• Published 4th Jun 2012
  • 28,471 Views, 2,512 Comments

Rainbooms and Royalty - Trinary



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

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The Return

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“RAINBOW DASH!” Five mares yelled at once, seeing the chromatic blue blur smash into and *through* the wall. Dust and debris was scattered everywhere. Twilight barely remembered to use her magic to keep the sprayed bits of rock from hitting her and everypony else in the face or, Celestia forbid, their eyes. Even so, there was an agonizing twenty or thirty seconds where all she could see was swirling clouds of dust and a gray streak.

One zebra bowed her head reciting a poem she had heard long ago: it served as prophecy and now as eulogy.

Demons run when a good mare goes to war
Night will fall and drown the sun
When a good mare goes to war

Friendship dies and true love lies
Night will fall and the dark will rise
When a good mare goes to war

Demons run, but count the cost
The battle's won, but the mare is lost

Zecora sighed gravelly as she looked out of the hole Dash made when she was hurled through it. Her eyes widened as she promptly fled from the room before the smoke and dust cleared.

Nightmare Moon flapped her wings, once, and cleared the room. The battle royale between the Shadowbolts on one side and the gargoyles, diamond dogs, and seaponies somehow seemed to be relegated to the background. The evil princess stepped over the prone form of one of her Shadowbolts and inclined her head to one side to avoid a gargoyle plummeting through the air.

Instead she walked over to loom over the five distraught friends of Rainbow Dash. Pinkie Pie’s lip trembled and her eyes went wide. When Dash didn’t return her hair seemed to deflate and streams of tears seemed to burst from her eyes. Rarity bawled into a scented lace hanky so overwrought that she didn’t seem to notice her makeup was running. Applejack had her hat tugged low over her face as she held Twilight tight, the unicorn sobbing and shaking. Fluttershy…was silent. Her face was hidden behind her long pink mane.

Nightmare Moon smiled. “What ever is the matter?” She asked coldly, startling them into noticing her. Except for Fluttershy. She was unmoved. “Ah yes, could you be missing your newfound friend? A shame.” The dark princess walked around them, her voice sounding like she was half musing to herself and half carrying on a civil conversation. “But really, she brought it upon herself. Now, if you’re through with the folly of challenging me, perhaps we can resolve this amica—”

“You.” The one simple word, softly spoken, cut through the Nightmare’s dissembling like a hot knife through butter. Everypony turned to see its source: it was Fluttershy.

“What was that?” Nightmare Moon asked, smugly. “I didn’t quite catch that. You’ll have to speak up…oh that’s right. You can’t. You’re Fluttershy, meek, cowardly, defenseless Fluttershy. The pony who always hid under Rainbow Dash’s wings like a fledgling. But she’s not here anymore, is she? So tell me…what do you have to say for yourself?” She tilted her head, curious.

Fluttershy, raised her head, her mane falling to the side and revealing her face. Her soft teal eyes were hard and cold as ice. “You.” She said again, her teeth gritting together. “You. Big. JERK!” Her voice raised itself to a loud roar that shocked everypony. “Now you've made me angry.” She pawed the ground with her hoof. Very…VERY…VERYANGRY!!!” Fluttershy snarled the last word as she hurled herself at Nightmare Moon, her hoof outstretched. There was a resounding crack as her hoof connected with Nightmare Moon’s jaw, sending the dark alicorn hurtling backwards. Stumbling, she fell head over hooves over a pile of rubble and collapsed—pitched against one of the remaining stone pillars.

Applejack’s mouth opened and shut a few times before she was able of producing sound. “W-whoa.”

As meek as it was, the sound of Applejack’s voice snapped Fluttershy out of her rage. She shivered from the adrenaline rushing through her and the horror of what she just did. “O-oh my! I’m so sorry, I didn't mean to get upset!” Fluttershy fell over herself apologizing.

“Trust me sugarcube, we don’t mind! Feel free to stay upset!” AJ urged. “Stay upset—aw, nuts.” She winced as Nightmare Moon climbed back to her hooves, her armor dusty and looking incredibly incensed.

“YOU DARE LAY A HOOF ON YOUR QUEEN?!” She bellowed, shaking the very room with her might. Her eyes lit up with dark power as she spread her wings. “You shall not escape my wrath!” Her attention briefly flickered to the Shadowbolts. “BEGONE!”

At her command the Shadowbolts pushed, pulled or lured the allies of the ponies away. The gargoyles flew after the Shadowbolts, continuing their aerial dogfight outside the confines of the castle. The Diamond Dogs ran down the steps and out into the open to join them while the seaponies dove back down and swam through the fountain pipes and back into the river outside.

This left the five mares alone with Nightmare Moon. “There’s no one left to save you now.” She confirmed, lowering her horn as if to charge.

Twilight looked around. Applejack and Fluttershy stood to her left, Rarity and Pinkie Pie to her right. Shining Armor was still out cold in the corner and the two royal guard pegasi who had turned into the original Shadowbolts were crumpled by the wall. Her eyes narrowed. Could it be that there was still hope?

