"Rainbow Dash!" It was uncharacteristic of Fluttershy to yell or even raise her voice, but the wind was growing louder and stronger. So strong that Fluttershy did not feel comfortable trying to fly up to where the weather patrol was working. "Rainbow Dash!"
A moment later Rainbow zipped out of the sky and hovered above her friend. "What is it, Fluttershy? I'm a bit busy right now!"
"You're making the rainstorm too big," Fluttershy replied. "All this thunder and wind will scare the animals."
"We aren't doing it!" Rainbow exclaimed. "We were putting together a few rain clouds when this thing started to blow in from the Everfree Forest! This storm is weird! We can't pull it apart and it keeps getting bigger! You better tell Ponyville to duck and cover. We're going to try and push this monster away from here, but it may get a little rough." Rainbow paused and grinned. "Nothing I can't handle though!"
With that Rainbow darted back up toward the sky. At that moment there was a sudden crackle, then a huge flash and boom. Fluttershy let out a yell and ducked down low. A few seconds later she heard a thud noise in front of her and smelled an acrid smell. She lifted her head and gasped. "Oh... my... goodness."
My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic:
Between the Downpour and the Everfree
"All your dragon needs is rest," said Zecora as Twilight Sparkle tucked a blanket around Spike and quietly stepped away. "In a few days, he'll be at his best."
"Thank you, Zecora. When Spike got sick, I wasn't sure what to do. Our town nurses have never treated dragons and neither has Fluttershy." When she couldn't find any information in the library, Twilight turned to Zecora. It turned out that the zebra did know about the care of dragons. How she knew it, she didn't say, but Twilight would ask about that another time.
"I am always happy to help a friend, but I think my visit should come to an end." Outside the wind was still growing and rain was pattering against the windows.
"The weather team was supposed to make a light rain," said Twilight. "Sounds like they overdid it. You better stay here until it passes. I wouldn't want you to go all the way home in this mess." Twilight thought a second and a gleam appeared in her eyes. "Say Zecora, have you ever heard of a slumber party? I could get a few of my friends and we-" Twilight was interrupted by several sudden crashes outside. "Rainbow wouldn't make a storm like this. Something's wrong."
As Twilight moved to look outside, the library door burst open. Applejack and several more ponies rushed inside. "Hurry, everypony! Get 'em in quick!"
"Applejack, what's wrong?" asked Twilight.
"A storm blew in from the Everfree Forest," Applejack explained. "The weather team trying to stop it, but it's knocking 'em out of the sky! We got several hurt!"
"Part of a tree crashed on the hospital!" said the nurse. "We have to set up emergency care here in the library."
Twilight watched as several pegasus ponies were helped in, then she gasped as she saw who was propped up between Rarity and Fluttershy. "Rainbow Dash!"
"I'm all right Twilight," Rainbow responded weakly. "Just got the wind knocked out of me."
"Got the wind knocked out of you?" said Applejack. "Sugarcube, you were hit by lightning! You're lucky to still be moving."
"We simply must get her to lie down," said Fluttershy. "Oh my goodness, my goodness."
Twilight Sparkle used her magic to pull together several large pillows. "Put her here. When we can, we'll move her to my bed."
"Just need to catch my breath," Rainbow muttered as the others helped her down. "Can't a pony catch her breath without all this fuss?"
The nurse stepped over to Twilight and the others. "Her wing is burned and Ponyville Urgent Care is in shambles. I don't have anything I can treat her with."
"I have things in my home that can ease her pain," said Zecora, "but travel will be slow in this wind and rain."
Twilight thought a moment. "I... I can teleport us there."
"Whoa now," said Applejack. "Zecora lives a fair piece away from Ponyville. You only move short distances with that vanishing trick. Can you get all the way out there and back?"
"I think so," Twilight answered, but the look on her face said otherwise. Then she glanced over at Rainbow Dash and her expression changed. "I know so! Stand next to me, Zecora. We're on our way!"
