Medieval – Bonds Beyond Time & Space
When the group arrived in Medieval, DASH-379 looked around.
“I can still sense the life stream that is Celestia,” DASH said.
“Where is it?” Rarity asked walking up to her.
“It appears to me as a trail of sort,” DASH explained pointing south, “I believe that the stream is flowing from this direction.”
“So do we head right there?” Twilight asked.
“I'd like to, but we need to be prepared,” Applejack said folding her arms, “My teacher always told me, “better to take a while to prepare than to rush toward your death”. We should head to Canterlot to make sure we're prepared.”
“It is true that we need to brush up on our supplies,” DASH-379 stated, “Also, some of you need to update your equipment. I refuse to carry any of you.”
“You carry us?” Twilight asked, “Says the one who still hasn't quite learned how to dodge!”
“Hey! I dodge plenty! Whenever it suits me!”
“It's like talking to a brick wall sometimes…” Twilight sighed defeated.
Fluttershy pulled out her daggers and examined them. The blades looked old, but the handle looked specialized.
“Not want to use different weapon,” Fluttershy said, “Daggers special to me.”
“Don't worry,” Applejack said turning to the town, “The person we're meeting will know exactly what to do with your weapons. No one is going to have to change anything. Follow me.”
As they all walked after Applejack, Twilight stopped for a second and held her head.
“Twilight? Are you okay?” Rarity asked running to her side.
“Yeah, I think I might just be pushing myself a little too hard is all,” Twilight admitted. Rarity then remembered that only a few hours ago she was poisoned. Was it okay for her to be up and at 'em like this?
“Sweetheart, should we tell the others we need to rest?” Rarity asked putting her hand on Twilight's back, saddened when Twilight shook her head.
“We need to rescue the Queen as soon as possible,” Twilight said, “I should be fine Rarity. Thanks though.”
Twilight kissed Rarity on the cheek and walked ahead. Rarity pursed her lips and then ran after her special friend. She was pushing herself too hard, Rarity knew it.
Applejack lead the group to a blacksmith's shop called “Facet's Forge”. They were surprised, as they half expected Applejack to take them back to the castle. Applejack walked right inside, where they saw a woman with long blue hair with a light blue highlight and a purple bow in her hair sitting by the counter.
“Sapphire,” Applejack called out. Immediately the woman looked up from her paper and ran to Applejack beaming.
“Applejack! It's so wonderful to see you!” The woman, Sapphire said, her voice soft with a slight British hilt.
“Yeah, it's been a while hasn't it?” Applejack said, “Facet back there?”
“Where else would he be?” Sapphire asked before turning to the back room, “FACET!!! WE GOT CUSTOMERS!!! APPLEJACK AND SOME FRIENDS ARE HERE!!!”
“THEN BRING THEM IN, WOMAN!!! YOU KNOW WE DON'T LET APPLEJACK WAIT TOO LONG!!!”
“WELL EXCUUUUUUUSE ME FOR BEING RESPECTFUL!!! NEXT TIME YOU'RE WORKING ON A PERSONAL PROJECT, I'LL JUST SEND HER RIGHT IN AND INTERRUPT YOU!!! HOW'S THAT, HUH?!!!” Sapphire turned back to the group completely composed, “Head on back, everyone.”
“S-sure… thanks…” Rarity said, still blown away by that display. Honestly, it seemed like Applejack was the only one not fazed by that in the slightest.
“Oh my God…” Twilight said checking her ears as they walked back to the forge, “I think my eardrums burst.”
“Trust me, you get used to it,” Applejack said laughing a bit, “They're actually madly in love with each other.”
In the back area, they saw a hulking man with shorter sapphire blue hair with amethyst highlights setting up a large forge. When he saw Applejack, his somewhat scary looking face softened immediately.
“Applejack! Good to see you, girl!”
“Likewise Facet,” Applejack said hugging the man, apparently named Facet. When he saw the rest of the group, his eyes lit up a bit.
