Rainbow Dash sprinted through the streets, her leg smashing into the road beneath her. Her bones were stiff; the cold air numbed her senses. Each breath scratched down her throat, as she inhaled. The sun was beginning to show, flooding the world with its intense glow.
As she raced onward, her heart began to pump faster than it was ever supposed to, the blood rushed through her entire body, she felt as if at any moment she were going to burst, still she kept her pace. Her lungs couldn't draw air quickly enough for the oxygen her body demanded, the muscles burned as they cried for more precious air. Each pound into the earth caused a splintering sensation in the braced leg, the strain far more than exceeded what it could handle.
The farmhouse of Sweet Apple Acres', and its destroyed orchards blurred past her as she kept running down the road, a small cloud of snow following her as she went. The gorge was still a few miles away, her body being tortured as it was pushed to new limits with every step.
Her concerns for Applejack's fueled her, with every passing moment more agonizing then the last. Her bruised ribs felt as if they were cracking, despite the injuries she had sustained from her previous engagement, it didn't slow her. The road began to branch off, a sign pointing in the direction towards her destination.
The fork leading to the Gorge appeared, the road slowly inclining as it stretched on. She spotted a trail of hoofprints leading up the path to the highest point of the gorge, she followed them. The more the Pegasus ascended, the colder the air became, and the snow thickening, restricting her speed, which gave her body some of the leisure it had begged for. As Rainbow Dash plowed through the deep snow, an object struck her from the sky, a silver Pegasus soon followed, swooping down, and picking her up.
The stallion climbed up the steadily steepening ground. Applejack flung helplessly over the unknown pony. She tried shifting her hooves back and forth gently, trying not to draw attention to herself, hoping she could slip out of the binds. Her restraints were far too tight, and they had been well knotted, rendering her attempts useless. She wouldn't wait though, at the very least, she would know why this was happening.
"Why are yah doing this?" Applejack's shouted, her voice muffled by the bag covering her face. The stallion continued on in silence. "Ah said, why are yah doing this!" she yelled even louder and flailed her bound hooves into his stomach.
"You can stay still or I can drag you the rest of the way." The stallion said, tossing her up in the air briefly as a warning.
"Answer me!" Applejack yelled again, this time without any movement.
"I do this job, I get paid, I'm outta this place. I don't care what happens to you, so long as I get my money. Now keep quiet!" he barked at her.
Applejack continued to ignore his request, "Do this job fer who?" she asked, hoping to delay him or at least get a few answers.
"Don't know the pony’s name, don't care, like I said, I'm just here for my money. I'm not going to tell you again, shut up." He spoke slowly, and clearly, making sure there was no miscommunication.
Applejack's weight shifted away from her flank, back towards her chest as they walked on flat land once more. The orange pony was shook off the stallion's back, crashing into the ice beneath her, the bag still covering her face. "Where's my money?"
A deep scratching voice responded, "You'll get it when the rainbow one gets here. I don't care how you get her here, it just better be soon, the job was for both ponies, not just the farmer."
The stallion spoke again "They'll be here with her soon."
"They better. Now bring her over here and tie her up." The pony commanded. An agitated grunt escaped from her captor as he dragged her across the burning ice to the other pony. "Don't worry" The scratchy voice said, "It'll all be over soon." There was a certain glee in the words as the pony spoke them. The pony seemed to be taking a sick pleasure in whatever plans had been set.
A third rope was tied around Applejack's waist as she sat there, the ice was too slippery for her to make any attempt of escape, and she would be recaptured easily, if she tried. The other end of the rope was soon secured on another source, she assumed it was to make their efforts of containing her less difficult.
The cold ice beneath her began to sting her coat, causing her to shift sides she rested on. When she did, she felt no ground beneath her hooves, and she started to slip off the edge. "Not yet, we don't want to start too soon." The voice commanded and she was pulled back to safety.