Twilight Sparkle's horn glowed bright, then she and Zecora disappeared. A few minutes later with another flash they returned, along with many pots and bags of Zecora's supplies.
As Zecora started treating Rainbow Dash, Twilight looked around. "There's more here."
"Several more were brought in while you were gone," said Applejack. "It's looking bad. And so are you. You better lie down a bit."
"I'm fine," Twilight replied, but as she tried to take a step her legs buckled. "Whoa!"
Applejack braced her and helped ease Twilight down. "Now don't try and outstubborn me, sugar. I work on a farm. I know what it's like to overstrain."
Twilight smiled. "You're right. I feel a bit woozy. I've never used that much magic before."
Outside there was another clap of thunder that rattled the windows of the library. "Hon, we're in trouble," Applejack said in a low voice. "The weather team is gettin overwhelmed. I know you're tired, but you got any magic that can stop this?"
"No," Twilight admitted. "Weather magic is very advanced study. I'm not close to that yet. Sorry."
Applejack turned. "Hey, Zecora? You got anything that can stop this storm? Anything?"
The zebra shook her head. "Helping ponyfolk I can do, but against this rain I am just like you."
"I don't know anypony that could stop something like this, except Princess Celestia."
"Hon, we sure could use her help," said Applejack.
"You're right," Twilight agreed. She tried to magically get her inkwell and parchment, but had to set them back down a moment later. "Woo, a bit dizzy."
"Allow me," Rarity offered, seeing what was happening. She used her own magic to bring over the writing tools. "I have received many complements on my penmanship."
"Thanks Rarity," said Twilight. "Uhhm, take a letter. Princess Celestia. Urgent! Terrible storm hitting Ponyville. Weather team cannot stop it. Ponies injured. Town in great danger. Please help us. Twilight Sparkle."
"A bit lacking in the formalities, but under the circumstances understandable," said Rarity. "There! Ready to be delivered."
"I forgot!" Twilight exclaimed. "Spike's sick! Even if he was awake, he's not strong enough to send this. We'll have to get a pegasus to fly this to the princess."
"Aww, this stinks!" cried out Rainbow Dash. Treating Rainbow's burn, Zecora paused. "No, not that glop you're putting on me. It smells okay. It's just Ponyville needs me and I'm useless! I could fly that letter to Canterlot in a flash. Maybe even impress the Wonderbolts. But here I am leaving everypony hanging."
Zecora continued applying the odd green jelly to Rainbow's back and wings. "In the bed you must stay. Trust in others to save the day."
"I... ahhh... I could fly it," said Fluttershy meekly, then she cringed as something else crashed outside.
"We appreciate it," Applejack answered. "Honest we do, but you're not a strong flyer. This wind would knock you every which way."
Just then Daisy stuck her head through the door. "The horror! The horror! There's been a collapse and the mayor's trapped! We need help!"
"Right! Everypony that's free, come on! Not you, Twilight. If you're up to it, you gotta find someone to deliver that note! Don't you worry. We'll help the mayor. And we'll get though this. We're sturdy ponies round these parts. We can handle anything."
At that moment the door burst open again. "Doctor Pinkie is here!"
Applejack gave a loud gruff sigh. "Except that!"
As the other ponies rushed past Pinkie, she bounced over to Twilight. "I was sitting listening the wind going WOOOOOO and I thought what a great time to fly kites but then I heard some ponies were hurt so I thought I couldn't fly kites while ponies were hurt that would be terrible so I came over here to cheer everypony up and if they are cheered up they'll feel better and if they feel better then we can all fly kites together!"
"That's great, Pinkie." Twilight tried to stand up, but her legs still felt weak. "Listen, I have another job for you. A very important job. This is a letter to the princess, telling her we need help. Rainbow Dash is hurt and the wind is too strong for Fluttershy. I need you to find another pegasus to deliver it."
"You can count on me!" said Pinkie as she saluted, took the scroll and rushed out the door.
"Was that a good idea?" Rainbow asked. "And who is she going to get?"
