome designer in Equestria. Just make sure not to go crazy again. Remember our Gala dresses?
Speaking of which, the Gala is coming up again. I know we've been avoiding it for the past year or two, but this year I'm pretty much obligated to attend. Actually I've been pretty much obligated every single year, but this year I've been specially invited by popular demand. I know that you guys could go if you wanted, what with Twi being Celestia's student. Could you? I want to see you all again, and it would be really boring without you. Rarity could design our dresses, and we could all have fun together again.
Happy birthday to Spike, too. I hear he's getting really big now. Pretty soon he'll be the greatest dragon in all of Equestria! And to all of you: keep on being awesome!
Just wanted to say congrats to Big Macintosh on his marriage. Never would have pegged him to fall for Cheerilee, especially since that one Hearts and Hooves Day incident (what was the word? Irony, I think Twilight called it). There's a little wedding gift attached here. Make sure he gets it, will you AJ?
Not much else going on here at the moment. You know how it is: the same endless parade of shows and exhibitions and training. Tornado Day's coming up again, and this year they've chosen Ponyville again. Soarin' was supposed to go supervise it, but with a little creative persuasion I convinced him to let me go instead.
(Actually, I promised him I'd bring back one of your pies. I hope you don't mind baking one?)
This is the last time I'll get to see Applejack before she moves out to Appleloosa, isn't it? We might not get the chance get everyone together again for a while. I'll admit, it makes me kind of sad to think about it. Let's make sure to have the best weekend ever.
Don't stop being awesome until I get there. Especially you, AJ.
Not much time to write this. Massive storm out over the western ocean. Need all wings to deal with it. Celestia says it's a magical anomaly. Might not get back until this time next year. If I get back at all…
What am I saying? I'm the fastest mare in Equestria. The Wonderbolts' number 1 flier.
Keep being awesome.
Hey everypony. I finally got a breather in which to write something.
I can't even tell you how much it helped just to hear from you. Sometimes, during the worst times, those letters were the only thing keeping me going. I knew that I had you guys watching over me.
This is kind of a secret, but…the storm's controlled by an evil spirit. A bit like a Windigo, only it brings massive monsoons rather than blizzards. It's a really powerful one, too. Far more powerful than it should be.
Worse, the Princesses can't help us. They wanted to, and they told us when they sent us out. But something was going on at the same time. They wouldn't tell us what, but they looked tired. I mean, really tired. Like they'd been fighting something, day and night, for an entire month.
So we have to deal with the storm spirit ourselves. Just the Wonderbolts, with a bit of help from the locals.
I'm scared, guys. I'm really scared. You probably can't imagine me scared, but I'm shivering right now while I write this. I accidentally pushed through to the centre once, and I saw it. It's this…giant, black stallion made out of thunderheads. And there's lightning all around it, just crackling there. It hates us. It hates us so much. I could see in its eyes that it wanted to kill me. I ran like a scared little filly, and if it was here right now I'd probably run again.
I don't know what's going on, but I think we should get the Elements of Harmony together. We're barely managing this thing as is. If there's something bigger going on… Can one of you contact Applejack? We need to have everypony together in Ponyville, in case something big happens.
I can hear them. The bells. That means he's back. And only half of us are left now to deal with him. I keep telling myself that we'll be fine, but I just don't know.
But whatever happens, don't stop being awesome.
I don't know how to start this letter. There's too much for me to say. Too much that I'm not sure how to say.
All right. Let's be blunt about it. I've got to get this over with.
There, it's on paper. Doesn't help, though. I keep looking at it and laughing. Spitfire can't be dead. How could Spitfire be dead? It's just impossible. No matter how many times I say it, a part of me says it's not true.
Celestia help me, I'm tired.
On the plus side, the whatever-it-is is dead too. What did you call it, Twilight? An avatar of storms or something? Anyway, it's gone. And it better stay down. You have no idea how many we've lost here. We have three flight-capable pegasi here. Three! Half the wounded won't even get to fly again! And the wounded make up less than half of who we came out here with!
