“Hammer of the Gods”
“Hammer to Fall”
Rainbow Dash made her way out of the construction sight, with Scootaloo, Spitfire and the Others following close behind.
“Rainbow what’s going on?” Scootaloo asked, running up along side Rainbow, looking up at the taller pony with concern.
“I must take you home right now. I’m afraid your lessons must wait.”
“But why? What’s going on?” Scootaloo insisted, trying to keep up with Rainbow’s increasing speed. “And why do I have to go home? Why can’t I stay with you?”
“I fear there are forces influencing my sister that will only bring danger to you. I’m sorry but where I go, you can’t follow.” Rainbow replied, her brow furrowed and voice worrisome.
“Where are you going and why won’t you tell me what’s going on?” Scootaloo pleaded, “I’m not a little filly.”
“I know that Scootaloo, but I do not yet fully understand what is going on. All I do know is that it is incredibly dangerous for you and if anything happened to you…” she paused, taking a breath. “I’d never be able to forgive myself.”
Scootaloo didn’t say anything, simply surprised at seeing Rainbow look so incredibly concerned. Seeing the pony who, less than a half-hour ago was telling her all sorts of fearless adventures she had been on and the monsters she had slain, looking scared was a shock. On top of that, Rainbow wasn’t scared for herself, she was scared for Scootaloo. Before she had a chance to really respond, Rainbow pulled her into a tight hug.
“Trust me, it’ll all be alright, I shall return...trust me,” Rainbow said, quietly. And Scootaloo felt tears well up in her eyes and returned the hug.
“Excuse Rainbow, I hate to break up this rather touching moment, but Trixie has no doubt noticed our absence,” Flitter said, already casting a wary glance over her shoulder. “So can we get a move on please?”
Rainbow Dash nodded, and gently set Scootaloo back on the ground.
“Yes, but first let’s get Scootaloo home safely,” she ordered, and the others nodded, and they started down main street again. They didn’t make it far though, before a loud crash caught their attention.
“Is that who I think it is?” Soarin asked, looking back at the others, panicked.
“But...but that’s impossible.” Spitfire added, shaking her head in disbelief. “She isn’t that desperate is she?”
“Rainbow what is that thing?” Scootaloo asked, quickly scooting closer to Rainbow for protection.
“My Nephew...” Rainbow said, the words sounding more like an incredibly baffled question then a real answer.
Daring leaned down close to the hammer, carefully studying the complicated pattern of runes that were faintly inscribed on along the outer edge. “Whoever wields this hammer shoul-” her muttering was cut off by Spikes voice coming to life over the intercoms.
“This is not a drill, I repeat not a drill. We are enacting a full evacuation of the town and of non-military personnel. All Military personnel we are setting up a 087-b perimeter, I repeat a 087-b.” With that, the announcement ended with a crackle.
Daring’s eyes narrowed. “Evacuation of the town?” she murmured. Her eyes then widened in realization. Her first thought was of Scootaloo. Without so much as a second thought, she started to pack her saddle bags, including her notepad, her pens, pencils, sketch pad and she slipped her pith helmet back on. She ran towards the exit, ignoring the gaggle of ponies.
“Excuse me ma’am but the carrier is this way.” Agent Glimmer said, motioning towards one of the vehicle, which was already being filled with what looked like several scientists.
Daring shook her head. “But I left Scootaloo back in town! I gotta go get her!” she said, pushing past the unicorn and spreading her wings to fly off, ignoring his shouts for her to come back. She gained altitude as best as her old wings would allow her, which was nowhere near as high as she used to be able to go, but still better than nothing.
Rainbow, Scootaloo and the others all gazed at the massive form of Fenrir looming at the end of Main Street, with him violently attacking an overturned car, tearing off chunks of the vehicle and tossing them asides. However, it wasn’t just Rainbow and company that were shocked, but everyone else on the street. Any pony who had just been walking about, running an errand or simply sitting and enjoying the sunny day now stood frozen in terror.
Fenrir reared his head, his wild eyes darting from pony to pony. There was a strange, almost supernatural silence as the ponies and the wolf traded looks, neither making a sound. That is until an elderly mare let out a shrill scream that most likely voiced the only thought on everyone’s mind.
“MONSTER WOLF!!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!” she cried, already running down the street like a mad pony past Rainbow and her friends. That one mare seemed to light the fuse, as the street suddenly exploded into chaos, with ponies running left and right in panic. Rainbow looked at Spitfire.