Twilight gave a small shrug. "I'm sure Pinkie will come through. Yes. Sure of it. I hope."
Outside the storm's fury was hitting Ponyville hard. Thunder crashed, the wind roared and the rain was becoming a torrent. But somehow Pinkie Pie bounded along like it wasn't even there. A delivery pegasus, she thought to herself. Delivery pegasus. Then she realized, of course, Ponyville had a delivery pegasus.
A few minutes later Pinkie returned to the library, just as Applejack and the others were returning with the major. "Easy, mayor," said Applejack. "Come inside and set yourself down."
"Thank you," the mayor replied. "Thank you all. This is a disaster!"
"Don't you worry none," Applejack said. "We're sending a call for help to Princess Celesia herself."
"The letter is on it's way!" Pinkie exclaimed. "I gave it to our mail pony and she took off zoom!"
"Mail pony?" Applejack got a terrible sinking feeling. "You mean...?"
"Ditzy Doo!" Pinkie said happily.
"Featherbrain?" cried Rainbow Dash.
"Derpy Hooves!" yelled several others.
"Why do you call her that?" asked Twilight. "Ditzy is nice."
"She's very nice," replied Applejack. "We don't mean to be mean. She's just a bit off plumb. You said yourself she stuck a muffin in your mail slot one time."
"Two actually," Twilight corrected.
"She's a bubblehead," grumbled Rainbow Dash. "During the winter wrap up, she flew the wrong way to bring back the southern birds. Last year too!"
"Then why do you have her on that team?" asked Twilight.
"It's still better that way," said Applejack. "One year she was on the planting team. Come harvest time we had plants in the strangest places. Including a corn field where the corn was planted in tic-tac-toe design." Applejack glanced over at Pinkie. "Guess who she was playing with?"
Pinkie grinned. "I finished with the ice early that year. And I won!"
"Derpy is probably halfway to Prance," said Rainbow Dash. "It's up to the weather team now. What's left of them."
In the royal castle of Canterlot, Princess Luna sat on her throne, in charge of Equestria and the night. But the moon was up and at the moment, there was little else to do. It wasn't like it was so many years ago. This was the city that never goes to bed, known for its very active night life. Royal duties extended into the night as well, so different from the Equestria of old. But still there were times like tonight. No servants moving. None of Celestia's ceremonial guards. Just Luna. Alone.
Alone except for a dripping wet pegasus with funny eyes. Where had she come from? "Hi. Do you have any muffins? It was a rough flight."
Luna was taken aback by this strange request from a very odd pony. "Muffins? I suppose. Perhaps the kitchen has some. Who are you?"
"I'm Ditzy Doo!" the pegasus replied. "I brought a message from Ponyville."
"Oh, yes. I remember it. How is Ponyville?"
"Being destroyed," Ditzy said plainly.
"What?" Luna took the scroll and quickly read through it. "This is terrible!" She rushed over to the nearest window facing the direction of Ponyville. Normally the small town could be seen far off, but now in the distance she could only see ugly, raging storm clouds. "My sister is visiting Fillydelphia. It would be too late by the time I could contact her. But I don't know if I can do this."
"The ponies in my town don't think I can do things either," said Ditzy. "I try my best, but I get distracted and make mistakes."
"And yet you got their letter though that storm," said Luna. The princess was silent with thought for a moment. "There is no time to reach Celestia. They have called for help and Canterlot will answer. Come with me Ditzy. We're flying to Ponyville!"
"Oh good, they have yummy muffins there," said Ditzy. "Just don't eat the ones Applejack makes!"
Back at the library, all the immediate injuries had been treated. Spike had been moved to the basement, but it was still full of boxes the last librarian had left behind and Twilight hadn't sorted through yet. There wasn't room to try and move any ponies down there. Now they waited, for something good or something bad.
Rarity had also made an extra trip out into the storm and brought back her cat Opalescence who retreated to the basement. Rarity did her best not to show it, but she was miserable. She had dried off somewhat, but she was still damp, her mane was a wreck and her tail would take forever to untangle. She longed for a nice hot soak at the spa, but knew that wouldn't be anytime soon. Along with Applejack, who also looked dishevelled, they checked on Rainbow Dash. "My, aren't we a bedraggled trio?"
