“I love you daddy…”
Rainbow Dash spoke, seeking to maintain her voice despite the depths of sadness resting in her heart.
“And I love you too, my little Dashie.”
A voice that she had never heard spoke echoing back and forth inside her mind. Everything was blurred and faded, a long lost memory capable of only existing in the deepest dreams. The face she saw was remarkably unlike that of any of the other ponies she had met, but there was a kindness in it, one that assured her that things were meant to be this way. The features slightly distorted by the dream, yet the clearest image in her mind. The dream seemed to skip, Rainbow Dash once again hearing her own voice, though this time there was no concealing the sadness in it as she stuttered out the words that stuck in her throat.
“Can’t…can’t he come with me?"
The attention of the dream had shifted to a large white pony, wings and horn showing them to be Celestia, despite the blurred quality of the dream.
The dream broke away, Rainbow Dash could feel herself grasping for the memories it held, but knew that like many of her dreams lately, it would all be just a blur in her mind.
The unmistakable voice of Applejack shattered the last fragments of the dream, jolting Rainbow Dash out of her rest and causing her to fall out of an apple tree which had a surprisingly homely feel about it when she layered a cloud or two over it.
“Rainbow Dash, What’re ya doing sleepin’ ‘round here with all these storm clouds out, there wasn’t supposed to be a shower here till tomorrow, an’ all this extra rain is messin’ with my crops.”
Rainbow Dash gave her head a shake to wake herself up, before noticing the cold rain falling, soaking her mane through as she looked at her drenched friend.
“Uh…” her mind still a bit sluggish from having just woken up “I’ll get right on it Applejack.”
Rainbow Dash made to fly towards the dark clouds that were quickly drenching the apple families farm but her wings failed to open properly, causing her to crash into the muddy ground once again.
Applejack’s voice took on a worried tone.
“You sure you’re alright there sugarcube, you seem a mite off today.”
“I’m fine AJ, just a bit tired; I’ll get over it in no time.”
Rainbow Dash took off into the air and made quick work of dispatching the black clouds, but there was none of her usual show and flair that she always displayed.
“See, no problem for Equestria’s best flyer.”
“I just don’t know why she’s acting all strange lately, you gave her back all her memories just fine didn’t you Twi?”
After managing an excuse about her needing to wait for the moisture from the rain to clear up, Applejack had left Rainbow Dash to rest in her tree so that she could get some answers from Twilight. Whom she was fortunate enough to see going into Sugarcube Corner on the way to Twilights house.
“I think so, I don’t recall having any problems casting the spell and it worked just fine on all of you before. Maybe it could be something else wrong with her, could you describe more accurately her behavior, I’ve heard there’s a bit of an illness going around the place.”
“I don’t know Twi, the poor girl just doesn’t seem to have her spirit anymore, she still brags as if she could fill a balloon with her ego, but it all sounds so hollow.”
Twilight’s eyes began to widen slightly in concern, it could just be an illness weighing down on her like she had suggested, but it sounded like there was more to it than that. Rainbow Dash’s behavior had largely gone unnoticed since her time in that other world; everpony had just dismissed it as her being exhausted from the whole ordeal, but a week had already passed, and the only time that anypony saw Rainbow Dash was when she was sleeping, something she was doing a lot lately.
“Don’t worry Applejack, I’ll go and have a talk to her and see what’s wrong.”
“I’ll go with you, there’s a tree in the orchard that she always sleeps on but it’s mighty easy to miss it if you’re not looking.”
Applejack led the way through the massive apple orchard that her family kept, before they found Rainbow Dash, sleeping just as Applejack had left her.
“Rainbow, Twilight needs to ‘ave a talk with you ‘bout all of this slackin’ lately”
Rainbow Dash simply lay in the tree, dozing peacefully despite the precarious look of the branches. Applejack tried to communicate with Rainbow Dash twice more but was met with the same result. A quick buck to the tree soon resulted in a wide awake Rainbow Dash, albeit a rather annoyed one.
“Hey, what did you do that for?”
Rainbowd Dash addressed the question to Applejack, but it was Twilight who answered her.
“To get you to wake up Rainbow Dash. You’ve been spending all of your days since…” Twilight paused; it occurred to her that she had never actually told Rainbow Dash about the time she had spent in that alien world. Twilight had just assumed that she knew it, but what if she didn’t, what if Rainbow Dash didn’t have any memories of that time.
“Since you got back from that other world.”
Rainbow Dash stopped mid-sentence as a searing pain thundered through her skull. Image’s rushed into her mind, flashing through her thoughts as if there was no time for any of them, yet each was important. A blurred face, so strange yet so familiar, a gray town where nopony seemed to live. Her mind finally halted at a scene that seemed so familiar to her, but there was something strange about it.
She was back as a filly, she was performing the sonic rainboom for the first time and earning her cutie mark, yet this wasn’t Cloudsdale. She hadn't ever seen this part of Equestria before. There were houses everywhere, but none of them seemed as if they were meant to be lived in. The world seemed so bland. Dark blue, almost gray. Lines seemed to stretch on between the houses as far as she could see. Her attention was drawn away from the land before her as she began to descend, heading towards a playground with objects that could never be used by ponykind. As she touched the ground she was met with ecstatic joy by that same strange, blurred face. Those words echoed in her mind again
“I love you…”
“I love you too…” Rainbow Dash faded back into consciousness, still repeating those words as if they would keep the joy she had felt.
Applejack’s voice once again breaking her out of that sweet place between consciousness and the memories she had been dragged from. Rainbow Dash tried to form words to explain herself but Applejack quickly cut her off.
“Never mind, all that matters is that you’re alright sugarcube. You gave us quite the scare then.”
Rainbow Dash tried to form words with her mouth, but her tongue felt oddly painful as if she had bitten it, stopping her from forming the first syllables before Twilight cut in.
“Rainbow Dash, we need to get you to the hospital, I’m not sure what’s wrong with you but until we can figure it out, it’s best that you’re somewhere safe in case you faint again.”
Rainbow Dash was finally beginning to feel her way around the words again, but she could already feel herself beginning to slip back into unconsciousness. The last words she breathed out, her mind only having enough of a grip to repeat her dreams: “I love you too daddy.”
Rainbow Dash spiraled into the darkness of her mind
As Rainbow Dash once again fainted, Twilight Sparkle just heard her last words, barely a whisper, but that solved a part of the puzzle. Rainbow Dash was still having memories of that alien life she had led. Twilight didn’t know if that was making her so tired, or if that was what had triggered the fainting, but there was certainly some role that it played in what was happening to her friend.
Applejack had already picked up Rainbow Dash, unceremoniously throwing her onto her back, and trudging along to the hospital to get some help for the cyan Pegasus. As they paced along in silence, Twilight mulled over what she knew of Rainbow Dash’s time in that world. If she recalled correctly, Rainbow Dash had been adopted by some strange alien creature that had taken to calling her Dashie for some reason of another. In that world they were supposedly all characters in something called a cartoon show. Time travelled a lot slower in that world and the inhabitants of it used something called electricity instead of magic.
Twilight’s thoughts continued to travel through all the things she had learnt during her brief time there before she had found herself repeating the facts to herself.
Time travelled a lot slower in that strange world..
Twilight took that string of thought and latched onto it.
Because time travelled a lot slower in that world it had meant that Rainbow Dash had gone there as a filly. She had spent fifteen years in that world, but she had been younger then, without any memories of the life she had lived in Ponyville.
What if those memories were conflicting with the real memories of her time in Ponyville?
Twilight snapped out of her worrying when she realized that they had already reached the hospital, the silence continued to stretch onwards as they carried Rainbow Dash in and a nurse quickly took her off to one of the rooms. Deciding that there was nothing more they could do for their friend there, the two somber ponies left the hospital. Twilight was the first to break the sad silence.
“I think I may have figured out what’s causing these problems for her. What if her memories of that time in the alien world are fighting against her memories of this world, so to speak?"
“Fighting…memories? Just talk in words everypony can understand Twi.”
