Twilight's Nightmare

by Nightsclaw

CH 29.3 Rainbow Challenger

Rainbow Dash was having a good day, at least until Trixi had appeared back in the center of Ponyville in a flash of Twilight’s magic. The showmare looked shaken, her knees were trembling as she checked her hat and cape. 

Rainbow sighed and grumbled for a moment before slipping from her napping-cloud and zipping down to the ground.

Trixie jumped almost out of her cape. Rainbow had to struggle to keep her laughter to herself. 

“Hay Trixie, where did you come from, I just saw Twi’s magic bring you here, where’s she at?” Rainbow asked cheerfully.

“The Great and Powerful Trixie can report that mare is insane.”

“Yeah, she sometimes goes a little crazy. Anything new?”

“Does she normally attack timberwolves for fun and clap her hooves happily when a larger one shows up?”

“Huh, yeah, that’s new.” 

“We got to safety via teleport and then Twilight teleported Trixie back here. That’s the last I saw. To be honest, Trixie doesn’t know where I got teleported from in there.” 

“So she’s in the Everfree?” Rainbow questioned.

“Where else do you think timberwolves would be around here?”

“Thanks.” Rainbow nodded and flew off, her departure sending Trixie’s hat flying off.

It did not take her long to do a quick flight over of the Everfree. Three long scars could be seen from above, each over a hundred ponies long. The howls of timberwolves and the cries of the forest creatures could be heard, but there was no sign of Twilight. Fortunately, there was no blood or drag marks, nothing to make her think anything permanent had happened to the egghead.

Rainbow knew a lot had happened to Twilight, a lot of bad stuff. The injuries that covered her body when she returned to Ponyville were no laughing matter. It was amazing how she was already healed and moving around. Any normal pony would be in the hospital for at least half a year with the wounds she saw. The shouting match with the Princess was another crazy thing. Now going out looking for trouble in the Everfree? This was not normal. Maybe she should have spent the time to fetch Fluttershy for this, but there was no time.

Doing another quick fly-by over the forest, there was still no sign. “Where are you, Egghead?” 

An hour or so later she saw Twilight happily trotting through the forest with Starlight following her. It didn’t look like anything was wrong. Watching carefully, she studied her movements, Twilight was moving well. Every hoof placed just so as she kept a level and efficient gate through the uneven forest terrain. “What sort of book teaches that?” Rainbow said.

Twilight looked straight up at her. She heard that? Rainbow thought with disbelief. Nah, she must have seen me.

Just to test, she looked away and said. “Starswirl is the worst mage.”

Her world became filled will magenta light and then she was wet, wet and cold. Somehow she was in the Ponyville fountain. “Ok, she could hear me. How the buck could she hear me?”

“Maybe because you’re shouting?” Berry Punch said.

Rainbow pulled herself out of the water. A quick shake and a flick of her wings and most of the water was gone. A quick spin in the air would be enough to get rid of the rest. She quickly glanced over her feathers, they all seemed mostly in order. She would need a careful preening to make sure she was in top-notch condition, but for daily flying this was fine.

She headed back over to the Everfree forest. She knew roughly where Twilight was, and as she was walking with Starlight, they could not have gotten too far.

Drawing closer, she saw a hoof full of trees go sailing into the air, a blast of Twilight’s magenta magic erupting from the area. She grabbed a cloud and moved closer to keep an eye on Twilight. She could see Starlight still walking next to Twilight, looking concerned as she glanced at the destruction. A line, three ponies wide and fifty ponies long had been carved through the forest.

Whatever Twilight was using would be very good at carving roads and other things that earthponies needed. The question is when did she start using such things on creatures in the Everfree Forest? Fluttershy is going to throw a fit over this.

Moving her cloud perch closer, she decided to test Twilight’s hearing again. “Since when did your hearing get so good?”

“Since I ascended.” A smooth voice replied from the cloud right next to Rainbow. 

Rainbow spun, wings ready for action turning to face a grinning Twilight. She paused, not fully entering her combat stance. “Twilight?” She asked.

