• Published 1st Apr 2014
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Puppets of Tragedy - Iridescence T Wind

We all know the story, human from earth goes to Equestria from buying a mystical prop from a mysterious unnamed salesman to attend Comicon. But what you didn't expect was the prop to be a puppeteers crafting kit.

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The (Not so) Mysterious Mare do Well

It took a few hours for events to progress down to the point where I could interfere. With it, I had captured a lot of footage just watching the mane six act. Hiding their identities behind the costumes that Rarity gave them, useful footage in fact. For all their effort Mare Do Well was about on the Superman level of hiding their secret identity, meaning changing in areas completely open to the casual passing observation and barely containing their mirth at their plans. Because if what I was going to do was going to happen how I wanted, I'd need to wait until just the right moment. Luckily towards the breaking point of mid afternoon Rainbow Dash had taken to her thundercloud and was moping to herself.

"All anypony talks about is Mare Do Well this and Mare Do Well that!"

She flipped around on her cloud to her back and back onto her stomach with restlessness, "What about me? How could everypony forget about me so easily?"

Standing up in her cloud she examined herself, "I mean... have I changed? Same sleek body. Same flowing mane. Same spectacular hooves. Nope, I'm still awesome. They're wrong." She paused and began to mope again as she sighed, " But... then... why am I all alone? I hate being all alone."

As if on queue, Scootaloo had been approaching the storm cloud for quite a while, and very oblivious to her former idols midlife crisis, she yelled out, "Hey, Rainbow Dash!"

"I knew it!" Rainbow was elated as she flew down to meet scootaloo, wrapping her old 'number 1 fan' in a minor headlock to ruffle her mane, "No need to apologize, squirt. Anypony could make that mistake."

Scootaloo for the most part looked confused, her arms pushing against Rainbows hold, "Mistake what mistake?" I mirrored the words silently from my prepared position as I watched them. I knew this song and dance, it was more infamous as one of the worse episodes of the show.

Rainbows look of elation had turned to wary suspicion, and I had the feeling she knew what was about to happen as much as I did, "Wait a minute. Why are you here?"

Scootaloos look of innocence was priceless, "To invite you to join us! We're heading off to the thank you parade for Ponyville's greatest hero, Mare Do Well."

For being Rainbows number one fan, she was sure clueless to what was a sore spot to rainbow dash, she had cluelessly hit her in the third worst possible way. The only way Scootaloo could of possibly hit her worse would of been telling her she would never be a wonderbolt or bullying Fluttershy in front of her somehow. Rainbow was taken aback. Clearly betrayal was what Rainbow was feeling. But Scootaloo was uncharacteristically misreading it like an idiot.

Rainbows voice cracked as she responded in an attempt not to show weakness, like a tsundere put under pressure, " No! No way! Can't you see I-I wanna be alone? I love being alone."

As bright as a broken brick that fell from the stone wall into a sewer system, Scootaloo responded with like zero consideration of what Rainbow Dash was acting, "Oh, okay. See you later then." and left.

I let out an angry sigh and face-palmed briefly as she jogged away, while Rainbow was busy muttering to herself in anger. I began to act, opening a portal and appearing behind Rainbow Dash about five meters or so. To her credit, despite being distraught and distracted with petty scheming, she was alert. The noise of my feet hitting the ground was all that was needed to alert her to my presence.

"Puppet Master!" She turned to face me, angry tears in her eyes, "Oh that's rich, I bet you're here to tell me you're behind Mare Do Well!"

She took a hostile stance, as if ready to kickbox me into oblivion. I raised my hand in a calming gesture, "Calm yourself Rainbow Dash, I am not her. I do tragic villains, not ponies pretending to be heroes."

"And why should I believe you?" Rainbow asked, bringing her stance backwards, and getting ready to charge.

I stood there without bringing up resistance, "Because I know who and why they are. If you're willing to listen, I can reveal to you just who, or rather the group of who that they are." This caught Rainbow off guard as it wasn't what she had expected, she probably had expected me to do the cheesy thin and go 'yesss it was me behind your torment all along' but I hadn't. I caught the hesitation in her stance and continued, "Would you please walk with me? I'd like to talk to you about this fake hero in a less..." I gave a pointed look to her stance from bottom to top, "Violent manner."

I gestured at her to follow me as I began to walk away before giving her a response time, she was considering it I could see, and was on the fence about it. "I will even Pinky promise if you want that you will not be harmed as long as you do no harm in turn if you follow. As well as in the end of the discussion you're free to consider your options and leave without any interruptions should that be your choice."

