• Published 18th Jul 2014
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The Balance of Harmony - Thornwing



Discord's lost his mojo. Can the ponies help get it back? What happens if the balance of harmony can't be kept? Another adventure begins.

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Chapter Eight - On a Wing and a Prayer

Sunlight peeked through the corner of the upper room window. Another day had begun. For Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, however, they remained in the dark loft still unsure of why they were hiding in the first place. They had spent an uneasy and restless night there just above Gustave’s pastry shop.

When they had arrived in Griffin’s Nest, it was already late. The few Griffins they had come across had not been very hospitable – that is, until they were whisked away by Gustave. He had helped to bind Fluttershy’s wings and make her as comfortable as possible with the sparse bedding he could pull together. He explained that the ponies needed to lay low and wait until morning. Gustave left the pair in his loft for the night without so much as entertaining a single question more.

With the morning sun now prying through every crack and crevice around the heavy blanket hung in the window, Rainbow Dash felt it was time to get some answers. She made sure Fluttershy was doing ok and then quietly slipped out the door and down the stairs in search of their host.

She stayed light on her hooves as she descended the staircase. In the room below she could hear Gustave talking with another pair of Griffins. She inched closer to the shop’s back door as she tried to listen in on the conversation.

“But of course I aven’t seen any little ponies in my shop, officer.” The voice of Gustave was light and airy as he continued to answer to the guards that were questioning him. “Those –witnesses-, as you call zem, must ave been too drunk to see straight.”

“Alright, Gustave,” the first guard said pointedly, “but if you do see any ponies – you be sure and let us know right away.”

“And welcome back to town,” added the second. “I hear you won first prize at the National Dessert Competition this year – great job!”

Gustave grabbed a pair of éclairs for the guards and then they shook talons and he walked them out the front door of the shop. As soon as the coast was clear, Rainbow Dash ventured out into the room to confront the chef.

“Gustave, I need some answers,” demanded Rainbow Dash. “What is going on here?”

“Keep your voice down and come back upstairs vith me,” came the nervous answer.

Gustave grabbed another pair of éclairs and tossed one to Rainbow as he led the way back up the back steps. When they reached the upper room, he carried the other pastry over to Fluttershy and set it down next to her on a small table adjoining a half-full glass of water.

“Why thank you, Mr. le Grand.” Fluttershy nodded her head. “That’s very kind of you.”

“Alright, Gustave. We really need to know what’s going on.” Rainbow Dash came over and sat on a small stool next to Fluttershy’s bed. “Could you please tell us what’s up with those guards I just saw downstairs?”

“I will tell you vut I can, mon ami. Aving just recently returned from the National Dessert Competition, I am still discovering things myself. All is not right in Griffin’s Nest – non!”

“You got that right – what’s with this anti-pony vibe?” inquired Rainbow Dash.

“It tis all Gilda – she is out of control. She ‘as all zee Griffins riled up with some nonsense about Griffin pride. Zee guards ave orders to arrest any pony on sight.”

“I better get to the bottom of this then – it’s time I found Gilda and put a few things straight.” Rainbow Dash flapped her wings as she got up to leave.

“Non!” exclaimed Gustave. “You must remain here where it is safe. I bribed the guards with my delectable pastry – they will not be looking for you ere.”

“Yes, they are quite delicious.” Fluttershy looked up from her breakfast. A chocolate rimmed smile outlined her muzzle.

“Well, we can’t stay cooped up in your attic forever – we have to do something.” Rainbow Dash let out a sigh as she floated back down to her chair.

Rainbow Dash almost fell off that chair almost as soon as she landed due to as a sudden pounding knock on the front door downstairs that shook the entire house.

“Gustave! We know you are harboring ponies. Come out with your talons in the air!”

The trio responded together at the recognition of the voice, “Gilda!”

“Vut ave I done? This can only end badly for us all.” Gustave cringed as he tried desperately to think of another way out. “You must escape – take the back exit and fly to safety.”

“Fluttershy is in no condition to fly right now, and there’s no way I’m leaving her here like this alone.” Rainbow Dash flew over to the window and removed the blanket that was covering it. “I’m going to go out there and face her.”

She threw back the latch, pushed open the window and flew out into the morning sun.

No sooner had she burst through the open window, than a pair of Griffin guards tackled her mid-air. Another pair of Griffins dove back inside and quickly wrangled her companions. In seconds the trio were bound and brought before their captor.

“Stop it!” yelled Rainbow Dash. “You’re hurting her!”