“We could really use you out there,” Spitfire said, seemingly knowing what Rainbow was about to say, as she pulled out her sword with a wing. The others repeated the gestures with their respective weapons.
“You know that I would be the first, Spitfire, but I would only be a burden,” Rainbow said, motioning to her wingless back. “Also, I have more important priorities. We can’t let the civilians run wild like this. I shall handle their evacuation to somewhere safe, while you keep Fenrir occupied.” she continued, already starting to scope the mob of ponies. “Now, remember, try to keep him on the center street. Make sure to keep an eye out for any wayward civilians, and if you find them, their safety is your number one priority. No grandstanding, understand?”
The quartet of warriors all nodded, muttering words of agreement. Rainbow smiled slightly. “Scootaloo, stay with me,” she added, grabbing Scootaloo and putting her on her back, before heading towards the large building to the southeast, where most of the mob seemed to be heading.
Scootaloo meanwhile, watched as the quartet of pegasi all started to ready themselves for battle, with the bright yellow one that she assumed was Spitfire barking orders in an authoritative voice. The others all darted about, rolling cars and the like in a ring to form what looked like a barrier.
“Rainbow what are they doing?” Scootaloo asked worriedly, and Rainbow cast a brief glance over her shoulder.
“They’re building a barricade I think. Don’t worry, Spitfire has followed me into a thousand battles, and she’s always been the most capable of warriors. She’ll know what to do. Now, the building where everypony is running to, is that the town meeting place?” she asked, pointing a hoof towards the large white brick building. Scootaloo nodded.
“Yeah that’s town hall. Why?”
“Well, our job is going to be making sure that all the ponies heading towards there are safe, understand? I’m pretty sure they have no idea of the scope of what is happening, but either way, they must remain calm.” Rainbow said, her voice now sounding in complete control.
“Okay,” Scootaloo replied quietly, subconsciously tightening her grip on Rainbow. She wasn’t at all prepared for anything even close to this level of responsibility. She was being told to help defend the lives of an entire town. Sure, in a book or a comic that might have sounded awesome, with Scootaloo always imagining herself in the protagonist's shoes. But now, the full weight of responsibly scared her.
The pair soon arrived at the now crowded town hall and squeezed inside. The first thing that Scootaloo saw was a bright pink earth pony standing on the top of a table, waving her arms as if to calm the crowd.
“Don’t worry everypony! Just stay here, away from the big bad meanie wolf and we’ll be safe! Trust me!” she said, but Scootaloo could tell she wasn’t exactly invested in her own words, as her eyes would dart worriedly towards the windows.
"What do you mean stay safe?! Its a giant killer wolf of DEATH!" Came a loud and obnoxious voice from the crowd.
"It tore up a car!" Came another voice. Scootaloo looked down at Rainbow, having noticed that Rainbow hadn't said a word, instead simply staring at the pink pony as if she knew her.
"What's wrong Rainbow? Do you know her?" Scootaloo asked. Rainbow simply nodded before cupping her foreleg to her mouth.
“You! Pink One!” she shouted, “What is your name and business here?”
At the sound of Dash’s booming voice, the pink pony jumped into the air and stuck to the ceiling like a scared cat, clinging to the rafter as if it were a lifeboat.
“Oh hi! Didn’t see you there,” The pony said sheepishly, “And to answer your questions, my name is Pinkie Pie and my business is trying to protect these fine ponies.” she continued, motioning towards the gaggle of ponies down below, who now all looked up at her with wide eyes.
Rainbow only arched an eyebrow, looking at the pony clinging to the rafter and then at the town ponies gathered below her. “For a great warrior as yourself, it seems that you are letting your fears rule you. This is hampering your ability to aid these ponies.” she stated simply and directly. “So tell me, what troubles you? Because the last time we met, you proved yourself quite the worthy foe.”
“Well you see, here’s the thing,” Pinkie said, looking away guiltily. “I just might have a teensy-weensy, itty-bitty, tiny horribly crippling phobia of wolves,“she gulped, her throat having apparently gone dry. “Especially big ones.” She finished with a whisper.
Instead of berating the pink pony as Scootaloo expected, Rainbow instead smiled understandingly, motioning for Pinkie to climb down from her roost. The earth pony reluctantly climbed down to the table, and Rainbow beckoned for her to come closer.
“I understand why you should be frightened of Fenrir,” she said calmly, putting a hoof on Pinkie’s shoulder. “In fact, it is wise to be wary of him. He is no normal wolf, of that I can assure you. Instead, the curse that was placed on him not only robbed him of his sharp mind, but also gave him incredible strength.”
