A summer afeternoon
Fluttershy, Skyheart, Bardigan
As the afternoon wears on above the green fields of Equestria, Cloudsdale carries on, indifferent to the patterns of the surface dwellers. The shopping period is at its daily height as pegasi browse and bargain and banter back and forth. Rainbow Dash, though, isn't up for all that stuff; she plans to make maximal use of her weekend off from Weather Patroller training by doing as little as possible. Thus, she lounges on one of the many park benches yet again. watching the weather factory as it continues to pump and process liquid sunshine. Sometimes weather-making was so much better when somepony else was doing it.
And you know who else is there? It's Fluttershy. Given the choice, who else is going to be in the scene? Wind Whistler? Blossom Forth? Flitter? ...actually, they would probably be better at bartering, but Fluttershy was...available. She stands on a little cloud puff - small, but stable, which is the important part - and watches ponies go by.
"Yo Fluttershy!" Rainbow Dash shouts, without even turning her head aside. Fluttershy is pretty easy to spot, really. "Good to see you up here today. How's life and stuff? The animals still happy and everything?" She reaches into her saddlebag, slung over a bench armrest, and produces some olives which she stuffs into her mouth. Mmm, just like they make in the Colonies."
Fluttershy blinks. "Oh. H-hello, Rainbow. I'm glad to see you." The truth is, she'd notice Dashie there about twenty minutes beforehoof, but she worried she might interrupt Rainbow thinking about something really interesting. "Um...how are you?"
Rainbow_Dash is not exactly known for deep thinking about things other than racing, Daring Do books, or wars. "I'm doing swell! Just catching a breather, taking in the Cloudsdale atmosphere. Get it? Atmosphere?" She beams as if she'd come up with that all by herself. "Gotta get rested up for training come Monday, so here I am, resting."
"Well," says Fluttershy, beating her little wings to move her cloud closer, "I'm glad you finally got some time off. Training camp sounds so exhausting, with all of that shouting, and yelling, and...training." Also, Fluttershy has some thought on the nature of pony colonialism that she's too shy to make anypony ever privy to.
"Fluttershy, I /wish/ that that's what I was training for," Rainbow Dash says. "But it's not that kind of camp. I'm in a camp to learn.../leadership/. We have to memorize these stupid charts and stupid little sayings and words nopony ever uses in real life! I..." She sighs, resigning herself to her fate. "I guess it's worth it if they're gonna promote me afterward..."
Skyheart is walking down the streets of Cloudsdale with his friend Bardigan. The two seem to be talking about something rather in depth. "See, this is why I wanted you to look some of this over, possibly even edit it. I want this to really feel like it's two actual ponies talking in these letters and right now they have the same style- mine. So... I say we co-author this. You can take what I have so far for one of the two in this piece and we'll collaborate on this. Besides... Both our names on that if it's published? Just IMAGINE the reception we'd get."
"Leadership?" Fluttershy tilts her head just so. "But Rainbow Dash, you've already been a leader. You lead the Weather Team, you lead the water tornado team, you lead, um...other things...l-like a pet race..." She blinks.
"Yeah, but that was...that was you guys!" Rainbow Dash answers. "Like, you're all my friends and ponies I know real good. If you wanna be a great leader you gotta be able to lead those crusty old weatherponies with a bajillion chevrons and medals who complain about 'those young flashy officers'!" Young flashy officers like, well, Rainbow Dash, apparently. "I dunno how learning about the Needs Matrix is gonna help with that, though, ugh." Rainbow_Dash has yet to notice Skyheart or Bardigan, though she might in time.
Bardigan rubs his chin with a hoof. "I see what you mean, Skyheart. It could be a jump forward in both our careers... not that we *need* them, but any publicity is good publicity... very well! I'll study what you have more in-depth later on. Here, let me just take this one..." He peers up at the sheet, holding it in his hoof, and when he lowers it, there are Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. Like magic! "Oh, look there," he says, nodding towards them. "Elements of Harmony."
Skyheart rolls his eyes a bit. "Come on now, you know just as well as I do actually /calling/ those girls by those titles cheapens who they are. But, yes, we should say hello." He chuckles a bit and approaches the two pegasi girls and bows politely, almost as if one would greet a princess. "Fluttershy, Rainy. A wonderful evening, isn't it?"
"I suppose," says Fluttershy, averting her eyes. "I, um, I know about the Needs Matrix..." But then, suddenly, other ponies! Fluttershy peeks around Dash to see who it is. "H-hello, Skyheart, um, Bardigan."
Rainbow_Dash turns her head and recognizes the two artists quickly. "Yo Bardigan, Skyheart! What're you two lovebirds doing? Heheh."
Bardigan rolls his eyes. "Yes, yes, laugh it up, Rainbow Dash. I'm sure our newest collaboration will only exacerbate things further, but if we must suffer for the sake of art, so be it!" He spreads his wings grandly.
Skyheart smiles and nods at the two. "Oh! That's right, I didn't get to tell you about my latest project, didn't I?" He says, seemingly talking to Rainbow Dash in particular. "Then again, I thought you had left us for training."
"Collaboration?" Fluttershy peeks out a little farther from behind Rainbow. "I'm not sure I heard about this, either..."
"Hey, hey, you know I'm just pulling your leg," Rainbow Dash tells Bardigan before turning to Skyheart. "I get weekends off; they're not /that/ cruel. Anyway, what's this thing you two are working on, anyway? Some kind of...mushy romance opera?" She deduces that's the sort of thing that would arise from a partnership between them.
