“Hammer of the Gods”
“The Calm Before the Storm”
Trixie trotted up to the entrance to the Bifrost. Still hanging over the entrance way was the tremendous cocoon that contained the unconscious form of her aunt. Trixie gave it a brief glance, wondering if she should recast the sleeping spell lest it wear off.
“No…” she murmured. “It’ll last long enough for what I need.”
Trixie continued into the Bifrost, hefting Gungnir into the air and rather unceremoniously slamming it into the specially designed hole. The massive series of gears, cogs and machinery below roared to life, grinding and groaning as a blinding beam of pure white light erupted from the staff, a complicated spider-web of energy sprouting forth. Trixie quickly began to scan the shimmering tendrils, before her eyes locked onto the bright green glowing dot representing Hekkerheim.
“There we are,” she whispered, tilting the staff towards towards the dot ever so slightly. The Bifrost slowly turned so that the green dot rested at the center of the observatory, and with the slightest push of the staff, another beam of light shot out into space. She already knew full well who was waiting on the other side but couldn’t smother a sly smile as the tall, wraith-like build of Chrysalis appeared at the entrance.
“Good evening,” Trixie said, remaining on her pedestal as three more burly changelings that Trixie assumed were part of Chrysalis’ royal guard appeared. Chrysalis smiled with characteristic malevolence.
“Good evening, Borrson,” Chrysalis said, tipping her head in mock reverence. Trixie simply put on her best smile and motioned towards the exit.
“I welcome you to Asgard, Chrysalis,” she said, and Chrysalis smiled with an almost maniacal glee before starting towards the exit.
“Thank you so very much,” she said, as she stepped out. She motioned to her guards, who dutifully trotted up to her.
“You two, stand guard here. And Ajax, come with me,” Chrysalis said, her igniting and teleporting her and Ajax away in a flash of explosive green flame. The other two took their places and stood guard next to Luna’s cocoon.
Trixie silently teleported away, her smile growing into a grin as her scheme flowed smoothly.
“Just tell Scoots one thing.” The purple maned pegasus asked.
Rainbow tilted her head slightly. “What?”
“Tell her Mommy’s proud of her. Will you do that for me?”
Rainbow blinked, still unable to properly comprehend what had just happened. One moment she was in a realm of light and incredible peace and the next she was right back in Appleloosa, the power of Mjolnir surging through her body, filling her to the brim with electric energy and strength. She looked towards her back and gasped as she saw herself once more garbed in her personal armor, it’s rich crimson cape billowing behind her. She felt a familiar weight on her back and felt an urge to cry as she her wings flex slightly, signaling their return to their rightful place.
“RAINBOW DASH!!!!” came a deafening shout of joy and Rainbow turned to see Scootaloo running as fast as her legs could carry her, the biggest smile that Rainbow had ever seen spread across the filly’s face. Before Rainbow even had a chance to properly react, she was tackled by the filly, who instantly pulled her into an astonishingly tight hug.
“You’re alive, you’re alive, you’re alive, you’re alive, you’re alive!!!” Scootaloo said, tears of joy streaming down her cheeks. Rainbow smiled broadly, scooping Scootaloo up in her arms.
“That I am,” Rainbow said, more as confirmation to herself than anything else. Scootaloo quickly wrapped her arms around Rainbow’s neck and pulled her in tightly. Rainbow returned the favor, holding Scootaloo close.
“I’m just so happy you’re back! I thought I lost you!” Scootaloo cried, burying herself in Rainbow’s shoulder and now crying freely. Rainbow was quick to give Scootaloo a reaffirming, yet gentle, pat on the back.
“I thought I lost you too.” Rainbow Dash had always thought death would be a glorious thing. But as she had been fading all she felt was sorrow for those she would be leaving behind. She thought of all the times she nearly got herself killed in the past and wondered how her mother had managed to deal with the fear of having a daughter who tempted death as she had.
“But I have something to tell you, Scoots,” Rainbow, remembering the name that the kindly pegasus had used. Scootaloo’s cries slowed and she looked at Rainbow with puffy eyes.
“Wh-what?” Scootaloo asked, still smiling and blinking away her tears. “A-and why’d you call me Scoots, only Mom called me that…” She trailed off, her eyes widening.
“Remember how I promised that I would say hello to your mother if I saw her?”
Rainbow swallowed slightly, wondering how best to word this. “Well, I did get to see her. And I told her all about you.”
