• Published 27th Jan 2014
  • 11,079 Views, 185 Comments

Not Another Alicorn! - LordBrony2040

Nothing to see here folks just another lousy fic combining alicorn ascension, divine parentage, and the fallout one of the episode we just don’t talk about aka Mare Do Well.

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Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Dreams & Darkness

Rainbow Dash opened her eyes and looked around her bedroom before mentally frowning at the slightly different layout. Huh, that’s weird, she thought before getting up to walk around. There was something off about the room. Although the room was the same size as always, same bed, rugs, paintings, and curtains, it felt…different.

She took a moment to examine the best young-crown that rested on her nightstand, then banished the last bit of sleep from her mind and slid to the edge of the bed to clap her hooves and call the servants. A minute later, a pair of pegasi and an earth pony came into the room and bowed to the princess-heir. “Highness?”

“Morning to you all,” Rainbow greeted them with a nod of her head. “I’ll break my fast in here today and…” she looked at her wings before heading to the desk with the mirror on it. “I think I need some preening this morning as well.”

Rainbow blinked at the sight of her hair. It was…neater than she had expected for some reason. But the confusion only lasted until her servants began combing her mane and tail. “Blossom, how is your foal doing?”

The pegasus combing her tail looked up. “Still keeping me up all night I’m afraid.”

“Do you need more time off?” Rainbow asked. “Or I could move you to evening work if that is what you would prefer. More time to sleep in.”

“I find enough time for naps. Just need to make sure I'm out of the way enough when I take them.”

Rainbow chuckled. “Yes. That I understand.” Too many times had the cloud she been snoozing on dispersed by some random unicorn fooling around with their magic.

“I heard you missed your lessons yesterday Highness. Napping?” the earth pony hoofmaiden asked.

The accusation made Rainbow roll her eyes. “I blame Mother.”

“Pardon me to question you Highness, but…”

Rainbow didn’t wait for the other pegasus mare to find the proper words, it wasn’t as if she was going to be offended by some candid speak. “I am the daughter of a goddess, within the body of a mortal. I am the fastest and strongest pegasus alive. Surely you do not think that comes from my father? Mother may speak of his artistry and kindness, but I have yet to hear her comment on his athletic prowess and ability in battle.” It was as if her body couldn't keep up with her magic, which was most likely the case.

“By the way Highness, she summons you to the dinning hall,” the earth pony told her.

The news made Rainbow groan. “Guess I’ll be eating with Mother then.”

The Royal Canterlot Hospital was an interesting mix of the technological and the arcane. As the most unicorn populated city in the nation, it had access to all the best mages, magisters, alchemists, and every other mystical profession that existed. As the center of Equestria’s government, it also had access to all the latest medical technology from Manehattan.

Eldritch insignias made by Celestia herself lined the walls to eliminate any chance of infections or other contagions from making recovering ponies sicker. Inside the room that had been put aside for Rainbow Dash, half a dozen crystals, each with a different enchantment floated in the air above her bed, while the beeping of a heart monitor kept everypony in the room aware of the slumbering goddess’s condition.

However, other than the fact she was alive, that was all they knew.

“How long has she been like this?”

Twilight looked up from the tiny desk where she was reading and over to the clock. “Going on thirty-eight hours Fluttershy.”

As the yellow pegasus let out a worried whine, Twilight looked around the room at the rest of her friends. Although they had arrived more than an hour ago, all of them were still crowded around Dash’s bed. Concern covered both Rarity and Applejack’s faces, while Pinkie Pie looked ready to burst into tears about any moment from what Twilight could see from the eye that wasn't covered by her unusually strait mane.

“Twi Ah read the letter ya sent, so I know ya’ll didn’t know what caused her to go under when she had her…whatever it was. So…have any of these fancy doctors figured out what’s wrong with Rainbow since then?”

Twilight shook her head and sighed. “No, and I doubt they’re going to be able to,” she added in a whisper before going back to the large tome in front of her, taking a second to look at some of her notes, then she spared a glance at one of the smaller books that also occupied her desk. Part of her understood their concern, a very large part, but another part of her wished they would just leave her alone for the moment and let her read. The book in front of her might offer a clue to helping her friend, but she needed to be able to understand the thing, and that took concentration.

For a moment the unicorn's rational mind reminded her that she would probably be better off back in the castle library, but Twilight's heart quickly did away with that option. If Rainbow Dash woke up, she would need somepony there for her. Twilight would be that pony, she needed to be that pony.

Rarity looked away from Rainbow and over to Twilight. “Whatever do you mean Darling?”

“Rainbow Dash is an alicorn now. Alicorn’s aren’t normal ponies,” she explained without looking up from her work. “Their anatomy and physiology isn’t just…a pegasus who got a horn and some extra height.”

Pinkie Pie frowned as she studied the unconscious pegasus. “So Dashie did put on a few pounds. I thought she looked a little heavier.”

“Rainbow’s mass has increased by about twenty percent since she fell unconscious.” The absent reply was followed by something a little more emotional as it was the focus of her attention. “Shoot, I don‘t know that symbol,” Twilight mumbled to herself before she began to go through the various other books in front of her.

The four of the five conscious friends that were currently not huddled over a desk shared a worried look as Twilight sat at a small work desk in the corner of Dash’s hospital room that had obviously been dragged in judging by the marks on the floor. Half a dozen old tomes and various notebooks were scattered across its surface, while Twilight constantly consulted an ancient book right under her nose and scribbled notes from time to time on a floating piece of parchment. At the bottom of her desk, Spike sat curled up in a basket, fast sleep despite it being nearly noon.

“How much you gals wanna bet she’s been goin’ like this since Rainbow hit the ground?” Applejack whispered to her friends.

Fluttershy flapped over to Twilight. “Twilight. Is there anything we can do to help?”

“Do you read Unicornian?” Twilight demanded loud enough to make Fluttershy back away from her. “Cause I don’t, nopony does! Celestia decided that it would be better for everypony to speak the same language thousands of years ago, so there isn’t even a modern scholar that does. So I had to get Princess Cadence to go with me into the Canterlot Museum and commandeer this!” Twilight grabbed one of the smaller books she was reading from with her telekinesis. “Which is a Unicornian copy of this!” She raised another book that had different writing on it. “Which is in ancient Equestrian. A language so old not even Luna bothers to speak with it anymore!

“But of course nopony bothers to study ancient Equestrian anymore either! So to get a modern translation, I had to ask my mom to talk to her book friends and get a first edition copy of The Epic of Beohoof so I at least have something that might in some way resemble my ancient Equestrian copy that I can hopefully use to help me translate my Unicornian copy and hopefully learn a four thousand year dead language that might have a completely different sentence structure!

“And if that’s not enough, this is all for me just to try and translate THIS!” she said before pointing to the large tome right in front of her. “Do any of you know what this is, huh?”

While most of the assembled ponies gulped in worry for their reply, Pinkie Pie gave a hopeful smile. “The make Dashie get better real soon instruction book with infinite cupcakes cheat codes on the back?” she asked nervously.

“This is the one, one attempt to study alicorn anatomy, and it’s mostly just useless THEORY!” she shouted at the bound pages. “This stupid thing was written when ponies still believed the liver, the liver, was what pumped blood through our bodies!”

The four other conscious ponies in the room shared another worried look with each other before Rarity stepped forward. “Darling, perhaps it would be best to take a break. We could go across the street to a café I saw on my way in and have some lunch.”

Twilight looked up at Rarity and frowned. “You’re trying to trick me.”


“Physical exertion combined with large nutritional intake usually results in the activation of a hibernation cycle. You’re trying to make me go to sleep like Shinning did! Well I’ll tell you something, the record for prolonged consciousness in ponies is eleven days! That means I’ve got a good two hundred and sixty four hours before I start hallucinating, have problems speaking, concentrating, or just carrying on a simple conversation!”

Pinkie Pie frowned and cocked her head to the side. “Umm, don’t you mean two hundred twenty six?” she asked.

“Huh?” Twilight responded as she looked away from the ancient books.

“Well,” she drawled. “You’ve already been awake for at least thirty six hours, so the time you could stay awake now is two hundred and twenty six hours, and I say closer cause I’m pretty sure you were awake before Dashie fainted, so it’s probably more like two hundred and sixteen hours.

“Then there’s the problem of diminishing returns and the fact you’ve got all those empty Starbucks coffee cups, which is weird since we usually have to adapt brand names to fit in with ponies, but this time we don’t! I guess those things really are everywhere. Although, with the way we use the word buck, it makes you sound like you’re doing something really nasty to Luna’s mane and tail, and I mean her actual tail, not her plot, booty, tooshie, rump, trunk, ass-”

Applejack poked the pink pony with her hoof. “Uh Pinkie, Ah think you lost us all for a second there. Including yourself”

“Hm? Oh, right! Okay so…diminishing returns!" Pinkie pie said after pausing a second to remember her place. "The longer you keep going the less work your super-smart brain is gonna do until you end up like Applejack!”

“Hey!” the apple farmer yelled at the apparent insult to her intelligence.

Pinkie looked over to her and blinked in confusion. “What? It’s just like the time you tried to harvest your whole field, and we all remember how that ended.”

“…oh yeah,” Apple mumbled as she hug her head at that particular memory.

“But…” Twilight weakly argued.

“And what about Princess Celestia?” Rarity cut in. “Isn’t she doing anything to help Princess Rainbow Dash? I know you’re a genius Twilight, but…this is Princess Celestia we’re talking about.”

Twilight shrunk in on herself further. “I… Princess Celestia declared Cadence her regent a couple hours after Rainbow Dash went into her com-fell asleep,” she corrected herself. “I haven’t seen much of her since.”

“Then that must mean she’s working super-duper hard on helping Dashie if she can’t do her princess thing,” Pinkie Pie told her before her voice became one of concern. “So you need to get some food and rest Twilight. Please?”

The mention of food had Twilight’s stomach grumbling for attention. She was extremely hungry, and had only subsisted on the hospital’s food that consisted of fruit and grains mashed together in some kind of weird pasty stuff that had an odd texture. The thought of real food made her mouth water so much Twilight found herself needing to swallow before she could talk.


