Inside; Chapter 1.
Black. That was all. A never ending plane of darkness as far as the eye could see. Not that you possibly could see anything. However, a Pegasus, as it seemed, floated in the pool of black.
Its mane wafting sadly through the invisible breeze, feathers looping uselessly by its side. Its legs seemed to be dead as they to hung miserably from the pony. However her eyes were very much alive, glowing radiantly however searching frantically in a blur of rose pink.
This was Rainbow Dash.
Her mind was ablaze. Where she was and how could she get out were the only things on the cyan pony’s mind. As much as she tried, her entire body would refuse to even twitch to her command. She was slowly exhausting herself and it was only after what could’ve been hours of attempting to move did she accept that there was no way of getting her body to work.
Calming herself down, she looked around at her surroundings, or lack thereof.
“Where am I?” She contemplated. Instead of using her mouth to attempt to speak to anyone who might be in this hell hole she eventually resourced to talk to herself. Or, well, think to herself.
“No, wait...” She thought. “Why am I here? A-am I dead? Did I die?!” She was just about to start off on a frantic, panic-fueled train of thought when she noticed something in the distance. Rainbow could make out four legs, a head, a tail... It was a pony! However ,it was too far away to be able to make out whether it was a pegasus, unicorn or earth pony. Regardless, Rainbow was already celebrating the fact that at least there was somepony else here. The pony was floating further and further towards Rainbow, and she could also make out that the pony was in the same limp-like state as she was but it was something else that made Rainbow Dash abruptly stop celebrating. The pony looked exactly like Rainbow Dash. The same coloured mane, the same cyan coat, everything!
“What?! What the heck is this?! Who is she? Why the heck would she try to pose me?!” Went Rainbow’s rage-induced internal monologue. Now anyone with common sense would come to the decision that this impostor was a pegasus, but as the strange pony floated closer, Rainbow noticed that there were no wings flanking her side, but a unicorn’s horn on her head.
The pony was now inches away from her. Dash looked furiously at this faker however when Rainbow’s sight crossed track with the unicorn’s eyes. Something shook her to the bone. Her eyes were not a radiant magenta. No. They were a sickly dull amber. Not only that, but they stared sightlessly at the scared Pegasus.
It was as if the unicorn was dead.
Rainbow’s fury quickly dissipated, quickly replaced with worry as she searched the unicorn’s eyes for any sign of life.
Rainbow was inexplicably grieving for the unicorn. She never knew this pony, nor did she want to! So, why was she crying over it? She’s masquerading as her, for Celestia’s sake! Her questions were harshly interrupted by the dull, lifeless unicorn grabbing Rainbow by the hooves and pulling her closer. The unicorn’s eyes remained dull but her words dripped with venom.
“Rainbow Dash...” The unicorn spat out. Rainbow Dash was confused by her words however she was abruptly over come by a sharp knife like pain all over her. Her body suddenly switched into action as she screamed with agony. She grabbed her head and shook it for all the good it would do. But predictably, non came out of it. Her vision suddenly became blurry as the hospital room ceiling partly came in to view. She fully opened her eyes. Her screaming turned into croaky squeals and eventually stopped as her realization came into tact.
It was just a dream.
However, the pain was still a reality, but this time more focused inside her head. Her eyes were at pinpoint and her breathing was increasing at an alarming rate. Did she really wake up?
Why was she in the hospital? As the questions piled up in her mind her heart beat sped up massively. Rainbow snapped out of her current state and yelped lamely as the door slammed open and six ponies rushed into the room, all of them shouting incomprehensible words.
One of them was a yellow pegasus and she was... crying? She, out of all of them came in the fastest. Heck, if the door wasn’t already open slightly she probably would have crashed through it. However she didn’t slow down. She tackled Rainbow Dash and, still hovering centimetres above her, hugged her. Rainbow was both scared and confused by what just happened. She was about to say something but the yellow Pegasus beat her to it.
“Rainbow Dash!... thank... goodness... you’re... okay!” She managed to sob out.
Rainbow examined the crying Pegasus. She had an elegant pink mane, aqua eyes, and three pink butterflies as a cutie mark.
“F-Fluttershy?” Rainbow croaked. She spoke the words without thinking. As she examined the ponies that weren’t suffocating her through hugs, she slowly started remembering who these ponies were.
“Hey... guys.” Was all she could manage to say as the air in her lungs thinned out from Fluttershy, practically crushing her wind pipe.
“Uh... Fluttershy. I think you’re maybe hurting Rainbow a bit.” Said Twilight whilst trotting over to Rainbow’s bedside.
Fluttershy opened her weepy eyes in wide realization. For a few moments she remained motionless. However, after an awkward moment of silence, she quietly murmured her apologies and soundly hovered back down to the floor. Rainbow looked at the ponies after gaining her breath back. All of them looked like they’ve been crying, except the brown furred colt, who looked as if he’d just seen a puppy fight off a dragon.
“Rainbow Dash.” He began. Still with the look of awe imprinted on his face. “I’ve heard of miracles but the hit to the head that you took, well it... you” He was cut off by Twilight.
“It should’ve killed you!” She exclaimed. “How in Equestria are you still alive?! We were amazed that you were in a coma before but-”
“Wait! I’ve been in a coma?!” Dash’s reaction was understandably high-pitched, but nevertheless embarrassing “For how long?”.
Pinkie spoke next. “Dashie...y-you’ve been in a coma for 2 weeks now! The doctor told us just a few moments ago that you if it went on any longer, y-you might n-never wake up.” The usually loud and happy party pony stuttered out.
Rainbow looked around the room at the six ponies desperately searching for any signs of them disagreeing with the pink pony, however they all nodded in unison.
Her ears flattened against her mangled fur, her eyes shrunk and her mouth melted into a nervous frown.
“Oh...” she muttered.
