• Published 1st Oct 2014
  • 3,678 Views, 438 Comments

Story Shuffle - FanOfMostEverything

Thirty-one one-shots inspired by thirty-one random Magic cards.

  • ...

Prismatic Mercy

"Wake up, Rainbow."

A massive yawn, and Rainbow Dash did just that. She blinked the sleep out of her eyes and nodded to her personal assistant, taking the offered cup of coffee with both hooves. After emptying it, she said, "Morning, Keyring. What's on the agenda for today?"

Keyring, a bald, bronze-coated pegasus stallion, pulled a clipboard out from under his wing. "Well, you'll be training the 'Bolts in about an hour. The Council of Friendship will be convening at noon; Princess Twilight and Lady Pie have both assured me that it will be catered this time. You have a private air show scheduled for your fan club at four this afternoon. Scootaloo says she'll be able to do the duet performance with you. And at seven this evening, you'll be inducting two more knights into the Order of Loyalty."

"Excellent." Dash dragged herself out of bed and began her morning stretches. After the Wonderbolts moved their headquarters to Ponyville, it would be really bad form to show up unready. "Though you know Twilight and Pinkie don't want ponies to make big deals out of their titles."

"Until I receive their explicit permission, I will continue to refer to them as their station demands."

"Please." Dash shook her head. "You won't even talk to them. Because that's 'as their station demands.'" She waved off his reply. "I know, I know. We've driven this into the ground more than once. We probably need to get going anyway."

Rainbow looked over the Wonderbolt recruits and saw that they were good. Not up to her level, of course, but that was why she was here. She'd started to suspect she was being snowballed as ever more hoops popped up to fly through, but it turned out that that was because she wasn't being trained to be a Wonderbolt; she was being trained to be a trainer.

A single awesome flier was good. An entire squadron of similarly awesome fliers? That was why they'd hired her.

"I've thought this through very carefully," said Twilight. "I know it will be good for the town, and I believe it will be good for all of Equestria. Still, I'm only one pony. Are there any objections?" She looked around the crystalline council chamber.

No voices or hooves were raised in protest. Dash's were a bit busy with her pie. Oh, she'd been listening, and the plan did sound good. But this was really good pie.

"Boys and girls of all ages and species!" Spike's voice echoed across the field. "Presenting the one, the only, Rainbow Dash!"

One swoop of their heads, and they were cheering their little lungs out.

"With Ponyville's Princess of Peril, you know her, you love her, Scootaloo!"

Diving from above, Scootaloo hovered next to her idol. They exchanged a hoofbump, and the show truly began.

A castle courtyard. Not exactly where Dash wanted to do this, but Celestia insisted, and even Dash couldn't just say no to her. Now how did that speech go again? Oh yeah. "For your service to Equestria, your unflinching devotion, and your overall awesomeness, it is my pleasure and honor to induct you into the Order of Loyalty."

Soarin' and Spitfire had only been the first of Dash's knights. She'd inducted a few more over the years, but it was these two she wanted to see most of all. She slipped the lightning bolt medallions over each of their necks, ignored whatever had gotten in her eyes, and said, "Rise, Dame Gilda kra-Gisela and Dame Lightning Dust."

Her old friend and her mirror image, finally as awesome as she knew they always could be. It was like a dream come true...

Dash opened her eyes, blinked blearily, and took stock of the situation.

She felt like death warmed over. Her vision was still blurry with sleep, but the sounds, smells, and shades of what she could perceive told an all too familiar story: she was in Ponyville General. Fan-feathering-tastic.

"Rainbow! You're awake!" Well, that settled the matter of who the wad of pink was.

"Hey, Fluttershy." Dash winced at the croak that had come out of her mouth. Weak, in every sense of the word. "Could I get some water?"

Fluttershy gave the littlest gasp. "Of course!"

As the other pegasus puttered about with a pitcher, Dash's vision began to clear. At least, she thought it was clearing. Still, that raised a number of questions. "Uh, Shy?"

A half-empty glass presented itself before her muzzle. "If it's too much, just wave a hoof."

Dash drank. Water had no right tasting that good. "Thanks. But..." Yeah, no sense pussyfooting here. "Why is there a snake on the bed?" And there was totally a snake on the bed. Granted, it was a pretty cool looking snake, what with the rainbow effect on the scales along its face and belly, but still. Snake. Hospital bed. Not a good match.

"Ah." Fluttershy looked at the snake, and Dash learned that snakes can't sweat, because if they could, that one would've been soaking the sheets. It wasn't a full-bore Stare, but it was definitely a Look, and Fluttershy had a real mean Look when she wanted one. "Miss Phagi here is the one who put you in the hospital."

"Oh." Dash glared at the snake. It didn't get a capital letter or anything, but still. "Did she?"

"She has been thoroughly chastised," Fluttershy said in a tone like an angry mom, all hard tones and disappointment. "She is very sorry for biting you and injecting you with one of the more dangerous venoms in the Everfree, and was considerate enough to provide a sample so the doctors could synthesize an antivenin." She was muzzle to muzzle with the snake at this point. "Wasn't she?"

Dash was a little concerned at this point. Probably just splashover from being near a very angry Fluttershy. "Shy, I appreciate you putting the fear of... well, you in the snake, but I don't think the hospital will appreciate snake poop on their sheets."

Fluttershy didn't move her gaze. "Miss Phagi is a lotus cobra," she said, her insistent tone promising that there would be consequences if Dash didn't listen. "Her venom contains a potent magical neurotoxin with both hallucinogenic and paralytic properties. Her victims see their greatest desires until they stop breathing. I had less than half an hour to rush you and her here from the old castle. I will reimburse the hospital for the detergent."

A subject change seemed prudent. "You got me and the snake here from the old castle that fast?"

"If I hadn't, you'd have died."

Dash's eyes started to water. They must have been sensitive from being closed for so long. "Thanks, Shy."

Fluttershy just smiled. "It's what you would do for me."

Author's Note:

In a forest full of timberwolves and cragodiles, lotus cobras don't seem at all far-fetched. I decided to go with the classic sort of fantasy lotus, hence the cobra's name.

Besides, Lotus Cobra is Evil.

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