"Wait! Hang on Spitfire, I can explain," Rainbow Dash said rising up on her hind legs, her forelegs raised in defense while she trotted backwards as the Wonderbolt Captain stalked closer to her. "It was just a friendly hug and nothing more, you see Soarin' saved my life out there and I just wanted to, uh, you know, show him my appreciation."
"Show him your appreciation?!" She growled. "Let me guess, you've been showing him your appreciation ever since you boarded this ship!"
"No, no you got it all wrong, I promise there is nothing going on," Soarin' stammered out stepping in between the two mares.
"Oh really?" Spitfire said staring him down, despite him being taller than her. "If there is nothing going on then why did Star Chaser and the other Wonderbolts get kicked out of the office when you called her in to see you huh?! Were you looking for a little appreciation then too?"
"What?! Look I just wanted to talk to her about a private matter! That's all I swear!" he said, shriveling under scrutiny.
"No more LIES SOARIN'!" Spitfire screamed out, drawing everypony, as well as the nearby wolves and griffons attention as she roughly shoved him out of the way and closed the gap between her and Rainbow Dash. "As for you, if you think you I'm gonna let some rainbow colored filly that isn't worth a basket of apples steal what's mine? You're sorely mistaken!"
"Listen Spitfire, I swear there was nothing funny goi-" Rainbow tried to plead with her but was immediately silenced as Spitfire accelerated to a full gallop and began to charge her.
"Whoa! Calm down!" Rainbow yelled out as she leaped out of her way, narrowly avoiding her.
"Shut it you blue little...little...JEZEBEL!" Spitfire roared back at her, sputtering over words with rage. "You want what's mine; you'll have to take it from me!"
"I don't want anything from you!" Rainbow Dash protested lowering her body in a submissive position.
"You want in the Wonderbolts, you want Soarin', and you want my job!" Spitfire accused as she dashed for her again this time too quickly for Rainbow Dash to dodge and rammed her has hard as she could with a head-butt that sent the blue pegasus crashing to the deck. Spitfire pounded the ground with her fore hoof aggressively, "Now get up, I'm not done knocking you down!"
"What?! No!" Rainbow Dash yelled back angrily as she pulled herself back to her feet raising all the way up, no longer in submission. "I always wanted to be a Wonderbolt, I used to idolize you Spitfire, but now I wish I never met you! You're just a paranoid, jealous mare who just bullies everyone around them! Plus you're crazy if you think I'm gonna fight a Captain."
"Everypony!" Spitfire yelled out to the entire crowd which had now circled them. "As your Commanding Officer I wish to make it known that rank does not apply here, right now its two civilians settling their differences understood!"
As the announcement was made Soarin' moved to intervene but was yanked back and held down by group of salivating wolves who were aching to see two girls, even if they were ponies, have a catfight. Soon the whole deck was cheering and egging them on and chanting for blood.
"Fight! Fight! Fight!" The crowd boomed.
A devilish grin crawled across Spitfire face as she turned back at Rainbow Dash. "Satisfied twerp?"
Rainbow Dash scowled back at her and pounded the ground as Spitfire had done. She snorted hot air threw her nose in anger. "You want to do this the hard way?! Fine!" She called out rising on her hind legs, bouncing on her hooves and lifting her forelegs to box. "We'll do this the HARD WAY!"
Spitfire roared as she charged Rainbow Dash again, Rainbow Dash was caught off guard by how fast she could move, realized she wouldn't be able to dodge her. She braced herself as Spitfire hit her head on, the two both tumbled over each over grappling for a good hold. They rolled over each other several times until Spitfire managed to pin her down. Her hind legs on either side of Dash's waist her left fore hoof forcing her down at the shoulder, Spitfire reached back and swung hard with her right hoof at Dash's face catching her hard against the cheek. Reaching back again for a second swing Rainbow Dash used the momentum against Spitfire rocking her up and over the cyan pegasus on the Captain's down swing.
Spitfire scrambled to her hind legs, but didn't make it before Dash did and looked up only to receive a right hook across her own face. Quickly she raised her hooves up and blocked two more follow up swings that Rainbow Dash had sent her way.
The two circled each other, sizing each other for a moment. The crowd going nuts, money was exchanging hands now. The entire ordeal had gotten out of control but the two pegasus were two furious to care. Spitfire fired off a few punches that Rainbow Dash raised her forelegs to block. With her guard up Spitfire swung deep and uppercut into her stomach.
The pain thundered through her abdomen as she let out a grunt of pain and her forelegs dropped momentarily from the force of the hit. This was more than enough time for Spitfire to lash out at her. A strong right and left cross struck consecutively knocking her back, followed by a wide powerful right hoofed haymaker. Rainbow Dash was knocked off her feet and onto her back again.
