• Published 26th Jan 2014
  • 4,472 Views, 513 Comments

The Heart of an Author - Oroboro



Mystery. Love. Magic. Murder. Truth. These are all important elements in the murder mystery Fluttershy has written, and is now asking Twilight to read. But she struggles to solve the mystery in which it turns out she's the protagonist.

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Chapter 7 - En Passant


They were able to reach the study without incident, and Twilight found that her alarm spell was just as she’d left it. While it was a good thing the wards remained uncompromised, she slightly wished that somepony had been foolish enough to trigger it instead, so she could have caught them in the act.

Even with her magical precautions in place, Twilight still entered the room cautiously, her horn at the ready in case something was waiting for them in the shadows. When they confirmed that the study was empty and just as they had left it, she felt the tension drain out of her.

“Well, we made it back in one piece,” Twilight said, then immediately winced at her phrasing as she placed Luna’s horn up on a desk.

“I suppose that’s one thing we should be thankful for,” Rarity said, laughing bitterly.

“So just what are we supposed to be doin’ now?” Applejack asked as she moved through the study, tracking mud from her earlier exertions across the carpet.

Rarity flinched back, scrunching up her nose at her fiancé. “How about you take a bath?”

“What? Are you fer… This ain’t the time nor the place hon. We need a plan of action, not to be clean!” Applejack shouted, pulling back and angrily stomping a mud covered hoof for emphasis.

“Like what!?” Rarity shouted back, her eyes full of fire and tears. “Sit around and wait until some unstoppable alicorn witch chops off my horn and feeds it to you!? She’s already gotten to Celestia and Luna, what can we possibly do, hm? If we’re going to die horribly, we might as well look good doing it!”

Applejack stood there, her mouth hanging open at Rarity’s words.

“Enough!” Twilight shouted, flashing a bright light from her horn to get everypony’s attention. “I know how stressed you are – we all are – but we can’t afford to do this now.” Glaring at both of them until they blushed in shame, Twilight continued. “Besides, I have a plan.”

“Wait, seriously?” Rainbow Dash asked, perking up.

“Well,” Twilight began. “It’s pretty obvious no matter how hard we look, we’re probably not going to find her. And she doesn’t seem to be willing to face us head on, either, or she would have tried it by now. What does that tell you?”

After a brief pause, Applejack raised a hoof. “That uh, she’s scared of all of us together. Otherwise, she’d be done with it, right?”

Twilight nodded, smiling. “That’s correct. And, judging by her tactics so far, she wants to demoralize us; to keep us cowering in fear till the stress breaks us. It’s not like villains haven’t tried similar tactics on us in the past.”

With a pained grimace, Twilight walked over to the study window and looked out over the garden. “Though none of them have ever been so… effective.”

Shaking her head to clear out her malaise, she continued. “So if we can’t go to her, and she won’t come to us, then what can we do?”

“That would be the waiting to die part I mentioned earlier, darling,” Rarity said, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

“We set a trap!” Twilight said excitedly, ignoring Rarity’s snark.

“A trap? How the hay is that supposed to work? What could we possibly use as bait?” Applejack asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Well…” Twilight faltered, looking away. “It would be really dangerous.”

“So one of us has to pretend to be alone and helpless, and when she shows up, the others all jump in quickly. Is that what you’re saying?” Rarity asked.

“In a sense,” Twilight said. “I have a few ideas on how to make sure the pony stays absolutely safe. Rarity, can you sense any gems in this room?”

“Gems?” Rarity asked, looking confused. “I suppose I can check.”

Rarity closed her eyes and lit up her horn, focusing. “It seems like there’s a decently sized cache of them in that lower drawer over there. I can only assume it belongs to the princesses.”

“Perfect!” Twilight said, as she trotted over to the drawer in question and began rifling through it. “These are exactly what I need. Thanks, Rarity!”