It had been a couple of hours since Rainbow Dash had woken up and already her room was alive with countless doctors, nurses and even some scientists who, much to Rainbow’s annoyance, kept pestering her with questions. Even though she had been to the hospital many times before, due to her daredevil antics, she was not prepared for the sudden explosion of tests and checkups that were “Standard Operating Procedure” every five seconds.
Reluctantly, Twilight and the others lingered in the waiting room, anxiously waiting for any information on their friend. Twilight, as always, had her nose deep in a book with her hoof loosely tapping her chin in interest. Rarity and Applejack were busy debating on how old the hospital was, frequently leading Twilight for being asked who answered correctly. Pinkie Pie had tried relentlessly to entertain herself, from reading a magazine to doing multiple cartwheels down an active hospital hallway. However in the end she just resourced to sleeping the endless hours away. Fluttershy did what she usually does in these situations; hide behind her curtain like mane and quiver. She had been quite panicky when she went out the room but instantly broke down when she saw the amount of ponies rushing into Rainbow’s room. She persisted to do so even through the multiple attempts to reassure her from her friends and the staff, who in the end gave up.
Twilight, after countless hours of reading, gave up on her research and looked up above the pages of the old book, only then did she notice how engrossed she got into it as her nuzzle was only inches away from the pages. She let out an annoyed sigh and, using her magic, tossed the book over her head. The scatty old book landed a few centimetres away from Rarity, sending small clouds of dust into the air. Rarity squealed and darted behind Applejack.
“Twilight!” she cried. “Please! I know you like these old and dusty books but please refrain from letting them get anywhere around me!” She emphasised every adjective by pointing an accusing hoof at the tattered old book.
Applejack and Twilight both rolled their eyes at the drama queen’s outburst. Rarity saw and glared at them dramatically in retaliation
“What?” she asked in a sudden innocent tone as she began gently flicking her glossy mane.
Applejack bent down and eyed the book in suspicion. The book was clearly years old as its thick covers were covered in decades worth of dust. The book’s pages were ripped stained and quite a few were either missing or falling out making it quite hard to read, even though there were many pages absent the book was well stacked. Applejack blew some of the dust away from the book’s cover so it was more understandable.
The words “Pegasus Magic” were written on the front and underneath there was a poorly drawn picture of a pegasus flying with a few blobs of white surrounding it. Applejack guessed that they were supposed to be clouds. The cover itself was a bright turquoise colour. However, a few stains and patches where the colour had faded from old age were clearly visible. Applejack stared at the title for a few moments before looking questionably at Twilight who wore an unreadable expression on her face.
“Uh, ah’m sorry Twi, but pegasus what now?”
Twilight snapped out of her daydream and began pacing around the small waiting room as she spoke.
“Pegasus magic, Applejack, and I know your probably thinking that pegasi having magic inside them is crazy, but it apparently is indeed a real thing”
Applejack cocked her head to one side. “Wait. Apparently?”.
Twilight stopped in her tracks and sighed before looking up. For a few moments she stared at the wall trying to conjure up the right words to say that would make sense to the earth pony. After a while she turned around to look at the quivering pegasus in the corner of the room. However, when Twilight turned around, Fluttershy only flinched, reacting as if Twilight had tried to hurt her She sunk deeper into her haunches and buried her head further into her mane.
Twilight’s serious gaze softened as it fell across the Pegasus. She neared closer towards her. “Fluttershy?”
“Fluttershy, could you please do a tiny favor for me?”
Fluttershy looked up at Twilight, but no response was given.
“Please?” Twilight begged as she stepped further towards her friend.
Fluttershy didn’t reply for a while but then spoke up.
“W-what is it?” The yellow Pegasus whispered.
“Could you fly just for a few seconds so I can demonstrate something to Applejack?”
The shy pegasus looked at the ground for a brief moment before slowly rising out of her comfy corner and into the air.
Twilight smiled at Fluttershy before clearing her throat.
“As you can see, all pegasi have wings that grant them the gift of flight.” She gestured towards Fluttershy. “However, compared to the body mass of the usual Pegasus, the wings they have wouldn’t be enough for sustained flight.” Everyone, except the sleeping Pinkie, took in everything Twilight was saying. Even Fluttershy who was now fully intrigued by what the lavender unicorn was saying.
“This is where the theory of Pegasus magic comes from.” Twilight continued.” And oh, Fluttershy, you can stop flying now.”’ She did as she was told and lowered to the ground.
“The book says that this magic should be able to help lift them off the ground and the wings are used to simply navigate and determine how high the pegasus goes. This theory is very popular among scientists. However, it has never been proven due to the fact that there has never been any spell or technology to be able to sense it. The fact that magic is more spiritual than scientific hasn’t helped determine the answer.”
Everyone in the room was quiet for a moment but Rarity swiftly broke the silence.
“I could understand where you’re coming from dear, but I don’t see the connection between that and the current state Rainbow Dash is in.”
“If the theory is true, then I’m worried that Rainbow’s magic is somehow being used to heal her wounds. I’m not sure if it would come with consequences. I’m not even sure if the magic would be limited or not, so that’s why I’ve been looking to see if there has ever been a scenario were a pegasus did use her magic differently. So far I’ve found none.”
Twilight hung her head in the mist of her own failure. She almost never fails with her research and now that her friend’s well being was at stake she felt more depressed than she ever would have been.
“Now don’t ya’ll worry, Twi. Ya did yer best n’ that’s all that matters.” Applejack said as she put a reassuring hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. Twilight couldn’t help but smile at her friends sweet words. Rarity and Fluttershy had millions of questions for Twilight but decided it was best if they stayed quiet.
The door suddenly slammed open making everyone jump and even woke up Pinkie. A brown colt stood in the door way. His mane was a mess and there were some bald patches on his head too. His left shoulder looked badly bruised and he had numerous others including one just near his eye. An alarmed look hung on his face which caused the five mares in the waiting room to jump in surprise as they looked at the usually cool headed colt.
