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Mother Knows 20% Better [Closed:Rainbow Dash and Zap Apple]

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It was a sunny day in Ponyville. Only a few clouds left over from the morning weather pony could be seen, not so much as in imperfection but possibly an intentional flaw to give Ponyville that quaint charm it was so good at showing. It was the normal midday hustle and bustle in the marketplace and from a distance the occasional shopkeeper's bells could be heard ringing their invitation for customers to browse wares and goods of all kinds. But on the outskirts of Ponyville where the grass grew longer and the hills began to roll, it was much more peaceful. So peaceful, that the flapping of a pair of butterfly wings against the soft breeze created the ambiance for what would otherwise have been considered an ideal place of meditation. A pony seeking relaxation could trot themselves to this spot and be able to sort out their thoughts and their dreams with comfort of interference.

 

But of course, that was not the plan for today. Instead this grassy hoofhill would be introduced to a pair of wings with a very young mind controlling them. An orange pegasus pony flying only a couple pony heights off the ground was fluttering inconsistently towards the crest of the hill. The colt was not flying very fast, but the excited sounds from his mouth made the noise of what it might sound like had he been flying at breakneck speeds. The foal slowed to a hover and after a few seconds of wobbling himself down to an even-hoofed landing, he struck the ground with the force of a small jumping fall. After a short wince, he looked back from where he came and yelled excitedly to his mother who was following close behind. "Did you see? I was flying fast! Faster than you!"

 

Zap Apple had spent ample time with his mother Applejack on the apple farm, where he learned all about the apple trade and the farmer pony family values. He learned how to toughen his skin and how to deal with animals. The small amount of time he spent in the Everfree was experienced alongside Applejack who was always there to protect him, but to also remind him of the dangers that lurked where few ponies canter. And Zap had spent time with his other mother Rainbow Dash, but he had only just started to really learn how to fly. A couple weeks ago, he was able to take to the sky without any help from his mother for about five seconds. It was a big win in his eyes and made him feel motivated to fly higher and longer. But so far, his flight was still limited to the strength of his wings, which was only showing the beginning signs of being able to deal with more enduring flight challenges. Zap Apple had dreams of being able to fly above the clouds and do stunts and tricks like his mother Rainbow Dash did for the Wonderbolts. And he was so sure of himself that he would join her in wearing that blue suit even though he had no concept of what that meant.

 

This grassy hill had become a usual spot for Rainbow Dash to show Zap the beginnings of pegasus mobility, and since they arrived for today, Zap was eager to get started with what he wanted to do, as if it was up to him. "We're here, now you can show me how to do tricks. I wanna do a big trick!" He fluttered in place, his wings buzzing violently, before his wings gave up and he landed back on his hooves.

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Rainbow followed behind her intrepid young foal. More than once she had stifled giggles and little sounds of admiration as Zap made his way towards the summit of

the hoofhill. He was just so dang cute! It was hard to hold back her admiration of his attempts at becoming a great flier. However, she certainly didn't want him to think she was laughing at him! She'd never do that! She was as proud as a mom could be of the little guy!

 

What a perfect day! She breathed in through her nose, letting the smells of grass, woodlands, and good times mingle. They'd come to this place a few times before. It was fast becoming the favorite spot for all things pegusi between the two of them. Here he'd learn to buzz those little wings, lift up from the ground, and touch down without catastrophes of tangled hooves and wings. 

 

Today would be his first day of learning just the tiniest touch of finesse. Someday he would be a great flier, Dash was determined to see that! However, it was a step by step process. She'd guide him through the whole thing and she felt privileged to do so!

 

"Oh I saw little guy!" She lighted on the ground next to him and grinned. "You were flying faster that me! You're getting faster every day Zappers!" She ruffled his forelocks between his ears.

 

Rainbow glanced about, deciding what they'd work on for the day. She's took to calling basic flight maneuvers 'tricks' for the moment which seemed to motivate Zap nicely and help him feel accomplished. 

 

"A big trick huh?" She flapped her wings just a bit. "Well, we've warmed up flying here so that's taken care of." 

 

"You want to practice 'up, down, side to side for a little bit?"

 

Up, down, side to side was a fun game for practicing basic wing control. She would move either up, down, one side or the other and he would try to mirror it.

 

"Up!" She flapped a bit, leaving the ground by a few feet.

