Rainbow Dash watched as Russet disappeared behind the corners the compound.
Holding Goldheart’s limp body, she let it down slowly, as gently as she could. With a deep breath, she growled and stretched out her newly buffed wings, feeling the power that came from within. Glancing aside at both of them, she looked up and fully flapped.
The amount of air that suddenly moved underneath her surprised Rainbow Dash, so much so that she cried in surprise when she suddenly flew backwards as well as upwards. Trying to steady herself, she crashed into the back walls of the room. Groaning more out of embarrassment and anger than pain, she growled and twitched her eyes at her wings. This time flapping them lightly, she found that she now hovered at her usual pace.
Frowning, flapping much more gently than she was used to, shakily geared herself up and…
She shot forward at a speed she couldn’t control and immediately went for a tumble as her wings clipped the doorway. She yelped as she rolled to a stop, feathers ruffling. In a blink, she shook her head and shouted in frustration and anger, choosing instead to gallop. Bursting through the doors, she followed her way back through the shop.
Widening her eyes as she saw the kindly old mare that had greeted them earlier lying on the ground, she went to check on her. Rushing to her side, Rainbow found a hoof-sized singe on the mare’s coat, with streaks of the black substance beginning to spiderweb across her. Touching it, she found that it hissed into nothingness the moment it came into contact with her own fur. Glancing up at the sound of screaming, glass shattering, and loud percussions, she found Russet standing in the middle of the street.
In one hoof, she focused on a small object that radiated power for a moment before something burst from it in the blink of an instant. An instant, Rainbow found, she could process at a fathomable speed. She frowned inwardly as she saw the mana dissipate from the bullet as it broke the sound barrier. In another blink, it was gone and another had taken it’s place.
Out of the corner of her eye, Rainbow could see an abandoned carriage rushing straight for Russet, it’s harnesses waving in the open air like eels snapping for fresh meat. Seeing it seem to travel at a sluggish pace, Rainbow began to stretch her wings. Seeing them unfold at a slow pace too, she found her eyes focusing on Russet.
Blinking, Rainbow galloped forward and- FWOOSH! Launched herself into a straight glide. She tackled Russet to the ground before they both tumbled, and the runaway carriage continued it’s journey down the street.
“Gah!” Russet cried as they both tumbled. She tried to get her bearings and stand up, shooting a glare at Rainbow. “I almost had him!”
Rainbow merely shook of the dirt that she had accumulated in her tackle and grinned sheepishly. “Sorry,” Rainbow said before sprinting down the road.
She found her mind racing at everything she could see, watching it all, processing everything. Rainbow found everything now seemed a shade brighter, sharper, more detailed. Like eagle eyes, she could spot commotion several carriage-lengths away, and found one erratic moving hood bumping into other carriages and transport carts.
Holding her breath, she stretched her wings. Almost immediately she took to air, and she grinned. Already rising a good respectable amount of feet, she embraced the wind. She closed her eyes, feeling the breeze. It’s currents. The way it shifted and tweaked through her feathers. The way it made her feel alive.
Sucking in deeply, her eyes shot open and she squinted down at the runaway carriage. With two wing flaps, she flew up… and curled in. Immediately, she began to dive, slicing through the air with ease. The ground was rushing at her at a speed she had never noticed before but she narrowed her eyes just as she angled herself to the carriage. In a split second, she stretched her wings out, stopping her spin immediately and setting her in a sharp glide that landed her directly onto roof the vehicle.
She winced as they made loud percussions and she immediately lost grip, spreading her weight and gripping the sides so as not to fall off. She looked ahead and her eye twitched when she saw nopony was at the helm, but the carriage seemed to be moving anyways. Edging forward and peering through the clear glass, she widened her eyes when she saw the the crystal pony pointing something directly out the window. In that instant, she was already moving to the side when she saw the item begin to radiate a black essence when-
Her ears flicked and rung as something shot out of the object. Suddenly, her mind went to the large clunky firearms that they had forced her to train with. To shoot. She cursed herself for forgetting. It was a gun. But this wasn’t like any gun she had seen. No, it was completely different.
Her mind registered him faster than she thought possible, and she had already begun swinging from side to side as bullets of light-eating darkness whizzed past her at a hair’s length. Growling in anger, she tightened her forehead and Ba-CRASH! The glass of the windshield shattered, startling the crystal pony agent and merely making Rainbow Dash more annoyed than anything. As the agent lost contact with a wheel that was connected to the base of the carriage, Rainbow Dash could hear the screams of ponies echoing through her mind.
Twisting her neck with lightning urgency, she widened her eyes to see several carts and stands just ahead, along with fleeing terrified ponies and those jumping out of the way. Reflexively, almost with a mind of their own, her wings stretched and caught air. Immediately, her form let go of cab just as it hit stray cart, turned sharply, and proceeded to flip sideways, crashing through the street with stray debris flying this way and that.
Rainbow winced as a few shards of glass flew her way but nonetheless dodged them with ease. As the carriage came to a stop, Rainbow eased herself to the ground. With a jolt, she accidentally pulled her wings too early and dropped to the ground with a grinding thud. Walking forward, she paused, seeing a body roll out of the carriage. As the crystal pony agent got to his hooves, she frowned. How was he…?
