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---
Years Prior to Fireball's Public Debut...
---

The Sky
(The Limit... For Now)

"Congratulations, everypony."

On a secluded, massive cloud, Rainbow Dash paced back and forth in front of a group of assembled pegasi.

"You are the very first officially enrolled class of the Supersonic Stormcloud Speedsters' School! You are here because you want to be the best of the best of the best! Short of landing a spot in the Wonderbolts, simply standing on this cloudspace right now is the greatest honor you can receive as a flyer..."

Rainbow Dash's grin showed teeth and energy.

"...and one day, I won't even have to make that qualifier. This school was created specifically to train up and coming pegasus ponies for the most demanding of flight tasks--but for those with a one-track mind, yes, the Wonderbolts will be watching closely for exceptional students, who will be placed in a special elite group to serve as their direct backups! So for those of you with dreams of fame and glory... well, if you put in the work, you too can have the awesome opportunity to be part of the S.S.S.S.S. Squad!"

Rainbow Dash paused in thought.

"Name's still a work in progress. Anyway, lessons start tomorrow, so make sure you're rested. Before you do, though, I've totally got some homework for you guys!"

The assembled ponies gave off murmurs of general disapproval.

"Hey, hey, now! That is NOT the can-do attitude I expect out of my pupils! Tonight, your homework is a one-page essay on just what you want out of this class... and out of life. And tell the truth! The only one who'll ever see it is me, and I've got nothing to gain from laughing at anypony's hopes and dreams... because odds are I share them. My aim is for you to come here green... and graduate mean!" She pumped a hoof in the air. "That sound like a plan to anypony?"

The class let out a cheer.

"Now THAT'S the spirit I'm talking about! See you starting tomorrow. Class dismissed!"

Rainbow Dash watched her class gradually fly off... and turned around once she was sure her work was done. In the process, she neglected to take notice of the single student who stayed behind--a young orange pegasus mare who finally got her teacher's attention by tugging on her wing.

"Hey, Rainbow Dash?"

Rainbow Dash turned around to see Scootaloo, wearing a small smile, and matched it. "Oh, hey, squirt. So, this is how it finally starts, huh?"

A blush appeared to complement Scootaloo's smile. "Yeah, looks like. You wanna know why each of us are here, right? Well, I can answer that already."

"Really now?" Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow, already fairly sure of what was coming.

"Mm-hmm." Scootaloo nodded. "You probably already know, but it's been my dream since I was a filly to become as great as you are. After waiting so many years, this is my best chance!"

The periwinkle pegasus beamed. "Got that right. Okay, answer accepted! I always liked your drive. But remember, if you're trying to be like me... well, that means you're trying to be the absolute best--like nopony EVER was. The road to that isn't always fun. Sometimes it can be draining... and sometimes it can really smart."

Rainbow Dash turned around, looked up towards the stratosphere, and sighed.

"You're the youngest student in my class, Scoots. I know you used to be my one-pony cheering squad, but some time's gone by since then. Is this still something you want to commit to? There's still a chance to change your mind, and follow what your heart really tells you."

After a half-minute of considering Rainbow Dash's words, Scootaloo joined her at her side. "Look, I'm a pegasus, right? Well, I think it's time I started acting like it. I've been ground-bound for too long. So whatever you need me to do, I'll do it. And then... we'll fly together."

Rainbow Dash's smile returned. "I'm okay with this idea. But only if it's at top speed the whole way."

"I wouldn't have it otherwise." Scootaloo stepped closer, matching her new teacher's smile, turned to the side, and wrapped her in a heartfelt hug.

Rainbow Dash fidgeted upon receiving her new student's embrace. "Huh? Scoots, wha-"

"Thanks for understanding, Dash. And that's not from the me who thinks you're totally awesome, but... from my heart. The one you just told me to listen to."

With a relenting sigh, Rainbow Dash returned the gesture. "Hey, it's what I'm here for. Especially now."

"And I'm really glad to hear that. Just so you know... this is the happiest day of my life."

---
Now...
---

Ponyville
Ponyville Stadium
(Still As Packed As If We Never Left)

The morning breeze ruffled Rainbow Dash's hair as she gazed into the distance, awaiting her opponent. While the years had taught her some valuable lessons in the art of patience, there never was any stopping her from getting restless before a race.

"Where is she?" she asked the clouds nearby...

"Rainbow!"

Rainbow Dash looked down to see Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle waving from the ground. She flew lower, hovering just over them. "Hey, guys! Came to see us off?"

"Not if we don't hafta! Y'all sure you wanna do this? We can still try to talk to Scootaloo when she gets here!"

Sweetie Belle nodded. "There's got to be a way we can make her see reason. Though Apple Bloom and I searched the entire town and miles outward last night and found no trace of her. Perhaps she hid in the skies?"

Rainbow Dash shook her head. "I... also checked said skies further outward and for longer than I really wanna admit. Nada. Wherever she hid, she-"

The conversation was interrupted by shouts and points from the gathered crowd. Sure enough, looking their way, one could make out a bright orange ball approaching fast.

In time, the ball came close enough to reveal a scarfed pony moving at cruising speeds until she reached the arena, whereupon she buzzed around the stands, then sailed, twirling upward, into the path of the sun. Once silhouetted by its light, she took a few seconds to pose before finally flying down to Rainbow Dash's level onstage.

"Your main attraction, as promised!" she addressed the crowd and her rival. "I'm here to race, and I'm here to win!"

Rainbow Dash flew closer. "Hey... Scootaloo?"

Scootaloo turned to face the blue pegasus with an annoyed glare. "I told you. To you, it's Fireball. Now and always."

"And I told you--you'll have to prove it. Unless you wanna... you know. Talk?"

Scootaloo raised an eyebrow. "What about?"

"Duh! Everything! Look, if this is still about what happened years back, I-"

"-haven't changed, the way I see it! You're still so conceited! You think everything's about you!" Scootaloo paused to calm down and catch her breath. "It's not. Well, not really. Look, all you need to know is that I'm doing this is as a final test for myself--and to prove to myself that chasing you for the longest was the biggest and dumbest mistake of my life."

And once more, she was in Rainbow Dash's face, simmering anger all too visible as their eyes met.

"As far as I'm concerned, you're my own personal Nightmare Moon. So prepare to get owned by the element of better than you."

The invocation of the name that had held Equestria in a grip of fear for a thousand years had an immediate effect on all gathered. Shocked and muted murmurs buzzed through the stadium, nervous looks crossed numerous ponies' faces as the tension hung thick in the very sky where the two rival pegasus ponies hovered...

...and Rainbow Dash's expression shifted from sympathetic to solemn.

"That does it. I thought about feeling just a little bit sorry for you... but if your mind's that made up, kid, then I think it's time I gave you your spanking."

