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True Colors · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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Severe Weather Appreciation Week
“And that brings us to next Tuesday,” Thunderlane said. He made a little mark on the cloudstone tablet balanced in his hooves. “Schedule calls for clear, sunny skies with a gentle breeze all day, and light showers at night. Blossomforth, you’ve got the upper-level winds. Cloud Kicker, you’ll be in charge of gathering moisture starting in the afternoon. Try to have enough for sprinkles starting just after sunset. The rest of you support with cloud movement. Questions?”




“Got it, chief.”

Rainbow Dash sighed. “Whatever.”

“Great.” Thunderlane made another mark on his tablet. “Now then, Wednesday, we’re going to mix things up a little bit. Partly cloudy skies with gentle winds during the day, and…”

Thunderlane normally spoke with a gentle, masculine baritone. Rainbow Dash didn’t mind listening to it most of the time – in fact, it sometimes made her feel warm and light inside, because frankly he was one of the hottest pieces of stallion in Ponyville and all the mares on the Weather Team had their own private fantasies for what they would like to do with him should he ever display even the slightest bit of sexual interest in one of them, not that he ever did for some reason, which was just more evidence in Dash’s mind that he was probably gay because really what straight stallion could spend any time around her and not trip over himself with desire (the answer was no stallion, of course) – but now was not most of the time, now was a staff meeting, literally the cruelest, slave-drivingest invention ever foisted upon the pegasi by heartless unicorn managers.

The Weather Team held short schedule huddles every day, which were just a few minutes long and therefore tolerable to Rainbow Dash. She didn’t even land for them, just hovered near some cloud while Thunderlane, their team lead, listened to their reports and made last-minute adjustments to the next day’s weather plan. Rainbow Dash was a responsible, grown-up mare, so she had no trouble holding still (mostly) while they talked. Doing, as a general rule, was better than talking, but even she knew enough about big, complex organizations like the Weather Team that there had to be a little talking from time to time.

Talking was like the salt in her breakfast oatmeal – just a little went a long way.

This was not a short huddle, though. This was the weekly staff meeting. An hour, minimum, of sitting around a bunch of cloud desks in Thunderlane’s office while he went over the entire month’s schedule, as well as any personnel issues, paperwork, budget items, or whatever else it was managers did in their offices while the rest of the team was out pushing clouds. It involved reading, she knew, and writing letters and adding up little numbers in columns on endless scrolls of paper and oh Luna why did she have to be here for this she could be out flying right now the sky was perfect with that squall line hanging right over the Everfree just dripping with unshed rain and pregnant with lightning, just begging for her to come out and dance with it, she could do that while the rest of the team held their meeting and she could be back before they finished and they wouldn’t miss her and—

“Dash. Dash!” Thunderlane’s voice broke into her fantasy. “Yo, Ponyville calling Rainbow Dash, you there?”

Dash jerked upright, kicking little tufts of cloudstuff into the air. The other mares tittered or snorted. Thunderlane just looked peeved.

“Uh, sorry, yeah. What am I doing?”

Thunderlane sighed. “You’re summoning a gentle zephyr from the west, starting at noon. Think you can handle that? Gentle zephyr?”

Ugh. Zephyrs were the worst. The slowest of the winds. Even a breeze was faster. “What? Why can’t we, like, do gusts instead? Ponies love gusts.”

“Ponies do not love gusts,” Thunderlane said. “Gusts mess up manes and blow away napkins at the café patio. Do you want to have to explain why we made ponies chase down their napkins and newspapers?”

“I love chasing stuff!”

“Well, fortunately or unfortunately, most ponies are not you.” Thunderlane made another mark on his tablet. “Anyway, next up is Thursday. Now, we’re going to start a slight warming trend in the morning, and…”

He kept talking, and Rainbow Dash went back to not listening. She could see the clouds over the Everfree, dark and furious and free. They whispered to her, come play with us, Rainbow Dash. Work can wait!

She sighed.

Work sucked.

Rainbow Dash lay atop a cloud floating above Ponyville. It was a tiny cloud, just barely large enough to support her weight. Her legs and tail dangled off the sides.

She was working, technically. She was getting paid, anyway, which meant she was on the clock, which meant this counted as work. But mostly she just glowered down at the ponies below, the thousands of unappreciative unicorns and earth ponies who didn’t understand just how hard they were making her life.

“Oh Rainbow Dash! This weather is too scary!” the Flower trio wailed in her head. “Cloudy skies terrify us!”

“Oh, darling, this rain is just awful!” Rarity shrieked in her mind. “My mane! My mane! It’s ruined forever!”

“Rainbow Dash! The river is starting to overflow its banks!” she heard the Mayor cry. “The town is going to wash away if you don’t stop this storm!”

Ugh. Wusses, all of them. Dash rolled over, exposing her belly to the sun’s warm rays, and closed her eyes for a nap. With any luck she would dream of awesomer weather.

She had barely closed her eyes when a quiet fwumph announced the arrival of another pegasus beside her. She squinted and turned to see Flitter standing on the next cloud over, a cross expression on her face.

“You’re supposed to be shepherding clouds,” she said.

Rainbow Dash waved a hoof. “The clouds are fine. Look at them.”

“They’re all over the place! Seven thousand feet, ten thousand feet, everywhere! You’re supposed to keep them level.”

“Level is boring. Besides, does it matter what level they’re at?”

Flitter rolled her eyes. “And what, napping isn’t? The ponies down there are paying us for good weather, Rainbow. We need to put some effort into it.”

“Good weather?” Rainbow Dash sat up. She shook herself, tossing away little scraps of cloud that had stuck to her coat. “More like, boring weather! These ponies wouldn’t know real weather if it woke them up in their beds tomorrow morning.”

“Does it matter? This is the weather ponies want. It gets put in the schedule, and we just make it happen.”

“Ugh, that schedule.” Rainbow made a face. “Why do we even have a schedule, Flitter? It’s always the same. Clear skies, gentle breeze, showers at night. Exchange showers for snow in the winter. Repeat until we all die of old age.”

Flitter shrugged. “We do storms sometimes. And remember that one time we had a blizzard?”

“It was six inches of snow! They even scheduled it for Saturday so the foals wouldn’t miss school!”

“Parents don’t want their foals to miss school,” Flitter said. She’d adopted the same damn, calm, reasonable tone Twilight Sparkle used when lecturing little fillies. Pedantic, Rainbow Dash called it. That was a word she knew because she was a smart pony too. “Nopony’s gonna pay for bad weather.”

“No, not bad weather, exciting weather!” Rainbow Dash stomped in a small circle on her cloud, her mind spinning with pent-up thoughts. “Everypony calls storms bad weather, but why, Flitter?”

“Uh, because they ruin ponies’ days? They can’t go outside without getting wet?”

“We get wet all the time. We’re wet right now!” It was true – working with clouds, or even just napping on them, meant your coat got soaked with condensation. Nopegasus minded, because really, what pegasus cared about a little water? Cloud homes were made out of water. Pegasus coats were thick and warm, and their feathers sluiced away water like a duck.

“The weather’s not for us, it’s for them.” She pointed down at the ground. “Look, are you going to get to work or not? Thunderlane said these clouds need to be in order before sunset or—”

“Wait.” Rainbow Dash frowned. “Say that again?”

“What? Thunderlane wants these clouds in order by sunset?”

“No, before that.” The disordered thoughts in Rainbow Dash’s mind were starting to fall into some semblance of logic. “About who the weather is for.”

“Uh, it’s for them? You know, the ponies on the ground?”


“Because, uh…” Flitter blinked rapidly. “Because… that’s just how it is?”

“That’s not a reason, that’s just precedent!” Precedent, another word Rainbow Dash knew because she was smart. “That’s just us doing something because we’ve always done it that way. But shouldn’t pegasi get to choose the weather too, sometimes?”