Pinkie’s eyes widened slightly and her features drooped, her face taking on a sympathetic aura. “That’s just terrible,” she said, “What big meanie did that?”
“The Flutter Ponies. He refused to come to their aid once, and the High King retailed with turning him into the monster you see now. And as for your fears, I sympathize with you. I myself cannot bear the sight of a spider any larger than a coin without feeling uneasy. Especially after one particularly wild adventure in Muspelheim.”
“Why, what happened there?” Both Scootaloo and Pinkie asked in perfect sync. Rainbow simply shook her head.
“That is not important now. What is important is that, in spite of one’s fears, a true warrior should never let those fears control them. Instead, they should attempt to triumph over them, and continue with whatever deed is required of them. Understand?”
“I-I think so,” Pinkie replied, rubbing her foreleg. “But how am I not supposed to freak out? I mean, I feel sorry for him and all, but he’s still really, really scary.”
“Simple. Just push on through until the battle is done, and then you can allow yourself to ‘freak out’. But until this town is safe, and these ponies are out of harms way, you must ignore your fears and focus on the task at hoof. Can I trust you to do that?” Rainbow asked, raising her eyebrow slightly. Pinkie bit her lip slightly, seemingly having some sort of internal debate before finally nodding her head tentatively.
“Yeah…I’ll try my best I guess,” she answered, ”But you said that Fenrir was cursed. That means he’s not really responsible for what he’s doing right?” she asked inquisitively. “Because I’d hate to hurt somepony whose being manipulated. I know too much how that feels.” she added somberly.
Rainbow smiled slightly. “Well, if you have anything non-lethal to use against him, that would be the best. As he is a wolf, something very distracting, preferably loud and with a strong smell. Do you have any such weapon?”
Pinkie’s face brightened noticeably, and she nodded rapidly. “Yupperdoodles! I’ve got flashbang and teargas arrowheads!” she chirped, reaching into her quiver to pull out several objects that looked sort of like arrow heads, except with blunt tips. “I normally just use these for crowd control, but do you think they’ll work?”
“I shall take your word on it. Now, go out there and help my friends. Remember, non-lethal as much as possible.” Rainbow ordered and Pinkie nodded.
“And what about all these ponies?” she asked, adjusting her quiver slightly. Rainbow looked around, noticing how all the other ponies simply stared at her, a varying pattern of either shock or suspicion on their faces.
“I’ll take over your duties. I would be no use to you in battle. Now, hurry, we don’t have much time.” she answered. She noticed how Pinkie’s expression was still somewhat worrisome. “And remember Miss Pie, it’s going to be okay. Understand.”
Pinkie nodded, giving Rainbow a quick salute before making her way to the door. “Good luck!” she called out, and Pinkie nodded, before bolting outside and towards the center of town. Rainbow then turned to the rest of the ponies, setting Scootaloo down on the floor and climbing up on the table.
“Hello everypony, my name is Rainbow Dash Celestiamaden, and I’m here to help you.”
Fenrir made a lunge for Spitfire, the bright yellow mare dodging the sharp claws by mere inches. As she did so, she spun around and swung her sword in a broad stroke, letting out a shout of satisfaction as her blade managed to cut into the wolf’s skin, with Fenrir responding with a howl of pain. Spitfire was about to land another swipe when Fenrir spun around, his jaws snapping down on her tail and yanked hard, sending Spitfire hurdling through the glass window of a nearby antique store. Shards of glass and antique china exploded around her and she went clean through the wooden wall, finally coming to a stop a good ten feet inside the store. Shaking her head briefly, Spitfire stood to her hooves, pausing to wipe some blood that trickled from her nose.
“Have at thee!” she roared, spreading her wings and throwing herself towards Fenrir again, sword drawn and pointed directly ahead of her. However, Fenrir must have noticed her, as he ducked just as she flew past, leaving Spitfire less than two feet to spare as she yanked herself skyward, missing the building across the street by mere inches.
As Spitfire pulled skyward, Flitter took her turn, knowing that Spitfire would need a few moments to coordinate another attack plan. She whipped out an arrow from her quiver, and quickly fired off a shot, already in the air by the time it struck Fenrir in the shoulder. Fenrir greeted this with another roar of anger, and he leaped towards the lavender pegasus. However, his massive size meant that he didn’t get that far, and Flitter had already put a good one hundred feet between her and the ground.