 

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His mane now moderately ruffled by his pegasus mother, Zap wore a smirking smile to complete the brash and ready-for-action attitude he learned from her some many days prior. He was ready to learn some new tricks, and so with his mother's imagination leading the way he prepared by angling his wings for a take-off stance. As she commanded to go up, he jumped and started flapping his wings at the same time. Still smiling, one could see the effort in his face as he tried hard to keep his wings flapping fast enough to keep from having to catch himself with his hooves. Because he was still apprehensive about falling, his legs were still stretched out underneath in order to brace himself for an emergency landing, but he would never admit that he was afraid. After a few seconds, Zap had successfully matched the height his mother was presenting, although he had some trouble keeping a stable altitude. His voice stuttering as he fluttered. "Up! What's next?"

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Rainbow grinned with pride as her little guy put on his brave face and went about following the given command of "up"! She knew it was best to go slowly and make things fun so that he was successful and felt he was gaining new accomplishments each time they practiced. It was just so darn cute to see those little wings buzzing and Zap working his heart out to stay off the ground until she told him otherwise.

 

Of course she also noticed those legs, ready for any kind of emergency. That was good. He needed to learn to look after himself during flight. For now it was fine that he had his emergency landing gear down. Eventually he'd fell more stable and start to lift his legs as he flew. She also knew she'd have to teach him hoe to fall pretty soon. It was best to stay comfortable with it and not tense up. A tense fall could leave to strains and sprains of the fetlocks and Celestia forbid a break. Learning to fall was actually really fun so she moved it up on the check list for a soon and coming lesson.

 

"What's next?" She eyed his brash and brave face before raising an eyebrow. "Side... to... side...!" As she spoke she slowly directed herself slight to the right and then back to center before moving slightly to the left. This one was a hard one and she knew it. He could do it though. "Remember, it doesn't need to be far to the sides. Just a little bit. Angle one with just a little down and the other just a little up."

 

The proud mom waited to see if her foal could mirror the move. 

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Zap's fluttering sped up at the new command of moving side to side. All he had to do was a strafe. This was something he was not good at, knowing how to finesse his sideways movement seemed counter-intuitive to his understanding of the main purpose of flying which was to travel faster in the air going forward. With a trying smile, he attempted to shift his torso so that his left wing was higher than his right. Slowly, he started accelerating sideways to the right. At first barely, then noticeably, and then swiftly, he was flying strafe to his right side, able to hold a steady altitude for the time being. But he went too far. Unable to slow his lateral movement, he tried to angle his right wings up but was having trouble shifting his weight back. He could not get his back muscles to shift the way they should. And the distraction of focusing on weight shifting, he stopped maintaining his flutter rate and thus lost altitude. Seconds later, he felt the inevitable and gave in to the fall. Attempting to brace for impact, his legs made a sideways contact with the ground, and he was force into a roll. His body rolled twice before coming to a rest. He was unhurt, but he was embarrassed that he failed. He stood up and dusted off the dirt and grass on his wing to try again.

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Ah the things RD was glad Applejack was not around to see. She imagined if AJ had watched their little guy take a tumble like that she'd be right at his side dusting him off and telling him how great his attempt had been. However, that wasn't the way a Wonderbolt trained and it wasn't going to happen like that with just momma Rainbow around! Nope. He'd be tough about it since he wasn't really hurt. She'd picked this slope with falls like this in mind. The turf was deep and super soft. Able to cushion falls from no great heights. It was absolutely the perfect training area for a bright young flyer like Zappers!

 

She was proud to see him give it his best go and move to the side. It was a big improvement for sure. Side to side was no easy feat for a beginning flyer but it was essential for going any further. If you couldn't move to the sides well, anything that came your way would become impassable. She took a few hovering feet closer to her little guy and spoke clearly.

 

"That was a really good recovery there Zap!" She landed next to him. "You kept yourself loose and didn't take the main impact of the landing." She noted the path he had taken. "The roll was just what we want too. Don't try to stop yourself just roll with it!" While she spoke she quickly checked him over with just her eyes, making sure he had no injuries. 

 

"Ok, let's practice that side to side movement here on the ground." She lifted her wings and dipped her right side down. "Follow me ok?" She moved so her had a clear view of her back. "We have to shift our wings using our back and chest muscles." She tensed the muscles and slowly tipped her wings in the other direction. "Right, like that! Yep!" She encouraged him. "Let's keep going with this for a few more side switches." She moved her wings one way and then the other, watching to see the movements of his muscles and wings. 