“Remember how when we were in that alien world we found out that she had spent the time there as a filly? Well when I used that memory spell on her, that brought back all of her memories of her time in Equestria, as well as her childhood. What if those two memories are beginning to clash in her mind? Essentially, she has been a filly twice and now both of those memories are beginning to cause problems for her.”
“What do you suggest then Twi? We can’t just get rid of all of those memories or anything like that; it would be as if she had never lived that life at all.”
“I know Applejack, I know, neither of us would do it given the choice. I’ll check with Zecora to see if she at least has something to ease the pain, but if that doesn’t work, then we may have to get rid of that life, or she may forget her own."
Twilight approached Zecora’s shack with a great worry hovering around her like a shroud, the faces that Zecora decorated her house with had once seemed creepy, but had lately been seeming almost welcoming. Now all they did was fill her with a sense of foreboding.
“Zecora, I’m sorry for the unexpected visit, but there’s something wrong with one of my friends, do you perhaps have a remedy for really bad headaches. This is going to sound weird but if you have anything to stop ponies from falling unconscious from headaches that would be a great help.”
Zecora opened the door for Twilight and gestured with a hoof inviting the unicorn inside, the shelves were lined with all kinds of remedies and brews that it seemed as if this could be the solution to their problems.
“Please do sit down Twilight my dear
You seem to be weighed down with fear.”
“I’m sorry Zecora but I really don’t have time to relax, Rainbow Dash has been having episodes where she faints after cradling her head in pain. Please tell me you have something, anything to help her.”
“Very well then, a remedy
To soothe the pain for this pony.”
Zecora went to one of the shelves and picked out an orange colored bottle, from a mass of variously colored and shaped mixtures.
“This remedy, though it tastes like hell
Should soon have your friend feeling well.”
Twilight levitated the bottle from her and with a quick thank you rushed off to save her hospitalized friend from her own memories.
Back at the hospital, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Fluttershy, were gathered around Rainbowdash’s hospital bed. Rarity and Fluttershy both wore looks of grave concern, and even Pinkie Pie had her aura of happiness dimmed by the state of the rainbow-haired Pegasus before her.
“I really hope that the poor dear does get better, there just seems to be something missing without her around.”
Everypony felt the same as Rarity did, it was almost as if a part of their lives disappeared on that fateful day that Rainbow Dash was magick’d away from them. Now that Rainbow Dash was back, they had all felt that things would go back to normal, but the gap still remained, and it had only become more obvious as the days had passed. Without Rainbow Dash everything seemed to be so quiet, often they would catch themselves looking up to the sky, expecting to see her wheeling around in the air, but she never was anymore.
Fluttershy’s quiet voice seemed to only be more faded with worry for her friends
“Isn’t there anything that we can do to help her?”
“Applejack said that Twilight went to Zecora for something to fix this.”
Pinkie Pie’s bubbly voice still retained the same tone, but there was none of the usual rises in pitch that happened when she talked, making her voice sound oddly empty.
“But she’s been gone so long, what if something happened to her? What if she’s gotten lost in the everfree forest?”
Fluttershy was saved by her spiraling worry by the door opening to admit none other than Twilight.
“Has she woken up while you’ve been here?”
The question was simple, but the urgency was clear behind it.
“No Twilight, she hasn’t woken up the entire time.”
Twilight was shocked to see the pink pony looking so somber, normally Pinkie Pie could always find something to bring happiness to them, even in the darkest of times, but there was nothing that she could do to even smile now. Recognizing that it could be hours, even days before she next came back from the unconscious depths of her mind, Twilight decided it would have to be done now.
“I’m sorry Rainbow Dash”
Twilight poured the contents of the bottle straight down Rainbow Dash’s throat.
So many simple yet happy memories she could find, years of being alone with that one kind being. yet she had truly been happy back then. She had not needed to strive to become a Wonderbolt, she did not feel the need to prove to everypony her capabilities, all she had needed was the knowledge that he loved her.
She remembered those times in the house with her father; times that seemed as if they should be boring, but she felt nothing but happiness overwhelm her as she stole into the body of herself all those years ago.
Rainbow Dash found herself in the kitchen of the house, the first time she had managed to actually make her father breakfast in bed without smoke alerting him of her experiments. Though the result was a black and ruined mess, she felt proud that she had actually made something with those mane-hating kitchen appliances. She pushed open the door to his bedroom saying happily
“Daddy, I made you breakfast.”
Her father immediately shot out of bed but, realizing the air wasn’t being filled with smoke, sat back down to see his daughter’s creation. Her father took a bite of the black thing and after a grimace told her: “This isn’t half bad.”
Curious to taste her own cooking, she bit down on what was supposed to have been toast.
A horrible taste filled her mouth and seemed to set fire to her back. This wasn’t how the memory had gone, the taste had been bad, but this was a pure agony upon all of her senses. She could fell her body once again, writhing under the pain of this torture; she slowly began to fade out of the dream and into reality.
She found herself lying awake inside a hospital bed, what had her father been thinking taking her to a hospital. Her father had always warned her to try and stay away from people because of what they might do to her, yet here her father had left her lying in a hospital bed for the world to see. Why would he do that? Dashie tried to stop herself before she thought the venomous thought.
“Maybe he doesn’t love me anymore.”
She ignored it, her father loved her and would never have left her alone like this, so what other reason could there be?
Dashie got out of her hospital bed and walked over to the window, looking out she saw a dark and beautiful night, luscious plants were growing right outside the hospital and the rising moon reflected serenely on a lake in the distance. Everything was wrong. This was not anywhere near where her father lived, this place was strange, the colors seemed too bright, too vibrant, and every building looked wrong. As she was gazing at the horrible sight before her, a purple unicorn walked past the hospital outside her window, presumably on her way home from a tiring day. Dashie thought back to her last memories before she found herself here.
She had been having an enjoyable inside day with her father, when there had been someone at the door; she had gone to her room while her father opened it and waited for them to leave. It had come as a surprise to her when she then met with six ponies, who had come to take her somewhere.
“Could that be what happened, am I now in that world?”
Despite her having found the answer to her question, the memory continued. She remembered herself crying so much that day, her father could not come with her, she would have to leave that world, then the purple one had done something and she couldn’t remember anything since then.
Her father had loved her; she had always known that, it was not his fault that she was here. Those ponies were to blame, that had stolen her away from her father, her home, and everything she loved. They had taken her to this world; they had caused all of this. They would pay.
Twilight Sparkle was going through her books trying to figure out what had gone wrong, had she in her impatience failed to administer the draught correctly. It had been five hours since she had left Rainbow Dash lying on the hospital bed, after giving her the potion they had waited around for what seemed like hours for her to wake up, but she never did. Unable to concentrate on her reading she looked out her window to see the sun lazily setting on the horizon. She had never felt so helpless.
There had always been something that she could do about her problems, whether it was through magic, organization, or the aid of her friends. There was nothing now. She had run out of ideas, there was nothing she could think of to aid her friend, she didn’t want to have to erase those memories, but it seemed like she would have to. She would have to do this alone; she didn’t want anypony to see her perform the foul deed she had to do.
She waited for the sun to finish its crawling journey across the last stretches of the sky before she left the house. She had managed to convince Spike into having an early rest so hopefully he wouldn’t get in the way. She knew that what she was doing wasn’t the right thing to do; she knew it wasn’t the best thing either, but it was all she could think of. As Twilight approached the hospital she spied some movement from the window of one the room Rainbow Dash was in. She hoped against hope that Rainbow Dash had gotten better but deep down in her heart she knew that was not the case, and dismissed it as it simply being the nurse checking up on her.
She went inside the waiting room and had to spend five minutes waiting before somepony came to assist her, an unicorn with a sparkling red cross on her flank. Twilight had only made one visit to Rainbowd Dash’s room and she didn’t want to waste more time than she already had by heading into the wrong room. After being guided to Rainbow Dash’s room the nurse stuck her head in to tell Rainbow Dash about her visitor, but quickly pulled her head back out. A look of shock on her face.
