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In my office, I moved pencils around with my hoof. Watching them roll down only to have me catch it. It didn't take me long to climb the ranks with the Wonderbolts. In a span of over a year I was in the same position as Soarin and Spitfire. I looked out my window, seeing her drilling the new recruits. Can't say we saw this many new faces before without Gilda's help
Despite our ranks, Gilda always held top command. She would say I was her right Talon Mare but that only made me feel like all my hard work went to nothing if she was more important than us. I sighed, tapping my hoof on the floor anxiously. She told me she had a surprise for me and my stomach was doing all sorts of flips as each passing second hit me with more intense waves of anticipation and anxiety.
If you're wondering why I'm nervous, yes it is because I am suspecting only my wildest fantasies. That Gilda has somehow brought...her to join us. Or something along the lines of Fluttershy. It had been a year and I have not heard from her at all. Not letters..nothing. Pinkie Pie and the girls wrote to me, and I would come to Ponyville to visit but there was no Fluttershy.
I didn't ask, and they didn't tell. It was a mutual thing. They didn't want to tell me, and I certainly did not
want to know. Ignorance is bliss, right?
Finally, the door opened but it was only Cloudy, pretending to sweep. I rolled my eyes, with a slight smile.
"Yeesh, haven't you heard of knocking?" I asked, resting my head on my hooves. She looked up for only a second, raising an eyebrow.
"You look a bit uptight through the window, I figured it was because your office was a bit dusty." she said, laughing. "Thought I'd come by and clean it up." Cloudy continued to go about sweeping, taking extra special care and taking her sweet ass time. She knew how to take my mind off things, if only for a second.
I rolled my eyes. "Thanks. But you know why I'm like this." I said, biting my bottom lip. I got up from my chair and strolled over to the window, looking at the new ponies. Their faces contorted in pain, panting heavily. I could see Soarin and Spitfire urging them on, screaming at each passing pony to go go go. I shook my head and smiled. I remember when that was me. I knew the ponies with the determination on their faces would make it. I was lost in my thoughts of the past before Cloudy spoke up.
"Aye. I don't think it's fair of Gilda to tell you she has something for you, and completely brush off what it could be." she grumbled, taking out her duster now and began working on the book shelves. I turned to her, shrugging.
"Yeah she likes keeping me on edge, I guess." I said with a small smile. "Besides, it can't be that bad, can it?"
My heart skipped a beat when I saw Gilda through my window as she had her wing over a pony. I began to panic. I knew those weren't her colors, but my mind likes to torture me and I assumed it was her. I rushed over near the door, then backed up a bit, adjusting myself and standing upright. Cloudy immediately ceased her dusting and walked out the door, before giving me one last glance. She despised Gilda and avoided her as much as possible. I wish I had the luxury to run away from her. As soon as I saw Gilda walk to the door, I stood upright, giving her a salute. Why I gave a salute to a Griffin with absolutely no rank was beyond me. But she commanded it.
"At ease." she said, waving her talon at me. My heart pounded in my chest and I could hear it through my ears, nevertheless, I never moved from my stance.
"What was the important surprise you had, Gilda?" I asked flatly, looking dead at her.
Gilda plopped down, still looking gigantic though and relaxed her wings. Out from behind her came a scrawny looking Pegasus with a red coat and a golden mane. He looked around my office, with an almost unimpressed, dull expression.
"This is Maroon Fly" she said, lowering her golden eyes to meet mine. I didn't try to hide the disappointment, yet relief in my tired eyes as I brought my hoof to my chin.
"Why'd you bring me him?" I asked in a monotone droll.
Gilda opened her beak to speak, but the Colt spoke up. "Uhm, do you even know
who I am??" his tone condescending, as his green eyes narrowed at me. "I thought you were gonna teach this one some manners, Gilda." he said sarcastically.
Gilda cringed, but eased up and let out a smile. "Yeah she's a feisty one." and they both shared a mean laugh.
By this point I was steaming as I slammed my hoof down. "Pardon me, do you know who you are talking to??" I barked, marching right toward his face. My face, literally inches from his, stared down at the boy. "I don't know, and I don't care who
you are. Anypony who talks like that to a commanding officer around here gets 500 laps around the track, do I make myself clear??"
Gilda began to instinctively put her wing between us, and slowly pushed me away. "Not this one, his brother paid us quite a pretty bit to get him in here, and he's already graduated and a Wonderbolt. You can talk to him like you talk to Spitfire, or Soarin." she said, looking down at the now smug looking Pegasus.
My jaw dropped. "You mean I had to work my flank off to get to where I am, and he just passes through basic training and already has a rank among us, just like that?!" I gasped. Gilda nodded.
"I know it's a lot for you to wrap your head around but my brother is an important pony. And what he wants, he gets. He wanted his precious brother to finally earn his cutie mark so I came here for some hard work and discipline." Maroon Fly strolled about my office, as if he owned it, then turned to me, shrugging. "But...you know, hard work and all that isn't really my thing. You understand, don't you?" he said with a smile.