“Rainbow?” Twilight questioned back in a teasing way. “Who else do you think I would be?”

“Why are you blowing up parts of the forest? They're not Filming a Mac Neigh original down there.”

Twilight looked down at the forest, and she shrugged her wings, “I did not fancy a timberwolf trying to rip my leg off as a snack.”

Rainbow felt her stomach twist at hearing a pony talk so freely about being eaten by a predator. What else was wrong with her? She bullied through the sick feeling at that mental image with pure bravado. 

“So did you need anything? And sorry for teleporting you away earlier… you just said something bad about Starswirl. The only reason that is not a crime is because Celestia will not let me add that law for ten more years. So get anything bad you have to say about him off your chest in the next nine or so years.

Rainbow looked at Twilight. “Yeah right, even I know about free speech, you’re kidding.”

Twilight smiled warmly “Yes, I'm kidding, I see those books are doing you good.”

Starlight floated into view, surrounded by her own aura. Unicorns flying without earning their wings was still cheating in Rainbow’s book. “How long were you going to leave me down there on my own?” Starlight asked.

Twilight waved a hoof dismissing the issue. “I was still watching you, and even without me, your own abilities are enough to deal with anything in the forest.”

“Even a hydra?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“She could probably kill it in a spell or two,” Twilight calmly added.

Rainbow could see her own shocked expression mirrored on Starlight’s face as they both turned to face Twilight.

“What? Is there something on my face?” Twilight asked.

“Twilight, since when are you so violent?” Rainbow asked. She could see the question was one Starlight wanted answered too.

Twilight sighed and lay down on the cloud. “Do you know how many dangers are in the forest? I am just teaching them that ponies are not food.“

Rainbow looked unimpressed. “You know Fluttershy isn’t going to be happy, right?”

“Are you going to tell her?” Twilight narrowed her eyes, staring straight into Rainbows own.

Starlight took a few steps back, even raising a light shield spell, watching Twilight fearfully. 

Completely unbothered by Twilight's attention, Rainbow responded. “You kinda blew up part of the forest, she will find out.”

The glare was gone, and Twilight smiled warmly again, “Don't change Dash, Don’t change.” She said darting in and pulling Rainbow into an affectionate hug.

Hugs were good, better than blowing up parts of the forest or worse, parts of Ponyville. Rainbow wrapped her wing around the Alicorn, it was a little awkward due to the size difference, but like she was going to let a little thing like that get in her way.

Twilight nuzzled Rainbow and used her Aura to pull Starlight into the hug. “Thanks for caring you two.” 

Rainbow could see the look of panic as Twilight effortlessly brushed aside Starlight's magical defences as if they were not there. It was only a moment, but she was sure that Starlight was truly worried about what Twilight might do to her. 

“I will never harm any of you,” Twilight said, moving her nuzzling to Starlight. Starlight melted into the embrace, all worry just lifting from her like early morning fog under a mid-day sun. 

Rainbow glanced at Starlight without turning her head. That speed of changing emotions was more Pinkie’s thing. Compared to all the crazy stuff that had been happening, and Twilight redecorating large tracts of the forest, this simple hug was preferable. Even if it was a little too heavy on the feels for Rainbow’s liking.

Twilight sighed. “I have a lot I need to do if I want to get everything ready by the end of the week, are you two… No, I will just teleport you, it will be safer.” 

“Wait…” Starlight stated before magenta magic enveloped both her and Rainbow. Ponyville appeared around them.

“Well, at least she didn’t dump us in the fountain.” Rainbow huffed, she did not like being ditched by her friend. Taking to the air and rapidly taking position hovering right in front of Starlight, she began her questioning. “So Starlight what gives, why were you out in the Everfree with Twi and why is she acting all gritty action hero towards the timberwolves?”

Starlight looked around, drawing Rainbow's attention to the crowd that was starting to pay attention. “Right, not here, I get it,” Rainbow said, grabbing Starlight and flying off with her. 