“Cloudchaser! Your turn!” she shouted, and Cloudchaser came swooping in, sword drawn and aiming for Fenrir’s ankles. She made a wide sweep, cursing loudly as her sword missed the wolf’s vulnerable ankles. She grabbed onto a lamp pole to make a heel face turn, and adjusting her trajectory to strike at Fenrir as she passed. This time, she managed to score a strike in between his shoulders. Fenrir cried out in rage and pain, before turning to charge at Soarin, who was returning the favor, axe at the ready. With a wide swipe of his axe, Soarin came crashing down on Fenrir, only to be greeted by a kick to the face, sending Soarin spirling wildly into Cloudchaser, who had been right behind the stallion. The pair went flying into a car, sending it back a few feet and severely denting it.
“Get off me you oaf!” Cloudchaser yelled, shoving the still dazed Soarin off her body. Soarin shook his head to clear it.
“Well.. that was most unexpected.” he said, shaking himself off and helping Cloudchaser to her hooves. “You alright Cloudchaser?”
Cloudchaser nodded. “Yes, I’m fine Soarin. Unlike you, I do not bemoan the slightest of paper cuts.”
“Hey, have you ever had one on your hooftip! Those are positively-”
“WILL YOU TWO STOP BICKERING LIKE A MARRIED COUPLE AND HELP US OUT!” Came Spitfire, shouting at the top of her lungs. She glared down at them with sword drawn, coming to a landing in between them.
“Cease this at once! Rainbow told us to keep Fenrir occupied however possible, and unless you two believe that bickering like children is going to stop this monster, then get back out there!” she barked, with Soarin and Cloudchaser instantly saluting and diving back into the fray.
As it turned out, Fenrir must have noticed their bickering, as he had made a break for it, leaping clean over the impromptu barricade they had set up and running as fast as his legs could carry him towards the town hall. The quartet of warriors were quick to rain down all sorts of attacks on him, with Flitter frying an endless stream of arrows, Cloudchaser darting in to swipe with her mace and Soarin making broad swings with his axe. Spitfire staid above Fenrir, hoping for the right moment to come crashing down on him, sword drawn. She tightened her jaw, throwing herself back into the fray with a loud war cry, sword drawn.
With a broad swipe, she finally managed to score an actual blow, her sword stabbing through Fenrir’s thick hide and, with her body soon following through with the stabbing motion, Fenrir staggered sideways, his sense of balance thrown off kilter. With a loud crash, the wolf fell to the ground, dragging Spitfire down with him. The pair rolled end over end, as Fenrir had picked up quite a bit of speed by this point and Spitfire’s sword was stabbed clear through his hackles. Eventually however, Spitfire ended up on top as the pair came to a stop.
Spitfire looked down at him, and Fenrir’s eyes looked back at hers. She was greeted by Fenrir violently bucking his entire upper body, causing Spitfire to lose her balance and go flying across the street again. She landed painfully on her back, and felt her wing bend at an awkward angle, causing her to cry out in pain. Before she even had a chance to stand up, she was pinned by Fenrir’s massive paw. She looked around for her sword, only to see it sticking rather gruesomely out of Fenrir’s side. Spitfire simply glared into Fenrir’s eyes, and Fenrir greeted this with a low growl. With a lunge, Fenrir’s jaw opened, ready to bite Spitfire’s head off. Just as Spitfire expected to meet her end however, there was a deafening bang followed by a horrible smelling yellow cloud.
“Get away from her you big meanie!” came a shout, and Spitfire felt the paw leave her chest, allowing her to quickly roll away. She looked up to see a bright pink pony come jumping in, bow and arrow drawn and ready to fire another shot. Fenrir let out a growl, shaking his head in response to the smelly gas. Without a second thought, Spitfire leapt to her hooves, and darted towards Fenrir, quickly climbing onto the disorientated wolf’s back, tearing her sword from his back. The pink pony fired off another arrow, this one exploding in a loud flash of light and a bang in front of Fenrir’s face. Flitter, who had pulled up when Fenrir crashed, came swooping down, nailing a shot right on Fenrir’s muzzle, causing him to yelp in pain. Cloudchaser swooped in right on Flitter’s tail and landed a blow on Fenrir’s shoulder.
“FENRIR!” Came a loud, commanding voice and everything ground to a halt, with Fenrir stopping mid swipe and turning to look at the source of the voice. Spitfire halted as well, whipping her head around, mouth dropping open at the sight of Rainbow Dash, standing in the center of the street as plain as day.
