• Published 16th Apr 2014
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The Descent into Madness - FenrisianBrony



After almost four years, Rainbow Dash is forced to return to the 41st Millennium, in search of something stolen, and something lost.

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Guess who’s (going) back

Twilight stared at the patch of smoking ground, unable to comprehend anything else as she tried to come to terms with what she had just done. The loud roar of the machine finally brought her back to reality, and she quickly ripped the helmet from her head, tossing it aside and looking at a stunned Spike.

“Come on!” she yelled, looking at the purple dragon. “Maybe she’s just upstairs, or somewhere else in Ponyville, or…Somewhere!”

Spike was still stunned when Twilight disappeared up the stairs, sprinting out of the library and frantically starting to look for her lost friend. Shaking himself out of his stupor, Spike followed her lead, dashing out into the rest of the town, ignoring the heavy rain and occasional thunder clap as he searched everywhere he could think of for Applejack, pushing his anger for Twilight’s latest mess to one side for now.

After two hours of frantic searching and getting the rest of Ponyville involved, Spike finally decided to change up the ground war, heading back to the library to bring in reinforcements. If Applejack was anywhere other than Ponyville, running around the small town like a bunch of headless chickens wouldn’t accomplish anything other than building up fear and frustration.

Snatching up a quill, ignoring the newly developed pen Twilight had tried to get him to use, Spike began to scrawl out a hasty note to the ponies that would actually be able to help.

Princess Celestia.

Spell of Twilight’s went wrong while testing her new invention. Applejack got hit, can’t find her.

Help.

Spike.

It was not pretty, nor was it eloquent, but it would be enough to get the job done. Quickly rolling up the scroll, Spike ran over to the door, before taking a deep breath in, and allowing his magical dragon fire to immolate the message, sending it through the air to Celestia up it Canterlot. He just hoped she would get here soon, else Twilight would really be inconsolable. Rolling his neck, Spike headed back out into the rain to find her once more. She needed comfort now, the shouting could come later.

***

Canterlot

***

Celestia was smiling as she looked out at the rain lashing itself against the windows in the castle, before turning to face her sister. The pair of them had always like the rain, and the harder it was, the more they enjoyed sitting and watching it together. It was a sad truth that as the Princesses of the day and night, Celestia and Luna didn’t get to see each other that much, meaning every second that they did spend together had to be cherished and savoured. Luna sighed happily, before resting her head on Celestia’s shoulder.

“I am so glad you cancelled court for this sister,” she smiled happily.

“It was only Blueblood today, I’m sure it’s nothing important,” Celestia chuckled softly.

“Why do you even let him run around like he does?” Luna asked. “He treats the royal treasury like it’s his own personal bank, and he thinks anypony not born within a mile of the castle is an uncivilised barbarian.”

“He has his uses,” Celestia sighed. “For one, he knows almost all of the Equestria laws, so he can help me in court sometimes. Not to mention getting rid of him would cause uproar in the upper class. Sometimes severity is the price we pay for greatness.”

“That sounds like something from a book,” Luna giggled. “Still, I…”

She was cut off when a scroll suddenly appeared in front of Celestia, startling the pair slightly, before Celestia regained her composure.

“Ah, this must be Spike telling me about Twilight’s progress,” Celestia smiled happily, grabbing the letter with her magic and slowly unfolding it.

Her eyes began to scan the letter, and as they went, her face grew darker and darker, her mouth falling open in an almost comical display of disbelief.

“Sister, what is it?” Luna asked in concern, peering over the older Alicorns should and quickly reading the letter. “Oh,” she finished weakly, catching her sisters mournful gaze. “We need to get to Ponyville. Now.”

“Agreed,” Celestia nodded, before lighting her horn and enveloping both herself and Luna in a soft golden glow, before they vanished from sight.

“Auntie!” a voice roared, before Blueblood burst into the room, followed swiftly by a panting pony. Looking around the room, Blueblood’s eyes darkened, before he turned to glare at the pony. “Where are they?”

“I told you Prince Blueblood, they are not here today. Urgent business I’m afraid,” the pony said smoothly, quickly catching his breath. “Now, if you would like to return to court, I’m sure…”

“Bah, what would a commoner such as yourself understand about the importance of a Prince’s time,” Blueblood scoffed, before marching out of the room, leaving the pony staring after him in a mixture of shock and relief. Shaking his head, the pony exited the room, turning to one of the guards by the door.

“Where are they? I thought the Princess was watching the rain with her sister,” he asked in a hushed whisper.

“I thought they were still in there cleric,” the guard replied, peering inside the room. “Probably something came up in Ponyville. Again.”

“That town does seem to necessitate a lot of intervention doesn’t it?” the cleric laughed. “Still, if it means Blueblood is out of my mane, I’m happy.”

“Took the words right from this horse’s mouth,” the guard chuckled softly.

