Today was the day. After months of hard work practicing flying manoeuvres it was all finally going to pay off. The Wonderbolts have been looking for a new member and today they were holding auditions in the entertainment district in Canterlot.
Spitfire was sitting at the kitchen table, scarfing down an extra large bowl of oats while listening to her mothers constant nagging about safety.
"Don't talk to strangers! Make sure to ask a guard if you get lost! Avoid the alleyways, especially the dark ones...!" the list just went on and on. Spitfire barely listened but she understood her mother's worry. This was the first time that the young yellow filly was going to Canterlot alone, her father convinced her mother that she was old enough to take care of herself. Still, that did not cease the barrage of warnings.
"Don't worry mom, we have been to Canterlot millions of times. I know it like the back of my hoof!" Spitfire reassured.
"She'll be fine, dear." Spitfire's father interjected with a stern voice, "She's not a young filly anymore."
With that conclusion to the conversation, Spitfire took one last big bite out of her meal and raced upstairs to finish packing the day's supplies.
"Snacks check. Water check. Stupid map mother insisted on me bringing...check. I hope those Wonderbolts are ready to be blown away by the amazing Spitfire, they'll probably be so impressed that they'll make me team captain right away!" She said smiling to herself. Spitfire had been working on a secret manoeuvre which she believed would guarantee her recruitment into the number one team of flyers in all of Equestria.
"Hmm, goggles...goggles...now where did I put those..." She said as she began to look around d her room. After several minutes of searching she finally found them underneath her cloud bed. "Of course..." She muttered to herself as she strapped and adjusted them around her forehead. Now that she was all packed up and ready to go, Spitfire rushed to her front door barely containing her excitement.
"Love ya, bye!" Spitfire said in a hurry.
"Good luck, dear!" Her mother yelled as the yellow blur blasted through the kitchen and out the door, "And be safe!"
Clouds split in half as the fiery filly flew through them at top speed, "YOU WONDERBOLTS BETTER PREPARE YOURSELVES BECAUSE SPITFIRE IS ON HER WAY!" She yelled as she flew towards the majestic capitol, leaving a orange haze in her wake.
Canterlot was an absolutely beautiful city. It was constructed on the side of the tallest mountain in all of Equestria. Each tower, house, and store was built with the finest white stone and topped off with gold coloured slates each refined by powerful unicorn magic. A canal flowed through out every district of the city before falling into the lush valley below, creating a majestic waterfall. Not only was the city itself a sight to behold but the ponies who lived there reflected the highest level of class and sophistication. Living in Canterlot was not cheap and every pony made sure you knew that. Dressed up in beautifully woven clothing and expertly crafted accessories. It was enough to make even the richest pony in Manehatten green with envy.
It only took Spitfire 15 minutes to reach the capitol. She had been to Canterlot before, many times but never on her own. The initial feeling of anxiety was quickly overpowered by excitement.
"Okay, now the auditions should be in the entertainment district which is..." Spitfire checked her map, "On the other side of the city" Spitfire sighed "No problem, it shouldn't take too long to get there." She broke out into a trot making sure to keep her excitement in check. Flying in the capitol was strictly forbidden to any pony who did not own a permit, much to the frustration of the young pegasus. Walking through the busy streets was a chore for any pony that was not a local resident and it was easy to get swept up in a crowd and end up somewhere you did not intend to go.
"Excuse me, pardon me, would you move please? I'm trying to walk here..." Spitfire said to the various strangers that crossed her path.
Finally after what seemed to be an eternity, Spitfire had reached the entertainment district. As expected, it was filled with pegasus of all ages who aspired to be chosen by the Wonderbolts. Since the "No Flying" law did not apply in the entertainment district, as requested by the Wonderbolts during their stay in the city, Spitfire spread her wings and made her way to the centre of the district, where the auditions were taking place, in order to sign up and get her ticket number. As she flew there she observed her competition with a critical eye. Many of the pegasus were going over their routines and trying to get some extra practice time in. Others were simply just trying to calm their nerves.
"These ponies don't stand a chance, this might be easier than I thought" Spitfire boasted confidently. Even though this was her first time performing in front of an audience she showed absolutely no signs of anxiety or worry, much to the envy of many ponies who saw her fly past.
Spitfire landed near the booth and to her dismay the line was occupied by quite a few pegasus. At this point the excitement was almost to much to bear. Soon she will be showing off her amazing skills to the Wonderbolts, all she needed was that number now. She maintained her determined expression as she trotted to the back of the line. However, she was quickly pushed out of her place.