“That settles it then,” Rarity said before her horn lightened up, and Twilight found herself being pulled away from her desk and towards her friends. Although Rarity wasn’t at Twilight’s level when it came to the manipulation of living creatures inside telekinetic fields, which was a great deal harder than simple objects thanks to all the moving parts, she could move around a purple unicorn who barely had the energy to struggle against the pull.

A thought occurred to Twilight as Rarity dragged her towards the door. “Wait! What about Rainbow? What if she wakes up while we’re gone?”

Fluttershy looked over to her oldest friend. “Is that possible?”

“Well…alicorn’s can quickly regenerate from nearly any kind of damage,” Twilight informed everypony. “When the doctors checked her over, they couldn’t find anything wrong with her physically, and I didn’t see any major disruptions to her magical aura when I examined her either. So, it’s entirely possible she could wake up in the next two minutes.”

After digesting the information, Applejack looked back at Rainbow Dash and frowned. “Well if there ain’t nothin wrong with her, why’s she still…sleeping?”

“And how come she’s not snoring?” Pinkie Pie asked. “Dashie snores really loud.”

Ignoring Pinkie Pie’s question for the moment, Twilight looked over at Applejack. “When Princess Celestia pulled Dash out of the hot tub, she had a nose bleed. That points to either something in the lungs, or brain. Considering that she’s unconscious now and nothing‘s physically wrong with her, it would have to be something like…like…”

“Like what sugar cube?” Applejack asked.

“I don’t know!” Twilight exclaimed. “I told you, alicorns are different than normal ponies! Hay, this may just be some kind of weird hibernation period while Dash adjusts to her changes or grows into her new body! It could be that Celestia botched the spell! Rainbow Dash isn’t a normal pegasus, she’s Celestia’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandaughter! There may be something different about her from Cadence that caused things to go wrong! And then there’s the fact that Dash was still under the effects of Ruination when Celestia turned her into an alicorn, which means that something did go wrong and this whole thing is MY FAULT!”

As Twilight began to cry and hyperventilate at the same time, Rarity deactivated her magic and rushed over to wrap the poor pony in an embrace. “Oh no darling, this isn’t anypony’s fault. Now, slow down, come on now, just breathe normally. There we go.”

With Twilight starting to breathe normally again, she apparently lost to strength to argue, and let Rarity lead her towards the door.

“Huh wha?”

The new male voice in the room made Rarity look down to see Spike stirring from his slumber. Poor dear, but we are causing a bit of a racket. “Spike, would you mind staying and looking after Princess Rainbow Dash while we take Twilight out for some fresh air?”

The purple dragon looked up at the white unicorn and smiled. “Oh hi Rarity,” she said as hearts practically formed in his eyes. “Something you needed?”

“I’d like to stay too if that’s alright,” Fluttershy spoke up. “If Rainbow Dash could wake up any minute, then I want to be here when she does. I can’t stay in Canterlot too long, my animals need someone to watch over them and the news was too sudden for me to find a long-term sitter.”

“You want us to bring you anything?” Applejack asked.

Fluttershy hesitated for a moment as she thought of the least burdening item for her friend’s wallets. “Oh um, some fruit would be nice, if its not any trouble.”

“Sure thing,” the orange apple farmer told her.

“Excellent! We shall partake in some fine Canterlot cuisine, get Twilight some rest, and return to Princess Rainbow Dash’s room to keep her company and await her recovery!” Rarity exclaimed.

Applejack rolled her eyes at the fashionista’s words. “Rarity, why’re you callin her Princess Rainbow Dash all the time now? Ah don’t think she’s overly fond of the title.”

“This is the first princess I’ve known on a personal level, let me enjoy it while I can,” Rarity replied. “Oh and soon as she gets better I can design a whole new wardrobe for her!”

However, Rarity’s excitement was far from contagious. “You mean if she gets better,” Twilight mumbled.

“Come on Twilight! Stay positive,” Pinkie said as she bounced over to her friend. “Cheer up! You just need to…Listen to the jingle jangle of my gypsy tambourine!

Cause it’s cords are hypnotizing
And the whole world’s harmonizing
So please Sparkle stop your crying
And just sing along with me!

“Pinkie, I really don’t think-”

“Hey a scene change!” Pinky said as she dropped out of her random song for a second, confusing the rest of her friends even more. “Oh when I was a little filly.”

The dungeons of Trottingham's old palace were never pleasant, but Luna had to say their disrepair had made the things only more repulsive. Moss lined a good deal of the wall, all manner of vermin made their nests with the cracks, and the cells were a good deal more claustrophobia inducing than she remembered.

Then there was Tia…

Luna’s eye twitched as Celestia paced back and forth in their sister’s cell. Since the place afforded little room as it required no comforts for its only occupant, Celestia managed to walk two steps before she needed to turn around and back to the other end of the cell that could barely hold her alicorn body.

“What’s taking you so long?” Celestia asked, her usually calm voice filled with anxiety. “This was supposed to done days ago!”

“Pardon me sister, but the thousand years that I was busy on the moon, Andromeda’s mind was able to craft several layers of defenses that it takes time to break down,” Luna replied in a snarky tone. “Of course if you had actually kept up with her punishment-”

Celestia stomped her hoof and pointed to the statue standing in the center of the room. “This is punishment!”

The roll of eyes by the dark alicorn went unseen by her elder sister. “Yes, being trapped in a dream world where every wish is fulfilled simply by desiring for it,” she mumbled in anger. “If you had done such a thing to Nightmare Moon, I doubt she would have ever dared return to Equestria for fear of an even greater torture!”

“Luna…are you alright?” Celestia asked while trying to clear the worry from her voice.

“…it’s nothing,” Luna said after a moment’s pause. “Three layers left.”

Luna’s attempt to steer the conversation away from her didn’t work. Celestia sat down next to her little sister, and put a wing around her in a hug. “Luna, please talk to me.”

There was a brief silence as Luna considered just ignoring her sister‘s inquiries, but she had been down that road before and cared not to repeat it. “I’m just like her, aren’t I?” Luna asked as she let out a sigh.

Celestia reared her head back in surprise. “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” the goddess shouted, causing Luna to look away from her target of her mental magic and over to the larger alicorn.

“I think you lie to yourself sister,” Luna told her sadly before pushing Celestia’s wings away with one of her own. “I was jealous and petty, consumed by greed and anger. By the stars I even…remade myself to-”

“That was Nightmare Moon! Sombra’s magic had infected you. The bits and pieces of his mind that were left inside your after that whole Crystal Empire debacle are what made the demon,” Celestia told her sister through gritted teeth. “My first memories of our sister were of her cruelty! Her heart was as dark as pitch before she ever opened a black tome. She chose to become an abomination, not be possessed by one as you were!”

Luna looked away from her sister’s angry gaze and sighed. “I’m down to the last layer.”

Celestia could tell Luna was trying to end the conversation with the shift in topics, but she had to get in a few last words. “Sister, Harmony Itself judged you innocent,” she said as she embraced Luna once again. “Do not let this shade from the past plant the seed of doubt within your heart.”

“Okay I’m through the last of her wards,” Luna told her before peering into Andromeda’s dream. “Well, you’ll be happy to know she’s currently dinning in Trottingham Hall while sitting on a throne. No pegasi or earth ponies, and…oh there we are. The dinning table is a large U with room for jesters and performers in the center.”

Celestia rolled her eyes. “So she’s imagining us a fools now?”

“No, we look more like mangy dogs with a broken horn and wings and…yes, she has just thrown us a bone to fight over. I appear to have the upper hand in the contest by the way,” Luna added.

The bit of merriment in Luna’s announcement brought a smile to Celestia’s face. “Well, I will take note to avoid any scraps with you in the future.”

“My humor may be a thousand years out of date, but even I can tell that was a horrible pun sister,” Luna replied evenly. “Now, shall I head into the dream?”

Celestia shook her head. “There will be no need for that. I ask that you return to Canterlot and check up on Rainbow Dash. She is in need of your expertise.”

The half-order made Luna cock an eyebrow. “Did you suddenly develop a dream dancing talent while my back was turned sister?”

“No, but I did learn how to pull a creature’s mind and soul from its body,” Celestia replied.

“Sister,” Luna growled.

Celestia sighed and held up a hoof. “In the strictest form of the words Luna, that is hardly Necromancy. I do not reanimate corpses or enslave spirits to my will. I do not deal with…death,” the goddess said, spitting the last word from her mouth like a sour lemon.

The declaration softened Luna’s expression a bit. “No, you simply walk up to the borders the abyss and teeter on the edge,” she said before switching topics. “And why not send me?”

“Would you know the right questions to ask, or have enough knowledge on the subject for Andromeda not to play you false?” Celestia asked before she also raised an eyebrow. “And while we’re on the subject of magic that can turn dark, is not dream dancing a dangerously temping power? You walk into a pony’s mind. You can remake it, break it…unhinge it.”

Luna reluctantly nodded. “Very well. I shall head back to our home and check on the foal.”

As her sister departed, Celestia conjured a soul tether made from her own magic and plunged the strand of energy into Andromeda’s statue. Connected as she was to the tether, Celestia could hear the scream reverberate through the ether as Celestia tore her sister’s spirit form from the statue and unbound the connection to her own body before whisking them both away into the ethereal plane.

Celestia looked around the endless expanse of color that was the ethereal plane as she floated though the void. It had been centuries since she had last visited this place, a place out the outer fringes of existence where reality, magic, and will were all one in the same. It was a place where the physical was determined by the mystical, rather than simply influenced by it.

A stray thought ended Celestia’s drifting and turned the nothing beneath her into solid ground, or the experience of solid ground. There was still nothing but rolling waves of mana beneath her, but she was standing and walking all the same. She had simply wanted to walk, and so she did.

