47w, 6dPony Warfare
53w, 3dThe Writer's Group
58w, 6hRainbow Dash
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53w, 3dAction Stories
58w, 6hDerpy tales
58w, 6hGame Crossovers
53w, 3dSupporting Original Characters
58w, 6hPonies of War
37w, 1dProject Derpy Hooves
58w, 6hEpic Pony War
44w, 1dRookies on the Rise
53w, 3dProject ACES
47w, 6dThe War for Equestria
Which of them has the right to call itself an ace?
Amidst the cloudy skies, a link from past to future.
Without beginning or end, the ring stretches into the infinite.
“The Final Decision”
Fortress Intimidation airspace
“Hey Dash, it’s been a while,” Gilda remarked.
The blue pegasus had her eyes locked onto the griffon soldier. Everything else lost importance.
“Why did you do that?!” Rainbow asked angrily.
“Oh, you mean her? Don’t worry, I didn’t killed her. I simply removed the last obstacle. Now you and I can fight without any hindrances.”
Rainbow had no idea what Gilda meant at first, but it all slowly started to make sense for her. She returned to confront her in the final battle, to determine which of them was better...
Rainbow looked down. Firefly was still lying on the ground. The shock among the other pegasi from the Mirage squadron has passed. Medley and Fluttershy instantly recognized Gilda. But just as they were getting closer to Rainbow, she turned to them. Her expression was dogged.
“Stay out of this, girls. This griffon is mine alone.”
“No, Rainbow, we’re gonna help you,” Medley replied, though her voice was shaky.
She still remembered how Gilda broke her wings.
“You can’t help me this time. Go check on Firefly instead,” Rainbow insisted.
Other ponies and griffins still hovering in the sky seemed confused. This sudden intrusion came as a great surprise. Yet Zeakros had a feeling that there was no point in getting between Rainbow Dash and Gilda. He ordered all of his soldiers to descend to the ground. Some looked at him with disbelief, but complied. Spitfire also told the pegasi to get down. Medley was still troubled, so the fiery-maned mare called her:
“Hey, Kid, do you trust Rainbow?”
“Of course I trust her!”
“Then let her do her job. This is one fight she can’t avoid.”
Medley and the rest of the squadron obeyed. They slowly landed around Firefly to check on her condition. She was breathing weakly. Lightning Bolt and Derpy helped her stand up.
“Flash, are you okay?” the grey pegasus asked.
“Uhhh... I’ve been better... ” Firefly hissed in pain.
“ARGH! My left wing...”
“I think it’s broken due to impact” Lightning ascertained.
“Where’s that sleeze who attacked me... OUCH!” Firefly tried to flap her wings, but the pain was overwhelming.
Fluttershy pleaded her to stay calm, informing her that Rainbow was about to face Gilda. Firefly looked up and noticed them in the air above. Several dark clouds started to gather on the sky. Ponies and griffins alike were staring at the two figures.
Gilda welcomed Rainbow’s decision to fight her alone with another smirk.
“So, you actually did learned a lesson or two. Now it’s just you and me. No one to get in our way.”
“What kind of game are you playing, G?” Rainbow inquired.
“There’s no point in us fighting anymore. The war is over!”
“Hah! That’s what you say!” Gilda replied with a snicker.
“And I could care less who started this war, what was the cause, how many died and who won! I don’t care! The only thing that matters to me is you, Dash!”
“So that’s how you wanna solve it? A fight to the finish?”
“Would you have it any other way?”
“...No, I guess not.”
At this point, both of them were looking at each other, as if they were examining something. They still waited for the moment to begin the fight.
“Say, Dash, you probably wonder where I’ve been?” Gilda asked.
“I’ll tell you. I was watching you. I’ve been observing you this whole time.”
“What? So... back then, in Ponyville... that was just...?”
“Correct. That was just a test. I wanted to see how much better you’ve become. While your attitude disappointed me, you had what it takes to be a worthy opponent. It’s always been like this. We’ve competed with each other often. I was watching you even now, as you were destroying Fortress Intimidation. And I gotta admit, that was some pretty smooth flying. But there was one problem. Your friends. They were helping you. A true ace doesn’t need support at all."
