Rise of the Elements Part II: Return of the Avatars

by Radiant Dawn

Chapter 10: Lost, but not Gone

Chapter 10: Lost, but not Gone

What a way to ruin what was supposed to be a great day. I mean, my righteous tool of a father just had to come and fuck shit up. You know when you're watching a good movie and they always have that bad guy you just love to hate?

Yeah...well that's him.

Now that the guests and the rest of our friends and family had been herded out of the Whitetail Wood, the reception began again. No pony save for family were told what had happened, so the party continued as if nothing had happened. I knew though...and although I tried my best to keep up a brave face for everyone, I found my resolve slipping slowly but surely. Eventually, I had to excuse myself.

I was resting on some icy cirrus clouds some twenty or thirty-thousand feet above everyone, using the relaxing chill to ease my mind. It was working up until I heard powerful wingbeats from below, which could only be Dash, Celly, or Lulu...none of which I wanted to see right now. As unlike me as it was, I would rather wallow in self pity at the moment. I mean, I was right there in front of that knob-jockey...but I didn't even do anything. I don't even know why...I just stood there.

"Frost? Frost, what's going on?" she said. It was Rainbow Dash. I mean, of course it was her...I did just leave her alone at our own reception...which just made me feel more shitty.

I hung my head in shame and sighed. "I'm really sorry about just leaving you, Dashie. Really...I am."

She shook her head and sighed. "It does bother me a little, but I'm more worried about you. I mean, for you to just bail and go off by yourself...it's not like you. So I'm going to ask you again: what's going on?"

I fixed a stern gaze off into the open air and took a shaky breath. "They're dead, Dash. Those five ponies are dead...and I just stood there." I dug deep inside myself and let the powerful black armor cover me...feeling the power that came with it. I sighed and turned to look at my beautiful Dash. "I mean look at this...I don't deserve it. It would have been different if I'd been fighting Death and they died in the crossfire...but I just stood there, and didn't do a damn thing. What the hell kind of Guardian does that?" I dissipated the armor in a flash, and felt with it a slight weariness.

Dash stepped forward and kissed my forehead softly as she sat beside me and slung a foreleg around my shoulder. "The kind of Guardian that does that is one that knows what he's doing, and knows that it would have been stupid to just attack the force of death on a whim." She then used her free hoof to turn my face to look at her. "You want to make sure they didn't die for no reason? Then you're going to train and get stronger, like we all are. You're going to make sure that whoever dies in this war doesn't do it for no reason." She let a silent tear fall as she gazed into my eyes. "Brightwing believed in you, Frost. If you want to honor his memory, fight for what he believed in. Fight for Equestria...and for yourself." She then smiled and kissed me softly. "We'll all be behind you the whole way, Frost. Until the day we die, we'll stand behind you."

It was then that I had a second wind of sorts, and saw things for what they really were. Dash was right...about everything. She was right about me, and about what I need to do. I don't know whether it was becoming an alicorn or something else, but she seemed wiser...and more experienced. It just made me love her all the more.

I placed a hoof on her cheek and kissed her deeply, looking into my bride's beautiful rosy eyes. "Thanks, Dashie. I love you so much."

She giggled and shoved me lightly. "I love you too, you big softy. Now come on, we have ponies to dazzle!"

I nodded and we took flight, each going into a steep dive.

Perspective change - Venn

I was worried about Frost...a lot. I mean, from what I've heard and what I know about him, he probably doesn't take death too well. He wasn't as close to Brightwing as he is with his mares, but the stallion was still a close friend to both of us, and I'm gonna miss him.

I'd always found it strange that I had such a unique mind, even back on Earth. For example, while the rest of my pack wanted to just hunt and live simply, I always wanted more than that. Looking back, it doesn't make sense. Wolves are supposed to be just animals of instinct...but I thought like a human did. I guess that's why when I found this weird human named Drew out in the middle of the frozen tundra, I was drawn to him.