Scootaloo scoffed. "Hah! Look at you finally trying to sound like some kind of big sister! Sorry, but it's a little late for that. Couple of days from now, all you'll be is a has-been!"

She slipped on her personal orange flight goggles, at the same time as Rainbow Dash slipped on yellow ones.

"Not if I put you in your place first," said the elder pegasus as the countdown to the starting bell began.

When it rang, neither heard it, but instead, a cry from the other in tandem:

"Bring it!"

One second later, two trails were all that could be seen at the starting gate... and three seconds later, a pink jet kicked wind into the stands...

---
"Fireball!"
A My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fanfiction
Chapter 2
by Bookish Delight, 2011-2012
All characters and referred properties belong to Hasbro.
---

Pinkie Flyer, Version 17
(Complete With Mock-Frosting Outer Trim)

"...and believe me... you won't want to miss a minute."

With a raising of her hoof, the feed was cut.

"Wheeeeeee!" Pinkie Pie twirled around in her chair. "I love it when a plan comes together! Gearloose's twin magic drives are keeping us cruising, Twilight's broadcast equipment's working without a hitch, and I've got enough cookies and candy to keep me going for days! Oh my gosh, Spike, it just feels so good to be back on the airwaves! Can you feel it too? Can you smell it? The sweet scent of spreading smiles from the spotlight?"

"More like the sweet scent of a subpoena." Spike crossed his forelegs. "You know if we're gonna have any chance of living this down, all of Equestria needs to love this broadcast, right? I mean, enough to not care about all the shows we just preempted."

"Hah! Ask me how much I'm worried!"

"Technically, I just did."

"And technically, not in the slightest! I've got the perfect event, I've got guests, and I've got my own winning material! What could possibly glmmmmph!"

Spike held his claw fast to Pinkie's mouth. "Just so you know, not even Twilight's ever survived saying that line. I doubt the two of us, even combined, could."
        
The pink pony nodded in agreement, then took a deep breath once Spike moved his claw away. "You're right, Spike. Gotta stay at least a little humble for this. Besides, if somepony really has enough of a stick up their backside to sue us, we'll just call up Apple Justice."

Pinkie Pie beamed with pride. Spike stared back, slack-jawed--eventually prompting her to blink. "What?" she finally asked.

"Um, Pinkie, Apple Justice... isn't... real."

Pinkie's smile remained unaffected. "Says you. I see her on TV every week... just like us!" She leant forward with a challenging leer. "Does that make us not-real too, Spike?"

Officially dumbfounded, Spike simply continued to stare. "I... I..."

Pinkie nodded in satisfaction. "Thought so. On in five!"

"B-but-..."

"Time's up! And stop stuttering!" She showed her teeth to the camera. "Welcome, one and everypony, to the race to decide all races! I'm Pinkie Pie, your Party In The Sky, and with me is my cohost, Spike!"

"But she's not... I-I mean-..."

"He's here to lay on the exposition! The floor's all yours, dragonboy, while I make preparations!"

"I-I, uh..." Spike shook his head to come back to his senses. "R-right! Thanks, Pinkie! Okay! In case you missed yesterday's Wonderbolts Derby--and its constant rebroadcasts--Rainbow Dash, the Wonderbolts' current head honcho, was challenged to a race by one of her original students, Scootaloo--or, 'Fireball,' as she wishes to now be called!"

The onscreen feed switched to video archives of Rainbow Dash flying and doing air tricks, with Spike relegated to voiceover.

"But longtime Dashers know that that kind of challenge doesn't come cheap. Not only does Rainbow Dash's celebrity status make her one of the busiest and thus unavailable ponies in all of Equestria--but nopony has ever gotten up the nerve to challenge her in years! She's lightning fast, her maneuverability's off the charts..."

The video feed played, in sequence, Rainbow Dash breaking the sound barrier, drilling through a mass of clouds, and her infamous impromptu demolition of Applejack's old and dilapidated Ponyville barn, which yielded a rainbow mushroom cloud.

"...and she's got special moves for every occasion."

The feed switched back to the airborne studio, whereupon Pinkie Pie returned to the camera. "Well said! Still, there is one thing our challenger has going for her. Can you guess what that is, Spike?"

"Oh, absolutely! Scootaloo's been out of the public eye for so long that nopony knows just what tricks she's got up her sleeve... not even Rainbow Dash! She made quite a showing against her opponent yesterday, and if she can keep up that kind of energy, there's no telling what could happen!" He looked over to Pinkie. "How'd I do?"

Pinkie blinked. "...I was just going to say that her short-cut mane makes for less wind resistance--but your answer was way way better! Great job!"

Spike laughed sheepishly. "Hehe. I do try."

"We'll go with it! That's right, viewers--Scootaloo here is a complete unknown! She disappeared off the map years ago, making her the perfect example of a princesslunaifyourewatchingthisrightnowimsosorryinadvance dark horse! Fortunately, we've got just the cure for that--but first, I think it's time we checked in on our two racers as they glide through the Everfree Forest!" In excitement, Pinkie Pie stood on her hind legs, and pointed her front ones in various directions as she barked out orders. "Cue up the long range cameras! Fire the afterburners! Deploy the Pink-Eyes! We're going liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive-"

---

Everfree Forest
Stage 1-1: High-Speed History
(Challenge: Ultimate Slalom)

Rainbow Dash hated to admit it, but even she couldn't risk too high of a speed if she wanted to avoid crashing into any of the dense, sturdy fauna which made up the Everfree Forest. Fortunately, she had enough faith in her skills to allow herself to maintain a constant pace. Having flown through the forest before several times during training and class lessons, she'd learned to stay as low to the ground as possible to avoid branches, but just high enough to avoid poisonous flowers.

She'd also learned to keep her eyes straight ahead, visually probing every shadow and every vertical line in the distance, so as to be able to shift her angle from horziontal to vertical at a moment's notice, whenever any sort of natural obstacle appeared in her immediate view. And so she went, shifting back and forth, and sometimes upside down; her body a constantly rotating, undulating bullet, weaving in and out of the path of every tree to come into her vision, and even a few to their sides. To the view of the pink-painted cameras who were following alongside, yellow trails of light could be seen wrapping around every tree in Rainbow Dash's path as she speedily and expertly navigated the forest, only fading long after she had made her presence known there.

Every break in the foliage, she used to catch her breath; every lake, every stream, every cave, and every once in a while, every house. She resisted the urge to look back as she passed Zecora's old hut, technically still in use but gradually showing signs of abandonment as its resident had long since found a far better home in which to pursue her studies.