Starlight slumped. “You know I can fly on my own.”

“Oh, yeah.” Rainbow let go.

A small “epp” escaped Starlight before her magic caught her. The gaze Starlight levelled her way was not enough to stop a chuckle. 

Rainbow glanced around, making sure the airspace was clear and nopony would be in earshot. Well, other than Twilight with her freakishly good hearing that she seemed to have now. But she was not here, so they were safe. “So spill,” Rainbow demanded, crossing her forelegs, hovering close to Starlight.

Starlight was the most comfortable non-winged pony in the air she had ever encountered, she folded her forelimbs as well looking unimpressed at Rainbow. “Look, I know you have been hiding things from me about what is going on with Twilight, but I don't care. She is hurting and needs help. You and the rest of the girls need to be there for her. I'm not sure the others will be able to cope with what I know, but I think you are strong enough to.”

Rainbow’s wings almost missed a beat, she was not expecting anything so serious.

“You know she was captured, yes?”

Rainbow nodded, “Or something like that.”

“So you know what happened to her?”

“Yeah she broke out and saved herself, she somehow got a daughter in the mix, and now she is marrying Luna.” Rainbow shrugged, none of it made much sense to her, but hay, as long as they were happy.

“... So you don't know what was done to her while she was captured?”

“Just get to the point!” Rainbow’s voice was angry, this was sounding bad, she did not like this, her legendarily short patience was long exhausted.

Starlight gulped. “She was pinned to an altar with metal spikes as… as parts of her was cut away. Rainbow, she was tortured for hours. There was no way a normal pony could survive what happened, let alone going around seeming normal now,” she said before taking a breath, trying to hide the fact that her body was trembling.

The first thing Rainbow knew about the fact that she had stopped hovering was Starlight's magic grabbing her.  This was bad, her friend was hurting, hurting so bad and she didn’t notice, worse she was not there to stop it, to save her. It felt like a deep pit had formed in Rainbow's core.

“Now she is on a hair-trigger. If she sees any threat to anything she cares about, and she is ready to throw around lethal spells. The sort of things that can level half of Ponyville if she misses.”

Starlight’s words snapped Rainbow's attention back, pushing with her flight magic she broke Starlight’s hold on her, regaining control of her own flight. Anger, hate, self-loathing, all warred in Rainbow for second place. First place among her feelings was firmly her concern for Twilight. 

Resolve hardened, she would be there for Twilight and nothing would stop her. After what she had learned, she would make sure that Twilight would never be alone again. For Twilight's benefit and everypony else's safety, she did not want Pinkie Pie popping up with a surprise invite and being smited by a jumpy Alicorn.

Twilight had flown back into town about an hour later. Rainbow had to admire her form. She had gotten far better at flying since last time. Did she have a new teacher? Those wing movements seemed to come from a different style of training. Some were old techniques proven to be a little inefficient, so were no longer used. Maybe Luna was teaching her out of date stuff from a thousand years ago.

She had flown straight to a large clear area and started working some sort of glowy magic. Nothing was exploding so Rainbow thought it was a good thing. She thought about going down to talk to Twilight, but she seemed to be concentrating hard. Instead, she settled down on a cloud to watch and be there should Twilight need her.

After half an hour, Mayor Mare approached, seeming pensive. A short conversation and a large bag of bits sent her galloping away in a hurry.

Rainbow wanted to nap but she would not, she had to keep watch over her friend.

Twilight continued doing boring magic stuff. 

A flash of light from below woke Rainbow, “Buck!” She cursed herself. She was meant to stay awake. The cloud had just proved too comfortable.

Twilight was now prowling? moving? dancing? It took a moment, but Rainbow recognised Twilight was practising some sort of martial art, but not one she had seen before. 

She would do a move apparently perfectly, and then a moment later do it wrong, sloppy, slow. With one spinning lunge she even fell over. It just made no sense, how do you go from professionally trained to rank amateur in one moment and then back again.