“Uh, I don’t really think this is a good idea, Twilight,” Rainbow Dash said, not meeting her eyes. “Do you really think something so… simple would really work?”

Twilight frowned, looking Rainbow Dash up and down. “What’s the matter with you, Rainbow? I would have figured you’d be chomping at the bit for something this.”

“I just…” Rainbow Dash bit her lip and looked away. “It’s nothing. Forget it. I’ll play bait if you want me too; I can get away the fastest after all.”

“Well, you weren’t my first suggestion, but I guess that works,” Twilight said, turning back to the others.

“Anyway, I’m going to need some time to prepare. Maybe an hour or two, so make yourselves comfortable.”

After Twilight levitated the gems over to a nearby table and had begun her work, Rarity turned to Applejack, blushing. “I’m sorry I snapped at you like that earlier. Everything just seems so… hopeless.”

Applejack smiled, bowing her head slightly before looking back up and giving Rarity a peck on the cheek. “It’s alright, hon. None of us are at our best right now, but we gotta keep trying.”

With a light smile, Rarity turned around and took a few steps before turning back and looking Applejack up and down. “Since we apparently have the time now, I don’t suppose I could convince you to take that bath after all? I could use one myself, if you don’t mind sharing.”

Blushing furiously, Applejack swallowed and began to stammer, but suddenly stood up straight as if struck by lightning, her face transforming into an unreadable mask. “I’d… like that, hon. There’s, uh, something I’ve been wanting to tell you for awhile now, anyway. Seems like a good opportunity,” she said stiffly.

Rarity frowned at the sudden change in mood, but decided to go along with it anyway. The two moved into the bathroom, closing the door behind them.


Twilight worked on her newest project in peace and quiet. She was glad for the lack of distractions, but the silence that hung over the room was heavy and unwelcome. Rainbow Dash just kept staring out the window, not saying a word as the sky darkened outside.

As she finished etching runes into the first of the gemstones she was working on, Twilight stepped away from the table, glancing over at her friend.

“Hey, Rainbow… You feeling alright?”

Rainbow Dash turned around slowly, fixing Twilight with a blank expression for several uncomfortably long moments before mumbling, “Yeah, I’m fine.”

Putting her work aside, Twilight moved over to the window next to Dash and slung her wing over her shoulder. “It’s okay, you know. We’re all trying to be strong here, but there’s no shame in letting it out. Fluttershy wouldn’t want you to bottle everything up.”

Rainbow Dash snorted and barked out an angry laugh. “Yeah, right.” Pulling away from Twilight’s embrace, she moved over to the fireplace and sat down. “Just leave me alone, Twi. I don’t wanna talk about it.”

Twilight winced at the stinging words, but she doubted pushing would get her any farther. Rainbow Dash had always been so close to both Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy. Everypony deals with grief in their own way.

“Well, alright then,” Twilight said, turning back to the table. “In any case, since you volunteered to be the bait, let me explain how these things work.”

Rainbow Dash gave a nod of acknowledgement, so Twilight levitated one of the completed gems over to the two of them. “The simple version is this – smash this gem with your hoof and it will set off an alarm notifying me of the exact location, and I can teleport there to spring the trap.”

Grinning at her own genius, Twilight continued, “Of course, due to the nature of our opponent, something like that wouldn’t help if she gets the jump on you, so there are two failsafes as well. Once activated, the alarm will go off in five minutes, unless you tap on it two times with your hoof to reset the timer. And, on top of that, the alarm should go off if anypony uses magic within ten meters of the gem.”

“That’s… actually pretty well thought out, ”Rainbow Dash said, looking surprised. “Though I still don’t think this is going to work.”

“I…” Twilight faltered, looking away. “Look, this is still a definite long shot, so you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. I don’t want to put you in danger, and we really have no idea what our opponent is capable of.”

Rainbow Dash turned towards Twilight, grinning weakly. “Hey, come on, Twi. I’m Rainbow ‘Danger’ Dash, remember? I could probably handle this even without your fancy trinket.”

