Luna turns, climbing back up onto the throne, and then flops down on her side. Stretching her head over the arm, she tells Firefly wistfully, "Such is the painful edge of wisdom. We must let each pony walk their own path, because we have the power to force them otherwise."
Firefly smiles a little and nods, still at the base of the stairs. "A concept your sister has exlained to me this day."
The Royal Throne is evidently not to be occupied for long. Luna rolls forward off of it, landing on all four hooves loudly. "COURT IS ADJOURNED!" she blasts in the Royal Canterlot Voice. One wing extends, flicking beckoningly at Firefly. "Come, faithful one. Thy health is returned, and we have much to speak of and much overdue." It's at that point, walking down the carpet, that she disappears in a flash of blue - and so does Firefly.
Road to Canterlot This is a dirt road linking Ponyville, Canterlot, and the Everfree Forest. The striking spires of Canterlot Mountain loom not too far away, drawing the eye. Wildflowers grow amid the grass, and a few small trees sway some distance off. You'd think the sky might be broad and clear in a place like this, but as it happens, the pegasus city of Cloudsdale is drifting overhead.
[ Obvious Exits: To <C>anterlot, To <Po>nyville, To <H>illy Country ] [ <Up> to Cloudsdale, To the <E>verfree Forest ]
You ask Firefly to join you. Firefly has arrived. Firefly fades into existance in a soft blue glow.
Firefly laughs softly. "That is always such a thrill."
Firefly freezes for a second. "Wait....this is not the Palace...."
Luna gives her wings a sharp flap, creating a considerable gust of wind before she folds them again. She keeps walking, slowly, down the road. "We have much to discuss, faithful Firefly. Thanks to thy sickness, we have been too long apart. We have asked Celestia to keep us out of this issue, but the night whispers secrets to us. Thou confronted the evil that claimed our name, and acquitted thyself well in combat against it."
Firefly walks along as well, having almost forgotton about her eyes, since she herself doesn't see herself very often. She walks in station, to the right and back slightly of the Princess. "Yes my Princess...I did not blindly attack, I did not let anger control me, and thought it out carefully. This...thing, does not like me. I am different. I hurt it, with something her host, Diamond, is unaffected by." flicking an ear. "I know it is not Nightmare Moon. It knows that I know this. I took action that led it away from the others, into the skies, and kept it occupied as help arrived....but...I did not expect your Sister to arrive...and lock me away and let that...that thing go free."
The base of Luna's wings hump up and down, a walking shrug. "Accept her judgment, as we do. Our suspicion is that though thou best it, the thing can copy thy strength. The last thing Equestria needs is a homicidal and hate-filled copy of thee with unicorn magic. That truly would be difficult to stop." Just a breath's pause, and she adds, "We are proud of thee, Firefly. It matters not the end. Thou have represented our honor as perfectly as any pony could."
Firefly says "I have." letting out a quiet sigh. "As of today, this...thing...is no longer a concern to me. From what I have learned of it, as you say, it is safest if I avoid it." flicking her tail a few times as we walk. "I did however learn one fact...it can feel pain where Diamond does not. I know I can hurt it from a distance without harming Diamond. Seeing as celestia did not seem to show any interest in this, I have dismissed it as well." then smiles a bit, that last bit brightening her mood considerably. "Thank you."
Luna's tail gives a lash, although in her case it looks more like a sudden gust of wind billows out the sparkling galaxy that trails behind her. Her lips curve into a tight smile, and she adds, "Thy strategic sense also pleases me. Let Celestia be wise and kind. They place is to be like me, clever and a true warrior." The smile widens slightly, and her voice takes a faint lilt as she adds, "Speaking of, we understand that the guard with the talent for magic was present at this and other recent disturbances, and that despite being weak as a newborn foal compared to this thing he did not retreat. Rather, he used his power to rescue its victims, even when he believed himself to be walking into death to do so. Perhaps thou see deeper into stallions than we do."
Firefly curls her ears a bit and inhales, enjoying the pleasant breeze. "Yes...Scope was there both times. I can only speak for the second time. I was gathering information on the threat from him and the workers when Diamond returns and attacked. Scope was the first to fire, though in my eyes, this may have been an error." she admits. "He reacted on emotions and not strategy, but did distract her, then I took that advantage and blasted her out of the building." walking along slowly. "He then aided the fallen as I took Diamond up to the skies, once things were separated, Scope then came outside, as did another citizen Unicorn, and they added to my distractions until Celestia arrived. As we speak, Rainbow is mobilizing the Elements. I suspect Celestia knows they will succeed already, since there is no backup plan."
Luna replies blandly, "I have trusted her for centuries upon centuries, and never been disappoined. Thou should follow her lead in this because I would. We are too eager to fight to see when it is best not to. I let her do that for me. As for fighting..." Now her smile turns positively wicked, and her blue-green eyes leer at you sidelong. "Thou have performed well and bested a monster. My faith in thee was well placed, but that only tells me that thou could be so much greater. Shall we take advantage of this brisk evening, that I might begin teaching thee aerial combat?"