“Oh, these are your friends, eh?” Facet asked.
“Yep, they're an odd bunch, but they're quickly becoming the closest friends I've ever had. This is Fluttershy, DASH-379, and these two…”
When Applejack pointed to Twilight and Rarity, Facet did a double take. First he walked over to Twilight and looked her up and down.
“She's the spitting image of the castle wizard,” Facet said.
“It's… crazy to say the least,” Applejack said, “Let's just say, the world is a lot bigger than I initially thought.”
“It's a pleasure to meet you, sir,” Twilight said holding out her hand, “My name actually is Twilight Sparkle.”
“The pleasure is all mine, sweetheart,” Facet said, taking her hand elegantly and kissing it. Twilight blushed but then turned to Rarity, who was giving her a suspicious glare.
“YOU BETTER NOT BE FLIRTING WITH THOSE GIRLS BACK THERE!!!”
“I WAS JUST BEING NICE!!! FOCUS ON YOUR JOB AND I'LL FOCUS ON MINE!!!”
“YOU DON'T KNOW THE MEANING OF THE WORD!!!”
“Devil woman… I tell you…” Facet grumbled.
“I do not know if my audio receptors can handle much more of that…” DASH-379 said.
Facet then turned to Rarity and looked at her in shock. It was like he was looking at a ghost.
“A-Applejack! This girl… she's-”
“No she isn't,” Applejack interrupted, “Not quite at least. It's a long story, one that we don't have time to tell you. We're here to reinforce everyone's weapons for an important mission.”
“I see. In that case, I won't press ya,” Facet said walking to the forge, “Now, who's weapon am I taking care of first?”
Rarity frowned a bit looking at Facet and Applejack. She still wondered if they were talking about what she thought they were talking about.
“Fluttershy, do you wish to go first?” DASH-379 asked Fluttershy, who was hiding behind her looking at Facet fearfully.
“Facet is man. Not go near man,” Fluttershy said trembling.
“Fluttershy, it's okay,” Twilight said, “He's not going to hurt-”
“Not go near man!” Fluttershy fussed.
“You'll have to excuse her, sir,” Rarity said, “She had a very bad experience with a man before, and it's made her somewhat afraid of them.”
“You don't need to go any further,” Facet said. He slowly approached Fluttershy and DASH-379 and held out his hand, “I promise you, you're perfectly safe here.”
“Not… hurt… me…?” Fluttershy asked warily.
“All I want is to reinforce your weapon, that's it,” Facet said with a kind smile, “You don't even need to come near me. Just let me borrow your daggers, and I'll be finished quickly.”
Fluttershy was understandably apprehensive, but she slowly reached for her daggers and handed it to Facet, immediately holding onto DASH-379 for protection.
Facet nodded, and walked over to his forge, immediately getting to work. Since her weapons were smaller, it didn't take long, and before they knew it, Fluttershy's daggers looked shiny and brand new.
“Here you go, little lady,” Facet said handing her back her newly reinforced daggers, “Why don't you give them a try? Just not on me, okay?”
Fluttershy slowly reached for her daggers, snatching them from Facet and hugging them. She then examined them, and swung them around, surprised by how easily they cut through the air. Fluttershy turned to Facet with narrowed eyes before averting them away.
“T-t-thank you…” she said before running to the far end of the room and sitting down by herself. DASH-379 and Rarity both looked at her sadly.
“Don't worry about it,” Facet said catching their attention, “Some scars take a long time to heal. I think she's going to be okay though.”
“I hope so,” Rarity said, DASH-379 nodding in response.
Facet proceeded to work on everyone's weapons. He even managed to upgrade DASH-379 a bit, putting a special stone into her arms that channeled energy. The last one he worked on was Applejack, who actually was the only on in the room with him at the time.
“So… you didn't tell her?” Facet asked.
