• Published 1st Nov 2013
  • 1,069 Views, 12 Comments

Lost Legacies Zero - AkibaWhite

The Harmony Storm approaches . . .

  • ...



Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria, there lived a lineage of scholars known as the Historians. Revealed by their Marks when they came of age, they journeyed deep into Equestria's past through many forms of ancient lore only to discover a puzzling truth: that the chain of causality in this magical land was not a solid line that faded away into the distance, but a series of disconnected dots and dashes, ending abruptly and far too close to the present day. The Historians made many attempts to fill in the blanks, but for all their efforts, not one new record from the time before their founding was ever unearthed. In days of yore, it was common for Historians to spend their entire lives in search of the missing portions of history, the so-called "Lost Legacies." In the modern era, Historians simply keep record of events as they occur. There are two factions among the inheritors of this storied lineage: those who believe the Legacies to be lost forever and those, perhaps the wisest of all, who fear that the Legacies should ever be found . . .

Rainbow Dash plummeted through the swirling stormclouds and crisscrossing arcs of white-hot lightning, fighting to regain control in the midst of a torrential downpour. The gale-force winds buffeted her to and fro, dragging her earthward in a furious zigzag that had her stomach turning cartwheels. By some miraculous combination of adrenaline and pure unadulterated talent, she regained control and slowed her perilous descent. Her violet eyes peered angrily through rain-blasted goggles in search of the assailant as her expertly-trained wings rode the whirlwind. She knew what had hit her, and she knew why it had too. She also knew precisely what to do about it.

Held fast between Rainbow's powerful jaws was a weapon that resembled a stylized golden dagger. With a flick of her tongue across the hidden switch and a high-pitched metallic whine, the Bolt Lance extended into the shape of a bladed war fork longer than she was tall. She loosed the now-impractical muzzle grip and caught the elongated haft between her hip and the crook of her elbow, a practiced motion that allowed her foreleg to aim the twin bladed tines at the shadows moving in and out of her vision just beyond the clouds. Arcs of electricity danced between the tines. The weapon was now ready to unleash a bolt of the very same lightning streaking through the dark gray maelstrom all around her.

Rainbow's heart raced beneath the wet fur of her heaving chest. She fought to keep her aim steady against sore muscles made twitchy by stress. She squinted hard, struggling to differentiate between the droplets on her goggles and the jet-black wraiths dancing about in the deluge. And suddenly, there came a moment that seemed to stretch on forever. It was the moment she'd been waiting for. One of the shadows had veered off in a possible attempt to keep its distance, unintentionally presenting a still target. All of her training over the past two months told her that this was the time to fire. She willed herself to do so, and yet . . . her body froze.

Rainbow Dash allowed the opportunity to pass, then the next one, and the one after that as well. She knew that she should fire. She knew what would happen if she didn't fire. Nevertheless, she could not bring herself to threaten the life of another living creature. Her thoughts scattered amidst conflicting determinations like water upon stone. Desperate to regain her composure, Rainbow focused all her attention on the sound of her heavy breathing, audible to her even above the roar of the storm.

In and out.

One . . . Two . . .

The sound reminded her of a countdown. Her eyes saw the shadows spiral in for the kill.

Twilight Sparkle had dreaded this moment from the day she'd made her very first friend in Ponyville.

"Come on, it'll be fun!" cheered Pinkie Pie.

Twilight swallowed hard in the dim candlelight that cast the entire library in flickering shades of pitch black and golden orange. Tonight was supposed to have played host to a slumber party like any other, a brief respite from the trials and stresses of their busy lives, a night of good company and good clean fun. But this?

Applejack cast her a sultry glance from beneath the brow of her Stetson. "We've all done it, y'know. Ain't no shame in lettin' loose once in a while, sugarcube."

The fragrant candle smoke filled Twilight's nostrils as she blushed bright red. How had the situation gotten so far out of hoof? The rational part of her mind reminded her that these things happened all too often between close friends, that she could only have expected to sleep in the same room with them so many times before things became . . . uncomfortable.