For Moonfang, it had been different. I mean the guy is awesome and all, but I still don't understand why Frost did for him what he did. Moonfang has told me a few times already about how simple his mind was before Frost changed him, but I couldn't say I had that same experience.

As a wolf that had the intelligence of a human, but couldn't talk, I was destined to sit around and wonder if there was more to life than just hunting and surviving.

And then I met Drew.

I guess that's why I was worried so much about him. Frost gave me a new life in a place that I didn't have to just survive...I could live. And so, he wasn't just a friend to me...he was like a father almost. I mean, I knew that was far from the case, but that's often what it felt like when I thought about what he's done for me. More than that, though, he was a brother to me.

I don't know what this war coming up was going to do to Equestria or where it was going to take me, but I knew for sure that I was going to fight for everyone's safety, and the continuation of this world that I've come to love.

I looked up at the clouds in time to see two blurs hurtling towards the ground. I was about to cry out in panic when a tremendous noise caused me to duck in fear.

Perspective change - Ditzy Doo

A burst of color...that's all that I was staring at now. One dazzling white, the other a rainbow. The entire crowd was staring up at the sky as two glowing forms danced through the sky around each other, putting on an amazing display of color and skill.

I of course knew it was Rainbow Dash and Frost, but that didn't stop me from staring with my mouth wide open. It was the first time I'd ever seen Frost perform...whatever it was he called that boom-thing, but to see both of them flying at supersonic speed around each other...it was breathtaking. I mean, I'm not the most sappy mare out there, but it was really beautiful to see.

A familiar colt made his way to me, also looking up at the sky with a smirk. He shook out his multi-hued gold mane and looked at me with a smile. "Just figures they both had to show off to everypony, huh?"

I giggled and nodded. "Yeah. I mean come on, the Wonderbolts are here. I knew that Rainbow Dash wouldn't be able to help herself...and of course Frost is always more than happy to have fun too." I then turned to the colt and raised an eyebrow. "So, have you decided yet?"

He shrugged. "I mean I can't say my opinion is all that great, but it's getting better with time. I'm always more than happy to train with you though."
I nodded softly and smiled. "Always happy to have your help, Flare." I then smirked. "So...when are you going to get hooked up with a filly?"

He flinched a bit. "Umm...I'm not really interested at the moment..."

"Ah come on, Flare. I know you're not into colts, so there's got to be some special filly you have your eye on." I said with a grin.

He shuffled his feet a bit. "Well...there is one pony..."

I clapped my front hooves together in excitement. "Ooh, tell me, tell me!"

He looked even more nervous now. "Well, it's T..." he said, trailing off.

"I'm sorry, I didn't hear that, Flare. Speak up a bit."

He sighed and closed his eyes. "It's Trixie, okay?"

I gasped by accident, instantly regretting it as I saw him glare at me. "Oh...I-I'm sorry, Flare. It's just that...well...you know what happened here with her, and no one's seen her in over a year."

He nodded, but still held his glare. "Yeah, I know that...but don't you think all the ponies were a little hard on her? I mean sure, she was pretty arrogant...but running her out of town and ruining her livelihood was messed up." He dropped the glare and actually looked a little sad now. "It wasn't fair to her. I just wish we could find her and make sure she was okay and all."

I grinned. "Well...you know I am a guard, as well as a corporal in the military. That means that I have connections that might be able to help with that."

The colt smiled wide at me. "Really? You could do that?"

I nodded. "Look Flare, in all honesty, I agree with you. What was done to her was not fair at all...and if you want to find her, I'll help you out." His smile got even wider and he lunged at me. Luckily I caught him with a hoof before he could touch me. "Easy there, cowcolt. Ixnay on the ughay."

He smiled sheepishly. "Heh, sorry about that. I just got really excited is all. So, um...when do we start?"

"How about tomorrow? I'm not doing anything." I said with a shrug.

He nodded furiously. "Sounds great! I'll meet you at the barracks at 8:00!"