Unceremoniously pushing the unicorn aside, Twilight rushed into the room to see nothing save an empty bed and an open window, admitting the cold air of the night. Twilight began to panic.
This didn't make any sense, why would Rainbowdash leave so suddenly? When did she get better? How did she get better? Did the potion work? Too many questions without answers clustered about in her head.
She decided that it didn’t matter, if Rainbowdash got better than she would turn up eventually, and if she had finally stopped falling asleep constantly then they would soon be able to spot her soaring through the skies once again. Pushing her fears into the back of her mind, Twilight exited the hospital and began her walk home, grateful that her deed need not be done.
She had seen that unicorn before, she knew who they were, it was Twilight, the purple one that had done this to her. When Dashie recognized the unicorn she shot out of the window, hoping to destroy the pony that had done this to her. However, the unicorn went straight from the path into the hospital she had just been in, cursing herself for her impatience she waited for the unicorn to come back along the path.
When she heard the sound of hooves behind her she quickly cowered in fear, she knew that she didn’t stand a chance against the unicorn unless she had the element of surprise. She had known that since she had been sent here. Fortunately, that damned unicorn never even thought to look out the window. Almost as soon as she heard the hoofsteps they began to fade away again. Yes, Dashie would have the advantage on the unicorn, and more importantly, she would have her revenge.
A nearby rustling in the bushes alerted Twilight, but she quickly calmed down again. The stress of the past day had really dug into her and it would do her no good to sleep in such a state. She would confront whatever the next day had for her readily, and whether Rainbow Dash was found then or not, Twilight knew that she would come back eventually, she was the epitome of loyalty after all.
Twilight let out a contented sigh, finally able to relax from the hard day. Before she could take another breath she felt a force knock her to the ground and drive whatever air remained from her lungs. Gasping for air she stood and turned to find herself facing the cyan Pegasus she had come to visit.
“What in Equestria was that about R-“
Her words were cut off as Rainbow Dash drove her hoof into Twilight’s neck, knocking her to the ground once again and causing blood to well up in her mouth. Twilight lay, stunned by shock as Rainbow Dash slammed her hooves into the unicorn’s ribs repeatedly, the vicious glee in her eyes horrifying Twilight. Twilight’s horn began to glow as she focused her magic on levitating her friend off of her, the second she released the Pegasus they began to speed towards her again. Restraining Rainbow Dash with her magic, she coughed up the blood that had begun to congeal in her mouth and spoke with a restrained anger in every word.
“What is wrong with you Rainbow Dash, I’m your friend remember, what’s happened to you?”
“You!? You are not my friend! You took from me everything I held dear! You stole my life!”
The Pegasus’s hateful accusations were so unlike her that they threw off the unicorn’s concentration and the magic holding Rainbow Dash in place faded away.
“…and now I’m going to end yours.”
Fluttershy had was just entering into her house after having made sure that all the nocturnal animals in her care were awake when she heard a thumping sound coming from upstairs. Worry crossed her face as she wondered if she had locked Angel upstairs by accident, but she could have sworn that she had let him outside tonight.
“Don’t worry Angel I’m coming.”
Fluttershy trudged up the stairs, the worry she had felt earlier for Rainbowdash hadn’t faded, but rather it had given way before the other worries she had, such as caring for her animal friends. However, it was not Angel, nor any other animal she cared for that she found upstairs. It was Twilight, sprawled on her belly upon the ground.
“Twilight, what are you doing here?”
The only answer she received was a groan, as blood trickled out of the unicorn’s mouth onto the floor. Twilight tried to stand up, before giving up and falling down onto her side, revealing dark pools of blood spattered on her coat.
“What happened to you Twilight?”
Twilight didn’t move.
“Please be okay Twilight.”
Fluttershy began to scurry around her house, searching for bandages and medical supplies that she could use to at least stop the external bleeding. The only medical knowledge she had was based around the animals that she kept, but she supposed that would be enough to sustain Twilight, at least until she could find somepony to fix the unicorn up.
That coward! Dashie had managed to inflict some serious injuries on the unicorn, but she was not satisfied. They had escaped, and now she had no way of finding them or any of the other ponies that had destroyed her life. Dashie searched her memories of the time that they had come for her. Maybe she could ask around this strange town for them, all that she needed was a name…she strained her mind to remember the specifics of what they had said, there had been an orange one, but she couldn’t remember her name. There had also been an annoying pink one, but she had not spoken her name then either.
A voice came to her from a different memory, her own, when she had been younger; it told what she needed to know. She tasted the name as it rolled of her tongue, and felt exhilaration as she began to hunt her next victim.
The cotton candy colored pony was at that very instance holed up in her room. She had never thought that it would happen to her but she had lost the will to party anymore. She just couldn’t feel joy anymore now that she knew her friend was in such danger. She walked heavily towards the mirror in her room and began to brush her mane, a task she seldom performed as her mane would normally bounce back to its usual fluffy state. Tonight was different. Her mane remained straight, and hung low down her back, the somber style fitting her mood perfectly.
“A party’s no fun if there are no friends to share it with.”
What was that saying she had heard after she had left that rock farm? Life was one big party or something along those lines. She had always taken it that life was meant to be fun, but maybe it had actually meant that a life without friends was worthless. She had been having a lot of thoughts like this lately; it suddenly struck her how vulnerable her friends were. She had Pinkie sense to protect her from just about everything, falling objects, hydra’s, even doors, she could be ready for them all. Her friends had no such abilities, one day they could make one wrong move and be gone forever. Twilight and Rarity had magic, but she had seen when Discord came that there were some things magic was useless against. Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash had wings, but there were just as many dangers in the air as there were on the ground. Applejack had nothing but herself against the world, the thought made Pinkie stop and admire the courage Applejack frequently displayed.
Then there was that one horrible word that could take anyone, disease. Not even her Pinkie sense could save her from that.
Pinkie let out a worried sigh.
She heard a knock on the door of Sugarcube corner but chose to stay in the small room she had there. She didn’t feel like meeting nopony until Rainbow Dash got better, she didn’t think she had the will to bring that happiness that was her trademark to the world while she was so sad. The sound of Mrs. Cake’s voice broke her out of the downwards hole of depression she was sinking into.
“Pinkie, you have a visitor”
“Tell them to go away”
“It will make you feel better I guarantee it”
A stony silence greeted her
“Please Pinkie, for me; I can’t stand seeing you like this”
With a disgruntled sigh from the pink earth pony the door slid open, and she slipped out through the crack before it slammed behind her. As she turned to see who had disturbed her misery, her hair flared out back to its normal cloudlike stance and she pounced upon the surprised mare.
Put up with it Dashie, you want to have her alone for this, she needs to suffer slowly, and for that you need to be patient. The pony that had smiled while she ruined Dashie’s life stood on top of her, embracing her in a hug, the sickeningly sweet smell of her mane making the Pegasus want to throw up.
“Yes Pinkie, I’m better”
From asking around the town she had found out that she had been in the hospital for quite a while and that those who had ruined her life were all worried about her. How odd that they only worried for her once they had destroyed her life beyond repair. This pink one was the worst of them all, at least the other ponies had tried to seem sad about having taken her father from her, but this one had smiled.
Once Dashie had finished with this one, she would never smile again.
“I’m so glad that your all better now dash, I was so worried about you but now that your better I’m not and we can go back to having fun. I know, we should celebrate this occasion with a party. I’ll invite all of our friends. I know it’s late but I’m sure they’ll all be so happy that your better that they’ll come for sure.
NO! she couldn’t let the pony leave here, if she did, they might find out what she did to the unicorn, then she wouldn’t have a chance to get her revenge.
“I’m not so sure about a party right now, my head’s still a bit woozy and all that.” An idea occurred to her to find her next target. “I’m still having trouble remembering some stuff, where was the orange ponies house again?”