"I guess so," Rainbow replied. "Whatever that means. AJ, your family okay?"
"Oh sure. We got a deep root cellar. I'm sure my brother has them all tucked away. How you feeling, sugar?"
"I'm okay. It doesn't hurt much anymore. That goop Zecora put on me helped a lot. But... but I think I'm gonna be grounded for a while. Maybe a long time." Rainbow gave a slight chuckle. "I guess a thunderbolt will keep me out of the Wonderbolts. Kinda funny, huh?"
"Now you hush that talk," Applejack said. "After all this is over, you're comin back to the farm with me. We'll get you plenty of rest and some of Granny's good old apple vegetable soup. We'll slap some more of Zecora's magic mud on you and you'll be back in the sky in no time!"
"Yes, and then I'll design you the most stunningly fabulous outfit," Rarity added. "You'll shine like the sun when you are doing those flips and turns. Those Wonderbolts will be pleading with you to join them."
Rainbow Dash forced a weak smile. "Yeah. That sounds great. I'll be... living the dream."
Wind blew through the room as the door opened. Two more pegasus ponies entered and collapsed. They were quickly tended to as the door was forced shut again.
"No more," moaned Stormy. "Can't anymore. So tired."
"Sorry, mayor," said Firefly. "We've tried pushing it, blowing it, drilling through it, kicking it. Nothing works! We've failed. We couldn't stay up there any longer. Our wings are like pudding."
"Pudding?" Pinkie Pie's eyes lit up. "We have pudding? Cause I love pudding! I even wrote a song about pudding! Oh pudding, sweet pudding MMMPH!"
Applejack crammed a hoof in Pinkie's mouth to quiet her. "Pinkamena Pie, we ain't got no puddin! Now you sit down and hush!"
"Yef mahhm," Pinkie squeeked.
"You've done your best," said the mayor. "All of you here, I'm very proud of you. How many are still up there?"
"No one," replied Rainbow Dash.
"What? But... there must be!"
"They were the last ones left. Look around you, mayor. My whole team is down!" The mayor's eyes widened slightly. She and everyone else in the room knew what that meant. The town was defenseless.
"No, there is one more," said Firefly. "I couldn't see who it was, but somepony flew past us as we were landing."
"But who is it?" Rainbow wondered. "Derpster is gone and there is no... other......uhhm, where is...?"
The other ponies all had the same realization. "Oh no," said Rarity, looking around. "She couldn't have!"
"Fluttershy," Twilight breathed. "My telescope!" Ignoring her weakness, Twilight forced another teleport up to the top floor of the library. The effort made her head spin and her legs shake, but she ignored it as she started to search the sky.
"Can you see her?" Rarity called up. "No, this must be a misconception. We are simply overlooking her. Maybe checking on Spike. Yes."
"It's hard to see anything," Twilight called back. "No, wait. It is! It's Fluttershy! She's up there! She's trying to push the storm!"
"Is she crazy?" cried Rainbow. "My whole weather patrol together couldn't stop it! She doesn't have a chance!"
"No," said Applejack, her voice cracking slightly. "No, she doesn't. But bless her heart, she's sure is brave to try."
In the sky, Fluttershy felt like a thousand ponies were stomping her at the same time. The roar of the wind was monstrous and lightning crackled around her. She wanted to cry. She wanted to find the deepest cave she could and curl up inside it. But she thought of her friends down below. They needed her. Ponyville needed her. Her little animals, they had to be so scared. And Rainbow Dash. She thought of that horrible sight of Rainbow crashed, her feathers still smoking. That bolt of lightning. If Rainbow hadn't been there, it might have hit her. Fluttershy knew she had to try. So she pushed at the clouds and bucked wildly. If she could only slow the storm a little bit. Somehow weaken it. Help was coming. Even a minute might make the difference.