Gilda paused for a moment before she continued.
"...Do you know why this place is called The Valley of Kings? Because these mountains are also tombs for great rulers of the griffin nation. And some of them are said to be a resting place for the greatest aces in our history.”
“What are you getting at?” Rainbow Dash wondered.
“After I left, I was training. Training to be a better warrior, to be the best flier of them all. One of the reasons I came to Ponyville back then was so I could test my skills in a fight against you. Unfortunately, your friends were in the way. And you were also looking like you were holding back. So I figured out the solution to my problem: I will do whatever it takes to make you fight me alone. Now that they are all out of the way, I want you to show me your very best. Prove to me that you are not like the rest of those dweeby ponies! But, in the end, I will earn my victory!”
“Are you done?” Rainbow suddenly exclaimed, surprising Gilda.
Taking a glimpse down again, Rainbow noticed Firefly being treated to her injury. Spitfire was also looking at the blue flier. She remembered what Spitfire told her before turning to Gilda again.
“If the only reason you came here is to fight me, then put ’em up! Time’s a wastin’!”
Several raindrops started falling down. Neither Gilda nor Rainbow were paying any attention to them. Smirk returned to the griffon’s face.
“Here comes the rain... I know you can feel it, Dash. There is a warrior inside you. I’ve been waiting for this! Come on, Rainbow Dash! Let’s show everyone else how it’s done!”
Gilda spread her wings, ready to fight.
“Gilda! I’m gonna knock some sense into you!” Rainbow shouted.
Gilda and Rainbow Dash darted toward each other and started exchanging blows. The rain, as well as the battle between old friends, started for good.
“Those who survive a long time on the battlefield start to think they’re invincible. I bet you do, too, Dash,” Gilda said slowly, as she dodged Rainbow’s punch.
She remained silent and focused on the duel.
Twirling in mid air, both fighters tried to find an opening for a punch, kick or headbutt. When Gilda parried Dash’s another attack, the blue pegasus quickly dodged to the side to avoid her blow. Both of them were in their own kingdom. Rainbow tried to hit Gilda in the face, but she saw through her movements. In the last second, Dash managed to soar upward, making Gilda miss.
Rainbow attempted to hit her again, but Gilda easily avoided the punch. They begun circling around, paying close attention to each other and trying to react properly. Rainbow started gliding back and forth in an attempt to confuse Gilda. As she tried to hit her, Dash made a quick backflip in the air.
Those on the ground watched in awe.
“Look at those moves! This must be the deadliest dance possible!” Rarity exclaimed.
“How can Rainbow still fight like that?” Overdrive wondered.
“Isn’t she supposed to be exhausted from the mission?”
“That rain is certainly refreshing,” Flare Star pointed out, grabbing a few drops on her tongue.
“I bet Rainbow is feeling at home right now.”
“If anypony can beat Gilda, it’s Rainbow,” Applejack said confidently.
“That’s the Mirage flight leader right there. Watch and learn,” Rainbowshine added.
Only Fluttershy seemed to be worried.
“Rainbow... whatever you do, please... watch yourself. Don’t get killed.”
Pinkie Pie didn’t appeared to be surprised by any of this one bit. Yet she was still jumping in place. When Twilight asked her why she is so excited, she replied:
“Come on, it’s a fight between the aces! Whenever it happens at the end, it’s always awesome! Get her, Dashie! Make her feel sorry!” she yelled into the sky.
But neither Rainbow Dash nor Gilda could hear her. They turned their communicators off. Now the whole sky was theirs only. Rainbow was still questioning Gilda’s motives to fight her. When they met last time, she wasn’t as honorable as she was being now. Even if that last encounter was just a test, Rainbow needed an anwser.
“Gilda! Tell me, why are you doing this? We used to be friends!”
“That’s right, Dash! We used to be! But you chose those ponies instead of me!”
“Just because I have new friends doesn’t mean we are not!” Rainbow tried to explain.
“Enough! That issue is already dealt with! Now I only want you to show me what you can really do! Don’t hold back, Dash, because I certainly won’t!”