“You mean Applejack? just head… “
As soon as Pinkie opened her mouth Dashie knew that she would be talking for a while, she let her mind drift from the pink ones chatter while making sure she noted the directions. This one was a goldmine of information. Without any prompting at all she gave away the locations of her other two targets, Fluttershy and Rarity though she wasn’t quite sure which one was which. She almost began to fall asleep as the chatter became the useless drivel she seemed to usually spout.
“…and that’s when I first found the umbrella hat.”
Rainbowdash had no idea how she was going to get this annoying pink thing to shut up, let alone how she was going to get her someplace private. She decided to go with the story of a poor memory that she had professed.
“Pinkie, there’s a bit of a problem that I’ve got.”
“What’s that Dashie?”
“I can’t quite remember where I live.”
“That’s no problem Dashie, you can stay with me tonight.”
What was wrong with this pony, could it be possible that anyone was that annoying and that stupid at the same time? Dashie thanked her lucky stars that she had found this one, this was going to be a night that she would never forget.
“So what do you want to do Dashie?”
“I’d rather get to sleep, I’m still really tired from the when I was in hospital.”
“Aaaaaw, but sleep isn’t any fun, I was really hoping that we could do something to celebrate.”
“I said I need to sleep.”
And that was that. Dashie pretended to go to sleep while the pink pony grumbled a bit more about not her not being any fun. This pony was almost funny in an odd kind of way. She seemed to see even the simplest thing as a celebration but all you needed to do was refuse her continuously and she began to stalk about the place in a very amusing fashion.
After too short a time she ended her humorous grumbling and lay down on her bed. Waiting until she heard the ponies snoring slow to a more sleeplike tempo, she began to carefully move around the room. Looking for something to keep the stupid pink pony down while Dashie had her own kind of fun. Dashie almost stumbled over the answer to her as she walked towards the door. Two pairs of what looked like handcuffs, but a bit stranger to fit the hooves of the ponies. Why on earth did she have these with her? No matter what the answer, it was all to Dashie’s advantage.
Dashie manage to place the first pair of handcuffs around Pinkie’s forelegs without a response, but as she had finished tying her hooves together with the second pair Pinkie woke up.
“Hiya Dashie, what are you doing with the hoofcuffs I made for my prisoner outfit?”
“We’re having fun, and why do you have a prisoner outfit?”
“In case I ever want to look like a prisoner silly, so what kind of fun are we having?”
“Not the kind that you’re thinking of.”
Pinkie Pie had always enjoyed having fun, and now that Dashie was back she was happier than ever, but even so there was something strange about all this. Rainbow Dash had never looked at her like that before, there was something in her eyes, if Pinkie hadn’t known better she would have called it hate, but that was ridiculous, Rainbowdash wouldn’t hate her.
She heard Dashie shuffling around through her room and felt herself being pushed onto a makeshift sickbed she had once made for Gummy when he got sick and she had pretended to be his doctor. The sickbed was way too big as she had done it going by her proportions, forgetting the Gummy was an alligator, not a pony. As the bed tilted up so that she was no longer staring at the ceiling, she heard a yelp of pain from the Pegasus. Rainbowdash put the lights back on and the source of the pained cry became apparent.
Dashie was before her, trying to pry out a pearly white object from her hoof as she tried to keep it off the ground to avoid digging it deeper.
“What was this doing lying on the floor?”
Dashie sounded uncharacteristically angry, but then again, her friend didn’t usually have an alligator tooth in her hoof.
“That was Gummy’s first tooth; it’s also the only one he’s ever had, it just appeared and then went away, thanks for finding it Dashie”
Her friend pulled the tooth out of her hoof
“My pet alligator, don’t tell me you can’t remember Gummy, there was that birthday for him and everything.”
Her friend let out a strange laugh, almost maniacal.
“You’re crazy, you know that, heartless too. All you ever do is smile and laugh your stupid pink head off about nothing, you didn’t even give a damn when you stole my father from me, did you?”
Pinkie was very worried now, Rainbow Dash wasn’t making sense, and the way she was holding Gummy’s tooth filled her with fear.
“What are you doing Dashie?”
“I’ve already told you, I’m having fun, though I can’t say the same will be true for you. I’m also getting my revenge for what you did to me, and one last thing. I’m going to enjoy wiping that smile from your face, forever.
Dashie didn’t let her emotions get the best of her. She could feel all her anger urging her to kill that horrible pink pony this instant, but Pinkie didn’t deserve such a painless end. She would make her suffer all the pain of what she had been through and more, this would be a message to all of her friends, if they lived long enough to see it. An idea occurred to Dashie, a message, that was precisely what she would do.
Dashie drove the tooth into the pink one’s chest, not deep enough to pierce anything vital, she didn’t want this pony to know the pain she had felt. The skin was punctured by the tooth and Dashie found that she could easily tear the ponies skin to shred’s like this. The victim in question was shrieking in pain, and for a while Dashie thought that she would wake up the pony that had let her in, but her worries soon proved groundless and soon the screaming became a tempo that she worked too.
While she was halfway through writing her message, the pink things screams died down and she broke into tears of pain and suffering.
“Why are you doing this Rainbow Dash? What did I do to you? Oh Celestia.”
Dashie had continued her writing despite the words of the pony and when she had taken too deep of a breath for air, she had caused all of the scars to bleed profusely.
“Please stop it Dash, please”
Dashie had finished writing her message into the pink one’s skin “You Stole My Life From Me, Now I Will Steal Your Lives From You” All that it was missing was the exclamation mark. She saw that she had written this message well as the point on the exclamation mark lay right where the heart would be on this pony. She could finish her message and finish her revenge on this pony at the same time. Dashie cut a line down above her target, making sure to take it as slowly and painfully as possible. Dashie drew her hoof back ready to plunge it right into the chest of the pink thing.
Dashie’s hoof stopped, inches away from Pinkie’s chest, the agonized pony’s eyes wide with fear and despair. Dashie felt memories rushing into her head, as if a great floodgate had been opened. Images of times with those happy times began to clash with images of her being with those hated ponies. Images where she seemed so much more at ease, images where she had laughed until her lungs ached. Images of her friends.
What had she done? She had been about to kill one of her best friends for trying to bring her back to the world she belonged in. The memories constantly clashing together, fighting for domination over the other sent her spiraling down into a vortex of confusion. One moment she would be seized with an overwhelming desire to see all of them dead, the next she would be spent remembering all the good times she had shared with them. None of the memories matched, yet all of them tried to piece themselves together at once.
Rainbowdash staggered back, her head reeling from the turmoil inside it. The memories beginning to all push in on her, trying to fit together but only succeeding in fragmenting themselves. Never come back…Junior Speedsters…Hide…The Wonderbolts…did it…scared of dragons…love you. None of them made any sense, and Rainbow Dash could feel her mind trying to shut itself down as the memories became too much for it. But something was stopping it, Rainbow Dash could feel her hooves sliding from underneath her as she crashed into something, needle sharp pain exploded through her body, and before she could understand what had happened she felt her head slam into something hard with a dull thud and so she faded into a dark abyss of swirling memories.
Twilight’s opened her eyes groggily, her vision blurred and she could feel a dull pain coursing through her body. As the tried to stand the pain erupted into a red hot stinging that forced her to cringe and lie back down.
“Twilight, are you ok?”
Fluttershy’s voice reached Twilight, filled with that self-deprecating tone that always crept into her voice whenever something went wrong. The Pegasus was a great friend, but she always seemed to think that everything was partially her own fault. She tried to reassure the kind soul but only succeeded in coughing up some more blood, which in turn only intensified Fluttershy’s worry.
“I’m sorry Twilight, I’ve never taken care of a unicorn before, I didn’t know what to do about fixing you up, it was all I could do to stop the bleeding.”
Twilight managed to find her voice amidst all the salty blood in her mouth.
“It’s okay Fluttershy.”