“Miss Twilight!” He began between struggled breaths. He’d clearly been running. ”We need your help!”
“NOW!” He shouted before turning on hoof and darting down the corridor. Without even a second thought, all five ponies dashed on after him.
Spinning. That was all Rainbow saw. The room spun at break neck speeds. At first she only saw the room’s colour; white. However, as she regained more consciousness she noticed scarlet red blurs dashing by her. It was like flying.
No. It was more like spinning uncontrollably.
Her head swayed as the feeling came and went. Much to Rainbow’s disappointment, the room was slowing down. She stared at the ceiling for a second before pushing herself steadily up, with the help of her shaky forelegs, and shutting her eyes tight with effort. Her body felt numb all over; like she had been running for hours. She opened her eyes. Her vision was coming into tact. The red blurs slowed down.
The door swiftly opened making Rainbow Dash yelp and fall back down to her mattress.
“Ugh. Could you guys stop doing that? I’m trying to sleep.” She whined as threw the pillow over her face and kicked her legs under the covers like a foal.
No answer came back to her. No scolding. Nothing. Rainbow brought the pillow down to her chest to look. Her friends had a mixture of shock and fear on their faces making Dash confused. Only then did she notice the red splatters on the wall. Her pupils shrunk to a pinprick as she looked to the left of her bed.
Multiple ponies lay unconscious on the floor, many of them with blood stains and bruises.
"W-wha..." voices came from the right side.
She didn’t want to look to the right side. She didn’t want to look at her friends faces. She carried on staring at the ponies.
Did she do this? No. She didn’t remember doing it. But then why wasn’t she hurt? Why are her friends looking shocked at her?
“W-what...” was all she could say.
Twilight looked at Rainbow Dash. She didn’t know what to think. She knew her friend wouldn’t attack ponies without being provoked. No. Rainbow hadn’t done this. She refused to believe it.
“Ugh.” Murmured a voice.
They looked around for the source of the voice before looking in the corner of the room at a mare in a science coat. Twilight wasted no time in rushing over to the pony and helping her.
The others quickly followed on, helping the other ponies laying on the floor. Rainbow tried to help to but the mares and colts were too afraid of her, as every time she got close to them they’d just whimper and shuffle out of her reach. In the end she just decided to wait in her bed.
“M-miss?” Twilight asked the mare lying on the floor. She opened her eyes enough to be able to just make out Twilight’s coat and mane. Everything else was blurred.
“Ugh, w-where am I?” said the science mare in no more than a whisper. She lifted herself off the ground. This proved quite difficult as one of her legs was badly broken. She looked up.
“You’re in the hospital.” Twilight reassured her, assisting the pony in getting up. “Ma’am, do you remember what happened?”
Twilight instantly regretted asking that question as the mare’s eyes went wide with fear and she suddenly fell into a ball, shaking. Twilight was about to say something but was cut off by the pony shooting her hoof in Rainbow Dash’s direction.
Twilight looked over at Rainbow. She felt distraught. Why would she do this? How could she do this? Was she even responsible for this? As much as she hated shouting at her friends, she had to stand up for what was right. She crouched down into an angry stance and glared at her.
“What happened, Rainbow?” She snapped. Everyone in the room instantly halted what they were doing and looked at Twilight in shock.
“Huh? Nothing! They put me to sleep for a test an-and then I woke up! And everypony was on the floor! I would never do this to anypony Twilight! You should know that of all ponies!” Rainbow said, glaring defensively at the unicorn.
Twilight was confused. Who was she to believe. Her best friend, or those who claimed to be attacked by the mare in question?
“If I might cut in.” Everyone looked round to see the Brown colt standing next to the doorway. “I think I should explain what just... happened.” The colt stammered. ”I think it might help clear things up.”
The room was dimly lit. Only a few rays of orange light seeped through the snow white curtains. Ponies of all colors dashed around, often pausing at different machines before darting off to their next destination. all except one who lay motionless on a mattress located in the middle of the cramped room. Rainbow dash had been moved to a more isolated room so it was possible to run more tests without distraction. Next to the bed was a tall machine. Numerous wires trailed out of it, most of them directed to Rainbow's left hoof which hung lazily over her sheets. The machine was visibly rusting with old age and had presumably not been used for a while, however it's screen still wildly flashed with words that only an experienced doctor, familiar with these mechanisms, would be able to keep up with.
A small and thin mare galloped into the room and over to the brown colt whose eyes lay unmoved on the machine next to the bed even through the small pony's call. She skidded to a halt only inches away from the doctor.
"The results... are back! I apologize... That it took so long... The printer... It broke." She she managed to say through shakily drawn out breaths, hardly surprising since she had just ran up two flights of stairs. The colt hesitated before turning round to look at the mare.
"Thanks," He murmured silently before levitating the piece of paper out of her hooves.
The mare simply nodded before hurrying off to join the other ponies.
The sheet of paper was folded neatly in half. It yielded the results from the bedside machine.
He looked over his shoulders towards it. The old piece of equipment was never supposed to be used, or needed to be used. It was created to be able to sense unnatural occurrences in a regular pony's body. While it was unable to detect magic it could detect unfamiliar or unneeded sensations inside the pony. More importantly: it could locate it. Although it was mainly intended for unicorns it could just as easily work for a pegasus.
More and more ponies were now pausing what they were doing and were looking expectantly at the doctor, there eyes were wide with anticipation and looking at the paper in the grasp of the doctor's levitation.
What was he waiting for?
His levitation became stronger as the paper cautiously opened before stopping in it's tracks. It had only moved a centimeter or two.
Why was he stopping? All day he had hungered for answers, for clarification on what was happening. Never in his career had he come across such a miraculous recovery.