Fluttershy gave a sharp yelp of pain, her tears now flowing freely, as she was unceremoniously dumped in line with the other two. All four hooves and both her injured wings were bound with a rough twine rope.

Rainbow Dash struggled violently against her restraints as she fought to assist her comrade. As she came to realize how useless her struggle really was, she too began to shed her own tears – tears of frustration.

“Awww, is da wittle baby Rainbow Dashie gonna cry for her mommy too?” taunted Gilda. “Maybe she needs her diaper changed and a baba as well.”

“I’m not a baby,” said Rainbow Dash trying her very hardest to sound brave, but not doing a very convincing job of it. “You’re hurting my friend – you have to stop!”

With an air of sarcasm so thick you could cut it with a knife, Gilda retorted, “Friend? How is it that –you- have any –friends-? The great Rainbow Dash doesn’t need any friends – at least that’s how I remember it.”

“What did I ever do to you, Gilda?” questioned Rainbow Dash. “You sure aren’t acting like the -friend- you used to be back in flight school.”

“I can’t believe I ever used to call you my friend – Rainbow Crash. You ponies are all alike – you think you’re –soooo- much better than the rest of us.” Gilda turned and addressed the other Griffins gathered around them. “But that ends today!”

“What are you talking about, Gilda?” continued Rainbow Dash. “Do you even hear what you are saying?”

“It’s no use,” murmured Gustave. “She’s lost er mind. You cannot reason with zee crazy Griffin.”

“Quiet, bird brain!” screeched Gilda as she whipped around to face the chef. “You’re just as bad as these ponies. They’ve gone and messed with your head!”

“You’re wrong, Gilda,” replied Fluttershy. “Gustave is our friend and friends help each other.”

“So the yellow one does talk, ehh?” Gilda grinned as a wicked idea came into her head. “Let’s just see how good of a friend you are then.”

Gilda turned and faced her fellow Griffins once again. “Fellow Griffins -lords of flight- these Pegasi think they are better than us. They think that just because they have wings, they own the sky. Even Gustave here has been fooled into believing he is their –friend-. I say we have a race and have them try and prove who the better fliers really are.”

“Any time, any place, Gilda!” exclaimed Rainbow Dash.

“I don’t think so, Dashie,” remarked Gilda with a sneer. “Let’s let this one decide Gustave’s fate.”

Gilda walked over to Fluttershy, and with a single swipe of her talon, sliced through the rope binding her legs and wings. Fluttershy cowered in fear beneath the raging Griffin.

“Rules are simple,” Gilda continued, “first flier to the lake and back gets to decide if you all go free, or if we lock you up in our cozy new dungeon.”

“That’s not fair!” shouted Rainbow Dash. “She’s injured – can’t you see she’s in no condition to fly?”

Gilda sneered. “Shouldn’t matter – since you Pegasi are all such amazing fliers, it shouldn’t be a problem, right?” Gilda gave Fluttershy’s wound a jab which sent the poor pony into another bout of pain induced sobbing.

“That tears it!!” screamed Rainbow Dash as she tore through the rope binding her legs and wings. She leaped onto Gilda and quickly wrapped the Griffin’s talons and wings in the rope that was now available. Rainbow grabbed the end of that rope and shot up into the air carrying Gilda along for the ride.

The rest of the guards didn’t quite know what to make of the situation. With their leader abducted they were at a loss for what they should do next. Were they supposed to follow and try to rescue her, or should they stay put and guard the other prisoners.

In the meantime, Rainbow Dash propelled herself and her old friend payload toward the nearby lake. In moments, they arrived. She hung her suspended captive over the water.

“Gilda we need to talk!” Rainbow Dash called down to the bound Griffin. “If you weren’t my friend, I would just drop you in this lake here for what you just did to my –good- friend, Fluttershy.”

“What do you mean, Dashie,” struggled Gilda. “We aren’t friends. You made that totally clear when I came to Ponyville.”

“You’re wrong, Gilda. I never said I didn’t want to be your friend. I only said that you needed to change your attitude so we could –continue- to be friends. I still want to be your friend, but I can’t allow my old friends to be mean to my new friends. So why you are acting the way you are – what’s gotten into you?”

“It’s kind of hard to answer when you’ve got me tied up and dangling over a lake. Could you put me down and I promise I’ll talk?”

“Deal!”

Rainbow Dash flew over to the shore and gently set Gilda down on the grassy field near where the two ponies had stopped to rest the day before. She untied her old friend and, as promised, they set to talking out their issues.