Then she was falling, spinning hooves over head, overwhelmed by the wind. She couldn't right herself. She had no idea which way was up. Her wings were limp. She was going to crash. "I thought I could help," she cried to herself. "I'm so sorry!"
"No, you did well," said a voice.
Fluttershy opened her eyes. The sky was calm and clear, the stars and moon shining brightly above her. "Pony heaven?"
"No, we're only above the storm." Fluttershy saw she was floating with Princess Luna and Ditzy Doo as well. "I sensed you falling and teleported you. You're very much alive. You're a brave pegasus to fight that storm alone."
Fluttershy lowered her head. "No, I'm not. I was terrified. There was just no one left. Our whole pegasus team is hurt. Oh princess, you've got to help! My friend Rainbow Dash, her wing was burned by lightning. I heard the nurse. It's not going to heal. She'll never fly again."
Rainbow Dash? Yes, Luna remembered that one. The energetic blue and rainbow pegasus. "I'll do all I can," Luna replied. "But first I'm sending you two to the ground. Tell everypony it will be okay."
"I can't see her!" Twilight Sparkle yelled down. "Fluttershy's gone! I can see her anywhere!"
"She's crashed," said Applejack, a sick feeling in her stomach. "I'm going out there. I'll find her!" Applejack started for the door, but just then Fluttershy and Ditzy appeared in the middle of the room. "What the hay?"
"Excuse me everypony," said Fluttershy. "It's going to be okay. Ditzy got the letter through. The princess is here to help us."
Twilight Sparkle carefully walked down the stairs, leaning against the side. "Thank you, Ditzy. Thank heavens. Princess Celestia will fix this in no time."
"No," Fluttershy responded. "Not Celestia. Princess Luna."
"Luna?" Twilight asked in surprise. "But... can she...? Oh my."
Luna had tried to sound reassuring to that shy pegasus, but in truth, she had never tried anything like this before. She looked up at the huge night sky. The stars. The beautiful full moon. Even though it had been her prison, it was still hers. The night belonged to her and she ruled it all.
Then she looked down at the swirling storm below her. Her horn and eyes began to glow. "You do not belong here. I am Luna of the royal family of Equestria. I am ruler of the night, princess of the moon. And in the name of the moon, I will banish you!"
Down at the library, a sudden bright light poured in through every window. The ponies all closed their eyes and ducked their heads. All except for Pinkie and Ditzy, who looked out a window and made "Ooooooo" sounds as though watching fireworks.
Then it was over. No rain, no howling wind. The sudden silence was jarring. Twilight and Applejack cautiously opened the door and saw a clear moonlit sky. "She... she did it," Twilight said softly.
"Whoa!" Applejack exclaimed and jumped as a light enveloped Twilight and many others in the library. Then as sudden as it came, it was gone. "What was that? Twilight, you okay?"
"Okay?" Twilight repeated. "I... I'm fine. Wow. I'm not weak or dizzy anymore."
A very loud cry of "AWWWW YEAH!" caught everypony's attention. Rainbow Dash sprang into the air, making several fast circles around the room. "Check it out! Good as new!" The other formerly hurt ponies were also happily jumping up as well, though not with the same amount of outburst as Rainbow Dash.
"It was Princess Luna," Fluttershy explained. "Oh this is so wonderful!"
"Where is the princess?" Applejack asked. She stepped outside to see Luna hovering over the town for a moment, then fly off in the direction of Sweet Apple Acres. "What? She's leaving? But we ain't thanked her."
"Princess Celestia told me in one of her letters Luna is still adjusting to being around other ponies." Twilight explained. "Maybe she's feeling a little... shy."
There was a sudden whip of wind as a blue blur shot past Twilight and Applejack into the night. "Now where's Dash going?" Applejack took a step forward as something brushed her hoof. She looked down. An apple. Not just one, but many scattered around. "Aw horsefeathers. Look at this. My apples are everywhere. This wind must have wrecked the trees. My whole crop." Applejack dropped her head low.