It wasn’t, she could feel pain coursing through her whole being, but as she looked down at herself she noticed that her yellow friend had managed to bandage up everywhere that was bleeding. She felt something warm trickle down from her mouth to the floor; all of the external bleeding at least. Despite the pain and her wearied state, Twilight closed her eyes and focused her magic towards herself. If she didn’t find out what was wrong with her, she could die from all this blood she was coughing up. Her heart seemed to be working fine, and there was nothing particularly wrong with her stomach. She continued to search painstakingly through her body’s inner workings, there it was! A puncture in her lungs that was allowing blood to flow freely from them into her mouth. It was a miracle that she hadn’t chocked on all of it already.
Twilight’s horn glowed as she began to work her magic to stitch the hole shut. It was a delicate operation, and every second that she performed the vital magic she could feel herself getting weaker. She was on the urge of fainting as she finished mending the hole over, and when she opened her eyes again, she could see the swimming blackness of unconsciousness surrounding her vision. She happily succumbed to it.
Fluttershy’s voice had risen in pitch dramatically and she was practically screaming for her friend. She didn’t want her to die, yet she had been so hopeless though. There had been so much blood, and so little that she could do to stop it.
“Twilight! Don’t leave me! Wake up Twilight!”
Fluttershy broke down into a fit of sobbing over her friend. She should have been able to do more to save her.
A fit of coughing broke out of the purple unicorn before she could continue berating herself. There was no more bleeding.
Twilight was alive, Fluttershy had been able to save her. A great joy filled the yellow Pegasus as the fluttering of her wings displayed to the few animals that lived inside her house. Fluttershy carried the unconscious unicorn up to the bedroom and laid her down upon the soft mattress.
“I’ll take care of you Twilight, you’ll make it through this.”
Fluttershy left the room to fetch some water for the battered unicorn.
Rainbow Dash woke up to find herself lying on the ground outside the window to Pinkie Pie’s room.
Why had she done that to her friend? How could she have let herself become so filled with anger that she had attempted murder? How could she do that to anypony, let alone one of her friends?
A terrible thought broke through her mind.
Because they deserved it.
No, what was she thinking? These were her friends, they had stood beside her through all of her problems, some longer than others, but all of them were invaluable to her. Then why did they tear her away from her father?
Rainbow Dash cringed at the thought.
There was no excusing them; her so called friends had taken away everything from her. Kill them all, have her vengeance, make them pay. She would make them all suffer. But there was one thing she was forgetting, ah yes, the pink one, she still drew breath.
Dashie tried to fly up into Pinkie Pie’s room, but was stopped as a sharp pain shot through her wings. Looking down at herself she saw that her wings were cut into disarray, shards of glass still stuck into some her feathery flight aids. Stinging pain cut through the raw and bloodied things as she nudged one of them.
That blasted pink thing, if she hadn’t brought those corrupting thoughts into her mind she would have been able to finish that pony. Those thoughts did not belong in her mind, these ponies had stolen her father from her, and now they wished to steal her memories from her too. She would finish them all before they could.
Seeing as how the window wasn’t an option, Dashie trudged towards the entrance to Sugarcube corner and tried to push it open. Finding it locked, she searched around the place, finding a low lying window to for her to break through, though she wasn’t looking forward to the numerous cut’s that it would bring. However, as she backed up to smash through the window she saw that it was barred from the inside.
Pinkie must have broken free from the cuffs and locked up the whole house…but maybe she could fool her again with that fake friendship routine. The pink pony was certainly gullible enough to fall for it once, so why not twice.
Dashie knocked on the door.
“Pinkie Pie, I’m sorry for what I did, I wasn’t myself. Please let me in so that I can apologize to your face.”
Dashie heard the slow sound of hooves across the floor.
Yes, that was it. Open the door. Let her end this now.
The sound stopped.
“GO AWAY! GET AWAY FROM ME! YOU TRIED TO KILL ME! I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR THIS RAINBOWDASH! NEVER!”
Dashie let out a dark laugh despite her anger.
She could wait. She had left the babbling pony with more pain and horror than she had felt in her life. Now that she had finally learnt what it was like to suffer as she had. A smile lit Dashie’s face. She would never see that ponies stupid grin again.
Dashie turned her attention to a red streak on the horizon. It was almost morning, soon there would be too many ponies wondering around for her to exact her revenge, but there were two ponies that she could get to outside the borders of the town. That left to her just one more victim in Ponyville before sunrise. Rarity.
The unicorn in particular was at that very moment waking up to a rather dismal morning. She had torn herself from her bed to find that Opal had torn her dresses to shreds. The beautiful garments she had worked painstakingly on for the past week were ruined, tattered trails of them lying all around the destroyed works of wonder. She would have to get Opal’s claws blunted once again, though she knew how much her pet hated it.
She looked out the window to see the moon setting on one of Luna’s beautiful nights. The sun would be rising soon and she would have to be ready for the customer’s it brought, with or without those fabulous dresses. Half to punish her and half to prevent her from doing any more damage, Rarity had locked Opal away in the cage she used whenever the cat was being…irrational.
Rarity wondered what she could use display by the windows instead. She had been intending to try and bring beauty to contrast for her dresses, but nothing she had in stock seemed to work well enough with the transparent windows. The colors and design had to fit just right else the whole thing became a disaster.
While Rarity was worrying over her dilemma, she heard a knocking on the door of the Boutique. That was odd; she didn’t often get customer’s this early in the morning.
“Just a minute.”
Despite Rarity’s polite command, the knocking persisted, and it was beginning to grate on her nerves by the time she reached the door.
She swung the door wide open, half-ready to berate the pony’s manners, but also not wanting to offend a potential customer. All thoughts of the dresses left her mind as she saw Rainbow Dash standing in the doorway, blood matted into her wings.
“Rainbow Dash, it’s good to see you’ve recovered from your illness, but what in Equestria happened to you. You’re in no fit state to be out of your bed, let alone wondering the town at such an early hour.”
Her queries were cut short as Rainbowdash smashed her hoof into the side of the white unicorn’s face.
She felt the air leave her throat as the bloodied Pegasus pressed a hoof onto her neck. What was Rainbowdash doing? She struggled frantically for air and her frenzied movement managed to knock away the cyan Pegasus.
“What is wrong with you Rainbow Dash?”
Her friend didn’t answer her question, teeth bared in a menacing grin, her wings leaving a trail of blood across the floor, Rainbow Dash advanced upon the frightened unicorn.
“I’m going to end your life.”
A shudder ran through the Pegasus
“And this time there won’t be any messing around.”
Dashie stood before the white unicorn but she did not feel as confident fighting this one. The other thoughts were intruding into her mind again, and if she faltered before the unicorn…It was best not to think about it. She had to end this one quickly before those thoughts came again.
Dashie lunged towards the unicorn with all the force she could muster without her wings to aid her. A brief wave of comfort washed over her as she saw that the unicorn wasn’t even making a move to dodge it. This could be easier than I thought.
Dashie felt herself collide, but instead of it being her target’s skull she found she found a manikin in front of her, still slightly glowing with the unicorn’s magical aura.
Dashie found herself regretting not having led her away somewhere for this fight. She had thought that it wouldn’t be time to see the first specks of sunrise before she finished off the white one, but it seemed this would take quite a bit longer.
The unicorn continued to levitate the sales devices towards Dashie, beginning to build a kind of maze as the Pegasus weaved and dodged through them. Fortunately she had realized in her fight with the purple one that unicorns needed concentration to cast their magic. All she needed to do was to land a hit on the unicorn and she could begin pummeling her into a bloodied mess.
Dashie spotted the magic user amidst the shuffling manikins and made straight for her, shooting underneath the obstacles on a beeline straight for the heartless creature. Just a meter from her target, the unicorn barricaded herself behind a pile of the lifeless pony replicas. Dashie leapt over the blockade, managing to make the jump effortlessly even with her wings in such a state. Dashie landed cleanly in front of the white unicorn, whose body shimmered with the magic they exerted. Feeling the lies that they had filled her head with returning, she quickly drove her hoof through the heart of her old friend.
Rarity couldn’t help but gasp as she saw Rainbow Dash topple herself over as the Pegasus attacked her illusion with the intent to kill.