“You’re wrong Nightmare Moon!” She proclaimed, surprising herself. “We have each other. You’re the one who’s all alone. And that’s why we’ll defeat you!”

“Yeah!” Pinkie Pie hopped up. “So you have to ask yourself…have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? Oh wait, wrong question. And you’re supposed to ask that aren’t you? Well, he’s got four left hooves anyway, so--”

“Pinkie.” AJ muttered. “Not now.”

Fluttershy took a deep nervous breath, but her voice was even. “Rainbow Dash wouldn’t give up. And we won’t either!”

“Indeed!” Rarity nodded.

Twilight’s horn flashed. “Ready girls?”

“Ready!”

She nodded. Alright. Okay, she thought to herself. What would a brave pony like Rainbow Dash do? Her eyes narrowed as the answer came to her. She pawed at the ground, lowering her head.

“You’re kidding. You’re kidding right?” Nightmare Moon questioned.

CHAAARGE!

& & &

Rainbow Dash was falling through the clouds. They were white, fluffy, and inviting. She dove right into one and snuggled in deep. Aah. This was the best napping place ever. She could just sleep here forever. Dash cuddled up into the cloud. It was soft and inviting and warm.

Wait, since when were clouds warm? Or that shade of gray? And have two great big soft golden eyes…okay this was officially getting weird. “Rainbow Dash! Wake up!” The cloud seemed to shake and dissolve as everything was suddenly re-arranged.

Everything was dark which temporarily panicked Rainbow until she realized that her eyes were closed. Opening them seemed to strain more muscles than fifteen barrel roles and a loup de loup. Still, slowly they opened revealing a grayish smudge that eventually reconstituted itself as a familiar face, bracketed against the dark sky above. They were hovering in midair. Apparently she’d been caught before she hit the ground. That was a plus.

“Hey…Ditzy.” Dash croaked, her voice hoarse. “…’sup? Hurk!” Her exclamation was caused by Ditzy Doo wrapping her forelegs around Rainbow’s middle and squeezing the air out of her.

“Rainbow Dash!” The distraught gray mare hiccupped, wiping tears from her face with her wing. “A-are you okay?”

The bruised blue pegasus squirmed, suddenly feeling each and every bruise on her. “Ditzy…yer squashing me.”

“Oh, sorry!” Ditzy apologized weakly, gently lowering them down to the ground. “That better?” She asked as she leaned Rainbow Dash up against a small pile of bricks.

Rainbow grunted, getting comfortable as she flexed and tested to see what was injured and what wasn’t. “That’ll do.”

Satisfied, Ditzy Doo sat down on a small pile next to hers. She had no sooner done so then there was an audible crack and the pile fell apart, causing Ditzy to land hard on her backside. “Whoops!” Ditzy said sheepishly. “My bad.”

That made Rainbow Dash chuckle despite the pain it caused. How could somepony who literally have bubbles on her flank and eat muffins all day still manage to have buns of steel?

Shaking her head, Dash tried to focus. “Okay, oh ow.” She winced as she strained her head to examine herself. There was a singed patch on her side where she’d been struck by lightning and her back ached where it slammed into—and through—the wall. Flapping her wings didn’t seem to hurt…at least the wings themselves were okay. “Okay, so things could be worse. They could be a lot better, but they could be worse.” She looked at Ditzy. “Thanks. I owe you one.”

Ditzy gave a weak smile. “You saved me from Nightmare Moon.” She got up and nuzzled Dash. “I’m the one that owes YOU.”

“Perhaps the matter of debts and repayment can be settled at a later date, otherwise the world will never be saved at this rate.” The two pegasi turned to see Zecora limping towards them.

“Zecora! How’d you get out here?” Rainbow Dash asked.

The zebra shrugged mysteriously and brushed the question aside. “That is not what I came here to do. Your friends stand against Nightmare Moon and they need you.”

“WHAT?!” Rainbow shot to her hooves, promptly regretting it by the not-so subtle reminder from her injured back and side. “Why aren’t you there helping them?”

Zecora’s mouth thinned into a straight line. “I have done all I can, and more besides. But it is you, not I, who can turn the tides. Your presence is what is needed to use the Elements of Harmony to their fullest. Otherwise, they are just so much bits of rock, utterly useless.”

“Be nice if you told me just what I was supposed to do with them.” Rainbow grumbled as she flexed her wings experimentally. When they tugged on the muscles in her back, she felt a sharp twinge of pain. Seeing her expression, Zecora hurried to her side. From her saddlebag she pulled out a bottle and started applying it to her back and her singed side. Rainbow Dash hissed before the cool mixture started to sooth her injuries. “Just what are the Elements of Harmony anyway?”

After placing her bottle back in her bag, Zecora looked at her. “It is not a matter of explanation, but of revelation. You must understand harmony truly means. Otherwise a victory will be merely the stuff of dreams.”

“Great.” Rainbow groused, even as she stretched her now pain-free body. “I’ve gotta get back then.” She looked around. “You guys, don’t follow me. I want you to try and sneak in and get Shining Armor, Steelwing and Silver Lining out. Think you can do that?”