“We, uh.” Flitter looked down over the edge of the cloud at the town below, then turned her gaze west, toward the source of the light breeze they’d spent all day gathering. “We do, Dash. Pegasi like this kind of weather too. It’s nice and… you know, gentle.”

It was Dash’s turn to roll her eyes. “You really mean that, Flits?”

“Well…” She nibbled at her lip. “Sometimes I like the rain.”

Dash’s heart was beating faster. Like she’d just won a race. Her coat prickled with sweat and excitement. “Yeah? What else?”

“What… well, you know.” Flitter looked down at the cloud she was standing on, as if seeing it for the first time.

“No. Tell me.”

“I… I like thunder too,” Flitter said. Her wings fanned at her side. “The way it shakes your chest and vibrates your bones. I like the long thunder, the thunder that’s one crack after another, like an explosion rolling downhill. I love listening to that.”

Rainbow Dash was grinning, she realized. “I love it too. What about the wind?”

“I love the wind!” Flitter grinned back. She spread her stance, as though bracing for a gust. “I love when it fights me! When it tries to beat me but it can’t, because I’m stronger!”

“And you fight back, right?” Rainbow Dash was breathing hard now. She could feel the tempest against her wings, hear the crackling thunder, taste the ozone left in the lightning’s wake. For a moment she felt alive. “You take the wind and you beat it, and then you make it stronger! You create the storm!”

“A storm that shakes the world,” Flitter said. Her eyes lost their focus, and she stared past the clouds at something only she could see. “A storm that brings darkness at noon. Wind that breaks trees! Lashing rain, Rainbow. Lashing rain!”

Rainbow Dash wasn’t into mares, but oh Luna, the way Flitter was talking, the hungry look on her face as they talked about this storm, the way the muscles in her legs and chest and oh those wings rippled, Dash was about ready to toss her down onto the cloud and ravish her right there. Let the other mares have Thunderlane and his sad little weather schedules – Rainbow Dash needed a pony like her, a pony who loved the power and energy and terror of real weather.

Passion, that’s what it was. Rainbow Dash wanted passion. She realized this with a sudden dawning of comprehension, and for a moment all thought of mares or stallions or even storms washed from her mind. This wasn’t an argument about sunny days or gentle rains – it was an argument about what kind of ponies they were.

Those ponies on the ground? The ones who loved gentle winds and soft showers? They’d forgotten the passion that the weather held. Thunderlane? He’d forgotten the passion of their pegasus birthright. The power to shape the heavens to their will.

They’d all forgotten it. Even she, Rainbow Dash, the greatest pegasus alive, had forgotten it. But now all was clear again.

“Flitter,” she said. “We’re about to do something awesome.”

Flitter shook with energy. She licked her lips as she stared at Dash. Her eyes were filled with hunger. She took a half-step forward. “Y-yeah?”

Rainbow Dash nodded. “We’re going to the library.”

Rainbow Dash was excited to attend the next Weather Team staff meeting. The office was still dark when she arrived, nearly a half-hour early, and she dropped a stack of books on the table in front of her.

Flitter arrived next. She was humming some tune, and she grinned when she saw Dash. They sat together, vibrating in time with each other, two mares who shared a secret knowledge, a passion, that was about to be fulfilled.

This was what ponies in love felt like, Dash realized as they waited. Except she wasn’t in love with Flitter – okay, maybe there was a bit of lust there, but whatever – she was in love with this new idea. This ambition they had discovered together.

Rainbow Dash was going to bring real weather to Ponyville. The kind of weather everypony wanted, if only they knew it existed. She was the apostle, and this was her promised land.

Thunderlane arrived a few minutes before eight. He froze at the sight of them, blinked rapidly, then smiled.

“Hey girls,” he said. “Sorry, didn’t know you’d be here so early.”

“S’okay,” Dash said. “Hey, listen, we wanted to suggest something for next week’s schedule.”

“Oh?” He pulled a cloud tablet out of a drawer in his cloud desk. “Well, the schedule looks pretty open next week, clear skies and sun everyday, and sprinkles at night. Did you want to do some stargazing? Twilight Sparkle would like that, and we can arrange for an afternoon shower to compensate for the farmers—”

“No, something better,” Dash said. “Lots better.”

“Like, super!” Flitter added. “You’ll love this idea!”

“Well, if it’s got you this excited, it must be good!” He waved to the other weather team mares as they arrived. In just a few minutes, Cloud Chaser, Cloud Kicker and Blossomforth had joined them at the table. “So, what’s your plan?”

“Okay, are you ready? Get this.” Rainbow set her forehooves on the table and pushed herself upright. “Storms. All day, every day. All week! We’ll call it ‘Severe Weather Appreciation Week’!”

A pause. Thunderlane stared at the two of them, his eyes darting back and forth. He furrowed his brow, as if he didn’t understand.

Finally, “I don’t understand. Why would we do that?”

“Duh, because storms are awesome!” Rainbow Dash started. “How does that not make sense—”

Flitter cut her off with a gentle hoof placed on her shoulder. “Let me try, Rainbow. Thunderlane, what’s your favorite kind of weather?”

“Well, uh.” He glanced around at the group, suddenly on the spot. “You know, good weather? Sunny skies all day long?”

Flitter raised an eyebrow. “Really, anything else? Maybe something that has the word ‘thunder’ in its name?”

He ducked his head. “Well, you know… I guess I do like thunderstorms. Who doesn’t, right?” A chorus of affirmative murmurs followed from around the table.

“And when was the last time we had a good thunderstorm?” Flitter asked.

A pause, again. It lengthened into a silence. The weather team ponies all exchanged a look.

“I, uh, I’m not sure,” Thunderlane said. “I’d have to check the archives.”

“Maybe when Discord was here?” Cloud Chaser said. “There was some weird stuff going on then.”

“That doesn’t count.” Rainbow Dash waved a hoof. “When was the last time we scheduled a thunderstorm? A real one, not some pansy cloud-to-cloud lightning.”

“It must’ve been years ago,” Blossomforth mumbled. “Why has it been that long?”

Thunderlane rallied at that. He sat up straight. “Because ponies in Ponyville don’t want thunderstorms. They want sunny days and gentle showers at night. It’s perfect for hoofball games and picnics and farming. Perfect for our customers.”

“Aha!” Rainbow Dash shouted. “Gotcha!”

They froze. They stared at her. Even Flitter seemed taken aback.

“What?” Thunderlane asked.

“Our customers!” Rainbow Dash pulled a small booklet from the stack in front of her and set it in the center of the table. “This is the Ponyville Weather Team charter. Do you know what’s in it?”

“Um, yes? I’m the weather team captain, so—”

“So you know who our customers are?”

“Yeah, the farmers and the shopkeepers and the—”

“And! And!” Rainbow jumped into the air, hovering above the table. “And the pegasi! The pegasi are customers too, Thunderlane! All of us! We have just as much say in the weather as all those other ponies! And right now, I’m asking… no, I’m demanding that we get some interesting weather for once! A storm! A squall! A tornado, even!”

He started at that, and shook his head, as though waking from a dream. “A… a tornado? Dash, you can’t be serious. A tornado is an emergency! It would disrupt the entire town! We’d be cleaning up for days.”

“We clean up after monster attacks all the time,” she said. “And we’d be careful with it. I bet we wouldn’t even lose any roofs.”

“No, this is silly. You’re being silly, Dash.” He waved a hoof toward the huge open window overlooking the town. “Those ponies down there rely on pegasi for good weather. It’s part of the compact – we provide the weather they need, and they grow the food we need. And the unicorns do something too, I guess.”

“Aha! Again!” Rainbow pulled another book from the pile, a thick one this time, and slammed it on the table. “Do you know what this is?”