Rainbow Dash began, “Ok, now level with me. What’s gotten into you? Why are you so mad at ponies?”

“Because, Rainbow, you humiliated me in front of all your new friends in Ponyville.”

“Gilda, I already told you that was all in good fun – you just took it the wrong way. I still want to be your friend, but I need you to have a better attitude about being around my other friends as well.”

“Well, you also beat the national Griffin aerial team at the Equestria games. You ponies keep putting us Griffins down!”

“Gilda - that was just a silly competition. Nopony thinks that we’re better than you because we won one little race. In fact, I was thrilled that Team Griffin won third place – they beat out all the rest of the teams at the games and we got to share the winner’s platform together!”

“But ponies always think they own the sky – Griffins have wings too you know!”

“Look, we both have wings and we can both fly. That doesn’t make me better than you - just like it doesn’t make you better than me. It actually makes us the same. I loved hangin’ out with you back in flight school. You were such an awesome flier – I learned a lot of cool moves from you.”

“But… but… why would you still want to be my friend, even after the way I treated you?”

“Because, G, that’s what friends do – they forgive each other and move on. Now what do you say we have a friendly little race back to town and see if we can’t sort out this mess with your buddies back there too? Deal?”

Rainbow Dash stuck out her hoof in a gesture of true friendship. Gilda, still not totally sure of the whole situation reached out her talon and gently shook it. They both launched themselves into the sky and shot off in the direction of town once again.

Griffin and pony landed in the middle of the group of guards which had grown to include a large number of onlookers as well. Gustave and Fluttershy were standing in their midst engaged in a jovial conversation.

“Rainbow!” squealed Fluttershy. “I’m so glad you’re back.”

“Well, I promised I wouldn’t leave ya,” replied Rainbow Dash, “so I guess I broke my promise there for a little bit.”

“Oh, that’s alright,” chuckled Fluttershy. “These guards aren’t so bad once you get to know them.”

“What’s going on?” remarked a surprised Gilda.

The guards quickly snapped back to attention and saluted. “Sorry ma’am, the prisoner must have tricked us.”

“Actually, she’s not a prisoner – and I’m the one that tricked you all.” Gilda bowed her head and drooped her wings. “I was the one that hated the ponies and I spread my hate to all of you. I’m sorry. You can go ahead and lock me up – I certainly deserve it for the way I treated you all.”

“Nothin’ doin’, G” beamed Rainbow Dash. “Friends forgive each other – and we’re friends – remember?”

Gilda trudged over toward Fluttershy. “I don’t know how you could ever forgive me for the way I treated you, Fluttershy. All I can say is, I’m sorry.”

Fluttershy nodded. “Apology accepted.”

That’s when everything started to shake. All the buildings around the gathering of Griffins and ponies lurched from side to side. The anti-pony sign in the window of the tavern disintegrated. A dozen or more Griffins began to glow. Gilda herself was caught up in the magic and found herself being levitated off the ground by no power of her own making.

The collective glow began to diffuse into the air around the affected parties. The disintegrated sign swirled up into a funnel of magic dust. All the magical essence in town began to swim and swirl together forming into a vortex of energy – at the center of it, Fluttershy.

Fluttershy’s necklace gem began to brighten as the magical flow around her focused in on the vacant stone. The light became more and more intense as the gem filled with the energy being sucked into it. Before long, the entire town stopped shaking as the last bit of magic was drawn into the receptacle.

“What… was… that…?” said an unsteady Gilda.

Rainbow Dash chuckled and replied, “That, my friend, was the element of malice.”

Author's Note:

Somehow, the theme to Greatest American Hero popped into my head as I was writing this chapter... not sure if that really matters to be said, but just for the sake of full disclosure:

(Now if I can just get Ashleigh Ball to sing it in Rainbow Dash's voice...)

Look at what's happened to me-e.
I can't believe it myself.
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world.
It should've been somebody else...

Believe it or not, I'm walkin on air
I never thought I could feel so free-e-e
Flyin away on a wing and a prayer
Who could it be?
Believe it or not, it's just me.

Just like a light of a new day
It hit me from out of the blue
Breakin me out of the spell I was in
Makin all of my wishes come true.

Believe it or not, I'm walkin on air
I never thought I could feel so free-e-e
Flyin away on a wing and a prayer
Who could it be?
Believe it or not, it's just me.

This is too good to be true
look at me -- fallin for you

Believe it or not
Believe it or not
Believe it or not
Believe it or not

{full chorus repeats to fade}

[youtube=B4JCehDOy54]

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