“What are you doing here?” Spitfire asked, with Rainbow simply walking up to her, a sad look on her face as she gazed at Fenrir, who also hadn’t moved from where he was standing, seemingly equally baffled by Rainbow’s appearance.
“All the civilians are safe Spitfire if that is your concern.” Rainbow said, seemingly already knowing what Spitfire was about to ask. Spitfire shook her head in bafflement.
“Then why are you here? Why haven’t you gone with them?”
“Because Spitfire, I simply cannot bear the sight of Fenrir like this. He is my family, and even with this curse upon him, that gives us no reason to kill him. Allow me a moment to at least try to speak with him. Just once.” Rainbow said, her tone somber.
“But why? Can’t you see he’s a danger to us all? Why do you think that he can be reasoned with now?” Spitfire asked incredulously.
Rainbow simply pointed a hoof to Fenrir. “Look at his eye color. Haven’t you noticed that his eyes are currently green? You and I both know that Fenrir’s eyes are blue,”
Spitfire looked over at Fenrir and then at Rainbow. “Yes, I know this Rainbow Dash-”
“And therefore, there is still the slightest of chances that he is simply being influenced by a malevolent force.” Rainbow continued, cutting Spitfire off. “Just give me a moment with him.”
Spitfire hesitated, her eyes darting between Rainbow and Fenrir. Letting out a begrudging sigh, she stepped aside. “Fine Rainbow, have it your way. But don’t let your faith in others blind you to the truth.”
Rainbow simply gave her a sad smile. “Spitfire...I know my faith in others may seem foolish to you, but I feel this is what I must do.” And with that, she turned and slowly began to walk towards the trapped wolf.
“Fenrir! Why do you do this? Do you not recognize me?” she asked, slowly walking towards the wolf, her ruby eyes focusing directly at his own eyes. She felt a pang of worry at the fact that they indeed glowed a distinct emerald. She bit her lip slightly. Changeling magic. she thought, before swallowing and continuing her path towards the wolf.
“Fenrir, It is I, Rainbow Dash. The one who taught you how to fly? The one who taught you how to shoot your favored bow?” she asked, her voice pleading as she came ever closer to Fenrir. Fenrir’s only response was a rumbling growl and he took a step forward. Rainbow now stood only a couple of feet from his muzzle, his gigantic form dwarfing hers. “Remember we are not your enemies,” she said, her voice much quieter. “Your only foes are The Erlking and the other flutter ponies that serve him. They are the causes of your curse remember?”
Fenrir meanwhile, simply stared at the cyan pony in front of him, unsure of how to react. Every fiber of his being told him to lunge and tear her weak pony body to bloody shreds, to feast on her as it would any other prey item, but her words kept striking chords somewhere deep within him. Every word would provoke a faint memories of flying past gilded spires, of taking aim with a bow in his hooves. Yes, hooves. Fenrir vaguely remembered those. In fact, the more the pony before him spoke, the clearer those memories became. Yes...now he remembered. He was once a pony, but had been cursed with this form. And not just any pony, but one loyal to his family. And something deep inside Fenrir identified this pony was family, regardless of what the blue unicorn had said to him. He looked skyward, growling towards the one he now knew was controlling him. If there was one single thing that Fenrir hated more than anything else, it was being controlled by an outside force.
Meanwhile in Asgard, Trixie gazed into her scrying pool, her eyes narrowing. In the image that the pool presented stood Rainbow Dash, looking directly at Fenrir with pleading eyes.
“Rainbow, Rainbow,” Trixie whispered, more to herself than the image. “You were always too trusting of others.” As she spoke, her horn glowed green and she enacted the divination spell again. She scowled ever so slightly as she felt it had noticeably weakened since Rainbow had begun speaking.
Fenrir, you shall obey the command I, your mother, gave you. Strike her down this instant or suffer the consequences. She commanded, and the light around her horn increased, strengthening the weakened spells to wrest control of Fenrir’s mind back from him. But to her frustration, his mind seemed to actively resist the spell, and it continued shatter with every rapid shake of his head. She let out a hiss through gritted teeth as he glared back up at her from Equestria, his teeth bared. She glanced down at Rainbow to see her sister’s expression was one of immense concern. Trixie let out a heavy sigh, refocusing both her attention and magic on Fenrir.
