• Published 2nd Jul 2012
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The Rainbow Crusade - TheRainbowDashShow

The Cutie Mark Crusaders mission to save Rainbow Dash's job turns into something much larger

  • ...

Chapter 10

Crackling fire, faint snoring from a still sleeping filly, and the continual clanking of hail outside were the only sounds which could be heard throughout the dark house.

Five ponies sat around the living room, eyeing one another. Occasionally one would open their mouth to speak but, unsure of what to say, words never formed. So the hailstorm's sound continued on without being interrupted.

Hours quietly passed by as the group continued to make last-ditch efforts to say something. Ultimately, they found it hard to express what they wanted and so opted for staying on their own sides of the room and thinking instead.

Finally, the pattering of hailstones drew to a close and the sun crept its way through the heavy storm clouds which tried to block its path. Rainbow Dash got up, headed to the kitchen, lit the gas stove, and placed a kettle on the burner. After several minutes, the pot began to whistle quietly. She removed it from the stovetop and mixed in a few spoonfuls of coffee mix.

Taking the whistling as their cue, the four other ponies clambered to their hooves and trotted silently into the kitchen where they each took their own respective seats at the dining room table. During all of this, no pony said a word as they were each were poured a steaming cup of coffee. The expressions on each of their faces were more than enough to communicate that something was on each of their minds.

After a moment's hesitation Scootaloo looked up and glanced around the room's four other occupants. They all seemed far more bothered than she was.

"So," Scootaloo started awkwardly, trying to make conversation. "uh… how is everypony?"

The four grumbled muffled responses simultaneously.

"Well that's good." Scootaloo said sarcastically, rolling her eyes. She stood up from her seat, hopped down, and bounced towards the black Pegasus who had dropped her head into her hooves. "You okay Raven?" she asked cautiously. "How's the wing?"

"My wing is fine. It was just a little sprain." Raven Flame responded. She then laced a hoof around Scootaloo's neck and pulled her in close er. "And I'm okay, just a little tired," she said. "What about you?"

"Me? I'm great!" Scootaloo said cheerily, sporting a wide grin in an attempt to bounce some of her positivity to Raven.

"Guess you're the only one." Raven responded glumly, letting go of Scootaloo's neck.

"Right…" Scootaloo said a little awkwardly. "Uh, how about you Twilight? You look pretty down, what's up?"

"I… I don't want to talk about it," Twilight said, sounding worried as her head hung low.

"Is any pony going to say anything besides me?" Scootaloo asked, sounding a little agitated.

A long silence hung in the air before Twilight spoke, looking up at Scootaloo. "I… I had a strange dream last night," she said.

Every pony looked up at Twilight at this.

"What was your dream about?" Raven Flame asked, growing concerned.

"It was…" Twilight's voice trailed off as she looked into the visibly dying embers of the fireplace from across the house. Her mind drifted into thought about the flames.

The flames had been easily manageable, so controllable, but, she realized, if agitated the right way they could grow alarmingly fast and break free from its secured environment. She could learn all there was to learn about magic, but book after book she never found what she was searching for. Only one thing truly alarmed her; herself. How alike she continually found herself in relation with the flames startled her. She too could build up into so much more, if she only allowed herself. It was a risk that pricked at the back of her mind, begging for an opportunity to be released. But she denied it, just like every other time. However, as the craving to push herself further expanded, so did the fear of herself and what she knew she could be capable of...

Suddenly there was a loud and startling crackle from a charred log. "I… I have to go!" Twilight said, ignoring the other's stares of confusion. The Unicorn rose from her seat and sprinted out the kitchen via the front door.

Outside, the ground was enclosed with a thick sheet of ice and the sky was a pale and saddening gray. The sun barely shone, almost as if it didn't want to reveal itself to the occupants below.

Twilight's dream continued to bounce around in her thoughts as she walked a further away from the house. The destruction she could so easily cause if pushed over the edge even once. The idea terrified her because, when she had been just a filly, she realized she could have easily destroyed all of Canterlot.

"What if she's right?" Twilight thought to herself. "What if I am nothing more than a bomb waiting to go off?"

Shaking her head, she tried to dismiss those thoughts. But they continued to linger. All it would've taken was to become frightened when she was a filly. Absolutely anything could trigger a second event, and if Shadow Scorn was right, then nothing could stop her.

Two ideas suddenly popped into her head. Two very difficult decisions she could make that perhaps would spare all of Ponyville if her dream were real.

On one hoof, she could leave. She could run from Ponyville and hide herself away from the rest of Equestria. However, she still risked losing herself and there was always the possibility that something, or somewhere else, might suffer instead. Although she would subject herself to solitude, nothing could guarantee that she wouldn't be set off by something else. If that became the case, she knew she could easily abolish any nearby forests close to where she resided. And if she lived near any households, those could be destroyed as well.

On the other hoof, she could do something that pained her to even think about. It was a thought that no Unicorn would ever consider. It would guarantee safety to everypony and she would not have to leave her friends. But the cost of such security would be something she still wasn't sure she could live with.