Twilight stood flicking her wing, the feathers vibrating with arcs of electricity. She flicked her wings forward and then the electricity violently discharged all around her, singeing her feathers. The energy escaping into the air, dissipating and making her mane stand on end. She jumped back and ended up on her rump in a very unflattering display of clumsiness.

Twilight sighed, it seemed like she was halfway between laughing and annoyance. She shook her head slowly in disapproval. She gracefully retook her hooves, standing tall and powerful, her mane and tail straightened themselves. Her aura enveloped her wings straightening each feather one by one, a few being discarded for being too damaged. A small shudder went through Twilight's body. Clearly, she was still not used to restraining the reaction preening could bring. 

Twilight expertly took that predatory fighting stance, all grace and potential for rapid motion. Each wing flexed and curled slightly, the feathers shaking as energy built in her wings and travelled down each feather. Bright arcs of intense lightning played over the wing, forming a sheath of energy around them.

She took a single calm breath before surging into action. Twilight leapt into the air, the force of her pushing off the ground leaving two hoof-shaped craters. She slashed forwards with both wings, the electricity leaping from them like a pair of coiled serpents striking. With a massive crackling boom, the bolts of searingly bright lightning crashed into the ground. 

An explosion sent small bits of debris and clouds of dust rising. As the dust began to clear, Rainbow could see Twilight looking at a scorched cross mark in the middle of a crater on the ground.

“That was awesome, since when did you become a bad flank Twi?” Rainbow called down from above. Before she knew what she was doing, Rainbow was already there, barely noticing the ripples in the air she caused as she drew nearer. It must have been some of Twilight’s magic doing something. 

Twilight smirked as she looked up at Rainbow. She raised a wing and twitched a single feather causing lightning to ripple over it. “You mean this?” Her friend asked teasingly.

“Yeh, that.” Rainbow flew down to get a closer look.

“Oh, so you are not interested in this then?” Twilight said, flicking her wing out and causing a bolt of lightning to leap from her wing and slam into the magical wards. Magenta runes erupted in the air, highlighting the large dome both mares were within.

“Buck yeah.” Rainbow was now hovering muzzle to muzzle with the smirking Alicorn.

“I’ll tell you what,” Twilight purred. “You beat me and I will teach you, I beat you, and you do whatever I tell you for an hour. Interested?”

Rainbow could not deny she was interested, very interested. What she could do in her shows with a trick like that was enough to almost make her drool, let alone how useful it could be in a fight. She let her eyes meet Twilight’s own. “What's that challenge?”

Twilight’s horn lit, Two weapon racks appearing. Wingblades, hoof blades, swords, daggers, darts, lances and many more. “A duel.”

“What the hay, I don’t want to hurt you Twi.” Rainbow protested.

Twilight laughed and pulled a blade from the rack. She smiled as she ran it across her foreleg, instead of a wound a stripe of red colour stained her coat. “See, perfectly safe, they are training weapons. So think you can win in a first to ten marks, duel?”

Rainbow smirked. “Of course, any rules?” 

“No going outside the dome, only strike with the training weapons.”

“No magic.” Rainbow insisted.

“Naturally, this is a pegasus duel, I will be only using my pegasus abilities to keep it fair.” A small pouch popped into existence, from within it Twilight extracted a horn ring and four bangles. She placed the bangles on, one on each leg. As each one snapped shut, Twilight’s body seemed to sag slightly, her grace failing, almost as if she weighed more. “That takes care of my Earthpony strength.” Finally, she levitated the ring over her horn, she shuddered, closing her eyes as she let the ring slide down her horn. She flinched as if struck.

Rainbow was next to her, wrapping her friend in a concerned hug. Twilight took a deep shuddering breath before calming and leaning her head on Rainbows shoulder. “Thank you,” She whispered. After a few seconds Twilight pulled back, once more a confident smirk on her face. “Now we are even, I am in essence just a pegasus now.”

“Sure you don't need a head start?” Rainbow stated, with a smirk of her own.

“Oh, I like your spirit, let’s see if it lasts.” Twilight purred, beginning to circle Rainbow.