A new type of fear filled her, one she had never experienced before. She had been afraid of injury or scared because her mind was being irrational and playing tricks on her. This fear was different, it didn't make her tremble. This instead immobilized her completely. Her body refused to do anything in hopes to prolong the inevitable that it felt coming.
It took her minutes to regain control of herself, "W-w-what're yah g-g-gonna d-do?" she stuttered, her jaws trying to stay shut with each word.
"I think we both know the answer to that question, now don't we?" The voice answered.
Applejack didn't want to believe this was real, she prayed just before the end; she would wake up in her bed, next to her precious Pegasus. Rainbow Dash, she wanted her near, to comfort her, to tell her everything would be alright. At the same time, she knew what was to come if her love had been here, and she knew it was only a matter of time before the others would arrive.
"Do ah at least get tah know why?"
"We both know why. I’ve been chosen to rid Equestria of such vile filth like you. Ponies like you are nothing more than disgraces to our very existence. No pony else will solve the problems so I'll gladly take the matter into my own hooves." Once finished with the speech the pony wretched and spat in her direction.
"The rainbow one is here!" The henchpony called out.
"Excellent!" The voice shouted, filled with excitement. The bag was removed from Applejack's head, revealing a cloaked figure, whose hoof pushed her, the ground slipping away beneath her. She dangled in the air, the other end of the rope halting her fall from a dead tree near the cliff. "Bring the Pegasus here." The voice said.
Quicksilver reached the summit, Rainbow Dash unconscious in her clutches. She followed her orders and approached the two. "Where's our money?" The stallion asked again. The cloaked pony withdrew a small sack that jingled as he tossed it to him.
"Now get out of here" The pony commanded. "Except you, I need you to hold her when she wakes up." The cloaked pony said pointing at the silver Pegasus.
The stallion ran off, no longer caring what would happen, he had his money and was gone, just as he had told Applejack. "Wake her." The masked voice said. Quicksilver nodded, and shook the sleep out of the Pegasus she firmly gripped.
"Please, don't do this!" Applejack's frightened voice called out, tears filling her eyes. Rainbow Dash looked around, her mind was still slow, and her eyes still fuzzy from the impact on her head. The words echoing her ears as everything caught up with her. The cloak figure grabbed the Pegasus's face, pointing her towards the suspended pony.
The concealed pony said nothing, letting out a quiet snicker which he could not mask, it was not enough to reveal who he was, only his gender. He began to approach the tree, placing a hoof on the rope. Rainbow Dash froze at the sight, then shook out of it, there was still time. She struggled against Quicksilver freeing a single hoof, the ice kept the two off balance. Rainbow Dash battered her injured hoof into the pony's, causing her to lose her hoofing.
The silver pony's head smashed into the ice dazing her. Rainbow Dash slid her opponent away and returned to her hooves, starting to charge. Before she could get to him, the cloaked pony panicked and unknotted the end of the rope holding Applejack. Rainbow Dash didn't stop to think, her heart pounded, she ran past the veiled pony, straight towards the cliff, she closed her eyes, diving off the ledge after her falling mare.
Her mind raced, but there was no way out of this. Rainbow Dash had only one last option, one that Applejack would never have allowed if she had any say in the matter. Only a few seconds behind the orange pony, using her years of flying experience, she drove herself towards Applejack. She made a firm bite to each rope, releasing her of the shackles.
The Pegasus pushed herself below the orange mare, "I'm sorry, Applejack" she yelled, the frozen lake rushing closer towards them.
"No!" Applejack begged, grabbing at Rainbow Dash, trying to pull her back up.
Rainbow Dash turned her head, giving her a loving, comforting smile, "It's going to be okay, Applejack. I love you."
The gray that had cast over her peeled away, her sky blue coat, and her radiant rainbow mane returning to their former colors. She would be there for her love after all, this one last time. Rainbow Dash closed her eyes, bracing herself for what was to come next. As her fate approached her she knew she had been loyal to her sweet, loving Applejack until the very end.