“Very well my dear son,” she whispered menacingly. “If that is the way you wish to play, than we shall play it that way.” Her horn glowed again, and two tendrils of magic slithered from her horn, wrapping around both Den Hjerte Eske and Gungnir. She closed her eyes and inhaled as the power from both objects flowed into her, boosting her spell’s power. She looked down at Fenrir in the scrying pool, and without the slightest bit of hesitation, fired the spell again, completely overriding his mind’s defenses and hijacking his mind completely.
Rainbow meanwhile, took a step back slightly, honestly not expecting the shaft of blinding emerald light to come straight down from the sky and settle itself upon Fenrir’s head. At first, he seemed to physically fight against the mysterious light before his eyes once more glowed bright green and his muzzle spread to reveal a malicious grin. Rainbow’s eyes widened in fear. She knew full well what an enthrallment spell looked like. Instead of turning however, Rainbow instead set her jaw and stood up straight, not allowing her fear to override her. She had to do whatever it took to protect Scootaloo and the others, and allowing her fear to control her was not an option.
“Fenrir, I know you are there,” she began gently, while still trying to sound as confident as possible. “So please, I beg of yo-” Her request was unexpectedly cut off by a deep, almost demonic cackle coming from Fenrir’s mouth. Rainbow felt her blood turn to ice when she heard the voice that followed.
“Dear sister, why must you and your friends ruin my every plan? Does it delight you watching all my hard work crumble?” Trixie’s voice asked, Fenrir’s vocal cords making it sound like some other worldly mockery of the unicorn’s voice. Rainbow simply stared in abject shock.
“T-Trixie?! You are the one behind this travesty?!” she asked, unable to comprehend how Trixie, the one who loved Fenrir more than anyone else in the entire realm, had stooped to the level of overtaking her son’s mind to use him as a puppet.
“This is farewell my sister,” Trixie’s voice replied, and before Rainbow even had a chance to process the words she had just heard, she was sideswiped by Fenrir’s paw, sending her flying like a ragdoll and slamming into the ground.
Trixie let out a heaving sigh as she saw the final thorn in her side finally removed. A brief glance towards Rainbow’s image in the pool instantly told that the blue mare’s body was broken. Her legs were bent unnaturally and a large amount of blood was pouring from her mouth. Trixie blinked rapidly, quickly refocusing the scrying pool’s attention away from the grisly sight.
“I’m sorry, sister…” she whispered, and she terminated her magical link with Fenrir, and slowly walked out of her laboratory. As she did so, she caught sight of her reflection in a nearby vase. Her changeling form was slightly warped by the vase. Without a word, she shifted back to her Borrson form before leaving the room. She was expecting guests, and therefore it would be best to maintain her noble form.
The time for mourning would come later. She had to prepare for the new era.
Daring felt her heart drop at the sight of the town, the occasional pillar of smoke indicating that, indeed, something was very wrong. She bit her lip in fear, her heart rate erratic as she flew towards her house. She landed a little harder than she intended to and instantly made her way towards the door, bursting inside and looking in every place in the house she could think of. Drawers, the closet, the attic, the bedrooms, even the bathrooms. No sign of her. Now in a full blown panic, Daring burst outside again, frantically galloping down the street. All around her were the ruined remains of overturned cars, destroyed shops and the occasional stray dog scampering across the street.
“Scootaloo!” she called out, her voice desperate and eyes darting about. She was about to round the corner onto main street when she caught sight of a bright orange filly running as fast as its legs could carry her across the street, a big smile on her face.
“Auntie!” The filly called out, and Daring felt immense relief as she bolted to her own hooves, running to greet the filly.
“Scootaloo!” she shouted back, pulling the filly into a tight bear hug. “Oh thank Celestia you’re safe!”
Scootaloo nodded against her, and Daring simply rocked her gently back and forth for a few moments, just grateful that Scootaloo was unharmed.
“What were you doing out here?!” she asked, looking Scootaloo over to make sure she wasn’t injured.
“W-well, Rainbow promised to teach me how to use magic but then these ponies showed up and they were Rainbow’s best friends, and than this giant wolf showed up and Rainbow took me to the town hall and left me there and she never came back at all and I’ve been looking for her and I can’t find her!” Scootaloo took a deep breath, with Daring simply looking at her in confusion.
“Scootaloo, what are you talking about what happened? What do you mean a giant wolf?” Daring asked, only to be greeted by a low rumbling growl. Scootaloo instantly clutched Daring’s foreleg tightly in fear and Daring was quick to gently bring Scootaloo close while simultaneously backing away from the main street, just in case.
There were what sounded like heavy footfalls, and then a harsh whisper.
“Hey! Over here!”