She had learnt that magic from Twilight in case she needed someone at the counter while she was on a project. She could make it move, and project her voice through it, but little else without expending more of her energy than she wished to use. As it was, the combination of shifting the manikins and the illusion had worn her out far more than she had expected. But she knew that now was no time to rest.
Something was very wrong with Rainbow Dash. There had been times when her cyan friend had been angry, and she had certainly lost her temper on more than one occasion, but she had never been like this. This Rainbow Dash was out for her blood, and Rarity feared that the only way to calm her friend down would be with force.
Taking advantage of Rainbow Dash’s mistake attacking the illusion, Rarity shot out and drove her hoof into the side of the Pegasus’s head, the firm thud of the impact sounding just loud enough for her to hear.
Rainbow Dash reeled back, having been caught off-guard by the attack she had lost her footing and fallen several feet away from Rarity, but quickly got back up and launched her own attack, using her speed to her advantage. Rarity nimbly moved her body around the blows, graceful hoofwork allowing her to avoid the onslaught and strike the Pegasus once again.
Rarity had to admit that she had never been much of a fighter. She didn’t have a great amount of strength to her blows, nor did she have the natural speed that Pegasi were famous for. What she did have was the grace that years of practicing dances for events such as the Grand Galloping Gala brought. The fluid movements now proved to be rather useful in combat, and soon the fight began to settle into a pattern.
Rainbow Dash would launch a flurry of attacks at her; she would successfully avoid them all; and immediately follow through with her own, breaking through the Pegasus’s attack and knocking her friend to the ground. Rarity could see that Rainbow Dash was exhausted from the battle, and the exhaustion she had felt from her magic began to wear off as her body settled into the practiced movements.
Rainbow Dash gave a grunt of effort as she pulled herself to her feet once again; her friend now bleeding from more than just the wings. Numerous cuts across the Pegasus’s body bled freely, and her teeth were a bright red from the blood that coated them. Rarity looked into the murderous eyes of her friend and saw that she would not give up until one of them was dead. However, the Pegasus was getting nowhere, and her heavy exhaustion was showing. Rarity decided it was time to finish this, and began casting the sleep spell that she had used to deal with Opal whenever she became unruly.
Dashie saw the unicorn’s horn begin to glow.
No! She would not let this happen again. She did not know what hellish land this one would send her too; neither did she wish to find it.
Dashie gathered all her waning strength together and lunged towards the unicorn, her hoof connecting with the throat of the white witch. The false thoughts had thankfully kept out of her mind during her battle with the unicorn, and now she could finally bring justice onto the creature. The monster that had stolen her father from her lay on the floor, gasping for air. How pathetic. Dashie drove her hooves into the unicorn’s ribs with all her might, hearing some crack satisfactorily underneath the blow.
Dashie began to crush the unicorn’s neck underneath her hooves, the wretch begging for mercy and answers with her last breath. Soon she would be no more.
Then the thoughts returned.
What are you doing with to my friends?
Rainbow Dash released her friend’s neck from her hoof, but not before the unicorn had lost consciousness from whatever was in her mind. No! What are you doing? Kill her! Kill her! She stole my father from me.
The alien thought invaded her mind, strange and dark, yet oddly similar. Ignoring them, Rainbow Dash rolled Rarity onto her side to stop her friend from choking on her blood and left the boutique before she lost control of herself again.
As she stepped outside, the being tried to plant itself in her body again, but she was ready for it this time.
Why are you taking my revenge from me? Who are you? What are you doing in my body?
The thing in her mind bombarded her with questions, all the while trying to take control from her again. This creature didn’t make any sense, it wanted revenge on her friends for having its father taken away, but her friends would never do such a thing, and what did it mean its body? Unable to answer anything else, she responded to the second question.
“I’m Rainbow Dash”
She felt the thing in her mind thinking, as if it were some strange, twisted part of her being.
“Rainbow Dash was the name that purple one called me by before she stole my father from me. But that still doesn’t answer any of my other questions.”
“But I can’t answer any of your other questions. They don’t make any sense, my friends would never take somepony's father away from them.”
She remembered the last question.
“And this is my body, and my mind. Get out you sadistic monster.”
The thing in her mind refused to get out, and Rainbow Dash once again felt its presence pushing against her. But this time was different, instead of those evil thoughts flooding her mind, she felt memories. Times that had never happened, a land that didn’t exist; yet it had. She knew the truth, regardless of how hard it was to believe. This was the world she had seen in her dreams, she had seen these memories before, yet her mind continued to be flooded by them.
This was all wrong. What was happening to her? Had she gone mad? How could her dreams be real? How could she try to kill her friends? She couldn’t handle this. She could practically feel the sanity trickling out of her mind.
“Somepony, help me.”
The scream she had intended came out as a whisper, the turmoil she felt hardly expressed by the soft cry.
As the pony’s mind raged and swirled, her thoughts screaming out for help, Dashie stole back her body from her traitor self. Her Equestrian side had somehow managed to drag herself out of the town despite the state she had thrown herself into.
A frown crossed Dashie’s face.
The sun had risen and ponies would be about now, and the blood from her encounters would lead them straight to her victims. She had taken her punishment on them though. She had not gotten the results she expected, but they had at least suffered for their deed.
Dashie followed the directions that the pink one had given so freely, not quite sure of which of those remaining she would find, only knowing them by name.
“I was so worried about you when you came in like that. It was horrible. There was so much blood and you kept on coughing more up and…I just didn’t know what to do.”
“And then when you woke up and repaired yourself with your magic I didn’t know what had happened. I thought you had died.”
The Pegasus cringed as Twilight raised her voice against her. She didn’t like to have to shout at her friend, but when Fluttershy got like this she could spend hours worrying about what she could have done or what she shouldn’t have done. It was good that her friend always wanted to do her best for her friends, but the way she beat herself up didn’t help.
“I’m fine now Fluttershy, you did all that you could. You couldn’t have known about the internal bleeding, so don’t worry. Everything worked out didn’t it?”
“Then don’t worry about it. You did just fine and that’s all there is to it. There’s no need to worry about what you could have done. You did what you did, and what you did saved my life.”
A small smile crept onto Fluttershy’s face at Twilights praise, but was quickly wiped away as the Pegasus asked the obvious question.
“Why were you like that when you came here Twilight?”
Twilight had rather hoped that she could have kept the truth from Fluttershy; she had already been through enough. However, Twilight knew that sooner or later she would have had to tell the Pegasus about what had happened to Rainbow Dash.
“Rainbow Dash attacked me”
The yellow Pegasus stood there, mouth agape, as Twilight recounted what had happened to her the past night, claiming that she had gone to Rainbow Dash to check up on her. Twilight wasn’t sure Fluttershy believed her lie, but the news about what had happened to Rainbow Dash was clearly more important to the both of them.
“But what could have happened to her to make her like that?”
“I don’t know, all she said to me was that I stole her life from her…before she tried to kill me”
A sad silence fell about the two ponies. They couldn’t stand to think of Rainbowdash attempting to murder anypony. It was just too horrible to even think about, yet she had done it.
“We have to stick together while she’s like this, we don’t know what is wrong with her, so we can’t risk splitting up. Fluttershy…”
The Pegasus had broken into tears, the poor thing unable to stop herself from seeing the inflection behind Twilights words. They would have to fight Rainbow Dash if she came for them, and the thought broke her timid friend’s heart. Rainbow Dash was a great friend to all of them, but to Fluttershy she was almost a hero. She had been the one pony who had stood by her through all of those times when she had been bullied in Cloudsdale.
“Fluttershy, I know it’s hard but we’ve got to do this. We have to get to our friends and send off a letter to Celestia explaining the situation; she might know what to do.”
As the conversation turned towards her letters she remembered her assistant.
“Spike! He’s going to worry about what’s happened to me. What if Rainbow Dash goes after him next?”
She wanted to go straight to her friends, but she needed to send the letter as well, and she needed to make sure Spike was safe as too. Twilight had only one option.
“Fluttershy, stand next to me. I don’t have much energy for this, but we don’t have enough time for anything else”
Twilight’s horn glowed with the magical energy she exerted over herself and the Pegasus, and suddenly the two disappeared from the yellow Pegasus’s home.