The bridge where she'd proven her loyalty against a trio of malevolent illusions; the dense, secluded area where she and Gilda had once gotten hopelessly lost during an eclipse; several ultimately failed scouting sites for Sweet Apple Farms; on and on she went, memories of the past zooming by in a blur as fast as she was; and only when the forest had thinned out a bit was she able to look over in short bursts, only to see that Scootaloo was copying her maneuvering techniques almost to the letter. She was also slightly ahead due to her flying faster--clearly throwing caution to the wind.

Hmm. Hot-dogging risk-taker. Maybe things haven't changed all that much... wait, what's that up ahead...?

Seeing an all-too-familiar structure up ahead, Rainbow Dash decided that it was time she decided the race's pace for a while. With a quick cry of "Hey!" to her rival, she poured on the speed, making a beeline for...

---

"...Everfree Castle?" Pinkie gaped at the feed from her own cameras. "Whoa, I forgot all about that place!"

Spike took a step back. "Wait, haven't you been there before? It was the original home of the Elements of Harmony. You quested there to defeat Nightmare Moon! How do you forget something like that?"

"That was years ago, Spike. I still remember going there, but I don't remember it looking like that!" She pointed to her feed, which showed a lustrous, regal, but most importantly complete building in the distance. "Last time I was there, it was barely half a castle! Besides, like most ponies, I make it a point to go into Everfree as little as possible!"

"I guess I don't blame you. Twilight kept me up to speed, though. A few years after the whole Nightmare Moon thing, some ponies got together and decided the castle was a worthy landmark, so they paid to have it restored. The original plan was to have it turned into a museum; which they did for a while."

"Huh." Pinkie scratched her head. "So why's it still look kinda... unused now? Abandoned? Where is everypony?"

Spike chuckled. "Actually, you answered that question just a little while ago. Since the dangerous and mostly-still-uncharted Everfree Forest surrounds the castle, it... didn't get much tourism. Imagine that. The museum folded pretty quickly."

Pinkie shivered. "I get it. Even if you were a unicorn or pegasus and could get to it easily... hoo boy, you didn't want to stay there!"

"Exactly! But it looks like we're here now! Let's see what happens as they tackle the inside!"

---

Everfree Forest
Stage 1-2: Castle Crashing
(Challenge: Indoor Flight)

The few tourists who had attended the Everfree Castle Museum before its imminent shutdown often never got past the main hall without being herded elsewhere. All would stop, hypnotized at the immediate surroundings, whose drab gray building stones had been repainted in pearl tones and had jewels embedded throughout. Even through the dusts of misuse which had settled over the years, the castle still had the air of an unearthed regal treasure as opposed to the near-ruin it once had been. Going at Rainbow Dash's speeds, it was a rainbow unto itself; however, it was also a rainbow that she was less able to appreciate as she darted from room to room, looking for her opponent.

Main hall, nothing; thrones, nothing (a shame, as on a more casual visit, she probably would have played around with them for a bit); kitchen, studies, a lavishly restored princess's bedroom (again, such an opportunity missed!)... all nothing.

Back in the main hall, Rainbow Dash growled in frustration. Where was she-

Then she remembered. There was one more very important place.

Zooming to one side of the castle, she quickly found a spiral staircase and flashed up it as quickly as possible, to the castle's highest tower--and the place where she and her friends had originally confronted Nightmare Moon. From what Twilight had once told her, that tower had become something very different now... and as soon as Rainbow Dash entered it, that difference became all too clear.

She remembered the name the second she saw it. Where once had been rubble was now the Tower of Tribute. It reminded her of Celestia's main hall in Canterlot--only dedicated entirely to the ponies who had put their lives on the line to saving Equestria from all those who would do it harm.

Along the walls, surrounding all who would enter, were stained glass windows, each one designed in the image of a different pony who had gone above and beyond duty's call: Star Swirl. Clover. Platinum. Cookie. Puddinghead. Pansy. Hurricane. Celestia. Luna. Twilight. Fluttershy. Rarity. Applejack. Rainbow Dash. Pinkie Pie.

In the room's center, Scootaloo looked around, observing each window with an awed expression on her face... that was, until she heard Rainbow Dash's entrance. She looked behind herself, then back up at one of the windows. Rainbow Dash followed her eyes--and gaped, getting the message just as Scootaloo turned around with slanted eyebrows and a toothy grin.

Rainbow Dash held up a hoof. "Ohhhhhh, no you don't. Don't you dare. Scootaloo, I'm warning you... you do it, and-"

Scootaloo didn't wait for the pegasus to finish her threat. "...whoops! Sorry, but wrong name! Thanks for playing, though."

The sound of Rainbow Dash's window shattering marked Scootaloo's exit from the castle--and a second later, the destruction of Commander Hurricane's window was completely drowned out by the roar of a furious Rainbow Dash.

---

As the race climbed into the skies, a small square showing Pinkie Pie cut into the live footage.

"Whoa, check me out! I'm a picture-in-a-picture! No, wait: Pinkie-In-A-Picture! Anyway, that's some awesome action going on outside, isn't it? Our challenger's actually keeping up with our champion move for move, and still finding time to rub it in her face! I wouldn't want to be Rainbow Dash right now!" She walked over to a set of comfortable recliners. "But how did we get here in the first place? And how might this race turn out? They say the past holds the key to the future--so to help try to answer these questions, we've rounded up some notables from Scootaloo's life, to remind us all of how she used to be!" With that, she gestured to a unicorn and earth pony sitting in the seats beside her. "Please join me in welcoming Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle!"

Sweetie Belle waved. "Hello, Pinkie and Equestria! Glad to be here, especially given the circumstances."

Apple Bloom waved as well. "Totally! Thank you kindly for lettin' us follow Scoots around."

Pinkie smiled. "No problem! But you two aren't my only guests of honor!"

Apple Bloom blinked. "We ain't?"

"Nope! There's one more figure in all of this that that I want to bring to light! One who I managed to pick up from her vacation spot while you two were fixed on Scootaloo's racing feed!"

Apple Bloom gasped. "Y'all mean... one of her parents?"

"W-W-What?" Pinkie wiped her brow sheepishly. "Ahahahahahhahahaha.... hahahahahhaha.... hahaha... gosh, looking into that probably wouldn't have been a bad idea. Especially before we started our trip." She sighed. "Little late now, though..."

Sweetie Belle cocked her head in confusion. "So, if not one of them, then who...?"

"I'm naturally speaking of her old schoolteacher--and yours! C'mon out, Cheerilee! You're clearly the missing link to all of this!"

The two ponies sitting close by gasped as a smiling cherry-colored earth pony walked onset. A squeal of "Miss Cheerilee!?" was heard by both, in stereo, just before they jumped out of their seats to tackle their former teacher.

