Earlier that same day, miles away in Las Pegasus, Rainbow Dash had been participating in a new competition that pitted the best fliers from all across equestria in trials that tested stamina, strength, agility, and cunning. Rainbow Dash of course, being one of the most well known ponies that was legendary in these aspects, was naturally asked to perform in this event. It was being held in the massive arena known as the Pegasium, a complex that could seat over 100,000 ponies in one quarter section alone. Rainbow was a bit shocked, and also a bit unnerved by the sheer mention of these numbers, but she assured her friends that she'd be "20% cooler than all the rest of those pegasi out there!"
"Oh man, I can't believe in five minutes I'm actually going to do this!" She thought with a mixture of excitement and fear. She knew that this competition would be tough, and the competitors tougher. In fact, she had found out that two of her idols, Spitfire and Soarin, had also been entered in the competition. She was practically shaking from the nerves of having to go against two ponies she honored so much, but she was determined to take first place. "After all," she said to herself, "I did promise my friends that I'd come out on top, and what better way to show off my element of loyalty than keeping a promise?"
"Rainbow Dash, you're on in three minutes!" A stage hand called from behind her.
"Three minutes...alright right, three minutes...three minutes before I go out there and rock this thing! ...Or before I get pulverized by the Wonderbolts...NO! I can't think like that!" Rainbow Dash thought with a sigh. She knew that she always had these bouts with pre-match jitters, but over time, with the help of her friends she had gotten better about them. Of course, that didn't mean she still didn't feel a bit scared, though she'd never openly admit it.
"Alright Rainbow, you're on! GO GO GO!" The stage hand prompted her.
"Alright here it goes!" She thought, her nerves getting to their most powerful stage as she sprinted towards the door before taking a leap into the air before taking a gasp of amazement at the sight her eyes beheld. "I don't believe it!" She yelled in amazement as she saw the arena from above. She knew that it was big from the ground, but had never quite thought it'd be this big! It was then that the crowd's cheers drew her attention to the other side of the arena, where she saw that Soarin and Spitfire had entered the match. "OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMY GOSH!" She squealed inwardly at the sight of them. However, after the initial excitement passed, she felt her nerves return, and it took all her willpower to not faint at the sight of them.
"Go Rainbow Dash! You can do it!" She heard an all too familiar voice cheer from below her. Hearing the voice, she felt all her confidence restored as she caught sight of where her friends were sitting. Applejack and Applebloom were hollering happily at the sight of her, while Pinkie Pie was giddily hopping up and down in her seat while cheering her on. Fluttershy of course was doing her best to cheer, but of course being the quiet soul she was barely audible up close, but Rainbow knew she was trying her best to cheer. Twilight of course was smiling and waving to her while taking in all the sights and sounds of the colesium. Rarity of course, was clapping and cheering, while still maintaining her aura of a "proper lady" as she called it. Sweetie Belle however was cheering just as loudly as Applejack and Applebloom, not being quite as refined as her sister. Rainbow smiled warmly at the sight of all of them, and her smile only grew at the sight of her.
"Good ol' Scootaloo," She thought happily at the sight of her sister, "she never fails to pick me up when I'm down!" She then felt her energy restored as she flapped her wings to gain speed. She did notice however that one more contestant had entered, one that she'd seen, but never expected to see here! "DERPY? SHE'S HERE?" She thought bewildered as she had never thought that the clumsy wall-eyed pegasus would have qualified for the event. Then she shook her head, focusing on the competition that was to come as all of the fliers came in front of the main stage near the front of the arena. All of a sudden, the arena went dark as a spotlight lit up the positions of each of the contestants, the crowd in more of an uproar than ever. Suddenly, multicolored pyrotechnics lit up the stage.
"Ooo pretty! I should use those sometime!" Pinkie Pie said with glee from behind Rainbow.
"Heh, typical Pinkie Pie!" Rainbow said chuckling as the crowd's cheers came to a close.
"Ladies and gentlemen!" A voice rang out. "Welcome to the showdown of the century where fliers from across the nation come to compete! It's the AERO BLAST GRAND-PRIX! With your host, PRINCE BLUEBLOOD!" The voice shouted as the prince's figure was suddenly made known. Rainbow grimaced at the sight of the prince. She had never really liked him to begin with, but the fact that he had mistreated Rarity at the Grand Galloping Gala just made her dislike him all the more. "However," the prince continued, "what would a host be without his lovely mare assistants? That's right! Nothing! So give it up for the beautiful spa-managers Aloe and Vera!" Rainbow rolled her eyes at the mention of those two. In her eyes they weren't really all that great, but few knew that her dislike came from the incident where they had accidentally questioned her position on mares. Rainbow of course took offense to this, for she had never liked those types of mislead assumptions just because of her personality, or worse, the color of her hair.
"Oh wow the prince is looking great!" One mare in the crowd declared as several other mares agreed with her. Rarity of course, had to stifle a chuckle as she had once thought the same thing. "Oh dear! I do hope that Rainbow Dash will do alright," she thought anxiously,"she did seem a bit nervous at first!"