“Then how come you don’t think my plan will work?” Twilight asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, well,” Rainbow’s grin faded, her previously melancholic demeanor returning. “I just don’t think she’ll actually show up. That’s all.”

“Well, I’m open to suggestions if you’ve got any,” Twilight said, frowning.

“I…” Rainbow Dash paused, holding Twilight’s gaze for a silent minute, seemingly just on the verge of saying something. “It’s nothing, never mind.”

Twilight was about to press the issue further, but was interrupted by a crashing sound coming from the bathroom, followed by the sound of splashing water.

Readying her horn, Twilight prepared for the worst. “Are you two alright in there?”

There was the sound of scrambling hooves on a tile floor before the bathroom door was flung open and Rarity charged out, soaking wet.

“Rarity, wait!” Applejack called out, her voice desperate as she climbed out of the tub.

“STAY AWAY FROM ME!” Rarity screamed, her eyes full of tears as she grasped a nearby chair with her magic and threw it at the door. “I don’t even know who you are!”

Twilight could only stand there, mouth agape, as she watched the scene unfold before her.

“Please,” Applejack said, begging. “Can’t we just talk about this? I’m sorry, but there’s gotta be a way this can be right.”

“Right? Right!?” Rarity backed away frantically, moving towards the door. “How can you possibly expect me to forgive something like this? Our entire relationship was built on a lie from the start? What happened to being the element of honesty!?

“I…” Applejack hung her head in shame. “I still love you.”

“Well apparently,” Rarity paused, opening the door to the study and looking back. “I never did.” Sobbing, she ran out into the hallway.

Breaking out of her stupor, Twilight rushed forward. “Wait, what are you doing? You’ll die out there!”

Rarity was already around the corner and out of sight when Twilight heard her call back.

“So be it!”

“That stupid…” Twilight growled under her breath before preparing to teleport after her. Of all the things that had to go wrong…

With a painful crash, Twilight was thrown backwards from the wall into the table. She had forgotten about the wards on the room. Apparently they worked both ways.

As Twilight pulled herself free from the splintered wood, Applejack trotted up, pausing in the doorway. “Look, this is my mess. I better clean it up.”

Twilight sputtered as she stood back up. “But we had a plan!”

“Plans change, sugarcube. We’ll be the bait for now. I’m… I’m a terrible pony, Twi. Just, give me some time, alright?”

“I…” Twilight stared at Applejack incredulously. This was an incredibly bad idea. “Just take this, alright? Knock on it twice every five minutes, smash it if there’s any danger, and we’ll be right there.

Taking the gem from Twilight in her teeth and swinging the necklace up around her neck, Applejack galloped out into the hall, the heavy study door slowly closing on its own and locking behind her.

After a long pause, Rainbow Dash finally spoke up. “What just happened?”

“I have no idea,” Twilight said, her expression still bewildered.

“I mean, I know Rarity is the overreacting type, but what could Applejack have possibly done to get a reaction like that out of her?” Rainbow Dash asked as she picked up some of the broken pieces of the table.

“You don’t think it's… related to the murders, do you?” Twilight asked, dark thoughts suddenly entering her mind.

Rainbow Dash snorted dismissively. “No way. Sounds like this is something that goes way back. Anyway, what are we supposed to do now?”

Sighing, Twilight stared at the door, apprehension twisting her gut into knots. “I guess we wait.”


Applejack slowed her gallop to a trot as she raced down the halls. As much as she knew she needed to get to Rarity right away, she was afraid. Afraid to see that look of hurt and betrayal. Afraid to feel the brunt of the scorn that she utterly deserved.

“Applejack, you are one stupid pony,” she muttered under her breath. Right from the start, it was her mistake. Her original desperate bid for affection had grown from a tiny lie into a gaping wound in her heart. One she was reminded of every time she looked at the love of her life.