"HEY! What do you think you're doing?!" Spitfire said angrily at the blue colt that rudely butt in front of her, "I was here first!".
"EXCUSE ME!" Spitfire yelled
"Too bad, I'm more important" he finally replied in a cool voice, barely even looking at her "You might as well just go back home to mommy and daddy though, this line is for big ponies."
Spitfire tried her best to bite her tongue but her frustration was at an all time high.
"Who the hay do you think you are?!"
"You're looking at the next Wonderbolt, little filly" the colt said in a condescending voice.
"Little filly? LITTLE FILLY?! I could fly CIRCLES around you! The next Wonderbolt? Please, I bet you couldn't even pass as a pegasus in training!" Spitfire yelled. The sudden burst of anger would have startled most ponies but this colt stood his ground.
"Oh, and I suppose YOU'RE going to be the next Wonderbolt? I don't think fillies are even allowed to audition."
"HALF THE TEAM IS MADE OF OF FILLIES!" Spitfire shouted.
By this point the argument had attracted quite a crowd, all eyes were on these two young pegasus as their ego's clashed. It continued for a few minutes before the blue colt noticed the gathering spectators.
"Fine, you can have your stupid place in line. It won't make a difference anyway, you'll just make me look better. I'll enjoy seeing your face when they announce Soarin' Skies as the new addition to the team." he said with a snuff and took his place behind Spitfire.
"Soarin' Skies? What a stupid name...who would ever associate themselves with such an arrogant colt..." Spitfire mumbled to herself.
With the conflict resolved the crowd dispersed and every pony went back to their previous engagement. Even though Soarin' roughed up her nerves, she paid no more attention to him as the line began to get shorter and shorter until eventually Spitfire got her performance number: 123. The feeling was almost surreal. The moment inched closer and with every passing minute the excitement increased. Spitfire decided to clear her mind by grabbing a bite to eat followed by some practice before going to see the auditions take place.
Due to the overwhelming number of applicants, auditions were to include two pegasus performing their routines at the same time from a safe distance apart of course. One pegasus would be judged by two Wonderbolts and another one by the other two. If any pegasus were to have an outstanding performance, their number would be noted and they would be asked to return the following day for an extended performance to see if they really had what it took to fly with the best. However, so far most of the auditions have been less than sub-par with a few standing out for originality. Many pegasus had trouble performing this close to ground level and thus many crash landed, none have been seriously hurt yet; this was a regular occurrence at Wonderbolt auditions. Spitfire had been sitting patiently on one of the make shift stands as her number was coming up. She could not help but snicker at the poor performances, thinking how easily she could all those techniques. In the distance, she could spot Soarin' talking to a small crowd who cheered after pretty much every sentence he spoke.
"No doubt sharing his greatness..." Spitfire said as she rolled her eyes.
Soarin' glanced over at Spitfire with a mocking smile before yelling "I, SOARIN' SKIES, WILL NOT ONLY BECOME THE NEXT WONDERBOLT BUT WILL BECOME THE BEST FLYER IN ALL OF EQUESTRIA!" His statement was then followed by an uproar of whoop's and holler's as the crowd cheered his charisma.
Spitfire let out a deep sigh and returned to watching the auditions. As a grey, walled eye pegasus flew out of control and into the window of a near-by building, Spitfire's moment had arrived.
"Would numbers 123 and 124 please report to the flight area, you will be going on in 5 minutes!" Boomed the loud overhead speakers.
A sudden rush overtook her. This is it! she thought. Spitfire hurried down to the flight area while adjusting her goggles. As she landed, reality hit. The eyes of hundreds of ponies were on her now, silently judging her every move. Her confidence began to shrink as she got her first dose of stage fright. Spitfire looked down and noticed her front legs were shaking uncontrollably. Sweat dripped down from her brow to the ground below and her breathing became shallow.
"What's wrong? Nervous?"
She looked up to see a blue colt. Big goggles covered his eyes but his navy blue mane was unmistakable. Suddenly the crowd did not matter anymore, her attention was focused on Soarin'.
"Are you serious? I'm performing at the same time as you?!" Spitfire said, regaining her composure.
"Well obviously, I was standing right behind you in line! Doesn't it suck though? All these ponies are cheering my name and no pony even notices you. I hope your prepared to fail miserably, you're already doing a great job. You can't even stand still!" he said with a laugh.