"Alright Equestria, it's time begin this competition of the ages, so let's here you SHOUT!" The prince said as the crowd obliged, cheering quite loudly. Rainbow of course, looked around at her opponents and saw Derpy right next to her.
"Hey Derpy how's it going?" She asked trying to ignore the rambling prince.
"Oh hiya Rainbow Dash!" Derpy replied, grinning happily as she turned, but her eyes not quite focusing properly as usual. "I'm doing pretty well myself, just glad to be here! It looks pretty fun huh?"
"Definitely!" Rainbow agreed heartily. "So how's Dinky doing?"
"Oh she's actually here right now, I think she was trying to find Fluttershy and the others!" Derpy smiled at the mention of her daughter. Rainbow turned around, and indeed she found Dinky Doo waving in their direction, no doubt cheering for her mother.
"Well that's great! Good luck to ya Derpy!" Rainbow said as she shook her competitor's hoof.
"Hey thanks Rainbow Dash! Good luck to you too!" The wall-eyed pegasus said returning the gesture happily.
By this time Prince Blueblood was announcing the first competition. An obstacle course. However, this course was featuring quite the amount of dangerous items. A list of these included flaming hoops, spiked balls, brick walls that moved up and down, and worst of all, a gigantic storm cloud in the very center, which was shooting out sparks. Rainbow gulped as she saw what lay ahead of her, but was determined to do her best, if nothing else for her friends's sakes.
"Alright, you daring fliers!" Prince Blueblood announced, "In this event you will be timed, having to pass all the obstacles and getting to the other end of the course. Once there, you'll go and grab the ring and throw it in the target at the center of the storm cloud. The winner will be the fastest one to complete the course." Once Blueblood was finished announcing the rules he drew ballots on who would go first. It turns out that the order would be Soarin, Spitfire, Rainbow Dash, and finally Derpy. The Wonderbolts, true to their name, finished with fast times being 2:53.23 and 2:53.34 respectively. Finally, it was Rainbow Dash's turn to try the course, and as she waited for the countdown she took a deep breath to get in her zone.
"Alright, get ready!" Blueblood called out. "10! 9! 8!" Rainbow felt a bead of sweat rolling down here face. "7! 6! 5!" Rainbow felt her heartrate begin to increase rapidly. "4! 3! 2!" Suddenly, she took a look at Scootaloo, "1!" And she shared a look, and she became completely determined. "GO!" Blueblood yelled as Rainbow Dash rocketed forward, dodging through each hoop, each ball, each obstacle with the utmost grace and agility. Finally, she had made it to the other side of the course, with a record breaking time of 1:57.32 seconds!
"No time to take a break." She thought to herself. "If I want to solidify a lead I've got to keep going!" As she grabbed the ring her teeth she rocketed back towards the storm cloud, and with a streak of rainbow she entered the thunderhead. "Man I can't even see in here!" She thought panicking, but luckily managed to spot the target in time. She raced for it, but as she was about to reach it a lightning bolt struck her, making her cry out in pain, and soon she fell unconscious as she spiraled towards the ground. The crowd gasped at this sight, and Scootaloo cried out to her sister.
"Rainbow Dash! No! Get up! You have to!" She said almost about to sob with tears threatening to spill out of her eyes. "Please! You've just gotta be ok..."
Meanwhile, in Rainbow Dash's mind, she could only feel the air rushing past her as she was berating herself for getting so careless. "Dang it! How could I have done that? Now I've gone and lost the first match!" She said sadly, thinking of how disappointed her friends would be in her.
"Rainbow Dash...Get up!" She heard a voice rang out in the dark, slowly bringing her back to reality.
"Scootaloo?" She whispered
"Please! You've just gotta be ok..." The voice said full of worry.
"..." Rainbow said nothing as she heard those words, but then she felt herself come to and realize that she was nearing the ground. "Oh hay no!" She cried out as she suddenly grabbed hold of the ring in her teeth once again and soared back up in an arc. The crowd cheered and her friends sighed in relief as they saw her recover. Rainbow took a quick glance at the clock and found out that she had 10 seconds left to beat the previous times. "Darn! The target is too far away to get to in time...unless..." She thought realizing there was only one way to come out of this situation on top. She'd have to do a Sonic Rainboom. "Here goes!" She thought as she gained more and more speed, the air resistance slapping her in the face. She almost lost ahold of the ring, but managed to keep a grip on it. Then, as she felt a wall air pushing her back, she finally broke through as a boom rang out behind her and launched her forward. She then threw the ring down as she passed the target and successfully hit it. The crowd roared in approval as they saw what she had done, and Rainbow Dash slowly came to a halt, panting as she took a look at the clock. It read 2:52.59. She had done it.
"Yeah Rainbow! I knew you could do it!" Scootaloo yelled at the top of her lungs full of joy and excitement.