She had played her confession out a hundred times in her head. This was one of the worst possible outcomes, but one that she had always considered the most realistic. Of course, her timing had left a lot to be desired. To burden Rarity with a revelation like that, when two of their friends were dead, and a murderer stalked them in the shadows…

Coming to a complete stop, Applejack shook her head. The time for excuses was gone and past. There was no guarantee they’d even last the night. Telling her had been the right decision.

Looking up, she realized that she had come to a stop in front of the portrait of Golden Wish in the entrance hall. Feeling a fresh surge of anger, she growled under her breath, “Why can’t ya just stay in pony tales where you belong, huh?”

Wheeling around, Applejack leaned forward and bucked the wall as hard as she could. The wood splintered and cracked beneath her hooves and the painting rocked back and forth. The sound of the impact echoed around the entrance hall before quietly fading away, leaving an empty silence that matched the emptiness she felt after her pointless outburst.

“Be careful what you wish for…” she muttered, hanging her head. “Not exactly an uncommon sentiment when it comes to old folklore. Guess I never took that lesson to heart.”

She was about to continue on her way when she felt a strange twinge around her neck. Blinking in surprise, she realized it was the odd necklace Twilight had given her. Some sort of defensive charm?

Shrugging, she followed the instructions she was given and tapped the gem twice with a hoof, which seemed to calm the jewelry down. Easy enough.

Of course, Rarity didn’t have one…

Applejack quickened her pace down the halls. When she approached the room that they were both staying in, she could hear sobbing from within. It looked like she’d guessed right.

Reaching to open the door, she hesitated, her heart seizing in her gut. What right did she really have?

There was a pause in the sobbing. After a few moments, Rarity called out, her voice hoarse. “Is somepony out there? If you’re planning to murder me, could you at least make me look good?”

Applejack let out a sigh. “It’s just me, Rar.”

After another long pause, there was the sound of hoofsteps and the door unlocking. It glowed with the grasp of magic and opened, Rarity staring out with a dull expression.

“Well, come on in. If we’re going to be out here stupidly and get killed for it, we might as well do it together.”

Applejack bit her lip and followed Rarity inside, making sure to relock and set the chain on the door behind them.

As a heavy silence fell upon the room, Applejack continued to stare at the floor, unable to meet her gaze. “Look, I —” she began, but was cut off with a dismissive scoff from Rarity.

“You what? You’re sorry? Do platitudes like that even matter anymore? I’m really not even sure how I’m supposed to respond to this,” Rarity said as she began pacing about the room.

Applejack flinched at the cold anger in her words. She wasn’t sure if she preferred this or the dramatic outbursts instead.

“It’s just so hard to believe…” Rarity said, staring wistfully at nothing, “that the last year of my life… the best year of my life, was all based on a lie, an illusion. It certainly felt real.” Rarity turned to Applejack, her eyes glistening as she let out a sigh. “It still does.”

Swallowing, Applejack spoke up, trying to find the right words. “I reckon I don’t actually know whether it worked or not. Could’ve just been a crazy coincidence, and I lucked out that you felt the same. But the fact that I still tried… even though I didn’t think through the implications at the time… it’s still unforgivable.”

Rarity shook her head, smiling painfully. “I certainly remember how I felt back then. Perhaps my memories really were altered. But if such a power truly exists, we could just as easily question the reality of anything, could we not?”

Applejack snorted, a short laugh escaping from her in spite of it all. ”Hold on there now, hon. If we start to get into a philosophical debate on what’s real and what isn’t, Twilight will come bursting through the door waving books around that are thicker than my head.”

Unable to help themselves, they both burst out laughing, the joyful sound washing away some of the accumulated tension hanging in the air.

“I certainly...” Rarity started, but trailed off, her smile fading as she pursed her lips. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive you darling, but,” with a sigh, Rarity shook her head and smiled. “I still love you.”