Daring spun her head around to see a pegasus mare with a fiery mane beckoning for them. She was dressed as if she had just returned or was going to a ren fair, with armor that looked battle-worn and well used. Daring was at first reluctant to respond, not sure if this pony was trustworthy, but the feeling of Scootaloo’s grip loosening and the sight of her running over to the mare was a surprise.
“Spitfire!” Scootaloo said, and Daring turned to follow close behind, casting a wary glance over her shoulder as she did so. The yellow mare gave Scootaloo a quick nod before turning to face Daring directly.
“Probably didn’t need to go silent, Fenrir hasn’t had this much exercise in a long time and I’d wager he won’t wake up for a fortnight. But it is best to err on the side of caution.”
“Why? What happened here?” Daring asked, raising an eyebrow and subconsciously putting a wing around Scootaloo.
“A battle that might have held the fate of the nine realms in the balance or might have just been a sisterly spat gone too far...I honestly can’t tell.” the pony whom Daring assumed was Spitfire answered.
Daring opened her mouth to ask another question when a bright pink pony walked up, bow and arrow at the ready. Daring vaguely recognized her as one of the agents she’d seen at the base.
“Well Spitfire, I just finished my sweep of the town and all the civilians are clear." She said, and the fiery mare who Daring assumed was Spitfire nodded.
"Any injuries?" Spitfire asked and the pink one shook her head.
The pink pony shook her head. "Nope, just some minor scrapes and bruises. But other then that, everypony is fine."
“What about Rainbow?” Scootaloo asked, her voice worrisome.
There was an awkward pause before Spitfire spoke.
“She’s with us for the moment, but I think a moment is all she’s got left.” she said sagely, looking down at Scootaloo sadly. Daring pulled Scootaloo closer, half-expecting the filly to break down sobbing just like she did when she found out that Firefly had died.
“I want to see her.” Scootaloo suddenly said, cutting Daring off before the older mare could say anything.
Daring put a hoof on Scootaloo’s shoulder. “Scootaloo I don't think-”
”I want to see her.” Scootaloo repeated, cutting Daring off again and looking up at her.
Daring looked down at Scootaloo and saw the young filly’s face filled with determination, despite the rather obvious tears welling up in her eyes. Daring let out a sigh, letting her shoulders sag slightly.
“Alright then...if that’s what you want,” she said somberly, before turning to look at the pink pony with the bow and arrow. “Care to lead the way Agent…?”
“Pie. Pinkie Pie,” the pink pony answered before beckoning them to follow. “But we’d better hurry-” she halted, motioning for them to back into the alleyway as the largest wolf that Daring had ever seen in her entire life came walking by, seemingly quite exhausted as he came to a stop and lay down right in front of them.
“Quick, around this way,” came the harsh whisper of Spitfire. Without a second thought, the group turned to follow Spitfire down several back alleys, before emerging at the end of main street.
As soon as they emerged there, Daring’s eyes widened at the sight of Rainbow’s battered body. The pony’s rear legs were mangled, with them bent at strange angels. Her lower back seemed to be bent at almost a right angle, and a steady stream of blood could be seen dripping from her mouth. It didn’t help that her coat was torn in several places due to the impact on the ground, the rocks having attacked her skin like sandpaper. The absolute worst part however, was that she was obviously still awake, as she weakly turned her heads towards them.
“Pro-Professor Do and Scootaloo, wh-what brings you here?” she asked, seemingly oblivious to her own injuries, her voice however still being barely more than a choked whisper.
Scootaloo seemed to be shocked into silence, the tears now fully flowing from her eyes. “Ra-Rainbow? Wh-what happened?” she finally choked out, running over to Rainbow’s body.
“Is e-everypony safe?” Rainbow asked, her frail voice carrying a concerned tone as she weakly looked around at the others, her body visibly trying to prop itself up.
“Ye-yeah Dashie,” Pinkie said, her own voice sounding emotional. “J-Just scrapes and br-bruises n-n-no ca-casualties…” she trailed off, obviously to emotional to continue. A look of relief came across Rainbow’s face and her whole body relaxed.
“That’s good...that’s good,” she sighed, letting her head rest on the ground and looking at Scootaloo sympathetically. “Scoots, I am so sorry that you have to see me like this, but trust me...it is for the best.” she said, limply trying to put her hoof on the crying Scootaloo’s shoulder.
“N-n-no! Da-Dash! P-please d-don’t lea-leave me…” Scootaloo sobbed, pulling Rainbow’s body into a hug. “I don’t want to be alone!”