Another stray thought entered her mind after seeing her main out of the corner of her eye, and Celestia’s ears could hear the sound of a raging inferno. She sighed and stopped the sound a few moments later before looking over herself. Gone was the flesh and blood form, the one that brought joy and feelings of peace to her subjects. Instead, Celestia watched her mane lash around like the surface of the sun, while her coat had a distinct golden hue and shone with such brightness that any physical eyes would have been turned blind by its luminescence. It was the sun goddess in all her unbridled glory, her true self.

Celestia hated seeing it.

But, while the dimension itself was malleable, she was immutable. So the sun goddess was stuck in a form that looked like her physical self set ablaze and appearing as a terrifying version of what her little ponies had come to know and love.

“Enough,” the sun goddess thought/said to herself before she got to work. Celestia looked down at the soul tether and willed it to retract as she raised the hoof it was wrapped around to hold her prisoner up at eye level.

Like Celestia, Andromeda had undergone a change from her previous physical form. The ethereal princess was made of a light blue energy with a horn sharpened on the end. Like Celestia, her new body had been fashioned by her magic potential and strength. In terms of size, she would have been eight, if not ten times larger than the biggest stallion in Equestria if a normal pony were to stand next to her at the moment.

However, Celestia’s powers had grown so far beyond the minds of mortal ponies that the comparative miniscule size of her sister's ethereal form gave her reminder of a small fish that dangled from a line after being caught. Although, Celestia supposed that a bug metaphor would have been better. As such, Andromeda was more akin to a cockroach in comparison to the Goddess of the Sun.

“What is this? Afraid! The fear consumes me. Where am I? What is this creature that holds me aloft like a toy?”

“I am Celestia. Have you forgotten me so soon my little big sister?”

Andromeda let out a scream of terror upon feeling Celestia’s voice vibrate through her being. “What happened to my castle? Celestia was beaten, I had made her and Luna into entertainment for my court! Why is she here? How is this possible? Can this be a dream?”

To dissuade her from continuing with her rambling, Celestia focused her will on the tiny unicorn and she was engulfed in the sun goddess’s magic. Andromeda flailed and howled at the burning presence before Celestia ended her torment. “No dream sister. That was what I had pulled you from. One thousand years you have slept without Luna to intrude on your fantasy. Now, tell me what I wish to know, and I will allow you to return to your slumber.”

“No! Denial! Untrue! I’m afraid… Question, why can I not stop talking?” she demanded to the ethereal void.

“This is the realm of the mind sister. To think is the speak. Here there are no secrets, no lies or deceptions. Now, listen and answer my questions, and I shall let you return to your false kingdom.”

Then, Celestia told the necromancer of what she had done using the magical knowledge she had gleaned from Andromeda’s research journals and notes. “I pulled Aurora’s soul from the ether and implanted it in the womb of her granddaughter. However, when she eventually had a child, it had several of my daughters features, but was born male. His first child also had things in common with Aurora physically but was nothing alike in terms of personality.

“Recently, one of my descends has exhibited several attributes like my daughter as well as similar mannerisms and has knowledge that only she could know,” Celestia told her. “I want to know how this is possible.”

“I’m curious. I wonder how many years have passed? A hundred? A thousand? A million? Several traits you say, I find that interesting. Research on reincarnation was thrown away. Even if it was my soul, without my mind I would not have the ability to recall anything. Possibility of basic personality traits being transferred is also unknown. There must have been something different about your daughter. I theorized that. Wish I could have gotten my hands on her. Wish I could have experimented on-AHHHHH PAIN!”

Celestia willed the flames around her sister to subside after a good minute. “Keep your mind on task and away from such thoughts, or the next reminder to do so will last several hours.”

“Theories yes,” the comparatively little unicorn said/considered as she rambled at a breakneck speed. “Must have been something different about your daughter, yes. Not physical or mental. Yes, spiritual, third piece of existence. Caused physical change but not mental, curious. But this time mental is also changed. Curious, what was the difference? What? What? What? What? What? Not enough information. I am unable to form an absolute confusion without information.

“Still, interesting concept. I can theorize a few things though. If it was passed from son to daughter and the son was still alive, can’t be reincarnation. Possibility, soul transference. Not actually part of the whole but along for the ride? True owner acts as a host? Plausible theory, accounting for physical inheritance with divine soul. Rhetorical Question, are talents also effected? Cutie Marks? No, not important. Would she be conscious of events of all previous hosts?"

“I can’t help but wonder about ramifications. Only just now remembering things you say? From one life or all of them? No, not important. Even one would cause a mental breakdown. Multiple lifetimes of memories would cause faster breakdown, greater suffering. I like that thought. I’m feeling happy, gitty! Thoughts of your daughter’s pain makes me happy. I like the idea of her being driven mad.”

“SHUT UP!” Celestia roared before she ignited her sister again. The sun goddess kept a tight reign on her thoughts as she watched her sister burn. As promised, Andromeda was left ablaze for some time before Celestia doused her again.

Andromeda looked over to her titan of a sister and smiled. “The pain may hurt, but I take more joy in knowing of your suffering. Problem, can two souls survive in one body? Obviously has happened before, but…no something wrong this time, something different. Combining? Joining? No."

Instead of loosing control and striking the mare down in a rage, Celestia clenched her teeth. “Stay focused. How do I save them? Tell me how to save my daughter and her host!”

A smile crossed Andromeda’s face. “There is no them you can save. No, saving even one would be impossible. The damage has been done. Melding? No. Contamination is occurring? No. Spiritual essence cannot be combined, my own experiments proved that. Devoured. Yes. One soul exterminating the other. But who would win? Divine soul obviously superior to fully mortal one in a contest. Still, doubtful mind and body would accept a foreign soul, insanity would soon occur after.

“The solution is…death. End the hosts life before process completes.”

“No. I can‘t do that,” Celestia muttered.

“Then host mind will become insane.”

“I can’t accept that.”

“Based on fact that Aurora’s soul might have partial divinity status, it will win in a contest for existence without outside interference. Still I wonder how integration has been accomplished.”

“Would the elements of Harmony interfere with the process?” Celestia asked herself.

“My curiosity rises. I have a question, what are the Elements of Harmony?”

Before Celestia’s mind could form a coherent answer, she quickly shoved her sister out of the mystical plane and jammed her back into the mare’s petrified form. Then, she joined with her own body and laid down on the cold stone floor as she considered what Andromeda had said.

The small café that Rarity had chosen for their luncheon wasn’t exactly across the street from the hospital, but it was close enough. As promised, the patio seating it provided did give plenty of fresh air, something that the purple unicorn had found herself lacking for over the past day and night.

Twilight jerked her head up as she fought to stay awake, or at least keep herself from face planting into her tomato soup. As much as she hated to admit it, she had needed this. Good food and time with her friends had managed to let Twilight calm herself down a little and gather her thoughts. She still had no intention of getting some sleep like Rarity had suggested, but the short break she was on now did help Twilight to clear her head of some of the tension and anxiety that had been plaguing her.

“You know Twi, Ah was thinkin, and Ah’m wonderin’ why we don’t break out the Elements to try and solve this little problem?” Applejack said. “They put Ponyville back to normal after Discord. I think they can fix whatever’s alin Rainbow.”

It was a suggestion that Twilight had asked herself so many times she had already gone to the princess with it. “Princess Celestia says with Rainbow unconscious, the Elements may not work at all, or have unintended effects. She doesn’t want to risk it. At least, not until we‘ve tried everything else.”

The news wasn’t taken well, although Twilight couldn’t blame them. The Elements of Harmony were the most powerful magic in existence. With them, the six mares could do anything. But hearing what was probably their greatest hope was rendered useless put everyone in a funk for several minutes.

Twilight was the one to break the silence. She needed to talk with somepony other than her own thoughts, but not about Dash. That topic was just too depressing and would get her focused on working again. It was only after she looked around at all her friends from Ponyville that what she should ask about became so blindingly obvious Twilight felt the desire to kick herself. “So…how is the new library coming along?”

“Some unicorns from Canterlot showed up the morning after you left and grew a new tree. But, it’s going to take some time for them to hollow it out and put in all the necessities,” Rarity told her. “The tree is a bit bigger this time around and I took a look at the plans. Apparently Spike is getting his own room. At least, that’s what I’m guessing the extra space is for. Unless you want a walk-in closet.”

Guess they’re designing this one with me and Spike in mind this time, Twilight told herself. She had to admit, although the old library had been nice, there were a few problems with using it as a living space. Her bedroom had been little more than a glorified storage area, and the basement really didn't have the proper setup for a lab when it came to mundane ventilation.

“Hey Rarity, you still going shopping later today?” Pinkie asked.

The fashionista sighed. “That is a conundrum isn’t it?” Rarity replied while shaking her head. “I had originally planned this trip to give me some time to design a new dress for your birthday Twilight. Although…with what’s happening…”

Before Twilight could assure Rarity that everything was fine and she understood, Pinkie pie let out a gasp that lasted a good fifteen seconds, then banged her hoof down on the table. “No way! We’re not canceling Twilight’s birthday party because Dashie is a little nappier than usual!”


“If,” Pinkie continued right over Twilight, “and I mean IF, like a plus thirteen sizes big if, Dashie doesn’t wake up to come to the party and just a few days later, then finds out we’ve not been having fun because of her, she’ll feel horrible!” She shook her head and sighed. “Just because something bad is going on doesn’t mean we should feel guilty for having a bit of fun, or not even have it at all. If that were the case, then parties would be canceled all the time for the littlest of things, and nopony would ever be happy.”

When Pinkie looked back and forth between Rarity and Twilight as if daring them to challenge her logic, Applejack cleared her throat. “Well, she’s got ya’ll there.”

All around the table, she ponies shared a look, unsure of how to follow that topic. Then Rarity looked over to Twilight. “So, now that you’ve had a chance to calm down a bit Twilight, tell us, is your research capable of helping Rainbow Dash?”

Twilight took in a deep breath, then let out a sigh and lowered her ears. “I don’t know. I haven’t been able to translate more than a few pages, and most of them are just asking the questions that we still are today, and giving a bunch of weird theories.”