Stupid tears. I can't write when the paper's swimming in front of me.
Calmed down a bit. I think I can get the full story out now. Maybe it'll help? It's not like I don't have the time.
So we knew that the storm was being caused by something evil. There wasn't a heck of a lot we could do about it, though. Basically, we were kind of hoping that we'd be able to hold out long enough that the Princesses would be able to finish whatever business they were dealing with and come help us.
We should have given up earlier. How many would have survived, do you think? Maybe we could have launched an assault, with all of us. Shut down the storm beast before he could cause much more damage. Or maybe we would have just died all at once.
Sorry, I can't stay focused. I'm too tired to write this. But who else is going to?
Anyway. He picked us off pretty quickly. Lightning strikes, whirlwind gales, tidal waves that picked off any low fliers…do you have any idea what burning feathers smell like? You don't want to.
A week in, and half of us were dead or grounded. Two weeks, and there were only four of us left: me, Spitfire, Soarin', and High Winds. I can't even describe how hard it was to have that last meeting, just us four, trying to decide what to do. Yeah, we all knew what had to be done, but I don't think any of us wanted to actually make the call. I ended up being the one to say it out loud. One last flight, right into the eye of that storm, to put two hooves right in the face of that Celestia-damned monster. It was suicide. Nopony said it, but it was suicide. What else were we supposed to do?
So that was it. We got our gear on and got into formation on the cliff. I can still see the grin Spitfire gave us just before we took off. It always got me how she could look so confident no matter what happened. We were about to fly right into the jaws of Death itself and she looked like she was just going to do some routine stunts. Did she really feel that way, or was she just trying to make us more confident? Now I guess I'll never know.
Damn it. I'm crying again.
I don't suppose you've ever flown before, so I don't think I can properly explain what it was like trying to break through the storm. I don't think I even have a word for it. I don't even know if the language has a word that I could use. And if it doesn't, then it sure doesn't have a word for what came after, because what came after was worse.
I don't think I've ever properly fought another pony before. Or anything, for that matter. I mean, sure, there was that one dragon that I ticked off, but that wasn't really a fight was it? For all my talk, I don't think I've actually ever hit another creature.
Now, though, I know what fighting's like. And I don't like it.
We tried so hard. But in the end, we were worthless. He just ran right over us. We tried to get in close, but he slammed us aside with hurricane-force winds. If we tried to sneak up from behind, he scared us off with lightning bolts. He could have turned us to smoke and ashes at any time. But he played with us. That's what it was. Playing. We were toys.
And then he pushed us all the way over land, and most of the village was levelled. Just like that. Gone. Like sweeping away an anthill .
Then he got bored. High Winds got hurled off into another part of the storm. Soarin's wings got clipped and he went down. Spitfire watched him fall, and then she turned to me and said something. I never heard it because of the wind. I think she realized that too, because she stopped trying and just smiled encouragingly at me. How could she do that? How could she smile, when we were all about to die?
I don't think I'll ever be able to think of lightning the same way again. I can still smell it, you know. The feathers, burning. I used to play with storm clouds, scaring people on Nightmare Night. Not anymore. Not after that.
Next thing I knew, I was floating. For some reason, instead of killing me outright, the creature decided to fling me right up into the atmosphere. I was so far above the storm that it was getting hard to breath. It was cold, too. I thought my body would freeze, and then I'd tumble right back down and shatter on the ground.
And then I turned. And you know what I saw?
I saw Equestria. And it's beautiful. I know there are no words to describe this, because no matter how many words I used I would never be able to describe the entire world. It's the one good image that I have from the entire thing. That one glimpse of everything at once is still burned into my mind.
It's too beautiful to let it go to waste. Take my word for it. No matter how much I hate fighting, I'll keep at it so long as I'm protecting Equestria.
It hurt and it hurt, but I stretched my wings, floated for a bit, and dove. I was going at least twice the speed of a Rainboom before I hit him. I hit him and kept going, straight into the ground. There was a flash of light, and then an explosion.
