• Published 1st Mar 2012
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Rainbow Dash and Her Marvelous Mechanical Wings - Dalkrin-the-Wanderer



There are no Unicorns or Pegasai, only Earth Ponies. one decides She's gonna fly. She's Rainbow Dash

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Chapter 4: Fall of Harmony

For a long while, Luna merely looked into the blinding sphere of light, her gaze distant and unfocused. Twilight for a moment considered prompting the princess somehow but before she could commit, Luna spoke.

"It was the darkest time in all of Equestrian history, the day we now know as Magic Fall. The day when the driving force of our nation was ripped away without warning. Most know about the untold destruction that resulted, the many many deaths that came from that loss. What nopony knows is why it happened. Nopony but me." She tore her gaze away from the prison and looked down at Twilight.

"The story I'm about to tell you... I want you to know that I had no choice. I wish there was another way, and every day I think back and my heart breaks again." Luna closed her eyes tight to hold back the tears as she spoke.

"I didn't know it at the time, but our defeat of Discord was not the end of his mischief. When we used the Elements of Harmony on the traitor, he had one last prank to play, and it cost everypony dearly in the end, and the punchline was that it was the saviors of pony kind that would bring it about.

It was nearly fifty years after his defeat that the change began to take hold in my sister. She became irritable and stress seemed to weigh heavily on her withers. At the time, she assured me that she was well and that it was just the stress of ruling the nation. I believed her and went about my business. Soon though, her irritability became hostility. She was never an angry mare, but then, her temper was as hot as the sun. She became suspicious of everypony. She saw spies and assassins in the shadows and would never be alone, though she did not trust her guards either." As the story progressed, Luna's voice descended into a depressed monotone and her gaze lost focus. For the first time in her entire life, Twilight saw the Princess openly displaying weakness, and it frightened her.

"Some time passed and her distrust began to grow. One day, she denied me entry into the throne room for noonday court. The guards informed me that I was not permitted to see my sister. The guards stood blocking my way, but I was orders of magnitude more powerful than even Starswirl the Bearded at the peak of his power. With a thought, they found themselves in their barracks, unarmored and I strode in to confront my sister.

In the throne room, my sister sat atop her dais, but mine was gone. So too were my banners and my court advisers. To this day I do not know what became of them. There sat my sister, but she was not my sister. You've seen depictions of her you know. In my chambers, there was a painting of a white mare with wings and a horn. I had told you she was a dear old friend who was gone from this world. That was my sister Celestia, but that was not the more I beheld sitting upon the royal Dias.

Her mane was aflame, whipping about wildly and scorching the marble Lengths behind her. Her iridescent white fur radiated with the powerful summer heat and her magenta eyes, once full of love and compassion became steely and hateful when they beheld my entry. I will not repeat what was said, but she heaved accusation and slander at me and would not hear my plea for reason. Before I realized what was happening, I was blasted back into the hall by her magic. It was then that I realized that I would not be able to reason with my sister.

My only recourse would be to fight her, but I did not have the power to oppose her directly. I sought out the Elements. With them, I hoped to restore my sister to harmony. I procured the artifacts and brought them to bare. Sadly I failed. The elements were not all attuned to me. I was Laughter, Loyalty, and Honesty. She was Kindness, Generosity, and Magic. Without being attuned, the Elements were little better to me than pebbles, and so I resigned to my fate. I knew that my sister would end my life –Twilight gasped in surprise but Luna carried on– but I had hoped that the action would bring her to her senses again. It was just before she struck me down that her words spurred me into action.

It was her intent to cast the world in perpetual day, to eradicate the shadows so that assassins and thieves and liars would have no safe haven to scurry to. I knew, as well as she did that this would spell the end of the world. The sun would scorch the land and burn off all life but ours, that is the reason for my night, to preserve life on Equestria and she sought to undo eons of balance. I could not stand by and allow that to happen. I could not risk her carrying through with her plan if my death were not enough to break her madness.

There is a little known fact, Twilight, about Alicorns and Magic. We each are intrinsically connected to all magic in Equestria. Our power stems from all of our little ponies and because of this, that magic is at our disposal as well. There was only one hope for the survival of our world. I had to tap that seemingly bottomless well of magic and defeat my sister before she could end this world. What I had not counted on was the amount of magic it would require to incapacitate a demigod like my sister and me." Luna's voice broke as she continued to tell her story.