“Alone? Whatever do you mean?” Rainbow replied, weakly returning the hug. “You’ve g-got a wonderful family who cares for you, and Trixie’s plans for this realm are foiled...you’re perfectly safe. Even if I am passing on, it’s no burden to my soul. I deserve whatever punishment that is thrown upon me and worse. At the very least, I got to know you first...so please...don’t cry...you have a wonderful life ahead of you Scootaloo. And you know what?”
“Wh-what?” Scootaloo sobbed, still holding Rainbow’s head in her arms and leaning in close to catch her whispers.
“I’ll be sure to tell your mother that she had the best daughter a mother could ask for.” Rainbow said, a comforting smile on her face.
“Y-you will? For r-real?”
“Really...I promise. Now, goodbye sister.” Rainbow whispered, as her eyes closed peacefully and the last bit of air left her body.
At that very moment, in the royal bedchambers, Cadence sat besides Celestia’s bed, gently holding her unconscious sister’s hoof in hers, and focusing her magic on keeping the renewing aura around Celestia’s body. A glimmer caught Cadence’s eyes however, and she noticed a single tear coming down her sisters cheek. Cadence didn’t know why her sister was suddenly crying, but something deep in Cadence’s soul told her that the tear was linked to Rainbow in someway, so she tightened her grip reassuringly on Celestia’s hoof.
“It’s okay sister...Rainbow shall return...I promise…” she whispered, tears of her own forming in her eyes.
Meanwhile, at the NEIGHS base, a previously unseen series of carefully inscribed runes began to glow around the center of the hammer. To the untrained eye, it would have simply looked like any old runes, but to those who understood, it read the following:
Whosoever wields this hammer, be they worthy, shall possess the full might and power of Rainbow Dash Celestiamaden, First Princess of Storms and Thunder.
With a low rumble, a large storm cloud began to form in the sky above, and the hammer, which hadn’t moved in the slightest since it’s discovery, began to shiver and vibrate violently, shaking the ground around it and causing every single piece of electrical equipment to begin sparking and glitching. A wind began to blow, swirling around the hammer as a shower of sparks began to erupt from the ancient weapon. Then, coming down from the dark cloud above came a single blindingly bright bolt of lightning, which impacted with the hammer head on, sending out a deafening boom and explosion of sparks which effectively cooked every single electronic device for a good five hundred feet around the hammer.
The hammer then exploded out of the ground, propelled skyward like a rocket and turning towards the town in the distance.
Scootaloo held Rainbow’s limp body in her arms, gently rocking it back and forth as best she could, now sobbing openly. Daring walked over and gently tried to pull the inconsolable filly away, unable to bear the sight of her niece in such a state.
“Come on Scootaloo...we have to go.” she said, at least hoping to take Scootaloo back home and away from Rainbow’s horribly battered body.
“No! I can’t leave her!” Scootaloo sobbed, only tightening her grip on the body. “I can’t...I can’t…”
Daring was about to reach in and take Scootaloo away when a loud clap of thunder caught everyone’s attention, silencing Scootaloo’s sobs.
“What was that?” Daring asked, looking towards Spitfire as if the other mare knew whatever the thunder was. Spitfire was about to answer when another pegasus, this one a sky blue stallion, pointed to the northeast.
“Look! Is that what I think it is?” he said, and everyone looked to where he was pointing. Daring saw what looked like a small dot climbing rapidly skyward, visibly breaking the sound barrier as it did so.
“Flitter, what is that?” Spitfire asked and the pegasus that Daring assumed was Flitter squinted towards the dot.
“It looks like…” she trailed off, her eyes widening. “It’s Mjolnir! and it’s coming right this way!”
That seemed to snap everyone out of their stupor and Daring quickly ran towards Scootaloo as the dot leveled out and started to dive directly towards them. Daring’s eyes widened as she realized that it was actually heading directly towards Rainbow’s body...where Scootaloo stood, still holding it tightly.
Daring made a flying leap at Scootaloo, taking her in her forelegs just as a thunderous explosion of light and sound sent everyone flying in all directions. Daring rolled along the ground, still keeping Scootaloo held tightly against her.
As the smoke cleared, everyone stood gawking at the sight before them.
Standing in the middle of the street, hammer in hoof and looking beside herself with a vibrant mix of joy and surprise was a certain rainbow maned pegasus, garbed in a brilliant red cape and silver and black armor.
It was Rainbow Dash. And she was alive.