• 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: Dire Straits

Chapter 27 Define: Dire Straits

Ponyville

Twilight ran as fast as her legs could carry her. The news she received, it was something she had never considered. Her brother's kid, she never imagined. So much had happen since this had started. She needed time. She needed to be able to stop and consider. She also needed to pay attention to where she was running. Sadly, she was not able to do any of those things.

Running into Celestia face first hurt, a lot. Picking herself off the ground, Twilight looked at the alicorn in front of her. She must have been running fast as even Celestia was knocked off her hooves.

“Twilight, my dear, what's the rush?”

“Princess.” Twilight wanted to break down; she wanted to sob right then and there in Celestias hooves. She wanted to, but she could not. Twilight had taken this responsibility on her own, she made her vows that she would fix this herself. “I'm sorry Princess Celestia, but I have to get to the train station as soon as possible, a letter has just arrived from my brother. Cadance is about to have her foal, she has asked us all to be there for her.”

“Very well Twilight, but would it not be faster to simply fly there?”

Twilight facehoofed, literally. She had been born a unicorn and even after all these years of being an alicorn her natural instincts were to run, not fly. “Yes Celestia, thank you.”

As Twilight went to take off into the air Celestia stopped her, “Twilight, I know you said you would handle this on your own, but would you like my support in this?”

Twilight smiled for the first time in what felt like forever. “Celestia, it means the world to me that you would still offer your support, I thank you for that. However, I said I would handle this on my own and I meant it.” Gesturing around to the many ponies that still required Celestia’s help, “Besides, I believe you will do more good here then anywhere else.”

Celestia simply nodded at her student and let her leave. ‘It seems as if Luna was right, she no longer needs me holding her hoof. I have never been this proud of her before.’ She turned and walked towards Pinkie and Applejack. ‘Even if she does not need me around, I'm sure she will still want her friends with her.’

Twilight made one stop on her way to the train station; she had to pick up one of her friends before heading out. Sadly, it was the one friend she did not want to see at that moment, but they had started this together and would end this together. Twilight swooped down and grabbed Rainbow Dash.

“You still with me, Rainbow?”

In a deadpan voice Rainbow replied. “I can walk, Twilight Sparkle.”

No, she was not still with her.

They made it to the train station without incident; Twilight felt a little silly when she found out that the train would not be arriving for another hour. There was only so fast the train could go and no amount of coercion – even by a Princess of Equestria – could cause it to arrive any sooner. She sighed, with such company as this ‘new’ Rainbow Dash, it would be a long hour. The fact that Twilight could not even look at her without feeling the deep hurt in her heart only made it worse.

Fortunately, the two of them would not be there alone for long. Fluttershy never was the best flyer but after a few minutes she was the first one to arrive. Followed closely by Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity. Rarity would not be boarding the train with the rest, as after several minutes of coaching by Twilight and the others, they convinced her to stay behind with Spike. Twilight’s number one assistant needed her more than Twilight did. Besides, it helped her to know that Spike would not be left all on his own and after herself, Twilight could not think of anypony else she would want to look after the stricken dragon. Soon after Rarity gave her heartfelt thanks and left for Ponyville hospital, the conversation turned tense.

“So sugar, what happened on your adventure?”

“If it’s all the same with you Applejack, I'm not ready to talk about it.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, where is Rain-” Fluttershy was not able to finish that sentence; a gag had appeared over her mouth, silencing her mid question.

Twilight was staring intently at her hooves, she had been expecting this question, it was one she could not ignore, but not one she could answer without being reminded of her overwhelming failure to save Rainbow Dash, her marefriend. As such, she did not notice when Pinkie Pie attached muzzles on all her friends.

Pinkie had prevented any of her friends from speaking, even muzzling herself from being able to talk. She gave each of them, including herself, a six hundred-page contract to sign. Fortunately, she had a summary page attached to the front of each contract.

