• 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: Impasse

Chapter 26 Define: Impasse

Ponyville

The sound of twelve spears shattering woke Spike up to the fact he was still alive. Opening his eyes, the sight he saw made him curse his weakness and his last minute thoughts of giving in. Lying over him was the mare of his dreams; Rarity was covering him with her own body. Crying into his chest with a river of tears flowing from her eyes, as shocking as that was; it was not what had his attention. Lying on top of Rarity was Fluttershy, her wings spread out protectively over her two friends. A magic shield was emanating from her wings, protecting all three of them from harm.

The enemy had no idea what had just happened, all twelve griffons looked down at the two ponies lying on the fallen dragon. They glanced at each other with a puzzled look on their faces. When the yellow pegasus looked up with a very particular stare, they all took off, heading home at top speed.

“Nopony or griffon hurts my friends.”

Fluttershy lowered her wings, causing the shield to sputter and die.

As if the sound of Fluttershy’s voice was enough to snap her out of it, Rarity stopped crying and glanced at the pegasus. “Fluttershy? What happened?”

“I think I know,” Spike replied. “Twilight, when she lost it over Rainbow’s Death, when she rid Equestria of the changelings. It left us all with a gift. I grew wings; Rainbow seemed to come back from the dead. Rarity, you can now create any clothes or armor you like. Applejack, well, has anypony tried lying in front of her, I think it's impossible now. Pinkie, well she is now everywhere, if she was bad before this is a completely new level.” Rarity tried not to laugh at that, but she could not fully help herself, the pink mare was indeed bad before, defying logic and reason on an almost constant basis. Lately it seemed like she now knew how she was doing it and was taking full advantage of it.

“Fluttershy, it looks like you can now shield others, protecting them from harm.”

“Ho- Why did we get these gifts,” Rarity was about to ask ‘how’ but thought better of it, with friends like Twilight and Pinkie you stopped asking ‘how’ or you went insane.

“I think they were our strongest emotions at the time, Rainbow wanted to live, she came back, after a fashion. I wanted to join Twilight at the Summit; I got wings so I could fly there. Applejack wanted to know the truth from the ‘Filthy Rich’ changeling, now nopony can lie to her. Fluttershy wanted to protect her critters, now she can, literally. Pinkie, I can only guess at, who can really tell what's going on through that pony's head. If I took a shot at it, I would think her pinkie sense just told her about Rainbow and even though she was buried under all that rubble her only thought was ‘how can I make everypony smile now'. Rarity, I'm not sure about you… what were you feeling at the time?"

Rarity blushed at that, Spike had never asked about that time and she had never talked about it with anypony. “When it hit I… I… I was about to have sex with it. Spike I'm so sorry.”

Spike reached out with his left arm, the only one that was not broken, and began wiping the tears from her eyes. “Shush, you were married Rarity, you have nothing to be sorry about.” Rarity continued crying as a thought occupied her mind.

“I was thinking how good he would look in a new suit.”

Despite himself, Spike began laughing.

“It’s uncouth to laugh at a lady, Spike.” Despite that comment Rarity could not help but join in, even Fluttershy started giggling a little.

………..

Luna began to reflect that maybe, just maybe, she was a little out of shape. Back before her banishment, she trained three times a week. Afterwards, not so much. This new Equestria was a little too peaceful at times. In a thousand years her sister had managed to crush every real threat to Equestria. As such, after she was restored the most entertainment Luna got was from the odd monster that went on a rampage at night. The big threats that did require more attention were handled by Twilight. Therefore, this was quite the workout indeed.

Dogging another blow for her flank, Luna blasted the Griffon that had attacked her; she kept her attacks to non-lethal force. They had discussed that little handicap at great length. They all knew the fate of those who died; it was a new hell to imagine being stuck in ones own body, forever. Even Spike made sure to keep his dragon fire down to a survivable level. Luna was in no doubt that, some of these griffons would not survive the night. In a combat like this there were bound to be some casualties. She just hoped that they would all be on the griffon’s side. She did not relish a conversation with Twilight in which she would have to inform the super-powerful alicorn princess that one of her friends had died on her watch. That was something she would go out of her way to avoid.