I stormed in front of him, slamming my hooves on the ground. "At least in this office, you will be treated as you are. Somepony who cheated their way through the Academy just because their brother is someone important. And Gilda, we need to talk. now.
" I hissed, pointing my hoof at her. I have yelled at her before but this time I was livid.
Maroon stood there casually, before I turned my head to him, slapping him on the rear. "Alone! Get out of my site, Parasprite!" I hissed. The pony merely narrowed his eyes and trotted out.
"Just wait until my brother hears about how I've been treated. This is ridiculous!" he walked over by Gilda. "I'll be outside, but I do hope you teach this one some manners." and with that he was out. It was just me and the Griffin.
I let the air cool down for a few seconds before letting out a sigh, beginning to speak. "Gilda, that is wrong on all
levels. And when Spitfire and Soarin find out you let a pony bribe you-"
"Spitfire and Soarin know." she said flatly, preening her feathers. I paused, my ears lowering.
"What?" I choked out.
"They know. But unlike you, they respect their manager and know that they could get their rank ripped right from their shirt of they spoke up against me." she slowly walked over to me, looking down at my badges and pins.
"And you know if we weren't together, you'd be down to a basic recruit like the rest of them, if not expelled from the Academy." she said in a menacing tone. I narrowed my eyes at her, trying to fight back tears.
"Who in Equestria is his brother anyway?!" I barked, demanding an answer. "Who is he where he has enough money to pay this Maroon Fly character's way through flight school!?" just saying that out loud filled me with rage.
Gilda scratched her talon on the floor. "If you don't know Maroon Fly, you'll certainly know his brother. Ever hear of RedRobin?"
My ears lowered. "Ugh, yeah." I said, with bile in my voice. "We went to Flight School together. He was a bigger show off and egomaniac than me. And now just because he can sing and fly at the same time he's famous. So what?" it took me a minute but then my eyes widened. I slowly turned to her.
"Are you saying that his brother is...?"
Gilda nodded slowly. "Yes, we are in the midst of a celebrity. So be on your best behavior." she said, running her cold talon through my mane. I slowly cringed away, turning away from her.
"But Gilda... bribery...? We are so above that. So so SO above that." I said weakly. Although I shouldn't be surprised. This is
Gilda we're talking about.
She let out a crow as she flapped her feathers a bit in an aggravated fashion. "I did it for the bolts! I did it for us
! Do you know how much bits we got out of this? We have enough to recruit just as many ponies!" she said. "Not only can we be the best damn performers in Equestria, we can be the best defenders in the world!" she raised her talon, scratching her chest. "Don't you want that for this? Or is your selfish childhood rivalry really going to cloud your judgement?"
Angrily, I turned to her, narrowing my purple eyes. I stared into her gold ones. I swear as my eyes got duller, her eyes got more bright with ambition. Their flames burned through my icy wall quickly. I didn't want to argue with her right now. I was just fed up with the corruption.
"If you keep letting ponies buy
their way in, we won't have a fighting force. We will have a band of rich snotty brats who think they can do whatever they want."
Gilda's face relaxed, and nodded. "You know...you're right, Dash." she said.
My ears perked up, and I felt myself smile. "You think so...?"
Gilda nodded. "Yeah. Only the really rich
should join the Wonderbolts, think of the money we could make!" then she through her head back and let out that scary bird laugh she does. It was mixed in with squawks and throaty chuckles. She leaned down and kissed me on the cheek, which sent a shiver down my spine.
"Ahhh you're a funny one, Dash. I'm only teasin'..." she walked over to the door, letting herself out. "Orrrr am I?" she gave me a jack-o-lantern smile and waved goodbye before walking out, shutting the door behind her.
I stood in the silence of my office and allowed the dim light to comfort me. I slowly walked back over to my desk and slid down into my chair, sighing. That bird brought so much stress on me. Every time I talked to her, it was as if my body was in fight or flight mode. And as much as I wanted to just fly, my pride made it in fight mode. I looked in my drawer and dropped two seltzer tablets in a glass of water and watched them sizzle to calm my stomach. I'd go out and join Soarin and Spitfire in a minute and have a talk with them. There was no way they were okay with this. At least not Spitfire! She was such a powerful mare and it's as if Gilda is trying to strip everypony here of their self confidence. I still held onto mine. Barely, but it was there...
I took a small sip of my seltzer water when I knew I'd be at peace for a few minutes and let myself relax. My wings fell at my sides and I rested my head on my desk. Among all my files, all my "inspirational" pictures in frames, and all the other nick knacks on my desk I had but one hidden. I lifted pages of my large Calender and lifted away month, after month, after month until I got to last year. This time last year, I was still crying every night over that mare from Ponyville. Now, I don't even cry at all unless it's something Gilda does.
I can already tell this Maroon Fly Colt and I won't get along...but I didn't want to think about that right now. I'll worry tomorrow.