Fluttershy fidgeted on her plush cushion and whispered, "I was scared too when I tried if for the first time, but it's really not so bad." A tiny smile crept across her delicate features. "Actually, it feels pretty good when you know how to use it."

Twilight's mouth fell open. Even Fluttershy, the embodiment of purity and innocence, had gone this far? A shiver ran through her body, leaving it heated and hypersensitive. Everything good and decent within Twilight told her to refuse their advances, and yet, these were her friends. She could trust them, couldn't she?

Rarity snorted. "Frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is about. It's just a Weegee Board™."

Twilight allowed her eyes to drift down and gaze at the dread object on the table before her. What she saw was nothing more than a wooden board, painted green and emblazoned with all 26 letters of the alphabet in white. Even so, she felt her skin crawl at the sight of it, a sensation of disgust that neither Rarity's dismissal nor Pinkie's ludicrous fortuneteller getup could alleviate. Her right eyebrow twitched. Was it the backwards L? Was it the mustachio-shaped planchette? Was it the coffee stain that looked like a pair of eyes staring awkwardly into her own? No, Twilight thought with a shake of her head. This is Shining Armor's fault.

Pinkie Pie pawed at the giant feather adorning her exaggerated purple turban. "Rarity's right, Twilight. Just ask the Weegee a question, any question." She shrugged and offered a disarming smile. "What's the worst that could happen?"

Twilight winced as her brother's warnings piled up in response. Beware the Weegee, he'd said from across a campfire, waving his hooves in the air.

Applejack chuckled at her friend's obvious anxiety. "Might as well go for broke, Twi. Somethin' like, 'Am I gonna be famous, or always stuck playin' second fiddle?'"

Fluttershy raised an eyebrow. "Um, I don't think that would happen to Twilight."

Twilight's heartbeat quickened. Beware the creature behind the board, the eyes in the dark ever-staring, ever-searching . . .

Rarity clucked her tongue at the farmpony. "Fame isn't everything, dearest A.J. How about, 'Will I ever find true love, or just have to settle for living vicariously through my brother?'"

Fluttershy tilted her head to the side. "That doesn't sound like Twilight either." She grimaced. "Also, eww."

Never touch it, never ask it anything, and most of all . . .

Pinkie Pie blew a raspberry. "Amateurs. Check this out." She waved a dramatic hoof over the planchette. "When, oh when will I ever overcome my crippling fear of mason jars?"

A mousy squeak sounded in the dark. All eyes turned to Fluttershy, who promptly returned a frightened nod. "Um, that sounds like a good one. You should go with that."

Never look into its cold dead eyes, or else . . .

Applejack noticed the object of their teases staring off into the distance. "Twi, you okay?"


Twilight shrieked and covered her face with both forelegs. "No!" she exclaimed. "Not the Weegee! Anything but the Weegee!"

A moment of awkward silence passed before Pinkie Pie rolled her eyes and reached into a nearby bag. "Okay fine, you big baby." She pulled forth her characteristic crystal ball and plonked it down on the table. "How about we go traditional instead?"

Twilight peeked out from between her hooves.

Pinkie grinned. "I promise it doesn't bite."

At last, Twilight brought her forelegs down to reveal a sheepish smile. "Y-yeah, I guess we could do that."

Applejack and Rarity let out a groan of mild disappointment, but ceased when pale light shone forth from within the rounded crystal.

"Be very, very quiet," droned Pinkie Pie, her stage voice reverberating throughout the library. "I'm hunting for the future . . ."

At that moment, the lights went out. At least, that was how it seemed to Twilight, who let out a startled yelp. "What the hay?" she exclaimed into the utter darkness all around. "Who blew out the candles?"

There was no answer, only darkness.