With these words, Gilda rushed toward Rainbow. She went ahead as well and it seemed they were going on a head-on collision. But Gilda rolled to the left, passing by Rainbow with a grin on her face. They still observed each other in the corner of their eyes. Looking for an opportunity to attack her again, Gilda flew right next to Dash. The blue flier remembered the maneuver she was practicing with Firefly, the “pressure flight”. It allowed her to knock Gilda aside and deliver an additional punch that caused the griffon to stagger briefly. But she quickly regained her senses, flying straight at Dash once again.
This time, both fighters clashed with each other at minimal distance. After a brief power struggle, Gilda managed to gain the upper hand, slashing Dash across the chest with her talons. Rainbow grunted in pain, but immediately retaliated with a swift punch to Gilda’s beak. The griffon dealt another blow, this time in the stomach. Dash anwsered with an uppercut. Then, they tried to punch each other and their attacks hit at the same time. Both of them flew away due to impact, but managed to recover quickly.
The rain started to pour. Rainbow and Gilda were hovering above the spectators, trying to catch a breath. Rainbow’s wound wasn’t very serious, as she was partially protected by her vest. Gilda had a couple of bruises on her face. Ponies and griffins on the ground were impressed by such a quick display of daring movements. They waited in anticipation for the fight to continue. Meanwhile, Zeakros noticed something unusual.
“Look at them. They may seem like mortal enemies in our eyes, but I think they still haven’t forgotten those moments they shared together in the past.”
Indeed, smirks were now present on both fighters’ faces. Their battle resumed.
“Not bad, Dash. You’ve improved,” Gilda praised the pegasus.
“You’re not bad yourself,” Dash replied.
“It’s still not too late, Dash. You should reconsider my offer. Can you not feel this bond between us? You and I are opposite sides of the same coin. We are naturally born warriors.”
“Maybe. But even if there is a resemblance between us, we’ll never face the same direction. At least not like this, G!”
Gilda shook her head while avoiding Rainbow’s punch.
“Why do you refuse to join me? We are much better than the others!”
“There is no point for me to follow you!” Rainbow shouted, dodging Gilda’s headbutt.
“Then you’re just like the rest of those dweeby ponies!”
Rainbow managed to hit Gilda in the beak, interrupting her own attack. The blue mare took this moment to try and beat Gilda in her own game of words.
“Well, I’m not like you! Unlike you, I’m proud of who I am! I would never sacrifice anything dear to me for the pursuit of fame or power!”
“Don’t give me that!” Gilda exclaimed.
“I know you well, Dash. You always wanted to be the best. But, in the end, I was the one on top! Even back at the Junior Speedsters, I was always the winner! You were inferior to me! I was superior!”
“That’s right, you were!” Rainbow spoke.
Her voice was slowly getting stronger. Even though the rain was hacking her in the face, her sight was still focused on Gilda.
“I was like that as well. Some time ago, I was considering myself to be above others. I thought of myself as the best. I was cocky, arrogant and I never really cared about anything outside of my interests. But those days are over! I’m not invincible. I’m not flawless. I’m just a regular pony, like thousands of others who live in Equestria and outside its borders. I’m still the same Rainbow Dash that you used to know on the outside, but inside, I’m a completely different pony! Because, with a little help from my friends, I have learned to overcome my faults! You’re the one who can’t let go, Gilda! You refuse to leave the past behind, you live in your own world! And that’s why you can’t beat me in this fight!”
“Shut up!” Gilda squawked.
“I don’t need lectures, especially from you!”
Rainbow, knowing that talking won’t be very effective at this point, started flying away from Gilda, baiting the griffon into following her. Just as she was about to strike Rainbow in the back with her claw, the blue pegasus suddenly rolled around, faced her opponent and darted upward, smacking Gilda in the face with her rainbow tail, like if she was using a whip. It caused several gasps among the spectators on the ground and infuriated Gilda.
“Damn! Get back here and fight like a warrior!”
“Like you’re the one to talk!” Rainbow bit back.
She was flying in circles now.