At the end of my speech Rainbow tilted her head, and said, "Then Pinky promise it, now." already her stance was becoming more relaxed, and I did so.

"Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye." I repeated the phrase, and beckoned her to follow.

She followed me, for about five minutes until we entered the brief edge of the forest to the everfree and about a minute or two of walking later to the door I had prepared for just this scenario. Behind the scenes, the door frame covered the portal entryway making it seem as if the stairs it lead downward too were a natural extension of the ground there. Only a narrow pin thin gap around the back of the frame gave any indication that the portal was even there, and as we passed by it, Rainbow was feeling a bit more uncomfortable. "So this is where you've been living this entire time? A dungeon lair right at the edge of town?"

"Something like that," I motioned her to keep following me, and we entered a side room at the bottom of the stairs. Above her, unbeknownst to Rainbow Dash, the portal shut as to prevent unwanted intruders. I gave her a nod as I introduced her to a dining room, one side cleared out for a projector screen while a few chairs sat around a table, a tray of snacks I had gathered of fruits and vegetables that both humans and equines could eat, "Feel free to sit down and refresh yourself on the snacks, I will show you the proof shortly."

"You better buster, I was going to chase down Mare Do Well at her own celebration!"

I snapped my fingers, for dramatic emphasis, as a small spark ran from the gloves and hit the wall, fizzling out harmlessly. A bit of misdirection as the screen lit up from the projector opposite. An old timey 5 appeared on the screen and began to count down as Rainbow looked at it in interest, "What is that?"

"Its a projector, it takes captured footage and replays it on a screen of light to a wall. Unlike magic, you can't easily manipulate a film without it looking clearly out of place." It was true to an extent, I was a prop maker, not a life-like CGI specialist. Computer programming wasn't my specialty, however, editing film to contain only select bits of truth or conversation to show the worst of the worst was an old practice that dated all the way to even before newspapers.

The screen first showed the various instances of Mare Do Well leaving after having beaten Rainbow Dash at being a hero, it followed her to where Rainbow had failed to chase. All the way back to Rarity's botique, where in the first instance, where rainbow had failed to save a carriage running itself towards a cliff was revealed the first identity. Applejack pulled off her hood and Rainbow's jaw dropped several inches in shock. She was speaking to Rarity and the zoom increased to them talking.

"So how did it go darling?" Rarity asked, "No rips or tears?"

"No Rarity, your costume held up pretty well considerin' what it has just been through." Applejack said with a grimace of annoyance, "I'm more concerned about Rainbow Dash."

"Oh, what happened out there?" Rarity had continued to ask, as she poured over Applejacks costume of Mare Do Well.

"No she was being a damned fool, letting her ego outpace her actual ability and bit off a bit more than she could chew with a runaway carriage full of ponies. Good thing you made this costume Rarity, maybe perhaps she'll learn there are people stronger than her." I cut away from the rest of the conversation as a momentary blackness filled the screen. In truth there had been a bit of sentiment afterwards of concern for Rainbow after the tumble, but that wasn't the point of this.

"Applejack is Mare Do Well?!" Rainbows voice was incredulous, "That doesn't make any sense, Applejack can't fly, or cast magic!"

"That isn't all of it, there's more." I said plainly as the next clip began to play. The building disaster where Pinkie had saved the lives of workers and fled off with her Pinkie sense being used to elude escape, luckily I had already staked out Rarity as Pinkie returned to happily take off the costume with Twilight nearby as well this time, "Hi Rarity! Hi Twilight!"

"Oh dear, we could hear that crash from here, is everypony alright?" Rarity asked, "No one was hurt right?"

"Yep! My pinkie sense was super duper useful at avoiding all the falling bits of building. Man those workers should be fired with how shoddy the construction on that thing was! Rainbow is alright too, if albeit a bit worse for wear, glad she hit the building on accident and revealed just how bad it was!"

"Rainbow... Crashed?" Twilight asked, and I mentally cringed at the unintentional use of Rainbows old nickname.

"Well..." Pinkie said, "She was kinda being super distracted and careless while flyinggggg."

I cut it short, as Pinkie would of gone on to say that 'wow that would be bad taken out of context'. Rainbows jaw was about at its limit, and quietly I shut it for her with a finger, causing her to snap out of it, and recoil a bit. I noted as Rainbow yelled that her fur had been really really soft under that chin, what sort of shampoo or bodywash did she use for that? Rainbows shout was, "Seriously, Pinkie pie?!"