“What did she tell you?” Scootaloo asked, her voice a barely audible whisper.
“She told me that you were the best, most beautiful daughter a mother could ask for, and you know what else?”
Scootaloo tried to speak but her voice seemed strangled.
“She told me that she was so proud of you,” Rainbow said, smiling warmly. Scootaloo simply blinked, her face seemingly frozen in a look of sheer, unbridled joy.
“S-she r-really s-said all th-that?” Scootaloo finally stammered and Rainbow nodded. Next thing Rainbow Dash knew, she was once more embraced in a vice-like hug. Rainbow could hear Scootaloo’s long stream of gratitude and thankfulness as the filly cried into her shoulder. Rainbow gently patted her on the back, and was content to just stand there, keeping Scootaloo in her warm embrace.
However, the gentle moment was broken by a gentle tap on Rainbow’s shoulder. Rainbow turned to see Spitfire, looking uncharacteristically emotional.
“What is it Spitfire?” Rainbow asked plainly, and Spitfire sniffed slightly.
“I know you and the filly are having a moment, but I must remind you that we have bigger problems right now,” she pointed a hoof towards the gigantic wolf sleeping a few dozen feet away. Rainbow furrowed her brow slightly.
“Right,” she said, before gently letting Scootaloo out of the hug. “Scootaloo, I must deal with my nephew now, but don’t worry, I’ll be back alright?”
Scootaloo looked up at her for a moment, then at Fenrir before nodding and wiping her tears away. “Y-yeah su-sure, I understand.”
Rainbow turned towards Spitfire and gave her a curt nod. The pair then began to make their towards the sleeping form of Fenrir. As they walked, Spitfire was quick to cut to the chase.
“Rainbow, you know what you have to do, right?” she said, looking Rainbow in the eyes.
Rainbow sighed, her own eyes briefly focusing on Fenrir. “That depends Spitfire," she said, refocusing on Spitfire. "What is it that you would have me do?”
“Fenrir is a threat, Rainbow. Nephew or not, he must be permanently dealt with,” Spitfire answered sternly. Rainbow shook her head angrily.
“So you would have me kill my own nephew as another victim in all these affairs? Did I hear you correctly?” She asked incredulously, narrowing her eyes at Spitfire. Spitfire's face remained as stern as before, even though her eyes still betrayed a sense of regret.
“Rainbow, look around you." Spitfire began, motioning towards the half dozen overturned cars and several destroyed shops. "Fenrir is just as destructive as The Destroyer, and if his own mother would use him as a weapon, than what is stopping our other foes? I understand your pain full well Rainbow, but you have to be rational about this.”
“Rational?!" Rainbow interjected, "Do you even know what that word means? I doubt it, because in no realm is the murder of a family member considered rational!”
"Rainbow, listen to yourself! Are you seriously considering sparing the life of a creature that has taken the lives of hundreds in a rabid rage, when you know full well that it is the right and just thing to finally end his madness and misery that he has been living in these past five hundred years?" Spitfire retorted and the two diamond-willed mares quickly spiraled into a vicious debate, neither giving an inch of ground.
Meanwhile, a few feet away, Soarin, who had been standing guard near Fenrir, watched as the two mares continued to fight over the best way to deal with Fenrir. Now, Soarin was the type of stallion who, despite his fun-loving and generally carefree exterior, was still observant enough and intelligent enough to know when someone, even a monster like Fenrir, wasn't acting of his own volition. For one thing, Soarin had noticed that, as soon as Fenrir had tossed Rainbow's body away, it seemed as if a switch had been turned off and he had become more subdued, having simply turned and walked away, seemingly exhausted, and had promptly fallen asleep.
Soarin stood there for a moment, quietly connecting the dots in his head. Following a rapidly growing hunch, he quietly trotted towards the sleeping Fenrir, coming to a stop a few feet away and spreading his wings.
Flitter meanwhile, watched Soarin in confusion and raised an eyebrow. “Soarin, what are you doing?” she whispered, not wanting to wake the sleeping wolf.
“I’m feeling for magic,” Soarin answered, “something’s definitely different about Fenrir.”
Flitter rolled her eyes slightly. “You’re feeling Flutter Pony magic, Soarin. Obviously it’s going to feel different.”
Soarin simply glared at Flitter. “Flitter. I know that. What I mean is that whatever spell is on him is different.”