"Don't worry Applejack," Twilight said. "We'll help you gather them up. We'll get your farm back into shape and get the town fixed too. We're sturdy ponies... round these parts. Right?"
Applejack raised her head slowly, then grinned. "Right pardner!"
"Hey, what's been going on?" said Spike, walking up and rubbing his eyes. "I woke up in the basement with a cat in my face. What's with all the ponies here? Did I miss a party?"
Twilight gave a small smile. "Something like that."
After dispelling the storm and using her healing magic on the ponies below, Luna flew down for a closer look. In the light of the full moon, she could see Ponyville was badly damaged. She didn't have the magic to restore buildings. That would take hard work from the citizens of Ponyville. She thought for a moment about landing, but didn't know what to say. Celestia was the one with inspirational speeches. And Luna didn't want the ponies bowing to her. Not with all they had been through.
Instead she started for home, flying over a farm which was also in rough shape. She could see apples everywhere. And she also saw three young fillies jumping around as they came out of one of the buildings. Smiling, Luna swooped low and gave them a wave of her wing as she passed by.
Then she was up in the sky, headed for Canterlot. Flying alone through the clear cold night felt good. She felt good. Maybe better than she had ever felt since her return. As Nightmare Moon, she had brought fear to Ponyville. Tonight maybe she made up for that.
"Yo Luna!" The princess stopped puzzled as the blue and rainbow pegasus flew up to her, then bowed a bit awkwardly. "Uhhm, I mean Princess. I'm Rainbow Dash. I just wanted to thank you. For my wings I mean. One was burnt pretty badly. Had me worried. And healing my friends too, the whole weather team. That was cool. And saving Ponyville. I just wanted to say you're awesome."
"I'm glad I could help," Luna replied. "You're welcome."
Rainbow started to fly off, but then stopped and turned. "Oh and if you see the Wonderbolts, tell them I'm one of the best flyers in Equestria. Cause it's true!"
Rainbow then flew away, but not without one of her big showoff spinning loops first. After watching her, Luna also flew off smiling. She envied her sister's student a bit, the one living in Ponyville. It was certainly an interesting place. No one in Canterlot would ever get her attention with "Yo Luna". And she had never been called awesome before.
"My dear Princess Celestia. By now I'm sure you have heard of the great storm that hit Ponyville. I'm not sure how much Luna has told you, but I do not exagerate -- two g's in that, Spike -- I do not exaggerate when I say she really saved the day for us all. Or saved the night. Rebuilding is keeping everypony busy, but it's going well. I'm learning a lot about carpentry. I've also learned sometimes we can doubt what our friends are capable of, but they can surprise us with what they are able to do, especially when we need them most. Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle. Okay Spike, send that."
The young dragon sealed the letter and magically blew it on its way. "What are we working on today?"
Twilight checked her clipboard as the mail slot in the front door clicked. "More work on Applejack's barn." Twilight had discovered that Spike had the talent of biting metal and spitting out nails. It was very useful with all the repairs being made.
Spike walked over to check the mail, then paused. "Uh, Twilight?"
"Not another muffin, is it?"
Spike held up a pastry. "No, it's a cheese danish."
Twilight sighed. "Oh Ditzy. I guess things are getting back to normal. Give me half of that. Oh, that reminds me. I need you to take another letter."
"Another letter?" asked Spike. "Who to?"
That evening in the royal castle, Princess Luna stirred and stretched, then noticed a scroll by her bed. She used her magic to pick it up and unroll it. "What's this?"
"Dear Princess Luna. I want to thank you for everything you did for Ponyville and everypony here. I also wanted to tell you that Pinkie Pie and Ditzy Doo have put their unique minds together and have come up with an idea. On the night of the next full moon, Ponyville will have its first Midnight Muffin party and you're invited. Nothing grandiose, no pomp, no big speeches. (Well, maybe a little one from the mayor.) Just good friends, fun and food. You don't have to be Princess Luna that night. Just Luna, our dear friend. Your dear friend, Twilight Sparkle."