Something was obviously wrong. He wanted to know what.
The doctor's instincts screamed at him to open the piece of paper, however for some reason he seamed reluctant.
A croaked wail interrupted his thoughts.
before he could even turn around to find the source of the noise a heart monitoring machine was sent hurtling towards his head. It missed. Narrowly missed.
He followed the objects path which was heading towards the wall behind the colt at intense speeds.
It stopped. It hovered a feathers length away from the wall. It's cords and wires that had been ripped out of the wall sockets hung down from the monitor.
It stayed put for a never ending second.
A white cloak of levitation enveloped it before turning on tail and heading past the doctor and towards the other ponies.
They got knocked over in all directions from the impact.
The doctor looked over to where the heart monitor should have been however it was something else that caught his attention. Rainbow dash was now awake. Wide awake. Her eyes were like saucers and were glowing in a blinding white glow. Her limbs were jerking in pain and her wings were shaking like they didn't know to do with themselves. As if on cue, more objects were enveloped in a white light before getting hurtled at random places or random ponies. The doctor released the paper from his levitation and made a run for the door. A scream erupted from Rainbow as more and more objects started flinging across the room.
The doctor ran towards the door, whilst dodging random things being lobbed at him. Screams and cries of pain filled the room as ponies got knocked down like bowling pins. He wanted to help. However there was nothing he could do for them. The knowledge made his stomach turn with guilt however he continued to run.
The door was nearing closer. He was almost there.
He hit the floor.
The impact sent his head spinning. The exit was right in front of him. It towered over him, the door handle too far away from his reach. His head started throbbing and he grunted in pain. He felt as if his head was about to burst. He put a hoof up to his head and shut his eyes tight. As the pain slowly started to fade he regained his strength and steadied himself up before noticing the electrical current swim up his leg.
He winced as he felt it climb up his body. He looked round to see what attacked him. A pile of metal and wires lay sprawled across the floor. small sparks of electricity appeared out of the wires before disappearing further into the heap of what used to be a lamp.
Before swiftly dodging another incoming object he made for the door and fled down the hallway.
Jaws hit the floor.
"I came to get Miss Sparkle so she could help restrain Rainbow dash."
The doctor paused and looked over to Rainbow dash who was frozen where she was. Her eyes were focused on her sheets and she was muttering incomprehensible words of denial to her self.
" I suppose there was no need."
Twilight broke her vision away from the doctor and surveyed the room. She hadn't noticed what a mess the place was, heaps of metal and wood littered the room's floor. her sight traveled across the ground until it came to what looked like the remains of a cupboard, however that wasn't what caught her eye. Being crushed under the body of the cupboard she saw the corner of a piece of paper. She trotted up to the pile of wood cautiously and yanked the piece of paper out angrily before trotting back towards the group who were now murmuring to each other in a worried tone, all the while their eyes following Twilight as she slowly came to a stop. With her back to the others, Twilight closed her eyes in tight frustration before flipping the paper open and looking down at it. Rainbow's x-ray was imprinted on the paper, but that was not all. Ghastly clouds of dull amber were littered in groups around the wings and head. More accurately her forehead. Twilight focused on the dull amber, she eyed it in suspicion. She didn't know what it was, but something about that color daunted her.
The doctor was now looking over at her. Twilight sensed his stare and wordlessly levitated the paper over to the doctor. Her eyes lay fixed in a sightless stare at where the paper once was.
She'd had enough. She didn't want to be there anymore.
She turned on tail and trotted out of the door and into the hallway. She stopped just as she fully made it out the doorway.
"I'm going to do some research." She mumbled before slamming the door shut behind her.
" oh come on! Pleeaaaassseee?" Begged three pleading fillies. The pony at the desk shook her head stubbornly.
" For the last time; you can't go in!" said a rather frustrated Redheart. Her tone and gaze suddenly softened in understanding " I'm sorry kids I can't let you, they're running a few tests on your friend."
" Tests? What kind of tests?" Asked Spike. He had reluctantly been dragged along with Scootaloo, SweetieBelle and Applebloom. However he snapped out of his sulk at this point.
"Ooh! Ooh ooh ooh!" exclaimed Sweetiebelle, waving her hoof madly in the air as if she was still in class. "I bet it's like one of those check up thingies! You know! Where they hit you leg with a hammer to test your... Um." Sweetie struggled to find the right word.
"Reflexes." corrected Scootaloo.
"No, no. That's not it." Applebloom stated. "It's one o' those ones were they sit ya' down and bring out a big needle to check your heart or somethin' an' say: "'Ok this aint gonna' hurt a bit."' but it always does." Applebloom said, nodding wisely.
Scootaloo and sweetie winced in sympathy for Rainbow whilst nurse Redheart rolled her eyes at how naive the fillies were and continued with her work.
Distant hoof steps echoed down the wide hallway as Twilight made her way past the hospital rooms and towards the reception. She passed quite a few paintings as she walked by, some of them she knew; however most of them she had no knowledge of. Her head snapped from one side to the other in an agitated manner as if her life depended on seeing these paintings hung up between the hospital doors. As more and more paintings passed, the detailed and beautiful pictures became colorful and meaningless blurs. Twilight's attention span was thinning as the matter on hoof slowly broke through the wall the painting distraction had built up. Her walk ascended to a trot as the dull amber cloud slowly cut it's way through her thoughts. Its poisonous grasp swallowing up her mind. She started running, trying to escape the horrors of that color. She imagined it behind her. Its ghost like fingers snapping at her, trying to pull her in. It loomed over her like a tower. It was coming. She was too slow.
She felt something brush her foreleg and before she realized she was tumbling clumsily across the smooth floors below her. She eventually stopped, she found herself in a heap.