"That's it!? I know you like being on your back and all, but this is a fight! C'mon, get up!" Spitfire said in mocking tone filled with malice.
Rainbow Dash roared back at the insult, trying to block out the pain, and quickly rose up. As soon as her vision focused she saw Spitfire lunging at her again with her right hoof. Dash quickly spun to avoid the hit and planted her hind hoof into her back and kicked her as hard as she could. The move sent Spitfire stumbling into a group of rooting wolves and griffons who caught her, turned her around and threw her back into the fight…Right into Rainbow Dash's right cross.
Spitfire's jaw sang with pain at the punch, but recovered fast enough to grab Dash's left fore leg before she could follow it up. That however did not stop Rainbow Dash from driving her knee deep into her stomach. Spitfire doubled over with a gasping wheeze that sent spit flying as she had the wind knocked out of her. Once hunched over she felt the blue pegasus' fore leg wrap around her windpipe and squeeze, cutting off her breathing and keeping her head close against her waist. She felt a sharp pain in her side, Rainbow Dash' was punching her in the side with her free hoof, then her vision started going dark.
"Well waddaya know, you're not so tough after all!" Rainbow Dash snarled as she tightened her choke with all her might as Spitfire struggled to breathe and squirm free. Suddenly she felt herself liftoff the ground, looking down she saw Spitfire's wings beating fiercely raising them high in the room. "Hey whaddya think your doinngggaaahhh!!" she screamed out as Spitfire changed her flight path downward and drove Rainbow Dash's back hard into the ground. The collision forced her to let go of Spitfire and writhe around in pain, rubbing her back with her hooves.
Spitfire took in a few deep breaths then focused on the downed Rainbow Dash and quickly began to kick at her while she was still on the ground.
"You worthless!!…no good!!…pile of feathers!!…you're nothing!!… you're nothing!! She yelled at kicking at her with each outburst.
Rainbow Dash's ribs burned more and more with each kick, however she knew they were rhythmic and on the very next kick she rolled away, causing her miss and allowing her to grab her foreleg and drag her down to the ground with her to grapple with her. Once entwined the two traded blows back and forth, throwing punches, biting, kicking, and yanking at each other's manes and tales. Until finally Soarin' managed to break through and jump in the fight with Derpy following him in. Both of them grabbed the two mares and pulled, yanking the two apart, until they were swinging and reaching at the air.
"That's enough!" Soarin' yelled out. "I have had it with you Spitfire! This is the last straw! I have always been faithful to you, I remember what Blitz Ace put you though, and I promised you I would never put you through that. It was never good enough for you, you never trusted me! Now you're beating up any filly that comes your way. I can't deal with that. So do whatever you want Spitfire, just know that you're not doing it with me. When we get back to Equestria, I resign."
Rainbow Dash instantly lost her will to fight, she had never wanted Soarin' to leave the Wonderbolts. "Wait Soarin', think about what you're saying!" She called out trying to get him to recant.
"If this is what it's going to be like, I don't need this Dash," he returned. Then turning back to Spitfire, "We are done!"
Spitfire bristled with anger, "No we're not Soarin'! Not by a long shot! You, me and that Rainbow Puke over there, we got a long way to go the three of us! Starting tomorrow, she's coming with us; the three of us are going monster hunting. I'll show you what kind of filly she is Soarin'. I'll show you why you and I are supposed to be together."
"No, you can't do that! She's not trained for that!" Soarin' protested.
"She's a good enough fighter," She responded coolly rubbing her cheek where one of Rainbow Dash's punches had hit her. "Besides I'm down three Wonderbolts, and I can promote whomever I want." She turned to Rainbow Dash who was being helped up by Derpy as she began to trot back to her quarters. "You always wanted to be a Wonderbolt. well congratulations, you're a 2nd Lieutenant now, and you fly with me and Soarin' tomorrow." She paused and looked at the grey pegasus helping her recover from the fight. "The more the merrier right? Bring your cross eyed friend."
Rainbow Dash cheered as loud as she could as the Wonderbolts soared overhead, performing an aerial Cork screw.
"Mommy those ponies are so cool!"
"Well one day when you learn fly, maybe you'll be able to be one Dashie…"
"Ooh ooh! Me next, pick me Ms. Cherilee!"
"Okay Rainbow Dash, what do you want to be when you grow up?"
"I'm gonna be a Wonderbolt!"