“Come on! What’s the matter, Gilda? Losing your nerve? Maybe try cooling off a little!”
“YOU! You tell me what to do? Who do you think you are?!”
“I already told you, didn’t I?” Rainbow teased her.
Gilda started chasing her again, but both fighters were showing signs of fatigue already.
“You’re seeing this, Spitfire?” Soarin’ asked.
“It looks to me that Rainbow is gaining an upper hoof in this confrontation.”
“Yeah. Let’s hope it stays that way.”
“Something tells me that fight is nearing its end,” Jet pointed out.
“See? Gilda is barely able to keep up."
“Looks like she bit off more than she can chew,” Cloud Kicker said with satisfaction.
“True. This battle is already decided,” Zeakros added.
“Now the only thing we can do is wait for its inevitable end. They both probably realize that as well.”
None of the pegasi aces said a word. They simply observed the fight in silence, partially reminiscing about their own duels against ace fighters they faced in their wars.
Rainbow Dash kept on circling effortlessly around Gilda. Despite the rain and tiredness, she still wanted to fight. Her determination saw her through countless challenges during the war after all. But Gilda wasn’t willing to give up either.
“You fired up, Dash? Come take me down!”
Despite being at a disadvantage, Gilda tried to keep a cool head.
“Now we find out who’s number one!”
She saw an opening and attacked Rainbow, breaking her flight. Gilda started punching her rapidly in the face before grabbing Dash and throwing her away. The pegasus recovered quickly.
“What’s the problem? You’re done already?” Gilda said mockingly.
“If there’s anyone here with a problem, it’s you!” Dash replied.
“I get the feeling you’re hiding something from me, Rainbow. It’s not due to those ponies that you don’t want to join me, am I right?”
“... Yes, there is a different reason. You want to know what is it?”
Gilda was more than curious, but she was completely unprepared for the answer.
“Because I’m too cool to be jerk like you are!”
Taking advantage of Gilda being distracted, Rainbow started to criss-cross the sky, looking for a chance to strike. Gilda’s strategy started to backfire on her, but she was oblivious to that fact.
“Oh, yeah? How’s this, then!”
Gilda tried to tackle Rainbow again, but this time, the pegasus was ready. Before Gilda struck her, she dodged to the side and stopped in place. The sights of the fighters have met. Rainbow’s eyes were still lit with fire and a desire to win. She pointed her left hoof at Gilda.
“I hate to break it to you, G, but you’ve lost this battle the moment you attacked Firefly. No... actually, even back when you hurt Medley. But I’ve got to thank you for one thing. For challenging me! Thanks to you, I still have one more reason to fight and live! We may not be so different after all, but I can clearly see who is who. And you’re not yourself! But since there is nopony else in the sky besides us, now you’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see just how fast I really am!”
The blue pegasus resumed her lightning-fast flight. Gilda couldn’t even move and only kept on spinning her head around, trying to follow Rainbow’s trail. She started to lose her patience.
“What...? But, how? How can you be so fast? No! There’s no way I’ll ever lose to you, Rainbow Dash! I was always better! I am the best flier there is! I am a true ace!”
“What good is being the best if you don’t have any moments of happiness to cherish with your friends?” Rainbow asked her.
“Even if you really are a true ace, it doesn’t really matter, Gilda. You are alone!”
“I don’t need friends! They only ruin my cool style. Why do you still say these stupidities, Dash? Oh, I think I know... You cling to others because you’re helpless alone! Face it, Dash! You’re just a failure!”
Those last words made Rainbow really angry. She couldn’t stand Gilda’s attitude any longer. Although she almost didn’t heard them, all ponies on the ground were chanting: “Rainbow Dash! Rainbow Dash!”. She looked down and noticed them. Their cheering gave her additional reason to prove Gilda she was wrong.
“You obviously have no idea how friendship works! So I’m gonna show you!”
Rainbow suddenly changed direction and charged at Gilda, catching her off guard and delivering a powerful buck into the griffin’s chest.
“You mess with my friends...”
Rainbow then followed up with an uppercut to the beak.
“...you mess with me!”