The cloud had disappeared and all that lay in it's wake were the walls and paintings. Twilight got to her feet and shook her head to clear out all the nonsense she had just thought. She grunted to herself as she walked further towards the corridor's end. She was bringing herself to the brink of insanity. However as she walked she couldn't help look over her shoulder at the corridor every now and then.
She made her way through the doors and into the reception. She swiftly made for the door but was stopped in her tracks by three fillies zapping in her path. In her surprise she raised a foreleg to her chest and stepped back.
"Is Rainbow dash Ok?"
"when do we get to see her?"
"Did you tell her we said hi?"
"What kind of tes-"
"GIRLS!" Twilight screamed. The fillies yelped at the librarians shout before cowering down towards the ground. Twilight looked down at the fillies. Shocked by her own out burst, she rubbed her neck sheepishly in guilt.
"uh, sorry girls, could you tell me where Spike is?" she asked in a more softened tone.
The children obeyed her orders and pointed a hoof over to the reception desk where Spike was too busy talking to the nurse to notice their stare.
Twilight's look hardened as she saw Spike. She nodded to the fillies in thanks whilst still not breaking her stare and trotted towards the exit.
"Come on Spike." She said simply as she continued to trot towards the door.
" Huh? Wait what about Rainbwaauughh!" Spike's sentence was interrupted as he was harshly picked up and thrown on to Twilight's back with the aid of his carers levitation. The baby dragon looked at Twilight in confusion and then turned round to the three fillies looking on.
"Um. Bye girls." Spike said waving a claw lamely before the door shut behind him.
The library was dark when Twilight entered it. The pale red rays from celestia's sunset did nothing more than light the path inside, however the book shelves and stair wells still loomed in a mix of dark grays and velvety black patches. As she made her way inside, Twilight lit a candle before beckoning Spike over who had a quill and scroll clutched tightly in his claws.
Twilight sat on the couch at the side of the room. Her tail curled round her body defensively. When Spike was ready to take her letter she opened her mouth to speak.
"Dear..." She paused. That wasn't the right thing to start with. She wasn't writing a report, this was urgent. The princess was no longer her mentor in this situation, she was simply someone who she needed to talk to.
"Princess Celestia." She began again. "I'm writing to request your immediate presence in Ponyville. I will explain the situation when you arrive."
Twilight paused and looked up to the window. The sun was descending. It was now or never.
" Your's sincerely,
Twilight stopped and only the faint scribbling of Spike's quill met her silence.
"Should I send it?"
Twilight continued to stare out the window. She nodded. "Send it."
Rainbow dash looked down on the distant world around her. It was a rare pleasure to be experienced, as the sheer vertical flight upwards was not only dangerous but tiring. Her lungs burned at the lack of oxygen however the feeling only exhilarated her. The cloud she stood on lingered high above the Everfree forest. Usually, though she hated to admit it, she was scared of the vast death area below her, but from that height it was another mere dot amongst the landscape. Rainbow dash looked below at the sheer drop at her hooves. She then remembered why she was there. She closed her eyes, embracing her surroundings for a moment before steadying herself down into a stance. Her heart rattled furiously inside her rib cage. She leaned backwards before leaping into the thin air in front of her. Her ascent from the jump seemed to last forever. Her fore hooves shot out in front of her and her wings folded up against her sides. She felt gravity gently tug at her, causing her to tilt slightly before it brashly hauled her towards the ground. The wind blew violently through her fur and mane. as her speed grew it became more difficult to keep her wings closed due to her instincts screaming at her to take control of her flight however she remained motionless, letting gravity take it's toll.As she felt the air becoming denser she opened her eyes to the forest below her rapidly becoming bigger to her decent, it's large jaws opening, preparing to swallow her up. She opened her wings and they instantly flung into action. They beat themselves violently, creating a white barrier to cloak Rainbow's hooves.
As lightning began to dance around her fore hooves she realized how close she now was to the ground.
It was too close.
Panic began to pulse through her head and through her body. She had fell for too long, she hadn't given herself enough time to be able to break the sound barrier without colliding with the ground. However whilst she had been panicking her wings had been beating faster with her thoughts. Her eyes went like sauce pans as she watched on helplessly at the barrier narrow out below her. She closed her eyes and awaited the end. She heard a crack before she was blasted forward at break neck speeds. She heard the echoing cry of the sonic rainboom above her. She cringed and prepared for impact.
Scarlet liquid dripped down her sides before being soaked into the soil below Rainbow. Her limbs jerked in pain and her wings lay sprawled uselessly on the ground. Several blood stained feathers surrounded her. Thoughts danced loosely through Rainbow's mind as consciousness slowly slipped its way into her head. She listened to lightning cackling around her, she shuddered limply to it's contact. Her eyes squinted open. Darkness from the thick trees and plants blocking out the sun's rays met her. her sight shifted to directly above her. A slightly faded rainbow going vertically down towards her lay underneath a deep cut through the canopy in the trees. Electricity sparked through the plant life. Rainbow grunted as the aftermath pain ran through her body.
Squinting her eyes even more, she focused on the patch of sky visible through the hole she had made. The sky was a blood orange. The sun was setting. Alarm rattled in her head; there wasn't much time before night came. Hydras, Ursa minors and majors and, very rarely, dragons came out at night time, searching for any prey unfortunate enough to be in their sights. She tried to get her wings to move, however they remained useless. She then tried her legs. They struggled and shuck but they refused to work properly. What happened to her? The question finally popped into her brain however she couldn't remember.
She opened her jaws wide and tried to scream, shout, wail; anything to catch someones attention.
She tried again but all that came out were choked croaking noises. Her eyes turned to pin pricks and her breathing became heavy. She couldn't stay there! She needed to get out. Her blood had probably already stirred a Manticore or another awaiting beast hungry for flesh.