Twilight let out a fake laugh. "Okay, very funny girls. Can we please do something else tonight besides pick on everypony's favorite neurotic punching bag?" Ten seconds of silence passed, then twenty. "Girls?" A bead of sweat made its way down Twilight's brow. Shapes appeared in the darkness, shapes most unfamiliar. "Pinkie Pie?"

Soon enough, Twilight's eyesight adjusted, and she quickly realized that she was no longer within the tree hollow she called home. She now sat in a muddy patch of barren ground, surrounded by piles of rubble and ruin stretching out in all directions as far as the eye could see. The whole world had become a sea of faded white stone and gritty brown dirt, watched over by a sky of roiling clouds, gray but for the occasional flash of far-off lighting. At first, Twilight had no idea what it was she was looking at. Then her eyes came to rest on a surviving spire, one that bore a golden minaret atop its weathered marble surface. Recognition dawned upon her, and a single word left her mouth unbidden. "Canterlot?"

Fear entered Twilight's heart—not the giddy flustering brought on by adolescent superstition, but an icy chill that started in her bowels and began clawing its way up to her lungs. A drop of rain on her head caused the displaced unicorn mare to look up at the beginnings of a storm, and a strange one at that. The flashes overhead bore many colors, and the sounds that accompanied them were not thunderous booms. They were shouts of anger. They were cries of pain.

Twilight's heart pounded against her chest as a harsh drizzle descended all around. "That's not lightning," she whispered.

Rainbow Dash had hoped to reach the count of four, but the shadows wouldn't have it. One of the wraiths barreled out of the deluge, revealing itself as an armed pegasus stallion turned living projectile.. Rainbow had prepared herself for this and thought she knew what to expect,, but the sight of a charged Bolt Lance pointed right at her face shocked her to the core. The lance fired as the enemy passed overhead, loosing a white-hot bolt of pure electricity sure to end the life of anypony standing in its way. Rainbow dodged the blast on pure instinct, but only just. The smell of roasted mane and the searing heat of a flash burn eclipsed her senses. She turned to the fleeing assailant, and in a sea of gray, Rainbow Dash saw red.

"Get back here!" Rainbow shouted, though her body wasted no time on the words. She hit the switch to collapse her Lance, caught it in her jaws, gave a single beat of her mighty wings, and sent herself into a shallow dive, all in the same expert motion. Given that her target was gaining altitude, a rookie might have mistaken her action as counterintuitive. Rainbow Dash knew better. She folded her wings close, gaining considerable speed as the rain buffeted against her. When the wind changed direction, Rainbow spread her wings wide and caught the updraft, riding the spiral air currents with reckless abandon. A single mistake in these conditions could spell death, but she was better than that. Much better.

Rainbow flapped her wings at an ever-increasing tempo, streaking through the darkness like a guided rocket. Her target remained in sight, a distant shadow in the ocean of clouds. She focused the force of her will, the essence of her entire being on the singular task of catching her quarry, and the body of Equestria's fastest flier answered the call. She drew closer and closer. She felt the familiar cone of air pressure building in front of her. She could easily have popped it at any moment, but was only too aware of her enemy's ability to dodge. Rainbow waited until the last possible second to do what no other pony could. With an ear-splitting boom, she shattered the sound barrier, unleashing an explosion of prismatic light just a few pony-lengths from her target.

The unfortunate pegasus stallion had no time to react. Rainbow collided with him at supersonic speed, knocking the wind out of them both and forcing a painful, satisfying yelp of surprise from her prey. Fueled by out-of-control adrenaline, Rainbow recovered first. She extended the Bolt Lance and wrapped it around the stallion's neck, holding him from the rear as they hurtled toward the ground far below. The stallion fought and kicked with strength superior to her own, but Rainbow poured everything she had into the well-established hold. Hoping to choke the fight out of her opponent before they both hit the ground. Somewhere in the back of her mind she knew that she had no exit strategy, that her intentions began and ended with violence against this threat to her life. Somewhere slightly forward of that thought was the knowledge that she didn't care.