Gilda flew back due to the force of the blows. She was unable to comprehend how Rainbow got so good and how she managed to keep her under pressure this whole time. Gilda tried to attack Rainbow one more time in desperation.
“I will get you, Rainbow Dash! Come on!”
However, Rainbow anticipated Gilda’s punch. When she got closer, the pegasus cambered backward, causing the attack to miss. Seconds later, Rainbow performed a powerful, precise kick straight into Gilda’s neck. That was a decisive blow.
Both of them appeared suspended in the cloudy sky. For a moment, it looked like time has slowed down...
“I pity you, Gilda. Your ambitions almost drove you to madness. This twisted game of yours needs to be reset. It’s over”, Rainbow said to her rival.
A shocked expression appeared on Gilda’s face as she started falling toward the ground. Other ponies were cheering, knowing that Rainbow has defeated her opponent.
But Rainbow did the unthinkable: she went after Gilda, trying to grab her and stop her from smashing her skull against the solid ground. When the first attempt failed, Rainbow tried going underneath Gilda. She managed to place herself under her belly, picked her up and started flapping her wings to remain in the air or, at least, lessen the strength of an eventual impact. Unfortunately, Rainbow was feeling very tired; that battle costed her the last remaining ounces of stamina.
Fluttershy saw what was happening. Not hesitating one bit, she flew up to Rainbow and helped her. When the two pegasi landed and dropped the unconscious griffon, the rain became more mellow. Panting heavily, Rainbow Dash slumped to the ground.
“Are you alright, Rainbow?” Fluttershy asked, visibly worried.
“Yeah... I’ll manage,” Rainbow gasped out.
“Why did you tried to save Gilda? She did all those horrible things to you...”
“I know, but still... Well, let’s just say I couldn’t let such a worthy opponent die. Besides, there’s no point in killing anyone anymore. And... something tells me she can realize her mistakes, just like I did.”
The blue pegasus slowly stood up. Fluttershy hugged her tightly, relieved that her friend was feeling better.
“But, you know...” Rainbow started.
“Some part of me wanted to fight her anyway. Maybe... a kind of way to prove something to myself.”
“No, Rainbow... She forced you to fight,” Fluttershy opposed.
“Whatever. In any case, it’s over now. Whew... what a way to end the war, huh?” Rainbow said casually with a grin.
Both pegasi saw other ponies approaching them. They were cheering and praising Rainbow for that incredible display of skill and agility.
“That was fantastic, Rainbow! You’re incredible!” Cloud Kicker was jumping around.
“That was some wild flight out there,” said Thunderlane.
“MVP, baby!” Shamrock added.
“Great job, Mirage 1!”
That last praise came from Firefly. She approached Rainbow with her left wing bandaged already. The two mares were simply radiating with joy. They didn’t need any other words. Some griffins, with Zeakros in the front, came as well. He extended his right claw, wanting to shake Rainbow’s hoof in respect.
“Magnificent fight. You are a true princess of the skies.”
Spitfire then got closer to Rainbow, poking her chest playfully with her right hoof.
“Nice fight, Rainbow Dash. Those were some impressive maneuvers.”
“Thanks. But, hey, I was just doing my job,” Rainbow replied smugly.
“I guess there’s no reason for us to stay here any longer. Let’s go back.”
“Wait,” Zeakros pleaded.
“I want to say that... I’m sorry. I can’t believe we have been fooled so easily by Red Cyclone’s machinations... If only we had been more perceptive, we could have avoided all this.”
“You are not the ones to be blamed,” Firebolt told him.
“The main instigator of the war has been finished. The punishment for him was clear. You’ve made a good choice by trapping him inside Fortress Intimidation.”
“True, but... If Black Star haven’t told me anything, we would probably still be dancing like puppets to Red Cyclone’s tunes. But no more. We’re no longer going to be bound to our orders and follow them blindly. Like that yellow pegasus said, we are not wild animals. We will make amends for our actions.”
“Know one thing, Zeakros. We, ponies, are always willing to forgive you for what happened. What will you do onward is your choice alone,” Twilight Sparkle said to him.