She heard the distant call of a phoenix before it swooped over her along with it's hatch-lings falling in line behind it. She longed to join them. A Phoenix' cry in the Everfree sunset usually sounded for the sun to set or to find it's mate or offspring urgently due to them being prey to most creatures out there. The alarm in her grew stronger as she watched the sun sink deeper into the thick plant life and into the horizon. The sky slowly turned a deep purple, signaling twilight.
She lay in darkness...
ruffles of leaves echoed from somewhere deep in the trees followed by slow and cautious steps.
A silhouette slunk out of the shadows of the bushes. It's yellow eyes burning with hunger.
As Rainbow's eyes adjusted to the darkness she saw it there. It's dragon like wings shining in the moon light. It's blood red mane cloaking the snarling face. His scorpion tail swishing gleefully. A sly growl seeping out his throat.
Rainbow clenched her teeth and shut her eyes tight.
This was it. She'd lived and fought; tried to be as big of a success as she could have been, met the most wonderful ponies and she gets ripped apart by a manticore. She cursed a word of anger in her mind as she heard the incoming beast prowling closer to her. It pounced. She tensed.
“ Rainbow Dash?”
Rainbow’s head swam in light consciousness. Reds and blues swung through her mind before melting lazily into her eyelids. She exhaled swiftly to pace her racing heart. She mentally tapped her head, as if to shoo away her previous nightmare.
Rainbow groaned lightly. She turned her head away from the sound, trying to lead the rest of her body with it however her limbs felt weak to her command.
“Rainbow daaash.” The voice whispered again. Dash let the tension be relieved from her eye lids. She acknowledged that this persistent pony wasn’t going to leave her to sleep. She turned her head back towards the voice’s owner before wincing her eyes open to see another pair of bright blue eyes immediately meet hers. Rainbow flinched backwards in surprise, though she relaxed at the sight of the friendly pink party pony meeting her gaze. The earth pony’s eyes shone plainly against the blackness around them. They looked different. They didn’t have the excitable shine to them. There was no heart warming blue glaze in their iris. Only a dull blue pit sat there.
Rainbow narrowed her eyes against the black canvas around her to focus on the earth pony.
Pinkie pie looked awful. Her mane had visibly lost an incredible amount of volume and lift, causing it to hang limply over her forehead. Her lips however betrayed her look of exhaustion and were forced into a smile that wavered often; eagerly wanting to press into a frown.
“Hi-iii!” She said in no more than a whisper, she scrambled away from Rainbow’s bed as if in urgency and stood near a small window at the far side of the dark room. Vibrant white beams shone down through the condensed glass. The light entering only through small peeks in the water.
Rainbow Dash attempted to sit up, her neck lifted shakily, though it soon slammed back down to pillow in defeat. She was simply too tired. Her head felt dazed and heavy; as if there were weights pressing down on it. Her limbs felt as if they weren’t even attached to her body, they were idle to any command to move. “Pinkie? W-what did-“
“You fell asleep!” Pinkie interrupted her happily. She began bouncing around the room."I’m not sure what you were dreaming about though; you said something about a phoenix and a cloud...” She stopped and fell on to her haunches raising a hoof thoughtfully to her chin.”The rest were just mumbles,”
“I- wait...” Rainbow started, in a puzzled tone. "How long have you been in here?” She asked, finally mustering the strength to push herself up on her mattress.
“All night!” Pinkie said before continuing her bounces. "I couldn’t sleep because the others were talking too much so I decided to come in here! Besides, I thought you might have been lonely”
Rainbow looked at Pinkie. She wasn’t sure whether she should be touched or disturbed, however another thought quickly found its way through her pondering. She fell asleep? How could she have possibly fallen asleep after the past events that had occurred? The recollection of the nightmare seeped into her mind too, however she swallowed it down hard before talking again.
“Where am I?” she asked, looking around; trying to change the subject on razor edge.
“ In a different room! It’s on the lowest floor so you might wanna’ be careful, there’s a lot of stairs.”
Rainbow dash rolled her eyes and chuckled at her friend. Pinkie lightened up at this and began to smile more genuinely. She shifted further towards Rainbow, feeling no need to be cautious. Rainbow took the opportunity to look at Pinkie more carefully. Her eyes were slightly bloodshot and limp, her eyelids occasionally slipped down before fluttering open again. The earth pony was nothing more than a ghost of her former, joyful, self. It was like a bad mimic had taken on her roll.
“Pinkie,” Rainbow began, in a more serious tone. “A-...Are you alright?”
Pinkie hesitated before staring emotionlessly at her friend.
Was she alright?
She gritted her teeth into an angry smile to suppress a growl. Of course she was alright! Why wouldn’t she be? Her friend had just harmed lots of ponies and sent her friends into fanatics! Sarcasm oozed out of her imaginary words.
“Sure!” She lied happily before smiling unconvincingly at her multi coloured friend. Angry thoughts and accusations rapped at her closed lips, they lay on her tongue, edging to be fired out. Her jaw slid in its sockets; her teeth scraping at the opposite molars. When Pinkie felt as if she was about to burst with anger her thoughts went silent as if a switch of realisation had flicked in her mind. She could feel guilty burning tears pressing at her eyelids.
What was she doing?
She knew very well, even though her friends may have thought otherwise, that Rainbow dash did not do that. Rainbow was a Pegasus! They don’t have magic! So how could she have done that! Was everyone else blind? And even if Rainbow was a unicorn she would never in a million years harm another pony.
Rainbow narrowed her eyes at Pinkie.
“Don’t lie to me Pinkie,”
The words hit the pink earth pony like a knife. However before she could retort, she was cut off.
“Exactly how much sleep did you get last night huh?” The Pegasus asked in a glass sharp tone.
None. She couldn’t sleep.
“A few hours.” Pinkie murmured in a barely audible voice. Her head turned to face the wall. She wanted to avoid Rainbow’s piercing stare. She heard a deflated sigh behind before turning to find Rainbow’s face buried into her fore hooves. Pinkie’s heart fell to her legs at the sight of her friend, however for some reason she remained reluctant to comfort her.