To that end, Applejack and she worked as a team, each going out of their way to protect the other. The griffons were fast, of that there was no doubt, however, what Applejack lacked in speed she made up for in strength. For her part, Luna’s Nightmare Moon persona kept many of the griffons at bay, she was again thankful for her sister keeping the legend alive for all these years. Few enemies were willing to face the object they feared so much as children.

Two things soon happen that made Luna’s heart sink, a yell from above alerted her to Spike's fall. He was too far away to help without leaving Applejack surrounded. Luna could only pray that he was not seriously injured. The second was a horn sound that she knew very well from back in the day. It was the horn armies would blow in order to sound for a regroup, one they would use when they needed to regroup because their reinforcements had arrived. One used exclusively by the Griffon Empire.

The break in combat was a blessing and a curse, Luna and Applejack could finally catch their breath, but they both knew it would soon be over. Looking over the enemy formations, they could see another two battalions landing. The first one was in complete disarray, with less than a tenth of their original number still standing. That did not matter; with Spike missing in action and the two of them completely exhausted, what they had would be complete overkill.

“Applejack, we fear that this will be the end.”

“Yeah, I'm getting that feeling too, princess.”

“Please, call us Luna.”

“Ha ha, whatever you say, Luna.”

“We could just surrender to them; there is no need for you to die as well.”

“Princess, it's times like these that test your mettle, yes, I reckon you’re right, you could just walk over there and let them take you, They would probably leave everypony else alone. However, there is one pony that could not live with herself if you did that. A pony who considers you a dear friend. Luna I'm proud to be your friend. Moreover, I will stand with you until the end."

“We… I'm proud to have you as a friend too, Applejack.”

Before Applejack had a chance to reply, Siros interrupted.

“It’s over Princess Luna, you fought well tonight. Surrender and no one else needs to get hurt.”

“Ha! We have not yet begun to fight!”

“We both know that’s not true.”

“Oh, I think she might be right.”

All eyes turned up at the new voice that came from the sky. Luna would recognize that voice anywhere, it brought a huge smile to her face. She wanted everypony else to see just who it was, as such Luna brought the moon's light back to the battlefield so everyone could see who had just joined in. There, flying above the battlefield was Princess Celestia, flanked by three battalions of pegasi. Celestia landed next to her sister and Applejack, but she never took her eyes off Emperor Siros.

“This does not have to happen Emperor Siros, no one has yet died from the mistake, I'm willing to overlook this incursion if you will call it off now.”

“You honestly believe that we can? It's gone too far Princess Celestia. For what it's worth, I'm sorry. I never wanted this. The Gods dealt our hands for us, we have no choice but to play what cards we are given.”

“When the Gods play, mortals lose. Siros, you know that.”

“Indeed princess, truer words have never been spoken. However, it changes nothing, griffons attack!”

Applejack and Luna both looked away from the battle as it unfolded, too tired to join in and too depressed over the implications to watch. Celestia was just about to help her troops when a pink mare jumped in front of the three.

“Pinkie, you should be helping the others.”

“I was Applejack, but then I felt something amazing!”

“What's that, my little pony?”

“Celestia, Twilight is coming home!”

“Twilight is coming back? How could you poss-”

Applejack lassoed Celestia's lips shut before she could finish that question.

“Sorry Celestia, it’s better for everyone if you don’t ask how.”

Celestia nodded as Applejack removed the lasso from around her muzzle.

“I almost forgot that rule Applejack, thank you. So Pinkie, when will Twilight be back?”

“Sorry, what was that? I got something in my ear.” Scratching her right ear with her hind leg, Pinkie dislodged an object stuck in there. One that looked a lot like a banana peel shaped into a boat. Which soon grew into a full-sized boat with a black earth pony and a lavender alicorn in it.

“What in all Equestria?”

“Twilight?”

Twilight looked around her, they had both made it back to Ponyville, and one look behind her showed her exactly where the exit had lead out. All of a sudden, Discord’s ‘waxy’ comment made a little more sense.