There was a pause and Flitter blinked for a moment. Soarin let out a sigh.
“Just spread your wings and trust me will you?” he said and Flitter sighed, rolling her eyes again and spreading her own wings. Her eyes soon widened as she felt the ambient magic with her wings. She was quick to beckon towards Cloudchaser, who joined them and soon confirmed their suspicions. Just as Flitter turned to interrupt the long winded argument going on between Spitfire and Rainbow however, a loud shout caught everyone’s ears.
Everyone turned to see a pale yellow unicorn running up, covered head to hoof with sport’s equipment, wielding what seemed to be a bowling ball attached to a mop. His full gallop quickly slowed and he eventually came to a halt, looking around the street. Everyone else simply stared at him, an awkward silence hanging in the air.
“Oh damn it!” he finally said, tossing his makeshift weapon down on the ground. “Of course the battle is already done! Why should I expect any different!” he said, sitting down and looking quite beside himself with frustration and embarrassment.
“What are you talking about, Comet?” Daring said, having spent most of this time trying to keep Scootaloo’s attention diverted from the argument that had just been going on.
Comet Tail huffed, letting his shoulders sag. “I wanted to finally do something, Professor, not just sit around and let myself get picked on…”
Daring was about to walk over and give Comet some comforting words when Soarin interjected.
“But you can help us!” he said, trotting up to Comet and putting his hooves on Comet’s shoulders. “You are a unicorn, are you not?”
“Um, yeah?” Comet Tail said, casting a worried glance towards Daring before he looked back at Soarin. “Why? Cause chances are I’ll just screw up...again.”
Soarin instead shook his head, quickly beckoning for Comet Tail to follow him.
“Soarin what are you doing?” Rainbow asked, quickly trotting up next to Soarin.
“Extend your wings, Rainbow, and feel the magic,” he said plainly. Rainbow briefly raised an eyebrow, glancing over towards Flitter and Cloudchaser. Their expressions however, seemingly confirmed whatever hunch Soarin had, and, with a glance at Soarin, Rainbow relented and started to follow Soarin towards Fenrir.
She glanced at Comet Tail, who was still dressed in his improvised armor. She noticed that he was looking at her with wide eyes, seemingly shocked at the sight of her formal armor.
“I see you came prepared,” she said, attempting to sooth his obviously wounded ego. Comet Tail nodded.
“Yeah...you too…” he said, his voice self-conscious. “Nice cape by the way.”
Rainbow smiled, casting a glance towards her cape. “Thank you. My mother made it for me.”
“Cool…” Comet replied, “Nice wings by the way...didn’t know you were a pegasus.”
Rainbow shrugged slightly and nodded. “Being an Earth Pony was an experience I most likely will never forget.”
Comet was about to continue the conversation when they reached their destination. Apparently, Fenrir was a heavy sleeper, as he hadn’t made a sound beyond his low, rumbling snore.
“Now, Rainbow, spread your wings and tell me that the magic around Fenrir’s body feels different from normal Flutter Pony magic,” Soarin was quick to say, and Rainbow spread her wings, taking a moment to feel for the magic Soarin had spoken about.
Her brow quickly furrowed as she felt the ambient magic around Fenrir. “You’re right, Soarin…” she said, carefully manipulating her wings to better attune herself. “It feels…” she trailed off again, a smile quickly appearing on her face. “Shattered and disjointed! Which means we have a chance at saving him!”
“Really?” Spitfire interjected, trotting over and repeating Rainbow’s motions. She nodded in affirmation. “It does feel shattered. Soarin, how can this be?”
“It must have been Trixie’s magics, right, Rainbow?” he replied, glancing towards Rainbow expectantly. She thought for a moment, running through the rather wild and hectic events of the day. She was still trying to come to grips with the fact that her sister, the pony who had stood by her in a thousand battles, gone on dozens upon dozens of adventures with her, the pony she had held closest, had suddenly turned against her in such a violent and backstabbing way that she would use her very own son as a weapon against Rainbow. Was it something Rainbow had said? Some offhand remark that Trixie had taken the wrong way? Trixie had always been especially vengeful towards those who offended her, and now that Rainbow had basically changed her view on life and saw how much of an arrogant and snide pony she had been before, Rainbow honestly feared that it might be her own missteps that caused Trixie to do such a thing.