Spitfire gritted her teeth as he was right about one thing, the crowd was cheering his name and they haven't even started flying yet! However, that was the only thing he would be right about today.
"You may have the crowd but I have the skills." Spitfire responded, her confidence and determination had been renewed, "I suggest you prepare your apology for the crowd when I show just how little you know about flying!"
Soarin' stood there and smirked at the sudden change in mood, "You certainly got some fire in you."
"They don't call me Spitfire for nothing!" she proclaimed.
"Wow...that was lame"
Spitfire ignored the snarky comment and adjusted her goggles over her eyes, preparing for the signal to take off. She took one last glance at Soarin' who looked just as ready.
"Alright you two, 123 will stay on the far left while 124 has the far right, are you ready?" asked one of the Wonderbolt judges. Both pegasus gave a short nod, "Get into position."
"Good luck, you're going to need it!" Soarin' announced as he took off towards his side of the arena already pulling off a double loop just to show off.
Spitfire paid him no mind as she headed to her starting position in front of the two Wonderbolts who would be judging her.
"Alright Spitfire, don't mess up now. You got this! Just breath....and focus" she said to herself. Her focus was stronger than ever now.
"Alright number 123...Spitfire is it? Start whenever you're ready." said one of the judges.
As soon as he finished his sentence, Spitfire took off with amazing speed. She immediately pulled out all the basic manoeuvres. Barrel rolls, inverted spins, inside loops, and outside loops. Any pony could pull these moves off but Spitfire performed them with expert precision and speed. Out of the corner of her eye, Spitfire could see Soarin' was doing his best to wow the crowd, who was cheering him on, with all sorts of fancy tactics. It seemed like he was getting ready for his finale. Spitfire then decided it was time for the Firestorm.
This secret technique was created and nearly perfected by Spitfire through out many months of intense practice. The young pegasus began to fly in a circle, gradually gaining speed with each rotation until she was nothing but a yellow and orange blur. The trail that usually emanated from her tail began to gravitate to the centre forming a sphere of fire-coloured energy.
As the sphere grew larger and larger it attracted the attention of every pony in the district. Soon Soarin's name faded and was replaced by "oh's" and "ah's" as each pony was mesmerized by the spectacle unfolding before their very eyes. The lack of cheering irked Soarin' only slightly.
"If she thinks she can show me up then she's got another thing coming!" he said as he flew into position to perform his finale.
However, just as he was about to initiate, Spitfire shifted into the final phase of the Firestorm. The sphere was about the size of a carriage now and was pulsating. Satisfied with her work, Spitfire broke from her rotation and flew upwards toward the sun. 5 metres, 10 metres, she just kept rising.
"This is high enough" Spitfire said in a tired voice. Performing this kind of trick took a huge amount of energy, equivalent to the amount needed for the mythical Sonic Rainboom. As she reached 20 metres, Spitfire looped back and began to dive towards the ground. She rocketed as fast as she could towards her fiery sphere. Gasps emanated from the crowd. Some ponies began to worry and cried out in protest, others watched in anticipation.
"Is she crazy?!" Soarin' yelled, watching the pegasus blast towards her intended target, "She'll never slow down in time to land safely!"
The Wonderbolt judges just sat their with eager eyes, waiting for the outcome.
"Here...we...GO!" Spitfire yelled as she collided with the orange sphere. The result was nearly unbelievable. The sphere exploded outwards, creating a large wave that stretched out over the entire district. Orange coloured lightning shot out towards the ground, scaring a few ponies although remaining harmless. The wave then faded, leaving behind tiny remnants that floated to the ground like embers. The crowd was absolutely silent for the first few seconds, trying to take in what they just saw before erupting into a storm of cheers and hollers.
Standing exactly where she first started the yellow filly breathed heavily, clearly exhausted from her ordeal. A shocked Soarin' flew over.
"What....WHAT WAS THAT?! THAT WAS SO COOL! I WAS LI-....hey, are you ok?" he asked. Spitfire could barely stand straight, every ounce of strength was sapped from her body.
"I...think...I put a little...too much...energy..." before she could even finish her sentence, her vision went black.
Spitfire awoke some time later in what seemed to be the medical tent. She tried to get up but her limbs would not cooperate.
"Ugh...what happened...where am I?" She asked aloud.
"Why you're in the medical tent dear. Don't try to get up, your strength hasn't returned yet" Spitfire glanced over and saw a pure white earth pony standing next to her.
