• Published 3rd Feb 2014
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TiM: The Truth in Meanings - Twidashforever



TiM #1: If you had the power, how far would you go to save a friend, and would they hate you for it? Would you hate you for it? Actions have consequences and we are not always the ones who pay the price.

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Define: Sisyphus

Author's Note:

First let me thank all of you for hanging with me throughout this story. I will be the first to say this is not the greatest story here (i doubt it would place on anyones top 10) but we are now halfway through (30 chapters planed and here is #15)

I had a lot of unexpected free time today, as such I was able to complete this chapter several days before planed.

thats the good news, the bad news

I will be unable to put any real time towards this project for a while (work is stepping up big time for the next two weeks)

so as for now expect chapter 16 on 3/2/14 and 17 (start of act 2) on 3/7/14 (should be back to normal then)

as usual I tend to give more time then needed on these dates, so think of them more like (they will be out at the latest on these days)

Until the next chapter!!! (I wonder what the other 4 are up too?)

(Picture curiosity of LightningBass94)

Chapter 15 Define: Sisyphus

Tartarus

“Wait, you have the first piece?!” Dash yelled.

“Yes, as I said, an Occulous is too powerful to fall into a mortals hands, such power would disrupt the natural order and allow its wielder to do just about anything. As such, I created a failsafe that would ensure it would return to one of us if anything should occur to its owner.”

“So why didn’t all three pieces return to you?” Twilight asked.

“Admittingly, I never suspected it would actually break, much less into three pieces.”

Rainbow and Twilight looked at each other, so it seemed even Gods could not foresee every eventuality. Rainbow spoke up next.

“So, can we have it?”

“Of course, follow me you two.”

Tartarus got up and led the two out of his Throne Room. Twilight kept her eyes on the red pony, not wanting to look at any of the artwork hanging on the walls. Rainbow, on the other hoof, could not get enough. She paused to admire many of the decadent pieces, forcing Twilight to stop and wait for her; otherwise, she would lose the warmth provided by Rainbow’s magical wings. As the three approached the end of the hallway, Tartarus opened the huge double doors. Revealing a round chamber with the hilt of a scythe held aloft in the center of the room.

Twilight had seen that hilt before. It was the hilt of the reaper's scythe. Rainbow looked like she was in seventh heaven. Rainbow forced the two closer. Admiring the malevolent details lining the base of the hilt, the runic writing that covered the shaft, even the broken top where the skull-head should have been attached. Twilight pulled them away.

“So, we can just take this?’

“Of course.”

As Twilight turned around to grab the hilt Tartarus stopped her, she had been expecting the other horseshoe to drop, and here it was.

“There is one more thing you need to know; only the dead may carry it.”

Twilight's eye started to twitch again, ‘of course’ she thought, that meant Rainbow had to carry it, which falls in line with ‘his’ plans perfectly. This was the last thing Twilight wanted to happen.

Rainbow looked happy, here was this radical object of immense power and it was hers! However, such things always had some cost. Hesitantly she looked over at Twilight. Twilight was smarter than she was and Rainbow's headstrong nature had gotten her in some trouble before. When dealing with object of this nature it was always better to get a second opinion.

Twilight simply nodded to her friend, ‘what choice did they have’ they had to collect the pieces of this Occulous and if Rainbow was the only one who could carry it, then, that was that.

Rainbow looked up at the hilt, she wants this, something about it seemed to start calling to her. She reached her right hoof up to grab the hilt. As soon as it made contact, she could actually feel it! In Rainbow’s hoof, she could feel the texture and weight of the object, the history, THE POWER! It was all there, all for her. Twilight stared on in shock; as soon as Rainbow grabbed the hilt, a dark glow surrounded the pegasus, encasing her body in a dark light. Twilight hated that light, she hated that hilt, she hated that scythe, but mostly, she hated herself for once again bringing such a burden to her friend.