“She probably suspects,” Applejack said, “I wouldn't know how to tackle that anyway. She's been through a lot so far, so hearing that my teacher was…” Applejack shook her head, “How's the search coming along?”
“You mean for the Rainbow Shells? At the moment, pretty slow. If I had that, I could finish that blade for you. I wish I had it ready for your big mission.”
“I'll be fine,” Applejack said, “Those girls will be supporting me. They've really grown on me, you know?”
“Nice to see you opening up to people,” Facet said, “You sort of closed yourself off after The General died.”
Applejack looked down seriously, remembering the day she lost the most important person in her life next to the queen.
Applejack, wearing nothing but her red and golden nightgown, ran out to the fields behind the town. It was nighttime, and the rain was pouring down, making it hard to see. Even still, she knew she had to find her Teacher. If what the Queen said was true, then today was the day she'd…
Applejack stopped before a hill, where she saw Pinkamena and her Teacher fighting. Unlike Applejack currently, her Teacher was in her full black and purple armor, her helmet closed and her spear ready. Shoot! Applejack forgot her sword! If she died, it would be because of her foolishness and haste.
“General!” Applejack cried helplessly. Pinkamena turned to Applejack, smiled evilly, and then threw her bladed hoop at Applejack. The General reacted instantly, blocking the attack and sending the hoop back to its master.
Leave her out of this!
I'm the one you want!
Applejack looked in awe and fear as her beloved General rushed back to her opponent.
Sadly, The General wasn't the one destined for victory, as after a long fight, Pinkamena rushed past her armored opponent slashing with her hoop, breaking through her armor.
“NO!!!!!” Applejack screamed as the General fell to the ground. Applejack ran over to the General, taking off her helmet resting her head on her lap, “Please, you can't die! I'm not ready yet!”
The General slowly reached for Applejack's cheek and caressed it, smiling despite herself.
My spirit will always be with you…
The General's hand slowly fell to the ground limp. Applejack shook her master to wake her, but to no avail.
“No…! No! You're not dead! You're not! You haven't taught me the final lesson yet! Please General! Don't leave me!”
As Applejack sobbed holding her best friend/teacher/commanding officer in her arms, Pinkamena turned her back to them and walked off, swinging her hoop and whistling a jovial tune.
“I'm still hunting for her killer,” Applejack said venomously, “I've found quite a few leads, as it seems she's an enemy of my group's as well.”
Facet nodded and handed Applejack her now fully reinforced blade.
“Just don't forget everything the General taught you,” Facet said, “She wouldn't want you to lose yourself to revenge.”
“This isn't about revenge,” Applejack said sheathing her sword and turning to the door, “This is about justice.”
As she left, Facet shook his head somberly.
“I wonder, do you know the difference between the two right now…?” Facet asked, more to himself than to Applejack.
Applejack met up with the others right outside of the shop.
“So, now that we have everything we need,” Applejack said turning to DASH-379, who nodded.
“The life stream is still strong,” DASH-379 stated, “However, we should still hurry on ahead.”
“Right,” Twilight said, “We can't keep Celestia waiting too long. We have to rescue her as quickly as possible.”
As they all followed DASH-379, Rarity ran up to Applejack.
“Um, about what happened in the shop,” Rarity said, “Just who did he think I was?”
“No one you need to be worried about,” Applejack said, “I mean, right now isn't the best time, and with what's going on, you need to be focused.”
“I know, but-”
“If you lose focus in battle, that's when people you care about die,” Applejack said, “Never forget the point of your journey, Rarity.”
“I won't,” Rarity said, a little taken aback by how sincere Applejack was.
After traveling for a bit, Twilight started getting woozy and actually fell to her knees. DASH-379 was the first one to turn to her.
“Twilight is down!” DASH-379 shouted. Everyone gathered around her.
“Twilight! What's wrong darling?” Rarity cried.
“My head just feels a little funny is all,” Twilight said. Fluttershy knelt down in front of Twilight and examined her closely.