Rainbow just stared, this sensual side of Twilight was new, not something she had ever seen before. She could see that the grace that came from being far stronger than she should be, was gone, but she still moved well. She seemed dangerous, attractive and the sort of pony that should be in the Wonderbolts. 

Rainbow let her eyes trace over Twilight's form, noting each muscle. She was fit and well-toned. When had she had the time to do that much exercise, and why they hay did she not get Rainbow involved? “So how do we do this?”

Twilight flicked a wing at one of the racks. “Pick your weapons, as many as you like, and then we go to opposite ends of the arena.”

Rainbow nodded, doing so. Twilight went over to inspect her choices. The wingblades looked cool but could interfere with her flight. After a long, for her, consideration of three seconds, she made her choice. Spiked shoes for all four hooves. She had martial arts training, this way she could use it fold out swords attached to her forelegs for a bit of reach and a lance for a powerful opener. 

She flexed and stretched under the weight of it, she could easily fly with it, but it would change her aerodynamics.

As she strapped on her equipment, she looked over her shoulder at Twilight. Rainbow froze, her friend was already equipped and licking her lips as she looked at Rainbow hungrily. Her eyes were intense, and she could see desire as Twilight’s eyes trailed over her body. 

Rainbow looked away from Twilight’s eyes and focused on the equipment she had chosen. Wingblades were clearly her primary weapon, a good choice assuming she knew how to use them. Tucked stealthily in between some of her feathers, five darts were nestled in each wing. Sneaky Egghead. Hoof blades were on her front hooves and a helm with a long-bladed horn concealing her own rounded out her armament.

“You ready, my little Dashie?” Twilight purred.

“I’m always ready, now cut out trying to mess with me and let’s get on with this, I got lightning wings to learn today.”

Twilight let out an amused, happy laugh. “This is going to be fun.” She flared her wings and leapt into the air taking flight. Unlike last time when she was training, her take-off only stirred the dust from the ground, no new craters at all.

Rainbow watched Twilight for a moment. She was circling like a bird of prey, moving lazily but ready to act at a moments notice. She was starting to understand why a pony like Starlight could be scared by this change in Twilight. Rainbow was made of sterner stuff that though. 

It took no effort at all to burst into the air, claiming the height advantage over Twilight. 

Twilight smirked and beckoned with her hoof, Rainbow could almost hear her say ‘come get me if you think you can’.

Rainbow Dash could not help but grin. This sort of competition she only ever shared with Applejack. Never once did she think she would be in the air, decked out with toy weapons, reenacting a duel from ancient pegasus history, let alone with Twilight. “I hope your ready, Egghead,” she called out.

Rainbow had a lance, so she was going to try it out. Forcing all of the power she could out of her wings, she rushed towards Twilight, leading with the lance. 

Twilight's eyes widened, clearly not expecting the speed, she managed to touch the lance with one of her hoofblades, the weapon leaving sparks but doing nothing to save Twilight. The lance impacted just a little left from where she was aiming, sending Twilight spiralling away with the magnitude of the impact, a glowing red circle appearing at the point of contact. But thankfully, no injury.

“That’s one-nill to the best mare here,” Rainbow taunted as Twilight finally managed to get her flight levelled out halfway to the ground.

Twilight's face split with a feral grin. “Is that the best you can do?” 

“You want better, I’ll show you better,” Rainbow shouted back, diving at Twilight, leading with the lance again. Descending, her attack was faster. It took her an instant to notice Twilight was no longer there. A moment later she collided with a small flock of darts, multiple small red marks blossoming on her coat. Looking around, she saw Twilight falling back-first towards the ground offering a mock salute with her hoof blade. That sneaky Egghead, must have left them in her wake, hiding them with her own body.

“Four-one to me, Rainbow Crash,” Twilight mocked with a playful grin. Rainbow had not seen her friend looking this happy in years, it was amazing. She felt almost guilty now that she was inevitably going to win, despite this mild set back.

