• Published 1st Apr 2014
  • 15,113 Views, 1,427 Comments

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 Aftermath of a Lesson Too Far

"Wheres Rainbow? You'd think she'd of tried to unmask Mare Do Well by now..." Rarity asked, to Twilight, who shrugged as well.

"Maybe she's too busy moping? I meant we sent Scootaloo to go invite her... did Scootaloo get distracted with crusading for her cutiemark?"

"No, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom are too busy with chores last I checked with Applejack for such an... activity." Rarity didn't approve of the fillies rushing headlong into some... no... most of the time dangerous activities unsupervised, but understood the tension of her little sister desiring their cutie-marks. But if she had made a mess attempting (if that could be said to be even somewhat accurate of a word to describe it) to cook again, then she was going to have some stern words on how not to set water on fire... again. She still didn't get how one burnt water. Water is supposed to stop fire from burning!

"I don't know..." Pinkie said, looking concerned towards her other friends, "But my knee is getting pinchy and I feel a shudder coming on, that means something of both a Doozy and something scary is about to happen."

"Something scary? Like what?" Twilight asked, jinxing herself as they watched the parade in honor of Mare Do Well.

It came like lightning, but in a rainbow of an afterimage. One second Appleack was standing as Mare Do Well upon the top of a pyramidal parade float. The next second she was gone, replaced by a line of rainbow coming from the Everfree Forest, and straight across town.

"Was that Rainbow Dash?" Rarity asked the question hanging in the air. Only one pony in all of Equestria had such a contrail.

"I think this may of gone a little too far." Fluttershy quietly added in before the group broke off into a gallop as the rest of the ponies stood confused to what had just occurred.

They ran after the contrail but as it began to fade away, they continued to ran, spreading out to try and find where they had went. It was adorable really, without a bit of a push here and there they'd never of made it. A few formed dead ends was all that was needed, no one questioned an additional wall or three amidst the panic and searching. Fluttershy didn't even try to fly. The best part is, none of them took off their costumes except for Rarity, who hadn't been wearing one.

Unlike the show, where Rainbow had announced her presence before trying to take off the mask, leading to a goose chase that lead ultimately to the horrible episode ending, I had meddled. Brought an unexpected element to try to fix it. Rainbow wasn't out to get revenge on her wounded ego. She was out for the truth, and vengeance if what I had said was truth.

Rainbow and Applejack for the most part had flown across town in the blink of an eye, faster than the farmer pony could ever anticipate Dash ever moving while carrying somepony. She barely had time to process that she had left the stand of uncomfortable waving before she found herself slammed up against both ground and tree at the edge of her farm. The hat had fallen off within the fist second of sudden acceleration, and as Dash pulled away the Mask, she stepped back in shock.

"So the Puppet master was telling the truth? Everypony else is Mare Do Well?" Her expression was one of anger, as her mane covered the front of her eyes, addressing the mare in front of her, "Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie, Twilight, and even Fluttershy?"

Applejack was recovering from her daze, to be fair flying across town in the span of less than ten seconds would of normally of resulted in a lot worse but she was very tough, though not wise with her choice of words, "Now Dash, listen here-"

"No! I'm not going to listen to you now, that's what you should of done in the first place instead of trying to do..." she gestured at the costume, "All this!"

"Rainbow Dash!" Twilights voice interjected as the rest of the Mane Six appeared from the edge of town running full tilt towards them to catch up.

"Oh great, now the lecture crew is coming to tell me I'm in the wrong, huh?" Rainbow glared as Applejack was about to say something along the lines of 'yep'.

Applejack tried to continue anyway, "Now Dash, you were-"

"Were what? Deserved to be thrown into obscurity because you didn't want me to be a hero? That my ego was getting out of control? Well newsflash Applejack you're all just as guilty. Remember what you said?" Dash actually gave a pretty good Applejack impression as she said, "She's so modest and humble."

Applejack looked down in embarrassment, and Dash sneered, "Yeah that's what I thought hypocrite."

"Dash! Wait we can explain!" Twilight yelled as they approached.

"No!" Dash's stubbornness was showing through full speed, "You had plenty of time to talk to me about what I did, what sort of friend stabs their friend in the back and rip her out of the public eye just because she was happy with having a few fans!?"

"Now Dash that isn't true at-" Rarity started but was interrupted.