***

Ponyville

***

Twilight wept in the centre of the library, sobbing as the magnitude of what she had managed to do this time finally setting in properly. Pinkie, Rarity and Fluttershy were all attempting to comfort her to the best of their abilities, while holding back their own tears, while Spike continued to search around outside. Twilight knew that Spike would hold this against her for a long time, just as he did whenever she messed up in the past, and this was by far her worst screw-up. Before he had left for the outskirts of town, he had told Twilight that he had already contacted the princesses, before he had disappeared into the rain.

“There there Twilight,” Rarity cooed softly in between sobs of her own. “I’m sure…I’m sure she was just moved further away than Ponyville.”

“Yeah, we can find her again,” Pinkie nodded, although her hair deflating showed how much she believed her own words.

“It’s happening again,” Fluttershy whispered quietly, thinking of the last time they had lost a friend. She really wished Rainbow was here right now. She’d know what to do.

The room was suddenly illuminated by a bright flash of golden light as Celestia and Luna appeared in the centre of the room, quickly laying their eyes on the four sobbing ponies and moving towards them, starting to comfort them softly.

“It’s alright Twilight, my sister and I are here now,” Celestia said softly, pulling her student into a soft hug.

“But…I…messed…up…again,” Twilight sobbed, burying her head in Celestia’s chest.

“No Twilight we’ll find Applejack, don’t worry,” Celestia assured her, softly stroking Twilights head. “Now, can you tell me exactly what happened?”

“I…” Twilight sobbed, before sniffing and looking up at Celestia. “I was testing the Mark one Magical Induction Booster on apples, trying to teleport them…and then the storm hit…and I got distracted…” Twilight couldn’t finish, once again breaking down into tears. “I’m so sorry.”

“It wasn’t your fault Twilight,” Luna assured her softly, moving away from the others and sitting down beside her sister. “I am sure it is not as bad as you fear.”

“How can it not be?” Twilight wailed. “We can’t find Applejack!”

“Maybe she just went further away than Ponyville,” Celestia suggested softly. “If your new machine is as powerful as you have led me to believe, it is possible that Applejack was just teleported further than you have searched. Now come on, let’s dry those tears and look at this logically.”

Sniffing, Twilight nodded, before rubbing her eyes and standing up, looking around.

“I guess…maybe we should go downstairs and I can try and scan my brainwaves at the moment of the spell,” she suggested. “That way we can trace the spell weave and find the destination of the teleport.”

“That’s the Twilight I know,” Celestia smiled. “Lead on, my faithful student.”

Nodding, Twilight headed towards her basement, followed by her friends and the two princesses. Quickly reaching the bottom, Twilight made her way towards one of the many machines dotted around the room while the others looked around the room curiously.

“I never knew you had quite so much Arc-tech down here Twilight,” Rarity said softly, rubbing her blotchy eyes as she looked around the room.

“I remember when it was just one machine,” Pinkie nodded. Her mane had begun to fluff up once more now that Celestia and Luna had arrived and given her hope, but it wouldn’t take much to send it right back down again.

“Indeed,” Luna nodded, before walking over to Twilight. “Do you need help?”

“That would be nice,” Twilight nodded, not looking round as she attached a series of electrodes to her head. “You know how to convert Arc-tech signatures to spell patterns don’t you?”

“Twilight, look who you’re talking to,” Luna deadpanned. “You’re not the only Arc-tech inventor you know.”

“Great,” Twilight nodded, before flicking a switch and pressing a few buttons on the machine.

Instantly, the machine began to whirl softly, before a stream of data began to appear on one of the large screens embedded in its surface. A moment later, a stream of paper began to feed out of a slot in the machine, Luna quickly taking hold of it and scanning across it quickly. The others looked on at the two Arc-tech scientists in silence, allowing them to work quickly and efficiently.

Eventually, the machine beep once, falling silent once more as Twilight looked at the results with Luna, slowly removing the electrodes from her head.

“I am guessing this was the spell in question?” Luna asked, pointing to one of the larger blips on the paper.

“Yeah,” Twilight nodded, scanning the paper and performing mental calculations, before her face suddenly went gaunt.

“I don’t think I’m familiar with this spell weave,” Luna said uncertainly, but twilight wasn’t listening, instead diving into one of her many filing cabinets, looking for a piece of data she had recorded years ago. She hoped she was wrong, and that she had just misread the signs. She doubted that was the case.

“Twilight, um…what are you looking for?” Fluttershy asked, walking over to the frantic unicorn.

“No time, hold this,” Twilight grunted, shoving a bundle of scrolls into Fluttershy’s hooves, knocking the Pegasus back a few steps.

“Umm…OK?” Fluttershy said uncertainly, looking back at the others.

“Here it is,” Twilight breathed softly, finally slowing down and drawing out a scroll from the bottom of the draw, taking it over to one of the tables and unrolling it. “Luna, could you bring the brainwave scan over please?”

Nodding, the dark alicorn walked towards Twilight, placing the new data next to the old one and standing back, allowing Twilight to work as she frantically compared the two sets of data, before finally letting out a scream of frustration and letting her head fall to the table, sobbing quietly.