Firefly wanted to know about Black Star’s whereabouts, but Zeakros only said that he left the battlefield shortly after telling him about Red Cyclone’s plans. His current location was unknown. Rainbow turned to the orange-feathered soldier.
“Say, can you guys take care of Gilda? I don’t think she’s in condition to do anything right now.”
Rainbow’s rival was lying on the ground, but a brief examination confirmed that she was alive.
“Do not worry. I can tell she will be just fine,” Zeakros assured Rainbow.
“When Equestria will recover from the ravages of war, we shall pay a visit to your Princesses.”
Dash had a small hope that Gilda would actually realize that she was wrong about her new friends and may be willing to be Dash’s friend again. Spitfire adjusted her communicator to broadband frequency and told all ponies to return to Equestria. They were seen off by the griffins, some were waving them goodbye. It was clear they were relieved to see the war coming to an end. Zeakros promised Firefly and her companions from the Mirage squadron that, should they meet again, the ponies will no longer be treated like enemies.
Any wounded ponies, unable to walk or fly for a prolonged time, were carried by their friends’ on the backs. Upon walking for a while among the mountainous region, they saw those from the Medical Corps called by Gale at Firefly’s suggestion. The unicorns that were able to cast healing spells took care of the soldiers which were hurt the most. Meanwhile, the pegasi and earth ponies were helping the others. Within thirty minutes, they were ready to resume the march and return to Canterlot.
“Woo! I gotta say, that was one heck of a fight!” Quick Chaser said loudly as he walked next to Thunder Flicker.
“Oh, and by the way, Lancer 1. I’ve destroyed twenty two anti-air turrets.”
“Heh... Well, you’ve got me over by one point,” Thunder Flicker replied.
“But I’m glad to see you as a victor, since you’re still alive, pal.”
Quick Chaser seemed initially surprised by those words, but let out a big grin.
Flare Star and Sunburst were leading their companions from Dragon and Phoenix squadrons. The orange pegasus looked a little glum, as he lost two more fliers that replaced those who fell in previous battles. He cared for his companions like they were his brothers. Flare Star tried to make him feel better by saying that he’s an excellent fighter. Sunburst squared that statement with a warm smile.
Tornado Swirl and Overdrive were both suffering from mild slash wounds, but the fact they both managed to survive mattered the most for them. Every now and then, Overdrive nuzzled Tornado in the cheek to show her affection toward him. He wasn’t embarrassed at all.
Spitfire and the rest of the Wonderbolts were talking among themselves. The fiery-maned pegasus moved her sight toward Rainbow Dash, who was speaking with her friends at the front. She seemed to be smiling at the blue pegasus. Did that last duel convinced Spitfire to give Dash a chance to become one of them? Soarin’ and Firebolt both stated that Rainbow would definitely be a great addition to the team, but Spitfire remained silent in that matter.
Even the three foreign aces, although battle-hardened and with lots of experience, agreed on one thing: those responsible for starting the conflict were punished and dealt with. But Talisman and Shamrock still wanted to stay in Equestria a little bit longer, hoping to be of some help in rebuilding it. While Mobius remained silent, his expression made it obvious he thought the same.
The war has ended at last, but not without a high price. Even though several ponies seemed glad to have survived the ordeal, others seemed depressed. They all hoped that upon returning to Canterlot there could be some way to fix the damage caused by the conflict.
Canterlot Castle Grounds
Having returned to the capital while passing by the scorched fields of Equestria, the ponies, especially the Mirage squadron were greeted as true heroines. And yet, despite the joy, some sort of desolation was present in many ponies’ hearts. So many of their friends have perished... The flora and fauna of Equestria as a whole also suffered a mighty blow. Many areas where forest animals used to live were reported as becoming nearly barren due to intense, uncontrollable fires. The downpour that seemingly followed all returning warriors from The Griffin Kingdom revealed just how great the damage was. It was no surprise that several ponies just couldn’t enjoy the victory, no matter how much they wanted to.
Fluttershy felt deep grief for all those poor animals, additionally feeling troubled about her own pets. While Medley and Cloud Kicker tried to cheer her up, they also felt a little sad. Lightning Bolt was actually astounded they’ve managed to win the war.
