• Published 4th Jun 2012
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Rainbooms and Royalty - Trinary



Alternate Universe: Filly Rainbow Dash has just performed her Sonic Rainboom when she gets a visitor

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Loss

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Rainbow Dash’s wings flared back as she pawed the ground. “G-get back!” She snorted, transitioning from mourning Celestia to raging against the reason Celestia was gone. “I’m warning you!”

Nightmare Moon tossed her head back and laughed. “Such arrogance! Who are you to warn ME, foal?”

Growling Rainbow Dash hurled herself at the dark mare, her front hoof outreached and ready to smash her in the snout. Then in less than a second she stopped, her hoof less than an inch away from Nightmare Moon and faintly glowing with a purple aura. Rainbow struggled but could not get her hoof—or any other part of her—to budge.

Nightmare Moon looked down at her. “Attempting to lay a hoof on royalty is punishable by death….still,” she went on. “Your speed is most impressive. I will spare your life if you answer my question: where is Celestia? I can feel her presence, I know she was here. Where is she?”

Pain squeezed Rainbow’s heart but she kept her voice defiant. “She had someplace important to be…I think she was having her hooves done.”

Hot breath billowed in Dash’s face as Nightmare Moon snorted angrily. “Impudent…very well. If you shall not tell me, then I shall rip the answers from your mind!” Her eyes glowed white as she lowered her horn to a spot right between Rainbow’s eyes. The pegasus tried not to close her eyes but the feeling that she was about to be impaled on this monster’s horn was too strong.

There was a burning, searing sensation that came from inside Rainbow’s own head. She couldn’t help let out a shriek as a torrent of thoughts and images poured through her mind. The intensity and speed of these thoughts was painful enough but the sensation of having this dark…presence shifting through them with the semi-bored indifference of somepony looking through a photo album made it all tens time worse. After what’ve might been seconds or hours, Rainbow Dash felt herself forcibly recalling her last moments with Celestia. She railed, fighting against giving this monster anything she wanted, but it was no use.

Nightmare Moon clenched her teeth. “So…after denying me my birthright, my throne, and my freedom she even denies me my revenge!” Her eyes blared in a rage. With a howl born of pure anger, she unleashed her fury upon the now empty room, destroying the bed and furniture with her magic, reducing them to splinters.

Rainbow Dash groaned, her head aching as she still hung in the grips of Nightmare’s magic, temporarily forgotten but still unable to move. It wasn’t long before Nightmare Moon remembered her. “You…who are you? And why did Celestia speak only to you before she passed?” Her eyes narrowed, reviewing what had ripped from Rainbow’s memories. “Rainbow Dash…YOU are Celestia’s student?” She laughed loudly.

“What’s so funny?” Dash snarled.

She had never seen so much malice packed into a single smile as she did when Nightmare Moon smiled at her. “Even after a thousand years, I see Celestia’s sense of humor is unchanged. The most bull-headed, intractable, unimpressive, dullard in all of Equestria…of course she would choose you to be her protege! What a joke!”

“Shut up!” Rainbow barked. “That’s a load of horseapples!”

“Come now…how can I lie when I am going by your own memories?” Sharp teeth protruded as the mare of darkness grinned. “You know just how much of a failure you are…so why deny it?”

Rainbow clenched her teeth so hard that it hurt. “I’m going to buck you right in the dark side of your moon!” She promised.

With a toss of her head Nightmare Moon sent Rainbow Dash hurtling through the closed door with a smash. She sailed out into the main hall just in time to hear Ponyville’s Mayor announce “…the bringer of harmony to all of Equestria! Princess—my word?!” There was a shocked gasp as Rainbow went careening into the refreshment table, which broke upon impact. Her vision exploded into stars.

“Rainbow Dash!” She faintly heard some pony—or perhaps ponies—calling her but it sounded like she had cotton in her ears. Reaching up with a hoof to check she found that it was actually cake frosting. Shaking her head she then looked up to see Applejack, Twilight, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Fluttershy standing over her looking concerned.

“Are you alright sugarcube?” “My heavens that was a nasty tumble!” “Oh my goodness, are you okay?” “What happened?” “Ooh that was a neat trick! Do it again! Do it again!”

“S-shining Armor…” She asked, a touch dazed. The mares stepped back to allow the captain of the guard access.

Kneeling down, he helped sit her up. “I’m right here Dashie…what happened? Are you okay? Where’s Princess Celestia?”

Swallowing a bitter lump, Dash looked down. “C-celestia…she—she’s gone!”