By signing the attached six-hundred page contract, I hereby super duper pinkie promise that I, the named pony below, will NEVER bring up, mention in the company, talk about, reference, or any other way shape or form remind or engage Princess Alicorn Twilight Sparkle about the Wonderbolt pegasus Rainbow Dash, Under penalty of breaking said super duper pinkie promise. Until such time as this pinkie promise in null in-void by Miss Pinkie Pie herself. Failure to sign this contract will result in my muzzle staying gagged for the length of the current journey. Breaking this super duper pinkie promise will result in the TERMINATION of the friendship between said pony and Miss Pinkie Pie.

I hereby agree to the terms and conditions listed in this contract and accept the consequences for breaking it as spelled out above.

Signed_____________________________

As a show of good faith Pinkie signed her contract first, then passed the hoof quill to each of her friends in turn. It took awhile for them to read over the contract, each in turn glancing at Pinkie to ensure that she was serious about this. The look on her face told them all she was VERY serious about this. There was no doubt she would hold them all to this contract.

It took a minute for each of them to figure out how to sign the contract without their mouths, but every one of her friends eventually signed the super duper pinkie promise and handed them to Pinkie. She reviewed each contract in turn verifying all the paperwork was in order. Pinkie then proceeded to take the documents over to a local notary who reviewed each one of them, sighing his own name to ensure that each contract was official. Satisfied, Pinkie bounced back to her friends and preceded to remove each of their gags in turn. Removing her own last. An uncomfortable silence permeated over the group, it did not last long before the train horn sounded in the distance. Twilight finally looked up, grateful beyond words that the line of interrogation had ended before she had to answer any questions about Rainbow.

The train ride was uneventful. Applejack and Pinkie both accompanied Twilight to one of the sleeper cabins, the alicorn looked exhausted, they hoped she would get some sleep, they might as well been hoping to turn back time. The strange black mare with the macabre staff boarded as well. Applejack hid her suspicion over who that was. As if somehow saying it outloud would cause it to be true. The black earth pony stayed close beside Twilight the entire time. She never spoke, her very presence seemed to cause Twilight pain. However, when they tried to coax the mare into a different compartment, it caused Twilight to breakdown in a crying fit. As such, against her better judgment, Applejack left the mare with Twilight. It was the lesser of two evils.

When Pinkie and Applejack made it back to the others, they went around ensuring their car was empty, completely locked, and soundproof. Once those facets were triple verified, Applejack turned to Pinkie.

“Ok Pinkie, what was that about?”

“Sorry girls, but the look on Twilight's face, if I had let you finish that question Fluttershy, I think… I think it would have destroyed her.”

“Do you know what happened to Rainbow Dash?” Fluttershy asked.

“I don’t know any details but I think it's something bad. If we brought up that question, Twilight might never smile again. I… I… I couldn't live with that.”

Applejack and Fluttershy both hugged Pinkie, their friend would go to any length to see other ponies smile; it was all she ever wanted.

The rest of the train ride went without incident. It took awhile but eventually the three of them were able to spend their time enjoying the impromptu trip. With the sound of the train whistle it was time to gather up their other friend. As she expected, Twilight and the black pony had not moved an inch, it was obvious that they had not slept any either.

“Will you be ok, Twilight?”

Twilight stared up at the yellow pegasus, a sad expression plastered over her face. ‘I may never be ok again.’ She would not say it out loud but she could not help but think it.

As the five of them left the train the mood of the Crystal Empire reflected Twilight's to a tee. As Celestia told Twilight all those years ago: 'If hope and love are there, these things are reflected all across Equestria, if hate and fear take hold…', it seemed the same was true for despair and sadness.

None of the crystal ponies were unaffected by this. Each of them looked to be in the same state as when the empire first came back after a thousand years being gone. Several were openly weeping in the street.