Rainbow looked up to her friend. Her expression was a mix of exhaustion and depression. Pinkie almost mirrored her friend’s look in understanding.
The unspoken apology in Rainbow’s expression was clearly visible to Pinkie.
Their stare however was broken by unintelligible murmuring outside of the door. The two ponies in the room turned to face the door.
Twilight looked on anxiously as the golden cart descended to the ground in front of her.
Princess Celestia gracefully stepped off the carriage. Her face was that of utter seriousness. Though her less than warm letter informing her that she was needed in Ponyville had not put her in the best of moods, she was not one to fool around in a dire situation. The Alicorn waved in thanks to the two Pegasus colts that had assisted her in arriving here. They simply nodded at her, all the while their expressions plain. Twilight’s knees buckled beneath her as her mentor stood high above her. How rudely she had spoken to royalty! Her mind taunted her cruel accusations however she blinked them back furiously.
“Twilight Sparkle.” The princess began, nodding her head in greeting.
“You asked for my assistance?”
Twilight winced at her words before she composed herself.
C’mon. Get a hold of yourself Twilight!
“Yes Princess. Please, come this way.”
As the pair walked through the hospital doors ponies gasped in shock at them. Some instantly bowed at the mistress of the sun, while others gawped in amazement.
Probably should have warned the hospital first... Twilight scolded herself.
Nurse Redheart looked on in utter shock at the Princess. She searched the reception area to see if there were any staff of a higher status than her, however to no avail.
She slipped out behind her desk nervously, her legs trembling, and trotted up to the Princess. It looked like she was on her own.
She gulped.“U-um. Hello Princess! I’m terribly sorry but I think today isn’t the best time for inspections, you see there-“
“Please. I am not here to inspect your hospital.” The Princess corrected the nurse in a warm tone. The nurse’s worry deflated inside of her like a balloon as she let out a relieved sigh.
“I’m sorry to have alarmed you,” the princess carried on.” I am just here to see one of my subjects, may I?” The Alicorn gestured with her head to the door that the nurse was blocking like a stone wall.
Realisation hit her like a brick “Oh! Yes! O-of course!” She chuckled sheepishly before she nervously backed away from the Princess’s path. Twilight and her mentor carried on down the narrow hallway. As they walked down the corridor the princess turned to look at her student
“Well.” She mused. “What was it that was so important?”
“Rainbow dash... She... I...” She couldn’t summon up the words. How could she tell her mentor what had happened? “Rainbow dash, I think she might... The other day... Ughhh.” She sighed in defeat and swung round to look at her mentor. Frustration burned like a purple fire in her eyes, however her mentor looked on; un-fazed by her students anger.
“Rainbow dash survived a crash that should have been fatal, I thought that she was using Pegasus magic to cure herself but then she had lots of tests and she somehow used levitation andimreallyworriedshemightbeusinghermagicnowbuti’mnotevensureitexistsand-“
Twilight flinched back at her sharp tone, she instantly crouched in fear at the princess.
The mare of the sun sighed and gestured her student to rise. Twilight did so.
“You mentioned ‘Pegasus magic’? I’m sure that I can have a look into that, Twilight; but for now you need to stop worrying so much about such topics you’re not even certain of.” The princess said softly. Twilight nodded her head in obedience. Her mentor’s words had not changed her state of perception however she faked a smile to the best of her ability. The princess closed her eyes contently.
“Good.” The princess praised. “Now, shall we go visit your friend?”
Just as the two mares were about to continue distant hoof steps sounded before they turned into violent stomps of ponies running in unison.
Three mares came galloping down the hallway.
“We heard shouting! Is every pony allri-“
Applejack was cut off by the mere sight of the slender looking pony in the corridor. The three ponies instantly bowed to their ruler before being beckoned to rise.
“Hello dear Applejack, it’s nice to see you again.” The sun Princess bowed her head in greeting.
The orange earth pony sat slacked jawed before she cleared her throat.
“Uh. H-howdy Princess!”
Rarity and Fluttershy sat behind the cowpony in shock.
“Well. Shall we go and visit Rainbow dash then?” the princess proposed, walking towards the stairs.
The five followed. Rarity talked to the princess at the front of the party, Fluttershy lagged slightly behind the two whilst Applejack walked at the same pace of Twilight.
You called the Princess?! Applejack mouthed to Twilight.
“I didn’t know what to do!” Whispered Twilight defensively.
"Well ya'll coulda' told me! Ya don't jus' go crying to the princess so suddenly without knowin' what is actually goin' on! An' especially when ya haven’t told yer friends first!" Applejack scolded Twilight. The unicorn felt a sudden wave of regret at the earthpony's words, as she looked nervously over towards the princess still in light conversation with Rarity.
They soon arrived at the bottom floor of the hospital. Twilight had fully explained the situation, receiving brief nodded replies from the princess. " I think that Rainbow dash might be a little... Fragile at the moment so maybe be a bit slow with talking to her.”
" I understand." Celestia replied, nodding her head in agreement. They stopped as they reached the door. They opened it.
Pinkie and Rainbow stood out against the canvas of darkness. Pinkie pie stared at the visitors before jumping back into a bow. Rainbow however sat still. Though usually she would bow to the princess, something inside her remained defiant. It was almost like a whisper in her ear."Hello Rainbow dash. And you to Pinkie pie." Celestia greeted, beckoning Pinkie up however not sparing a glance nor a thought over the Pegasus not bowing to her.
"Rainbow, I asked the princess to come and help us figure out what's going on." Twilight said, trotting further into the room and flicking a switch near the door way. The room flickered in and out of darkness before the room was lit up into a dazzling light. Pinkie and Rainbow both squinted at the sudden change, covering their eyes with their hooves.
