When a young Rainbow Dash finally leaves her parents' home in Cloudsdale and moves to Ponyville, she's confident that she can handle everything. After all, it's just setting up her own house and moving to a new settled zone; what's the big drama?
Read it here.
Tropes found in this story include:
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Not described, but heavily implied: Rainbow starts to feel stressed out over her new wonder's issues with sounding the alarm at lower-than-normal temperatures, and decides to do something which will help her relax. Unfortunately, said activity generates heat, so...
- D.I.Y. Disaster: Rather than spend money she doesn't have on a fire system, Rainbow attempts to use a D.I.Y book she managed to skim through before fainting from lack of sugar, added to her attempts at sensing the magic in an active model, to try and make one from scratch — with secondhand materials. Perhaps needless to say, this comes back to bite her.
- Fish out of Water: Rainbow has spent her entire life up until this point living in Cloudsdale, and so doesn't know the first thing about being in a ground-based settlement.
- Gone Horribly Right: Rainbow's attempts at making her own fire system actually work... but it's too heat sensitive, and ultimately ends up converting her living room's floor into water to put out a fire that doesn't even exist.
- Idiot Hero: Rainbow may not be the brightest of mares, but when she thinks her house is collapsing, her immediate response is to shout for everypony to get clear while she tries to stop the plummeting furniture from hurting somepony.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Zigzagged. Rainbow is spectacularly ignorant of the way things work outside of Cloudsdale, but at the same time, in the fields she does know, she's genuinely skilled. She actually manages to get an "adequate" rating on her cloud house from Mrs. Cruelneigh because she's addressed almost every single aspect, including most that other pegasi usually get wrong: she's only conditionally failed because she forgot to install a fire alarm & suppression system. Furthermore, she takes one of the implicitly very faulty D.I.Y books from the town library and actually produces something which almost works from it.
- My Greatest Failure: Rainbow is wracked with guilt over Fluttershy's falling from the clouds during that long-ago race, and in fact secretly fears that she may have been the one who bumped Fluttershy off in the first place.
- There's also a confirmation that the campers deliberately got away from the counselors and safety staff before holding the race, knowing any adult awareness would have the whole thing shut down.
- Mythology Gag: Mrs. Harshwhinney, the official games inspector from "Games Ponies Play" is namedropped — in the Continuum, she's part of an extended family which crosses tribal lines, all involved in government work; the Earth Pony Harshwhinneys, the Pegasus Cruelneighs, and the presumably Unicorn Bleaknickers.
- The Plan: Mayor Mare implies that in making her request for a new weather team member directly to the Bureau, she was looking for Passing Shower's future replacement: somepony young, determined, and willing to break rules when necessary in order to keep the settled zone safe. There's also a suggestion that in order to meet that goal, she'll be on Rainbow's side during most possible conflicts with Passing Shower.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: From Applejack to Rainbow, just before bringing the apples down on the pegasus: "Hold that pose. Ah wanna remember you jus' the way you were."
- Punny Name: Hearing that her weather coordinator is named Passing Shower makes Rainbow think of jokes about trotting under hasty pegasi.
- Reality Ensues: No matter how many vapor constructs are within, there's always going to be something combustible in a cloud home: food has the potential to catch fire, as does the owner. And where wood will take high temperatures before bursting into flame, it doesn't take all that much to reach the point where a cloud will evaporate. Heat management in a cloud house is actually a major issue.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Both Mayor Mare and Mr. Rich, as revealed in the final chapter. Not only does Rainbow Dash not get in trouble for accidentally destroying her house, but Mr. Rich is willing to sell her the fire system she needs on credit.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Passing Shower is far past retirement age, set in his ways, and generally has declined into somepony too incompetent to be allowed to lead the Ponyville's weather team — but he clings to power due to the connections he's made over his many, many, many, many years of employment. However, that same seniority is now turning against him, as most of the ponies who can speak for him have either retired or died, and the mayor heavily implies he's getting close to the point where he could be fired without repercussions.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: Played with. Rainbow has only left Equestria for summer stays at Gilda's family ranch in Protocera, and doesn't exactly have to adjust back to Cloudsdale living afterwards. However, she's no longer living in Cloudsdale. Throughout the course of the story, it's established that she has just about no ground experience, and that includes in dealing with the ponies who live there. The final chapter has Mayor Mare saying that a lot of pegasi discover the most foreign country of all rests below their hooves.
- Theme Naming: The three families heavily involved in government service are all named some variant of "Nasty-Horse Noise" — Cruelneigh, Bleaknicker, and Harshwhinney.
- Too Dumb to Live: Justified: because Rainbow's spent the vast majority of her life in Cloudsdale (with some vacations visiting Gilda in Protocera), she's genuinely clueless about how most aspects of ground life work. Her first meeting with Applejack takes place when she gets caught trying to snatch an apple off the Acres, and Rainbow defends herself by pointing out that the earth pony has no means of reaching the fruit to harvest it, so she might as well let Rainbow have it rather than let it rot on the branch. Once she realizes the pegasus mare is serious, Applejack wastes no time in disabusing her of this notion — by kicking the trunk and bringing multiple apples down on Rainbow's head, back, and wings, knocking her out of the sky.
- Unflinching Walk: Applejack performs an explosion-free version after kicking the treetrunk.
- World Building: A number of details about how pegasus society and magic function are revealed during the course of the story. In particular, this is the first major look in the Continuum at wonders, the pegasus equivalent to unicorn devices, and features a scene in which Rainbow attempts to enchant one of her own.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In the final chapter, Mayor Mare assures Rainbow that she is far less of a messup than she fears, and points out she's actually managed some remarkable Achievements in Ignorance.