"Rainbow Dash that was mighty fine if ah do say so mahself!" Applejack said whistling in approval.
"Most splendid performance Rainbow!" Rarity said clapping for her friend.
"YEAH RAINBOW YOU DID IT!" Yelled...Fluttershy? As all of her friends stared in shock at her momentary outburst. "Oops, I mean, you rock! Woohoo!" She said turning red from embarrassment.
Rainbow Dash smiled in satisfaction as she saw Derpy preparing for her turn. She felt worried for her friend though, she could get hurt, after all she wasn't the most coordinated pony out there. However, Derpy impressed her and everyone else by not only making it through the course, but making it in at 2:54.34, a time just behind Spitfire herself. "Maybe she's not as bad at flying as I thought." Rainbow said giving a pony shrug.
The next 8 challenges went by smoothly, Spitfire managed to win 3 challenges, Soarin won 2, Rainbow Dash won 2 more as well, and Derpy managed to win a challenge too, much to the surprise of everyone there. However, just as the final challenge was about to start, things got...out of hand...
[POV: Scootaloo First Person]
In my eyes the day couldn't have gone any better! My hero and adopted sister, Rainbow Dash, got to compete in one of the biggest flying competitions in the land, against the Wonderbolts no less! She truly was the most awesome pegasus in my eyes. However, as I was watching the competition I noticed that a pony behind me was complaining about a wasp sting she had gotten, but I ignored it and went back to cheering on Rainbow Dash. Later though, as the final challenge was about to start, I heard a scream in the stands behind me. I turned around and saw the same pony who had talked earlier actually biting into some pony! I thought she was pulling some kind of sick joke on her friend, but as I looked in her eyes they looked...animalistic, and hungry... Soon I saw that she wasn't the only one like that, because more ponies like her trudged out of our section's entrance tunnel, and soon I saw the ones that came out begin to attack other people as well. As soon as I got over the shock of seeing such a thing, I did the only thing I could do. I screamed.
"Scootaloo!" Rainbow thought frantically as she heard her sister yell out as if terrified by seeing something. She looked down and saw a horrible sight. Ponies were actually eating one another in some kind of twisted beastlike fashion. "What the hay is going on down there?" She thought fearfully as she rocketed down to help her friends, seeing Soarin and Spitfire going to help random ponies out. She saw ponies who weren't attacking scattering in all directions as the stadium became a state of chaos that even Discord himself would be proud of.
"Dinky! Hold on!" She heard Derpy yell to her left. Out of the corner of her eye she saw her fellow pegasus go towards her daughter, who was running in terror from the rabid ponies.
"Quick ya'll!" AppleJack yelled out, gaining the attention of her friends and a few other ponies nearby. "They said that there's a safe room that way!" She pointed in the direction of the tunnel of the Pegasium's entrance. "Let's move!" She called out as she began running with Applebloom, with the others following just as quickly. Finally, the door to the safehouse was inside, and they were all inside while Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo at the back of the group keeping watch. However, just as Scootaloo was about to make it to the stairs leading down to the room. She tripped and fell to the ground.
"Rainbow Dash help me!" She yelled as she saw a pony with the strange eyes moving closer and closer. She found herself struggling to get up, her legs becoming like jelly as fear overtook her mind. The pony then lunged for her and managed to grab her leg in its teeth.
"NO! SCOOTALOO!" Rainbow Dash screamed as she saw her sister get bitten by that thing. She rushed over as fast as she could, arriving to help in no more than a second. "Go eat someone else freakbag!" Rainbow yelled in fury as she rammed the hostile pony off of her sister. "Scootaloo? Are you ok?" She asked, almost in tears.
"I'm fine thanks to you sis." Scootaloo said softly, visibly shaken. "He just got my leg!" She said gesturing to her leg, which had a nasty bite mark on it.
"Oh no! Please don't tell me..." She thought fearing the worst. "She can't turn into one of those...things!"
"Rainbow Dash look out!" Scootaloo yelled, breaking the cyan pegasus out of her thoughts. She swiveled around, only to meet the same pony that had attacked her sister lunging for her. She had no time to dodge as the pony tackled her to the ground.
"Scootaloo run!" Rainbow Dash yelled out, fearing for her sister as she tried to squirm out of the pony's grip.
"No buts! Just go!" Rainbow yelled with a sad look in her eyes. Scootaloo sobbing as she ran to the safe room. She then turned her full attention on the pony, who was closing in to bite her. She closed her eyes as she thought, "well I guess this is it, so much for being the most hardy out of the group huh?" She thought grimly as she prepared for the bite, but no bite came. "But how?" She said opening her as as she heard the thwack of wood hitting flesh.
"Well Rainbow Dash I thought you would've been the last one to go out like this?" A voice, one that she found all too familiar, chuckled.
"Huh?" Rainbow Dash thought bewildered at she turned and found the source of the voice, her mouth dropping open at the sight of who it was. "S-Spike?" She said almost failing to believe what was happening.
"The one and only!" He said with a smirk.