When the light finally faded, Rainbow and Twilight were left mesmerized, the hilt had attached itself to Rainbow’s back. The after effect of such a binding was instantaneous, Rainbow’s coat, mane, and tail turned from its cyan-blue and rainbow coloring, to black as night. Luna would have stood out as a lighter object when compared to Rainbow. If it were not for her golden wings, and unchanged cutie mark, Twilight never would have known that the pegasus at her side was Rainbow Dash.

Twilight turned and looked at Tartarus, “Anything else you forgot to tell us?” Her tone conveyed the anger she felt at this turn of events.

“What, did you expect there to be no impact of such power on its carrier? Power changes everyone young pony.”

Twilight grimaced; true she never expected this to go easy, however, she swore that she would find another way. Celestia’s words haunted her still with a ringing of truth to them; they carried a certain finality that she just could not shake free. ‘No’, she vowed yet again to herself, ‘I WILL find a solution to this, one that doesn’t involve Rainbow being hurt’.

Twilight was snapped out of her brooding by Rainbow’s joyful scream “This. Is. Awesome!” She began admiring her new coloring, even the hilt itself, which seemed to respond to her mental commands. Rainbow spun it in the air, using it like a weapon; she soon discovered that she could cast a shield spell using it. Twilight stopped her from going further.

“Rainbow, it’s not a toy!”

“I know, I just want to see what it can do.”

“RAINBOW.”

“Fine, fine, I’ll stop.”

Rainbow reluctantly put up the hilt. It slid back to its spot on Rainbow's back.

Dash looked up at Tartarus. “So, with this I can command half of your power?”

“Not quite, as the Occulous was broken in three pieces, each piece took roughly a third of the power of the scythe, and of course, when it broke it was then unable to draw on any more of my power. I would estimate that you could now command, roughly one percent of the power I wield, as you find the other pieces that percentage will increase. Until then use it sparingly, like I said, it cannot draw on any more. Its reserves are limited.”

Rainbow looked dejected by that news, she assumed that between this and her wings, she might actually be on somewhat equal footing with Twilight and she would no longer simply be the mare who needed rescuing. Rainbow hoped that this might actually allow her to carry some of her own weight for once, instead of putting everything on Twilight’s shoulders. Twilight stared at her, not fully understand why Rainbow’s mood took such a turn for the worse, but wanting to cheer her up anyway. “C'mon Rainbow, one percent of a God’s power is still quite a lot.”

“Indeed.” Tartarus conformed.

“Besides, when we find the rest it will increase.”

Twilight hated saying this; she wanted nothing more than to carry this burden herself, not to put it on Rainbow’s shoulders. She knew she needed Rainbow to carry this; in fact, she had needed Rainbow to carry her throughout this mission. Twilight was too weak to do this by herself. She truly felt like she was putting the weight of everything on Rainbow, but what choice did she have?

This seemed to cheer Rainbow up a little; she looked around at the other two ponies in the room, her sly grin returning. Maybe they were right, all she had to do was find another piece and she could finally be – if not on the same level at Twilight – near enough to help her at least. “So where do we go from here?”

“You have to go find the other two pieces.”

Rainbow and Twilight both stared at Tartarus, unsure if he meant that as a joke or not. When his expression did not change they both sighed, even Twilight was not that dense, not since she made friends that is.

“What she meant Tartarus, is do you know where the other two pieces are?” Twilight added, staring at him.

“I'm afraid, I do not.”

They both stared at him in shock.

“However, after our earlier conversation, I did a little digging into my older brother Chaos. I believe he might have the second piece.”

“And we would find him, where?” Rainbow asked.

“In the Realm of Chaos.”

Twilight facehoofed. “Let’s try this again, how do we get to the Realm of Chaos to find your brother and retrieve the second piece.”

“Ah, I understand now, the portal to Chaos is located in your capital city; I believed you call it, Canterlot.”

Twilight and Rainbow both let out a sigh, in part relief due to this conversation having finally ended, and in part frustration at have to go back where they began.

