• Published 17th May 2013
  • 1,977 Views, 111 Comments

The Thirty Minute Dash - Esle Ynopemos

Nopony's faster than the Dash!

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25: For Want of a Feather [A.U.] [Dark]

((Prompt: The Crystal Empire Falls.))

Time. Time is a fickle thing. Ever does it march forward, unthinking, unfeeling, unwavering. An endless stream that never changes direction.

Or almost never. In a land of mad gods and capricious magic, time doesn't always work the way we think it should. Sometimes, time changes.

In the twisting throes of his defeat, the dark unicorn king Sombra's considerable arcane might was unleashed in a blind fit. Raw power was thrown directly at the fabric of reality, with no shape to it other than rage and spite and malice. Most of this magic simply manifested in the form of dark crystals that were quickly dispersed by the wave of hope and goodness emitted by the Crystal Heart.

But in his flailing, the Unicorn King managed to reach across time. It was brief, and small. All he could grasp was a single, tiny object: a sky-blue feather. But grasp it he did, and with the last of his dying hatred as the light cleansed his shadowy form from our world, he pulled.


“Ow!” Rainbow Dash winced as something tugged on her wing. A blue feather drifted to the snowy ground, a drop of blood stuck to the tip leaving a tiny red blotch in the whiteness. She looked back. “Twi, was that you?”

Twilight warded the wind off of her face with a hoof as she glanced up at Rainbow. “Was what me?”

Before Rainbow could say anything, Twilight's brother pushed them along impatiently. “C'mon, we need to keep moving. The Crystal Empire isn't the only thing that's returned.”

Rainbow Dash shrugged and fell into line. Maybe the blizzard had pulled her feather out of place.


“We can save the crystal ponies with their history~” The girls sang together as they looked up the cultural history of the Crystal Empire inside the grand library.

Rainbow Dash wasn't a huge history buff, but she could at least appreciate a library that had enough space to fly in. Twilight's oak tree got a little too cramped to do much more than hover. Here, Rainbow could put her speed and agility to good use, zipping up to the top shelves to retrieve any books Twilight might find useful.

“Oops, look out, Dashie!” Pinkie called out. A quick glance told Dash that an overzealous throw had overshot Twilight and was headed for her.

Rainbow smirked. Dodging something like that was nothing to an aerobat like herself. She deftly spun in midair, preparing to catch the book.

But the wing missing a feather didn't provide quite as much lift as she was used to. With a yelp, she overcompensated and the book thumped heavily against her shoulder. “Oof!”

“Sorry!” Pinkie said, scrambling over to pick up the book. “Are you okay?”

Rainbow rubbed her shoulder. A bruise was already starting to form beneath her fur. “Yeah, it's fine, Pinkie. Just watch where you're throwing things, okay?”


Dash panted as she set her lance aside. With her bruised shoulder, jousting had been more of a chore than an event, and the crowd seemed to pick up on that. A few ponies yawned, and none of them seemed to be getting any shinier.

Rainbow found Fluttershy in a heap of armor atop a pile of hay. She looked up at Rainbow with pleading eyes. “W-we don't have to do it again, do we?”

Dash rubbed her sore shoulder and glanced at the crowd. With a sigh, she shook her head. “No, Flutters, I don't think this is lifting anypony's spirits.” She helped Fluttershy back up to her hooves and helped her out of her armor.


Cadance soared through the air, Spike on her back and the Crystal Heart in her magic grasp. She banked low and slid the Heart into its place at the base of the palace. “Now!” she cried to the crystal ponies. “Fill the Crystal Heart with the power of Harmony!”

The crystal ponies glanced at one another uncertainly. A few of them gamely squeezed their eyes shut in concentration.

The Crystal Heart sputtered a few gouts of light and went dark.

King Sombra shook with laughter. “That's right, my slaves,” he said, his voice resonating off all of the faceted surfaces of the crystal city. “You are mine.”

Darkness overtook the Crystal Empire.