“Rainbow,” Cloudchaser’s voice snapped Rainbow out of her moment of self-doubt and back to the real world. She looked to see Cloudchaser looking at her with concern, which wasn’t a normal thing considering the near-omnipresent unimpressed mask that Cloudchaser always seemed to wear.
“You alright? You were murmuring to yourself,” the lavender mare said, arching an eyebrow ever so slightly. Rainbow let out a sigh and nodded.
“I apologize, it’s just been a most confusing and trying experience for me.” she said, shaking her head slightly. She felt a hoof on her shoulder and turned to see, of all ponies, Daring Do, looking at her sympathetically. By her side was Scootaloo, who looked at her with characteristic admiration.
“Rainbow, I totally understand why you’re feeling like the world got turned upside down. Celestia knows three days ago I would have never believed you even existed. It’s okay if you’re feeling doubtful,” she said with sincerity. Rainbow smiled.
“Um, guys, I’m pretty happy for all the bonding and all, but I’m still at a loss as to what I’m needed for,” Comet Tail said, waving a hoof.
Rainbow turned to face him. “Well, what I assume Soarin is trying to tells us is that since you are a unicorn, you have a unique understanding of the paths of magic. As for me, even though I have regained my ability to sense magic with my wings, the subtleties of magic often elude me, Comet Tail. But in your case, you can help us see if the spell matrix around Fenrir has weakened enough to be freed from the curse he is under.”
“Um...I guess I see what you’re saying.” Comet Tail said. Rainbow smiled broadly. There was a sliver of hope on the horizon for her nephew, and this unicorn was it.
“Excellent Comet! You shall act as my eyes while I use Mjolnir to finally free my nephew from his madness.” she said, putting a hoof on Comet’s shoulder. She could tell he was still uneasy, as he looked at Daring for a moment worriedly.
Daring simply gave him a confident smile, with Scootaloo nodding happily.
Comet let out a sigh, turning to face Rainbow again. “Alright….let’s do this.”
His horn began to glow, sending out a tendril of magic that spread across Fenrir’s body. Comet’s eyes widened and he let out an impressed whistle.
“Wow, this is the most complicated spell I’ve ever seen!” he said, his voice carrying with it a slight giddiness. Rainbow nodded, already readying Mjolnir.
“I would assume so, since Flutter Ponies take great pride in the intricacies of all things they plan but especially of their spellwork,” she said, watching as Comet Tail’s magic searched around Fenrir. He came to a sudden halt, his eyes widening slightly.
“Well, have you found the center of the matrix?” Rainbow asked, and Comet nodded.
“Yeah, I have,” he answered, arching an eyebrow slightly. “And your friends are right, the spell is broken but we gotta hurry it’s already started repairing itself.”
“Okay, then what is the plan, Comet?” Rainbow said, readying her hammer.
“Well, the plan is I’m going to try to make it’s weak points visible to you and I want you to send energy into them to overload them, ok?” he replied and Rainbow nodded.
“Spitfire, Flitter, Cloudchaser and Soarin, make sure that we do not wake Fenrir,” she added.
Everypony there watched as the unicorn and the pegasus stood over the sleeping form of Fenrir as an incredibly intricate series of glowing lines appeared over Fenrir’s body. Comet was quick to motion towards a glowing central web around Fenrir’s head and Rainbow lifted her hammer steadily.
“Okay, that’s the weakest point. Just hit there as gentle as possible, and that should break the whole matrix.” The warriors three heard Comet say to Rainbow.
“Should? What if it doesn't?” Cloudchaser could be heard asking.
“Then we run as fast as we can or we will share his curse.” Spitfire replied bluntly.
“Either way, we have one chance,” Rainbow said, before taking a breath and swinging down with Mjolnir. There was an explosion of light and everyone was nearly blinded by a shower of bright, shimmering sparkles falling from the sky as the flash died away.
“What just happened?” Comet Tail said, blinking rapidly, before trailing off at the sight of the massive wolf that was blinking rapidly as well, an expression on his face that could best be described as worry. Everyone was silent, watching the wolf closely and fearfully.
After what seemed like an eternity, the wolf opened his mouth, and with it came an incredibly deep, yet smooth as velvet male voice.
“Oh no…” the wolf groaned worrisomely, his brilliant blue eyes surveying the damaged town around him. “Please tell me this not of my doing,” he said, looking towards Rainbow.