"When I committed to the spell, every scrap of power needed was drawn from every available source and it then hammered my sister into submission and enshrouded her in the prison you see before you. An unanticipated effect was Magic Fall. I knew that magic would be temporarily drained from the world. What I did not know was that my sister would require a constant spell to contain her, one I would not be able to dispel for fear of her escape. This would mean that I could not allow the spell to end. I could not return to my little ponies that power that made us prosper after Discord's defeat.

And so for a thousand years, I have maintained this spell of containment, not allowing the magic to escape and return to the ponies of the world. Technically I still have my personal magic, but it is nearly all directed to keeping the spell intact. That is why I have my wings yet cannot fly. Over the last thousand years, I've redirected that innate magic so that I have my practical spells, levitation and the glamor I cast on my mane to impress the dignitaries."

Twilight was completely speechless. She had never, not in her darkest nightmares, considered such a thing. Years she had spent, countless hours studying magic and Magic Fall in hopes of gaining insight into the truth of the whole terrible event but now that she knew the whole truth, she desperately wanted to forget. To forget what her mentor had told her and return to the blissful ignorance. She knew that was impossible but her heart screamed that she must find a way.

Luna sat in silence and watched her student's inner struggle play out in Twilight's eyes. The turmoil of the realization that her teacher, leader of all Equestria and the only pony that she trusted without question was responsible for the single greatest tragedy in all of Equestrian history. It was a tortuously long moment before Twilight spoke again and what she said was a surprise to both.

"I... I forgive you, Princess," Twilight said quietly. She looked up at her mentor, a deep sadness in her eyes, but sincerity as well. "I know that you would have done something else if you could."

Luna was speechless. Tears sprang unbidden to her eyes and she did not try to hide them. "I do not deserve your forgiveness, my dear Twilight. But I suppose that if Everypony were only given the forgiveness they deserved, we would live in a very different world indeed."

Luna bent down to nuzzle her student, but Twilight shied away causing Luna to pause. "I forgive you, Princess, I do. But I think I need time to gather my wits about me. This..." She gestured at the room in its entirety, "is so much for anypony to take in. I just need to think... Okay?"

"You're right," Luna said, sadness evident in her voice. "I will escort you to the sky-tower, I'll need to be there soon anyway to christen the maiden voyage of the Harmony." Both Mares took their leave, Twilight in the lead. Before the door closed, Luna glanced back into the room. She did not move her gaze until the door snapped shut and vanished into the wall again.

---

Rainbow Dash sat glumly gazing out of her window at the setting sun. Her first foray into flight was a flop and frankly, she was frustrated. Heaving a sigh, she stood and cantered over to her kitchen for something to eat. She rummaged through her Ice Box, making a mental note to go buy a new block of ice from Deep Freeze's. An apple in hoof, she swung the door shut. Pinned to the front of the door was a picture she had bought on her last trip to Cloudsdale-Falls. A beautiful rendition of the ancient cloud city, Cloudsdale as the backdrop with Pegasai flying hither an yon, sitting on clouds and generally living life. It was a cheap copy of a famous painting in the Cloudsdale-Falls Historical museum painted by one of the last Pegasai shortly after Magic Fall.

According to the Museum, Fleeting Feather was one of the few Pegasai that were grounded during Magic Fall. He was one of the lucky ones. Yes, he had lost his magic but he had done so when he had four hooves solidly on the ground. Those flying about or living in Cloudsdale found that the clouds offered no purchase and the winds, no support. They plummeted to their deaths, terrified and confused. Fleeting sought to capture the bliss they felt before their lives ended in horror. The painting was called 'Before the Fall' and it was her favorite.

Dash looked at the picture for a long moment, her mind racing suddenly and her daredevil heart beginning to pump. It was early enough, she figured, to give the wings one last go. She remembered the shed that Pinkie had put them away in. Taking a huge bite of her apple, she made for the door.

---

As Twilight embarked the Royal Airship, the Princess smiled a kind of half smile.

"You know you're always welcome at the palace, Twilight. You don't need to be such a stranger."

"I know Princess," Twilight said, her dour mood lifting slightly now that the evening sky was overhead. "I'm sorry. I'll see you at Pinkie's party, right?"

"Oh! I wouldn't dare miss it," The princess said, nodding. "That mare can throw the best parties. Anyway, I must be off. I'll be expected to ride the evening voyage of the Harmony. Take care Twilight, and do come to visit more often."