She widened her eyes before diving forward into a roll just as a couple bullets whizzed past her. Ponies jumped to the ground following Rainbow’s example split second just before, and she could hear the screams of more and more as chaos continued to unfold. Knowing more would come, she gritted her teeth and grabbed the nearest sturdy piece of debris next to her: a carriage door bearing a star. She swung it up just as more bullets came into contact with the metal.
Rainbow clenched her eyes, waiting for more, before frowning. Peering over her makeshift shield, she saw the crystal pony beginning to run away. Glancing at the front of the door she held, she could see splotches of black wisping into the air, stretching across the metal. Throwing her gaze back to the crystal pony, she found his image flickering between his facade and his real form.
She then widened her eyes as he took a little filly from her mother’s grasp, waving his armed hoof wildly. The crowd of ponies in front of him shrieked and cowered, and he glanced back at Rainbow before disappearing into the airfield next to him. Rainbow glanced from his retreating body to the crying mother before her.
Her eye twitched once before she threw the door aside and took to the air. Flapping them once, she corkscrewed straight into the airfield. Putting her hooves out, she slid to a gravelly stop and glared at the crystal pony who was now metres away.
The crystal pony sneered and shot at her. Side-rolling, she dodged a couple of his shots before he disappeared further into a hangar bay. Curling and stretching her wings in anger and adrenaline, flew just to the edge of the water next to the compound before she froze mid-air, wings flapping slowly as she hovered.
“Don’t move!” the crystal pony commanded, pointing a hoof straight into the crook of the filly’s neck.
Rainbow gnashed her teeth, settling down to the floor and waving a hoof. “Don’t hurt her!”
Rainbow flinched back.
The crystal pony shook his hoof before angrily tossing the device away. Just as Rainbow made a move towards him, he swung the filly back.
Rainbow glanced to the side at the frothing waters of the ocean next to them and waved her hooves. “No, don’t-!”
The filly flew over, and he disappeared deep into the hangar.
Rainbow dashed to the edge of the concrete, glancing worriedly down into the water. A small voice caused her to flick her ears, ignoring the sounds of wind breaking and shouting behind her.
“I’m fine!” the voice said. Rainbow’s eyes immediately found her treading water as waves began to form from the wind breezing in from behind Rainbow. “Go get the bad pony! I can swim.”
With a proud smirk, Rainbow nodded at the filly and turned around.
She immediately frowned as her hair blew across her face in the stead of a plane steadily accelerating away from her. Pawing the ground with a hoof, she stretched her wings out. She felt the coolness bristle through each of her feathers, both underneath and above her. Closing her eyes, she focused on the wind.
Then her eyes blazed open.
One gallop forward, she spread her wings and flew.
She grinned devilishly as she finally found herself adjusting to her environment. Her new lease on life. Her new body. She could finally feel the power in her wings. The way it seemed to move around her, push her. How it felt like the wind was alive… and it was helping her in any way it could. It was something she had sorely missed for over a month.
And with it, she began to corkscrew in the air. She almost couldn’t feel the drag like she used to. The wind parted around like like nothing she had ever felt before. She sliced through the air, and it’s sting soothed her burning hot fur and her eyes glistened from the force of the air.
And she could see the rogue glider rushing away at a steady pace.
Her smirk turned into a determined frown and she reached up to her head… only to remember she had left them hidden within her suitcase. Scowling, Rainbow squinted her eyes and focused on the glinting midnight glider. She pumped her wings, pushing the air and steadying herself out of her corkscrew. Shaking her head to get some loose hair out of the way, she bursted forward.
Steadily and assuredly, she gained on the vehicle. She didn’t know rightly just how fast they were both going until she latched onto the plane and looked down, watching clouds and the city whiz by, already disappearing behind her. Eyes twitching, she flapped her wings with each inch forward until she found the clear crystal that showed the crystal pony within. Just as she reached back to punch through the plane, she could see the crystal pony turn his head in surprise before-
Her hoof broke through the window, grabbed him by his collar, and stretched her wings. Immediately, she caught air and she winced slightly as her wings fought against the rushing wind until she was hovering in the air and the plane had left them in the dust. It was already spiralling out of control with no one behind the wheel.
Grabbing his collar with both hooves, she brought his face close, sneering at his startled face. “Who do you work for?!” Rainbow growled, dripping with venom. “Why’d you have to kill somepony!?”
The crystal pony spat to the side and slammed his chest with a hoof, his whole form beginning to flicker as he broke one of his teeth.
Rainbow narrowed her eyes. “What do you mean ‘Hail… Hydra…’?” She paused and watched in confusion as he began to convulse. Her eyes widened with incredulity as darkness spread through his already darkened crystalline form until he started wisping black essence. In the span of a few seconds, he had withered into nothing, his body merely a husk.
Rainbow didn’t even notice the plane crashing and exploding several clicks away as she stared at the dead pony in her hooves.