High Winds woke me up. That was three hours ago. I should probably be asleep by now, but I just can't. There's too much going on in my head. Or there was, at least. I feel much better now, actually. Or calmer, at least. I haven't stopped crying yet, but at least I'm not a sobbing wreck anymore. And I haven't broken anything else, so that's probably good.
I wish I could tell you all this in person, but there's a lot of cleanup left to do here. On top of that, I've got a really bad feeling about all this. Applejack sent me a letter the other day about these weird earthquakes out east, and then there are the blizzards and avalanches up north, and the volcanoes in the south. If I'm right, then something big is going on. Bigger than we can handle alone.
I hope you guys are taking precautions. I don't want to see anything happen to any of you. As soon as possible I'm going to take the train down to Ponyville, and then we'll be able to face this together. For now, though, I'm going to sleep, and maybe when I wake up this'll all be a dream.
…Who am I kidding? This is real. It's more real than we could ever imagine.
Don't stop being awesome. I don't know how I'd keep going if you did.
Hi, guys. I've written this letter just in case something happens. For example, me being dead. If I'm not dead, then you can toss this, burn it, do whatever you want with it. If I am, though, then there are a couple things I want to say.
First, I want to say that I'm dead scared right now. This Nameless guy is beyond anything we've ever encountered. I'm hoping that if you're reading this, then he's been taken care of. If he's not, then at least we tried. Either way, he scares me like nothing else.
Second, if he's corrupted me the way he corrupted all those other ponies, then do whatever it takes to stop me. When he pulled that on Luna, he created Nightmare Moon. I can't stand the idea of ending up like that. I don't want to hurt innocent ponies. So please, take care of me in whatever way you can.
Third and last, I want you all to know how much you mean to me. I wish I could say it in person, but let's be honest, I won't be able to. I'll probably swagger around and pretend like everything's going to be all right. The truth is, I'm scared flightless of seeing anything happen to you. I love each and every one of you, and you know I really mean it because I hate mushy stuff like that so I wouldn't be saying it otherwise. You're all my very best friends. The best friends I could have ever asked for.
I could probably go on and on, but I'd never be able to say everything. So I'll have to settle for two simple words:
Keep being awesome. If I'm not around, then somepony's going to have to make up the difference.
Your friend forever,
It's cold. My teeth are chattering so hard that I can barely even write. How do the griffons even live up here?
Things are going well. They were hit just as hard as we were, and they're more than happy cooperate. Isn't it funny? A year ago, I would've been laughed right out of here for suggesting this kind of alliance. I never really understood that whole "silver lining" business, because in my experience clouds don't have them. Now I'm starting to understand.
I talked to Gilda today. She said it's only natural for two species to bond together against a common enemy. When I noted that there's no enemy anymore, she just shrugged and said that tragedy tends to be good at teaching people that they're a lot more alike than they think.
We visited the graves after that. I don't have the numbers, but it's pretty easy to tell that they lost a larger chunk of their population than we did. Gilda seems to be handling her losses well, at least. Griffons are tough. She'll just turn her grief into working energy, and so will the rest of her people.
Anyway. The High Talons are considering our proposal for a united nation. It's pretty obvious that they'll accept, but they're going to make a big show of it anyway. I wish they wouldn't, but there's not much I can do about it.
It's nice to be able to hang with Gilda again, though. The last time we saw each other, we weren't exactly on good terms. You should see her, especially you, Pinkie Pie. She's changed a lot since then. Instead of pushing people around, she helps them off the ground.
She says I've changed a lot, too. I don't know what she's getting at. I'm the same Rainbow Dash as ever. Still awesome, still Equestria's number 1 flier.
Until the final decision is made, I'm pretty much stuck here. I'll keep you guys informed as things happen.
Do you guys get nightmares?
Or, well, I mean, everyone gets nightmares, but I'm talking specifically about…
Well, you know.
Every night I wake up cold, and not just because it's freezing up here. I don't think I've had a good night's sleep since it happened. It's like he's still in my head, and he comes back out when I'm sleeping.