After what seemed like an eternity, they broke through the clouds, still locked in a terrible embrace. As the rocky earth rushed up to meet them, both realized that there was no time left to escape the dive. One pegasus panicked. The other poured on speed.

Twilight watched with unblinking eyes as a golden meteor breached the clouds, leaving a trail of smoke and feathers in its wake. It streaked across the sky in the breadth of an instant and smashed into the ruin of a nearby building with a deafening CRACK, sending clouds of dust and chunks of debris in every direction. Twilight had little time to react, much less get out of the way, when a boulder the size of two ponies sailed right over her head, whipping her mane back and causing her heart to skip a beat. It skipped another at the sight she next beheld.

Through the dust and rain they marched, ponies majestic and regal. The wings of eagles folded against their sides. The horns of matriarchs adorned their heads. Five alicorns approached the point of impact, clad in the glittering golden armor of Equestrian princesses, each bearing the jewel of an Element of Harmony upon her breastplate. As if these things were not enough to render Twilight hopelessly slack-jawed, their Cutie Marks affirmed what her eyes already suspected. A set of apples here, a trio of balloons there, and on the flank of the princess bearing an intricate tiara, the fabled Element of Magic, was a sparkling star surrounded by five of its lesser kin.

They're us, Twilight thought in utter astonishment. Her gaze traced the cold and graceful features of the future Element of Magic. That's me! She could not help but feel a certain swell of pride at the sight, but five was one too few. A knot formed in her throat. Where's Fluttershy?

The alicorn in question crawled forth from the demolished building, doing her level best to hide involuntary noises of pain. Her slender body looked battered and bruised. Dented plates of armor fell away from her, clattering against the rubble as she tried to stand. Her blue-eyed expression radiated hurt and betrayal.

Twilight's heart sank at the sight. Though not a combat veteran by any means, she could see the telltale signs of mercy, of the intent by Fluttershy's pursuers to ground her, not snuff out her life. Even so, her every observation only yielded a single, gut-churning question. Why?!

"Why'd you do it, Fluttershy?" asked Princess Applejack, her signature hat conspicuously missing from her ascended form. "What in tarnation were ya thinkin', leavin' the castle without so much as a word to the guard?"

"You had to have known what would happen, darling," said Princess Rarity, her tone soothing, yet uneven. "You know all the risks we can't afford to take."

Fluttershy averted her eyes, unable to stop her tears from mixing with the rain. "There was nothing left to say."

Princess Twilight Sparkle stepped forward, sending a wave through her enchanted mane. "I cannot let that stand, Fluttershy." Her expression was cold, her gaze distant. "You are the Element of Kindness, a Crown Princess of Equestria."

"Or what's left of it, anyway," whispered Princess Rainbow Dash.

Princess Twilight's violet eyes narrowed in response. "Whatever the reason for your departure, you owe us an explanation."

The look of pain on Fluttershy's face intensified. "You really need me to explain it to you?" she whispered. Her quiet tone gave way to nothing short of a strangled sob. "I can't do this anymore!"

Twilight searched the exquisite features of her future self, looking for any sign of sympathy. The princess's icy countenance, though familiar, yielded nothing.

"None of us wanted the world to fall under darkness," said Princess Twilight in emotionless monotone. "That is no excuse for abandoning the legacy we've sworn to uphold."

Fluttershy returned a stare of disbelief, still struggling to rise on shaking limbs. "You think that having a reason to do the things we've done makes it right?" Her face twisted into a bitter scowl. "All I ever wanted was to help other ponies. I never wanted to hurt them, to hunt them down and take away everything they love just because they might be a threat."

Princess Twilight gave a tilt of her head. "You speak as if our actions benefit none. How many ponies do you think you've saved?"

Fluttershy lunged forward on her knees, her voice filled with the fury of total self-hatred. "HOW MANY PONIES DO YOU THINK I'VE KILLED?!"