"My Ego? What about yours. as she quoted word for word their self praises, and they were stunned. This had backfired dramatically from what they had planned. In stunned silence even Twilight was trying to formulate a response. Twilight was trying to work out how to apologize but Dash gave her no chance.

"You know what, if you want to play at being a hero who crushes others, fine so be it." She looked to the sky, and shouted out, "Puppet Master, I accept your Invitation!"

That was the reckless Rainbow Dash I knew, the reactive girl of loyalty who just had hers betrayed to the core. I smiled as I moved into action, a ring of shadowy flames appearing around Dash, keeping the rest of the mane six apart from their comrade. "Rainbow!" several of them cried out, as I appeared.

Giving a formal half-bow I presented a hand to her, "Glad to see you made up your mind Miss Dash."

Applejack was getting up and readying herself, muscles tensing for action, "Well that explains a bit..."

Dash ignored them, and took the hand, for a flat surface her grip was killer, "Just get me out of here P.M."

"Gladly." I said, in a way I had won, not as I had completely expected. In all honesty I had hoped the fight would of dragged on so that the rest of the Mane Six would of learned a lesson and of made up. But this worked too. Now that I thought of it, Starswirls journal probably had a method of de-petrifying discord without the elements of harmony. But it was too late to reconsider now.

"Now hold on a minute!" Applejack yelled, as she braced and jumped through the shadowy flickers of false flame. Oh by goddess, she was trying to punch me.

Instinct took over, as a hero dressed farmer ponies hoof tried to reach me for a solid slug. I flicked a card. Applejack found herself entering a flat surface, and spat out soon after on the other side with the rest of the Mane Six. I didn't need Applejack as a hostage. She would hardly learn anything if I did take her. Rainbow gave her friends a solid glare as Twilights horn began to activate, but I left before a spell could be cast at me.

The portal dropped us and the shadow coated over us like a dome obscuring our passage as we left and reappeared at the same door. I wasn't ready to completely trust Dash's change of alliance. Too many false heel turns lead to moles in stories after all. Her being the element of loyalty didn't help. Though hilariously most of the Elements of harmony carried an excess of one trait of friendship and almost minimal amount of the rest of them. Though I still had no idea how 'magic' was an element of friendship. I guess it had something to do with the reforming spells, mind control, forcibly changing others habits and the like so that different species wouldn't hunt or harm the herbivorous equines but that was a matter for another time. A room was building itself rather rapidly as I and the rainbow colored athlete walked down a stainless steel hallway.

"Would you like me to move your home down here Rainbow?" I asked her midway through the hallway, she had been quiet the entire time and the question was more meant as an icebreaker.

Rainbow started, broken out of her quiet thinking, "Wha-? You can do that?"

"Yeah, its the cloud house right?" as I brought up a screen and focused a camera on it. The backview of her home seen on the screen, "I imagine you'd like to keep your possessions without being bothered by the others." I had found the location after several weeks of surveying the mane six in their daily activities between episodes. It was hard to track the Rainbow mare as she took a different route each day, but it was nestled in the sky firmly between both the town of Cloudsdale and Ponyville.

"Well as long as you don't set up anything in my house then. That'd be creepy." Rainbow replied, "Here I was thinkin' you were going to throw me into some super badass barracks full of elite soldiers, or villains, or something else as werid."

I definitely wasn't going to throw her into the Space Marine barracks. I was pretty sure that would cause a lot more problems than I could ever count with putting the fiery athlete in with zealous space-super-soldiers. I shook my head, "I'm not that barbaric, everypony can have their own private quarters in my hidden fortress should they ask."

I would of given the marines their own privacy but they had seemed far more comfortable sharing a living space. My mind was undetered as I brought forth two puppets to employ a larger mobile portal screen to be lifted and take the house out of the area. As the portal began to rise. A pink and yellow form in the distance was flying towards the puppets, but it was far too slow as the puppets finished their work, the portal shut behind them, and the large panel dropped. With no more magic to support it, it shattered like fragile pottery upon hitting the ground. Another separate camera focused on the flying figure as it landed next to the broken wall. It had been Fluttershy, who looked increasingly worried. She said something but it was too far away to make out the words, and flew away back towards Ponyville. Hmm, had she had a few more minutes she might of undermined my security.

I opened the door leading to her home, Showing Rainbow Dash the house in its entirety, and her jaw dropped, "No way, just how strong did you get?"

"Eh, so so." I said, shaking my hand in the similar gesture, "I've been working primarily on my power base as of late."