“Please tell me there is some easier way to get there; I don't want to backtrack through Tartarus and Hades.” Rainbow added, a look of frustration on her face at the thought of having to do it all again in reverse.

“There will be no need for that, as neither of you are mortal I can teleport you to the city without violating the vow.”

Twilight looked at him, unsure if they should accept his help so easily, as such she sought clarification. “So you can send both Rainbow and I back to Canterlot, without any negative effects to the two of us?”

“Yes.”

Her eye started to twitch again. “Fine, let’s get this over with.”

“Ok, head back to the throne room, its ‘easer’ to do it there.” As the two ponies turned to leave Tartarus called out, “Miss Sparkle, if you would hang back for a minute.”

Rainbow looked at Twilight; she did not want to leave her side. “It’s ok, Dash. Whatever he has to say I can deal with it, go ahead.” Rainbow wanted to say no, but this was not the same as in Canterlot, she turned and left for the Throne Room.

Twilight immediately felt the absence of her friend, and not just because the cold instantly assaulted her body. Twilight had grown used to having her friend’s wing wrapped around her. She started shivering badly before remembering the shield spell that had been so effective in Hades. Briefly, she wondered why she had not considered casting it after waking up. Twilight had more than the needed power and concentration to do so. The only answer she could come up with was that she… she did not want to. It was unfair, and selfish, but she enjoyed being that close to Rainbow.

Tartarus looked at her, “You know, when this is over, you will have to give it up.”

“Give up what?”

“Your friend, only she can carry the scythe, there is no soul else that can do it, believe me, I would know.”

Twilight stared at him; this WAS her conversation with Celestia all over again. Only this time, Twilight was not talking to her mentor and friend of so many years. She had intimidated Celestia (a fact she was ashamed of, despite Luna’s kind words after). True she had power, real power, but she did not need her magic vision to know that Tartarus did too. Maybe, just maybe Twilight might have more. However, Tartarus had the experience to back it up. Tartarus would not be intimidated by anything Twilight did.

Twilight looked inward; she needed to find her resolve. What was it that caused her to do all of this? What was the one thing that always inspired her to push her limits, to believe that anything was possible? It did not take her long to find it, Rainbow Dash.

“No.” the word left Twilight’s lips with all the finality of a prison cell slamming shut.

“What was that?”

“I said no, I will always say no. I will tell you the same thing I always say, I WILL find another way.”

Tartarus started to chuckle. “Young one, I do not say that to be cruel. I can see the love you two share as easily as my sister Eros could. I seek only to prepare you for the finality of what has to happen. However, if you will not heed my warning, I can do no more for you.” With that, he led the way back to the throne room.

Twilight simply stared at him, that was not the first time somepony had made such a comment. Did such love exist between her and Rainbow Dash? She did not know how she felt, much less how Dash felt about it. However, now was not the time for such considerations. They had a mission to complete and a world to save. Twilight followed Tartarus back to the throne room and her waiting friend.

When they arrived, Dash immediately went to Twilight side, it had become second nature for the two. Twilight lowered her shield as soon as she realized what Dash was attempting to do. It had kept her warm well enough, but nothing matched the feeling of Rainbow’s wing.

Tartarus stared at the two, a small smile appeared on his lips, Twilight realized that maybe, just maybe, there might be something to his words. Not all them of course, she would move all of Equestria to save her friend, of that there was no doubt. However, maybe she did love Rainbow, and maybe, just maybe Rainbow loved her back?

“You should know Miss Dash; you are the first soul to ever leave their Elysium.” Dash just stared at him, unblinking. “What does tha-” In a puff of red smoke, the two were teleported out of Tartarus’s Throne Room. He stared at the spot that they used to inhabit. Looking around, he gave the answer to Dash’s unfinished question.

“I honestly don’t know what that means. It will be interesting to find out though.”

.................................................................