Ditzy saluted. “You betcha!” Zecora nodded.

“Good.” Dash flapped her wings. “Time to show Nightmare Moron that it takes more than a little lightning to stop Rainbow Dash!”

“Rainbow, wait.”

“Yeah Ditz, what’s—huh?” Rainbow was surprised to find herself wrapped up in a hug from Ditzy. She didn’t say a word or lessen her grip until Rainbow Dash took the hint and hugged her back. Ditzy was more than an old camp counselor. She was like…well, everything Rainbow Dash ever needed growing up: a big sister, best friend, and step-mom rolled into one. Ditzy was the pony who always tried to encourage Dash and keep her out of trouble, and at the same time was the one Dash always had to defend against ponies who thought Ditzy was dumb or slow.

“Rainbow Dash?” Ditzy said softly. “Can you promise me one thing?”

She nodded. “Of course Ditzy. Name it.”

“C-can you…I mean…will you take care of Dinky?" She asked quickly.

Dash pulled back so she could look Ditzy in the eyes, er, well, eye. “Ditzy is this really the—” Then it hit what Ditzy was asking. She was making preparations in case she didn’t come back. “Oh.” She swallowed. “Of course. I’d be honored.” Then she smiled. “I bet Dinks will be happy when we get back and tell her that I plan to spend a lot more time with you two.” She stressed, leaving no question that both of them would be going home. Then she turned to Zecora. “You watch your stripy rump too Z.”

“This I shall endeavor to do, if my rump means so much to you.” Quipped the zebra with a smile.

“Alright then. Let’s go!”

& & &

Nightmare Moon laughed as she swatted aside yet another magical blast from Twilight Sparkle. “Haha, come now, is that all?”

The lavender unicorn panted in exhaustion. Things had not been going so well. The worst part was that Nightmare Moon was content with merely toying with them, not seeing them as a real threat. And from what Twilight could see, she might not have been far wrong.

Despite their best efforts they couldn’t seem to land a blow on Nightmare Moon. She didn’t even dodge, refusing to give them the satisfaction of knowing that they *might* have been able to hurt her. With flashes of lightning and arcane magic she hurled against them time and time again, the five heroic but overpowered mares were tossed aside again and again. Only Twilight had any luck in weathering the storm of fierce magic and retaliating with some of her own. But her power was no match for Nightmare Moon’s.

The dark mare chuckled as Twilight fought for breath. “Come now, why do you persist? You can’t really have any expectation of winning against me, can you?” There was no answer from Twilight besides an indignant snort. “Ah, how erudite. I see Rainbow Dash has been rubbing off on you.” She grinned cruelly, twisting the knife. “Ah, I know! You think that the fabled Elements of Harmony will save the day for you!” Nightmare laughed as she used her magic to levitate the six stone spheres into the air. “Allow me to spare you the disappointment, by taking care of that now!” With a swift motion of her head she hurled them to the ground, smashing them to pieces.

“No….” Twilight’s face paled as bits of the Elements rained down, the sound of Nightmare Moon laughing drowned out as if coming from far away. She didn’t even notice the Nightmare’s horn glowing again as she pulled Twilight away. Twilight found herself magically bound and hovering in front of the dark mare, her friends surrounding her in a similar state. No matter how they struggled or fought, they couldn’t move or break free.

Nightmare Moon smiled at them. “Stand witness my little ponies! Your strategies have failed, your weapons are useless, and...oh, yes, the end of harmony has come!” She laughed. “The moon shall never again wane, hanging in the sky providing light and sustenance to those who would obey me. I shall banish the garish light of day and all will worship me! I am the ruler of the night. I am your princess, I am—”

“The ruler of long-winded introductions!” Rainbow Dash interjected as she flew in, stopping before the dark ruler, stunning everypony present with her blatant disregard for the laws of probability which dictated that she should be dead by this point. “Do you EVER stop talking about yourself?” Dash continued. “The night shall last forever, all shall love me and despair, eternal reign, unlimited rice pudding, yadda yadda yadda…yeah, we GOT it! Change the record!”

“Rainbow Dash!” Twilight and the others shouted, overjoyed to see her.

Nightmare Moon was not so pleased, especially at being cut off mid-rant. “You’re supposed to be dead!” The dark ruler of Equestria snarled.

Rainbow shrugged casually. “Sorry, sounded boring. Had plans. Feel free to try it yourself if you’d like.” She tensed, waiting for the inevitable explosion from the ruler of nightmares but instead, Nightmare Moon exhaled.

“It seems I’ve underestimated you.”

“Yeah, I’ll bet you ha—wait, what?” Dash was NOT expecting this. Nightmare Moon inclined her head, her posture one of ease and her tone of…begrudging respect? What the hay?

Walking down from her dais, Nightmare Moon approached Rainbow Dash, spreading her wings. “We need to talk.” Her mane and tail spread out, surrounding and engulfing the two of them, cutting them off from sight and sound from the outside world.

& & &