Rainbow’s face burst into a brilliant smile and she practically galloped over to Fenrir.
“Fenrir! You are once more sane!” she said, helping him stand up on slightly shaky paws.
“Auntie Dashie? What happened?” he asked, his face incredibly expressive for a wolf. Rainbow looked up at him.
“There was a battle, and you’re body was used as a puppet,” she answered plainly, and Fenrir’s eyes widened.
“Oh no, did I hurt anypony?” he asked worriedly, only for Rainbow to shake her head.
“Thankfully, no, you did not. Everypony is safe.” she said, and Fenrir let out an audible sigh of relief before sitting down as his aunt and the others filled him in on the last few days. As they told him of Trixie’s actions, he let out a sob and began to weep.
“So what shall I do now?” Fenrir finally said, wiping away a tear with a paw and looking towards Rainbow sorrowfully. “M-My own mother has used me as nothing more than a pawn in some crazed grand scheme!” he said, sniffing as Rainbow gently patted him.
“It’s alright, Fenrir. I swear I shall find the reason for her actions. In spite of what Trixie’s done, she must still love you in some way,” she said, trying her best to comfort him.
“I don’t see how,” Fenrir said, his voice sinking lower into a depressed tone, his shoulders sagging and his head hung low.
Scootaloo meanwhile, had been listening to the full story of how Rainbow had arrived here in rapt attention, and had been mulling over a particular detail ever since Fenrir had started crying. She looked at the wolf, who now looked more like an incredibly depressed puppy, with Rainbow trying her best to comfort him.
“Um...Mr. Fenrir?” she asked and Fenrir looked at her with sad puppy eyes.
“Yes, little one?”
“Um...well…Miss Spitfire said that everything started going crazy after you guys came back from that creepy changeling place right? And when you were there Trixie said she heard ghosts or something right?”
Rainbow nodded, a hoof on her chin. “And you think that maybe she encountered a changeling battle curse and it is driving her mad?”
Scootaloo nodded, shrugging slightly. “I guess, yeah.”
Rainbow was silent for a moment. Of all the potential reasons for her sister to act in such a strange manner, Changeling battle magic made the most sense. In fact, the more Rainbow thought about it, the more enraged she felt.
Damnable changeling scum. She thought, furrowing her brow and setting her jaw. “First, they take my father and grandfather and now they wish to take my sister away from me!” she said aloud, stomping a hoof on the ground. “Ready yourself Fenrir, so that we may return to Asgard.”
Rainbow looked at Fenrir expectantly, only to see him shake his head slightly. “I’m not going.” he said bluntly.
Rainbow blinked. “Not going? Why not? You have regained your senses and are free from the curse.”
Fenrir shook his head. “Even so, Auntie, I have committed too many sins both there and in this realm. I feel I must serve a penance for them.“
“But Nephew, you were not in your right mind-”
“Auntie, right mind or no, the sins I have committed still weigh heavily on my heart. The least I could do in recompense is to stay here, and protect this town and the filly that seems to have become your adoptive sister,” Fenrir said planly.
“You really think that?” both Scootaloo and Rainbow said in surprise, looking up at Fenrir.
Fenrir nodded. “Yes. Anyone with half a presence of mind can see that Auntie holds the maiden Scootaloo close to her heart,” he said, motioning towards Scootaloo.
Scootaloo looked at Rainbow with wide eyes, and Rainbow looked down at Scootaloo. Rainbow said nothing at first, considering her nephew’s insight. What he was saying was true. She and Scootaloo had an obvious bond. The present look of joy in Scootaloo’s eyes stood out in sharp contrast to the downcast and sullen filly Rainbow had first met. And not only that, but this little filly had been the only one who believed her and supported her fully during Rainbow’s darkest hour. If that wasn’t the sign of a member of one’s family, nothing was.
“Alright then, Fenrir,” Rainbow finally said, walking over to her nephew. “But promise me this. Defend Scootaloo as you would your own family. For she was the only one who stood by me when I was without my power. When everyone else doubted me, she stood by me. And if that isn’t family, then what is?”
She felt Scootaloo’s arms wrap around her tightly, and looked down to see the filly hugging her tightly. Daring walked up, putting a hoof on Rainbow’s shoulder.
“Do you really mean that?” she asked, and Rainbow could see tears in her eyes. Rainbow nodded.