As the colt walked away, I couldn't help but regret my decision.

What had I gotten myself into?

Perspective change - Lyra

Way too much fun was what I was having. I mean come on, Vinyl and Pinkie put this party together, so I knew it would be fun...but still...this tops all my expectations. I mean, great music, alcohol, and awesome snacks. It's like going to the club with Vinyl, but even better! And I don't have to feel bad about thinking that either, since Vinyl is the one playing the music. I danced with Pinkie (who, by the way, is an amazing dancer), I got hit on by a bunch of stallions (what? I may be taken, but an ego boost is always nice), and I got to hang out with Bon Bon after so long.

It had been months since I'd seen her for more than a few minutes, and in all honesty I missed her a lot. But, I got to meet her new coltfriend, and she got to meet Frost. The young pegasus colt was getting pretty jealous over just how much Bon Bon was gushing over Frost, but I couldn't help but giggle. I mean come on, it's the first time I've known what it feels like to have your best friend fawning over your coltfriend...and I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel really good.

Am I evil? Yes I am.

Perspective change - Celestia

I sat next to the slumbering body of a certain pink alicorn, as I pondered the cost of this war already. The true battle had not even begun, and yet it had cost me four of my most trusted guards, and a close friend.


As I thought of my fallen friend and advisor, I couldn't help but let slip a few tears. I could not allow myself to break character in front of my ponies, but here - hidden away from the prying eyes looking for guidance - I could finally allow myself to mourn.

To be an alicorn means loneliness, and pain...and yet forcing yourself to overcome it. And yet, this one young stallion was different. Seeing him grow up through the years, I had grown closer to him than I had allowed myself any other guard, and because of this, it made saying goodbye that much harder.

In the silence and security of the hospital room, I covered myself in my wings and wept.

He is not truly gone, Celestia. You know this.”

I recognized the voice from within me as the soft comforting voice of Lux. Awakening the avatar within me was in many ways the best thing that could ever happen to me. She knew me, often times better than I knew myself, and was aged even more than I was, which gave her the wisdom to speak words of comfort.

Yes Lux...I know. He lives on through all of us.”

He does indeed, Celestia. To mourn is to say goodbye...and so it is natural. However, his strength and teachings still live within you.”

Yes...I know this. Many a time has his words given me, the elder, wisdom and have shown me a different view that was previously unseen or ignored. I...I will miss him greatly.”

“f course. However, if you wish to truly show your fallen friend honor, live by his example of service to the people...and do not forget that he did it for you. His life was lost so that you might live. Be sure that his sacrifice was made for a better future for the land he loved.”

As always, there was wisdom in the words of the much older, and much wiser avatar within me.

I had realized at the beginning of the coming conflict that ponies were going to be lost...but it would be for a new dawn for Equestria...for the continuation of our world. The brave souls who had chosen to take up arms against this new enemy - an enemy that did not know fear, nor hunger, nor love - would know that in life or death, they would be fighting for not me, but for their home. This very thought was what had prompted me to participate in the war as well, as a princess is nothing without her ponies. If they were to fight, I would as well. My life would be their life, and their pain, my pain.

Only a coward would sit in a secure throne room while she sends young stallions and mares to their possible deaths...and that was not me.

Perspective change - Rarity


It was not something I was accustomed to or acquainted with.

And yet, my friends were going to be putting their lives on the line to fight for the survival of ponies everywhere. I am no fighter...and everypony knows this.

And yet...

I feel as if I am cheating somehow. I feel as though by not actively participating in such a brutish thing, I am somehow failing my friends. Even my beloved Spike would be taking up arms for Equestria, even with me imploring him to reconsider. Spike - ever the gallant knight of my heart - had gently shot down all requests from me to avoid the conflict, simply stating that he was every bit a pony as Fluttershy or myself, and that he would fight to protect his home...and me.