"Yes! This is so awesome! The Wonderbolts perform at the Grand Galloping Galla every year. I can see it now…"
The ringing in her ears was painful, the only thing she could hear beyond it was the pounding of her heart in her chest. She shook her head trying to remove the sensation but it wouldn't leave. Her back ached from the fall to the ground. She raised her head and saw a blurry figure charging her. Squinting she could make out the glimmer of a sword, causing her heart to race as she sat up on her haunches as quick as she could. She saw at her feet the reflection of the sun bounce off the spear at her hooves. With her vision clearing she could make out the enemy wolf clear getting closer spurring her to reach down, scoop up the spear just as the beast leaped into the air with his sword raised high above his head. Rainbow Dash gritted her teeth as she brought the spear across her chest and braced it with both hooves as the serrated toothed, blood stained blade came down. With the sudden ring of steel striking steel, the full chaos of the war erupted in Rainbow Dash's ears as the ringing and subsided. The wolf's hot breath stung at her eyes, as saliva dripped from his mouth the pegasus strained against the weight of the sword being forced closer to her face. Sucking in a deep breath, she dug deep for every last ounce of strength she could muster and shifted the spear sliding the sword away from her and striking the red-eyed wolf across the face with the butt of the spear. This sent him reeling, allowing Dash to rise from the ground, take aim and, with a yell, thrust forward, plunging it deep into his chest cavity. The wolf stumbled and fell as Dash twisted it tearing the wound open before yanking it back out and taking back to the sky.
War cries and battle orders rang out in all directions. The howl of wolves and screeching of griffons echoed across the battlefield. The stench of blood and death coursed through the air. It was her third day as a Wonderbolt she no longer gagged at taking life and inflicting pain, at least not until she got back to the airship. The first day after her fight with Spitfire had been rough, Soarin' had stayed with her and Derpy and kept them safe, when they weren't fighting, he and the rest of the Wonderbolts, save Spitfire, trained them night and day. She was exhausted, but there wasn't time for her to be weak, not now. She was clothed in the finest armor in Equestria, brilliant blue and gold hardened steel that stood out on that battlefield, daring all to challenge her. She gripped a modified Equestrian Spear, one that wolves had helped the ponies design that was easier to wield and better at its job. Lastly, she had decided to wear the Element of Loyalty around her neck. At first Soarin' protested, but Dash insisted. Now, even though she was exhausted, outnumbered and so far from home, she felt invincible.
"Forward!" A strong voice rang out; Rainbow Dash craned her head upward to see Spitfire striking down a griffon with one swipe of her spear while leading the charge of allied griffons and wolves. "Always forward!"
Rainbow Dash flapped her wings and took to the sky to join her. As she soared to formation Spitfire barked at her while skewering another griffon with ease, "What took you so long twerp?"
"Got caught up on a wolf Captain, I'm back in the fight now," Rainbow said deflecting the blow of another griffon before slicing its wing with the blade of her own spear, crippling it and sending it to the ground.
"Learn to stay in formation and maybe," she jammed her spear through the eye of another griffon. "You'd be able to keep up with me and Soarin'."
There were three teams of four Wonderbolts, together with the griffons, Wyndia's Spear they were reaping a fearsome toll on the enemy. Soarin' was leading their team as per Spitfire's orders. Each night she tore into him over everything he did wrong. Rainbow Dash was to be his main support, however it only being her third day on the job she was dead weight, but at least she was improving. Derpy shared Dash's role at support, but wasn't adapting as quickly as Dash was. Spitfire had rounded their team out herself placing herself at rear guard.
"Come on, were falling behind the other teams," Spitfire called out, her voice dripping with sarcasm and disappointment. "Come on Soarin' get us in the fight!"
"Right, uh…umm," He stuttered searching for a course of action, his eyes searching for point in the enemy line to lead them to.
"Now Soarin'! We're sitting idle while others fight!" she snapped.
"Give him a second!" Dash interrupted angrily,
Spitfire jerked around, faced her, then without warning sped through the air next to her and backhoofed in the face hard, knocking her aside.
"You filthy littl-" Dash exploded before being interrupted by the sound of griffon that had snuck up on her flank gurgling up blood that he choked on as Spitfire forced her spear deep into his stomach before she let him slide off and fall to his death.
"Seconds. Cost. Lives." She said coldly. "Remember that twerp, and for the love of Celestia keep your head in the game!" she said as banged roughly on her helmet.
Rainbow Dash swallowed hard, this had been the third or fourth time Spitfire had saved her life. Even though she was on rear guard she had easily more kills than the rest of the team, probably more than her and Derpy combined. She shouted orders across the battlefield to other teams when Soarin's hesitation would have been catastrophic. Screaming out inspiring words to spur the teams and their allies on and singing hymns of war when the fighting got its fiercest, pushing others to fight harder. Even though she hated to admit, Spitfire was Captain of the Wonderbolts for a reason, she's the best at what she does, and this is what she did.