Thunderlane peered at the cover. “It seems to be a copy of Page Turner’s Treatise on the Compact of Unity Between the—”

“It’s a copy of Page Turner’s Treatise on the Compact of Unity Between the Three Tribes!” Rainbow Dash said. “And do you know what’s inside?”

“Uh.” Thunderlane frowned. “A long essay on the compact?”

“Er, yes. But more importantly, it has an this line!” Rainbow Dash flipped through the book, quickly finding a bookmarked page. This was it! This was the moment! Rainbow could already taste victory. “It says here that when the tribes came together, all ponies agreed that the pegasi would have sole, full discretion over the management of Equestria’s weather, to be used for the good of all ponies!”


“So?” She gawked at him. “This means we get to decide on the weather. Us. Pegasi! Not anypony else!”

“For everypony’s good. What good are thunderstorms?”

“What good are thunderstorms?” Rainbow Dash groaned. “I… Flitter, help me out.”

“Okay. Listen, all of you,” Flitter said. “I know we’re not used to taking Rainbow seriously, but she’s right this time.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“I didn’t realize it until yesterday myself,” Flitter continued, unabated. “She… Rainbow showed me the truth. We’re pegasi! Storms are in our blood! They’re in our names! Thunderlane, who’s the greatest pegasus of all time?”

“Uh… Commander Hurricane?”

“Exactly! But have you ever seen a hurricane? Do you even know what one is?”

“It’s… it’s a big storm, right?” Cloud Kicker said. “No, it’s more than that… Hurricanes are huge cyclones that cover hundreds of miles. They’re monsters.”

“What must that be like?” Blossomforth asked. Her voice was a low mumble, drifting in time with her thoughts. “A storm that covers half the world. To fly in one? To create one? It must be like… be like creating a god.”

“Yes!” A grin twisted Rainbow’s face, and she leaned forward over the table. “That was us once! We did that! And now we’re building schedules for the weather, crafting little breezes and zephyrs and sprinkles and showers and everything safe. We’ve taken everything that was once great about us and turned it into a gentle shadow! You want to know what good thunderstorms are, Thunderlane? What they do? I’ll tell you! They make us live! And we can live again!”

“We could do it, couldn’t we?” Cloud Kicker said. She stood and walked to the window. “We could build a low-pressure front, using the energy over the Everfree. I bet we could have a squall line in place by tomorrow morning.”

“It’s a hot day tomorrow,” Blossomforth said. “We could trap that energy, add moisture to the air. The afternoon sun would heat the ground and cause tremendous atmospheric instability. If we bring in a wave of cold air overtop it…”

“It would build its own cell! It would… can we do that?” Cloud Chaser asked.

Thunderlane shook his head. “No. This… this is a fantasy. We’re entrusted with Ponyville’s weather and we’re required to give them what they want.”

Ah, and there it was. The final piece of her trap. A well of euphoria built in Rainbow Dash’s chest, spilling out of her as a high, ringing laugh. All the ponies turned to her, startled.

“Yes!” she cried. “You’re right, Thunderlane, we have to give them what they want! But do you know the last time anypony in Ponyville actually put in a formal request for weather?”

Thunderlane shifted. He glanced over at his desk, and the calendar hanging on the wall above it. “It’s, uh… a few months, I guess? The weather’s always the same, so ponies don’t usually put in, like, formal requests.”

“I know,” Rainbow Dash said. She pulled out a simple sheet of paper, a standard Ponyville Weather Atmospherics Request form, already filled out with her signature for next week. “Which is why I did. And as we’ve established, pegasi are allowed to request weather, just like anypony else.”

He snagged the form with his hoof and pulled it closer. The other mares, all except Rainbow and Flitter, crowded around him, reading over his shoulder. They ooh’d and ahh’d.

“This…” He swallowed. “This is insane, Rainbow.”

Blossomforth shook her head. “No, it’s great!”

Cloud Kicker: “This… this is sweet.”

Cloud Chaser: “Oh, we’re gonna get in so much trouble for this. I can’t wait.”

Flitter smiled. She nudged Rainbow Dash’s shoulder with her hoof, then leaned down to whisper in her ear. “This is gonna be so awesome.”

Awesome. Yeah. Damn, it was.

They called it, as Rainbow insisted, “Severe Weather Appreciation Week.” It seemed like a pretty easy concept to Rainbow Dash: you have severe weather, and you appreciate it. She wasn’t sure how much simpler she could make it.

“I don’t get it,” Rarity said. “Are you preventing the severe weather? Are we supposed to appreciate you for that?”

“No, no.” Rainbow closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Twilight, can you help me out?”

“I’m not sure I understand it either, Rainbow.” Twilight Sparkle set down the informational flyer Rainbow Dash had spent all morning distributing around town. They were at one of Ponyville’s outdoor cafés, enjoying a brief lunch together. The entire weather team had taken the day off before starting their preparations tomorrow. “Are you actually causing all these storms? We’re going to experience them? Here, in town?”

“Yes! Thank you.” Rainbow turned to Rarity. “See? She gets it.”

“Those were questions, darling.” Rarity took another sip from her latte. “Twilight’s as in the dark as I am. Befuddled, if you will.”

“I’m not befuddled,” Twilight said. “I just don’t understand the point of this. We have a weather team to prevent this kind of weather, not cause it.”

“Okay, see? That’s wrong. That’s where you go wrong.” Rainbow Dash set a copy of her flyer on the table and pointed at one of the many paragraphs on the bottom half below the schedule. “See this? This is a line from the Compact of Unity Between—

“Yes, yes, I see it. I’ve read it,” Rarity said. “But wasn’t the whole point of the Compact that the pegasi give us good weather?”

“Uh huh. And who decides what’s ‘good’ weather?”

“Well, um.” Rarity coughed into her hoof. “Earth ponies? And unicorns?”

“See? See?” Rainbow turned to Twilight. “That’s what I’m talking about. You ground ponies only think one type of weather is good, but that’s like saying only one kind of food is good, or only one kind of music is good. Severe Weather Appreciation Week is about helping ponies understand and appreciate all kinds of weather.”

“Okay, first off, ground ponies? That’s tribalist,” Twilight said. “And second, there’s a tornado on the schedule for Friday, Rainbow. A tornado.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a tornado,” Rarity said. “Except that one that Lightning Dust created. I hope you’ll forgive me for not wanting a repeat of that little escapade.”

“Relax. We know how to handle tornadoes, okay? We use them all the time to lift water up to Cloudsdale. We’ll keep a tight rein on this one, make sure it doesn’t, like, pick up any houses or anything.”

Twilight shook her head and looked back at the flyer. “What about… Hailstorm? Really?”

Rarity peered at her own flyer. “Isn’t hail made of ice? Can you even do that in the summer?”

“Yeah, it’s easy,” Dash said. “So, hail forms when you have extremely turbulent atmospheric conditions, usually caused by a thunderstorm, with strong updrafts and a lowered zone of freezing air. Ice pellets form as the warm air rises into the cold air and they begin to fall out of the storm, but if the updrafts are strong enough they keep tossing the hailstones back up into the atmosphere where they refreeze and stick together, until eventually they get heavy enough that okay I see you aren’t paying attention anymore so I’m just gonna cut to the chase and say that yes, hail does happen in the summer, it only happens in the summer, and it’s gonna be awesome when you see it next week.”

“Uh huh,” Rarity said. “So you’re starting with fog tomorrow morning? That’s nice. The town looks pretty in the fog, I think.”

“This is a bad idea, Rainbow,” Twilight said. “You’re doing a thunderstorm Tuesday afternoon? There will be ponies trying to picnic in the park on Tuesday.”

“Yeah, they can still do that.”

“In a thunderstorm?”

“Yeah, we’ll make sure the lightning only hits trees or tall buildings. They’ll be safe.”

“Their food will get wet,” Twilight said.