Those words – those four wonderful words struck Applejack like a hammer blow to her heart, filling her with both boundless hope and immense shame. Just like they had when she’d first bared her heart to the mare she loved one year ago.

“I love you too,” Applejack said, her eyes beginning to mist over. “Even if I don’t deserve you.”

“You’re right,” Rarity scoffed, putting up false airs. “You don’t deserve me. I guess I’m just too generous for my own good.”

Applejack chuckled weakly, pawing at the ground. Even though she knew she was just being teased, the wounds were still too fresh and the words stung.

“I suppose the wedding is called off for now,” Applejack mumbled, trying to play her concern off as a joke.

“Well, I don’t know about that,” Rarity said, a twinkle in her eye. “You know, they say intent is everything. When you propose, you promise to be with that pony for the rest of your life, through thick and thin. As long as you both feel the same, you might as well be married already, right? At that time, I was beyond happy. Even if we had both been struck dead a day after you proposed, our souls would still be joined as one.”

“I…” Applejack worked her mouth, her throat suddenly dry. “I reckon a promise made under false pretenses ain’t no promise at all.”

“In that case,” Rarity said, smiling coyly as she sunk to her knees. “Will you, Applejack, deign to marry me and do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

Applejack’s mouth dropped open in shock. She didn’t deserve this. After what she had done, the lie she had based it all on, here she was, this wonderful mare, still willing to have her. Tears rolling down her face, she managed to choke out “I do.”

“Good!” Rarity said curtly, as if she was simply closing up a business deal. “You may now kiss the bride.”

As their lips met, the dam broke in Applejack. Everything she’d been holding back came rushing out and she began sobbing like a filly.

***

A short time later the two rested on the bed, nuzzling against each other.

“It’s not fair,” Applejack mumbled, her face buried in her fiancé’s coat.

“Hmm? What’s that, darling?” Rarity asked, looking up.

“When I proposed to you, I did it all fancy like; had everything planned for months, and the five star dinner and…”

Laughing, Rarity elbowed her in the ribs. “Quiet you.”

Applejack pulled back slightly so she could look Rarity in the eyes and gave her a soft smile. “So this is it, huh? Together until the end?”

Rarity leaned in and kissed her on the lips lightly. “Together. Forever and always.”


Twilight paced back and forth around the study, her eyes frequently flicking to the clock on the wall.

“This is getting ridiculous. Something should’ve happened by now. Either Applejack forgets to activate the device or Rarity accidentally uses her magic and sets it off or…” Twilight trailed off, grimacing. “We should go check on them. Don’t you think we should go check on them? Ugh, this was a bad idea!”

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes, flopping backwards onto the couch. “For the last time, Twi, I’m sure they’re fine. Applejack and Rarity are both capable ponies, they can handle themselves. And, if a trap is going to be a trap, we can’t just back out because we got cold hooves.”

“But it’s also true that you need to know what is and what isn’t an acceptable risk. If you can use your pawns as bait to lure out and capture an opponent’s queen, that’s all well and good, but if you have to sacrifice a bishop or a knight, then it might not always be in your best interests and,” Twilight stopped, her eyes going wide. “Okay wow, I REALLY shouldn’t think about my friends in terms like that.”

Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow, looking Twilight up and down. “Who are you trying to convince here, Twilight? If you want to call the whole thing off, just do it. It’s not like I’m going to stop you either way.” With a pause, she added, “Besides, you’re looking at it the wrong way. Nopony’s going to sacrifice a Queen just to take out a knight or a bishop. Not without either being a total newb or having a good combo set up, anyway.”

Twilight stared at Rainbow Dash, her mouth hanging open. “Just how do you know…?”

She froze, smacking her face with her hoof. Rainbow was right, of course. You can’t bait an action just by leaving a piece seemingly open with a counterattack prepared to strike. You have to threaten on multiple fronts and arrange things so any move your opponent takes has at least some negative outcome.

“We need to go get Applejack and Rarity and think this through a lot better,” Twilight said, turning towards the door.