I ignored her and played the next clip. The dam incident, and almost Rainbow caught on, "Twilight." She said before the scene could fully go around, "Rarity doesn't have the magic for it, and Twilight already was with Pinkie Pie. Let me guess, she said I was being, 'uncouth and stuipd for not realizing my hoof wouldn't stop the leak in the dam'." She snorted the voice in a pretty bad impression of Twilight. I looked at her with mild surprise, though my face didn't show it, "Spot on the mark Rainbow."

I fast forwarded with a flick, skipping the dialog, in truth she had said worse as Twilight had said pretty much a much nicer version of what Rainbow had, and skipped to the last. The last one made Rainbow Dash bury her hooves in her face, Fluttershy had flown past as Rainbow Dash thought she still had a leg up. The peagsus bit reveal Dash had no clue until she saw Fluttershy's shy face. At that point I had to pause as Rainbow hurled the table at the wall. "This has to be a lie! Fluttershy would never betray me."

"Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye its true." I repeated. No promises broken, as this was the truth, albeit the partial truth just as Spike had wrote, "She's... Good." when Rainbow had said "Shes not even that good!" since I was showing Rainbow Select clips instead of entire conversations, "Your friends couldn't take your ego or the amount of attention you were getting from other ponies. So they had Rarity stitch them up some costumes, and they decided to out hero the hero and throw your attention away from you. As punishment."

"Why are you showing me this?" Rainbow asked a hint of her firey spirit and a fair amount of loyalty still remained.

"Because betrayal is sadly a common cause among my flock." I gestured to her, "My so called minions have stories that made them who they are today. Some are worse than others, and not all were betrayed but beset by other tragedies, but even ponies who represent the biggest elements of friendship aren't immune to it. Just because you're loyal, doesn't mean anyone else is."

"What, what could you possibly know about... This!" Rainbows words were scattered, she was never the best at expressing her thoughts.

So I turned off the image as I changed some of my attention to what Cassette was doing. She was in the training room, getting her magical reserves up by partaking in physical training with her augments. "What do you know of the Wonderbolt Cassette?"

"You mean Rewind?" Rainbow asked, almost immediately, "Didn't she retire, like, years ago due to injury?"

"She lost a leg and then as a result your idols threw her out of the Wonderbolts, where she proceeded to lose her other limbs in short order. She got zero support from her team, nor government, and when I found her she was living in an alleyway." I took a mental picture and put it to the screen, "I took her under my wing. If you want to see her in her new state, feel free to come with me." I stood and walked through the door, "Or you can see yourself out, your choice."

"There's no way." Rainbow said, "A Wonderbolt is like, Equestria's elite flying force. They'd get an honorable discharge and a good retirement sum-"

The image of Cassette now, was shown on screen, "I gave her a home, and new limbs of which she now trains daily to use properly. She became one of us, in a way. A bit of street trash given power and a chance to fight back against the bleak reality of this world. Desperate circumstances had her accept my help of all people."

I left the feed going as Rainbow watched, and then she shook her head, "I don't care about this tragic villain junk. I just want to know why you're showing this to me."

"Because Rainbow, you need a new..." I paused and grinned back to her, back still to the door, "With friends like these..."

The screen flashed changing to the past they were in the room where Rainbow was trying to mope while her friends talked about Mare Do Well.

Applejack had said, the angel of the camera putting her into a darker light as a side clip of her heroics played in the corner of the screen, "Gotta hand it to the girl, that Mare Do Well sure can pull off some pretty heroic feats."

Twilight Sparkle Joined in, "I must say, I was impressed by that spell she used to fix the dam. Seems like something like that would take quite a bit of study."

Fluttershy, despite not contributing much, added, "She really cares about everypony's safety."

Rarity and her self praise, "Have you seen her costume? It is to die for! If you ask me she's a hero of fashion!"

"And she's modest and humble. She lets her actions speak for themselves. Gotta admire that." Applejack chimed in, as if putting Rainbow down on purpose while proving herself the opposite of modest and humble.

Last of all, Spike with the pen writing down words while speaking them aloud, "She's... great!"

Rainbow Dash quietly stood up after a few moments. A look of defiance was muddied by her tears as she wiped them away, I told her calmly, "If you wish to live in a place that isn't going to try to break you down and change you by force. I offer that haven. If you wish to confirm the identity of Mare Do Well yourself, they are still celebrating her in the parade. I'd recommend action before alerting them to words. I will be watching, and if you choose to join me then, simply say, 'I accept your invitation' and I'll be there to offer my support."

Rainbow Dash stared at me silently as I began to walk away. She stared back at the screen, paused on a dramatic shadow of each of her friends faces. Each paused on a moment of self praise at Rainbows expense. She. Was. Livid.

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