The Nameless. We called him that because we couldn't think of anything to name him. Or maybe we were just afraid of what his real name would turn out to be. The dark being from Outside who turned Luna into Nightmare Moon. Something not even the Princesses could fight alone. Something that can get into the heart of any pony, and twist it.
Sometimes I think that maybe we didn't actually banish him. Maybe he never left at all. Maybe he was just hiding, buried inside all of us, waiting for one pony with enough magic to let him out. Maybe he still is.
I keep seeing Ponyville. Not Ponyville as it should be, but Ponyville the way we left it. I still can't understand what happened. What would drive a pony to hurt another pony? It's always been peaceful in Ponyville. And then he came and reminded them how to kill each other.
Do you think we could have avoided it? I mean, if Applejack had gotten to Ponyville faster, or if she'd never left, maybe we could have defeated him before he could do any harm. There's no point in thinking about it, though. It's done. All we can do now is pick up the pieces, huh?
The High Talons are going to announce their decision tomorrow. Actually, scratch that – today. I can see the sun starting to come up. Gilda's already told me, of course, but I'm still excited. For once, we'll be allies with the griffons.
It doesn't help with the nightmares, but it makes me feel better knowing that, despite everything, we're still alive, and we're going to put ourselves back together stronger than ever.
It's a new day, guys. For all of Equestria. And that's pretty awesome.
Happy Hearth's Warming Eve!
Where does the time go? It seems only yesterday that we were putting the last touches on the new Town Hall. And now it's been over a year.
I just got back from Manehattan. The Wonderbolts branch we've started there is slowly testing its wings. If this works, I'm going to start branches all over Equestria. Between those and Twilight's magic schools, we should be able to prepare ourselves for any disaster that rears its ugly head. Next time anything like that happens, we'll be ready.
I visited Spike the other day. He's slowly getting used to the new place. Says he still misses the library, but he's so big at this point I don't think he'd fit inside. Dragons sure do grow up fast, huh? I left him some gems, but I think he's going to need more soon.
Oh! Speaking of gems! Rarity, take my advice, stop fretting and get your tail over to Manehattan! You've always dreamed about working here, right? So just go! I know Hoity Toity. He showed up when we opened up the new branch. The only thing he would talk about was you and your "absolutely faaaabulous!" dresses. He really wants you here, and if you work for him your career could take off right into the clouds. So stop foaling around! You never know when you'll get another chance like this one.
I'll see you soon, Rarity. And even if you decide to turn it down, I'll see all of you at the Wrap-Up. I managed to get myself some time off. We can all welcome spring together, just like we used to.
Remember: I'm only as awesome as the rest of you are!
Greetings from Appleloosa!
Now that the Manehattan branch can run itself, I've decided the location for the next branch should be out here. There was a bit of a fuss about it at first – Earth Pony Way and all that – but I explained that the Wonderbolts will just be here to deal with natural disasters, and eventually they came around.
Applejack's been a great help, and so has Braeburn. I swear I wouldn't be able to do this without them. She kind of basically runs this town now, so that helps. We've been spending a lot of time together in between work. It's been so long since we've actually talked face-to-face. I think the last time we actually saw each other was during the Nameless incident, and we were pretty preoccupied at the time. She's thinking of buying up the Cherry ranch in Dodge Junction, and leaving Braeburn to deal with Appleloosa. She still keeps the rights, though, just like with the Apple farm.
Speaking of the old ranch, how's Big Macintosh doing? AJ tells me he's got a kid now, and showed me some photos. Appleseed definitely takes after his father. I have no idea how Cheerilee can juggle teaching and looking after him. I bet you she has Pinkie babysitting for her.
How are you doing anyway, Pinkie? Pulled any good pranks lately? Must be lonely at Sugarcube Corner, now that Pumpkin's gone off to study magic in Canterlot, and Pound's gone to Cloudsdale to get real flying training. And with the Cakes looking at retirement, it looks like soon enough you'll have the place all to yourself. Don't worry, I'll pay you a visit. We'll get up to all sorts of trouble, just like the old days.