"Oh, gosh, girls, that's quite the welcome!" Cheerilee hugged them back. "I'm so very glad to see the both of you as well! Oh, and you don't have to call me 'Miss' anymore, by the way. You're grown enough. How have you been?"

Sweetie Belle shrugged after letting Cheerilee go. "Stable, if nothing else."

"Well, you know what they say--no news is good news." The three sat back down. "Especially in this case. Though it looks like the last of my graduating class can finally be accounted for."

"Indeed!" said Pinkie. "With that, let's get straight into the interviewing! Now, Cheerilee, you taught Scootaloo as a young filly, right?"

Cheerilee nodded. "That's correct."

"Whew! Thank goodness, I was afraid I might've messed that up too. What was she like?"

Cheerilee 'hmmm'ed in recollection. "I suppose the three best words would be... 'enthusiastic, when conscious.' I had to scold her more than once during any lecture I held on complicated subjects to keep her awake. Still, when she decided to join the class, she was always a bouncing ball--sometimes literally! And of course, there was always one subject which got and kept her immediate attention... Rainbow Dash." She smiled. "I used to sometimes find ways to tie my lectures into the principles of flight just to keep her engaged. It seemed to be the easiest way."

Apple Bloom gasped. "I knew it! Always wondered why y'all would just switch up your lessons like that... then I saw Scootaloo actually listenin' to em."

Cheerilee smiled and nodded. "Indeed. Strangest thing, though--for all of her interest in Rainbow Dash and flight in general, I'd never seen her making so much of a hover at recess. Always with the wagons and scooters... though given her name, I suppose..."

"Believe me, Cheerilee, we noticed that too." Sweetie Belle nodded. "When she gave that all up cold turkey to go to Rainbow Dash's flight school, it just felt really sudden, you know?"

Pinkie Pie cut back in. "Wait, wait, wait, let me get this straight. What you're saying is, we're dealing with a pegasus who never flew all that much but still wanted to be just like a Wonderbolt in the making?"

Cheerilee nodded. "I'm sure the irony's lost on nopony. I even remember her heading up a Rainbow Dash fan club at one point." She looked at the live feed of the race. "Given recent events, though, you'd never know it..."

Sweetie Belle sighed. 'We're still trying to figure that one out. But to do that, we have to keep up with her. Thanks again for helping us do that, Pinkie Pie."

"Oh, no problem! And Cheerilee, thanks so much for your time."

Cheerilee giggled. "Oh, think nothing of it! Honestly, it's good to have some excitement in my life again."

"Glad to hear it! We'll be back with more from our guests soon, so sit tight, everypony! Before we get back to the race, a word from our sponsors!" Pinkie smiled to the camera, and the room went silent...

...

"Spike, I said cut. Sponsors."

Spike hissed from off-screen. "We don't have any sponsors yet."

Pinkie froze. "...right. Because..." She slumped... then perked up again. "Wait, sure we do! Sugarcube Corner! That's all anypony ever needs! Quick, Spike, I need a jingle! What rhymes with 'Corner'...?"

"I, um..." Spike pored over his copy of The Big Book of Words (by Twilight Sparkle; Revision Number Three Hundred Thirty-Five)!, continuously flipping through pages. "...nothing good. 'Goner', 'mourner,' 'coroner'..."

Pinkie sighed again. "Oh, I give up. Just give the race its full picture back..."

---

Everfree Forest
Bonus Stage 1-X: The Skies Above
(Challenge: Cutting Loose!)

The green canopy of the Everfree Forest became smaller and smaller as both pegasus ponies rose from its vertical boundaries, relishing the opportunity before them.

In seconds, the racers stretched their wings... and with energetic flaps and thrusts, the two burst forth in twin explosions, their signature colors both shining around and trailing behind them.

For Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash, the skies became a blur of blue and white, the wind sliding across their faces as they made sure to breathe through their noses for as long as possible. As much as Rainbow Dash wanted to breathe deep and enjoy the cool ultra-breeze, she knew that doing so--would risk inviting a rush of air even she wouldn't be able to take in fast enough.

Besides, an open mouth would mean drag. Drag would mean lower speed, and in this race, everything counted.

The two cruised in high gear, twisting around each other, climbing higher into the sky, then descending; parting in horizontal arcs, then reuniting; and finally, slowing down to conserve energy.

"Still mad?" Scootaloo taunted as they flew side-by-side.

"Kinda, yeah," Rainbow Dash replied. "Make no mistake: you're paying for my window. Both of 'em."

"Beat me and we'll talk. Safe bet, don't you think?"

"Maybe. I..." Rainbow Dash did her best to hide catching her breath. "...I won't lie. You're pretty good."

For once, Scootaloo directed a genuine smile towards the elder pegasus. "Thanks..."

Then her competitive look returned.

"...but I already know. I don't need your compliments... or your pity."

"Figured you'd go that route. So I think it's time I ended this race quick and early. Give you the chance to concede out of pure embarrassment, you know?"

Scootaloo laughed. "Oh, really? And how do you plan to do that?"

Facing forward, Rainbow Dash went into her most aerodynamic formation. Muzzle forward. Wings and limbs as close as possible.

Speed doubled in an instant.

"By digging into my patented bag of tricks!" she said, just before leaving Scootaloo completely behind.

---

It'd been a while since she'd done this. Since she'd had to do this. But maybe, just maybe, if she could shock Scootaloo into seeing reason; or at the very least make the kid see the futility of challenging her in the first place...

She poured on the energy, converting it all into pure velocity. The world went faster. Faster. Faster still... until she could feel herself getting close. She did a quick check of the horizon to make sure no dangers were present... then allowed herself to let go.

The yellow light around her doubled its output. Lightning began to crackle around her as her body appeared to stretch, contort...

...and with a final thrust...

Boom.

Rainbow shockwaves dazzled all for miles around, but Rainbow Dash never saw them. She rarely ever did.

Scootaloo, gone. Everfree Forest, gone. Entire miles, coming up--then gone in an instant. She couldn't stay supersonic indefinitely, of course, but then again, she didn't plan to. Only until she was a safe distance away from Scootaloo; then she'd call for an early end to-

She saw a fireball fly beside her just then, at comparable speeds.

What.

She took the chance to look behind her for a moment... and in that moment, saw brilliant red, orange and yellow waves booming behind Scootaloo.

She couldn't talk now. Not yet. Instead she kept the speed up, waiting, hoping, for the fireball to tire. When it was clear that wasn't going to happen, however, she gradually slowed her flight. The fireball followed suit, until they were both back to a subsonic cruise.

Scootaloo was the first to speak. "All right! Sonic Rainboom, meet Sonic Sunburst! Cool, huh? Or should I say hot!"

