Deep in the heart of Equestria, nestled between the Unicorn Mountains and the Foal Range, laid the kingdom of Canterlot, a land ruled by the wise and kind princess Celestia, a land which had known peace for ages. Built directly into the mountain side the great city was firmly planted with its majestic structures peering over the land for the entire world to see. Greatest of all stood the white Castle where the Princess resided and spent most of her days looking over her subjects.
It was evening when the dark figured appeared before the palace guards and demanded and audience with Celestia. At first he was denied entry, until he revealed he was a griffon that came on behalf of the sovereign nation across the seas. After it was established the message being delivered was urgent, the Princess was awakened and gave the emissary her full attention as he divulged his ponderous message. Upon its completion the Princess was left to weigh some important decisions that could reshape all of Equestria, perhaps more.
"But why," she asked the emissary, "Why is it that Lord Graywing needs the aid of Equestria? The griffons have long stood a powerful folk whose strength is unmatched. If I'm not mistaken, Lord Graywing's rule long surpasses the reign of my sister and myself."
The griffon emissary looked back at her with fierce pride burning in his chest. "Make no mistake, Princess, the griffons have long kept Equestria safe from foes that would set their claws on your very lands. The mere threat of vengeance was enough to stave off all manner of beasts. But," his voiced hardened from one of pride to one that does not make threats, but of one who makes promises. "If we do not join hands, griffon, pony, wolf, dragon, dare I say all the races…If we do not join hands, I fear we will swept away by this fierce river's current." With that, he made his way to the door.
"Messenger, tell Lord Graywing I will ponder these issues, but will not rush to send my people to their deaths," Princess Celestia said with dignity befitting any ruler.
The messenger bowed, spread his wings and then was gone.
"Hurry Fluttershy, this is my chance and I don't wanna miss it because you're dilly-dallying!" Rainbow Dash, winner of the Young Fliers tournament, yelled back to her friend.
The two were making their way high into sky to the very upper levels of Cloudsdale itself. The sun was high in the sky and the wind sang in their ears as they soared ever higher. Rainbow Dash raced ahead of her friend, occasionally stalling and waiting for her companion to catch up. Fluttershy, not being strong in her skills as a flier, struggled to keep up, trying her best not to keep her friend from being late.
"Oh my, I'm so sorry for keeping you," she said sheepishly. "I really didn't want to be a bother. Oh, gee, there certainly are a lot of ponies coming." Fluttershy had taken notice to all of the pegasai rushing past them.
"Well of course! This is the first time ever the Wonderbolts have held open tryouts! Any flier who's any flier is going to be there and I'm going to blow them all away and make the cut. This is my chance, I just know it."
Once they reached the proving grounds and registered Rainbow Dash in the competition, they walked around and took in the spectacle that was unfolding before them. Wonderbolt toys and merchandise, booths where you could get your picture taken with a few of the Wonderbolts, as well as many other things would expect from a fair. The air all around was filled with pegasai buzzing about them, practicing loop-da-loops, corkscrews, and all manner of advanced flying techniques. Rainbow Dash was carefully scoping them out; the more she looked, the more cocky she felt.
"Fluttershy this will be a breeze. I'm faster than everypony here and I'm pretty sure I can run circles around all of them. Did you see that filly's corkscrew? Totally weak! Her high speed U-turn is sloppy. Fluttershy, I got this in the bag."
"I'm certain the Best young Flier in All Equestria will have a leg up on the competition. Oh Rainbow Dash, I just know you'll make it. I'm going to find some good seats to watch the show."
"Okay, just try to get as close to the action as you can so I hear you cheering me on!" the Cyan Pony said as she headed off in another direction to try and find her place for the events.
Shortly after finding her seat, Fluttershy heard the announcements begin, telling everypony that the tryouts would be commencing soon and the fliers were all to gather at the heart of the outdoor arena.
"Ladies and gentlecolts!" the voice boomed filling up the entire air space, "We would like to welcome you to watch our best and bravest put their mettle and wing to the test, in hopes of earning a spot on your very own Wonderbolts… and here they come now, the lighting on a clear day, the one, the only, the WONDERBOLTS!" Just as the announcer finished, the sky was filled with applause and hoof stomping. Descending from on high, the Wonderbolts soared into view, thick black trails of smoke issuing from behind them as they flew in tight, controlled formation. "Oooh's" and "aaah's" were heard from everypony as fancy air techniques were performed in complete unison before erupting in a deafening cheer when they finally landed and took their place at the speaker's podium.