“How so?” Rarity asked.

“Well…” Twilight thought about it for a moment. “Okay, the stuff I have translated so far only relates to questions about an alicorn’s memory storage capabilities. While medical science was still pretty backwards at the time, most of the…well, they’re supposed to be medical professionals but they didn’t know as much as the doctors of today, so I can't in good conscience call them doctors. Still, even these morons were able to deduce that an alicorn’s memory storage and recall abilities can’t work the same as a normal pony‘s.”

Applejack leaned forward on the table. “Alright Twi now you done and got me curious about something,” she cut in. “Just how does our memory work anyhoo?”

“Oh that’s simple,” Twilight began, glad to be covering something she understood. She quickly explained the process of short-tem and long-term memories, as well as gave a basic rundown as to how the brain cells in the hippocampus stored them. Then she switched to the ancient school of thought to draw a comparison, “but ponies back then didn’t know anything about cells or how the brain worked, and they just theorized that the mind could only hold so much information before it popped from being too full, kind of like a balloon. They even thought certain mental problems were the cause of the brain becoming overfilled and the top overflowing or the mind breaking under the strain of too many memories.

“While they're facts are junk, when it comes to their theories of an alicorn’s mind…they may be onto something.”

Rarity cocked her head to the side. “How so?”

“Well think about it,” Twilight told them. “The brain of a pony can only hold so much. But Celestia and Luna, they’re thousands of years old, and they remember things, lots of things. Even if a normal pony’s mind can never be...well, filled to overflowing during a normal lifetime, there’s no way Celestia or Luna could contain thousands of years worth of knowledge. There has to be some key difference in the mental makeup of an alicorn from a normal pony, and if that’s true, then there might actually be something wrong with Dash that the doctors can’t identify.”

“Oooookaaaaay,” Pinkie Pie drawled. “But, how does knowing that help Dashie?”

Twilight sighed and lowered her head. “It doesn’t,” she said before hesitantly looking back up. “But…I have to do something, and that old book is the only thing that might hold an answer!”

“You are doing something,” Rarity consoled her. “You're being there for her, and I’ve heard instances of coma patients hearing their loved ones while they were unconscious.”

For a second Twilight wanted to argue with Rarity those results were inconclusive at best, but she just shook her head. “It’s not a coma. There’s no…damage. That means she’s just asleep.”

“But didn’t you just say a few paragraphs ago-”

Applejack cut Pinkie off with a hoof to her shoulder before she could continue. “Okay sugar,” she told Twilight. “That just means she’ll be waken up soon. So you should probably get your sleep now so you’ll be able to say good mornin when she does come round.”

Another argument died before Twilight could get it off her tongue when she saw the looks all of her friends were giving her. With the concern etched into all of their faces, she knew she was fighting a battle she wouldn't be able to win. “I’m making you guys worry too, aren’t I?”

“We know you’re concerned Darling, it’s just…we’ve learned you don’t handle stress very well,” Rarity told her. “I’d hate to think what would happen if you were to have another episode.”

Twilight felt as if her gut had been punched, then quickly shook her head. “No! I’ll never use that spell again!”

“I’m not talking about that!” Rarity exclaimed, scandalized that Twilight would even think Rarity would consider her capable of knowingly doing such a thing. “You became so worried and…you were suffering! I don’t want to see any of my friends like that. Please, get some rest Twilight.”

As the white unicorns eyes became pleading, Twilight couldn’t help but sigh in defeat. “Okay, I’ll get some sleep. But promise me you’ll wake me up if anything happens with Rainbow.”

“Cross our hearts and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in our eye,” the all replied in a chorus.

It was with a bit of shame that Fluttershy had to admit it, if just to herself, but it seemed that the ponies at the hospital were a little callous when it came to picking out comfortable furniture for the friends and family of sick ponies. While she was sure the hospital beds were as comfortable as you could get short of a cloud, the chair she was sitting in left her flank feeling a little sore.

And Twilight was using one of these things all day? It must have been torture.

Still, there wasn’t much she could do. Fluttershy had already helped Spike clean up the room, arranged the books Twilight hadn’t been using in a neat pile while making sure to keep away from the stuff she had been looking at, then replaced Rainbow Dash’s pillow with a new one. Although she was a little worried that the last thing hadn’t been a good idea, she didn’t know much about ponies who were so sick and injured they couldn’t wake up and that might have disturbed Rainbow in some way and wouldn’t be able to tell anyone because-

A knock at the door made Fluttershy look away from her injured and possibly uncomfortable friend. “Come in.”

The door opened and Fluttershy’s eyes widened at the new visitor. “Oh, Princess Luna!” she said before the mare with the nighttime mane stepped into the room. A second later, a memory from Nightmare Night came to the forefront of her mind and turned her bow into a cower. “Y-You’re not going to shout again, are you?”


“Because Spike just got back to sleep,” she said. Then, Fluttershy eyes widened as she spoke again. “Oh I’m sorry, it’s just-”

Luna up a hoof to cut her off. “We shant be needing the Royal Canterlot Voice for this Fluttershy. Now rise, it is not seemly for one of our friends to bow for so long.”

Visibly thankful, the yellow pegasus stood back up. “Sorry.”

After Luna moved to the foot of Rainbow’s bed, Fluttershy licked her lips and gulped. She didn’t want to bother Luna, since the princess was probably in the middle of doing something important, but her concern for Rainbow outweighed her manners. “Excuse me, Princess Luna? Are you here to help Rainbow Dash, or are you just checking up on her?

“Checking up on her is good too of course,” she quickly added. “I know she would be happy that you cared so much. But…I think she’d be even more happy if you could help her wake up.”

Luna didn’t know whether to smile, or frown at the shy pegasus’s antics. It was as if she were dealing with another little pony that thought she would turn back into Nightmare Moon at the drop of a hat. But on the other hoof, she had seen Fluttershy on that costumed holiday and she had come a long way from someone unable to leave her own house.

“We give our assurance that we shall do everything we can,” Luna told her with a smile before looking over to her sort-of niece and alighting her horn.

Several minutes passed with Luna simply standing there with her horn glowing and Fluttershy too afraid to move as to avoid distracting her. Then, Luna finally spoke. “Tell us, Celestia spoke of sending a missive to Princess Rainbow’s family about her achievement and coming coronation, but we never heard reply. Has Rainbow’s father passed without my sister’s knowledge?” she asked without looking away from Rainbow Dash.

Fluttershy looked over to Rainbow Dash at the mention of the sensitive topic. Although she didn’t agree with her friend’s choices not to talk about her past, she understood that it was Rainbow’s decision. But on the other hand, it was a princess who was asking this time, and the way she asked it…

“No, I think Spectrum is still okay, at least, the last I heard from Rainbow Dash he was,” she explained, trying not to give too much away. "I just think he's not coming."

“Puzzling,” Luna muttered. “Pray tell us, who not?”

I shouldn’t have said that last part, Fluttershy realized. Still, it was kind of out there now. It wouldn’t be fair to Luna to just give her a tease on an answer like that. “Well, from what I understand, Rainbow Dash and her dad don’t really get along,” she explained. “She moved out of her father’s house the first day that she could…her eighteenth birthday.”

“And the mother?” Luna prompted.

“…she passed on a long time ago,” the pegasus explained sadly.

Surprisingly, Luna’s expression turned to one of sympathy. “The poor girl. We too know the pain of saying farewell to a family member before her-BAH! Curse this blasted mess!” she yelled as her voice slipped back into its usual public volume as the serenity on her face disappeared.

Fluttershy let out a small eep and darted under the table that Twilight had been using before she covered her head with her hooves. A moment later, the two winged ponies could hear a little scuffle outside the door and Twilight rushed in with a basket of fruit floating behind her. Outside, Fluttershy could hear AJ and Pinkie arguing with the pair of guards that had been standing outside Rainbow’s door.

“Princess Luna you’re here!” the purple unicorn exclaimed before she nearly tossing the food that was Fluttershy’s lunch onto the desk being used for her research. “Princess Celestia said you were away on business and, you had better mind magic than her, and…can you help Rainbow Dash?”

The pleading look on the purple unicorn’s face made Luna visibly steel herself. She was not used to dealing with such requests as this. Even before her banishment, Celestia was the alicorn everypony turned to for aid. For ponies to come for her with pleading hope in their eyes instead of fear was somewhat disturbing. “It is…unsure as of yet.”

As Twilight’s face began to fall, Luna quickly collected her words. “We…” Luna shook her head. Such a time as this was not one for distance from her subjects. “I am exhausted from several strait days of work Twilight Sparkle. Rainbow Dash’s mind has been…confused, I think is the best word for it. If I am to help her, I must first rest. But be assured, when I wake fresh and ready, I will solve this."

“Thank you,” Twilight said before she discarded all formality and latched onto the Princess of the Night in a hug. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Luna froze at the physical contact, then wrapped her foreleg around the unicorn as she began to shed tears. The trembling little pony in her forelegs gave a sob, and Luna held her as she began to cry in relief.

“-and I believe that you should begin attending me as I hold court so that you can come to understand-”

Rainbow stopped paying attention and looked away to the window for a moment, and across the table to the white alicorn sitting there enjoying her breakfast in the dinning hall of the castle. “Apologies mother, I thought I heard something.”

“-the matter you brought up yesterday at dinner. I do think that allowing the pegasi to build an entire city in the clouds isn’t a good idea,” her mother continued without stopping to listen to Rainbow Dash.

“But you’re letting them build houses around the city, why not a city of clouds? A whole pegasi colony?” Dash asked.

Celestia shook her head. “That is different Rainbow. They are still part of this city, even if they sit above it.”

“So its okay for pegasi to build houses in the clouds, as long as there’s a unicorn there to boss them around?” the blue pegasus demanded.

Rainbow Dash felt the odd urge to gulp as Celestia narrowed her eyes. “It would be the first step to the separation of the three tribes. Soon, earth ponies would be demand room be made for their own separate settlements.”