Rainbow Dash could barely find the words. "What the... but how... I thought you weren't trying to be me!"

"I'm not trying to be you! I'm trying to beat you! Which means knowing your enemy--I've studied all your moves! You think I'd challenge you if I couldn't even break the sound barrier? Come on!"

"I'm not your enemy, Scoots!" Rainbow Dash yelled. "Get that through your head already!"

"It's Fireball! And gosh, it's so weird you keep saying that. Your name is 'Rainbow Dash,' right?"

"Yeah, but-"

"-but nothing! If that's your name?" Scootaloo gritted her teeth. "Then we're plenty rivals. And you're still going down!"

---

"Whoa! Talk about tensions flaring!" said Pinkie-In-A-Picture as the two pegasi streaked off again. "We've got all thrusters on maximum and we can barely keep up! But we wouldn't have it any other way, 'cause the Pan-Equestria Challenge is quite the journey, covering every major territory Equestria has to offer! Fortunately, it's also a freeform race; so long as our two ponies touch upon every place the race asks for a set amount of time, it doesn't matter what route they take! Now that they've left Everfree... Spike, check the map! Where're they headed next?"

"Calculating now... based on their current direction, it looks like they're headed to Appleloosa!"

Apple Bloom gasped. "Big Sis's town? We're there!"

"You got that right! We'll see you in Appleloosa, folks--the first populated area of this race! How will the addition of extra ponies affect things? You'll just have to stay tuned to find out!"

---

Canterlot
Canterlot Castle, Throne Room
(This Is Where The Magic Happens)

Amidst a swirling flurry of words and letters, Twilight Sparkle appeared--and promptly prostrated--before the Solar Princess of Equestria. "Your Highness, I return with news of my latest mission."

Princess Celestia smiled serenely. "Then rise, my faithful student. What have you to report?"

At her Princess's behest, Twilight rose to a standing position... then began hopping up and down in giddy squeals. "Ohmigosh! Princess Celestia, I did it, I did it! I made it to the moon and back with just one spell! I didn't need the Elements of Harmony or anything! It was so cool! Though I did need to cast a breathing spell while I was up there, as predicted. I wonder how Princess Luna survived up there all that-"

"Mare In The Moon," said Princess Luna, cutting off Twilight as she walked in. "Lots of air to be had when you don't need any. Not that I noticed much; I wasn't quite myself back then." She mock-scoffed. "Honestly, all these years, and we're still talking about that? I've brought three new holidays to Equestria and devised ways for crops to grow without sunlight since my return! Why doesn't anypony ever talk about those?" She scoffed again, looking straight at Twilight with a half-smile, half sneer. "Oh, right. Because that doesn't make for good TV."

"Oh, Luna, let Twilight be. As if she could have predicted what nonsense would come to fill the airwaves these days. "Besides, if you really want to see what makes good TV..." With but a thought, Celestia teleported a set before them, already powered on and showing Rainbow Dash cruising at high speeds in the sky, with Scootaloo trailing just behind. "Not that I'm complaining yet, but this has been on all day for some odd reason..."

"That's what I meant to talk to you about! Has Twilight told you how this came to pass? The TV feed, I mean, not the race." Luna manifested a remote control in front of herself, then proceeded to press its buttons with her horn through repeated nods. "For moon's sake, who made this clunky interaction device? I can't see anything like this--accursed newfangled magitechnology, you and Twilight keep so much about it from me!--tell me, are the channels actually changing or not...?"

"They're changing, all right," said Celestia (while suppressing several giggles), "but they're all showing the same thing." She looked at Twilight, who looked away bashfully. "Do you know something about this?"

Twilight sighed. "It happened while I was on my mission. Pi-..." She stopped herself. "Somepony who I share my central communications center with took over all the signals without my permission. Even if I disabled that center, I'd have to go to every other one and shut down all of Equestria's TV for who knows how long while I reset everything back to normal... and then upgrade the equipment so this doesn't happen again."

Celestia nodded. "That is pretty severe. Any idea who was behind this, and why?"

"Yes on both accounts. You'll probably see her pop up again before long. And I can sympathize as to why she probably did it, I truly can, but-"

"Oh, never mind why! The simple fact of the matter here is that somepony has stolen television! A service meant for all of Equestria! Is this not a crime worthy of punishment? Of banishment?" Luna rubbed her hooves together with a toothy grin. "One might say I know the perfect place..."

Celestia laughed. "Oh, my dear sister, you of all ponies know that moon-sending is only for the most grievous of crimes. Besides, Twilight is the one who spearheaded the original Equestrian Broadcast Project. The frequencies are all hers--thus, I think we should let her handle this matter."

"Huh?" Twilight did a startled double-take. "Princess, I..."

"Let kindness and rationale reign over our fair land," said Celestia, extending a hoof to the heavens. "Let us henceforth rule with honor! Is that not the promise we made once we were finally reunited, sister? Besides... is this not entertaining for you as well? The speed and spirit on display here--it certainly reminds me of our filly days..."

"I..." Luna hesitated as she watched the screen. "...I have to say it does ring nostalgic." She grinned mischievously. "Though when we raced, we used to count laps in terms of full planet rotations..."

Twilight nodded. "Theft or not, I must admit the culprit is--for once--putting the signals to good use." After some thought and a shrug, she teleported three bags in front of them. "Popcorn, Princesses?"

"Ahhh, Twilight, my favored student..." Celestia sighed in satisfaction as the three munched away. "You have truly learned so much... and you know us all too well."

---

As the three unicorns--two winged, one ordinary--gazed, entranced, at the screen, they were profoundly unaware of a hooded figure watching from the doorway, whispering to herself.

"So... the Fireball has still come to pass. Despite our best efforts, events have held fast. Twilight cannot possibly be oblivious to this fact."

The figure turned and slowly retreated towards her laboratory.

"Perhaps it is time I reminded her of our pact."

---
To Be Continued...
---
Part 1: [link]
Part 3: Forthcoming.


Original Synopsis:
Several years after Nightmare Moon's defeat, a meteor is seen hurtling across the sky. Its presence heralds a reckoning for Rainbow Dash... as well as the greatest spectacle Equestria will ever witness!

What Is This?:
Chapter 2 (of a planned... still working on that part) of Fireball!, where we take a trip to a possible future timeline of Friendship is Magic!
Just what are our characters' motivations as the race zooms across the Everfree Forest at supersonic speeds?

Dear Princess Celestia:
I'm remembering why I don't usually do exceedingly long chapters. I always feel like I missed some tiny yet cataclysmic detail. ^^; On the other hand, I could truly get used to this whole "epic" thing. Ahh, the fine lines we walk!