“Your food is wet right now.”

“This is soup, Dash.”

“Everything turns into soup if you add enough rain,” Dash said. “Look, you’re getting way too excited about this. In a bad way, I mean. You should be excited in a good way! Like Flitter! She’s super pumped up about this whole thing. The entire team is.”

“You’ve been spending a lot of time with Flitter lately,” Rarity observed. “Anything you want to share with us?”

“Yeah, she’s awesome. More awesome than you two, no offense.”

“None taken,” Twilight said.

“Anything… else about her?” Rarity asked.

“Hm.” Rainbow Dash frowned. She cast her thoughts back to Flitter for a moment, envisioning that demure smile, the storm gray color of her coat, the electric glow of her mane. The way she breathed harder and faster when they talked about the weather, about how in the past few days they’d bonded over their suddenly discovered shared love for storms of all types. She remembered the spark in Flitter’s eye when she described fighting the wind, and how the muscles in her chest and shoulders strained beneath her coat as they flew together and she twisted in the air, telling Rainbow Dash how she couldn’t wait to bring these storms into the world. She recalled her own heart beating faster, pounding, racing in her chest as she sat beside Flitter and shared her dreams and the euphoric, exhilarating realization that finally, somepony got her. She remembered flying home at night, drunk with giddy joy, the mare’s scent clogging her nostrils. She remembered a dream, a crazy dream, an insane dream, of bathing in a pool filled with Flitter, swimming in a liquid that was somehow also a pegasus until every feather and hair and pore was soaked with the essence of her. She drowned in Flitter and loved it.

Rainbow shook her head. “Nah, not really.”

Rarity pouted. “Fine. Well, I suppose I’ll be staying indoors next week. I’ll catch up on some orders for the boutique, at least.”

“You’re gonna miss out,” Rainbow said. “At least check out the tornado.”

“This still seems like a bad idea,” Twilight said. “I could cancel it, you know? Invoke my authority as a princess.”

A cold shock embraced Rainbow Dash at those words. Could she? Would she? Her coat broke out with in a sudden sweat. She took a slow breath and focused on calm, soothing words.

“All the pegasi are excited about this,” she said. “We’re the experts on weather. And the Compact gives us complete discretion over the weather. Not even Princess Celestia can go against the Compact.”

Twilight sighed. “You’re determined to do this, then?”

Rainbow nodded. “The whole team is. And most of the town’s pegasi want to help.”

“Really, darling, it doesn’t sound so bad,” Rarity said. “So we’ll miss out on a week of good weather. Maybe, in the end, that’s what we’ll learn to appreciate?”

“Yeah, what she said.”

“Fine, fine.” Twilight pushed the flyer back to Rainbow. “Don’t make me regret this, though.”

Rainbow grinned. The weight lifted from her shoulders, and suddenly the day was as light and warm and beautiful as before.

“Don’t worry, princess. Everypony’s gonna love this week.”

Rainbow Dash wasn’t lazy. She was, point in fact, the hardest working pony she knew.

Other ponies might have objected to this characterization. They might have (and frequently did) call out her long naps, or the frequency with which she was late to work, or her occasional tendency to blow off work altogether in pursuit of some other goal (usually naps). Rainbow Dash tried not to act offended when this happened.

It was all wrong, of course. Rainbow Dash was maniacally focused on her job – she just didn’t always agree with everypony else as to what her job was.

Rainbow’s job was flying. Rainbow’s job was getting into the Wonderbolts. Rainbow’s job was going on adventures with her friends and saving the world from various assorted evil villains. The weather team? Pushing clouds around? That was just a side-line. Of course she didn’t put as much effort into it as, like, saving her friends’ lives when they ended up plummeting to their dooms for the umpteenth time.

Other ponies just had poor priorities.

When Rainbow Dash had a passion, she poured her entire being into it. She didn’t pursue goals – she was seized by them, throttled by them, her very soul held hostage by the desire to do something awesome.

And Severe Weather Appreciation Week was the awesomest thing she’d done in… well, maybe ever. She paused atop a cloud near the town border and considered that thought. She turned it over in her mind, examining it from all angles. Had she ever been so beautifully obsessed as this?

There was the Wonderbolts, of course. Everypony who knew Rainbow Dash knew how much she loved the ‘Bolts. They knew it was her life goal to make the team, to someday lead them in glorious flight. She had slaved away for countless hours, practicing her routines in the air over Ponyville until every part of her body, even her feathers, ached. She could never have thought something else might consume her thoughts so much as the ‘Bolts.

But here she was. She, who frequently dozed until noon, hadn’t slept more than an hour in the past three nights. Every waking moment had been spent with Flitter or the other mares, planning and scheming and gathering clouds and whipping up moisture and corralling the winds, all in preparation for this. She gobbled down her meals in seconds, all in order to get back to work faster. The team held meetings on the wing, never stopping, never ceasing their work. Even Thunderlane, the skeptical one, slowly came over to her side. It was when they planned the thunderstorm that he changed, as the realization that he was finally building a storm of his own namesake, a storm that would rattle houses and flood the streets and shake the trees, finally dawned. Rainbow Dash saw it in his eyes, when they finally opened to her grand vision.

And, of course, there was Flitter. More than any of the other mares, she was always by Rainbow’s side. Helping her wrestle an ornery cloud into line, or bottling the lightning they would later unleash over Ponyville. Whenever she was tired, she looked at Flitter, and a new vitality filled her wings. Whenever Flitter sagged in flight, Rainbow was there to lift her up. Together they found the strength to plan, craft and set into motion more severe weather than Ponyville normally saw in an entire decade, all in just a few days.

It was awesome. Rainbow Dash closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The world tasted of ice and lightning.

She felt the cloud shift beside her. “I think we’re about done, boss. Not much else we can do now but wait.”

Why was she so consumed by this, Rainbow wondered? She knew what other ponies thought of her – the jock, the dumb one, the bird brain. They didn’t credit her with much introspection. But ponies as obsessed with greatness as Rainbow Dash were also filled with quiet, hidden self-doubt, and self-doubt always led to a gnawing, insatiable self-examination in search of failure. She boasted aloud and quailed inside. She reflected, often. She couldn’t help it.

And now she considered this, her new obsession. Why had it seized her so suddenly? What was its source?

“Anything else you need?” Flitter asked. She sounded pensive, as though worried by something.

“Nah, we’re good,” Dash said. “You did great this week. We all did. Go get some rest, and I’ll see you tomorrow at dawn.”

“Right!” Flitter saluted, then paused. Haltingly, she reached out with the tip of her wing, and just touched it to Dash’s shoulder. Whatever possessed her to do such a thing fled as quickly as it came, and Flitter leaped from the cloud, vanishing into the summer haze below.

Rainbow Dash sat on her cloud, thinking. Eventually the sun set, and night swallowed her whole.

Severe Weather Appreciation Week started with fog. It rolled in slowly from the forest. It crept through the sleeping streets, wrapping around the homes and climbing the walls like ivy. Birds and insects, normally so loud in the morning, grew quiet, then still. Colors drained away from the world, drunk up by the mists, and then shapes and forms as well, until everything became vague suggestions and hints. The fog came in and stole Ponyville away.

Fog didn’t take much effort to get going. It was easy, dramatic, and not very frightening. Perfect, in other words, for the first morning of the first day.

When the team had first announced Severe Weather Appreciation Week, Rainbow Dash had worried about the reaction from the town. Most ponies, after all, expected nothing from the weather team but sunny days and gentle evening rains. How would they react to something new, no matter how exciting it might be?

But aside from a few stubborn holdouts like Twilight Sparkle, the town had quickly fallen in line with the idea. Ponies, as a general rule, were respectful of authority, and the weather team was the authority on weather. Ponies also loved to celebrate things, and it didn’t take much work on Rainbow’s part to convince the town that Severe Weather Appreciation Week was a type of celebration. That alone got ponies talking in excited whispers about food and decoration and spending time with friends and family. So when the fog rolled in that morning, it was greeted with cautious enthusiasm by the town.