"No!" Bardigan stridently denies Rainbow's assertion with a little pout and stomp of his hoof. "Maybe. Yes?" he amends after a few awkward seconds. "It's... a romance. But it's not a play, at least. It is a series of letters from one pony to another. Skyheart can give you a clearer explanation..." He gestures with a hoof for Skyheart to take the floor. He seems very eager to talk about it, at least.
Skyheart smiles and looks at the two very excitedly. "Well, it's about a couple. One is at home while the other out on some sort of long obligation, so they write letters back and forth about what's going on in their lives and how they want to see each other again. This... doesn't get to happen, sadly as the one away keeps having to /stay/ away. Still, they use these letters to share their ever fondest memory and never waver from one another even as time goes on."
"Hm!" says Fluttershy. She tilts her head the other way, like she's considering the premise. "Well, that could make a very nice story. ...is it a musical?"
Rainbow_Dash gives the two stallions a weird look as she slowly remembers. "Right, I think you talked about that, Skyheart! Maybe? Yeah, you did," she decides. "Anyway, uh...hope that turns out well!" She's kinda hoping not to be too involved in this; there's obviously something mushy about this production.
Skyheart shakes his head. "No no, this'll be a book. But having letters written by a single pony... just doesn't feel right. I needed a partner to help flesh out one side or the other for more realism. Bardigan has a lot of experience with this and we're both relatively well known so... It just made sense. Though, if you wanted to see I do have some of the letters with me. I was hoping to compare notes with Bardigan here but..." He looks to his friend who has... gone? "Um.... Well then..."
Fluttershy turns her head so that she's looking at Skyheart around her mane. "S-so...that's why it's a collaboration? You both, um, pick a character?"
"I guess this project does needs a bit of...role-playing, heheh," Rainbow Dash says, chuckling a bit. This sounds really nerdy even for these two. "Wait, you gotta make this have a...a fight scene, or something exciting! I mean, the other guy would totally write a letter about that stuff!"
Skyheart thinks for a bit. "Well if one or the other gets into a dangerous situation and winds up being able to write about it, yes, that could work. I was considering having to make the two face the perils of not being there should something happen. I mean... think about it, Rainy, you're off on your patrols and whatever else they have you do, and all the sudden you get a letter hearing there'd been a disaster in Ponyville and not only are your closests friends and family invovled, but the one you care the most about. Can you imagine how you'd feel?"
Poor Flutters' eyes get wide. "O-oh no. That would be awful! W-what if something is happening to Angel right now?!" She stands up and puts her forehooves on her cheeks.
Skyheart nods to Fluttershy. "That's what I'm getting at. Now put something even more important than that on the forefront of the letter." He explains, "And there's no way you can go back and get there to see for yourself. But you know they're able to write to you at least."
Fluttershy slowly sets herself back down, prying her hooves off of her face. "I, um, I see. I-I guess that's what they call dramatic tension..." That's right. Only a story.
Skyheart nods again. "Yeah. It keeps ponies reading. I mean if everything were perfect, we wouldn't have anything like that but... At the same time, ponies want to see fantastic situations where they have the comfort that a story will always have a happy ending."
Rainbow_Dash is having uncomfortable flashbacks of a certain chaotic maze, and a certain illusory disaster that's lurked in the back of her mind ever since. Quickly she shakes her head and brings her focus back to reality. "...I still think there should be a war involved. I mean, what's more tense than that? Airpony Bloggins has to fight the harpies and worry about his home colony, too! It's like...a war painting!" Not that she knows much about the finer details of war art.
"Airpony Bloggins?" Fluttershy says that quietly enough that Rainbow *might* not catch it. Besides, harpies aren't so bad. Some are really nice. At least, that's what she's heard. "Well...m-maybe you're right. I guess it does make a better story if a pony has to earn their happy ending."
Skyheart thinks for a while. "Well I was thinking of something like that going on. Didn't really want to dedicate it to an outright war from the outset, though. Changes up who wants to read it. Then again, Bardigan is much better at epic tales than I am so he might be the better one for that angle." He chuckles, "Once again, Rainy, you are a fountain of inspiration. Are you sure you've never done this before?"
Rainbow_Dash didn't have anything against harpies, either, but she was well aware of the history of conflict between their peoples. At least they were better than gremlins. "I just hear things every now and then," she says to Skyheart. "Lots of stories like that get drilled into every recruit's head during the Great Remembrances. I mean, if you ever attended flight academy, eheh."
"Um...I attended flight...camp. B-but you know that." She scuffs a hoof on the cloud. "Well, I'm sure your book will turn out great. ...are you sure it can't also be a musical?"
Skyheart chuckles. "Well if it gets popular enough I'm sure Bardigan would love to set that up. But... no, the fact that it's being done through letters is the big thing. For that, the pages have to feel like the letters themselves. I'm almost considering dating them and selling it not in a book but in a sort of bundled manuscript or something neat like that."
"Hey, if ponies buy into it then you'll definitely know if it worked or not," says Rainbow Dash, who probably has no intention of reading this book or musical or whatever. Still, she really does hope Skyheart and Bardigan succeed. "Anyway, I have to be back in camp for tonight, so I'll see you guys!" She gives a sort of wave-salute to the both of them before rising up from her position and zipping off into the horizon.
Saturday, June 28, 2014