Firefly grins and accepts the open invitation, acting much as she did with the entity, no hesitation. She snaps her wings and while one might have expected her to rocket skyward, she actually pulls a hard tight barrel roll to bring her hindhooves down on Luna's back, expecting her to not actually still be there, leaving a nice kick off the ground for a fast counterdodge.
To leap into the air and come back down takes too long - why, it must take nearly a second. As will probably not surprise you by now, she leans away from this attack, her wing sweeping up to brush your descending hooves aside so they don't strike her directly. That swing also does one other thing, because the top of its arc is aimed to smack into your wing from behind, the wing you need very much right now.
This wasn't expected, and catches her off guard for a fraction of a second, feeling her wing being reversed for lack of a better sensation, she decided to get clear, regroup, invoking her lightning flight mode, since it didn't need her wings, a blast of stones and dirt erupting as a blast of light and heat shoot into the sky, Firefly riding the lightning bolt up into the stratosphere, then with a SNAP it cancels out as she braces herself and airbrakes violently, kicking around in case of being followed into the manuever, pulling a 180 to aim downwards.
<OOC> Firefly says, "It dawned on her, nothing was ever said about using her powers for things -other- than attacks. Yet. "
Luna doesn't follow, at least not at any speed. As you snap back to normal, she's just spreading her wings and flapping lazily into the air - laughing loudly as she does. "Firefly! Sweet Firefly, always thou must try these sneak attacks. We have mixed feelings, for we think they teach thee sharp lessons, but they get in the way of the lesson we wish to teach. Perhaps this one will assist, however. As we told thee before, the pony on the ground has an advantage if thou come close enough to melee. Thou were most clever with thy strike to lessen that advantage and not dangerously overextend thyself. However, the advantage remains, and the reason for that advantage is crucial to aerial combat - in the air, mighty Firefly, thy wings are busy."
Firefly pulls into a hover and considers this. "I have always used my wings as my primary weapon, hooves secondary." nodding. "I am beginning to see the old ways relied far to much on armor. Many tactics I know use that to an advantage...I even used it on Diamond, not sure just what I was facing. I think it scared the ponies below more than anything." pulling in closer. "What is the lesson today?"
Luna rises up flap by flap, soaring upwards to your level, although not particularly close to you. "The basics. We suspect thou have figured out much of it the hard way. First, thou must learn that the techniques thou learned on the ground work in the air. The only consideration is that if thou use thy wings, thou must expect to fall, if only for a second. Would thee like me to charge, that thou might repel me as thou would on the ground?"
Firefly ponders this for a moment, then smiles. "I use a different repelling method in the air....charge, and let me know your thoughts of it, and if it is outdated..or pehaps how to tweak it." shifting her shoulders with a crack and a crack. pulling her ears back. "I will use the Demon defense, as I know it.
Luna nods, flapping her wings a couple of times, gaining a mere few feet of height. That lets her twist forward, swooping in a tight curve that's not quite horizontal, straight for you. It's fast, though - much faster even than she can run on the ground, in the air she speeds at you like an arrow. Entirely too much like an arrow, with her horn leading.
Firefly's eyes gleam as she snaps her wings so hard the air shimmers around her, eyeing the incoming 'arrow' as it were, then meters from imact, she rears up slightly, pulling her wings in closed, falling backwards as she rotates, inverting to bring her hind hooves up in a kick that held nothing back, this usually took a high speed demon and throat or gut stompd them and threw them on over and past her, leaving her tight behind them as the rotation finished.
Luna meets the upcoming hooves by extending her own forehooves. It does keep her horn off target, as her hooves meet yours with a loud 'CRACK' and she shoves you down, swooping up herself out of the way. She immediately begins to laugh, spinning around to slow into a hover. "Not bad. Not bad! They did know some of their aerial fighting on Butterfly Island. Yes, thy wings are busy, but thy hind legs are suddenly free, and they strike hard!"
Firefly snaps her wings open and invert loops to pull back up and around, kicking her feet a bit. "Now that was solid contact." pulling up to a level hover. "We were taught too, a folded wing is easier to protect in close quarters, and gravity is your friend. Free energy. Many of our defenses use it, some offenses, but mostly defense." laughing. "A closed wing is conserved energy and resting."
Luna nods thoughtfully. "It is also falling, and loss of control, but they are right. Going down is the fastest way to escape. Unfortunately, it has a drawback. A very, very large drawback." She flattens out and begins to circle, wide and lazily, and waves her forehooves and back hooves in demonstration. "Which way do all of my weapons point, my squire?"
Firefly has to think on that one. All weapons. her horn was forward, her hooves below, or forward and behind...wings could be anywhere in hemispheres....then she brightens a bit. "Outwards." perking her ears. "All of your weapons, except magic, are outwards. Primary threats are forward and down..." then blinks. Demons don't have horns. She facehooves. "And if a threat's horn is longer than my hind leg length, a fatal mistake to under rotate like that....."