Ponies ventured outside into the mist as though entering a new world. They took slow steps from their doors. Foals raced out ahead of their parents, froze, then ran back to hide between their legs. When the fog didn’t bite, they wandered back out, and soon the streets of Ponyville were filled with shouts and laughter, all hidden away.

The other reason ponies weren’t too concerned about the week was less flattering. It was simply difficult for the town’s earth ponies and unicorns to take the pegasi seriously. Pegasi, in their long experience, were flighty creatures, given to brief whims and short but intense passions. The idea that the town’s pegasi, led by Rainbow Dash of all mares, could sustain a serious effort for an entire week was difficult to entertain.

The fog developed into a gloom, a pall that sat atop the town. Clouds descended until they brushed the tops of ponies’ homes. Twilight Sparkle’s crystal castle, normally so bright in the sun, darkened as though scorched by fire. The amethyst walls turned black and chill, and their high points vanished in the clouds.

In the afternoon, downbursts exploded across town. Sudden, short, sharp showers of rain that soaked everything and everypony beneath them. Foals chased after them, laughing. Adults fled from them, shrieking.

All the while, Rainbow Dash flew above the town, nudging clouds or currents into their correct positions. The other weather team ponies orbited further out, collecting pockets of warm or cold air for later distribution. But Flitter never left her side, even when there was no work for her to do. They paused for lunch atop the town hall’s steeple, perching above the eaves, munching on apples stolen from the Acres. Their wings brushed together as they breathed.

Flitter bit through the core of her last apple, chewing it noisily. She spat a few seeds onto the cobblestones below.

“Going good so far, boss,” she said.

Rainbow Dash nodded. The motion hurt – her wings and back and neck were a solid lump of ache, the muscles worn to exhaustion by days of ceaseless flying. Even breathing was difficult.

She loved it.

“Thunderstorms are set for tomorrow,” Flitter continued. She peered up at the clouds, which were only a few feet above their heads. “Plenty of extra energy. Should be some great lightning.”


Flitter turned her head. “You okay? I thought you’d be more excited.”

“I am. Just tired. Lotta work, you know?”


They lapsed into a companionable silence, and Rainbow Dash returned to the puzzle that had twisted her thoughts for so many days. Why did she care so much about this week? Why did she spend every waking hour, and many of the hours she should have been sleeping, preparing weather of all things? Not even the Wonderbolts training had driven her so.

“Hey, Flitter?”

“Hm?” Flitter looked back at Dash. Her breath smelled faintly of apples. “What’s up?”

“You ever want to be a Wonderbolt?”

“Hmm…. Nah.”

“Why not?”

“Eh.” Flitter shrugged. “They just, you know… they’re cool ponies and all, but... “


“They’re not the kind of pony I want to be. It’s always about them. How famous they are, how, uh, how awesome they are.”

Rainbow snorted. “What’s wrong with being awesome?”

Flitter nudged her. “Nothing. But, like, their whole thing is how awesome they are. Even their shows. Like, do you think they’d do all that if nopony showed up to watch? Just fly around because they love it?”

Rainbow Dash thought back to her times with the ‘Bolts. The stadiums, the crowds, the adulation of the fans. The rush of performing in front of thousands, all chanting her name.


In time Flitter excused herself to run some errand or other. She brushed her wing against Rainbow’s, then jumped off the roof. She arced through the air, seeking out one of the fierce downpours soaking the town, and Rainbow Dash lost sight of her in the rain.

The thunderstorm the next day was luminous.

It struck as the sun set. All day the overcast skies had slowly descended. The air pressure fell in time with them, creating a sense of ominous anticipation in the ponies below. They could feel the skies building toward something, drawing closer with each hour to some inexorable explosion.

The sun descended, and twilight washed over the land in seconds. The world plunged into darkness as thick black clouds swept in from the horizons. And just as night settled onto the town, the first bolt of lightning split the darkness. It blinded all who saw it, and the thunder that followed seconds later shattered their hearing. Windows vibrated in their panes. It knocked leaves loose from their branches. Birds, roosting in the trees, burst into the air in a panic.

Foals cried. Adults jumped and raced inside. The first fat drops of rain landed like rocks on their roofs, filling homes with a constant, endless din. It lasted for hours.

And all the while, the town’s pegasi cavorted in the skies. They laughed, filled with a joy most of them hadn’t felt in years. They danced with the rain and with each other and with the lightning. Fierce gusts battered them, threatening to slam them into the earth, and they fought back. Faint blue wisps of St. Elmo’s fire rose from the tips of their wings.

The weather team took turns powering the storm. For days they had filled clouds with rain and stored them above the White Tail Woods, and now they shuttled them to the storm.

Rainbow Dash pushed a particularly large, sodden cloud into place, and gave it a good kick. It rumbled with thunder, and soon it began to bleed its rain into the squall. She hovered beside it, watching, ready to shepherd it into place if it drifted away.

Rainbow saw a light gray coat and cyan mane below, darting in and out of sight. Flitter spun freely in the rain, laughing, not caring who saw. She dived into a cloud and burst out from the other side, trailing bits of sodden gray fluff. The lightning illuminated her smile.

Flitter noticed her watching. Her wings flapped, and in seconds she was hovering at Rainbow’s side. She panted for breath, absolutely soaked. Every line of her body stood out in sharp relief beneath her coat.

“Rainbow!” she shouted to be heard over the wind. “This is awesome!”

Rainbow grinned. “Having fun?”

“It’s incredible!” She flipped in a quick loop. “Do you want to play? I’ll push the clouds for a bit.”

“Uh.” Rainbow Dash glanced around. All below her the sky was filled with darkness, and in the flashes of lightning she saw dozens of colorful sparks flying to and fro. The town’s pegasi flew with unchecked joy like she had never seen.

“I’m fine,” she said. She smiled at Flitter. “You go back to playing.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. Yeah, go!”

“Alright!” Flitter flipped over, twisting in a graceful loop that stretched her body and limbs out to their utmost, and then she fell back into the storm and the dancing ponies in the sky.

The town the next morning had the look of a stunned survivor.

Debris from the forest littered the streets. Branches, leaves, entire trees. Ponies ventured out cautiously, stepping between the deep puddles and around the new obstacles. They mumbled quietly amongst themselves, exchanging stories about the previous night.

Rainbow Dash didn’t see any other pegasi from her seat at the café. All still asleep, probably. She sipped at her coffee and waved to Twilight Sparkle.

Twilight waved back. She walked over, righted the tipped-over chair across the table from Dash, and took a seat.

“So,” she said.


“Your storm kept me up last night.”

Rainbow grinned. “Yeah?”

“Yes. It kept a lot of ponies up, Rainbow Dash.”

Rainbow stretched. Her body wasn’t as sore as the first day, but it still ached a bit. “I know.”

“Do you know how many ponies have complained to me so far this morning?”

“I dunno. Five?”

“Eleven. And that was just walking here from my castle.”

“Ponies complain too much.”

Twilight sighed. “You’ve had your fun, Dash. Do you really need the rest of this week? Hailstorms? A tornado?”

“Duh. We’re saving the best for last.”

“Rainbow, ponies don’t want a tornado—”

“No, listen,” Rainbow cut her off. “You keep saying that. Rarity said it, and Thunderlane said it too. Ponies don’t want these things. But what you mean is some ponies don’t want them. But what about the ones who do?”


“Yeah.” Some of the tension faded from Rainbow’s shoulders, and she smiled. “You should’ve seen them last night, Twilight. All of them flying in the storm… I don’t think I’ve ever seen everypony so happy.”

“And what about the rest of us?”