"I will Princess. Goodbye," said Twilight, briefly nuzzling the Princess beneath the chin. The door slid shut and the airship's engine roared to life. With her protege on the way home, there was no longer any reason for the Princess to dally. The Christening was to begin shortly. She descended the spiral stairs from her private dock down to the larger lower docks where the press and dignitaries that would be riding the new ship were gathered.

Prince Blueblood Stood proud beside the loading ramp of his Airship, a massive grin splitting his handsome face. Beside him stood Rarity, her usually regal and flamboyant mane done up in the practical style of the aircrews. To it she had applied her own flair, of which the fashion magazines would be raving for weeks, Luna was sure.

Ranged to the left of Blueblood and his lovely date were the Griphonic, Saddle Arabian and Zebrican ambassadors as well as other figures of political influence from nations abroad. To the right of the Prince were several individuals of varying import who had procured status as honored guests. Luna approached from the left wing, greeting each ambassador as she passed. She reached the center and gave her nephew an affectionate nuzzle, which he begrudgingly accepted.

"Auntie, Must you really?" He bemoaned. Rarity just giggled at his consternation.

"I think it's sweet," she said. "And how are you today Princess?"

"Quite well Lady Rarity, Thank you," Luna said, smiling warmly. "If you will, I must attend the ceremony. I'll speak with you aboard the ship."

"Yes, of course, Princess."

Luna turned and smiled at the congregated press ponies eager to see the newest and most massive flying machine ever constructed take to the skies for the first time. Luna scanned the audience for a moment before she began.

"Fillies and Gentle Colts, Ponies, Dogs, Gryphons, and Zebras and all others besides. I welcome you all to this, the Crowning Moment of The sixth decennial World's Fair. Once a decade, every nation comes together for a week of celebration of progress and prosperity." Luna let the words hang for a moment. "This year, we have seen many grand inventions too numerous to name here, but this moment, we come together to recognize what is surely the most impressive feat of aeronautical engineering since the invention of the hot air balloon. The first ever, C-Class Airship is to be launched on her maiden voyage today before our very eyes. I did have a long speech prepared for this, but I've had a trying day, and I suppose if you wanted to hear boring political ponies ramble all day, you'd run for councilor." This earned a smattering of laughter, and Luna smiled.

"So, without Further ado –she lifted a bottle of champagne in her magical aura— I christen the 'The Harmony'!" a heave of effort and the bottle shattered against the prow of the massive ship.

Blue Blood approached the front and began to speak next.

"Thank you, Auntie, and a special thank you to all the engineers that helped to make this beautiful ship sky-worthy. My auntie and I are of one mind. Let's not waste time prattling on." Blueblood heaved a great breath and Bellowed in true naval fashion, "ALL ABOARD WHO'S COMING ABOARD!"

---

Rainbow Dash opened the Shed door with the key that Pinkie had given a while back. There, on a cleared table was a large, tarped object. With a steady hoof belying her racing heart, she moved the tarp aside and saw the Mechanical wings that she had helped to bring into being. She quickly struggled into the harness and pulled the wings onto her back. After much trial and error, she had the leads all connected to their hooks.

An excitement overtook her as she strode out into the middle of the slowly emptying streets of Ponyville. She was getting looks of confusion from all who passed her by. The wings clanked and scraped as they sat idle on her back, currently unpowered. She found her way to the same field for earlier in the day and took her place at one end. Deciding on a new strategy, she reached back and, with a quick yank on the ripcord, the Drive mechanism began to clink and whirr.

This time, she determined, This time she would soar like the Pegasai in her painting. She would reclaim the bliss they felt in the air. It was just a matter of getting the wings to carry her. She readied herself, then began to trot, working furiously to keep her movements from triggering the wings. She picked up the pace when she got it down and began practicing slow sweeps of the wings while moving. Soon she had that motion down too. After two or three dry runs, she felt that if she couldn't do it now, it would never happen.

Cocky confidence in her trot, she returned to the edge of the field. Just as she was about to begin galloping full tilt, she heard somepony calling her name.

"Rainbow Dash! Wait!" Pinkie shouted as she galloped over to her. "Wait... What are you doing?"

"I'm trying to fly Pinkie," Dash said, pulling the goggles away from her eyes. "I had to give it one more shot today."

"I'm glad I caught you then, Dashie. I was looking at the designs, I don't know how well the carpel joints are going to hold up. If you went up now, the drag could shake the wings apart in mid-air. We'd need to test them in a wind tunnel before we did any real flying. OHMIGOSH! I can't believe I was gonna let you fly today! You could have been hurt, I'm such a Dummy McDumberson!"