“Equestria wasn’t in any kind of conflict for several hundred years. When you look at it that way, we did an exceptionally good job.”
“But... but so many have died. Blueberry... Carrot Top..." Fluttershy said in a low voice.
Derpy felt devastated when she thought about her friend. Never again would she hear her voice or see her smile... Dinky and Pipsqueak saw the sorrow on Derpy’s face, so they approached and hugged her. The grey mare tried her best to smile, promising to take care of Pipsqueak as though the little colt would be her own son. Dinky was really glad to hear that Pipsqueak will stay with her, since she has grown a liking to him as well.
Applejack and Rarity found Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle among the crowd. The happiness on both fillies faces was indescribable. Scootaloo was also delighted to see Rainbow Dash and Firefly coming back. The Wonderbolts were greeted by Gale, who expressed genuine gratefulness for the horror of war coming to an end. Mobius met with Sky Eye; the white stallion seemed really glad and praised the ace for a great fight and how he defeated Echo. Talisman and Shamrock were observing all these celebrations and warm reunions slightly on the side, but upon being called by other pegasi, they had no reason to refuse and not join them.
In the midst of everything, Spike came to see Twilight and her friends, asking them to follow him inside the castle. Princesses Celestia and Luna wanted to talk with them. Firefly saw them off.
Upon reaching the main chamber, the six ponies were greeted by the Royal Sisters. When Twilight’s companions rose from the floor after bowing, Princess Celestia spoke first.
“My little ponies, we want to thank you for defending Equestria once again. This has been a great victory for you and us all.”
“But, Princess...” Twilight spoke timidly.
“Our victory doesn’t feel like one... There was so much death and destruction...”
“Yeah... Majority of cities also suffered heavy damage,” Applejack added.
“And whole Equestria is probably horribly incinerated...” Fluttershy whimpered.
“That war was ugly. I’ve never thought anyone could be so cruel as that Red Cyclone creep,” Pinkie Pie squeaked with an upset tone.
“We can rebuild the cities, plant new seeds... but what about those who died?” Rarity asked.
“If only there was some way to avert this catastrophe...”
“Actually, Rarity, there is,” Princess Luna said.
“My sister and I have been prepared to fix the damage caused by the war in some way. But we’ll require your cooperation.”
Twilight, Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash looked at the Royal Sisters with utter surprise on their faces. Not saying a word, the two winged unicorns gestured for the six ponies to follow them. Celestia and Luna led them to the Canterlot Tower, to the place where the Elements of Harmony were being kept. Upon opening the magical seal, Princess Celestia presented the Elements before its bearers.
“As you know, the power of the Elements of Harmony saved Equestria countless times,” she spoke.
“It’s true that the destruction from this war in one on a grand scale. But if we were able to combine the power of the Elements and our own magic, it will increase their power and they will allow us to perform something akin to a miracle.”
“There are two possible outcomes of using such power,” Princess Luna carried on.
“One of them will allow us to hasten the rejuvenation process of Equestria. Within a few weeks, all plant life should gradually start returning back to the state from before the war. The animals will be cured or resurrected as well. It might appear as if Equestria was never invaded to begin with.”
While this option seemed quite gratifying, Applejack wanted to know about the alternate effect of combining the magic of the Elements of Harmony with the one of Royal Sisters. When Princess Celestia spoke of the second solution, her words sounded improbably at first.
“If we were to choose the other way to harness this power, we would be able to revive every single victim of this war.”
“Every... single... one?” Rarity muttered.
“Is it really possible?”
“It is,” Luna confirmed.
“However, for every single victim we also mean the griffins, including the one responsible for starting the entire conflict.”
“So, that means...” Twilight thought aloud.
“It means that if we were to revive everyone, we would also revive Red Cyclone and his freaks. And then, the whole war will most likely start over again,” Rainbow Dash said angrily.
For a moment, she thought the idea to bring all the dead back to life was the best option. Now she had to alter her way of thinking.