“Eh.” Rainbow sipped her coffee. “Earth ponies and unicorns somehow survived with wild weather all those years before the compact. Have you gotten so soft you can’t stand a week without sunny weather?”

Twilight frowned. “Soft? I’m not soft.”

“Uh huh.” Rainbow reached out with her wingtip to prod Twilight’s stomach. “You sure?”

Twilight swatted the feathers away. “Why are you so intent on this? You never cared about the weather before.”

Hm. That question again. Why did she pour so much of herself into this week? Why did she work herself to exhaustion, for the weather of all things? Where had this passion come from?

An image from the previous night flashed into her mind. Darkness, light by lightning, revealing dozens of pegasi dancing in the storm. Alive as they had never been before. She blinked, and the image vanished, and the bright morning Ponyville café returned.

“You know, I’m still figuring that out,” she said. “But I’ve got a few ideas.”

The rest of the week went well, except for the tornado.

The tornado was spectacular.

It arrived over the town like a runaway train. A hundred pegasi swirled within, driving the twister forward. The ground shook beneath them. Shrieking winds tore away shingles, shattered trees and plastered homes with debris.

Inside the tornado, the town’s pegasi fed each other with their power. They reached speeds unimaginable by most of them who were not named Rainbow Dash, and for few moments they all knew what it was like to be a Wonderbolt.

It was over in minutes. The funnel passed over the town, leaving it battered and waterlogged. Ponies emerged from their basements to assess the damage and found it generally to be light. Rarity, who had forgotten to remove the pennants from atop the Carousel Boutique, cursed under her breath and went hunting for them. Twilight Sparkle spent the day scraping mud from the highest crystal panes of her castle.

As evening fell, the pegasi returned to town. They were a mess – manes ruined, feathers all afluff, and coated in grime. The dryest one was like a wet sponge. They were exhausted. And still they helped the rest of the town clean up their mess, because this was Ponyville, and they were all neighbors here.

Night found Rainbow Dash and Flitter perched atop the town hall again. They were the weariest two of the town’s pegasi, and they looked it. Dash could barely keep her eyes open.

“So.” Flitter let out a breath. “That was pretty fun.”


“Not bad work. You did good.”

Rainbow smiled. “Thanks. Hey, you too.”

“I gotta admit, I never really expected something like this from you. It took a lot of hard work.”

Rainbow Dash snorted. “Implying?”

“Well, you’re not lazy.” Flitter paused. “To my surprise.”

“Heh.” Passion, again. What drove it? Rainbow Dash glanced at Flitter, then back at the town.

The Wonderbolts would never have done something like this, she was pretty sure. Where were the crowds?

“You were right, you know.”

“Huh?” Flitter glanced at her. “About what?”

“Nothing, nevermind.” Dash stood and stretched her aching body. “Wanna get some food? My treat.”

Flitter grinned. “Sure.”

They jumped from the roof together, and flew down into their town.
« Prev   21   Next »
#1 · 1
(Reads Severe Weather Appreciation Week first because of Real World context) Ah, so we can blame this week on Rainbow Dash Vacations in Florida :)

Best line: Other ponies just had poor priorities.

I read that in Rainbow Dash's voice. Awesome.

Bring the storm! The lightning!
(It just needs Bugs Bunny with a conductor baton.)
#2 ·
I've always been a fan of Pegasi-Love-Storms as a concept.
#3 ·
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa
I enjoyed this one a lot.

The styling feels a bit inconsistent; the stream-of-conciousness thing done with Rainbow in the beginning kinda caught me off guard, but then it sorta peters out and vanishes from the rest of the story.

The middle felt a bit slow to me; I'm glad you didn't go through the weather day-by-day, but it didn't really feel like everything you did put in was playing tightly into the plot, either? Maybe I just missed something, I dunno. I'm not really sure that cutting it would be the right answer, either. The middle felt a bit long is all, I guess.

I'm a little mixed on the ending. I don't think I'm reading what you intend there, but I'm honestly not sure what I'm missing. Was the whole thing because RD loves Flitter? Or was there something deeper about Rainbow's emotions/motivations in there that I'm missing? Was the 'you're right' just talking about the Wonderbolts being gloryhounds? If so, what's the conclusion Rainbow's drawing from that?

All in all, though, this felt really strong to me. The jokes were great, the characters were entertaining, the prose was crisp; I just think it ended a little less excellently than it started, I guess.
#4 ·

And I love this thing. You got amazing characters, character interactions, and you left the ending slightly ambiguous. The middle is a little slow, but very important and should probably not be changed.
#5 ·
Who would've thought that some of the best stories I'd read this round would be stories focused on Dash. This is earning one of the two top spots of my ranking, I haven't decided yet.

Anyway. While I mostly agree with >>Not_A_Hat on that this could use some tightening. Here and there were a few scenes which could use some ironing, mainly the intro and a bit of expansion of unicorns and earth ponies reactions to the Severe Weather would be appreciated as well.

Nevertheless, this managed to connect with me, and I really got a feel for Dash's motivation, because who doesn't want to truly feel alive every once in a while?

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed this and further editing can bring the story to even greater heights.
#6 ·
Immediately, we're treated to a paragraph via enormous run-on sentence. This, and subsequent paragraphs coupled with the fact that these sente-graphs are still fun and easy to read, tells me this is an intentional authorial style choice, and I dig it.

Rainbow Dash's desire for exciting weather is intriguing, but not surprising now that I've seen it happen. She's "Danger" Dash, after all. The couple random dives into sexuality are weird at first (though I guess I'm okay with Flitter being ravaged on a cloud, if need be later), but as a segue for rediscovering the fundamental passion Rainbow's been missing it's a great narrative device.

"And the unicorns do something too, I guess." - Nice shade you're tossing out there, Thunderlane. Living up to your species.

<wall of meteorological science> Good job Rainbow. I'm impressed.

Okay, now if Dash and Flitter don't bang during or on top of a tornado I'm going to be upset.


I'm upset. Maybe you ran up against the word ceiling/time limit and had to wrap up, but it feels like a tourniquet rather than a proper ending. And that is, happily, my only real complaint. Introspective Dash is new but still feels in-voice, cranky Twilight is fun (would like to see her ride a storm though. Maybe loosen up a bit), and all around the constant "why exactly am I doing this" nature of the piece was great.
#7 ·
I ended up really liking this. To be honest, the beginning kinda put me off. The weird 'I'm telling myself I'm not stupid to reiterate that I really am' bit with Dash in the beginning, and really all the pegasi early on, really irked me. (That was a word she knew because she was a smart pony too.) Then the fact that the... eighth paragraph, one of the longer ones in the fic, was only two sentences bothered me a bit too. I just didn't see any reason for it.

I think, though, that this fic just took a bit of time to get rolling. Once you hit Dash's pitch everything started to click. I loved the passion, I loved the introspection, I loved the descriptions of ponies playing in the storms, I loved the budding romance and the willful ignorance. It almost felt like watching the writing of Dash grow up a bit. She went from angsty teen in the beginning to contemplative and self aware at the end without losing the core of her character that she was perusing. Nicely done.
#8 ·
Genre: Thun-DA!! nana-na-na-nana-na-na Thun-DA!!

Thoughts: When this fic is on, It! Is! On!! It possesses an arresting quality of magnetism that pulls me through the onset of the titular week. Its descriptions are a pleasure to read, and its comedic bits (most consistently delivered via RD's run-on introspection) are as good and funny as I could hope for.

My problem comes with trying to assemble all this sound and fury into something that it might signify. The other characters ask about it often enough, and RD introspects about it plenty too. Yet none of their efforts leave me with a strong takeaway. "Pegasi get passionate over crazy weather and sometimes you gotta tolerate letting passionate people get as crazy as they want to be" feels like the most likely message that I can glean out of this... and that's okay? I guess? But for me it doesn't do enough to dispel the funk of uncertainty that I feel, and that RD herself still seems to be feeling by the end.