“Shining Armor’s eyes widened. “What do you mean gone? She left?” Rainbow Dash shook her head slowly. “What happened?” He demanded urgently. “What’s going on?”

Rainbow Dash pointed to the balcony where Princess Celestia was to appear…only it was now occupied by Nightmare Moon herself. “Oh, my beloved subjects. It's been so long since I've seen your precious, little sun-loving faces.”

“What did you do with the Princess?!” Shining Armor demanded his horn glowing menacingly as the two pegasi guards flanked him on either side.

Nightmare Moon chuckled. “Why, am I not royal enough for you? Don't you know who I am?”

Rainbow Dash faintly heard Pinkie Pie going on about something but she wasn’t listening. She was glaring at the Nightmare so intently that one would think she could strike her down with merely her eyes.

Shining Armor’s face looked as if it could’ve been carved from granite. “Where is Princess Celestia? Answer me now!”

Nightmare Moon glowered down. “Celestia is no more—I am your Princess now!” Startled gasps and cries tore through the assembled ponies. “Bow before me!” She demanded.

“Never.” Shining’s horn shimmered and a pink sphere was conjured, trapping Nightmare Moon inside. The pegasi guards flew up and maintained position on either side of the bubble. “I place you under arrest in the name of—”

“FOALS!” Nightmare bellowed. Her ethereal mane and tail grew until it engulfed her and filled the entire sphere. Soon the sphere started to strain and despite all of Shining Armor’s efforts, it shattered. Once again Nightmare Moon stood revealed, her teal-eyes turning white as she conjured up lightning from the dark clouds that issued from her own mane and tail. The two pegasi guards were struck and sent hurtling down to the ground where they laid unconscious. Pandemonium reigned. Terrified foals cried for the parents as ponies tried to rush for the door, only to have them magically sealed before they could escape. Fluttershy’s bird chorus panicked and flew this way and that, huddling in the rafters. Fluttershy herself cowered behind the ruins of the refreshment table, covering her head with her hooves and sobbing in fear. Shining Armor focused and sent out a beam of magical energy straight at Nightmare Moon. Her semi-prehensile mane swatted it aside with ease. Once again her eyes turned white.

“Shiny! Run!” Rainbow Dash called. But Shining Armor stood firm, summoning a shield in front of him with his magic. The lightning cut through his shield as if it weren’t there and struck him dead on. With a pained yell and a holler, the brave guard collapsed, smoking slightly.

“Shining Armor!” Rainbow and Twilight called as one as they charged forward to check on him. They breathed a sigh of relief when they saw him stir. The wounded stallion groaned but was unable to climb to his hooves.

“Shiny…” Rainbow Dash bit her lip as Twilight nuzzled her brother.

From above, Nightmare Moon regarded the terrified ponies below. “Are there any others who would challenge me?”
Silence reigned until the sharp cry of a foal broke out. The dark princess glared at the source of the noise: a lavender-gray unicorn filly sobbing fitfully. Rainbow Dash recognized her. It was Dinky. Ditzy Doo, seeing the monster’s attention being drawn to her daughter, did what any mother would. “You stay away from my muffin!” Ditzy cried, flying up in an attempt to distract Nightmare Moon.

“Ditzy, don’t!!” Rainbow called, taking to the air right before Ditzy was struck in the chest, falling to the floor. Panicked ponies backed away, fearful of drawing the dark princess’ attention.

“MAMA!!” Dinky wailed as she tried to run to her mother’s side, held back only by the rush of the crowd away from her.

Rainbow Dash’s jaw trembled before she clenched it. “YOU—MONSTER!!” She hurled herself straight at her.

Nightmare Moon snorted derisively at the cyan pegasus—right before Rainbow’s hoof solidly impacted against her cheek. She was amazed even while being incensed. She hadn’t blinked nor even turned away or even let her attention slacken for an instant. One moment Rainbow Dash was on the other side of the hall and the next moment she was just…there. However, her surprising blow did not even cause Nightmare Moon’s head to turn. Once more she bound the struggling pegasus with her mane, regarding her like an interesting bug that had flown up to her face.

“Such fire…” She mused aloud. “I have a proposal for you.”

Rainbow shuddered. She didn't like the sound of that. “Not a million years!”

“SILENCE!” Nightmare Moon bellowed. “I offer you a position of power and greatness…the chance to be everything Celestia kept you from becoming.”

Dash snorted. “I offer you the chance to go buck—HNRG!!” She grunted as Nightmare squeezed the air from her lungs. Rainbow struggled but couldn’t break free.