Twilight and company pressed on. Only the black mare seemed to look around, the rest kept their eyes firmly on the path ahead, heading straight to the Crystal Palace. In Twilight’s opinion the empire seemed to be the place where hope goes to die. If she still had any, Twilight was sure her tears would be falling. It seemed that dehydration had finally caused her to stop crying. She knew it was bad for her. She needed something to drink, but Twilight Sparkle was so tired of crying that she refused any water that was offered to her, even by her friends.

Without much street traffic they soon arrived at the Crystal Palace. For the first time Twilight could remember guards were posted at each of the four entrances. They looked as well as any of the other ponies she had seen. The only thing that seemed to resemble any sort of normality was the Crystal Heart. The legendary relic seemed unaffected by the aura of sadness that permeated the whole empire. It kept spinning in place, as if nothing was wrong in the world.

Approaching one of the guards, Twilight presented him the letter that Rarity had handed back to her before departing the for the hospital.

“I'm Princess Twilight Sparkle, these are my friends, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy, and we're here to see my brother and my step-sister, Princess Cadance and Prince Shining Armor.

He examined the documents and looked over the ponies in front of him, nopony who worked at the palace would fail to spot any of the Princesses of Equestria in a line up. However, such was their discipline that even the princesses were stopped and their identity verified before being allowed to enter. The changeling invasion during the wedding had changed much about the security in the Crystal Empire. They loved their princess, more than anything.

After a quick verification spell the five were allowed in. The black mare was given several glances by nervous guards. Twilight would not allow her to be stopped and questioned, a quick spell caused those who saw her to ‘not notice’. Twilight was not ready to have that conversation. It was unfair to her friends and a little selfish, but she did not know if she would ever be ready to have ‘that’ conversation.

When they arrived at the throne room, Twilight’s brother Shining Armor was having a meeting with several of his advisers. As soon as they made eye contact he knocked all the other ponies out of the way and went to embrace his sister in a big hug. She felt his ‘liquid pride’ fall on her coat. She started crying in turn. ‘It seems I do still have some tears to shed.’

“Thank you Twily, thank you for coming. I didn’t think you were back already.”

“I got back just a few hours before your letter arrived brother. How could I do anything but come?”

He increased the strength of his hug, causing Twilight to squeak a little as she adjusted to the increased pressure that was becoming a little crushing.

They broke apart, each grateful for the others presence more than they cared to say. Twilight was the first to speak.

“Where is she?”

They both knew whom she was talking about.

“Cadance is in our room, she hasn’t been able to leave for days. It is going to happen soon. I don’t suppose you had any luck?”

It crushed Twilight too look at that small ray of hope on her BBBFF’s face, the one she soon stomped over with a small shake of her head.

“We're close Shiny, just one more object to gather and it will be fixed. I have reason to believe it's in the Crystal Empire. But first, I want to see her.”

“Of course Twilight, I know she'll want to see you too.”

Twilight turned back to her friends, three of them were moved to tears, only Rainbow seemed unaffected by what had just occurred.

“Will you girls stay here? I need to see her alone.”

“Of course Twilight. We'll be here for you when you get back.”

“Thank you Fluttershy, thank you everyone. You girls are the best friends I could ever have.”

Before turning to leave, Twilight poked a hoof over to the black mare, “Watch her for me, will you?”

Three heads nodded back to Twilight, nopony asked any questions, but they all knew that this was important to her. Twilight turned and made her way to the royal bedchambers, grateful once again to have such good friends.

As Twilight made her way to Cadance, Shining Armor finally noticed that two of Twilight's friends were not present, “Where's Rarity? And Rai-”

Before he could finish that sentence he found a gag around his mouth and a contract shoved into his hooves.

Every step seemed to suck the energy from Twilight's hooves. In retrospect, she thought it was probably due to how long it had been since she had last eaten. That was a minor concern right now, in truth she did not trust in her ability to hold anything down right this second. After what felt like a million such steps she arrived at the entrance to the royal bedchambers. In the past few weeks Twilight Sparkle had faced down threats ranging from: A changeling queen, hellhounds, demon flyers, shadow armies, the dead, a Titan, and even Discord. Yet those double doors scared her more than all those combined.