Rainbow Dash sighed and hugged her friend. "Don't worry about it Pinks. I would have been fine anyway, and It's not like I ever got off the ground in the first place."

"Oh! But I was gonna let you, I should have known better... I'm a terrible friend, and everypony's gonna hate me because I helped my friend do something dangerous and they could have gotten hurt!"

"Woah there, Pinkie. I said It's cool, and it's not like you could have stopped me earlier either. I'd have gone up even if you'd told me the wings would explode."

Pinkie gave a loud sniff and dried the tears that had begun to stream down her face. "I... I guess you're right... OH! Look! It's the Harmony coming over Ponyville! So Pretty!"

Indeed, there in the distance and coming closer every moment was the massive form of the Harmony. For a moment, Rainbow and Pinkie just marveled at the thing and it drifted through the sky. Suddenly, something caught Rainbow's attention in the distance. Several specks were approaching from over the Everfree Forrest. Too small to make out, they began to close in on the Harmony. Before Dash could realize what was going on the Harmony's hull was ablaze. The specks, now seen to be a wing of griffins were circling the hulking ship and strange devices on their backs were shooting gouts of flame from long tubes held in their fore-claws that stuck to the side of the ship and burned white hot.

From the gondola, several griffins emerged, each wearing the standard of the Gryphon kingdom and most engaged the attackers. Rainbow Dash reacted before her brain could catch up. Pulling the ripcord, she was off like a shot, galloping at full tilt. The wings opened and began to flap powerfully, a deftness born of adrenalin evident in her actions. She was airborne in seconds and making a b-line for the nearest attacking griffin.

Her hooves made solid contact and the surprised avian was sent spiraling away, dazed. Two more closed in on Rainbow, confusion evident on their faces as she rushed the rightmost one and took a hold of his wing between her forelegs. His comrade finally regained his composure and streaked in after her. Wrenching the wing in her grasp, she forced her captured opponent into his allies path and they collided midair. It was then that she saw the Princess bailout from the Airship with a familiar looking white mare on her back.

She also saw a trio of the attackers take notice of the Princess attempting to glide to safety as well. They closed in on her and began taking swipes at her exposed flanks with talons. Not thinking twice, Rainbow barreled into one of them. There was a sickening crunch and the griffin tumbled from the sky into the trees below. One of the others came up from below and body tackled the mechanical pegasus. The wind was knocked from her and her assailant took that opportunity to tear at Rainbow's face and neck. After a moment, Rainbow's senses returned and with an inexpert shift, the wings shifted and clocked the griffin hard on the crown of the head.

Rainbow disentangled herself from the Gryphon and righted her flight. She Spotted the Princess again, being harried by the last of the pursuers. Rainbow rocketed herself after the retreating forms and slammed her full force into the last griffin. She punched and bit at the half feline bird. A clawed hand grasped at wires along Dash's flank and ripped. Her left wing rattled and locked in place and Dash was forced away by the Gryphon who immediately renewed his assault on the Princess.

Acting quickly, the stricken flier began to one by one reconnect the lines. She found a few were snapped clean but she persisted anyway, in the hopes of at least catching the princess should she fall. The princess had glided low to the ground and was now past the edge of the forest. She dipped suddenly towards the ground, the griffin following her closely. As she glided over a lake, there was a scream as the white pony was pitched over into the water. The Gryphon paid it no mind and continued after the Princess, claws outreached.

The princess touched down and immediately extended her powerful back legs into an expert buck which struck the griffin in the neck, snapping his spine but not muting his momentum. The dead weight barreled into the Princess, taking them both dock over withers across the ground. When the stopped, neither moved. Rainbow abandoned her attempts to repair the wings and angled herself towards the fallen royal.

Exhausted, she stumbled to the ground, the wings rattling and grinding loudly as the mechanisms failed catastrophically, one after another. As she reached the princess, she heaved a sigh of relief to realize that she was still breathing. Suddenly the ground shook and there was a blinding flash from Canterlot mountain. Looking up, Canterlot Mountain was a-glow with a strange blue-white light that expanded quickly. Within seconds, it was upon them. Rainbow Dash felt a strange lightness as it washed over her, but it passed as soon as it had begun.

She dismissed it for the moment. There were bigger issues now. Like getting the Princess to safety before more of those Gryphons come for her. As carefully as she could, she lifted the Princess onto her back and began on her way back to Ponyville. Hopefully, Twilight was home. She could help figure out what that light was...