By the way, I saw some of Applebloom's paintings. Applejack's got them hanging up in her house here. They're nothing less than sheer awesome! She'll be a real master in no time flat. Tell her I said she's awesome and should keep being awesome.
Same thing for the rest of you. Keep being awesome!
Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy,
It's been a while, hasn't it? But it still feels like Scootaloo's initiation was just yesterday. She's probably the best young flier I've seen since…well, since myself.
She's grown up into something awesome. All the colts are after her – and I mean all of them. And she can pull of stunts that even I can't manage. Still isn't as fast as me – I'm still the only mare capable of pulling off the Rainboom, thank you very much – but I think her star will rise almost as fast as mine.
It's a good thing, too: Soarin' retired earlier this week. I tried to talk him out of it, but he's been feeling kind of out-of-place ever since his wing got hit during the fight with the storm-beast. I don't know if I'd be able to hold out as long as he did, not being able to fly properly. He's been a great help, though, and I'll miss him. We had a massive ceremony, the full works. I tried to keep my cool, but there were tears.
It's strange that I've never been to a Wonderbolts retirement before. I guess it's 'cause so many of the older members died back then. Out of everything he's taught me, it's probably appropriate that this is the last: when a Wonderbolt leaves, it's tradition for him or her to fly away, alone, into the sunset. That way you'll always be flying in your wingmates' memories.
Heh, I was crying so hard I could barely even see. The last thing he said to me was that Spitfire would be proud with what I've done. Truth is, I couldn't have done anything without him. I've been chief Wonderbolt for a long time now, but I've always had Soarin' to lean on, and without him I'd have crashed hard a long time ago. It's going to be awkward for a while without him, but I know I've got his support even if he's not there.
The same goes for you guys. I know I've got your support, and Twilight's, and Applejack's, and Rarity's. Even if you aren't here, it's nice to know you've got my back.
Always remember that you guys are the most awesome friends a mare could ever ask for.
Do you think we're doing the right thing? I'm glad that we're all getting together again, but the reason why is eating at me. Twi's gone over it in a lot of detail, and her arguments are as perfect as you'd expect from her. In hindsight, we probably should have done something like this a lot earlier. You know what I mean.
A new generation of Bearers is the right thing to do, I know that. That's what I keep telling myself, but something in the back of my mind keeps telling me it's a bad idea. They're so young.
Okay, now that I've written that, I just how stupid it sounds. They're not young anymore. In fact, they're about as old as we were when during the Nightmare Moon incident. Seems so long ago, doesn't it? But at the same time, it feels like it was just yesterday.
Anyway, we did an alright job of it. It's not like they can screw up any harder than we have already. So why is there this little voice at the back of my head telling me to stop it? It's not like we're going to stop being friends or anything.
…Huh. Where did that come from? You know, I think that might be it. Maybe I'm worried about our friendship. I know, I know, I'm being foalish. It's just that the Elements are pretty much our only link at this point, what with us being spread out all over Equestria. As much as I try to think otherwise, there's this little voice that says we'll stop being friends.
I know that's never going to happen, but can you blame a mare for worrying? I'll just have to buck up and deal with it until I see you guys. I think I need a little reminder of how strong our friendship is.
Ha! There's Scootaloo outside my office right now. Might as well pass on the news now. Ten bits says she'll be so shocked she won't be able to say a thing.
You both owe me ten bits now.
Hey there, Fluttershy.
Pinkie dropped by. To say goodbye. I always wondered how she managed to stay still in one place, and now I know why. With the Elements passed on, and with all of us apart, she doesn't really have any reason to remain in Ponyville.
Typical Pinkie Pie, isn't it? Hopping around Equestria at random is just her style. I kind of pity the poor farmer who's going to get a surprise Pinkie Pie party when he wakes up tomorrow, but let's face it, he probably needs it. Really, Pinkie's just doing her job: going around and making people smile. There are so many ponies in Equestria who could use the help (trust me, I know) and I think it's awesome that she's trying to be there for all of them.