“Well maybe we should have a little breathing room!” Rainbow Dash replied. “Hay, I’ve seen how the earth ponies around the capital live. They’re making do with wood and mud and thatch while everypony else on the ground gets four walls of stone.”

“Do not lecture me on the living conditions on mine own subjects! I am well aware of the inequalities and am taking steps to fix them.”

Rainbow Dash slammed her hooves on the table. “And what makes you think its even fixable?” she demanded. When she noticed the scuff marks on the wood, the pegasus back down and crossed her forearms. “I’m not saying we take anything away from the unicorns, not the ones that stuck around anyway, the ones that ran off with the goat-humper deserved to be stripped of their titles. Just…let the other ponies try doing things there way for a time.”

“And before long, we’ll have three tribes again,” Celestia pointed out.

“And forcing ponies to live like this after promising to make things better is only causing resentment!”

“Things are better! Or are you honestly saying that my rule is the same as my parents? Or their parents before them?” Celestia nearly shouted.

Both of the royal ponies let out a sigh and looked away from each other. Rainbow Dash was the one to beak the silence. “Mother, just one pegasi settlement. Call it an experiment, or a necessary evil to make enough weather for everypony. You know some of the villages aren’t getting what they need.”

Celestia rolled her eyes. “I’m well aware of the rain shortages in the North, Daughter,” she grumbled before taking a sip of tea. When she looked away from her cup, she saw the blue pegasus giving her a begging look. “Fine, you win. One settlement for the purpose of mass producing rain. Now I’ll just need to find somepony to-ooooohhh no!”

The grin on Rainbow Dash’s face didn’t slip. “Oh come now Mother, I’m a full grown sixteen-year-old mare. A little fiefdom in the sky is perfect for a somepony my age.”


“And being safely nestled in the clouds would mean Andromeda’s lackeys would have quite the hard time getting to me,” Rainbow Dash continued. “And I do need some experience ruling if I am to take over for you one day.”

Celestia’s eye twitched. “It’s times like this I wish I had taught you not to speak your mind to me so freely instead of the other way round, to say nothing of your brashness.”

The comment made Rainbow Dash laugh. She knew that her mother was just blowing hot air. If Celestia really wanted her to be quite, then she could simply clamp the pegasus’s mouth shut with magic. “Taught me? Please mother, I was born this amazing. So for the name, I was thinking Cloud…something.”

“You only have half a name?” Celestia asked as she raised an eyebrow. “Pray tell, are the rest of your plans as equally detailed?” When Rainbow Dash didn’t respond, Celestia frowned. “You do have a list of ponies you want to serve under you and administrate the city, correct? Some advisors? A couple of magistrates to administer justice?”

“…ummm, you might want to give me a few days on that.”

As the moon finished rising into the night sky, Celestia walked out to the lookout balcony of Canterlot Castle where their telescope rested. Luna was already in the process of giving the kingdom a quick once-over with the magical viewing device.

“Are you recovered sister?” Celestia asked the shorter mare.

“More or less, I could have used a few more hours, but my concentration is restored to full if that was what you were referring to,” she replied.

Celestia took a deep breath to prepare herself. She needed Luna to hear this. “Sister, about Rainbow Dash…” How best to do this? Celestia asked herself. “There is something I must tell you…”

“NO!” Luna cried out causing Celestia to jump back.

“Apologies sister,” Luna spoke in a rush. “A group of bugbears is heading from the Smokey Mountain, I must intercept them before they come across any of the ponies in that region. I will meet with you upon my return to awaken Rainbow Dash from her slumber!”

Before Celestia could say another word, Luna leaped off the balcony and into the night while calling to her followers. “Come my guard, tonight we shall have a bug hunt!”

As her sister flew off into the night with a group of her batponies trailing behind her, Celestia hung her head. Perhaps this is for the best, she told herself. If Luna knew of her plans, there was a chance the Alicorn of the Night would react poorly. It was better to ask for forgiveness than permission after all.

Focusing her magic, Celestia willed herself away from the palace, and into the mostly deserted hallway of Canterlot Hospital. She nodded to the royal guards positioned outside Rainbow Dash’s room, then walked inside to find some of the young alicorn’s friends sitting beside her bed.

Fluttershy was hunched over the desk Twilight had the guards bring into the room with a book her her hooves. Unlike Twilight's recent choice in literature, it was a modern Equestrian work that had to deal with care of fowl if the parts of the title Celestia could see were any indication.

Applejack had her Stetson pulled down over her eyes, and was leaned up against the wall in a rather uncomfortable-looking sleeping position. It was a surprise to see her rouse herself when the princess walked in and go into a bow alongside Fluttershy.

“There is no need for that my little ponies, not here,” she told them. Considering their accomplishment in the past month alone, Celestia didn’t think they should ever need to bow to her again. Although she had gained power over Equestria before she was one hundred, the goddess hadn’t truly been acknowledged at the ruler of the fragmented nation until after Discord’s rise and fall. If she had been judged worthy of a crown for the same actions as they had performed, then she saw no reason not to remove some of the distance between them.

Heaves above, in the old days, such an action would have gotten them mountains of bits, estates, and the most impressive titles I could bestow. Modern times gave them a pat on the head and a stained glass window. It was like a cruel joke had been played. But, what would such rewards give them other than more problems to deal with? Simple lives were often the happiest, as the princess who had lived on a farm in her youth could attest.

“Everything alright Princess? You got that far off look in your eye, like the one my granny gets when she’s remberin' something fierce.”

Celestia giggled. “Are you calling me old Applejack?”

The orange pony froze. “Umm…well…”

“Because I am you know,” Celestia told her with a mirthful smile as she watched her subject realize the farm pony's previous words could have been taken as an insult. “In fact, I am probably the oldest thing you have ever seen. I am older than your apple orchard, your house, your town, this castle your standing in. In fact, I am probably older than most of the topsoil you’ve ever seen. Although a better way of saying that would be, I am quite literally older than dirt.”

The apple farmer gave a nervous laugh while Celestia flicked her hat down to cover the mare’s eyes for a moment. “By the way, if you are tired, the benches in the lobby can serve as beds. And, I would like a few moments alone with my granddaughter.”

After the two ponies left, Celestia looked back to Rainbow Dash and sighed. She closed her eyes for a moment to help clear her mind, then reopened them with the intent to look deeper. The world became a tsunami of colors as she looked around the room. The various protection enchantments that kept diseases from infecting patients and their guests left the marks on the walls while the crystals above Rainbow Dash glowed with various lights that showed her their functions.

Then there was Rainbow Dash herself: an unbound alicorn inside a mortal shell. The smaller mare's body glowed with the light of the sun, while a blazing rainbow mane danced atop her head. Celestia poured more power into her sight and looked deeper. She looked through the colossus of power that was Rainbow’s outer shell, past her skin and bone and into the depths of her soul.

One soul, her daughter’s soul. From everything Andromeda had said, that meant there truly was no saving either Rainbow Dash or Aurora. It was too late. It had probably been too late from the moment Celestia cast the ascension spell.

[She’ll go insane, Celestia told herself. If I end things now, it would be a…mercy.

The sun goddess choked back the tears that were threatening to flow, and prepared to do what was required.

The light from the full moon coming in through the windows of Twilight's tower gave enough light to the unicorn to see the basic shapes in her room as she laid in bed awake. For the sixth time in the past hour, she shifted in her bed in an attempt to find a more comfortable position that would return her to a state of slumber. But, after an agonizing twenty minutes, Twilight sat up in her bed and sighed.

Three hours, she thought to herself as she looked at the clock across from the window. Although Twilight had managed to find sleep after laying in bed for far longer and drinking several relaxing teas, actual time spent in REM was severely lacking. “Why am I just laying here, I should go back to seeing if there’s anything I can do to help Rainbow Dash,” the unicorn scolded herself.

But that idea was quickly abandoned when she realized her friends would still be at the hospital waiting by Rainbow’s bedside where all her research materials were. If she went to them now, they’d all know she’d gotten out of bed much sooner than she was supposed to.

However, it wasn’t as if she could simply lay around and do nothing either. “The hay with it, I’ll just tell them I’ve been in bed all day.” It wasn’t a lie, technically, since Twilight had laid down when she first got back home. She had just read a bit to try and tire her eyes out, and it did help her get to sleep…eight hours later.

Hey, three hours is more than good enough, Twilight told herself. I mean, Princess Luna was gone for days and since the moon’s out she’s awake now so she couldn’t have gotten that much sleep eith-LUNA!

With the realization that the Alicorn of the Moon was awake and had already painted the night sky came the possibility she might have already cured Rainbow Dash’s problem. Twilight had her horn create a soft light to guide her down the stairs without disturbing Spike, then made her way out the door.

As she raced through the empty halls, two possibilities weighed on her mind: either her friends had awakened Rainbow Dash and simply forgot to go get her, or Luna’s attempts had failed and there had been no reason to rouse Twilight from her supposed slumber. If the first was true, Twilight knew she wouldn’t even bother to bring it up, and the second was too horrible to contemplate.

Not even bothering to head downstairs, Twilight ran to the nearest window and teleported her way out of the castle. She took two steps, then thought of an even faster way to get to the hospital and teleported back to the room she had been in moments before, scanned the city’s skyline for the telltale cross and disappeared in a flash of light once again.

Ten minutes of walking down stairs and opening doors later, and Twilight had made it from the hospital’s roof to the front of Rainbow Dash’s recovery room. Since the royal guards were different from the ones that had been there in the morning, it took an agonizing three minutes to confirm her identity and make it inside. She found a princess inside the room, just not the one she was expecting.

“Princess Celestia!”

The sun goddess was sitting at the foot of Rainbow’s bed much the same way Luna had been hours earlier. Her head shot up and she looked up to her student in surprise. “Twilight… What are you…I mean, couldn’t sleep either?”

“I…um…” she paused and looked around the room. “Where’d my friends go?” Although it was past midnight, she would have thought at least one of them would have been in the room.

“Fluttershy and Applejack are down on the first floor, didn’t you see them when you came in?” she asked.