"You passed out from exhaustion after your audition, and a young gentlecolt brought you all the way here. It's going to be a few days before your body is ready to fly again" said the nurse.
"How long was I out for?" asked Spitfire
"About 90 minutes. Everyone was very worried and the Wonderbolts even stopped by to make sure you were okay."
"THE WONDERBOLTS CAME TO SEE...ME?!" Spitfire squealed.
"Haha, yes. They seemed particularly impressed with your show. The young colt who brought you here went to go grab some food for you, he should be back soon."
"Who is he?"
"I believe he said his name was Soarin'"
Spitfire couldn't believe what she just heard. Soarin'? That jerk? she thought. As if her very thoughts called out to him, Soarin' walked in the entrance of the tent; a hot apple pie resting on his back.
"You're awake! Awesome!" Soarin' exclaimed as he trotted over to the side of the bed, "Here, this should help you out" Soarin' placed the pie on the small table next to Spitfire.
"A pie....really?" She questioned.
"Pies solve everything" Soarin' said proudly.
"I guess it's better than nothing. Listen, thank you for bringing me here...I never thought-"
"Don't even mention it! Look, I'm sorry for being such a jerk before. I kind of get like that when I'm really nervous. That trick you pulled off...what was it? It was SO COOL!"
Spitfire was surprised at the sudden apology. "Well I...uh...it's called the Firestorm. I didn't plan on putting that much energy into it...I guess I got a bit carried away" She explained.
"At first I couldn't even BELIEVE my eyes. And then I flew over to you and was all like WHOOAA THAT WAS AWESOME but then you kind of passed out and everyone started to crowd around you and I was like..."
Spitfire smiled as the blue colt recounted his story, of course putting his own spin on it to make him sound cool. The two continued to talk for about an hour when they were interrupted by a few special guests.
"How's she doin'?"
"Oh, she's fine she just needs.....OH MY CELESTIA" Soarin's jaw dropped as standing before him was the captain of the Wonderbolts, Neon Lightning, behind him were two other Wonderbolt members. Spitfire just sat there, speechless.
"That's great! I'm glad you're recovering nicely. That was an outstanding audition by the way, it's a shame you didn't really....stick your landing but no matter" Neon said as he laid his sky blue eyes on the yellow pegasus.
"T-Thank you" Spitfire replied in a shaky voice
"Now, the nurse has informed me that it'll take awhile for you to get back into tip-top shape so unfortunately you won't be able to move onto the next round."
The news left Spitfire heartbroken. All that work and she can't even progress to the final round.
"That is why I came personally to tell you that we would like to see you perform again when you are fully recovered."
"NO WAY!" Soarin' yelled, "HER?! I MEAN YEAH HER PERFORMANCE WAS GREAT BUT WHAT ABOUT ME?!" It seemed Soarin' had reverted back to his jerky demeanour, but this didn't bother Spitfire at all as she was still trying to wrap her head around what she just heard.
"I...I..." She could not even find the words to describe what she was feeling at his moment.
"Don't worry about it" Neon smiled, "and Soarin' we would like to see you perform again as well. Your ability to sway the crowd was quite impressive and your attention to detail when executing your tricks was a breath of fresh air."
Soarin' nearly fainted at the news, much to Spitfire's entertainment.
"Anyways, all the best. We'll be seeing you when you're all better." Neon said as he exited the tent with his two companions. Both pegasus sat motionless trying to figure out what just happened.
Soarin' finally broke the silence "I...can't believe I'm going to be a WONDERBOLT!"
"What? He didn't say that he just wants to see you...us...fly again. Besides he clearly favoured my audition anyways" Spitfire said proudly, mildly irritating the boasting Soarin'
"What?! He obviously enjoyed my skills more. Did you see how much praise he gave me? I'm basically guaranteed a spot." Soarin' retorted.
"As if, I could fly circles around you and every pony knows it now."
"OH, we'll see about that! While you'll be "recovering" I'll be practicing non stop!"
"Good, you're going to need it" Spitfire laughed.
"That's it! I'm out of here! I'll see you at the audition. Prepare to meet your match!" Soarin' huffed as he stomped his way towards the tent entrance.
"Hehe, I look forward to it." said Spitfire
Soarin' glanced back and shot a smile before exiting the small medical tent.
Spitfire looked over at the mostly eaten pie sitting on the table next to her. She had only a small piece while Soarin' pretty much devoured the rest. He's not so bad after all Spitfire thought. She smiled and began to plan her next routine to show the Wonderbolts.