She gritted her teeth and summoned up as much courage as she could. Even going as far as to try and draw extra from other ponies in the magic plane. Her first instinct was to seek out Rainbow and draw from her. That pony radiated courage, endurance, and stamina. Yet Rainbow was missing, despite Twilight’s best effort she could not locate Rainbow on that plane. It was almost as if she was hidden from anypony trying to find her.

She was able to draw on others. Applejack had almost as much as Rainbow did; however, it felt different to Twilight. It almost felt like a violation, or betrayal to be drawing on somepony other than Rainbow, but right now she did not have any choice. After she was done, Twilight finally had the strength to open the doors and face her foal sitter/step sister/friend.

The view Twilight was greeted with stole away her filly hood; Twilight’s foal sitter had always been a pillar of strength in her youth. Cadance was a source of happiness and an inspiration to the young mare. Now? Now she was anything but. Cadance was lying on her bed, her stomach was fully distended, her breathing shallow. She could not even raise her head to look at Twilight. That did not stop her from trying however.

“Don’t move Cadance, save your energy.”

“Would that I had any to save, Twilight.”

“Cadance I'm so, so, sorry about all this.”

“It’s not your fault, Twilight.”

To that Twilight could only cry, this was her fault. She had always assumed that she would end up paying for this in the end. This, seeing those she loved pay the bill instead. It hurt her more than she could imagine. Twilight wished she could take all this pain on herself. It would be easier. Sadly, the greatest pain one could suffer is not physical.

“Hey Twilight, don’t cry on my account, I'll be alright.”

Twilight knew that was not true. After this had occurred nothing would be all right ever again. The look on Cadance’s face, it was one Twilight had seen before. Back in the Realm of Chaos, Rainbow had given her that look when they had finally found each other. That gave Twilight an idea.

“Cadance, maybe there is something I can do for you.”

“Twilight…” Cadance considered Twilight’s words carefully. At first she did not want Twilight to try anything that might cause her undue stress. When she put herself in her hooves, she realized that the stress of not doing anything would be worse than letting her try, even if it was in failure. “Twilight, I would welcome anything you could do.”

Twilight focused her vision in the magic plane and concentrated, she was radiating off raw magic power, and it was a little distracting for what she needed. Looking forward she saw the Princess of Love's power. Even so exhausted it was easy to tell the power of an alicorn from just about any other source.

It was weak, weaker than she had ever seen any pony's power before. Cadance was lacking for almost all sources of strength. Nothing was coming from her, it seemed as if her body was keeping everything it could for itself. Twilight’s plan was simple, if she could draw excess power from others into herself, then the reverse should also be doable. She would send her extra magic into Cadance.

Unfortunately, going in reverse was not the same as going forward. There seemed to be a missing connection. She needed a bridge to send the power down. Briefly she recalled the connection she had with Rainbow again, the bridge that connected them, one of pure love. While she did not love Cadance like she did Rainbow they still had such a connection. Finding it did not prove to be that difficult. It seemed as if just acknowledging such a connection should exist caused one to appear before her.

Twilight peered down the bridge, now it would be easy to direct the power to her step sister. She directed the power down the connection, as much as she felt was safe. However, when she did, Twilight felt a strong pull. Something she did not expect to feel during all of this. There was something else, something down there that seemed very familiar. Twilight looked down the tunnel, trying to get a glimpse of, whatever that power was.

Before Twilight could react, the power had ensnared her mind and pulled her essence down to it, trapping the alicorn.

Author's Note:

Oh uh, what happened to Twilight?

we are coming to it now, just three more chapters to go.

Ch 28 will be posted… as soon as I finish writing 29…

expect it sooner, rather then later.

Thanks to Shielded Myth for assisting me in editing.

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