Dashie knocked on Fluttershy’s door for the third time to no avail. Dashie was beginning to worry. If her enemy wasn’t here then it was only a minor inconvenience, but if she had learnt about Dashie’s revenge attempts, then who else now knew about it…could she now be the one being hunted?
Fortunately it seemed to be the former, as her house hadn’t been boarded up like that blasted Pinkie Pie’s. A quick stone to the window soon dispatched of any resistance the glass could have offered as it shattered into shards. Dashie was careful not to damage her wings any more than they already were as she crawled through the window. The time it would save her wouldn’t be worth mangling her wings beyond use, and even more so if she was right and Fluttershy wasn’t there after all.
Once she entered the house she stood perfectly still and listened for any noises that would give away another presence in the house. No such noise was heard.
Brilliant…just brilliant. Not only wasn’t her target here, but soon the whole town would be onto her.
Dashie kicked a vase next to her in anger, the fragile object shattering nicely against a wall.
Why couldn’t she have waited and taken her vengeance stealthily, why couldn’t she have gotten them to take her back. Why did they have to take her away in the first place?
“Because this is where I belong”
“Oh well isn’t this just lovely, you’re back.” Dashie couldn’t care less that she was being sarcastic with herself. Only a couple of days ago she couldn’t have been happier with her life, and then those ponies came along and ruined it forever.
“Will it really be worth it, killing my friends? What will it earn you, how will it make anything better?”
“You don’t know what they did to me, you don’t know how it feels to have your life ripped away from you!”
“I think you’ll find I do, as that’s exactly what you’ve been doing to me.”
“Would you just shut up?” This voice in her mind was irritating her beyond imagination. Not only did it insist on taking her vengeance from her, but was trying to make her actually like these horrid ponies.
“You know that there’s no point in doing this. All you’re doing is hurting everypony and yourself. Just give me back my-”
Dashie saw what she was trying to do.
“You just want to get rid of me. Bad enough that you steal my father and my life away, but now you want me gone forever. I’m not going to let it happen. My life may have been destroyed, there may be no hope of me ever going back, but I will have my revenge, and some stupid voice in my head isn’t going to stop me.”
And Applejack would have to suffer twice over for Fluttershy’s disappearance.
Twilight’s skull throbbed with pain as she and Fluttershy appeared in her library. Normally she could teleport without any problems, but going over such a distance so shortly after her recovery produced an excruciating amount of pain for the purple unicorn. There was no time to worry about that now; she had to find Spike, before Rainbow Dash did.
“Twilight? Where are you?”
Her assistant’s worried cries reverberated around the wood of the tree, calming her far more than it should have.
“I’m here Spike”
She had intended her voice to sound calm, reassuring, and maybe the slightest bit dismissing of his worries. Instead it sounded every bit as worried as Spike’s had, her fear still residing inside of her, before the young dragon appeared from the stairs and whisked it away.
“Twilight! What happened to you?”
She could see that Spike was scared for her, and understandably so, but she would have to wait until later to worry about herself. There was too much at stake now.
“Spike, send a letter to the princess and quickly, there’s not enough time to go into details, tell her that we need her assistance urgently.”
Even as she said the words her loyal assistant had found some paper and a quill and was quickly jotting down the message. He sent it off in a puff of smoke, having forgotten to roll up the letter in his haste. Spike made to write another one before Twilight stopped him.
“Spike, we don’t have time for this, let’s just hope that she perceives its state as a mark of urgency instead of a lack of effort. We’ve got to go and find our friends, hopefully before Rainbow Dash gets to them.”
“Pinkie, we need to get you to the hospital.”
Mrs. Cake had been urging her to go for hours now, she felt sorry that she had to do this but she couldn’t risk letting that maniac in. Maniac…
When had her best friend become her worst enemy? What had happened to Dashie? Had it been something she had done? Did Dashie really hate her that much?
Her questions continued to mount as she stood between Mrs. Cake and the door. She had to move slowly otherwise the numerous scabs on her chest would crack and begin bleeding again, causing her more pain than she would like to feel. She was grateful she was still alive, it was an odd kind of happiness in having survived the ordeal, a sad happiness. But she couldn’t risk anyone else getting hurt, even if it meant she had to suffer through this.
“Pinkie, are you sure Rainbow Dash did this to you, it doesn’t seem like her at all. What happened between the two of you? What’s made you behave like this?”
“I’ve already told you, She Tried To KILL ME!”
Why wouldn’t Mrs. Cake believe her, she wasn’t the type of pony to lie…but then again Dashie wasn’t the type of pony to try and murder anypony, let alone her friends.
“I’m sorry Pinkie, but I don’t think that’s the case. Sometimes ponies get very…sad when certain things happen, sometimes they overreact to these things, sometimes they hurt themselves…”
Mrs. Cake let the words hang in the air.
“I DID NOT DO THIS TO MYSELF!” Pinkie’s voice grew dangerously high in volume, taking on an almost hysterical tone to it. “Why do you think I would do this? Do you think this is some kind of joke? Why do you think I would lie about this?”
“I’m not saying you’re lying…Rather that you yourself don’t know what happened.”
Then it hit her, Mrs. Cake thought she had gone crazy. Pinkie’s voice suddenly dropped to a whisper.
“Why? Why won’t you believe me?”
“Pinkie! Pinkie! Open the door.”
Twilight’s urgent pleading caused Pinkie Pie to drop the topic, yet the unsaid words still hung heavily between the two.
Besides if Rainbowdash was still out there then her friend was in danger, and she wouldn’t let any harm come to them. She opened the door to find not just Twilight, but Fluttershy and Spike too. Though Fluttershy and Spike looked a bit worse for wear, they were nothing compared to Twilight. Pinkie rushed them into the house before slamming the door behind them.
“What happened to you Twilight?”
“I think it would be safe to say the same thing happened to you, there’s something wrong with Rainbow Dash.” Pinkie shot a look to Mrs. Cake “What did she do to you? Those scars…they look almost like-”
Twilight’s stream of words slowed to a stop and she gazed upon the message Dashie had left her, and the last piece of the puzzle clicked into place.
“That other world. She still remembers that human that took care of her…But that doesn’t make any sense, why would she remember it now, and why would she do this?”
She forced herself to stop. There was no way of knowing at the moment, and no time to question Zecora as to what exactly her remedy did.
“Um, Twilight, what about Rarity and Applejack?”
Fluttershy’s meek voice reminded her of why she had come here in the first place.
“Pinkie Pie, when did Rainbowdash do this to you?”
“Sometime at night, when I was about to go to sleep. Why do you ask Twilight?”
A bit of the cheer in her friends voice had returned, but the sadness was still prominent in the party pony’s voice.
That meant she had all night to go after the rest of them.
“Then we have no time to lose.”
A large crowd had gathered around the Carousel Boutique, but none of the ponies were customers. The noise was of a worried, hushed nature as opposed to the loud shouting one would expect from a crowd of this size. Twilight and her friends had arrived only moments ago to find the throng of ponies gathered, as if attending a funeral rite.
The reality was thankfully lighter, but not by much. This morning, a mare had come in to buy a new dress when she had found Rarity lying on the ground, bleeding horrendously. Before long the unicorn was taken to the hospital, but the Boutique was left in a bloody mess, and the crowd still lingered long afterwards, surveying the horrific site before them.
Fluttershy had wanted to check up on Rarity at the hospital, but Twilight deemed that there would be little they could do for her that the hospital couldn’t. And Applejack was still in danger.
Her cyan friend breathed the words more than spoke them, looking a wreck.
“Rainbow Dash, what in tarnation happened to you?”
The Pegasus was so badly bloodied that she should have been on the verge of death…Unless the blood wasn’t her own. But that would be ridiculous, Rainbow Dash would never hurt anyone, at least not physically, and certainly not like that.
“Applejack…please…get away from me.”