Luna laughs again, this time more teasingly. Her circling spirals tighter, until she pulls herself up to hover again. "Close, and thou hit upon another point. DOWN, good Firefly. It is very difficult, while in the air, to strike upwards. Possible, but if thou roll upon thy back, thou are at a severe disadvantage, unstable and out of control. The flier who is above her opponent can strike, and at best her opponent can dodge or block. Their ability to strike back is limited. As thou are realizing, when we clashed straight on, well, there is no time to think, and thou cannot be entirely certain whose block or strike will hit. Know how to meet an opponent head-on if thou must, but in the air it is the worst option thou have. THAT, Firefly, is why the Griffon Dance teaches us to fly at such sharp angles. Fly fast, turn sharply, outmaneuver thy enemy and strike from above."
Firefly looks over her hooves and nods. "Threats here are much more interesting than back home. Horns like yours only exist on Unicorns, and they are never in flight." laughing a bit. "No griffins back home." coughing a bit, still upset with herself for not having not considered the horn in an under-roll. "I think I know how to adjust for this....or at least I better learn how to." laughing a bit, flipping backwards and shooting off a ways upside down, then she pulls and immelman and levels back off. "Take two!"
Luna reaches out her forelegs, hooves pressed together upside down so she can stretch her elbows and flex her wrists. Then she flips herself and charges you again. A flap, another flap of her wings, and she's a blue blur jetting point-first towards you, until a few body lengths away her wings flap so hard they echo like a thunderclap, jerking her upwards off her path and letting her spiral back around in a tight curve, hind hoof swinging for your back.
Firefly goes into motion the instant you level off, adding her own speed racing straight for you, a pink blur as well, with one mistake, she was planning the exact same manuever, almost the same instant you lift there is a second thunderclap as she also suddenly lifts, snap-rolling left blindly sensing a sudden failure of the manuever and impending collision, she thunderclaps again in an attempt to veer off.
<OOC> Firefly was laughing so hard....you did what she was going to do....LOL......up and loop. <OOC> Firefly is not sure of she avoided a collission though, at these speeds.
Luna yells, "WONDERFUL!" as she rolls past you. She does roll, barrel rolls, twisting like a snake to kick slowly and unseriously at your back as you pass. It wouldn't have hit anyway when you bolt away, but while you're throwing yourself aside, she's shooting up, then diving down at you from above again, hind legs swinging down to kick very much like the attack you made on her on the ground. Oh, and she's laughing like a giddy schoolfilly.
Firefly sees you incoming, and inverts pulls back in HARD... several feathers ripping free as she accellerates in this curve, driven by a fun happy feeling knowing that her adjustment was evidently the right one, bringing her up into the attack, only this time she pulls a 90 degree snap to the left as we get about a body length apart, then with a resounding peal of thunder she pulls a 180 to bring her flight across yours point blank, then snaps another 180 in an attempt to kick off your side, using pure speed this time, pulling a time of maybe half a second in this close in attempt.
The dodge and redirect go off as planned, because she doesn't try to dodge. Rather she pulls herself up and stops, and as you kick in she extend her forelegs, her hooves meeting yours again so that you violently and loudly shove each other away. Even then she flaps her wings slowly, coasting to a halt as she laughs, "Alright. Enough! Thou learn gloriously swiftly, Firefly, but we can afford only so long before the palace needs us again. Thou are ready, truly ready, to spar with us next time." Stretching out her wings, she drifts down, only flappign occasionally to keep her floating down like a parachutist. As she descends, she holds up her forehooves and adds, "Note well: In the air, as on the ground, thy forelegs strike weakly, but block well. Too often thou WILL end up face to face with thy opponent, and then thy training on the ground makes thee faster, stronger, and more clever in thy strike."
<OOC> Luna of course has to get ready for bed just as we get to the good stuff!
Firefly back rolls with wings extended a few times and is laughing as well, recovering and darting up into a close hover like a large hummingbird. Her ears were intently locked onto you, listening as we descend, breathing hard. She nods, her eyes bright. "I am glad dragons and demons are not so fast as you...such agility is amazing..I am seeing now that I simply lack the physical ability to move so fast and have to adjust in other ways with what I CAN do at such speeds......manueverability." landing, letting her wings lay on the ground as she catches her breath.
<OOC> Firefly laughs and nods. Still fun. <OOC> Firefly says, "Is still cracking up with that near collision. Actually had the same idea." <OOC> Luna says, "IC and OOC I expected, or at least hoped you would! I kept my pose sparse for that reason, so there wouldn't be too much to retcon." <OOC> Luna says, "They'd moved on to the next lesson, and Firefly figured it out in time."
Luna lands next to you. She is not winded, but she does shake her wings out a couple of times before folding them up. Bright and happy, her words sharp with vivacious energy, she replies, "Speed is good, but maneuverability is paramount in an aerial battle. I seek to give thee ALL advantages, but that one is the greatest. Maneuverability is why pegasi, not griffons, not dragons, not flying monkeys or rocs or gorgons or The-Weed-That-Weeps-And-Whispers rule the air. We can strike and not be struck in turn. With ground training thou are likely to win a face to face strike. With sharp turns thou will win the dance, and not need to worry if thy opponent will srike lucky this time." Maybe she's a little more tired than she looks, because she gives her whole body a savage shake, starting at the shoulders and rippling down to her backside. "Come! We return." And with that, everything goes blue and becomes the palace again.