Yet I feel like it's close--perhaps very close indeed--to coalescing. Fortunately, there's an app a tier for that...

Tier: Almost There
#9 · 2
My only problem here:

Is chronological. At first, I thought this must be taking place early in Season One because there's no mention of the big storm that takes place during "Look Before You Sleep" and Dash keeps thinking of the Wonderbolts as if they're something she's still working toward. But then we see that Twilight's a princess and that Dash has been a Wonderbolt for some time now...

I'd suggest setting this squarely during Season One. Make the storm mentioned above the catalyst that sparks this idea in Dash's mind. Or better yet, set it just after "Sonic Rainboom" where Dash has experienced this enormous emotional high and wants to bring a similar feeling to her regular daily life. A real nice story, though.

#10 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion
It’s always a weird feeling to dislike a story that many others seem to enjoy. Sadly, this is exactly how I feel when reading this. The story has a plethora of problems that make me more frustrated than fulfilled, and given how many of the reviews here don’t specifically point them out, I feel I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention them.

For starters, Rainbow Dash’s morality here is…dubious, at best. I can understand the obsession with stormy weather, as well as her trying to do this “Appreciation Week”, but the idea that she’d be so callous to discard the other townsponies feelings toward it (the “everything turns into soup if you add enough rain” being the most dickish line to me) just feels really out-of-character. I get that the author is trying to portray her loyalty as being to her fellow Pegasi, but I don’t buy for a moment that her loyalty to the rest of the Mane 6 would be overruled by her own people (she was willing to give up her Wonderbolts position, a group with extremely high cultural significance to pegasi, when it almost led to her friends being hurt). I could buy it if she started doing the more intense things like the tornado, then began to realize how she was affecting the ponies. Here, though, her more-or-less destruction of the town is treated as a triumph for the pegasi and a stepping stone in her relationship with Flitter.

There’s also the question of why they have to do the severe weather in Ponyville. The story suggests that the Pegasi just like the sensation of the severe weather, but there’s nothing there that really says the other two tribes have to experience them. If that’s the case, then why not just do this severe weather somewhere abandoned, or maybe between towns where it wouldn’t inconvenience anypony? I find this so egregious because so much of the first half of the story is spent justifying why this Severe Weather Appreciation Week has to happen, yet nopony points out that they could just do this somewhere else. It doesn’t help that her resulting confrontations with Twilight are treated as Dash standing up for herself and her people, while ignoring those wimpy whiners who didn’t want to see their town demolished. I’m particularly grumpy about this because I just got hit by Hurricane Irma, and I sympathize more with the townponies who don’t want their houses damaged and livelihoods affected (especially when said damage can be completely averted, unlike here in real-life) than a bunch of pegasi who caused a devastating tornado and hurricane out of some vague boredom.

But even outside of these factors, there’s the fact that the story’s structure becomes needlessly repetitive. Repetition isn’t an inherently bad thing, and it would make sense to do a Weather Appreciation Week day by day. Here, though, the repetition is a bit too close to really make the story work. The severe weather starts, the other ponies react, Rainbow Dash flirts with Flitter, some ponies complain, start again. It’s a repetition that makes the story feel like it’s just eating up time instead of being a natural progression. The middle and the ending feel the same instead of being a transition.

The ending itself is one of the biggest things that really hinders the story, in that I’m not sure what it’s trying to convey. Is it about Rainbow learning why she should or shouldn’t follow the compact? No, because she doesn’t bring this up. The week is just over, with Dash only briefly reflecting on it before zooming off with Flitter. Going by this, the Week must not have mattered that much if she just sort of shrugs it off after it’s done. Is it about Dash growing to understand herself? No, because she ends the story more-or-less how she started it: she feels right for causing all this severe weather. Is it about advancing her relationship with Flitter? Probably, given that the story ends with her, but if that’s the case, the romance feels rather surface-level, so I really don’t know what it is about Flitter that’s really attracting Dash to her. If it’s just the severe weather, then that’s a pretty shallow reason. Granted, I could see Dash getting involved in somepony for relatively simplistic reasons (initially, at least), but the story tries to sell me this idea of them being soulmates so hard. Given how much of their interactions can be boiled down to “I like this thing that you like; that’s pretty hot”, I really don’t buy it.

I know I’m really sounding like a Negative Nancy here, so I just want to clarify that I don’t think the idea of the story is bad. Having the different tribes come into conflict over one tribe’s past traditions is a really interesting concept, and I feel the story starts very strongly. Having Dash question her personal feelings over the weather and being motivated to change it briefly is an interesting character arc; we can tell how passionate she is about this, and the story does a great job at showing her winning the other pegasi over. Going by the beginning part, I thought the story was going to be great.

But the problem is that the story doesn’t really examine how this affects other ponies. We get brief glimpses of the non-Pegasi reacting to the storm, then Dash blowing off their concerns before going onto the next big storm. Other than the relationship with Flitter, what did the story really reveal? Is the severe weather really necessary for the pegasi as they initially believed? Did the non-pegasi ever come to appreciate the severe weather? Does anypony like the Princesses or other outside parties comment on this? I don’t know, because there’s more focus on the actual weather and Dash’s dalliances with Flitter than exploring the consequences of this event. The situation overcomes the story, and it makes the final result seem underwhelming.

In the end, this is a story that I don’t particularly care for. Not because it has a bad concept, but because the execution is very lacking. There’s complex ideas on display here, but the story either ignores or trivializes them to where they can’t be examined. In some ways, that’s even worse than a simply bad story. There’s definitely something here, but it’s masked by a moral simplicity that doesn’t fit the story. Rainbow Dash can tell herself that this is simply “passion”, but even in a seemingly cut-and-dry place in Equestria, that’s not going to fly. When something affects all the ponies around you, your own passion isn’t going to fix their broken world.

(Also, as a personal note, I have to say that there’s a big difference between understanding severe weather and appreciating it. I understand why hurricanes come to my town, but I sure as hell don’t appreciate them destroying my house and ruining people’s homes & lives. If there’s anything in this story I would appreciate, it’d be the Ponyville residents having the ability to never worry about their roofs being ripped off or windows being blown out by the wind, unlike what my family went through last week.)
#11 ·
· · >>libertydude >>horizon
So I think there are some lines in there about the Pegasi minimizing actual damage to the town, as well as being willing to help clean up after the storms because Ponyville is their town too.

However, I was compelled to post "me too" because I feel like you've otherwise hit the nail on the head. There's excellent writing on offer here, but there are gaps in the logic and empathy that don't add up for me--especially in a Pony context.
#12 ·
Yeah, I know the lines you're talking about, and I recognize that it makes the pegasi's actions a little more excusable. But I still stand by my criticisms, simply because the fact that they try to minimize damage and help the other ponies shows that they're well aware that the severe storm is adversely affecting other ponies. It's nice that they'll help their neighbors, but the ponies that clearly didn't want to participate are still going to get their homes damaged, and that's going to be a pain regardless of whether the pegasi help them or not.
#13 · 2
Probably the best prose in the round, with excellent voicing and character writing all around. Like, I can't emphasize this enough. Absolutely great writing.

That said, I hate this story.

One of the core issues for me is that Rainbow Dash is insufferable. Flawed protagonists are great. Everyone should have flaws. Flaws make characters interesting. The problem is that when a character is so obnoxious that you wish they'd get struck by a bolt of lightning, it doesn't make for an enjoyable reading experience.

The core complaint is understandable. I like rough weather too! But her knowing air of superiority (which frankly feels unearned given I have trouble imagining both that all pegasi like storms and all ground ponies hate them) rubs the wrong way, as does her relatively smug introspection.