“With all of my heart,” she answered, putting her own hoof on Daring’s shoulder. Daring pulled Rainbow into a tight hug and Rainbow returned it in friendship, and Rainbow could have sworn she heard Fenrir letting out a slight ‘daw’.
Of course, this moment of familial bonding was broken when, like a bomb dropping, there came the loud sound of an automobile driving up, sirens wailing. Rainbow released herself from the hug and turned to see, of all ponies, Pinkie Pie, who Rainbow realized had vanished at some point after her restoration.
“Hi, everypony!” the cheery Earth pony said, hopping out of the car, followed closely by a familiar, lanky purple and green dragon. “Sorry I disappeared like I did, but I’d like you to properly meet my boss, Agent Spikey Wikey!”
Rainbow nodded in recognition. “Ah yes, Agent Spike. Glad to meet you in a more proper manner,” she said, extending a hoof in greeting. The dragon simply nodded, his eyes covered by reflective aviator sunglasses.
“Well, Miss Spectrum, it does seem that you’re not exactly the most honest pony I’ve ever seen,” Agent Spike said, tucking his claws in his coat pocket. Rainbow nodded, putting a hoof on the dragon’s shoulder.
“That is true, but you have no need to worry, for you and I share the same goal.”
“Really?” Agent Spike said, raising an eye ridge slightly. Rainbow nodded.
“Yes. We both wish to keep this realm safe from those who would seek it ill. In fact, you may consider me an ally. All I ask is one thing.”
“And what is that?” Spike asked.
“That you make sure my nephew here remains safe,” Rainbow said, motioning towards Fenrir. Spike looked over her shoulder, sliding his sunglasses down his face slightly to get a better look at the wolf. The wolf waved a paw shyly, before diverting his attention elsewhere.
“That’s your nephew?” Spike asked, looking at Rainbow with noticeable surprise. Rainbow nodded. “So I assume he is no longer a threat?”
“No, he is not,” Rainbow replied proudly, before turning towards Pinkie, who was standing behind Spike and eying Fenrir fearfully. “And Agent Pie, there is no reason to fear Fenrir now. He is no longer the monster he was once.”
Pinkie raised an eyebrow. “H-He isn’t?”
Both Rainbow and Fenrir shook their heads. “No, I’m not…” Fenrir said. Pinkie’s expression became less fearful at the sound of his voice.
“You can talk?!” she said, trotting out from behind “And you sound like that detective guy too!”
Fenrir raised an eyebrow. “I do?”
Pinkie nodded. “Yeah-huh! Nice and sexy!” she said, causing everyone to stare at her awkwardly for a moment. Pinkie simply stared back, raising an eyebrow slightly.
“What? I like deep voices,” she said, as if it were the most painfully obvious thing in the universe. There was another pause before Spike picked up the conversation again.
“Well, now that Mr. Fenrir’s problem is seemingly resolved, I think now would be a good time for me to debrief everyone here so I can file a report,” Spike said, reaching into his coat pocket to pull out a clipboard.
“Sorry, but time is of the essence,” Spitfire interjected, and Rainbow nodded.
“Spitfire is right, Agent Spike. I wish I could stay, but I have duties to attend to in Asgard,” she said, and was about to spread her wings to fly off when she felt Scootaloo tug at her cape.
“You’re leaving? Already?” Scootaloo asked, unmistakably worried. “I mean...you just got back…”
Rainbow furrowed her brow slightly, before leaning down to be at Scootaloo’s eye level.
“Scootaloo, don’t worry. I’ll be back as soon as I can, I swear upon my father’s grave. Here.” She yanked off one of the half-dozen or so medallions that were attached to the front of her uniform. “Take this as a sign of proof.” She placed the ornate metal in Scootaloo’s hoof, the filly’s eyes widening.
“What is this?” Scootaloo asked, her voice in awe.
“It is a medal I was given for heroism in the Battle of Muspelheim. When I return, I’ll tell you the full story behind the medal.”
Scootaloo looked up from the metal. “You promise?”
Rainbow nodded. “I promise.” She then pulled Scootaloo in for a tight hug, gently tapping her on the back.
“Okay Rainbow,” Scootaloo said, returning the hug with fervor. “Just come back safe, okay, sis?”
Rainbow couldn’t help but feel her heart warm at Scootaloo considering her a sister. “Of course I will, sister,” she said, returning the favor with all her heart. “Of course I will.”