Dear Princess Luna:
I learned something very important while writing this, which is that I want. To write a Canterlot Castle sitcom. So badly. :D

Text by Bookish Delight, 2011-2012. My Little Pony belongs to Hasbro, not to me. This is done completely bereft of profit.
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:iconkadzieonayl:
KadzieONayl Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012
B-b-but whatever happened!? It's cruel to leave somepony hanging like this... :(
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012   Writer
It's taken a while but I've finally started work on the newest chapter. :)
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:iconfotland42:
fotland42 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013
Is that still the case?
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013   Writer
Sadly, yes. ^^;
Reply
:iconkadzieonayl:
KadzieONayl Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2012
YOU SIR CAN HAVE ALL OF MY YAYs
Reply
:iconbonesatellite:
BoneSatellite Featured By Owner May 23, 2012
I anticipate the rest of this. Guess I'll be putting you on DevWatch for it and maybe read some of your other stuff as well. :)
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner May 23, 2012   Writer
Thanks very much, and hi! :D

I'm working on a couple of longer projects right now and plan to get back to Fireball! further into this summer. However, yes, I do have other things here. If you do try them out, I hope you enjoy them as well. :)

Take care!
Reply
:iconravenclaw19181:
RavenClaw19181 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
I KNOW WHO THE HOODED FIGURE IS. :D
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012   Writer
Do you, now...? :D
Reply
:iconravenclaw19181:
RavenClaw19181 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
yes. yes I do.
Reply
:iconmoelogroc:
Moelogroc Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012
Mysterious hooded mare watches from a distance...

I would totally read that Canterlot Castle Sitcom if you wrote it. I for one approve of such a story.

Until then, keep writing this epic anime-esque adventure!
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012   Writer
oh gosh what are you doing you're going to make me take on projects i don't have the room for ;_;

Kidding, kidding. :D I may well find time to cobble something together once I get my future story ideas organized. That test run above was amazing fun!

And I absolutely will keep writing Fireball! Thanks so much for keeping up with it!
Reply
:iconmrpoofypjpants1:
mrpoofypjpants1 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012
Great story. While Rainbow Dash is my favorite with Scootaloo as number 2 this is really making me not like Scootaloo.
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012   Writer
I suppose it's just as well--right now Fireball here is more business than public relations.

...but stick with her--she may surprise you yet. ;) Thanks for the compliment!
Reply
:iconneoaustin:
neoaustin Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012
... Dear princess celestia

Can you banish me to the moon? the wait for fireball is too great.
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012   Writer
No need for such extremes! I promise it will be sooner than a millennium before the next part. ^^;
Reply
:iconneoaustin:
neoaustin Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012
fiiiiinnnnneeeee. ill wait like a normal pony -_-
Reply
:iconcharlesdeleroy:
Charlesdeleroy Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012
Mysterious hooded figure!

It must be... an evil enchantress! D:
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:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012   Writer
Don't look into her eyes!

...just in case, of course. Mysterious figure is still mysterious. :D
Reply
:iconcharlesdeleroy:
Charlesdeleroy Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2012
*already looked into eyes* @__________@
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:iconqteammuscle:
qteammuscle Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012
Hooded figure = Zecora? I noticed a rhyme scheme.
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012   Writer
How perceptive of you to notice... :D
Reply
:iconaveryraccoon:
AveryRaccoon Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
KICK HER ASS FIREBALL!
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012   Writer
...oh, gosh, Fireball's gaining fans? Careful now, you'll make her blush; and distractions aren't good at high speeds. ;)
Reply
:iconaveryraccoon:
AveryRaccoon Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Here's to hoping the next part comes out faster than this one
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2012   Writer
I wouldn't hope too hard. ^^;
Reply
:iconsoiiux-captor:
soIIux-captor Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wonder what Dash did to make Scoots/Fireball Hate her. Can't wait to find out! :iconderpylaplz:
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012   Writer
Indeed, that's the million-bit question! Stay tuned--all will be revealed in time. :)
Reply
:iconrallag:
Rallag Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012  Hobbyist Filmographer
Silly Scootaloo, do you know how expensive glass blowing is these days? And with Rainbow Dash's picture on no less, are you that petty that you would destroy such a priceless work of art? :D

Patiently awaiting the arrival of the next chapter of this captivating work of fiction.
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012   Writer
Gosh, just imagine if it'd been Rarity's window. So long, Canterlot municipal budget! :D

Thank you very much! I will do my best to continue this tale in as timely a fashion as I am able.
Reply
:iconrallag:
Rallag Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Hobbyist Filmographer
I'm sure they'll find a way to subtly raise taxes to cover any costs, knowing the feds it will probably be diverted from something useful like inner-city housing. They need to get their priorities sorted, I mean, a 1 billion bit space budget? Really? What do they use that money for, anyway? It can't cost that much for Twilight to teleport herself to the moon.
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2012   Writer
Ahh, but you're forgetting all of the psychiatric help sessions it took to get Twilight to this point.
Reply
:iconrallag:
Rallag Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Hobbyist Filmographer
Of course, damn those psychiatrists. Straight out of college they get a one thousand bit an hour job teaching some middle-aged mares to get over their irrational vertigo. Some of us actually have to work for a living.
Reply
:iconblock1431:
block1431 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012
Hmm... so many advantages and disadvantages...

Rainbow Dash has the experience... but everyone knows her tricks...

Scootalo- erm, Fireball, on the other hand, has been incognito for the past X amount of years, so no one really knows what she's capable of...

Hmm...

But Pride DOES come before the fall... so Rainbow Dash should eventually win.
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012   Writer
They're both quite prideful, though. :)
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:iconblock1431:
block1431 Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012
It seems to me that Rainbow Dash has had some time to reflect on her ego a bit, so she's not quite as prideful as she once was...

However, Scootaloo's got it in her mind that Rainbow Dash is her enemy, and it leaves me to wonder what caused this cataclysm in their relationship as mentor and student.

Well, just keep writing these chapters! I've got all spring break to read fan-fictions without having to do homework or sports in between.
Reply
:icongordon-weedman:
Gordon-Weedman Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012
Wow, Scoots sure is a prick.
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012   Writer
Bluntly, but accurately put! Wish I knew why! :)
Reply
:icongordon-weedman:
Gordon-Weedman Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012
I am kinda blunt aren't I? :meow:
Reply
:iconsurfingca:
SurfingCA Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"that means you're trying to be the absolute best--like nopony EVER was." I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was! Please tell me that you did that on purpose. I love Luna's attitude and the way that both of the Princesses act. This is so well written, I love it! I usually hate fanfics, but I can't wait for the next chapter! I NEED to know what happened between Scoot-I mean, Fireball, and Dashie! The wait is killing me!