The very concept of what it all meant became frighteningly real to me with each passing day, and though the marriage between Rainbow Dash and Frostbreaker was to be a time of celebration, I could not help but feel as though it were a sad day. It was, in fact, a sad day for the whole of Equestria. Ponies would die against such a despicable enemy, and I felt utterly helpless to stop it.

"Rarity..." called a voice from above.

I shook my head to clear the ghastly thoughts swimming within my head and looked up. There, in all her newfound glory was our friend, Rainbow Dash. She looked absolutely stunning, with a long flowing mane that sparkled ever so slightly, and yet still held the choppy, unkempt look that showed her unique style.

I cleared my throat and stood with a smile. "Yes dear?"

She rolled her eyes and landed before me, now dwarfing me in size. "Rarity, drop the act. I know something's got you down. Now tell me what it is so I don't have to do something mean...like mess up your mane."

I gasped at the prospect. "You wouldn't dare!"

"Try me, Rare. Tell me what's up. Now." she stated with conviction.

I glared at the imposing pony before me for a moment before sighing in defeat and sitting back down. I looked up to see two light violet eyes staring back at me. "Rainbow Dash, dear...it is simply this dreadful war that is upon us. I..." I had to swallow to keep from sobbing openly, even as tears slid down my face, starting to run my mascara. "I do not wish to lose any of you...and yet most of you will be in the path of danger. I just feel like I am an absolutely horrible friend for not joining all of you."

As I buried my face in my hooves to stifle the sobs, I felt a hoof pull me close as the larger pony embraced me in a half-hug. "Rare no offense, but we all know you suck at fighting. Because of that, we actually prefer that you don't join, because you'd just get yourself killed. Do you think Spike would want to worry about you all the time?" As I looked up at my beautiful friend, she smiled softly with a warm expression. "No Rare...you need to stay here and do what good you can. You're going to have probably the most important job of all: watching over the ponies who have had to say goodbye - possibly forever - to sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, or wives. You've always been the best one at dealing with the mushy-feely stuff, Rare, so we need you and Fluttershy to keep ponies' hopes alive until we come back. Can you do that?"

The fact that such a powerful and loyal friend was putting her trust in me for such a thing was awe-inspiring in itself. Rainbow Dash and I had never been as close as, say, her and Fluttershy...but still, she was now trusting me with what she deemed an important task...and I resolved to myself at that moment, I would not let her down. I turned back to look into the amethyst eyes and nodded curtly. "I can, Rainbow. I swear I will not let you down."

Now wearing her usual smirk, Rainbow Dash nodded. "I know you won't, Rare. I know you won't."

Why did this feel like goodbye?

Perspective change - Luna

I was a lie incarnate.

On the outside, I was smiling and happily greeting ponies as they mingled. Within, I was a sobbing mess. Brightwing had been killed, and Nightwing had lost a brother...and I had lost a friend. My sister's heart was broken at the loss of one of her oldest friends in Equestria, and worrying about Tia had also put me on edge.

I did not want to be here, but sister was always the one to be strong and put on the brave face, so I forced her to leave and check on young Cadence. I knew of course that was not what she would be doing - not in full, at least - but I knew it would give her at least some time to grieve in private, not having to worry about appearing weak in front of our subjects and friends.

It was one of the things I admired about my sister, even after all these years. I was always the one to wear my emotions on my hooves, and was never afraid to weep or show anger...or fear. In contrast, Tia was always the iconic stoic leader. Perhaps this had something to do with her being the eldest or that she was forced to rule alone for the thousand years I was banished...but even I knew it was unhealthy to retain all emotions within. Still, I understood her reasoning for being as she was. It was after all much more useful to be diplomatic as opposed to a ravenous beast, even when seething with hatred and anger.

I remember she once asked me why I forgave her so easily for what she was forced to do when Nightmare Moon took over, and I couldn't help but smile and hug her tight. Once I was calm enough to look objectively, I realized had become a monster that could destroy Equestria as it were. Nightmare Moon was unleashed, and so I was no longer myself.