“Alright, whatever you say,” Rainbow Dash said, yawning as she got up from the couch. “Where do you think they went?”

“I’m not sure. Where would Rarity go after running out like that?” Twilight levitated the paired gem up from the table. She was about to sling it around her neck when it suddenly flashed green and emitted a high pitched whine.

“That’s the timer alarm,” Twilight said, a sudden pang of fear lancing through her heart. She almost teleported right away, but remembered her mistake from earlier. “I think she’s in their shared room, let’s go!”

“I’m on it,” Rainbow said, already opening the door. “I’ll meet you there!”

“Wait, we should go together!” Twilight called out after Rainbow, but she was already gone. Growling under her breath, she quickly galloped out into the hallway outside of the study’s protections, and focused on the gem, preparing to teleport to the signature it gave off.

With a flash she disappeared and found herself face to face with Golden Wish herself.

Or the portrait of her, anyway. As soon as she recovered from the initial shock, Twilight looked around frantically and realized she was in the entrance hall. There was no sign of anypony else.

Had she overshot? Were the coordinates in the gem wrong? Or had she just been thinking too strongly about Golden Wish? With a lump in her throat, she wheeled to the right and galloped down the hall towards Rarity’s room.

As she rounded the corner, she could see the door was already open. Rainbow Dash would have beaten here there of course and –

Twilight skidded to a halt as she entered the room, her breath frozen in her throat.

The room was in total disarray. Pillows were thrown about, dresses were torn to shreds, and the dresser mirror was shattered, pieces of glass strewn across the floor.

The chaos of the room contrasted with the peace of the couple within. Applejack and Rarity lay together on the bed, their heads resting on each other’s shoulders, smiling softly. They looked for all the world, like the quintessential happy couple napping together.

Rainbow Dashed turned to look at Twilight, her eyes wide and lip quivering. “Twi… I got here as fast as I could, but…”

The blood dripped down from the soaked bedsheets, and was beginning to pool around Rainbow Dash’s hooves.

In an instant, Twilight was at the bedside, her hooves reaching down to examine the pair. They were still warm, but there was so much blood… it was already a foregone conclusion.

“There’s no pulse,” Twilight heard herself say in a strangely dry tone.

“So… they’re dead. For real. Rarity and Applejack are actually dead…” Rainbow Dash stared down at the two corpses, her mouth continuing to move soundlessly even after she finished speaking.

Twilight lowered her head, firing up her horn and inspecting the corpses closer. As she did so, there was a blue flash and a high pitched whine as Applejacks gem reacted to the nearby magic.

“Both of them have deep wounds severing their left and right brachial arteries. With a precise wound like that, a pony will bleed out in a matter of minutes without immediate medical intervention,” Twilight announced coldly.

She felt… strangely self aware. There was the odd disconnect in knowing that she should be utterly crushed by despair right now. Two more of her friends were dead. Only one remained. Neither of them would probably last much longer. She had failed, utterly and irrevocably.

But all she felt was a strange emptiness. The numbness inside was like a surrender to the hopeless inevitability of the near future.

“Rainbow Dash, was the door still locked when you got here? Did you have to bust in? And did you happen to see any weapons or cutting tools lying around?” Twilight asked as she finished her inspection of the corpses.

“Huh? I… Yes? Er, wait, no? I…” Rainbow Dash choked on her words, her eyes brimming with tears. She swallowed, and tried to focus her thoughts before speaking again. “I didn’t see any weapons.”

Closed room. A voice bubbled up from the depths of Twilight’s memories, noting a pattern. Both sets of murders, and even the strange incident with the library had taken place in a closed room, as if this were the plot in some mystery novel.

Of course, when the culprit is a psychopathic alicorn dragon-witch who can apparently skirt by the very laws of magic, the presence of locks on doors and magic detecting trinkets doesn’t matter much, does it?