The moment Rainbow was waiting for happened. Twilight spread her wings rolling over and starting to regain her control. Rainbow spun in the air throwing the lance, aiming to catch her opponent in the back in the brief instant she was looking away. The Wonderbolt herself powered down towards the ground, her hooves bracing, ready for the impact.

Rainbow heard the lance hit moments before she impacted the ground, channelling her power to soak the impact. She pushed off the ground, looking up and seeking her friend. She saw Twilight had fallen for it, she was now looking up in the direction the attack had come from, not below from where Rainbow was now approaching. Twilight may be smart, but she was nowhere close to Rainbow's speed.

Left hoof, right hoof and a spin kick with her rear legs, sent Twilight hurtling off to the side. She rolled in the air, barely getting her hooves under her before she hit the ground. 

“And the crowd goes wild,” Rainbow called out, doing a victory lap of the arena. “Five-four to me Twi, what you gonna do?”

Twilight dusted herself off and watched Rainbow from the ground for a moment. She deliberately spent the time to move two darts from her left wing to her right. For a moment it looked like she was going to say on the ground, but as Rainbow was winning that would be like admitting defeat.

Twilight started galloping, circling around the circumference of the dome, after half a lap she started to fly, spiralling up. She was clearly using the dome wall to protect her flank. Her eyes stayed focused on Rainbow. 

Rainbow quickly glanced at the lance, if she went to reclaim it, she would be giving the height advantage to Twilight. She did not need it. Movement flashed in her peripheral vision, Rainbow dipped her wing and rolled under a dart. Twilight had used her momentary distraction to try and bring them to a draw.

The two mares circled, both focused entirely on the other. Twilight seemed to be already tiring, most of her stamina must come from her currently suppressed earthpony magic. Rainbow would have to insist that next time they trained, Twilight put those bits of metal on.

Twilight rushed forward taking a straight line at Rainbow, without the major speed advantage Rainbow had, it was a losing plan. So Rainbow knew Twilight must have a trick. Rainbow spent a fraction of a second actually thinking, Twilight had been outsmarting her, now normally she would dodge up to gain the height advantage. Twilight would know that.

At the last moment Rainbow forced herself down with her wings flicking her leg and snapping one of the blades straight, she held it out, the vibrations running through her leg letting her know she had struck true. 

Twilight had thrown two darts, one high, one to the left where she guessed Rainbow would have evaded to. Her growl of frustration turned into a happy laugh as she rolled in the air, throwing the rest of the darts at Rainbow with a flick of her wings. 

A burst of wing power moved Rainbow down and away from the darts, the force of her wings scattering them to the edges of the arena.

She could see Twilight’s eyes glance to the darts and then she tapped her own horn as if just remembering she couldn't use her magic to call them back to her. Shaking her head, she focused back on Rainbow. 

It was clear even hovering in place as Twilight was doing, was taking a toll on her now. Her breaths were ragged, she was panting and her coat was starting to shine with sweat due to her exertions. Despite that, she still had that grin on her face. 

Rainbow was wondering if she was thinking of a book or if Twilight had a sudden liking for ancient sports. Seeing how much her friend was struggling, she decided to end this quickly.

She watched Twilight’s eyes waiting for her to blink. In a burst of prismatic colour, she launched herself at Twilight. Rolling in the air she lined up a double hoofed buck, arresting her momentum by giving it all to Twilight. Two red hoof prints marked Twilight as she was propelled towards the dome wall, Rainbow could see the pained expressions as she pushed her wings as hard as she could to try and stop herself in time. 

The dome flashed red leaving another red mark upon Twilight. One more point and Rainbow would win.

Twilight spent nearly twenty seconds getting herself back under control and heading back towards the arena. The twinges wracking her body with each beat of her wings made Rainbow feel just a bit guilty. The now tried and goofy grin doing a lot to keep Rainbow form rushing over to check if her friend was alright. 

I could just hover here for a few minutes and she would crash all on her own. Rainbow thought, looking at the exhausted mare that was her opponent. She could barely move her wings right and yet, she was still eager to continue.