We do not envy thee, dear sister, for the decision you were forced to make. It was not one We would have made correctly, if We were in your position.”

That was what I had said to her when she asked about what she had done to me, and though she did not understand how that allowed me to accept what she did, I like to believe she trusted me when I advised her that all was forgiven. We are family, after all...and I will only have one sister in all my life. Eternity is too long a time to hold a grudge against those bonded to us in blood.

Perspective change - Frostbreaker

The reception had finally ended hours ago, and I was exhausted. Contrary to normal dancing, Dash and I instead chose to dance in the cool air, using our skills in flight to put on a memorable display for all watching below. We shared a customary kiss thousands of feet in the air before falling faster and faster towards the ground, pulling up at the last second to glide hoof-in-hoof just inches above the ground at break-neck speed. Dash later told me that what we did was a display of utmost trust and intimacy between two pegasi...and I couldn't have agreed more. To trust somepony with your very life for those few seconds as you hurtle lip-locked towards the ground - it was a feeling beyond anything I've ever felt before.

Still...all that flying had tired me out, and now as we flew back to the library I felt more than ready to simply drink the rest of the night away with my friends and my lovely wife.

Celestia had opted to watch over her niece, Cadence, and Luna had chosen to do the same, so that just left myself, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight in the library after everypony else had left. I made sure to kiss my marefriends all goodbye as they left, but was more than happy to spend time with just two of them right now.

"So Dashie, what did you think of it all? Besides that little skirmish at the beginning of the reception, of course." I asked with a smile.

Dash smiled as she lazily lay with her head in my lap, nursing a bottle of hard cider. "It was great, Frost. I'll have to remember to thank Pinkie and Vinyl for putting on such a great party too."

Twi, who was sitting beside me, nodded with a rosy-cheeked grin. "Yeah...it was amazing, Frost. I -hic- think we should go to parties more often."

I grabbed the bottle of hard cider she was holding and gulped it down, before turning to Twi with a smirk. "No more alcohol for you, young lady."

She whimpered and pouted. "W-hic- well fine then...you're no fun."

I rolled my eyes and leaned down, trailing the tip of my tongue along her neck. She shivered and looked at me as I smirked. "Okay, you wanna say that again?"

"I didn't say stop, Frost." Twi deadpanned.

The mare laying in my lap giggled and nudged me. "Twi's fun with a few drinks in her, huh?"

I looked down and nodded. "Yeah. I just don't want her to start puking is all. I do not feel like cleaning up vomit tonight."

The named violet unicorn stood up and shoved me. "Hey, I can hold my alcohol just fine!" She then stumbled up the stairs to the bedroom, and Dash giggled the entire time.

"Yeah...she's a lightweight." the rainbow alicorn said with a smirk.

I nudged her to stand and I stood myself before motioning to the stairs. "Well, I'm beat. What do you say we head up to bed then?"

She shrugged. "Well Twi's probably sleeping in the bedroom, so what say you and me go up to the observation deck and have a bed to ourselves?"

I nodded. "I was thinking the exact same."

We both headed upstairs, snickering and bumping into each other the whole time, arriving a few minutes later at the utterly empty observation deck. I opened the shield and lit a fire before joining Dash on the bed.

Before I could do anything, she rolled over on top of me and grinned mischievously. "So, what do you have in mind for your wife, handsome?" She then ran her tongue along my neck, and breathed a warm breath on it. I shivered so hard it could almost be called a convulsion.

I grinned and kissed her with fervor. "You have learned well, Dashie. A little too well, perhaps."

She straddled me and sat up straight, spreading her magnificent wings and letting her mane fall back behind her...

She looked like an angel.

The cyan pony grinned with half-lidded eyes and rubbed my chest. I lay back and enjoyed the rubdown, letting out a little groan or moan of pleasure every now and then until she stopped, causing me to open my eyes and look at her.

"I'm glad it's you Frost." she said simply.