Twilight looked over to Rainbow and jumped with a start, her stupor momentarily forgotten. “Rainbow, you’re…” A trickle of blood ran down the side of Rainbow’s mouth. Had she bitten her tongue that hard?

“I…” Rainbow Dash bowed her head, scrunching her eyes up tight. “Not like this. Not anymore.”

She slowly looked up at Twilight, a fierce growl boiling from within her. “I’m going to fix this, Twi. Somehow. I’m sorry. You might want to find some cover.”

“Rainbow, what are you talking about?” Twilight asked, reaching a forehoof out to her friend but catching only air as Rainbow sped off, out into the hallway and around the corner. “Wait!”

Twilight chased after her, pausing in the doorframe to look back at her recently departed friends. It felt bad to just leave them like this, but she couldn’t risk losing another.

Following the afterimages of rainbow contrails, Twilight quickly ascertained that Rainbow had gone outside and teleported out to the front steps in order to catch up.

Before she could even get her bearings, she felt her ears pop as the air suddenly spun around her. The magic of her shield began to shatter and dissipate and the storm suddenly rushed back into the mansion, no longer held at bay.

“Rainbow Dash…”


Rainbow Dash slammed into Twilight’s shield with all her might, straining for a moment before it shattered above her hooves and she shot into the waiting blizzard.

The sudden disruption in the atmosphere made her ascent even harder, but they didn’t call her the best flyer in Equestria for nothing.

Even as the cold winds battered her furiously, trying with all their might to knock her out of the sky, she continued climbing up and up. Just as icicles began to form on her wings, she burst through the top layer of cloud cover, exiting the storm and basking momentarily in the radiance of the stars and the moon.

Still she needed to fly higher. So she kept going up until the air was so thin she could barely breathe. She hovered there, the cold biting deep into her as she looked down on the world below.

While normally she would feel utterly free this high up in the air, like an escape from all earthly responsibilities, this time she could almost see the golden chains dragging her to the ground, forcing her to face reality.

“So much for loyalty,” she muttered, her voice absorbed by the howling winds of the upper atmosphere.

As she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, Rainbow Dash allowed herself to drop, swiftly shifting into a proper dive.

There wasn’t exactly an elegant solution to this. But elegance had never been her specialty, after all. She was stuck between a rock and a hard place. So why not solve it by doing what she was best at?

As she picked up speed, she could feel the traditional strain and pull of the air before she burst into a sonic rainboom. In the past, performing one took every ounce of strength she had, but now they were commonplace. Almost boring.

This next part would be new, though. She banked, twisting her downward dive into a rotating spiral, the wind slowly beginning to swirl around her. Right as she was about to hit the cloud cover below, she began to spin, blasting through the clouds and angling herself to use the whipping winds of the storm to her advantage.

The clouds were pulled towards the rainbow drill of contrails as Rainbow Dash crafted her tornado, directing the most powerful, destructive might the weather could offer on the mansion below.

What would this really accomplish? Was it just a futile act of rage against a hopeless fate? She wasn’t really even sure at this point, but it was already far too late to stop.

She knew Twilight would never forgive her, but annihilating the object of their sorrow might bring some form of peace to both ponies. And hey, there was still the chance everything would work out in the end.

Holding onto that bitter hope, Rainbow Dash continued to spin round and round, almost breaking through the storm cover below. The whipping winds and snow forced her to squint as hard as she could, barely able to see. With a pained laugh, she realized this would be a lot easier had she taken a few extra seconds to grab her goggles before flying up here.

Had she bothered to do so, she might have noticed the golden flash speeding towards her as she entered the sky above the mansion.

Red clouded her vision as a sharp pain lanced across her chest. She tumbled from her carefully controlled spin, the tornado dissipating in a flash of colors.

As the ground rushed towards her, she could just barely make out Twilight, a glowing purple speck in the distance.

I’m sorry.

Author's Note:

Thanks to Sereg, Kalan, and JeffCvt for editing.

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