A bolt of real lightning touched down in the distance, illuminating the ruins for only a moment. It was in that moment that Twilight saw them. Bodies. Bodies everywhere. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of ponies lay strewn across the ruins, hidden only by the dark of night, scattered about like seed for birds to devour. Twilight recoiled, her face a mask of open-mouthed horror. On her left, the body of an earth pony mother held her fallen daughter in their final embrace. On her right, a rusted set of armor cradled the rotting corpse of an Equestrian knight. Twilight pressed her back against the nearest stone, too afraid to move, lest she touch the macabre garden of her nation's future dead. Consumed by fear, she did not see the flash of red light that shone forth from behind Princess Fluttershy's bloodshot eyes, nor the alarmed faces of all but one who witnessed it.

"Don't talk like that, Fluttershy!" exclaimed Princess Pinkie Pie. "Everything will go back to normal one day, as long as we don't give up!" Tears welled in her once-jubilant eyes. "We'll make it all better again, you'll see!"

Princess Fluttershy gave up on her broken body, allowing herself to rest on the slab of weathered marble beneath. "No, Pinkie," she sobbed as the light behind her eyes flashed once more. "I don't think I will."

The Element of Magic left the head of Princess Twilight Sparkle, borne aloft in her distinctive magic aura. Guided by a masterful manipulation of complex telekinesis, the golden diadem split apart into an angular swarm of shifting, interlocking pieces. The amethyst core gem changed shape to match the transformation, forming the interior of a pair of long bladed tines. What resulted from the reconfiguration appeared nearly identical to the Bolt Lances carried by Equestria's greatest warriors, an unmistakable weapon brought forth for one unmistakable purpose.

Twilight's horrified senses fixated on the glittering spear as both the instrument and its wielder advanced on helpless Fluttershy. She wouldn't, Twilight thought, but her instincts told her otherwise. She charged forth from her hiding place, heedless of the mass grave passing beneath her hooves, desperate to prevent something that scared her more than anything long-dead ever could.

Rainbow Dash pulled herself from the mud with a wet squelch, only dimly aware of the pain that accompanied her every move, and coughed out a mouthful of ice-cold water. Sheets upon sheets of rain hammered down in the darkness, turning the whole world into some nightmarish waterfall. The sound of churning grit consumed everything, as if reality itself had gone static. As Rainbow struggled to stand on bruised and uncooperative limbs, a flash of lightning rendered a momentary glimpse of the scene. The dagger form of her Bolt Lance stuck up from the dirt handle-first just a few feet away, probably dropped when she'd hit the ground. Several yards beyond that was another familiar shape—that of a pegasus stallion slowly coming to.

Rainbow Dash lunged forward and grabbed the Bolt Lance from its resting place, seething with a heat that burned from somewhere deep inside. Who do you think you are? She hobbled forward, hoof over hoof, biting down on the Lance's leather-wrapped grip the way wolves tear meat from bone. This is my story. The mud did her no favors. It pulled and sucked at her every step, but the enraged pegasus would not be deterred. I say when it ends!

One of Rainbow's front hooves touched her target. She heard him flop over in the mud, a sound that only made her further incensed. She reared back, dagger tip down, and pulled in a deep breath, fully prepared to plunge upon exhale. Then came the next bolt of lightning. She saw her instructor Soarin beneath her, spread-eagled and helpless, but alive. More than that, she saw own reflection in the water, and stood transfixed.

That's not me.

Her ever-cheerful face had twisted into the very image of savage anger. Her magenta eyes shone with total bloodlust. Her lips pulled back from tooth and gum to form a feral snarl. The gleaming blade in her teeth stood poised to take the life of a friend. The Bolt Lance fell from her grasp. Terror replaced anger. Her eyes went wide.

That's not me!

The tip of Soarin's Bolt Lance touched her midsection, followed shortly by the obliterating numbness of full-on electrocution.