I raised an eyebrow in confusion. "What do you mean?"

She grinned softly again and blushed. "I'm glad it's you that has me and not somepony else. I mean, I could've ended up with somepony who was mean or neglectful...or that didn't really get me."

I chuckled and shook my head. "Nah, I'm pretty sure you'd beat them to a pulp for something like that, and if you didn't, AJ would. I'm the lucky one here. I mean, do you even know how many stallions want you? Geez...that's all I hear about when I'm up at the barracks. I can always hear the guards talking about how hot you are or how awesome you are...and I know it's only going to get more intense now."

She shared a confused look with me for a moment. "It doesn't bother you?"

"Why...should it?" I responded quickly.

She shrugged. "I guess. I mean, there's a bunch of other stallions-"

"And mares." I added.

She continued. "Oh...um, well there's a bunch of ponies who are talking about me like that. I mean that doesn't bother you at all? Celestia knows it would bother me."

I shrugged lightly and smiled. "Why should it? I mean, it's not like you're an ex that I'm pining over and everypony's talking about you like that." I rubbed her cutie mark with a hoof and she let out a soft moan, looking at me with intensity. "You're mine, and so I don't see it as offensive...I see it as a form of praise. Not that I have anything to be proud of, I mean you could have chosen any other pony...but you chose me. Like I said...I'm the lucky one, here."

She let out a breath, now a little heated. "You sure know how to talk to a mare."

I chuckled and shook my head. "Believe me, I used to be awkward as hell. You have my brother to thank for this kind of talk. He tutored me so that I don't sound like a complete jackass." She stared at me for a minute before bursting out in hysterical laughter. I just rolled my eyes and nodded. "Yeah yeah, the great Frostbreaker was awkward as hell at one time. Laugh it up and get it out of your system."

As requested, she did laugh it up...for another ten minutes straight.

I had finally gotten sick of just being laughed at, so I pushed her off of me and got up, making my way to the balcony and closing the door behind me.

A few minutes passed as the house grew quiet, and then came a knock on the door behind me. "Frost? Come on, open the door. I was just joking around."

I'm not sure if it was just to spite her or if the fact that she laughed at me really had that much effect, but I instead tapped my hoof on the door, covering it in a thick sheet of ice. "No, I think I'll stay out here, thanks. At least no one's laughing at me for something that's actually a sensitive subject, Dash."

There was silence, but then I heard a window opening. 'Yes, Frost...the library does have windows...' Dash landed next to me looking a little ashamed and frowned.

"Look Frost, I'm sorry I laughed at you. I just didn't think it was possible that you weren't always this way is all." she said with a sigh.

I shook my head. "Nope, in school I was like Twi used to be - all work and no fun. I mean, I didn't even get my first date until I was seventeen, and no first kiss until eighteen." I then turned to look at her, noticing the hurt in her eyes. "I mean, do you even know how many times I've been laughed at, or ridiculed by women for being weird, or awkward? Too many to count." I sighed and closed my eyes. "I'm sorry, love. I don't mean to take it out on you. It's just that when you laughed at me like that, it brought back a lot of painful memories. I'm not going to hold it against you though...you didn't know."

She stepped next to me and leaned on my shoulder. I enjoyed the warmth that emanated from her as she spoke. "I didn't mean to upset you, Frost. I'm really sorry."

I turned to her and stroked her mane with a smile. "Nothing to be sorry about, beautiful. I love you and you love me back. You're ten times the girl any of the ones in my past ever were, so you're nothing like them."

We made our way back inside and closed the shield before laying in the large circular bed. After doing so, Dash grinned and took the same seductive facial expression she had earlier, again mounting and straddling me.

"Now...where were we?" she asked with a lick of her lips.

I grinned right back. "I think you were about to try and outlast me."

A competitive streak flashed on her face and I couldn't help but chuckle. "Oh...it's on, Frost."

As she leaned down, I turned out the last light, draping the area in darkness, save for the soft glow of both of our horns.