“Please please please, tell me that the Realm of Chaos is not in Pinkie's head. Actually, wait, that’s the only thing about all this that does make sense, so yeah, I'm going to stick with that.”

For her part, Pinkie just smiled at them. When a griffon fell next to Twilight, dangerously close, it brought her back to her surroundings.

“Celestia, what's going on?”

“We are at war with the griffons.”

‘Over…” Twilight could not quite finish that sentence. She did not need to, Celestia just nodded at her student. They both knew why it had occurred without having to be told.

“Oh I don’t bucking think so, this shit stops now.”

Twilight had been holding back for quite some time, the last time she used her magic to its full potential was against the Titan Cronus. Compared to that, trapping a few thousand combatants in purple energy spheres and forcing them out of the sky was foal's play. Just to ensure she had everyone’s attention Twilight let each combatant bounce once off the ground. Not enough to hurt anyone, but enough to ensure that any who still had fight in them would soon regret it.

“WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?”

Twilight's voice dropped several octaves; she had the attention of everyone in a five-mile radius. For her part, Luna pulled out a quill and paper and began taking notes, she was glad she remembered them this time.

To Emperors Siros's credit, he did not flinch from answering that question. Yes, he was more of a politician than an actual general. He had generals, good ones, but his pride would not allow them to step forward. If he was anything, he was a leader of his people.

“I am Emperor Siros of the Griffon Empire, I am here to arrest the criminal, Princess Luna of Equestria.”

Twilight glanced over in the direction that voice had come from. Soon, all the ponies and griffons were moved out of the way. Leaving only Griffon Emperor Siros. His ‘cage’ soon floated over to the young princess.

“Emperor Siros of the Griffon Empire, I am Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria. What crime is she guilty of that you bring several thousand soldiers into Equestria to arrest one of its leaders?”

“Princess Luna is guilty of resisting arrest, escaping from her cell, several counts of murder in the escape, murdering chil-”

“HE'S LYING!”

Applejack soon ran over to the two, Twilight took stock of her new getup. It was a VERY impressive suit of what looked like Dragon Steel Armor, form fitted to match her body to a tee. Anypony who knew anything about Rarity would be able to see her particular style written all of the armor that Applejack wore. Yet another mystery Twilight added to her checklist, one more item that Twilight did not know if she would ever complete, well she supposed being immortal, she did not exactly have a time limit for figuring this stuff out.

“Is this true Siros? Did you lie to me about that?”

“Yes, she is not guilty of any of that.”

Twilight glared at him, unsure why a neighboring leader would suddenly admit the truth like that, “So, why are you here?”

He preceded to admit the whole truth to the alicorn, his gambit to simply hold Luna for a few days, the escape attempt, him being stuck with no real choice. All of it, even the letter he had sent Luna, warning her about not turning around.

Celestia and Twilight both listened intently, only interrupting when further clarification was required, or they needed some new explanation of a particular event. When it was over, Twilight's mind reeled with the new facts.

“Once again, good souls are forced into horrible choices.”

“Come again, princess?”

“Nothing Applejack, it's my problem to worry about.” She quickly turned to face the emperor, “ Siros, it seems we are at an impasse, we cannot let you leave with Princess Luna, however, you cannot return to your citizens without something to calm their fears. Instead of a faux target for their blame, how about the real deal?”

“What are you saying, Twilight?”

“Celestia, I told you before this is my problem, leave it to me to fix.”

“I'm listening, princess.”

“Here are the terms I'm offering, you will end hostilities against Equestria and Princess Luna. You will return home and tell your people that one of two events will occur over the next week, this travesty against every living soul on this world will come to an end. Children will once more be born, or I will personally escort the one responsible to your doorstep. They will face the consequences of failing to end this and willingly admit to their crimes. Submitting themselves to any punishment your citizens deem appropriate.”

Emperor Siros considered this, normally he would have balked at such a deal, as it put all the risk on him to convince his griffons to act against their nature. However, if the fact that this young mare had effectively ended all hostilities that night in the time it took to blink an eye, and was(or seemed) barely even phased by the effort, was a sign of her power, she could easily kill them all in the time it took for him to draw his next breath. It was a mark of her pure heart that not only had she sought to end this without loss of life, but she also respected his position and even gave him a way to save face with his citizens.