"Those wolves down there," Soarin said pointing below them, "There being surrounded by ground troops they'll be overrun, if we do some strafing runs, we can thin their numbers and they should be able to hold their own." He said half ordering the team and half asking Spitfire.
"Rodger that Lieutenant," Derpy confirmed hovering next him.
"Yeah we're right behind you Soarin'!" Dash said gripping her spear tightly trying to bolster his confidence.
"Right then, let's move!" Soarin' commanded and took off, diving downwards into the fray. Spitfire, Rainbow Dash, and Derpy all followed his lead, rushing head long into the fight, moments before colliding with the ground they pulled and flew head on into a pack of enemy wolves. They dodged, skewered, tossed aside, rinsed and repeated thinning the pack before pulling up for a second run. They climbed a short distance, before U-turning and diving bombing a second time.
Just before crashing into the ground the group pulled up and headed into the strafe until Rainbow Dash heard a scream that sent chills through her bones.
"DASH! HELP ME!" Derpy screamed out. The grey pegasus wasn't able to pull up fast enough and crashed hard on the ground and enemy wolves were descending on her.
Without any hesitation Rainbow Dash U-turned and rocketed to her downed friend who was just managing to get to her feet just as the villainous wolf pack surrounded her. Derpy raised her spear, jabbing towards any wolf that came close, holding them off in a tight circle around her. Rainbow Dash ran her spear through the back of one them, breaking the circle and landed back to back with her friend, spear held taught against the wolves.
"I got your back Derpy, I'm right here with you!"
"Right," She confirmed.
A wolf leaped at Derpy, his sword held high, she rose to block it sending sparks into the sky as the wolf's blade scraped against the spear. Rainbow Dash flipped her bladed end of her spear backwards and stabbed past Derpy's waist gutting the wolf, then quickly yanking it out to deflect an attack made at herself. Derpy kicked the gutted wolf back and turned her attention to another leaping foe. To her surprise a hurled spear caught him midair and sending him back to the ground, she looked up to see that it was Spitfire who had brought salvation.
The Captain of the Wonderbolts reached back to her waist and drew an elaborate blade that only she wielded and charged head first into the pack. Spinning and weaving while slicing and slashing her way through them, she was surrounded by red mist as she danced through them, her blade singing a song of victory as it tore through flesh. Rainbow Dash likened her to a whirlwind of death.
Soarin' had also joined the fray with her using his brute strength as well as his spear, stabbing one while smashing in the face of another with his armored hoof. Derpy saw him crack a wolf's muzzle with a power charge that ended with his helmet crushing into his snout with a powerful head-butt. Soon, he completely pitched his spear into a swooping enemy griffon's breast, and proceeded to use his close combat prowess to rend his foes apart.
With the four of them on the ground they fought as one and dispatched them as quickly as they could. Soon the friendly wolves had reached them and joined the fray, easily stopping the now dwindled enemy. They all retrieved their weapons and took to the sky once more to renedezvous with the other teams.
"I saw that head-butt Soarin', pretty wicked," Spitfire commented raising her hoof up.
"What can I say, I try," he joked back completing the hoof bump.
"That was a good call; the wolves would have been in some serious trouble if we didn't support them," she said, actually smiling at him for once.
"Thanks Captain," he said pleased with the praise.
Rainbow Dash didn't get it, one second she was at his throat now they were all buddy, buddy?
"Hey Dash," Soarin' called back to her. "Sweet moves with that spear, and it was pretty gutsy doubling back like that."
"Thanks Soarin'," she beamed.
"Thanks for saving me back there," Derpy said, "All of you."
"Just focus kid we might not be there next time," Spitfire said coldly.
"Okay," Derpy said looking down with disappointment, then trying to change the subject. "But you were something else with that sword!"
"The Blade of Equestria? It's handed down from Captain to Captain," Spitfire said proudly. Then looking as Soarin' with hopeful eyes, "Might be yours one day Soarin', you know, if you want to stick around that is."
Soarin' looked back at her not sure what to say to her. "We'll see, I'm really not sure right now Spitfire."
Spitfire looked genuinely hurt and a little frightened at his response, and for the first time in Rainbow Dash's life, she saw Spitfire's shell break and the Captain of the Wonderbolts was now just a filly who just had her heart broken.
The moment didn't last long, a thunderous explosion echoed in the sky high above them. They all turned upwards to see a bright blue streak cross the sky with a burning trail of fire.
"He's here," Spitfire said, the sadness leaving her instantly replaced with something else, which Rainbow Dash could only describe as bloodlust.
"What's the plan Captain?" Soarin' responded quickly abandoning his role as leader to his Captain at the presence of the monster.
"Chase him. Catch him. Kill him."