"Power base? What are you some sort of dark-pone Hoof-lord?" Rainbow asked and I deadpanned.

Dark-pone Hoof-lord? She couldn't possibly mean... "Are you talking about the folk with the flashy light swords and incredible powers?"

"Yeah!" Rainbow Said, "You remind me of the spin off comics about the dark-pone apprentice who ran off and spent his entire career becoming a super-hoof-lord by recruiting and growing a base of operations to extend his power."

Ughhhh she was referencing star wars. These puns were unforgivable even by my standards. I hated myself as I asked the question nagging on my mind, "Hey, remind me what were the good guy side called again?"

"Oh you mean the Neigh-di?" Rainbow asked, "Haven't you read any of the comics?"

"I know the comics," I said, it was a partial truth after all, "Just been a while." Internally, I was screaming. I was pretty sure one of the blank puppets nearby was actually silently screaming for me but that was moot point. I wanted a good conk of self inflicted memory loss for the horse puns they had turned a memorable story into. The Mr.Freeze in me grinned at the self typed puns, but the rest of me withered in agony. Starwars as ponies. That didn't sound right at all. Wordlessly I brought a prop from my room with a portal and activated it.

"Rainbow," I said dramatically, bringing the Red lightsaber to bear in a dramatic pose, the tip of it sticking into the ceiling on accident.

"No, Impossible!" Rainbow snorted, laughing.

"No, I am your fatherrrrrrr!" I said dramatically and shut off the lightsaber, tossing it back through the prop portal.

"Wow, you're a bigger egghead nerd than Spike!" She was laughing. It was good to break her out of the anger cloud. Though she was genuinely curious, "So you have a Darth Hay light-saber that works? That's so cool."

My enthusiasm plummeted again from the horse puns. Darth Hay? Seriously? "Been saving it for a special occasion," i replied after a second of recollection of my facade, "Not as strong as the real thing, but too strong for every day use."

It was that moment that Cass had begun to pass by us, wearing a jogging outfit, her cybernetics on prominent display as she was wearing a pitch black tanktop with some white jogging shorts. Around the back of her neck she was holding a towel by the ends with both hands as she walked at a half trots pace, her wings reflectively open to brush either side of the corridor, which she shut as she spotted us and picked up pace to come to a halt in front of us, "Oh hey, whos the new girl?"

She peered around me as Rainbow froze, tooking in the form of Cassette as Cassette looked her over, "Lets see... Rainbow mane, blue fur, lightning rainbow storm cloud for a cutiemark..." She clapped her hooves once, "Oh! You're Rainbow Dash right?"

"You know my name?" Rainbow seemed a bit stunned.

"Yeah, before I left the corps Spitfire was talking about your efforts during the Summer Sun celebration two years ago when the face on the moon vanished. What're you doing here?"

"Cassette, she will be living with us for a while. Try to play nice, okay?"

She rolled her eyes, "Only if you play nice yourself Mister."

Rainbow looked between my casual conversation with the former Wonderbolt as if I had been talking like a cowpony to royalty. Her eyes bugged out a little bit, "You're Flight Rewind?!"

"Wow, there's a name I haven't heard in a while." Cassette took an awkward moment to fidget and laugh to herself, "Yeah, its me, just don't ask how I got that name in the first place."

"Rainbows a bit of a fan of the Wonderbolts." I clarified for her sake and Rainbow looked as if I had slapped her.

"A BIT?" she glared at me, "I'm like the number one fan of the Wonderbolts!"

Cassette tried to do a placating gesture to Rainbow and spoke back to her, "Were really not that great-" she started but was interrupted by Rainbow spewing a question at her.

"What are the wonderbolts like?" Seeing as this conversation was going to be a while, I directed the mares to a break room, and brought out some more snacks for the two of them as they continued on their conversation uninterrupted.

"Well." Cassette said, "Its run a bit more like a boot camp than a cheerleading team that it is meant to be. We're stunt fliers who are honorary military. We aren't trained for use of weapons, or even wear armor outside of our flight suits. One could argue this makes us aerial dog fighters but very little combat training is actually present aside from the occasional evasive maneuver."

She took a sip of water that I offered her and muttered her thanks before continuing, "As for how we treat each other..." She sighed, "Its a lot of tough love, and if you're even minorly injured they'll immediately try to replace you with a promising new recruit. That's how I lost my job to Soarin of all ponies. The guy could barely fly out of the way of obstacles in time and overshot the ceiling height for pegasus ponies all the time back then, but now hes second in command of the Wonderbolts thanks to Spitfire playing favorites."