“I will acquiesce to your demands, Princess Twilight Sparkle, under one condition. I wish to know who is trying to fix this and how you can guarantee that if they fail, they will be brought to me to face justice.”

Princess Twilight Sparkle looked back at the emperor, a solemn look on her face. He realized something, ever since he had first laid eyes on her she had been crying, and from the looks of the bags under her eyes, that had been occurring for a while. “Because, Emperor Siros, I'm the one who is trying to fix it and I'm the one responsible.”

………………

It was several hours before the final griffon left for their homeland; many had to be carried home. Only four would not be returning home to their families, ‘Only four… four more souls to add to my tally'. Twilight’s solemn mood quickly took hold, those four dead griffons combined with the three dead Equestrians, those where her doing. Another seven souls, along with countless others that she would forever lay at her own hooves, ones that would never pass on, never be able to leave their rotting corpses.

It had become second nature to her to look for Rainbow Dash at a time like this, it was instinctual, you touch something hot and you let it go. A foal is crying and you come running. You blame yourself for the death of ponies and griffons who did not deserve to die and you seek out the aid of the one who loves you the most.

Glancing over at the black mare, she immediately hated herself for having such a moment of weakness. It made her mood worse, not better. As of that moment Rainbow was standing over the corpse of one of the slain pegasus, the staff on her back was swinging back and forth over the corpse. Almost as if she was testing what the actual act would be like. Twilight's heart caught in her throat.

Before she could give in to her melancholy, a report reached her ears. “Your highness, we found Spike.”

When she arrived at the crash site, Spike was a mess, he was bandaged from head to tail, Fluttershy had been busy. Although it was Rarity that had Twilight's attention, the mare was by his side, it looked like she had been there for quite some time in fact. Twilight smiled at this new development, she had seen the look Rarity had on her face before, it was the same one she had seen on Rainbow’s face several times during their recent events. Rarity had finally fallen for her little Spike. She expected to feel sad about that, Spike was growing up; however, all she could feel was a sense of pride in her number one assistant. His perseverance and dedication had finally won him the mare of his dreams. By being persistent, his love won out.

Maybe there was a lesson there?

Her sad smile told Spike that she knew everything and was happy for him, yet it was hiding something, something important.

“Hey, Twilight.”

“Hey yourself.”

“Sorry if I don’t get up, everything kind of hurts right now.”

“Don’t worry about it, just get yourself better. How is the castle?”

Spike laughed about that, it hurt, but it proved that whatever happened, this was still his Twilight.

“Its fine Twilight, how is Rai-”

His question was soon interrupted by a loud burp. Green flame spewed from his mouth that preceded a scroll.

'Whom could that be from? Celestia and Luna are both here.'

Twilight picked up the scroll and read who sent it. “Who's it from, Twilight?”

“It’s a letter from the Crystal Empire, Fluttershy.”

Twilight read the letter, once, twice, then three times just to ensure that she fully understood what it had said. “Fluttershy, Rarity, Spike, I have to get to the Crystal Empire, now!” Twilight took off at full gallop towards the train station, followed closely by Fluttershy.

Rarity and Spike both looked at each other. Rarity picked up the letter and noted several tear stains, both old and new. Rarity read the letter out loud to Spike.

Dear Spike,

The doctors say Cadance's foal will be born any day now, as every foal born in the last month was a stillbirth, we have been magically delaying this as long as possible in hopes that a solution will be found before it was too late. However, they cannot delay it any longer without risking Cadance’s health. Please gather up your friends and come to the Crystal Empire as soon as you are able. She will need all your support over the next coming days.

Your uncle and friend,

Shining Armor

Author's Note:

Finished a day early so you get it a day earlier!

Good news Spike will be fine!

Bad news… goes without saying...

4 more chapters to go!!!

Expect CH 27 to be posted on the 17th

quick poll, Cadance's pregnency was mentioned in act one, who remembered?

Thanks goes to Shielded Myth for his help editing.

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