As for the rest of it, probably what that guy said, but I don't feel like reading it. XD

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:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012   Writer
Quite all right. Discussions between him and myself get... lengthy. And last for days. :)

And true, I've been known to insert a shameless reference or seven in stories. Was the above on purpose? Who's to say, really? ;)

Thanks for reading and commenting, and I'll be at hard at work getting the continuation out as soon as I can!
Reply
:icongojira007:
Gojira007 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012
And thus does "Fireball"'s second chapter continue the magnificent pace begun by the first. Awesome references smoothly slipped in to the flow of the narrative (S.S.S.S.S., Rainbow Dash? Hmm...paging Dr. Scratch, Dr. Grounder, Dr. Scratch!), an intensely exciting conflict accentuated by well-examined character interaction, and teases at an even deeper history, past and future, to the whole thing that excites and tantalizes? Check, check, and check! :D All this, AND a bag of chips? Sign me up!

First off, you do a fantastic job with pacing and format here. Each shift we make, from the opening Flashback Prologue to the cutting back and forth between the Race and Pinkie's commentary to the Canterlot Epilogue, works brilliantly, managing to build an excellent sense of tension and momentum that really gets the reader involved with all the elements of the story, both in how well they work individually and how nicely they work together. I especially love just how nicely you use Pinkie's on-air commentary to punctuate the Race's many twists and turns, bringing in new perspectives like Cheerilee's and reinforcing the overall sense of scale the Race has. Best of all, each and every switch lasts exactly as long as it should, providing something of value without going by too quickly or too slowly; given that keeping such pace under control has been a struggle for me of late, I'm really invigorated to see how deftly you handle it here.
I also absolutely adore how nicely you re-capture Pinkie and Spike's host/co-host dynamic from "Fallweather Friends". The way they bounce off of each other, take the lead from one another, and frequently confuse each other is absolutely perfect, and invests the commentary segments with a great sense of Character and energy that prevents them from ever feeling too dry or forced into the story. I especially liked Spike preventing Pinkie from saying That Line (and aptly using Twilight as Exhibit A for why one should never say That Line lD; ), and Pinkie's failed-but-no-wait-it-could-still-work-but-no-wait-it-still-failed attempt at cutting away to their sponsors.

You also do a good job of bringing new dimensions to the conflict between Rainbow Dash and Fireball this time around, while still keeping the main sense of it consistent with what we got before. Not only does the flashback do a good job of reminding us how positive their relationship used to be (while slipping in a sly "Pokemon" reference on Rainbow's part ;3), I can also sense an underlying hint about just how things got as bad as they are now between them; after all, the stakes of success-and failure-the prologue eludes to are high indeed, especially for an impressionable young Pony with a lot to prove. Indeed, you drop a LOT of interesting hints about just what is fueling Fireball's anger, especially Cheerilee's observation that, for all she loved the idea of Flying, she herself spent so much time grounded. Moreover, we get to see more of the sober, less outraged Fireball this chapter; again, loving her interactions with the other CMC's, and that oh-so-brief moment where it looks like she might actually listen to what Rainbow Dash has to say hits home too. It helps us to remember this isn't some crazed super-villain or angry monster we're dealing with, but in fact a living, breathing Pony with honest reasons for acting the way she does, even if we don't know what they are yet.
The extent to which Dash really doesn't want to go all out on Fireball is effective too, working equally well to show that in truth, Fireball's at least a little right to be so angry at her; there is a certain condescension to Rainbow's notion that she doesn't need to go all-out to deal with this, after all. But throughout the story, you nonetheless make it clear that while that may be part of her thinking, the thing really driving it is a sincere concern for Fireball's safety, a desire to reconcile whatever has so angered her without resorting to a situation which could possibly hurt her even worse. The Prologue, again, proves helpful here, as it shows us a Rainbow who is very much supportive and protective of her students, who wants only the best for them and for them to be the best, a feeling we can still sense from her in the story's present. It is thus all the more powerful a moment when she at last decides to bring out the Big Rainboomin' Guns, and that in turn makes it all the more shocking when we discover that isn't good enough.
The deft, energetic Action writing of Chapter 1, meanwhile, proves mere prelude to the even greater exciting heights we reach as the actual Race progresses. My personal favorite trait is how gracefully you manage to mix together the pragmatic details of What and How action unfolds with a deeper, more personalized sense of what it actually means, where it's taking place, and the effect the location has on the Racers. Rainbow's flashes of memories as they work through the Everfree Forest (itself a brilliant mix of canon events and characteristically plausible unseen events like Dash and Gilda's youthful antics ;3) is especially strong in this respect. You also have a strong handle on the actual descriptive work too; it really is quite impressive the first time we "see" Fireball's Secret Weapon.

Last but surely not least, I absolutely adored our ending scene in Canterlot. First off, you write an absolutely fantastic pair of Princesses. Even while showing that Luna has clearly adjusted to more modern parlance, you keep her actual personality crystal-clear in every word she says; I especially loved her offhoof references to the many Good Deeds she's done since being freed of Nightmare Moon, and the extent to which she seems to have something of a sense of humor about the extent to which her time as Nightmare Moon will always hang over how others look at her, even as she also remains somewhat bothered by it. There is, in other words, a very particular but satisfying balance to the way you write her character that reminds me very much of the wonderful balance "Luna Eclipsed" itself struck with her, but which reaches that balance in its own particularly enjoyable way. Likewise, your Celestia is wonderful: composed, regal, but also very much at ease with those she trusts, able to shed a bit of the Image she has to wear as a Princess to instead relax and indulge herself a little with her sister and treasured student. And it is that element-the extent to which Twilight is something like a member of the Royal Family, and the attending dynamic the three of them have-the humor, the heart, the trust, the teasing-that makes the scene work so wonderfully; I can see very much why that Canterlot Sitcom you allude to is so tempting. XD It is, admittedly, the fluffiest scene of the chapter; cut the one-two Bombshell Revelations you drop at the very end of it, and it probably advances the story precious little. But it is nonetheless an absolute joy to read. <3
As for those Bombshells you drop, though, they REALLY serve to make the Ending Cliffhanger feel exactly as it should: we've learned just enough to want to learn even more. Twilight knows something about Fireball's return that she isn't telling? A mysterious hooded figure with even further knowledge, and perhaps even a connection to something deeper at the heart of this whole conflict? These questions flow perfectly from the narrative as written, and serve only to intensify the momentum and energy of the story, as the reader hungers to learn just what it's all building up to....
as for the hooded one's identity, you handle well that mystery. the answer is there for those with attention to pay, but oh-so-cleverly hidden away. ;3

There is, admittedly, one aspect of this chapter that didn't quite work 100%, and that is the stab you take at meta-fictional humor. It's hard to miss that there are two instances where the cast inadvertently acknowledge and discuss the fact that they are, in fact, fictional characters, after all. It works well enough the first time with Pinkie and Spike, since we can immediately tell that while Pinkie is actually referring to how she and Spike are on TV because of their live commentary broadcast, it can still be read as talking about the "Friendship is Magic" TV Show itself. The second time with Luna and Twilight, however, doesn't quite hit the same mark, mostly because it alludes to an otherwise-unmentioned and unspecified TV Show presumably based on Twilight and her friends' adventures (in other words, an in-story version of "Friendship is Magic" itself). Unless I missed something, though, what that show actually is to the story is never specified, and thus the reference to it feels a little too on-the-nose, a little out-of-place.