A tap on Rainbow’s shoulder distracted her from the hug however and she looked up to see Spitfire, an expectant expression on her face.
“Rainbow, I understand the need for some goodbyes, but we most likely have little time before Trixie discovers your recovery and seeks to act against it. We have to get going,” she said, stern, yet still sympathetic. Rainbow nodded slightly.
“I understand,” she said, and she gently tapped Scootaloo’s shoulder. “I have to go now Scootaloo. Just stay safe and obey Professor Daring, okay?” she said, and Scootaloo nodded.
“Sure thing, Rainbow. What about your nephew, where’s he going to stay? I mean, I don’t think the pound is going to want him,” Scootaloo asked, motioning towards Fenrir. Fenrir simply smiled and shrugged.
“I assume here with you shall be as good a place as any,” he said, “If that’s alright with your auntie.” he said, looking at Daring.
Daring bit her lip slightly. “Um...well...I’ll just say right now we don’t exactly have a big backyard, Mr. Fenrir,” she said, rubbing the back of her neck slightly. Fenrir shrugged.
“Oh, that’s alright. I’m used to enclosed spaces,” he said simply, causing another set of eyebrows to raise. “The less you know the better,” he quickly added.
“Right,” Rainbow said, straightening up. “We have to get to the Bifrost drop off point as soon as possible. Let us fly.” And with those words, she lifted into the air, followed closely by Spitfire and the Warriors three. As she did so, she waved goodbye to Scootaloo, Daring and Comet one last time, and Scootaloo waved back, a sad smile on her face.
“I’ll miss you,” Scootaloo said quietly, but still loud enough that Fenrir apparently heard it.
“Oh, don’t worry yourself, Dame Scootaloo, if my auntie is anything, she is the most loyal pony I have ever met. If she says she will return to you, she shall return.” he said, putting a titanic paw gently on Scootaloo’s shoulder. “Now, how about I regale you with a story of one of the adventures of my youth?”
Before anypony could respond Pinkie hopped in front of Fenrir and sat down, bucket of popcorn in hoof. “YAY, Story time!” Fenrir gave her a quick, ever so slightly confused glance.
Scootaloo shrugged slightly, looking down at the medal she still held in the palm of her hoof. “Um...I guess I’d like a story,” she said, and Fenrir smiled.
“Excellent. I shall do my best to regale the tale of that very medal,” he said, before clearing his throat. “The story of that medal began in the days of my youth, shortly after the rise of Corona the Sanguine Sun to her place on the throne of Muspelheim, but before the rise of the Five Phoenix Lords…” he began, launching into a long, finely detailed tale that Scootaloo and Pinkie listened to with wide eyes.
Spike meanwhile, simply sighed, looking skyward in the direction in which Rainbow had flown.
“They always fly off like that,” he sighed, before reaching into his coat pocket, quickly dialing a number. “Hello, Sanmi? Yes, we’re good. What’s that? No, we won’t need the tranq. We will need an awfully big dog house though...how big? Oh, a good twenty feet by fifteen feet will do.”
Nexus the Changeling glanced worriedly at the large cocoon looming above him. The midnight blue alicorn inside was still apparently asleep, her face locked in a completely neutral expression.
“What are you staring at?” his comrade, Onalla, asked, her voice critical.
“Are you sure that the Asgardian is truly asleep?” Nexus said, looking towards Onalla. She rolled her eyes.
“Oh please, Nexus, you have always been so paranoid and fearful. Look,” she lit her horn and prodded the large cocoon with her spear. The cocoon simply swayed slightly, the alicorn inside seemingly still completely unconscious.
“See? Now stop worrying yourself. Our Queen shall return to us soon and victory shall be assured, just you watch,” Onalla said, smiling smugly and sitting next to Nexus. Nexus let out a sigh, giving the cocoon one final glance before diverting his attention elsewhere, in this case the tall spires of the castle in the distance.
Meanwhile, in the cocoon, Luna was awoken by what felt a vague poking sensation, and felt herself swaying slightly. She attempted to move her body, only to find that she was still encased in a thick, sticky, syrupy substance. She tried to open her eyes, only to find that they seemed sealed shut. Her incredibly sharp ears could catch the muffled voices of someone speaking outside the cocoon, one male, the other female. Both carrying the characteristic buzzing cadence of changelings.
