The next four postings in my Equestria dreamscape are all part of one dream and time wise they took place a couple weeks after our little shopping expedition to Carousel Boutique. After a month of Rainbow Dash's personal flight instruction I felt like I was getting this flying thing down pretty well.
Then during a morning training session out at Sweet Apple Acres Dash casually informed me that there would be a visitor who would be dropping by in a couple days to see how my flight instruction was coming. "Just someone from around here who wants to see how you are doing. He might be able to give you hint or two, but hey what more can he teach you since I am such an awesome instructor!" She tried to act like it was no big deal but there was a hint of concern in her voice and body language that said this was a big deal. She then spent the rest of the morning reviewing stuff we had gone over weeks ago. "I just want to make certain you're not taking things for granted and getting lazy!" Was her excuse.
The next day she ran me through more repetitive rudimentary drills and quizzed me on some stuff I had learned in pre-flight. She was acting even more nervous but still said nothing about our "visitor" tomorrow. After an awkward morning of instruction she said she some errands to run and dismissed me for the day. Before she left reminded me to show on time tomorrow for my lesson. Which I found rich since RD was usually late for the start of my lessons. Now I was really curious, and a bit nervous, about our "visitor" tomorrow.
Next morning I arrived at least half an hour early for my lesson; much to my surprise Rainbow Dash was already waiting for me on the ground at the Apple's farm along with another pegasi. An older white pegasi stallion. An older white pegasi stallion in immaculate golden plate armor. After executing a hover landing I trotted over to Rainbow Dash and our visitor and greeted my instructor. Rainbow was looking much less bright and vibrant this morning, and her voice had none of its usually cocksure bravado to it.
The white pegasi stallion said nothing the whole time I was talking to Dash. He just stared at me with eyes as gold as his barding. Having finished my hello to RD I turned to greet our visitor. Before I'd even had a chance to finish saying good morning he interrupted me. "So you are Celestia's new special little pony." He growled.
As I digested this comment Rainbow Dash blurted out quickly. "Sky Brush, this is Fire Wing. He is with the Royal Guard and he...." The stallion snapped his piercing stare over to Rainbow. "Little filly! I am not talking to you right now! Please remain quiet until you I have a question for you!" Rainbow flinched at his comment as if he had cuffed her in the face with his hoof. He returned his undivided attention to me. Slowly he began pacing around me, inspecting me as if we were on a parade grounds. All the while muttering comments under his breath.
"Hmm. Feathers are preened okay but your tail is a rat's nest. Bit flabby in the belly but that will change. By Celestia's light don't you know how to take care of your hooves!" He came around and stood in front of me. His muzzle just inches from mine. "Still for a pony who is less than one year old I guess you are salvageable."
For a second I did not understand the Stallion's comment, then I suddenly realized what it meant. Apparently I did not do a good job of concealing this because Fire Wing smiled at me. "Oh yes." He purred. "I know all about your background Baron....Oh! Excuse me. I meant Sky Brush. Yes the princesses briefed me on the special circumstances surrounding your "condition", but I have been sworn to an oath of secrecy." He turned away from me and stared solemnly into the golden light of Celestia's rising sun. I quickly glanced out of the corner of my eye at Rainbow Dash who was just standing still with wide eyes. Her wings were shivering ever so slightly. With his back still to me Fire Wing resumed speaking. "I will not deny that you and your frisky unicorn mare friend were very helpful in dealing with the recent "Crisis" that threatened the Realm. However, I still don't like what you are and what you represent, but the co-rulers of Equestria see things differently and their word is final. Therefore you and your friend have been given privileges and status not regularly bestowed to every pony." He turned and impaled me with his stare. "Just remember privileges and status can be revoked as easily as they are granted." He slowly paced up to me. Then he leaned forward and whispered into my ear. "And don't even get me started on what I think of that Earth Pony mare that is shacking up with you right now." He then quickly turned and paced away before I could reply.
Fire Wing resumed his slow pacing around me. Rainbow remained silent. The farmyard was strangely quiet. The only real sounds were the slow steady clop of Fire Wings hooves and the hissing sound of the gleaming golden plates of his barding as they shifted over his body. In the stillness farmyard they sounded like the scales of a gigantic serpent. After several seconds of silently orbiting me he resumed speaking. "One of those privileges granted to you is my precious time!" He stopped in front of Rainbow Dash and stared at her for several seconds. The young mare just stared back with a look of sheer terror in her eyes. Finding nothing of apparent interest in her, he resumed his orbit of me and continued his speech. Allow me to formally introduce myself. I am Captain Fire Wing of the Royal Equestrian Guard. Senior Flight Instructor for Royal Guard and Chief Evaluation Officer for the Wonderbolts. Under direct order of Princess Celestia I have given the dull but very important task of determining how well your little instructor here has been teaching you, and whether you are capable of not flying into the broadside of a barn! Or an apple tree." He gave a sly grin as if he already knew of some of my follies here at Sweet Apple Acres. Fire Wing then paused in his speech and stared off at some random spot in the sky for several seconds before resuming speaking. "After all the Royal Sisters would be very disappointed if you were killed flying because your instructor was negligent, lax, sloppy, or irresponsible in her instructions to you. Are my reasons for being here clear to everyone?"
Suddenly I understood Rainbow Dash's apprehension and nervousness. Joining Wonderbolts was her greatest dreams and if Fire Wing found my flying skills to be unacceptable then it would reflect poorly on Rainbow's character, her leadership abilities and her own flight skills. Considering how coveted spaces on the Wonderbolts are and how many pegasi apply for positions in the team. My success or failure could come back to haunt her someday when she applies for the team. This was as much of a test for Rainbow Dash as it was for me. Finishing his last orbit of me and stopped in front of Rainbow. "So let's see what Ms. Dash has taught you so far." He rumbled ominously. "I hope this is not a complete waste of "my" precious time." No pressure.