The wicked mare held her aloft. “Behold Rainbow Dash—the student and protege of Princess Celestia.” Dash winced and couldn’t help casting her eyes over to where Twilight, Applejack and the others were gathered.

The farmpony’s eyes widened as she repeated “Princess Celestia’s student? Rainbow Dash?” Rarity held a hoof up to her face as she collapsed backwards in a faint.

Pinkie whistled. “Oooh…I bet her tests are really, really hard!”

Nightmare Moon continued. “Let her fate serve as an example to those who would oppose me!” Her eyes shimmered. Rainbow Dash tensed, waiting for something horrible to happen. It did but not in the way she expected.

Chancing a quick peek, Dash saw the dark mare’s focus was not on her, but on the crowd below. Ditzy Doo and the two unconscious pegasi royal guards floated upwards like marionettes on strings. “These…shall be my minions.”

An extension of her dark mane and tail swirled around and enveloped the three pegasi. Rainbow struggled and the crowd looked up with sheer terror. When the cloud drew back, in place of Ditzy and the guards, there were three pegasi with bat-like wings and blue manes and tails. They wore purple and black uniforms with gold tinted goggles that were a cruel parody of the Wonderbolts uniforms. In the middle was a mare, clearly their leader, who was flanked on either side by two stallions in identical garb. Their eyes glowed with malice as they flew under their own power, circling around their master.

Rainbow Dash felt her jaw drop. “D-ditz? Ditzy? Guys?” Ice shot threw her veins. “No…c’mon it’s me! Rainbow Dash!”

Ditzy Doo, or at least the mare who now stood in her place, regarded her with a sneer. Nightmare Moon smiled cruelly. “I don’t think she recognizes you…or that name.” Turning to her minions she asked. “Tell us, who are you?”

“We are the darkness.” The guard on the right hissed, flying past Rainbow Dash on one side.

“We are the doom.” Said the other, as he passed her on the other.

Ditzy Doo smiled wickedly. “We are the army of glory and gloom.” She bowed her head to Nightmare Moon, followed by her two companions. “We are…the Shadowbolts!”

Nightmare Moon laughed. “Wonderful! And now…for my captain.” Her eyes turned white once again and a large white unicorn started to float up in the air.

“No!” Twilight cried. “Shining Armor!” Her horn flashed purple as she tried to tug her brother back down to the ground. “You can’t take him! Let him go!”

A bolt of lightning struck the ground right in front of her, knocking Twilight back and breaking her focus. Soon Shining Armor hovered before Nightmare Moon. She cast an evil look at Rainbow Dash who was struggling with all her strength to break free. “Say farewell.” Taunted the evil princess.

“Let him go!” Rainbow struggled.

“Why should I?” The Nightmare leered.

“Because if you don’t I’ll…I’ll…” Rainbow Dash grunted, trying to think of an appropriate threat.

“Sounds serious. Still…” Nightmare Moon put on an overly-contemplative look. “I’ll spare your little…friend here. If you ask. Nicely.”

Dash grit her teeth so hard they threatened to break. “Let Shining Armor go…please.”

“Not enough!” Decreed the mare of darkness. “Go on, beg! I want to hear you grovel.”

Rainbow Dash felt hot tears of helpless rage and humiliation build in her eyes. She had to clamp down on the urge to scream and curse this…THING until her throat was raw. But she couldn’t let anything happen to Shining Armor. “Please…let Shining Armor go. And Ditzy and the others. I’ll do…whatever you want.” She hung her head.

Nightmare Moon tossed her head and laughed. “I already have what I want.” She dismissively tossed Rainbow Dash against the wall. The back of Rainbow’s head exploded in pain as stars spun in her eyes. She dimly saw Nightmare Moon envelop Shining Armor just as she had done with the pegasi as he too, was transformed. Dash heard Twilight’s screams and protests as Applejack held her back.

Shining Armor’s hair and coat turned dark blue, almost violet and his armor changed colors to match his new master’s. His eyes glimmered the same color as the Shadowbolts’ goggles and he bowed as Nightmare Moon deposited him next to her on the balcony. The Shadowbolts joined them.

Narrowing her eyes, the new ruler of Equestria looked down on the fallen Rainbow Dash. “You have lost your teacher, your friends, your place and your pride. I have taken everything from you.” Louder she called to the entire hall. “If anypony dares oppose me again, you will envy her fate. Remember this day, little ponies, for it was your last. From this moment forth, the night will last forever!” She cackled, lightning striking. Her mane and tail billowed as it surrounded her and her new minions. Then with a whiff and a puff of purple smoke, they were gone.

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