“Poison not fully heal yet,” Fluttershy said, “Need to rest or poison resurface.”
“But… no!” Twilight fussed, “We can't keep Celestia waiting! I'm… I'm not going to hold anyone back…!”
Twilight tried to rise to her feet, but quickly fell down again, this time Applejack catching her though.
“We're setting up camp,” Applejack stated, “We'll continue our journey in the morning.”
“Damn it…” Twilight said sadly.
After making sure Twilight was resting, Fluttershy went to the campfire with Rarity, DASH-379, and Applejack.
“Twilight fine now,” Fluttershy said, “Need to rest, but be okay by morning.”
“If she needed to rest, she should have told us,” DASH-379 said, “She is the most important member of our group.”
“Geez, she reminds me of myself a bit,” Applejack stated, “Pushing myself too hard. My Teacher scolded me time and time again for that.”
Rarity shook her head, shot up, and walked over to where Twilight was, leaving Applejack, Fluttershy, and DASH-379 alone.
“I have been thinking,” DASH-379 said after a second, “The way the worlds are all broken up is odd.”
“You think so too, huh?” Applejack asked, “Both your world and theirs has a story about that Pinocchio character, your world's problems are shown through what Twilight called “Science Fiction”.”
“Remember back in forest?” Fluttershy asked, “Large statue we fight there was robot like in DASH's world.”
“And Facet used the same sort of mana infused stone for my arm cannon that I always use,” DASH-379 said, “None of these things should be possible.”
“Robots don't exist in Fluttershy's world, and why would our worlds use the same magi-tech concepts?” Applejack asked, “Celestia being able to connect to her alters is crazy enough, but more and more I'm beginning to wonder how the worlds actually connect.”
“Maybe… worlds are same world,” Fluttershy said, naturally confusing everyone there.
“What do you mean?” Applejack asked.
“Maybe worlds not separate, or at least not separate always. Key that Rarity use to travel through worlds come from DASH's world, but found in my world. Also… I sometimes feel… strange.”
“Strange? How so?” DASH-379 asked.
“Feel like… this is familiar,” Fluttershy said looking at both Applejack and DASH-379, “DASH and Applejack not feel like strangers when met. Twilight and Rarity same, especially Rarity. I never see her before, but…” Fluttershy placed a hand on her heart, “Feel like she is special friend. It same feeling I get from DASH, like…”
“Like we were always friends…?” DASH-379 asked, finishing for Fluttershy, “I did not say anything about it, as the data was foreign, but I felt the same way about both you and Rarity. I experience odd data whenever I am in your presence, and this data tells me that I must protect all of you with my life.”
“Okay, so I'm not going crazy then,” Applejack said folding her arms.
“You too?” Fluttershy asked.
“When I saw Rarity, I was elated. Not just because she reminded me of my… teacher… but because something inside of me was crying out to her. Also,” Applejack turned to DASH-379, “It's the same with you. I feel a strong bond with you, one that's volatile, but close.”
“Like we were always in competition, correct?” DASH-379 asked, Applejack nodding in response, “I wonder if it is a connection to Rarity's variants of us?”
“But that wouldn't explain everything,” Applejack said, “Sure, that would explain why we all feel a pull to her, but why each other? The three of us are all from different worlds, and yet…”
“Feel like… always friends…” Fluttershy looked down, a single tear falling from her eyes, “Why does… chest hurt so much…? Feel like… I lost something…”
“I think this proves Fluttershy's beliefs,” Applejack said, “That the worlds were all once connected, maybe even one world.”
“Perhaps Lavos is the reason for the worlds splitting up like this,” DASH-379 said, “If we defeat Lavos, perhaps we can fix things.”
“Like, bring worlds back together?” Fluttershy asked, “If do that, we not have to say goodbye?”
“I… think I'd like that,” Applejack said, “If we're all supposed to be friends, I don't want to say goodbye either.”