Outside Canterlot’s Main Gate

“-t mean?” Rainbow finished her sentence, before realizing that they were no longer in Tartarus.

“That bastard, he didn’t have to cut me off like that.”

Twilight just laughed at the black pegasus as she rubbed her coat against her, “C'mon, let’s go find the entrance.” The two friends walked side by side, it may have not been necessary for Twilight to stay under Rainbow’s wing (while it was cold out, relatively speaking it was a sauna compared to Tartarus), but right now, there was nowhere else she wanted to be. The two enjoyed the fresh snowfall that covered the land. While the path they traveled was relatively unused, as the majority of ponies used the train to enter Canterlot, it remained well kept. It was not until they reach the gates that Twilight noticed something wrong.

There were guards posted on the gates. This was not unusual; however, what was unusual was how many. At least three times what would normally be called for and the gates themselves were closed. Rainbow noticed this as well, as the two approached the guards pointed blades at them.

“Halt and identify yourself.”

Rainbow just looked at Twilight, an ‘is he serious’ look plastered on her face.

Twilight took a moment to analyze the situation, ‘a black pegasus with golden wings walking up on the front gates of Canterlot, with a pony hidden under one of her wings’. She could excuse the question. A nod to Rainbow caused her to withdraw her wing. Twilight instantly lamented the loss; however, the effect on the guards was instant. “Forgive us, your highness.”

“No problem sir, I have to ask though, why are the gates sealed, and why are so many of you stationed here?”

“She doesn't know?” One of the soldiers spoke out of turn; the officer immediately silenced him.

“Forgive me, princess, but I'm not the proper one to inform you what has happened. Allow us to escort you to the palace. The council ponies can explain the situation to you there.”

“Escort? In Canterlot? Since when do I need an escort for walking around Canterlot?”

“Since a week ago, your highness.”

Twilight's jaw dropped in shock, ‘but we have not been gone a week', she thought. It took Rainbow wrapping her back up in her wing to get Twilight to start moving again. Twilight gave Rainbow a look of eternal gratitude for that small action, as after the guards opened the gate, the sight that greeted her would have broken her heart otherwise.

Canterlot was deserted; there was not a pony on the street. Graffiti lined the walls and roads. Twilight had never seen it this bad in her life. Her nightmares never had it this bad. The lead guard looked at her with tears in his eyes as he started to explain. “At first ponies didn’t think anything of it, but after a few days the reports started to come in. We had to declare martial law after the first week, even still, we can’t stop all the vandalism. We do our best, only letting a small portion of the population on the street at any given time.” Twilight hid in Rainbow’s wings, focusing straight forward, not wanting to look at the writing on the wall.

Princess Luna eats your unborn children!

Celestia causes your kids to be born dead!

The royalty is to blame!

Down with the Tyrants!

After a few minutes, Twilight whispered in Rainbow's ear. “Do you feel like we are just pushing a boulder up a hill?”

“How do you mean?”

“I don’t know, this just reminds me of an old legend I read. It just feels like every time we get close to something we have to start over from scratch. Kind of like if we had to push a boulder up a hill, we either lose control and it rolls back down, or we get it to the top and it rolls down the other way.“ Rainbow nodded, she did kind of feel like that.

A newspaper stand nearby got her attention, she gestured to Rainbow to stop there. Rainbow complied, too shaken for words. Looking at the newspaper it had an unflattering picture of Celestia. With the headline ‘Yet another stillborn foal, bringing the total in Canterlot alone to thirty two, when will they tell us the truth?' that was not what had Twilight's attention, what caught her attention was the date. It had been over two weeks since they left Canterlot.

Twilight would have broken down at that moment; the guilt she felt over this all would have destroyed her, if it had not been for a black hoof and a soft whisper that wrapped her up in a hug and spoke kindly to her. “Not here, Twi.” Rainbow was right, she was a princess and it would do nopony any good for her to break down out here. She was able to draw on her friend’s strength and continue to the palace.

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