Princess Celestia continued into the room, Rainbow shifted uncomfortably at the Alicorn approaching her.
“Uh, hi there, P-princess.” The Pegasus stammered in greeting.
Rainbow looked on, a puzzled expression bore on her face. “U-uh.” Was all she could stammer.
Pinkie pie looked over to Twilight. Though she did not return her gaze, Pinkie stared quizzically at her. Twilight’s forehead was matted with sweat. Her eyes flickered from the princess to Rainbow repeatedly.
“Breakfast for miss... Rainbow dash!” A distant voice echoed down the hallway. The clear squeaks from a cart’s wheels became louder as it came through the door way.
The ponies in the room turned to the sound of the voice. The cart was pushed gingerly through the doorway before a yellow earth pony appeared after it, a clip board lay in her hooves.
“shorry folks, I fink fisiting timesh nearly over.” She mumbled through the quill in her mouth, she ticked a box on the clip board, before looking up.
And the quill dropped out of her open mouth. She looked over at the princess and smiled unconvincingly. “I-I’ll go get some tea for you.” She stammered before zipping out of the room.
“And so, I think that if this spell is to succeed, I may be able to see what caused the attack.” A regal voice sounded.
“But what if it doesn’t? What if it fails?”
Princess Celestia shook her head. “We can only guess.” She murmured.
As the conversation escalated further into talk about unicorn magic, Rainbow became less interested. She instead focussed on the warm cup of liquid in her hooves. The steam circled the base of the cup before rising into a dance. It was like a miniature wonderbolts performance. She smiled at the dancing steam, it was probably the calmest moment she’d had since her entrance to the hospital.
“I think that this may be our only option Twilight. The decision is in Rainbow dash’s hooves at the end of the day - however I warn you to think carefully about your decision.”
Suddenly, six pairs of eyes turned to face Rainbow dash.
“ Well Rainbow dash?” Rarity called.
“Wha – huh?”
Twilight rolled her eyes. “Do you wish for princess Celestia to perform the spell or not?” She snapped in a sharper voice than intended.
“Oh... Um, sure whatever.” Dash mumbled, her voice trailing away.
Celestia and Twilight exchanged glances before nodding at each other.
“Very well, Rainbow.” The princess said. Her horn was enveloped in a yellow veil. Rainbow watched in angst. Before she could call to stop the move blackness overcame her.
Rainbow dash's head swam. She opened her eyes groggily her wings ruffling at her side. She groaned as her limbs crawled beneath her and pushed herself slowly to her hooves. Her eyes flickered around her as she steadied herself into a standing pose.
Where was she now?
She studied the area.However there was nothing. Just white.... How was there nothing.., Why?....She pondered before her mind came to a familiar conclusion.
Ohoho no, she wasn't doing this again.
She growled under her breath before looking up at the white canvas around her. "Enough with the weird dreams already!" She shouted angrily to the white planes that surrounded her. She glared at the blank area before falling to her rump and rolling her head back, staring at the whiteness with a deadpan expression. She just wanted things to be normal again. She closed her eyes, embracing the strange warmth of her new surroundings and let a defeated sigh escape her lips before picking herself up. She turned around slowly and stared blankly at nothing in particular. Should I just wait?... Wait until I wakes up? Should I go somewhere? Do something? while her head flipped between her options, a flicker from the corner of Rainbow's eye caught her attention. Her eyes wandered down towards the ground. She narrowed her eyes and scrunched her face up in concentration.
Nothing was there Rainbow. Just ignore it.
She pulled her head back up to the haze of her thoughts, however another flicker appeared beside her hooves. Before another followed. And another. The flickers spread like a fire across the white floor beneath her. The flickers grabbed Rainbow's attention, pulling the pony into a panic. She scrambled away from the oddities her her lips pursed into a confused frown. Before long the flickers took the form of a crack, It branched across the floor and spread beneath Rainbow's hooves.
A slab of white soon broke away, cut off by the crack, it fell away revealing a black abyss laying beneath the layer of white. Rainbow paused before jumping up into flight. She hovered above the crumbling white for only a split second before plummeting down towards the awaiting floor. She looked over her shoulders.
.Her hooves made impact with the ground causing the cracks to leap for Rainbow, tearing apart the slab she had fallen on. Rainbow let out a surprised yelp before slipping through the white plane. She felt a sudden chill travel through her body, before she heard a voice, Before she could comprehend what it was saying she saw colours.
Twilight's head turned swiftly to Rainbow. Her friends followed her action. The 5 ponies rushed over to aid their friend, each of them sharing a concerned look in their eyes. Rainbow however deviated from them. Her hooves clenched around the sheets tightly and her eyes looked scared, yet distant. She gasped for air as if she had been forced underwater for all the time she had been unconcious. Sweat trickled down her face and her wings were clenched tightly against her body.
Rainbow lifted her foreleg up and looked towards her back in a swift motion. She let out a shaky sigh of relief.
"Rainbow dash! Darling are you okay?" Rarity asked placing her hoof on top of her friend's own. Rainbow stared at her hoof for a moment before relaxing and regaining her composure.
"Yeah, I'm fine" She replied, closing her eyes briefly. She opened them again however when she noticed an absence.
"Hey... Wheres princess Celestia?" Rainbow asked. Her friends shared a glance. They passed the focus to Twilight who glanced up at Rainbow.
"When she cast that spell on you earlier, and you fell asleep. Well... She fell asleep too. And... She's been like this for two hours now." Worry pulsed through her words.
Rainbow looked at the unicorn panic beginning to build up inside her. "L-like what?"
Her friends shared a glance once more before they parted. beyond the wall they made, lay an unconcious princess Celestia.
But there was one thing that made Rainbow uneasy looking at the usually calm princess.
Celestia looked afraid.