DASH-379 turned away from everyone, looking down at her hand sadly. She slowly closed her fist again, closing her eyes somberly as she remembered her new prime directive. Eventually, she'd have to…
Fluttershy made a makeshift tent for Twilight so she could get the rest she needed. When Rarity approached the tent, she saw Twilight lying on her side, her eyes closed. Rarity sighed and turned to leave the tent.
“Please stay,” Twilight said softly. Rarity turned to see Twilight awake and looking up at Rarity sadly. Rarity lied down next to Twilight caressing her face lovingly.
“Why do you push yourself so hard?” Rarity asked, “You know how important you are, right?”
“I do…” Twilight admitted, “That's why I push myself like I do. Rarity, back home I'm no one special. Yeah, I'm smart, pretty, and talented, but that's it. I'm not a high priestess, a mobile weapon, or a knight. I'm just Twilight.”
“And there's noting wrong with that,” Rarity said.
“But maybe I don't want to be “just Twilight”!” Twilight cried, shocking Rarity, “Maybe I want to be someone special! Someone important! Someone strong like…” she looked into Rarity's eyes, “Like you!”
“I look up to you, but at the same time… I'm really jealous of you. You're so brave, and everyone relies on you. Even DASH was willing to ask for your help. The fact that you go through all of this and… you're still able to stand so tall is-” she was cut off by Rarity's sad laugh, “What?”
“Oh Twilight, you have the completely wrong impression of me,” Rarity said, now lying on her back and looking up, “You really think I'm brave, and strong? Don't you realize? The only reason I'm able to be like this is because of you. The truth is… I'm really afraid. Not just of my powers, not just of Luna, or even Lavos. I'm afraid of… of the truth…”
“The truth…?” Twilight asked, shocked when Rarity completely broke down.
“The truth that I'll never see home again!” Rarity sobbed, “That my Twilight, my Fluttershy, my Rainbow Dash, my Pinkie Pie, and my Applejack are dead, and that Sunset Shimmer is…!” her words were lost in heavy sobs, “This Twilight, this is the real me… What you admire so much… is a facade…”
“Rarity…” Twilight said sadly.
“This is why… I need you…” Rarity said, “Why you're so important to me. The longer this goes, the closer I feel to breaking down completely. You are special, Twilight. Maybe not in a way that affects the whole world, but you're special to me,” she turned to Twilight, “Why isn't that enough?”
Twilight looked pained, but she quickly embraced Rarity, both of them crying.
“I'm sorry I was so selfish,” Twilight said, “I know I'm important to you, but…”
“But nothing…!” Rarity said, “You're my light, remember? Focus on that… and stay alive… Please…!”
They stayed like that for the rest of the night, crying themselves to sleep but feeling comforted in the embrace of their beloved friend. Rarity didn't know what she and Twilight were anymore, but it felt much closer than merely friends.
Were they actually…?
The following morning, the group continued their way to the castle. On the way, Applejack shared with Rarity and Twilight their theory of the worlds, and how they might have all been one world at some point.
“That does seem to make sense,” Rarity said, “But then, how did the worlds split up? And why?”
“That's what we need to ask Luna,” Applejack said, “I'm thinking she might know more about this than any of us.”
“Speaking of Luna,” DASH-379 said, “We have arrived.”
The five of them all looked up to see a large gothic looking castle. The front door was open, which in of itself was somewhat ominous.
“She's expecting us,” Twilight said.
“Sense evil intent,” Fluttershy said, “Something dark inside castle.”
“I do not care how dark it is,” DASH-379 stated, “Someone inside of there has a date with my arm cannon.”
“Your Majesty, wait for me,” Applejack said, “I'm coming.”
“Well everyone,” Rarity stepped forward, “Let's go meet Nightmare Moon.”
The five of them ran through the front gate, unaware of the demonic jester watching them from a window.
“Looks like it's finally time,” Pinkamena said, “I guess I'll stop playing with you, Chrono Trigger.”