“So we either restore Equestria’s flora and fauna or we revive all victims of the war... with a risk of starting this whole mess over again... And if we choose the first solution, we won’t be able to see our deceased friends again... What kind of a choice is that?!” Rarity lamented.
“There is another thing...” Princess Celestia added.
“The amount of magical power needed to revive so many fallen will have to be enormous...” she stopped briefly before continuing.
“There is a possibility that the Elements of Harmony may become unusable and our own existence will be threatened as well... In other words, we may disappear, never to return. ”
Those words were shocking. Princesses Celestia and Luna were one of the few surviving members of their specific pony species. Additionaly, they were responsible for controlling the entire cycle of the day in Equestria, lowering the sun and the moon to change day for night. Their deaths could have serious consequences for the land of the ponies. Each and every pony subject loved them both and would be greatly affected by their passing.
Minutes have languished, but ultimately, both the bearers of the Elements and the Royal Sisters agreed that it wouldn’t be fair if they had made the decision on their own. Princesses Celestia and Luna have decided to use telepathy in order to speak to every pony in Equestria and ask them which solution they would prefer. The thoughts of their subjects have slowly started to flow into the consciousness of the Royal Sisters.
Many of the pleas were actually wishing for the revival of the victims. Those who tried to oppose this option were mostly those who fought bravely during the war and were not wishing to see it happening again. Even some fillies wanted to see “the ponies in a deep sleep”, as they called them, to wake up, as some of the kids lost a parent or a relative during the conflict. Others wished to see the innocent animals running on the fields and in forests again.
The expressions on Celestia and Luna’s faces, as well as Twilight and her friends, with whom the Princesses shared their thoughts for this moment, were showing sadness, sympathy, and even shadows of anger. But that anger wasn’t directed toward their subjects. The rulers of Equestria were aggravated on themselves. It was obvious that whichever choice was going to be made, not everypony will be satisfied. And yet, the sisters were not afraid to risk their very existence if it meant restoring their land to its former self.
Finally, when all thoughts and pleas had been gathered, Celestia and Luna have come to a decision. They were ready to use their powers to amplify the Elements of Harmony.
“Princess Celestia... what will happen when we will use the Elements?” Twilight asked.
“It is unknown even to us,” the solar princess responded.
“Every pony had their own interpretation and reasons on which solution should be used. But they have spoken from their hearts. We are prepared. How about you? Which solution do you chose?”
“B-But... what if you will disappear? What if the Elements will not be useable again? If another disaster befalls Equestria, what are we going to do...?” Twilight sounded very worried.
But her friends were right next to her.
“Don’t fret, Twilight. If things get bad, we’re gonna clean the mess up, as always,” Applejack assured her with a sprightly tone.
She put her necklace, representing Honesty, on her neck. Pinkie Pie and Rarity followed suit, stating they are not afraid of the result of this spell.
Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy also slowly put their necklaces on. All symbols started to glow.
“I can’t say it’s gonna be all fine and dandy if the war will start again... but I’ll be ready for whatever comes our way. If the need will rise, I’ll lead the Mirage squadron to battle the enemy again!” the blue flier promised.
“I want to see Equestria reborn... but I’d also wish for our friends to come back... It’s so difficult for me to choose...” Fluttershy felt slightly lost at first, before she said:
“I will accept whatever choice the ponies made. If the conflict will begin again, I’ll come with Rainbow!”
Twilight was the last to put on her Element, a beautiful tiara, which represented Magic.
“... My mind is set. I don’t know what will happen, but I won’t abandon my friends or Equestria. Never, ever! As the bearers of the Elements of Harmony, we must do our best to secure our land. We are ready, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna!”
“Very well” Celestia noded.
“Then let us begin...”
Spike covered his eyes, seeing the intense bright light radiating from the gathered ponies. It was expanding slowly. It soon enveloped the entire Canterlot castle. The ponies outside were pointing at the phenomenon, not sure what it meant. Soon, they were also caught inside of the light sphere. With every second, it grew larger and after a while, it was surrounded by colorful rainbows. The power of the Elements has been amplified due to the magic of the Royal Sisters.
The result of the spell was a decision made by the ponies of Equestria.