Rainbow, slowly for her, flew towards Twilight, she deliberately gave Twilight a whole second to react, wanting to know what she would do. Rainbow launched forward with a powerful flap of her wings. Swinging one of the blades, she started to roll in the air as she brought a rear hoof in to kick.

The blade struck Twilight’s bladed helm. Who uses their head to block? She thought as her blade slipped off the helm, Twilight’s wingblade pushing it aside, allowing the horn of the helmet to crash into Rainbows gut. 

It was simple reflex from her training to slam her hoof into Twilight’s barrel, scoring the final point. The dome changed colour, now displaying an image of Rainbow’s Cutiemark for all the world to see.

Twilight started falling from the air, Rainbow grabbed her. “That was fun,” Twilight said, hugging Rainbow. 

Rainbow hovered there looking at Twilight, she never thought she would see her looking so utterly content at losing something. “Twilight… are you alright?”

“I’m great,” She answered nuzzling Rainbow, “We are so doing that again.” 

“Maybe after you have a rest, you did good though,” Rainbow said, tallying her score. “Ten to five, not bad. You’re half as good as I am.” 

“You’re certainly good,” Twilight said with a hungry look in her eyes. 

 For a moment, Rainbow nearly dropped Twilight in surprise, “Are you coming on to me?”

“Would you mind if I said yes?”

“Err, I got things I need to do…” 

Twilight slumped. “Fine…  Can you please at least take me to the ground and help me get this horn ring off?”

Rainbow quickly flew to the ground. Twilight was meant to be getting married to Luna, if it was not for that…well. She was very definitely going to be taking a cold shower when she got home. 

After shakily getting to her hooves, Twilight presented her horn. If her wings were in a different position, Rainbow would think it was another attempt at, whatever the egghead was doing. Did somepony file some of Rarity’s books in non-fiction?

Reaching out with a wing, Rainbow grabbed the ring and lifted it from Twilight’s horn. Twilight shuddered and almost moaned as arcs of magenta energy sparked from the tip of her horn. She shook for a moment then opened her eyes, lighting her horn the four bangles teleported away. 

Twilight took a single long, calming breath, just like that she seemed as fresh as she was before the start, She stood tall, her magic preening her feathers and cleaning her coat. Somehow her mane and tail just straightened themselves as if each strand just knew where it should be and placed itself there.

Being an Alicorn is cheating. Rainbow thought.

“Ah,” Twilight let out a happy little sigh, stretching seductively more than what was appropriate. A princess should not do that with their wings, especially not with that sexy smirk.

Rainbow Dash turned to leave. The sound of crackling energy gave her pause.

“So are you no longer interested in learning?” Twilight’s satisfied tone implying she knew she had just caught Rainbow.

Rainbow let her eyes narrow, oh she wanted to learn alright. But she feared what this Twilight would do. Was all her strange behaviour purely because of what had happened to her? Yes, what Starlight said happened to her was terrible, but she could swear this Twilight was practically another mare.

Rainbow turned back round to fully face Twilight. “So where do we start?”

Twilight smiled and sauntered over, again almost gliding over the ground, her earthpony strength seemingly making gravity and her own weight nothing more than a mere suggestion. Princesses should not sway there flanks like that. She spread her wings, each feather surrounded with a corona of electricity. With a flick of her horn, the dome became opaque, blocking out the view of the outside world.

The only illumination was the blue arcs of energy. Twilight leaned closer. “What you are about to learn is an ancient secret that had long been hidden by Celestia, you can teach nopony else how to do this without the direct permission of a princess.“

“Sure, sure I deal with stuff like that all the time at the Wonderbolts,” Rainbow said, trying to sound bored. She was trying to keep her eyes off the Alicorn before her and how good that lightning made her wings look. Fortunately, she had a trick, she started thinking of all the cool things she could do with that power, and her mind was away and gone off in a land of stuns and cool battles.

“Good, now shall we get started?”

“Yes!” Rainbow practically shouted.