Once the crowd's roar died down, the one called Spitfire stepped forward, her burning bright yellow and orange mane blowing in the wind, addressed the young fillies and colts before her. "I would like to thank all of you for coming out. The Wonderbolts have been told to increase our numbers by at least two fold, but don't let that make you think that our standards are any less rigorous. We are looking for the best fliers in all Equestria; we have a plethora of trials that will put everypony to the test. Your speed, your agility, your reflexes, and most importantly, how well you can operate with fellow fliers to get the job done. Let the tryouts begin!"
Then, with another large roar from the crowd, the events began. First up was a straight race, ten laps around the track. Rainbow Dash was part of the third group to go; she confidently trotted to her place at the line. Once in position, she prepped herself for the high speed dash off start. She arched her back, lowered her head down, and spread her wings wide . A smile crept across her face.
"This is my event," Rainbow Dash muttered to herself. "This will show everypony that I play to win!"
As the checkered flag flew to signal the start, Rainbow Dash beat her wings as hard as should could and took off with frightening speed, enough so that a rainbow trail followed in her wake. There were two other colts that were doing their best to keep up. Rainbow laughed to herself., "Sorry boys, this one is all mine!" With that she poured more of her strength into her wings and began to distance herself. As she pulled away, the crowd cheered and roared her name. One lap down, Rainbow now could see the other ponies, but that was what she expected. She wasn't just racing them though, she was racing everypony. This thought pushed her to go on, go harder, go faster. Two laps down, this is what she was built for; speed, the thrill of the race! Third lap, fourth, then the fifth. On the sixth lap she began to pass the slower pegasai but that only pushed her to keep going. Ninth, tenth! As she made her final lap, Rainbow felt tears in her eyes of joy and happiness. As she crossed the finish line, the crowd continued to sing its excitement. Spitfire herself was manning the stop watch and was there to congratulate her.
"Great job kid! That was some of the fastest flying I have ever seen! You shattered the lap sprint record, Hell, I think you may have topped Fleet Foot's time! Kid, you are dynamite!"
"Oh that," Rainbow Dash tried to play it off cool tossing her multi-colored mane behind her, regaining her composure from her panting. "That was nothing. I'm gonna be running circles around everypony else all day, you just wait and see!"
Spitfire chuckled. "Keep this up and you'll have a spot for su-"
"We could really use a mare like you!" Another voice barged in as Spitfire was cut short by a white stallion with a blue mane. "Speed like that is what we need to take us to the next level."
It was Soarin', Rainbow Dash knew he was legendary for his acrobatics and agility in the air. She had met him a few times before, most notably at the Galla where she sought out his attention unsuccessfully, and again at the royal wedding where she was able to get a dance in with him. She blushed at his comments. "Thanks, uhh, it was nothing, really..." She scrapped at the clouds beneath her with a one hoof. Then looking back at him he noticed his eyes were not on her face. Truth be told, she had sported a large crush on Soarin', the way a school-filly might idolize a pop ponystar, but here he was admiring her?! She turned, allowing him to have a full side view, which she noticed the stallion did not let go to waste.
"Soarin'," Spitfire blurted out, drawing his attention away from her, almost sounding annoyed at the situation. "Aren't you supposed to be judging the agility tests with Fleet foot?"
"Whoops, back to work I guess! See you at agility then," the stallion chortled, oblivious to her upset demeanor and took off to his respective station.
"Forgive Soarin'. I try to keep a leash on him the best I can, but any filly that catches his eyes he just has flirt with."
"Oh geez, I didn't even notice," Rainbow Dash lied. She didn't want Spitfire to think anything foolish was going on.
"Hmm, cute," she remarked with a shred of arrogance in her voice. "Good luck today kid."
The rest of the competition went by well; maybe not as well as Rainbow Dash had hoped, but pretty darn good. She came in second in an agility test since another colt named Star Chaser managed to out maneuver her through the and obstacle course where the goal was to pass through as many cloud rings as possible in as little time as possible. Rainbow felt that if she hadn't focused on beating him to the finish line, she might not have missed the one cloud ring which he did manage to loop through. Even though she finished before him, it was not enough to score her above him due to missing that one ring.
The next event was reflex testing, which the goal was to avoid clouds thrust at her from all sides. Things were going very well as she dodged clouds coming up from the left and right and in front of her, but she was clipped by a cloud that pummeled her from behind, throwing her off balance, causing her to hit another before the test was done. Still, she had netted fourth overall. In all three events, she had come in the top five and the speed test she came in first, so she was a shoe-in for one of the spots open on the Wonderbolts.
Then the last event was upon them, but instead of a solo completion it was a test of team building skills. First, they weeded out those that did not possess the skills that they were looking for. A great majority of competitors were handed consolation prizes and told to join the stands and that, perhaps next time, they might be able to get in. They had narrowed it down to the top 25. Now, it was down to Rainbow Dash and 24 other ponies.