Changelings?! Luna thought, her foggy mind suddenly becoming crystal clear. Suddenly another voice, much more familiar to her, caught her ears, calling her name.
“LUNA! LUNA OPEN THE BIFROST! LUNA?!”
The voice was that of Rainbow Dash. And she sounded anxious.
Luna felt a sense of relief wash over her at the sound of her niece's voice, overjoyed to know that Rainbow was still alive. Luna began to struggle against the liquid, finally managing to pry her eyes open and get a look at the area around her. Just as she thought, she was hanging upside down in a translucent green fluid that apparently deadened any sounds around her. She spotted two changeling guards standing to the left and to the right of her. They obviously noticed her movements, as their horns began to glow brilliant emerald, apparently attempting to strengthen the cocoon.
Luna felt a sudden wave of exhaustion break over her, and she shook her head in protest. She was not about to fail in her duties, not now, not when she was so obviously needed. Her own horn began to glow midnight blue and, with every ounce of concentration she could muster, she managed to send out a bolt of magic, puncturing through the cocoon and allowing the sticky fluid to begin leaking outwards. This time, the changelings raised their spears, lunging forward in perfect sync in an obvious attempt to try and impale Luna with them.
Luna however, threw herself forward with all her might, her horn piercing through the cocoon’s membrane and finally managing to break free from the prison. She spilled out onto the ground, taking several massive, heaving gasps for air and pulling her sword out in one swift motion. The heads of the changelings went tumbling off their bodies, the corpses flopping to the ground lifeless.
“I’m coming, Dashie…” she gasped, Rainbow’s voice now much clearer. Luna dragged herself to her hooves, shaking off the last elements of the changeling magic and started to move as fast as her legs could carry her towards the Bifrost. However, whatever anesthetic was hidden in the changeling cocoon fluid, was probably still affecting her, as her legs felt as if they were made of iron. Her head felt heavy and her body overall felt as if she had just fought off an army.
Focus, Luna! Asgard needs you. Dashie needs you. You have not failed them yet, and by the fathers you shall not fail them now.
With that reaffirmation, Luna girded herself and threw all her energy into the final couple feet to the center of the Bifrost. She lifted her sword and plunged it into the keyhole, and was greeted by the Bifrost once more igniting. Luna instinctively directed it towards Equestria, leaning forward with all her might to set it into motion.
With a loud roar, the Bifrost shot forth, and Luna let out a sigh of relief as her niece appeared in a flash of light.
“Luna!” she said, eyes wide as she flew over, Mjolnir in hoof. Luna dragged herself to her hooves, and gave Rainbow her best confident smile.
“Best beloved Rainbow, I see you have returned to us,” she said, unable to mask the pride she felt at seeing her niece once more garbed in full regalia. Rainbow however, looked concerned.
“Auntie, what happened to you! You look sick!”
Luna shook her head. “Nonsense Rainbow, ‘tis but a scratch.” However, she let out a heavy cough, hacking up some of the fluid that she only now realized she had swallowed during her escape.
Rainbow’s eyes widened and she was immediately at Luna’s side, beckoning for the others to help her support the exhausted alicorn.
“Spitfire, take Luna to the healing room,” Rainbow ordered and Spitfire nodded, helping to prop Luna up.
“Come, Luna, we must get you to a doctor,” she said, but Luna still shook her head.
“I mustn't abandon my post, Lady Spitfire...I’m *koff* perfectly capable of continuin-” Luna’s protests were cut off by whatever changeling fluid that still in her system coming out in a vulgar retching stream.
“Luna, you must see a doctor now,” Rainbow commanded, and she motioned for Spitfire and the others to start moving the larger alicorn. Despite Luna’s protests to the contrary, they continued to walk her out of the observatory, while Rainbow pulled out Luna’s sword, quickly running over to place it in it’s sheath. Without another word, she started to fly towards the castle.
“Wait, Rainbow! Where are you going?!” Spitfire called out.
“I am going to have some words with Trixie, Spitfire,” Rainbow replied, briefly halting to hover in place. “Take Luna to the healing room and make sure she isn’t wounded, understand?”
Spitfire nodded. “Good luck Rainbow!” she said, and Rainbow simply nodded tersely, a determined look on her face, before turning towards the castle and launching herself at full speed.
Trixie, you have quite an amount of explaining to do. she thought darkly, dreading what might be waiting to greet her in the castle.