Still, I can't help feeling sad. I know I'll see her again, but Ponyville just won't be the same without her, will it? We played one last prank before she left. It involved at least thirty gallons of rainbow extract, a mile of duct tape, thirty large pink-frosted cake, ten party cannons, and Spike. I'll let you figure out the details! (Or you could just ask Spike.)
I'll miss her. I wish I could go with her. But I've got the Wonderbolts to look after, and now that we have over twenty branches all over Equestria, I can't risk being away for even a second.
I miss all of you, to be honest. I hung up the painting Apple Bloom made at the last Gala in my office. It's kind of strange, but it makes me feel better at the same time that it makes me weirdly sad. Can you still remember our first Gala? How we messed everything up so badly that they were talking about it for a year after? How we ended up just going to the Pony Joe's to hang out with Spike? Oddly, I've been thinking about that a lot lately.
I'm going to make an excuse to visit the Ponyville branch soon. We've got to get together again, Flutters. I'll even go to that spa with you, just so that we can have some quiet time to talk.
It'll be awesome.
What's up, Fluttershy?
Can you believe how big Spike's gotten? He's even bigger than that dragon from all those years ago! Remember, the one that was blowing out all that smoke? Spike's a lot more polite, 'course, but I can't help but feel tiny beside him.
I'm sure you've heard it already, but Pound Cake won this year's Best Young Flier's competition. He's like some kind of prodigy! But not as much as me, of course (kidding, kidding…). I presented him the medal, and I was shocked by how big he's gotten. Just like Spike, he's grown up so fast! Twilight sent me a letter saying pretty much the same thing about Pumpkin Cake. Apparently Pinkie's babysitting gave them some sort of genius bonus.
A while ago I visited the Manehattan branch, and stayed with Rarity and Sweetie Belle. She's got this big place now just on the outskirts of town, a three-floor manor surrounded by literally acres of land. When she took over Hoity Toity's business, she really started raking in the cash. You should see some of her new dresses! I've never been into fashion, but some of them make me seriously want to reconsider. Still, I'll stick to my Wonderbolts uniform.
Sweetie Belle, on the other hand, has pretty much reached the point where her singing can't possibly get any more awesome. She goes onstage in one of Rarity's gowns, and for a half-hour she owns the audience. She was only there temporarily, though; she had to go back to Canterlot, to stay near Scoots, Apple Bloom, and the other three. That's why we chose them, right?
And guess who else was there? Our good friend, the Great and Powerful Trixie. She's given up trying to manipulate ponies, though. Now she's dedicated herself to the stage. She puts on a pretty good show, actually. I talked to her afterwards, and you know what? We got along pretty well.
Has she changed, or have I changed? Maybe it's a bit of both.
Tell Cheerilee I think she'll make a great Mayor. Although, I've got to wonder who'll be running the schoolhouse. At least she doesn't have to worry about Appleseed anymore: from what AJ has written me, he's definitely taken after Big Mac. He's probably strong enough to take a carriage to the face without blinking!
I'm visiting the Canterlot branch next. There's something important I have to discuss with Scootaloo. I'm hoping to see Twilight there, too. She'll be able to spare a moment from her duties as Court Magician and Head of Magical Education. At least, I hope so.
I wish we could all get together again. That would be the most awesome thing of all.
You know, I thought that, once I handed leadership of the Wonderbolts over to Scootaloo, I'd be able to rest a bit. Apparently not.
Main headquarters has been moved to Canterlot, but I still have to look after the Cloudsdale branch. And now I've got all these journalists bugging me for interviews and statements and write-ups, and apparently the "I'm busy" excuse doesn't work anymore now that I'm only a branch head.
In a bit of happier news, a pink balloon floated into the office the other day. I didn't even realize it was my birthday until it told me, in Pinkie's trademark curly writing. "Happy Extieth Birthday," it said. Do you think Pinkie's forgotten how old I am? Either way, I'm just glad knowing she's in the area. Hopefully I'll get to see her, and we can do some catching up.