Twilight gave a nervous laugh. “My route was a little unorthodox.” She cleared her throat and switched topics. “And everypony else?”

“I gave them apartments in the castle for their stay here,” the goddess explained before she looked over to Twilight’s research station. “Lord Inquisitive’s Theoretical Workings of Alicorn Anatomy. Don’t tell me you’re looking for answers to Rainbow Dash’s problem in that silly thing.”

A bit of irritation crossed Twilight’s face, but she forced it down. “Well, there isn’t a lot to go on when it comes to problems dealing with alicorns.”

Celestia nodded. “Point taken,” she mumbled before her eyebrows bended into a frown. “How are you translating it?”

“Very slowly with a huge margin for error,” Twilight admitted with a grumble.

The answer got a hollow sounding chuckle from the goddess before she fell silent for a few more minutes.

“And have you found anything of value?”

Twilight sighed and shook her head. “Just a bunch of stupid theories on how alicorn’s store their memories isn’t done in a normal way and some spiritualist mumbo-jumbo.”

Celestia froze and slowly turned towards Twilight with wide eyes. “…what?”

“Well it’s only a theory…or more of a bad translation of a theory, so it’s a theory of what a theory says but-”

Before Twilight could finish, she found the copy of Theoretical Workings of Alicorn Anatomy shoved in front of her face with a golden glow surrounding it and Celestia speaking into her ear. “Show me the passages.”

The purple unicorn pointed at the page in front of her. “Well I was just translating them. So it’s this one and the previous two. That‘s as far as I got.”

A second later Celestia raised the book to her face and began mumbling to herself in a language Twilight didn’t understand that she guessed to be Unicornian. If she hadn’t been in Rainbow Dash’s hospital room, Twilight would have been in awe of hearing a language that predated Equestria itself.

After she was done with the three pages, Celestia continued on for several more. Nearly half a hour later, the book slammed closed and put off to the side with Celestia gritted her teeth. She turned to regarded Twilight for a moment, then let out a sigh that visibly removed the angry tension all over her body. “Twilight, this is important. Do you remember the spell you used on your friends to remind them of their friendship when you defeated Discord? The one you wrote me about?”

“Yes?” Twilight answered in a questioning tone, wondering where the princess was going with this.

“With your permission, I would like to see any memories you have on your interactions with Rainbow Dash,” Celestia said. When Twilight’s expression turned hesitant, the goddess pressed on. “Please Twilight. I wouldn’t ask this unless it’s very important.”

Twilight gulped. “Why? Does this have to do with what I found?”

The question brought a smile to Celestia’s face. “Yes Twilight. With that information you gave me, I think it is possible to help her. I just need your memories of Rainbow Dash.”

“How? How are you going to help her? Twilight asked hesitantly. “I thought Luna was the mental magic expert. And where is Luna? The moon is up, shouldn’t she be here?”

Celestia paused for a moment before looking from Twilight to the sleeping alicorn. “I spoke with Luna before she had to go deal with a pack of bugbears she spotted while examining Equestria earlier tonight.”

So that’s where she is, Twilight thought. A bit of resentment found its way inside her gut over the fact Luna thought some monster control was more important than Rainbow Dash, but Twilight managed to quell the feeling. She didn’t know the circumstances, it was unfair to make a judgment based on partial evidence.

“She said Rainbow Dash’s mind is…confused, I think that would be the best way to put it,” the goddess continued. “If I knew more about her life, it would greatly help with the recovery process when Luna returns.”

An unease crept over Twilight as she realized the attempt to mislead her. None of that answers my question. “But how would knowing more about my interactions with Rainbow Dash help you fix her? And now that I think about it…if Luna’s the one who’s going to help her, then why do you need to know about Rainbow Dash? Shouldn’t she be the one I give the memories to?”

“Twilight,” Princess Celestia spoke, her tone loosing all the gentleness it had before. “As the ruler of Equestria I am ordering you to show me your memories of Rainbow Dash!”

Before she knew what was going on, Twilight found herself backing away from her mentor. Now, she knew something was wrong. “P-Princess Celestia?” she asked while trying to get her knees under control. “What…why do you want my memories of Rainbow Dash?”

“Are you going to disobey me Twilight?”

The purple unicorn gulped as she wondered where her loving teacher had gone and who the stranger looming over her was. She had never seen Princess Celestia act like this, even when she was afraid of receiving punishment, there had always been a love that radiated through the disappointment. Now, there was…Twilight didn’t even know what to call it.

But, she was still Celestia, still the Princess of Equestria, and Twilight’s sovereign. So the unicorn bowed her head in obedience. “Very well Princess.”

A moment later, she felt Celestia touch her own horn with Twilight’s tip, and the memories were exchanged. Twilight found herself remembering every moment she ever spent with the pegasus as the thoughts passed through her and were given to her teacher. She wanted to laugh, cry, shout and roll her eyes at Rainbow Dash’s antics all at the same time. Their entire life together from the moment she crashed into Twilight till Twilight stood in the room she was in now replayed through her mind in a matter of seconds.

When it was over, Celestia stepped back as the memories finished playing out in her mind.

A smirk appeared on her face.

A tear ran down her cheek.

And a tiny laugh came from her throat.

“She…hehe…she was always good with pranks…heheha…and weather…hahaha…and…and she…hehahaha…she loved to fly so much!”

Why is she talking about Rainbow in the past tense? Twilight asked herself as she blinked in confusion, the was pulled into an embrace by Celestia’s magic and the larger pony wrapped her forelegs and wings around the purple unicorn and lifted her into a hug. “P-Princess? What? Is everything going to be okay?”

“Everything’s going to be perfect my student!” the goddess told her before Celestia’s voice dropped to a whisper Twilight didn’t think she was supposed to hear.

“You almost had me Andromeda, almost.”

As the light of dawn began to shine through the windows of Dash’s hospital room, Luna finished examining her patient's mind. The glow of her horn faded, and she stepped back to turn and face the only other pony in the room. “Well, it certainly seems what you suggest is true but…there is an oddity you are discounting in your enthusiasm. Fifty generations passed, and now Rainbow…Aurora’s spirit inhabits a body? How can you simply shrug that off?”

“The ethical ramifications can be discussed later sister,” Celestia told her. “Right now, we have a mind to mend.”

Luna raised an eyebrow. “And we will do that how exactly? I tried Tia, her mind is…not as I expected.”

“When my daughter was alive, several of my advisers theorized she inherited several physical attributes from me, but now I believe she inherited something spiritual that was strong enough to effect her physical body. And according to other theories, alicorn’s have a special way to store our memories. We imprint them on our souls.”

A groan escaped Luna’s mouth. “Sister, just because the goblets of our minds are a bit larger than normal ponies-”

“Lulu, you really need to read some modern medical journals…or talk to a high school science teacher,” she told her sister. “Actually, you might want to try going halfway through a primary education facility. With your shape shifting magic-”

Luna stomped her hoof onto the ground. “I am not enrolling in an academy simply because I messed out on a few measly centuries Sister!”

“Hmmm, I suppose its for the best,” she muttered. “I mean, if ponies just dissing your moon caused you to go nuts, I’d hate to see what the Canterlot High social clicks would make you do.”

A frown crossed Luna’s features. “I know what you said was in jest Sister, so I will refrain from stomping you into the floor at your insult.”

Celestia cleared her throat. “Yes…perhaps that was a bit too far a bit too soon,” she said before looking away from Luna’s gaze. “I’m sorry.”

After Luna nodded to show her acceptance of Celestia’s apology, the sun goddess continued her explanation. “From what you told me of what you saw in her mind, I believe Rainbow’s mind is being overloaded with memories from her past life. You have magic that allows you to access and dominate the mind of ponies, while what I learned from our sister allows me to access their soul. Together, we can create a dam to slow the memories to a manageable trickle and allow her to adjust.”

The expression on Luna’s face became on of apprehension. “Together? You desire that we should…combine our magic?”

Celestia let out a nervous cough. “Yes.

“You do recall what that means, correct?”

“…yes. I would not do this if we had another choice.”

Luna sighed and shook her head. “Very well, let us prepare,” she said before steeling herself and taking a deep breath. “Twas I who ate the last of the cheesecake.”

“I’m the one who shaved your new pet’s backside,” Celestia admitted.

“I was the one who enchanted your toilet to become a geyser when the handle was pulled,” Luna told her.

“You are not wetting the bed Sister, I am just poring a potion on your mattress that soaks in and expunges itself during midday.”

Out of things to confess, Luna motioned for her to continue.

“I also mixed the strawberry jam with hot sauce, enchanted your dinning chair to make flatulent noises when ever you said the word thou, and slipped some laxative into your night guards rations.”

Luna’s eye twitched. “Is that everything you’ve done to upset me in recent memory?”

“Oh!” Celestia exclaimed at the reminder. “And whatever you do, don’t eat any of the moon pies before you go to bed tonight sister.”

“…sometimes I wonder if you’re trying to cause another solar eclipse Tia,” the moon goddess grumbled.

After letting her nerves clam down, the two sister’s touched each others horns and intertwined their magic. For a moment, the two were as one. All their memories, thoughts, emotions and dreams were shared.

“Now let us begin the wait a moment…THAT WAS YOU?” Luna shouted.

“Oops, forgot about that one,” Celestia admitted.

Rainbow Dash followed her mother down the palace hallway with slumped shoulders. “It was just a little joke,” she mumbled. “Besides, he deserved it.”

“You humiliated one of my closest advisers daughter,” Celestia scolded her.

The pegasus flew up into the air and whipped around to face Celestia face to face. “He made a mockery of me in front of everypony! I am supposed to simply let that go?”

Celestia rolled her eyes. “He was talking about the pegasi, and he was correct, they do not have the proper education or ability to complete your endeavor.”

“You don’t know that!” Rainbow accused. “We have several books on cloud construction in the library! They just need to brush up and refine their technique. I‘ve already mastered several of the styles shown!”

“All of which are in books which no pegasi besides a handful can read,” Celestia reminded her fiercely.