Luna quickly moved forward, pulling Twilight into a hug, while Celestia picked up the two sheets of paper, looking them over. While she may not have been quite as well versed in this area of science as Twilight or her sister, she did have a basic understanding of what she was looking at, and quickly saw the similarities between the data.

“Twilight, where is this data from?” Celestia asked, holding up the older piece of paper.

“R-R-Rainbow…Dash,” Twilight sobbed, not looking round at Celestia or her friends.

“Rainbow Dash? But this is a brainwave reading for a spell weave matrix,” Celestia pointed out. “Why would you run it on a Pegasus?”

“Wanted to see…” Twilight began, before cutting herself off.

“She wanted to see what my brain did when I broke into the webway,” Rainbow finished tersely, throwing the door to the basement open with a crash as she looked down at the ponies arrayed befor her.

She was clad from head to hoof in her old aspect armour, her sword and rifle holstered securely at her side, flecks of purple blood splattered across her helmet. Slowly, she walked down the stairs, removing her helmet as she went, revealing her scarred face and the scowl she wore.

“Rainbow, I thought you had received a request from the Griffon king,” Celestia said uncertainly, turning to face Rainbow.

“It’s done. Wasn’t hard, nor was it worth my time, or that of my team. Been back for the past few hours, then one of my machines told me of an unknown spell going off,” Rainbow scowled, before looking at Twilight. “What have you done?”

Twilight didn’t reply, simply shaking her head as she looked away from Rainbow, unable to meet the Pegasus’s glare. Instead, Celestia moved forward, bringing the two data sheets over towards Rainbow.

“Everything we know is here,” she explained. “I assume you can read this?”

“Celestia, this technology was refined from Eldar tech, I think I can read it,” Rainbow scoffed, before grabbing hold of the pieces of paper and scanning through it.

“Well? Professional opinion?” Celestia pressed.

“It’s not the same as mine,” Rainbow grunted, before dropping the paper. “The destination of the webway breach will be different, but it’s a webway breech alright.”

“But, that means…” Celestia began.

“We just created an artificial breech in the webway and fired Applejack through it,” Rainbow finished.

“You mean…Applejack’s gone?” Pinkie Pie asked softly.

“Like I was,” Rainbow nodded solemnly, before turning to face Twilight. “It’s not your fault Twilight, I’m sure it was an accident.”

With that, Rainbow turned towards the stairs, only to be stopped by Celestia and Luna as they teleported in front of Rainbow.

“You’re leaving?” Luna asked incredulously.

“Hush Luna,” Celestia said softly, before turning back to Rainbow. “I am assuming you have a plan Rainbow?”

“A plan?” Rainbow scoffed. “Applejack has just been launched through the webway to who knows where by a random chance spell, meaning recreating it could be just as dangerous, so I can’t just travel to the same spot and get her, and you expect me to instantly have a perfect plan?”

“But you are making one,” Celestia pressed.

“Yes,” Rainbow nodded. “I’m going to go home, I’m going to gather up my team, and I’m going to find Applejack and bring her back home.”

With that, Rainbow pushed past Celestia and Luna, heading upstairs and out into the rain, pulling her helmet on as she went, and leaving the ponies left in the basement in a stunned silence. Finally, Luna broke the tension with a soft cough, before turning back to the four friends, all of whom were now weeping into each other’s arms.

***

Rainbow stared out into the Everfree Forest arrayed bellow her, grimacing beneath her helmet as she soared over the dark trees, the rain splattering onto her back and wings as she flew. This situation had really come out of the blue, blindsiding her more than anything had in the past four years, and now she was expected to be the one to fix it. To be fair, she was the only one who had any of the skills that would be needed for this, but this time, she wouldn’t have to do it alone, and she wouldn’t be taken by surprise. This time would be clean, it would be efficient, and it would be quick.

Finally reaching her destination, touching down in the clearing and looking up at the large building that now stood in front of her. It had clearly been built by pony hooves, but it didn’t resemble any pony architecture. No, this was made to her exact specifications, with plans drawn directly from her own mind to ensure that, as far as possible, this building mimicked the original perfectly.

Walking up to the door, Rainbow removed her helmet, looking into scanner as the newly developed Arc-tech security system registered her iris, before comparing it to a database of ponies who would be allowed entry. A second later, the door slid open, allowing Rainbow access to the building.

Walking inside, Rainbow sighed as she took in the familiar surroundings, feeling like she was at home as the door slid closed once more behind her. Hearing hoof-steps behind her, Rainbow turned to see one of her students walking towards her, smiling as he approached.

“Rainbow,” he nodded. “Did you find the source of the new spell?”

“Yes,” Rainbow nodded softly. “Go get everypony, tell them to armour up and check their weapons. The Swooping Pegasi have a new mission.”

Author's Note:

Edited by Sparthage. Big thanks to this guy.

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