So basically I've been busy as usual. Sometimes it feels like I've been busy my entire life! What about you, Fluttershy? Is it nice, being able to live in peace and quiet? Are you happy? Someday, I might try living the way you do, just to see what it's like. Minus all the animals, of course. To this day, I think Angel still doesn't like me…
But I don't think I'll ever be able to settle down. I'm just too awesome like that.
Not that you're not awesome. You're awesome in your own way. Never stop being your own, special kind of awesome.
I'm sorry to hear about Angel. He led a good, long life, and died a very fat little bunny. I know you're probably still crying about it, just like when Hummingway passed away. But it was going to happen someday, and we all knew it.
…We're getting old, Fluttershy. We have been for a long time now. I don't think I ever wanted to admit it, but now I have to.
How long has it been? How many years since that first day I packed up and left without even saying goodbye? I've lost count, but at the same time I can still feel all of them, weighing down on me. I still can't make up my mind about whether or not it was the right decision. I don't think I'll ever know for sure. Maybe it was just meant to happen.
We've all accomplished so much. Twilight became the greatest sorcerer ever to exist. Rarity achieved her dream of becoming an internationally-renowned designer. Applejack took her family business and expanded it to cover all of Equestria. Pinkie…wherever she is, I know she's having fun. I rebuilt the Wonderbolts, from the ground up, into an aerial disaster-response force. And you, Fluttershy…you managed to keep being yourself, even after all these years.
But now we're old mares. I woke up this morning and realized that there's grey in my mane. Rainbow Dash, with grey in her mane. I didn't want to believe it. But there it was, in my mane and in my tail. Strange how it took me this long to realize it.
…I know that, when I first left, I promised I'd never leave again without giving you guys a proper goodbye. But there's a reason why this letter should come attached to Tank. And I'm sorry for that.
See, there's a lot of unexplored land down south. The Princesses have decided to send an expedition down that way, maybe colonize some of the untamed land. I volunteered to lead the flight of pegasi. We're leaving tonight, actually.
I'm sure you're asking why, right now. To be honest, I don't even know. One part of me says that I just want to explore, another says I just want to be Daring Do, and another says quietly that I just don't want to admit how old I am. And then there's the little voice that says I'm just hoping I'll meet Pinkie Pie down there.
Maybe it's all four, and then some.
It's not like I have any real reason for staying here. The Wonderbolts are in good hands with Scootaloo. Pound Cake is ready to take over the Cloudsdale branch. There's no reason for me to stay here, slowing them down. And I am slowing down. I can still Rainboom, but I can't do it five times in a row anymore. It's only a matter of time.
They say it's dangerous. It probably is. But I'm Rainbow Dash. I'm the mare who flew into the Icefangs alone and came out alive. I'm the mare who faced down a horde of berserk dragons and survived. I'm still the only pegasus in the world who can perform the Sonic Rainboom, and I'm still the fastest mare alive.
Let's put it this way. I've spent my entire life flying. First I flew because I loved it. Then I flew for the Wonderbolts. Then I flew all around Equestria running the new Wonderbolts. I don't think I'd feel right if I spent the rest of it sitting around doing nothing. So I'm going, and nothing can stop me.
It's almost sunset. I've got to wrap this up soon, so I can send it before we leave. I'm not sure what else to say. I guess I'll end this letter right here. Goodbye, Fluttershy. Here's hoping we see each other again, sometime in the future.
Actually, no. One last thing.
I want you to remember one thing, Fluttershy. No matter what happens, no matter what anyone tells you, no matter how many years go by, I just want you to remember this one, simple thing.
Keep on being awesome.
Special thanks to "The J.A.M. a.k.a. Numbuh I", "BlackRoseRaven", "Sailorstar165", "Le Critical Writer" and "Zaru" of Fanfiction for their comments. Yet more special thanks to fluttercry of Bronystate for his comments as well. And finally, super special thanks to a close friend of mine for her encouragement.