Twilight Sparkle had not been fast enough. She could only watch in utter horror as Princess Twilight murdered her friend. The amethyst blades of the Element of Magic erupted from Fluttershy's backside, bringing a gout of crimson blood and a wet tearing sound that turned Twilight's stomach. Princess Fluttershy let out a single cry of pain before slumping down on the Element's handle. With the last of her strength, she looked up into the face of her killer, her one-time friend.

Princess Twilight gazed down at her victim impassively, but a single tear descended from eyes that could no longer afford to see. "I'm sorry," she whispered in a heartfelt tone that utterly betrayed her facade. "This is all I can do for you now."

Fluttershy offered a weak smile in return as the life ebbed from her tired eyes. Her body slumped down completely, and the Element of Kindness breathed her last.

Twilight Sparkle shook her head very, very slowly. The world grew small and distant. Her eyes watered, her mouth dried up, and her body began to shake. "This isn't real," she tried to say, though the sound of her voice died somewhere in her throat.

The other princesses shed tears of their own, but each accepted the event in silence, even if they had to look away. Princess Twilight pulled her weapon from the body of her fallen friend in a practiced flourish, scattering blood into the rain.

A swatch of that precious crimson struck Twilight on the cheek. Her own blood boiled. From the deepest part of her, a single desperate cry rent the silence in twain.


"Um, what's not real?" asked Fluttershy.

Twilight blinked. Hard. Golden candlelight and the comforting wooden walls of the library greeted her.

Pinkie Pie stared at her from across the table, frozen in a dramatic lurch over the glowing crystal ball. "Yeah, I didn't even do anything yet." She slumped back on her cushion and tossed aside her turban. "Ugh, don't tell me you're afraid of crystal balls now. I won't have anything left to tell fake fortunes with."

Twilight felt close to hyperventilating. She touched a hoof to her cheek and pulled it back. There was no blood, no ruined Canterlot, and best of all, no crazed alicorns. Her eyes glanced over Applejack, then Rarity, then Fluttershy . . . especially Fluttershy. They were themselves, and completely unharmed. Even so, the fear and sadness clawed at her heart like a rabid animal. Had any of it been real? Her eyes drifted to the crystal ball.

It is yet to come, said a voice in her head.

Rainbow Dash regained consciousness only to encounter a splitting headache. She winced and tried to rub her temples, but found that the rest of her body would not yet cooperate. She blinked away excess water to see the smiling face of her instructor shielding her from the rain.

"Hot damn," Soarin chuckled. "That sucker's got one heckuva bite, huh?" He wasted not another second before bringing a stylized golden bracelet up to his chiseled jaw. "Hey, Spitfire!" he shouted into the embedded crystals. "Have the weatherponies call off the cyclone. This exercise is all kinds of over."

"Already?" said the voice of his fellow Wonderbolt. "I never even got a shot at her."

Soarin sighed. "Put-downs come later, Spits. Get it done."

Far overhead, the spinning vortex slowed and began to come apart. Bright rays of moonlight shone forth between the clouds, revealing the peaceful night that would have reigned supreme but for the Wonderbolts' intensive training regimen. To Rainbow Dash, the departure of the falling water felt like the passing of a terrible dream.

Soarin left propriety where he always did and shook himself from dark blue mane to unshorn hoof. The action proved futile, they were both completely soaked. "Gotta tell you, Dash," he said with a rakish grin. "I have no idea how you screwed that particular pooch. You had me dead to rights." He kicked his dagger-formed Bolt Lance into the air and made a great show of catching it in his belt. "These things only pack a non-lethal charge. Why'd you freeze up?"

Rainbow Dash had barely listened the entire time. The reflection in the water dominated her thoughts.

Fluttershy leaned forward across the table of the Golden Oaks library, worry and concern evident in her gentle eyes. "Twilight, are you okay?"

Soarin leaned directly over Rainbow Dash's face in a field at the foot of Crystal Mountain, checking for signs of head trauma. "Dash, you okay?"

At the exact same moment, in two completely different places, both ponies gave the very same answer.

"I don't know."

My Little Pony: Lost Legacies Ø

Night of the Harmony Storm