What was Rainbow Dash talking about, how could she just leave her friend when she looked to be beaten up so badly. Applejack sighed inwardly. Rainbow Dash had probably left the hospital and had a fainting spell somewhere, and of course she would be too stubborn to except her friends aid…at least she had learnt her lesson on that particular subject.
“Now look here Rainbow Dash, I don’t care if it hurts your stubborn pride but I’m gettin you to the hospital, an don’t try and stop me.”
“No Applejack, stay away…I’ll kill you.”
Applejack was shocked that Rainbowdash would say something like that, what was wrong with her friend.
“You heard me, I’ll kill you, you’re going to pay for what you did to me.”
Rainbow Dash began galloping towards the stunned mare before she brought her hooves to a halt, causing herself to topple to the ground.
“No, I won’t let you do this, don’t kill her.” Rainbow Dash started to break into tears “Please…”
Please, stop this Dashie.
Dashie rushed forwards for the earth pony and clobbered her in the mouth with her hoof. Before Rainbowdash took back control of her body and began to run away.
“Please Applejack. Run! Run while you still can.”
But Applejack didn’t seem to be listening, just lying there, either too shocked by what she was seeing to respond, or Dashie had put more force into that attack than she had expected.
“Damnit, why do you insist on taking this from me?”
“I’ve already told you…This is where I belong.”
An overwhelming pain broke into her skull, as she and Dashie wrestled for control over her mind, and in doing so began to tear it apart.
The last thing she heard was her friends calling for her…
“Applejack, what happened to her, wake up Applejack.”
Celestia arrived to find her student trying to wake up her friend, accompanied by the Pegasus who had stolen her phoenix that one time, and the hyperactive pink earth pony who for once seemed to have all the happiness drained out of them.
“Twilight, what happened here?”
At the sound of her teacher’s name Twilight looked up to see the princess, worry clear in her eyes even as they blurred with tears.
“Celestia…I’m sorry, I don’t know where this all went wrong, Rainbow Dash started fainting, and so I got a potion from Zecora to help, but then she started going about attacking us.” The unicorn stopped to catch her breath. “Why did this happen?”
Celestia had feared this, she had hoped he had been wrong, that it was simply because of who he was.
“A similar occurrence once happened to an old friend of mine, the Doctor. His “companion” received the memories of another, and it began to burn through her mind. It would have destroyed her had he not taken them away from her. I had thought it was simply due to the circumstances of it, but it would seem that is not the case.”
Celestia regretted it had come to this, but it would have to happen.
“We must remove the memories of that world from her, otherwise she will die. She has already spent far too much time like this, so I fear we have little to spare.”
Celestia’s horn began to glow as she cast the magic that would erase the memories of the other world from the Pegasus’s mind, but as she explored the cyan one’s thoughts she came to a rather unsettling conclusion.
“I can’t do it. Her thoughts of that world have somehow joined with those of this. I can’t separate them, yet they still fight against each other.”
The three capable of doing so stared at her in shock, she had essentially told them her friend was dead.
“There is a way that she can be saved. It’s a long shot, but it’s the only chance we have. If we could merge her memories of here with the memories from that other world, they may settle down and prevent her mind from burning up. But the only way to do that would be to bring that man from the other world, the one she called father, to here.”
Her student stepped forward, willing to face the task, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie alongside her.
“Remember my student, time works differently there than it does here. When you get there…It will have been a little over eight years since he last saw any of us.”
It was hard to believe how quickly my life had gone back to the grey monotony it had once been when Rainbowdash left. The days had seemed so much longer without her, every day I had gotten up and expected her to by some miracle have returned. Every day without fail I was disappointed.
Last week had marked the eighth anniversary of when her color had been taken from my life. I didn’t feel any negativity to Twilight or any of the others. They had done what had to be done.
I sighed to myself.
I only wished that I could see her again.
I still rarely got visitors, occasionally someone would find me out here, I would invite them in and talk, though the words would always ring hollow and be forgotten the next morning. There was a certain peace in the monotony, a certainty that the next day would bring what was expected of it; nothing more; nothing less. Once Dashie left I had tried to make something of myself, to be someone that all of them would have been proud of, but to no avail.
Working in the grey offices seemed to be all the progress I could make, yet I knew that there was only continuity in it. Not continuation. Soon I began to fall back into a routine, till I found myself where I was today, and back to where I was before Dashie had arrived.
Twenty three years. It had been twenty three years since she had first arrived. It seemed so long ago, yet those memories seemed to me more recent then yesterdays. I could feel life weighing me down despite my attempts to struggle on. I’d felt like I had no choice but to keep on going. Until they returned.
I had just gotten to sleep when I heard a knock on the door. My mind was filled with questions to ask them, why we’re they out in a place like this at this time? Couldn’t they have just used a phone? But all of these stopped dead when I opened the door.
Twilight stood there, looking not a month older than when they had arrived all those years ago. Behind her stood both Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, though Pinkie was not her usual self, and an inspection of her chest showed me just why. With a nod of my head I invited them into the house and I learned what my adopted daughter had done.
“So we were sent here to take you with us to Equestria. All I need to do is start casting the spell to take us back there and Celestia will do the rest. Are you ready?”
The decision, if it could even be called that, was simple.
“Take me to her.”
“Oh dear” After returning to Equestria, Twilight found herself facing a young red earth pony, little able to do little more than crawl.
“Celestia, what’s wrong with him?”
“Don’t worry; just be thankful he’s here, and that his form changed to something more suitable for this land. Remember that our times are different, though I have no clue as to why our ages didn’t change respective to his world.”
Celestia’s horn glowed and Rainbowdash’s “father” grew to a stallion before her eyes. The stallion had no cutie mark, despite the fact he was now taller than Twilight, and quite a lot older too.
Rainbow Dash’s screams of pain rang out to her father.
He opened his eyes and raced for her adopted daughter .
Rainbow Dash felt herself lying in the blackness, a void of nothing without substance or space, noises echoed around her, yet she couldn’t latch onto any of them. Was this death? Why did she feel so much sadness then?
Her father’s voice echoed towards her, so surreal, she knew he couldn’t be here, he would never return for her.
“Don’t you dare give up now, you weren’t willing to give up for your friends, so don’t die as long as there’s a chance our father lives.”
“I’m sorry…I can’t”
“You are not giving up now damnit, you are going to live.”
“Were coming daddy!”
The two ponies embraced each other, the stallion finding the task rather difficult with hooves, and toppled over the mare.
“What have you done Dashie?”
Rainbow Dash looked at the ponies around her, saw what she had done to her friends, yet they still showed worry for her. Despite the wounds that she had inflicted onto them they had gone to such lengths for her. She broke down into tears before them.
“I’m sorry I did all of this to you, I’m truly sorry, please…please forgive me.”
One week later and things had returned to normal, Rarity had recovered from her injuries and been admitted from the hospital, and the other ponies were, for the most part, okay. Rainbow Dash would visit her father quite frequently, but that was to be expected considering how she must have felt having believed she had lost him. She was a bit unsure of how Rainbow Dash's "Father" would settle into Ponyville, but so far no major incidents had occured. Celestia would have expected a letter on what they had learnt, were it not for the fact that even she couldn't define a lesson from it.
As Celestia gazed out of her bedroom window, looking at the dawning sun which would precede here sister’s night, she heard the familiar whirring sound of the doctor and his machine.
“I got your message, you wanted to talk to me about something?”
Celestia turned to look at the stallion, slightly surprised to see him alone, Celestia decided it was best not to wonder what had happened to his previous companion.
“You were right. It’s not just when you’re around that these things happen, and it’s a hell of a lot harder dealing with them without you.”
Celestia drew out a book from her drawers, the oldest one in all of Equestria, written in a language not even she understood. It had been a gift from her mother, so it was with a heavy heart that she handed it to the pony who had saved Equestria on numerous counts, yet never asked for anything but this.
“Anything else you learned from this whole ordeal.”
A wry smile lit up Celestia’s face.
“As a matter of fact yes.”
“And that would be?”
“Never make a bet with a time traveller.”