Still, if the only complaint I really have amounts to "you try to bring a new layer to the story and succeed, just slightly less so than with all the other layers the story already has", I'd say you're in fine shape. "Fireball" continues burning brightly indeed, and I have no doubt its flame will simply continue to grow with the next chapter. :D

:+favlove:
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:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012   Writer
First off, re: the S.S.S.S.S.: Slipping in a joke with a single reader in mind is normally a terrible idea! So you're welcome. ;)

Anyway, let's get to the heart of matters:

- Fireball! contains many experiments; some of which you've so far seen, and some of which are still to come. This was a test to see if I could do intense speed scenes which were straightforward without the reader losing any sort of vivid mental image of the locale they're in. One of the things that turns me off to most fanfics is when writers feel the need to overcompensate with wonderful descriptions of surroundings while the plot and characters stand still waiting for the author to finish. (There's a LOT of this in Pony fanfic). So I would write just enough description to get by, then touch on how the characters interact with said surroundings. Whenever I read things back to myself and felt my eyes stat to glaze over, I brought back the announcers to wake myself up. Repeat process and here we are!
And thus you have the secrets of the magician explained--which technically is another terrible idea. :D Either way, I'm glad to hear it's working because I'm going through so much uncharted territory which I never have even before I gave up writing and still had all of my powers intact! ^^;

- Cheerilee originally wasn't supposed to be in Fireball!, but she has made such a tremendous showing over the season that she's become a high-ranking favorite of mine! It helps that I have quite a few teachers in my family and thus getting into her mindset isn't at all hard. They do watch, and do care, and do remember their students years after the fact! (Maybe I can wrangle some sort of character-story out of that fact one day...) True, you can boil her scene down to one line, but I think it helps that she says it.

- I'm also really glad to hear that neither Dash or Scootaloo are coming off as one-note supervillains or anything; the biggest thing I wanted to fix from Blunder & Lightning was Dash's nigh-unsympathetic heel turn. It turned a lot of readers' heads and scared them besides, and I always felt I was stretching things too far for the sake of getting a reaction. (Chapter 3 was a lot of backpedaling in response. :D) Here I tried to present both sides as somewhat sympathetic while keeping the intensity, and you'll definitely see this very concept coming to a head in the next chapter.

- ...oh God. The Canterlot section.
Okay, Gojira, I need to put this out there. That section is merely a snippet of almost two years of intense love of the Princesses on my part finally manifesting itself! ^^; I really wish I could draw because it's incredibly easy for me to come up with short ideas for hilarious (or otherwise) situations with Celestia and Luna; the problem is I get the feeling they'd be better represented in a 4-panel comic format or the like. I'll figure something out though because I don't get to work with the two nearly as much as I want.

- As for the Bombshell(tm)... you know what, I'll just let it speak for itself. Any teasing I could possibly do would be redundant at this point--but I will say I have other surprises in store for this story which make that one look like so much substance-less cotton candy. :D
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:icongojira007:
Gojira007 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012
D'awwwwwwwwwwww, thank you so much for such a considerate and effective Reference. ^3^ I simply must think of a way to return the favor.... ;3

Aww yeah! :heart:-of-the-matter time! >D

-It's funny you should mention that attempt to balance description with progress, making sure to give your reader enough detail to go on without giving so much that it feels like the story's frozen in its tracks to give the description time to unfold, because that's probably been my #1 struggle in working on the new "Castle Midnight"; we've reached the point where we're dealing with visuals and characters the appearance of which I can't take for granted the audience already knows (as I can with the mane cast), but I'm likewise terrified of going over-board and leaving my audience bored to death as I rattle off the details. It's really very nice to hear a bit about the how's 'n' why's of your method for dealing with that issue here, as I think it'll prove helpful moving forward and seeing if what I've already got done is up to snuff. ^_^

-Cheerilee IS the best teacher you could hope for. ;3 That's quite cool to hear, about how you've got a lot of teachers in the family; guess Intellect runs in your bloodline or something. X3 But seriously, that's very neat to learn. And as someone who has had many a positive relationship with several of his teachers, I'd say it does my heart good to hear that sort of understanding going into your take on Cheerilee; I would absolutely agree there's a story in the bonds a teacher can form with their students, one that could very well tie into the underlying "wanting to grow up too soon" theme of the Cutie Mark Crusaders' Cutie Mark Craze....

- As somepony who always felt you handled Rainbow's aggressive streak in "Blunder and Lightning" just fine, I nonetheless agree you made the right call in striving to give both sides of the conflict nuance, because it makes the entire thing that much more powerful: you love Dash, but you can feel a sympathy for Fireball, and it leaves you biting your nails as you realize you kind of want both of them to win...because otherwise, one of them's going to lose, and that's going to break your heart. It's a REALLY exciting conflict that can do that to you, I think. ^_^

- Y'know...I'd be partial to taking your dialogue 'n' ideas 'n' setting them to li'l comics. In fact, I'd say that sounds like it'd be a LOT of fun, at least for me. :D

- Heh. Sounds good to me. ;3 Here's to part 3. ^_^
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012   Writer
Something I'd meant to say when I was replying to your original post--the meta jokes? The first time with Pinkie and Spike was entirely on purpose. The Luna one, though...? I didn't even notice what I'd accidentally done there until you had pointed it out! ^^; If the joke was flawed there, it's mainly because I wasn't going for it. :D But wow nonetheless--good eye.

...as for your offer, I may well consider it down the line. :)
Reply
:icongojira007:
Gojira007 Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012
Huh. Go figure. XD; That does explain it nicely, though, and basically reduces even my original nitpicking complaint to an even more minor note in my overall feelings on the chapter. ^_^

I look forward to it if you do; I really think it'd be great fun. :)
Reply
:iconjiro-dyne:
Jiro-Dyne Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012
MOAR! MOOOOOAAAARRRR!!!! :la: :la: :la:
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
BookishDelight Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012   Writer
Heh. Working on it. :)
Reply
:iconjiro-dyne:
Jiro-Dyne Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012
Well then, I can't wait till your done :la:
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