“You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere”

--Scribus Caballus

I like to marvel at the random beauty of a simple village girl - Belle & Sebastian

        Rainbow Dash paced back and forth on her cloud, her steps coming a little too hard and breaking pieces away. Soon, she had to move to another one. In a matter of minutes, she had worn away that one and moved to yet another.

        “Oh! Maybe this wasn’t even a good idea to begin with. I should go. No. No, I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do it today!” She stamped her hoof, dispelling her latest cloud, leaving her hovering in its place. In the sky below she could see a large balloon slowly climbing into the midday sky. “Okay, Rainbow Dash. Here goes nothing.”

        She took a deep breath and started to fly. She shut her eyes and smiled, feeling her mane whipping lightly against her back in the wind. She pulled up, feeling the sun’s warmth on her face, then opened her eyes and found the balloon again, descending to meet it. She swooped under and back up next to the basket suspended underneath, smiling when she saw Pinkie Pie.

        And stopping in mid-air when she saw Spike.

        “What are you doing here?”

        “You told me to come, silly!” Pinkie Pie answered.

“Not you, him!”

        “Uh, I just thought you could use some help.” Spike’s eyes darted from cloud to cloud. “You know, cheering you on? Everypony knows you haven’t pulled this trick off yet.”

        “Oooh, a new trick!? What is it? What is it? Huh?”

        Rainbow glared at Spike. “It was supposed to be a secret.”

        “Well, I know.” Spike looked up at Rainbow Dash, then quickly looked back at his feet. “But everypony could tell you’ve been working on this one for months, and they all think you’ve got it down.”

        Rainbow sighed. Pinkie started hopping up and down, then stopped when the balloon rocked wildly.

        Spike looked up at Rainbow Dash. “Look, just go for it. You know, picture it in your mind, all that? And if it doesn’t work, well - you’ve got tricks wrong before, haven’t you?” Spike stepped behind Pinkie, hidden by her tail. “Just forget I’m even here, if it helps.”

        “What is she gonna do, Spike? You know, don’t you?”

        Spike didn’t answer; Rainbow did. “Okay, Pinkie Pie, get ready.”

        “Ready and waiting!”

        Rainbow Dash flapped up and away, towards the sun, and landed on a large, puffy cloud. “Okay, Dash,” she said. “If you ever tell her, everypony will know, anyway. It’s just Spike, and he already knows. They all know but Pinkie Pie.” She looked down at the balloon, unable to see anyone in it at this distance. “Now or never!”

        She took a large piece of the cloud in her mouth, then dove off, pulling a stream behind her. She dove down until she was level with the balloon and the cloud was all being dragged with her, then she turned up, spiraling into the air. She pulled further back into a loop-the-loop, and another, and another, stringing the cloud along behind her, forming the shape she saw in her mind.

        One final loop, and she let the cloud go, then stood on top of it to catch her breath. Her heart was pounding. It was far from the hardest she’d ever flown, but her heart was pounding anyway.

        “Here goes nothing.”

        She jumped off of the cloud sculpture, then glided back down to her friends’ balloon.

        Dash could hear Pinkie Pie even as she was approaching. “That was amazing! I had no idea you could sculpt the clouds like that!”

        “So... Did you like it?”

        “Yeah!” Pinkie jumped once in the basket. Spike reached out and grabbed one of the ropes. “But... What is it?”

        Rainbow Dash looked back over her shoulder. The cloud looked nothing like a balloon. It was just a mess, a random set of loops on top of loops.

        “Oh. Uh... It’s nothing. Nothing.” She didn’t turn back to face Pinkie Pie. “I just wanted to see if I could do it at all. Guess I still need to work on it.” She hung limply from her wings. “I’ll see you later, Pinkie Pie. Thanks for coming all the way up here.”

        Rainbow flew away, leaving Pinkie with Spike. Spike cleared his throat, then started to work the balloon’s controls to lower it.

        “Can you see what it’s supposed to be, Spike?”

        Spike didn’t answer.

        Pinkie sat down, rocking the balloon. She sighed. “Do you think maybe I should tell her?”

(Continued)