“Then have teachers show them how,” Rainbow replied.

Celestia rolled her eyes. “That would require an education, something few pegasi can afford.”

“Then have the crown pay for their education! Teach a few pegasi with the talent for cloud construction how to, and they can show others, and within a few years we’ll have enough hooves to do it!” Rainbow exclaimed.

“I will not show favoritism like that!” Celestia told her fiercely. Then she sighed. “Morning Star may come off as blunt sometimes, but he is correct. The days of the cloud cities died a generation ago. The few cloud homes that exist here are little more than boxes with a few holes for windows. I am sorry daughter, but you must face the fact that your little project might have sounded nice, but there is no way to complete it.”

“SO SPEAKS THE UNICORN WITH WINGS!” Rainbow shouted in Celestia’s face before she dropped to the ground and grit her teeth in anger. “You say you want things to get better, and I believe you Mother, but if all you do is remove the old restrictions without offering opportunities, then barely anything will ever change!”

Celestia slammed her hooves into the floor hard enough to crack it. “And would you suggest we give them that so-called opportunity then?” she demanded. “It is not that simple! For something of that level to be given, I have to take resources away from another group!”

The stubbornness of the alicorn had Rainbow Dash cry out in a rage before she turned around to storm off…

…and found herself staring at a town hall full of ponies and flanked by a pair of unicorn guards. The place was packed to the brim with pegasi and earth ponies. There were so many that several stood in the isles and pegasi hovered in place along the walls. Other ponies peeked in through the windows, and still more stood outside. Confusion washed across her mind. Wait, wasn’t I just in the castle? What the hay is going on I…

Then, she remembered. She had called a town meeting for all the pegasi in the city, and later amended her statement to include earth ponies as well. As much as Rainbow Dash hated to admit it, her mother was right about one thing: she could not try to raise one tribe above the others. They all deserved what she was offering.

“Thank you for coming,” she told their assembled equines. “Recently, I have began having ideas of a grand construction project that would…well, let’s just say that it would be an amazing undertaking that at this point would be beyond Equestria’s reach. So I’m going to start changing that after the pass of this night.

“I intend to open a school. The curriculum will revolve around basic mathematics, geometry, and literacy of all three languages. Admission will be free to any pony who wishes to enroll.”

As soon as she said that, the room erupted into a thousand different murmurs as the ponies began to converse among themselves at the news. The talking spread out into the street, and Rainbow Dash could hear some of the ponies by the windows shouting the news out into the night for those who weren’t close enough to hear.

Rainbow motioned to her guards and together they pounded their hooves on the ground to signal everypony needed to quiet down. “However, I cannot hope to do this alone. So I am calling on volunteers from all of those gathered here. Anyone with knowledge of math, the sciences, or literacy who is willing to share that knowledge with others, please stay after the meeting so that I might take your name and area of expertise. I will conduct interviews during the following week to decide who will be filling the rolls of instructors.”

“The Princesses are really going to open a free school?”

“How much is the pay going to be?”

“Where is this school being built?”

“Is there an age limit, can I send my children, or am only I allowed to enroll?”

“How am I supposed to attend an academy and feed my family?”

The wave of questions caught Rainbow off guard. She hadn’t expected most of them. It took her a moment to gather her thoughts to form a coherent answer. “Foals of age ten and up are welcome. The location for the school will be on Canterbury Hill, half a mile south of the city. And at the moment, this is a side project of my own creation. As such, the crown will not be able to offer wages for any volunteers as neither Celestia or Luna approve of my actions.”

With the mention of no promised pay, and lack of real royal support, the crowd began to grow despondent. Several began grumbling, even shouting at the princess-heir, while others began to walk out of the hall.

“Oh daughter no. I never disapproved of this. I did everything I could to help you along. I gave you estates with income to pay for the instructors, and the guards that were assigned to keep order also gave lessons in how to read. I sat in awe as your idea lifted the common ponies out of the darkness and poverty to build a better tomorrow.”

Rainbow Dash blinked as a spike of pain shot through her head, and looked around the… What the? Where the heck am I?

“This is but a memory Sister, she cannot hear you.”

She looked back to the crowd of people and gulped. Something…she was supposed to do something…

“WAIT!” Rainbow cried out as the memory crashed back into her. “Please, I know that I am asking a lot, but if just a few of you are willing, we can finally change things for the better! I only need a few of you to volunteer your time as teachers.”

“And how’re we to eat without the bits to put food on our table?” one of the ponies demanded.

“Then…then I will find a way to pay a wage for five of six scholars. It won’t be much, but I’m begging you. Just five of you with the time to spare could help the earth ponies and pegasi to regain what all of our people have lost in these past few generations!”

“She sold her wardrobe and jewelry to do that. Considering that barely educated farmers and bricklayers were paid a professors wage, I think she got swindled.”

“Oh please Tia, how often did she actually wear those things anyway?”

Rainbow Dash closed her eyes and shook her head before she looked around the room. Now, she knew something was wrong.

“Now come sister, let us finish our work.”

“Please wait Lulu, this is the beginning of Aurora’s greatest achievement! Please let me watch just a bit-”

“Hey! Who the buck keeps doing that?” Rainbow Dash shouted as she emphasized her last word with a hoof slamming to the ground.


“Did she just-”

“Impossible, this is just a-”

“CUT THAT OUT!” the pegasus shouted before the world trembled and the cracks spread to the walls, the ponies and the guards.

“It’s the link, she must be connected to-Luna! Hurry and finish the barrier before she-”

Rainbow Dash let out another cry of pain as she fought back against the pain running through her mind and soul before striking the stage she was standing on one last time.

Everything shifted. Rainbow found a horn on her head once more. Then, the world shattered.

The blue alicorn fell into the darkness below.

Twilight paced back and fourth in front of the two royal guards while the rest of her friends stood on the other side of the hallway. With it just past dawn, both Applejack and Fluttershy looked about ready to collapse from trying to sleep at the hospital, the rest of her friends looked only slightly better. Apparently, Twilight wasn’t the only one having trouble sleeping.

“Twilight, juppin around like a June bug don’t help anypony,” Applejack told her. “How bout you simmer down and read that book you snagged from that nurse? That‘ll help take yer mind off things.”

The suggestion had Twilight jumping down Applejacks throat in an instant. “You mean this book?” she said before shoving a copy of Daring Do and the Sapphire Stone in Applejack’s face with her magic. “This book about an adventurous pegasus with a multicolored mane and magenta eyes that gets hurt? THAT’S supposed to take my mind off Rainbow Dash?”


Twilight whirled around and continued her pacing. Ugh what was I thinking getting a Daring Do book? So much for escapism!

“Um, Twilight…maybe you should try to calm down a little,” Fluttershy suggested.

“Under the circumstances darling, I’m going to have to excuse Twilight,” Rarity said before gulping. She hadn’t taken her eyes off the door since their arrival.

Twilight could understand her friend’s apprehension. Rainbow had probably terrified Rarity during her outburst in Ponyville, and now the goddesses of Equestria were channeling just as much magic in an attempt to fix Rainbow Dash. If one of those tsunamis of magic didn’t have the warm glow of her teacher, Twilight would probably have been in the same boat as Rarity.

As if I wasn’t a few hours ago, Twilight reminded herself when she remembered Celestia towering over her, demanding Twilight send a copy of her memories of the newest alicorn.

Twilight shook her head to clear the dark thought. Celestia had just been…frazzled. That was all, ponies did crazy things when they were emotional. Even tall ones with wings and a horn…who’re supposed to be above all that, she tried to reassure herself.

But even the most perfect of ponies must have had the occasional slip every now and then. For Celestia, that probably translated to once every hundred years or so. Yes, that’s it. She must have just been due for a little…relief. I’ll be long gone before something like that happens again.

Only, her own memories of the day before seemed to make that theory invalid. Twilight’s mind replayed the moment in the Canterlot Spa when her teacher had embraced her. While Celestia had always been a kind teacher and mentor to Twilight, that was where their relationship ended. She gave praise, a few pats on the head, a little encouragement hen it was needed, but not…what Twilight had experienced.

Twilight had just accepted it at Celestia giving her what she needed at the time but after the roller-coaster of reactions that Celestia had given her before ending it all with another embrace that still had Twilight feeling…different, flustered, proud, and afraid all at the same time.

And then there was the mention of Andromeda. Celestia had spoken her name in a way that sent a shiver down Twilight’s spine.

What did it mean? What did Andromeda have to do with Rainbow Dash?


All five of the mares looked up to the door on Rainbow’s room upon hearing the scream a second before the floor shook with a wave of magical force, and two large objects hit the wall from inside Rainbow’s room hard enough to leave the mark of their impact on the other side of the wall.

The two pegasi guards were the ones to react first. They let out a startled cry and burst into the room, quickly followed by Twilight and the others to find the alicorns picking themselves off the ground.

“Princess are you alright? What happened?” Twilight asked in a panic.

The sun goddess let out a grunt as she stood to her full height. “That is a very good question Twilight,” she said before looking over to her sister. “Well?”

“I think it’s rather obvious Sister. She kicked us out,” Luna explained harshly with a frown. “Not to mention gave us a splitting headache. I told you not to go poking around. Walking through an alicorn’s mind is obviously not like strolling through that of a normal pony’s. Those weren’t even dreams she was experiencing, they were memories.”

Celestia frowned. “Thank you for stating the obvious sister. Now get us back in. I promise not to poke around this time.”

The promise had Luna rolling her eyes before she looked back to Rainbow Dash in concentration. “Oh…that is not good.”

Displeasure turned to worry, and Celestia found herself edging closer to Luna. “What is it?”

“She has disconnected herself from the realm of dreams,” the night goddess informed her sister.

The look of near-panic on Celestia‘s face sent a shiver through Twilight‘s body. “Then why isn’t she awake?”

The question had Luna lowering her head. “You misunderstand sister. She is awake. Our actions…the screen we placed within her…I think it is interfering with the connection between her body and mind. She is awake, but she does not hear nor see.”