And of course, this ignores the question of why not have the bad weather like, 5 miles west of town. You can fly. You mostly live on clouds. There is a compromise to be had here. Honestly, everyone kinda needlessly kowtows to Rainbow Dash's considerations here. I mean, yes, they are great at controlling weather. It is still -really- hard to overlook the stupidity of running a tornado through town. Just because I'm a great shot doesn't mean it is a great idea for me to shoot around people I know. And yes, you do try to ease it up with them helping with town cleanup, but honestly, if my neighbor pisses on my front door, him cleaning it up is not a particularly great comfort to me.

And, of course, since Rainbow Dash is not lazy (unless it concerns things not her hobbies) I'm sure she was a great help.

Again. I get that the core conceit here is that the pegasi have excellent control, etc. I just find myself not caring, especially since Rainbow Dash seems amazingly indignant given ponies also let her do this, despite much of this stuff relying on the idea of "Oh don't worry, there is 0 chance we will fuck this up" which really abuses my suspension of disbelief.

Beyond that, the actual narrative throughline seems to be more about her relationship with Flitter (boy her friends are fast to assume that she is dtf the pony she's working with) which... kinda goes nowhere. I mean, the story is 8K words, Rainbow Dash faces like, no actual obstacles to her goal, and everything goes smoothly. That's a lot of words for... honestly not much happening. And I know this is more a character piece than anything, but it isn't as if RD particularly discovers anything new. We get the implications of stuff with Flitter and self vs outer motivation, but it all just kinda floats out there.

This is the longest fic in the WO, and it is frustrating that the only real source of tension I found was "would a lightning bolt strike RD for being such a pain in the ass." This fic feels like it is dying for some actual meat that I can sink my teeth into. There are no real stakes, no real challenges, no real obstacles, and we end barely two steps away from where we started.

Since you're doing very tight 3rd person, you should actually introduce the POV way earlier in the opening scene.

Anyhow, to reiterate. Actual writing quality seriously is super great, and obviously my opinions on content are just my opinions.
#14 · 2
· · >>Posh >>libertydude
The last couple of comments have hated on Dash and the pegasi for their irresponsibility. Which ... well, is legitimate in some limited ways, but never occurred to me as a reader. I especially disagree with the idea that, as >>CoffeeMinion puts it, it "doesn't add up ... in a Pony context", because I think that the logic of the story requires a Pony context.

I have a set of assumptions about pony which, when I read this, made Dash's position seem entirely unremarkable. They apparently aren't broadly shared, so it seems worthwhile to outline what they are:

1) A society which has perfect control of the weather will eliminate inconveniencing and/or unpleasant weather events. (The story takes pains to set this up, but it fit my existing headcanon.)
2) Ponyville gets destroyed, like, once a week. (Come on, we see this in the show.)
3) Equestria is a quasi-socialist utopia in which having your home destroyed is an inconvenience rather than a life-altering tragedy.

Point three is a potentially significant one, because if any destruction had happened, it's the difference between Dash's request being monstrous and merely bizarre. So, author, it's worth considering to possibly add some early exposition making that explicit, or otherwise lampshading (more than you already do) that there's some sort of universal insurance or rebuilding budget or something.

Though ... that said, I'm dubious that even that is necessary. On closer examination, it seems to me like the anti-severe-weather comments here are reading too many Earth experiences into the story. We're talking about hurricanes, towns being laid waste to, people homeless, threats to life and limb ... and not only did that never happen in the story, it was never close to the intention.

The first day of "severe" weather appreciation week is fog. Literally nothing damaging happens (or could happen, unless someone had planned a high-speed go-kart race or something). Ponies, after being initially intimidated, enjoy it. And yet it would never have happened without Dash going out on a limb to expose the town to it. I mean, when fog is a marvel to ponies, and requires them to adjust to their initial fear, it's hard to argue that Dash doesn't have some kind of point.

And the worst that the weather gets is remarkably tame by our standards:

It was over in minutes. The funnel passed over the town, leaving it battered and waterlogged. Ponies emerged from their basements to assess the damage and found it generally to be light. Rarity, who had forgotten to remove the pennants from atop the Carousel Boutique, cursed under her breath and went hunting for them. Twilight Sparkle spent the day scraping mud from the highest crystal panes of her castle.

As evening fell, the pegasi returned to town. They were a mess – manes ruined, feathers all afluff, and coated in grime. The dryest one was like a wet sponge. They were exhausted. And still they helped the rest of the town clean up their mess, because this was Ponyville, and they were all neighbors here.

What's actually happening here — if we remove the context of Earth's recent hurricanes, and focus on the text — is pegasi being given permission to cut loose for a short period in order to get in touch with something that is normally suppressed for the convenience of mainstream society. It's little different from, say, pride marches or Burning Man — or, perhaps, grown men going to a convention celebrating a cartoon for little girls, instead of staying at home and being stoic and Masculine and emotionally repressed.

And that's part of what pushed this story to the top of my slate: the central metaphor here is powerful, deceptively broad, and easy to relate to if you (can) put yourself in the horseshoes of the pegasi.

I wish I could offer better advice on how to draw more readers to that reading. Maybe wider-world context is a problem here: the "too soon" effect of the recent hurricanes is probably gonna linger for a while. (Let's be clear: those were a tragedy, and should not be made light of, and I'm sorry for any loss/damage/anguish they caused to anyone here. But I can't read this story as making light of that — it has nothing to do with those tragedies, except for the surface storm theme.) What I can say is that I think it would be a mistake to walk back this story's themes in an effort to satisfy the "Dash-is-an-asshole" portion of your audience.

Tier: Top Contender
#15 · 7
3) Equestria is a quasi-socialist utopia in which having your home destroyed is an inconvenience rather than a life-altering tragedy.

#16 · 3
I think you bring up several good points, particularly in terms of looking at this more from a pony perspective than a real-world context. Your three assumptions are more-or-less sound, and the observation about the weather patterns does certainly does mitigate the idea of the town being totally annihilated.

That being said, it’s what you said about this story relating to culture that really solidified my dislike for this story:

What's actually happening here — if we remove the context of Earth's recent hurricanes, and focus on the text — is pegasi being given permission to cut loose for a short period in order to get in touch with something that is normally suppressed for the convenience of mainstream society. It's little different from, say, pride marches or Burning Man — or, perhaps, grown men going to a convention celebrating a cartoon for little girls, instead of staying at home and being stoic and Masculine and emotionally repressed.

That’s actually a pretty interesting way of looking at it. Trying to express one’s cultural identity in an oppressive atmosphere is definitely a good story idea, and this story does seem to suggest that cultural identity is important.

However, there’s one central problem with the metaphor you provide. What’s the difference between a pride parade or Brony Convention to this story’s situation?

Willing participation. With a convention or parade, one has the explicit choice to participate or not participate. They’re in public locations, and people have the ability to go to or avoid them at their own discretion. In this story, the ponies that live in this town are pretty much stuck with this cultural presentation, even if they didn’t want it. I don’t like the music of Lady Gaga, and I’d be pissed if my town passed a provision that said the entire town must play her songs on repeat for a week. It’s this reason that really makes me find the pegasi unsympathetic, as their cultural presentation forces everypony to participate in it, whether they want to or not.

As for my invoking of Hurricane Irma, it wasn’t so much that I was offended the author was using the subject matter as much as it was using a real-world event that I had experience with to point out why the pegasi were coming across as jerks. As you said, we do need to look at the story from a pony-world perspective, but my point with Irma was that it’s a universal feeling to not want your home damaged, especially when said damage can be completely prevented (as it could be in this universe). Even if your assumption that their houses get wreaked every week is correct, that doesn’t mean they want it to happen every week.

In the end, though, I agree with you that the story has more admirable qualities than I gave in my first posting. I still can’t say I like it, but I can at least understand why others enjoy it.