Rainbow looked confused, as Cassette also said, "We get most of our names from various mistakes which we're forced to live with. Often time a pun of our original names. Spitfire got hers from accidently putting her tail on fire while flying through a storm system. Soarin overshot, and I well. I'd rather not say."

She looked to Rainbow Dash, "If I had to guess, first screw up you would ever make, and they'd call you something dumb like 'Rainbow Crash' or something like that to poke fun at the Dash in your name." Rainbow frowned as she found that nickname her bullies used again pinned to her.

"That or be called that for the Sonic Rainboom you pulled off during the Cloudsdale Flight competition, good job catching my former friends by the way." She commented, "Heard about it on a newspaper a bit after it happened, glad they weren't seriously hurt."

"Why'd you quit?" Rainbow asked, looking as if she had one of her lifelong dreams in jeopardy, "You were in your prime!"

"I didn't quit, if you were listening at all to what I was saying." Cassette sighed, "They quit on me, lost a leg in a flying accident, I could still fly perfectly fine, but recovering from the trauma apparently made me miss a single show, and as a result Soarin got my spot." She looked to Rainbow, "If you haven't guessed already, lose your spot in the Wonderbolts, and you're no longer a Wonderbolt. I got honorably discharged, and given a retirement stripend each week which is still paying off my hospital bill, until I lost another three limbs on a separate accident. In a few more months I might've started to receive the funds to live off of once both bills had been paid, but by then I'd likely be dead if it wasn't for the kind Mister in the room with us providing me a place to stay as well as a chance of hope." She rolled her cybernetic arms back to lean on the couch. Putting her lower hooves up on the table as she took a bite from a hay and sunflower sandwich.

"Wait, aren't you supposed to be evil?" she pointed at me, "Why do all this, let alone how?"

At the first question I had Aku lean into the room, "Yes." he said dramatically and slowly, "He is terr-ibbbbb-lyyyy eeeevil and here his word is law." Aku gestured for emphasis with each word as Rainbow stared at him. Aku stared back, and they locked gazes as Aku very slowly began to lean back out of the room. The sound of creaking wood following the leaving of the master shapeshifter of evil.

"To answer the other questions," I said after Rainbows attention refixed to me, Cassette hadn't even been bugged in the slighest and continued eating her sandwich as I continued, "I am sympathetic to a bit of tragedy. Much the same reason you're here now Rainbow. As for the other question." I paused to consider telling her, and then I shrugged mentally as I said, "As for how... I craft good."

It was far easier to explain, left enough said not to confuse her, as well as kept certain secrets hidden from her. Rainbow tried to pry for more, but Cassette interrupted her, "Craft good is a bit of an understatement, you told me the lore of dozens of technological advances to build these, you're like some sort of space-wizard-engineer-magic-" she paused momentarily realizing she couldn't just tack on the word pony to the end of it since I was clearly not one, "Guy."

I for one was amused, and replied to Cassettes praise with, "The horse is strong with this one."

Rainbow facehoofed that time, hah! Two can play the horse pun game universe! I heard Rainbow mutter, "Great, Spike would of just loved this guy." As Cass let out a snort of laughter.

The conversation continued for a while after that, as Rainbow all but interrogated Cass on the life of a Wonderbolt, and several hours later, the conversation would finally lull long enough for me to ask Cass, "Sorry to interrupt but its about time for the usual check up on your augments Cass, I'll be excusing myself to get the tools ready for when you arrive."

"Ah thanks P.M. !" Cass replied, "Its been a fun chat, albiet a onesided one, but yeah I'll be up there in a bit, have fun!"

I playfully rolled my eyes, "You two as well. Rainbow, feel free to take a look everywhere but the top and bottom layers of this facility. Top layer is a bit of a health hazard and bottom is a bit..." I considered the eternal steamy and molten hell-scape that had once been the Sirens primary home, "of a deathtrap right now." The top wasn't technically a lie, I just didn't want her finding out where the base was, and the sentry turrets were a bit of a health hazard. The elevator shaft wouldn't work without my thoughts to guide GLaDOS anyway, and I had planned it in such a way that the surface would be inaccessible without using or ramming through the elevators anyway. I'd handle Introducing Rainbow to the rest of the people living here at a later portion of the day, but for now I felt like being alone to work for a little bit.

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