A disturbing thought occurred to Twilight. She might not of understood everything that was going on, but the unicorn did know enough about the interactions of the mind and body for the worst interpretation of what they were talking about to rush to the forefront of her thoughts. “But if her mind and body have been disconnected, is her brain still telling her to breathe and her heart to keep pumping blood?”

“Silly Twilight, you just got to look at the…oh, that little boom we heard earlier broke Dashie’s heart monitor,” Pinkie mumbled.

Everypony in the room tensed.

“Retrieve a healer, NOW!” Luna ordered her guards. A moment later, they were gone.

The sun goddess was next to Rainbow’s bed in an instant. The blue alicorn’s sheets were flung away in a furry of golden light, and Celestia had her ear placed next to Rainbow’s chest a moment later.

The time that followed was the longest ten seconds of Twilight’s life.

Then, Celestia let out a relived sigh. “Her heart still beats, and I can feel the breath from her nostrils,” she said before turning to Luna while every other pony in the room visibly relaxed. “Is there another way into her mind?”

Luna shook her head. “We both know the consequences for entering a pony’s conscious mind,” she explained before pausing. Luna’s face then twisted as if she was sucking on a sour lemon. “What of the…method you used to speak with you know who?”

“That’s external, whatever is wrong with her is internal,” Celestia answered. She looked back to the other ponies in the room and sighed. “No choice then. We shall attempt to use the Elements of Harmony.”

As Celestia’s horn lit up and she gathered her power to summon them from within their safe room, Twilight felt as if she had been kicked in the gut by Applejack. “But Princess, you said that the Elements were a last resort!”

There was a bright flash, and after Twilight’s eyes readjusted, she saw the jeweled box containing the most powerful enchanted items in existence floating next to the sun goddess. “Yes Twilight, I did.”

“But…but Twilight said we might not be able to use the elements with Rainbow being asleep!” Rarity said.

Celestia cast the Elements to their respective owners and her magic snapped the five necklaces into place before placing the tiara onto Twilight’s head. “But she is not asleep anymore.”

That’s right, Twilight thought to herself as she found herself truly hopeful for the first time since Dash‘s head had gone under. “Come on girls, let’s save our friend.”

The Elements of Harmony gathered around her, and Twilight reached out through hers to begin connecting them all. As each gem lit up through their bond, she could feel the power welling up inside of her. It was warm and bright, good and true. The five of them began to float in the air from the sheer level of ethereal energy that they wielded.

Magic powerful enough to crush gods and remake reality flowed through her as she linked herself to the four friends standing behind her. She reached out to the final piece of the puzzle, the magical lighting bolt resting on Rainbow Dash’s neck. With it the magical circuit would be complete and its power put to use.

Celestia and Luna stepped back in order to let the magic do its work.

The magic of harmony reached out for its final piece…

…and found it unresponsive.

More quickly than the magic had begun, the lights of the Elements winked out, and the five friends found the power holding them aloft disappearing so fast even Fluttershy didn’t have time to open her wings and stop her flank from hitting the floor.

“…no…no No NO!”

Twilight let out a tiny groan. Light slowly made its way back into her eyes as she raised a hoof to try and massage away the pounding headache. She looked over to find her friends passed out from the effects of the mana surge that came as a result of the failed activation before she looked up to see Celestia crouched over Rainbow Dash’s bed with tears in her eyes.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry,” she said she shaking her head.

“Sister, the little ones should not see you as such,” Luna told the other goddess.

“Do not tell me not to grieve what could be the second loss of my-”

Luna looked over to the Bearers before Celestia could finish. “Twilight Sparkle, are you alright? It seems you dealt a bit better with the backlash than the others.”

The words had Celestia’s mouth snapping shut before she turned her gaze over to Twilight. “Oh Twilight, I am…I am sorry. It…it would appear that it will take a bit longer to help your friend.”

However, Twilight couldn’t stop from connecting the facts in her mind. “But you said the Elements were our last option.”

“Then we will find another one!” Celestia nearly shouted, causing Twilight’s ears to wilt.

“Sister!” Luna scolded Celestia at her outburst.

The sun goddess glared back at the moon goddess, then let out another sigh and hung her head. “My apologies Twilight I…I must go meet with Cadence and delegate to her my affairs for today. I fear I will be…too busy looking into other options.”

Before Twilight could accept Celestia’s apology, the Alicorn of the Day disappeared in a flash of light.

Luna sighed and shook her head. “Come Twilight Sparkle, let us help your friends and see to retrieving a potion for the headaches they’ll have upon awakening.”

Twilight sat at the side of Rainbow’s bed, the beeping of the new heart monitor kept pace with the alicorn's pulse and the IV continued to drip. Her stomach rumbled with a demand for food, but she ignored it. She had chosen to stay behind while her friends were out getting breakfast.

She reached up to touch the tiara on her head, then looked to the necklace Rainbow Dash still wore, and the other Elements that had been left in the room that once again rested in their chest. It just didn’t seem right, the Elements had the power to fix anything.

But Rainbow Dash was still laying in front of her, in need of help.

“I um…I don’t really know if ponies can hear other ponies when they’re…” Twilight paused, then shook her head. “I just want to say…”

What? What did she want to say?

Did she want to apologize? How often had she apologized in the last few days? No, Twilight didn’t want to apologize anymore. She wanted to move past simply talking about her mistakes, she needed to…

“I think you’re amazing,” Twilight said. “Did I ever really tell you that? I’ve said it to others, I’ve been in crowds and cheer for you plenty of times but…” She shook her head to try and clear her thoughts. That wasn’t what was needed right now. It was just another way of talking about her mistakes.

“I think I’m jealous of you,” she began again. “Not…not for the alicorn thing… Well, okay I am a little jealous about that too, I’ll admit it. But, I’ more jealous of you for being…you. The way you could just go out there and show everypony what you could do and have them cheering your name. It went against everything that Princess Celestia taught me. Ponies aren’t supposed to show off, they’re supposed to be humble, but you…weren’t, and other ponies loved you for it!

“I think that’s why I…UGH, why does everything I say always keep coming back to that!” Twilight yelled at herself.

I need something to distract me, she thought before looking around. Her eyes caught sight of the Daring Do book, and the used her magic to bring it over to her before she opened it to read. Before getting past the first sentence, she peeked over the book’s edge. “Hey Dash, would you like to hear a story?” Twilight asked the unconscious alicorn.

“How about I start with the action, huh?” Twilight asked her unconscious friend before she opened the book. “It’s okay if I skip the boring parts, I’ve read this book about eight times already.

“Daring Do tracked through the tropical jungle the wet heat sapping her energy with every step. If only she could escape this oppressive atmosphere and fly up into the cool blue sky but her crash landing in the jungle had injured her wing and she was grounded for a few days.”

Rainbow Dash opened her eyes, only to find darkness. Her hears tingled, and her mouth felt dry. Strange sensation permeated her body as she realized she wasn’t floating, flying or falling, she was simply…there.

The realization was fallowed by a jerk at just how creepy the sensation was and she rolled around to flap her wings and try to find some normality.

A second later, Rainbow Dash flew through the darkness so pitch she couldn‘t even see her own muzzle while looking cockeyed. She flapped her wings, but with nothing to guide her, the only guiding fact that told her anything about where she was going was the movement of her body.

“What is this place?” she asked herself, or tried to. When she moved her lips, no sound came out.

The only response was what her body could tell her. It was cold, and dark, and silent. A chilling thought occurred to her. This…is this…death? AM I DEAD?

“But…I’m an alicorn! I can’t be dead!” Rainbow silently shouted while she darted around in the nothingness.

“A few days, it might as well be a few months, or a few years!”

The sound…no, it wasn’t a sound, it was more like the memory of a sound, and warmth, and safety, all rolled up in a warm blanket of comfort. The not-sound drew Rainbow’s ears as she sought it out.

“The mosquitoes buzzed loudly, and the crows cawed from the high trees.”

Rainbow’s ear twitched, and she turned to the direction from where the not-sound was coming from. A twinkle in the distance caught her attention. It appeared only for an instant, but she was certain she had something besides nothing in the darkness.

“Predators following her every step.”

“It’s a voice,” she mouthed. “…I know that voice.”

The voice came again, and Rainbow flew towards it. “Twilight is that you?”

“Safely landing on the other side,” Twilight continued to read aloud. “Daring allowed herself a moment to breathe. She turned around to find herself face to face with the ancient lost temple she had sought tirelessly for, for sixty days and nights!”

Twilight closed her eyes and closed the book before lowering it away from her face. This…this just isn’t any fun, she told herself. As she leaned back in the chair she was sitting in. The book help distract her from the guilt, but…Twilight found herself unable to enjoy the suspense of the story since she knew it by heart. For that, she supposed she was a bit greatful, as even fake stress was something she didn't need at the moment.

“Hey…why’d you stop? It was just getting good.”

The voice made Twilight’s eyes shoot open, and the hold on her magic dropped the fiction onto the bed as she stared at the blue alicorn laying in the hospital bed. “R-Rainbow Dash?”

“Twilight, you got any water?” the alicorn weakly drawled, “my throat’s kinda dry.”

“You… RAINBOW DASH!” the lavender unicorn shouted before leaping over to wrap her friend in a hug so fast it unbalanced the tiara on her head and caused it to fall to the ground.


The unicorn picked herself up off the alicorn and looked down to her. “But, it you…how?” she asked with a look somewhere between confusion and hope.

The alicorn looked past Twilight and up at the ceiling as she tried to gather her thoughts. “I heard a voice in the darkness and followed it into the light,” she spoke softly before looking back down to Twilight as the little unicorn buried her face in Dash’s shoulder again. “Um…I’m not going to get that water anytime soon, am I?”

Author's Note:

DHUR! Think I'll start a chapter with Rainbow going under, and finish it with her waking up. Sure it'll be short but having a good starting and stopping point will...
Stupid pre-planned starting and stopping points for chapters!

And FYI I didn't mean to have the 20% pun when I wrote the chapter in regards to Rainbow's increase in size, I just saw it on my editing read through.