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While Zap's smile was currently hidden, his mother had a smirk as if she knew exactly how he felt. Tough love was in abundance between the two parents who represent the Wonderbolts and run a farm that feeds thousands of ponies. But what separated the two was Rainbow Dash was much more eager to teach him strength and tenacity before tending to his condition, whereas Applejack was quicker to protect and be nurturing at the expense of the opportunities to illustrate humility. They both taught him valuable lessons, just in different ways. Zap wasn't even done shaking the grassing off his wings before his pegasus mother positioned herself to show him how it's done. She was angling her body and her wings to show how he should use his muscles to move, but it wasn't easily obvious to Zap, he just hadn't gotten that muscle memory down just yet. So with stray blades of grass flying out of his wings as he started to flutter on the ground, he tried to angle his body so that the wings were moving the in apparent direction they should go, but he was using his legs to angle his body.

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Rainbow admired tenacity and he son had it in spades! She proudly watched as he attempted to copy her movements, gibing it all he had. 

 

"That's right!" She coached him. "Ok, hold on for just a sec Zap." She put a hoof over his fluttering wings to stop them from spreading any more grass bits about. "Watch momma close now," She spoke as she shifted both her wings over to the right. The one on the right angled low to the ground and the one of the left came up parallel to the ground. "This is a wing stretch we use in the Wonderbolt!"

 

She knew he always perked up when she mentioned the Bolts. Who wouldn't? They were awesome! Rainbow came over next to her son and used her hooves to put his wings in the desired positions. She left off a little as she didn't want to him to over stretch anything. "How does that feel?"

 

After a few more moments she released his wings. "Ok, let your wings go back to what feels comfortable." She beamed at him and flicked a stray bit of grass off the end of his muzzle.

 

"So Zappers?" She coaxed him. "You think you can fly fast to that tree?" She pointed out a tree in the near distance. It was important to mix the easy stuff in with the hard stuff. No need to get the little guy frustrated.

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Zap was starting to get a little impatient because he could tell that he wasn't doing everything correctly, even though his mother was there to cheer him on. He pensively just did as he was told when she instructed him, but did have the satisfaction of being able to accomplish his own ability, yet. Baby steps. When Rainbow controlled his wings to put them in a stretch, he winced a little and held his breath unnecessarily. He had athletic genes somewhere in him but they hadn't woken up yet, he was still very inexperienced to conditioning his own body for increased mobility, but he was also fairly young, too. He was still far ahead of the curve. "It feels rough," he said in short exhales. He was too young to appreciate joy of flexibility. Perhaps he would value it more when he got older and saw his flexibility wane.

 

After the stretch, she bet on him to fly to a tree as fast as he could. "Yeah!" He angled towards the tree and took off at it. Because one of his wings was primed from stretching, he found it easier to flap it, but his other wing felt average causing him to have to readjust his angle of approach to the tree. In an unfavorable zig-zag, Zap bumblebeed his way to the tree and landed softly at the trunk. He looked back at his mother and smiled. "I did it!"

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Rainbow watched her little guy go towards the tree, if not a bit awkwardly... that's funny seeing as how she'd definitely stretched both of his wings. As a trained athlete she'd never stretch just one side. Probably one was just a bit tighter than the other. His wing tendons and muscles were still forming so that would make total sense. Anyhow, he made it to the tree and RD clapped her front hooves together at the result. 

 

"Hey! Great job there Zappers!" She flew over to him and nodded in approval. "You're doing great!" 

 

She thought for a moment and then ventured a leading question. "Hey Zap? You wanna see something super cool?" She smiled a waited for his answer.

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"Yes!" Zap jumped up and buzzed in place for a few seconds before landing back on his hooves. He wasn't sure what his rainbow mother was about to show him, but he hoped that he would be able to participate. He loved seeing the moves his role model showed him, but he was also more willing to try things himself than he used to be. He was eager to see if he was about to see her do a trick he could learn to do today, or if she was going to incorporate him into the trick as well. Whatever the case was, the foal that Zap was would throw all the caution into the wind in order to impress himself on something he may or may not be capable of doing, his imagination at the very least taking him to the heights of enjoying his first year of flying.

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