"If I do it, I'll lose my magic forever."

With a frightened sigh, she continued to weigh the options. Should she run from Ponyville and leave her friends behind. Or should she sacrifice her most prized possession—her horn?

Scootaloo watched as Twilight bolted from the kitchen and out the door. "Well, that was weird," she said shortly after. Every pony seemed to be back in their slumpish states. "Applejack," Scootaloo said after a moment. "Are you okay?"

"Ah could be better…" Applejack answered, staring down dejectedly at the table. The aged and torn wood felt almost as if were staring right back at her. She couldn't help but realize that once it had been part of a tall and mighty tree. It had stood so tall and vast, but now it was nothing more than a scraggly bit of run down lumber. She sighed, it could have been used for so much more, but here it stayed with them, never reaching its full potential.

"Rainbow Dash?" Scootaloo asked, breaking the silence yet again.

The Pegasus ignored her, instead choosing to walk over towards the kitchen window.

Applejack looked up. "Rainbow?"

Rainbow Dash didn't answer; she hadn't even heard her name being called out. As she thought, she gazed out of the window, up into the gray skies, and then down towards the orchards. The ponies behind her were her family, but this place didn't feel like home. She had so many plans for her future. In the end, she had tossed them aside all for Applejack's sake, all the while trying desperately to silence the ache in her heart for what she desired. She stole a quick glance at the orange pony but then quickly looked back. She could scarcely even look at Applejack without feeling resentment towards her now.

"Rainbow Dash?" Applejack repeated louder.

Rainbow Dash pried her eyes from the skies and tried to ignore the burning she was starting to feel towards the pony. "Yeah?"

"Yah alright, sugar cube?"

Rainbow Dash shrugged. "I'm fine." she lied in a most unconvincing manner. Her mind wandered away from the present and back to the dream. Though the pony was fine she had still killed him and the more she thought of it, the angrier she grew with herself. Soon the feelings began to stab at her painfully. All she could do was trade one pain for another: Everything she could have had, and everything she had wanted. Though she didn't want to admit it, deep down she knew that all of those things were gone now.

"I'm fine…" she repeated.

Applejack pulled herself from her seat and walked over to her partner. She bit down gently on Rainbow Dash's ear and pulled her outside the kitchen to talk.

"What's wrong?"


"Yer lying," Applejack said sternly. "Now spill it."

Rainbow Dash groaned irritably and trotted towards the stairs which led to her bedroom. "There isn't anything wrong! Just leave me alone!" she called out as she dashed up the stairs and entered the bedroom, shutting the door behind her with a slam.

"Geez, what's gotten into everypony?" Scootaloo asked.

Raven Flame tilted her head up. "I think we all had similar dreams… with Shadow Scorn in it."

"Wait, you had a dream like that too?"

Raven Flame nodded. "You did as well?"

"Yeah…" Scootaloo hesitated as she tried to recall the vague details. "It was pretty dumb, actually."

Raven Flame mumbled quietly and tried to hide the fear on her face by returning to her hooves once more.

Scootaloo caught glimpse of her face. "What's wrong? What was your dream like?"

Raven Flame didn't answer.

"C'mon!" Scootaloo nudged her playfully. "You can tell me."

"Shadow showed me that… my mom, my real mom I mean. She tried to kill me and killed my real dad when I was a baby." Raven Flame explained, trying to sniffle back the tears that threatened to cascade out of her eyes. "That's why I'm an orphan."

Scootaloo stared in disbelief. "Is it true?"

"I don't know!" Raven cried out. "Like I said, I was a baby."

Scootaloo gently ran her hoof through Raven's mane. "She was just trying to hurt you, don't listen to her."

"I know…" Raven Flame gripped the orange Pegasus. "But what if she was telling the truth?"

"Don't think like that." Scootaloo said comfortingly. "She was lying. Your real mother wouldn't try to hurt you!"

Raven sniffled and buried her head into the filly's shoulder. "But how do you know?"

Scootaloo chuckled to herself. "Because I'm me, and I'm never wrong!"

"But she was right about everything else…" Raven Flame mumbled quietly.

"Well, what else did she tell you?"

"N-nothing…" Raven Flame answered, quickly pulling away. She didn't feel ready to talk about that. It was one thing to talk about something that could just be considered a nightmare, but it was entirely different to talk about what she knew was true.

Scootaloo stared suspiciously. "Okay then…"

"I'm going to go check on Rainbow Dash and Applejack, ok?" Raven Flame said, hopping off her seat to avoid the uncomfortable silence.

She trotted into the hallway to find Applejack staring up towards the bedroom door, looking as if she were having a debate of whether to go up or not.

Raven Flame poked the orange pony in the chest. "I think you should go talk to her."

Applejack turned towards the black filly. "Ah reckon yer right." With a deep breath she quickly trotted up the stairs and into her room to find Rainbow Dash standing near a large bedroom window, staring back at the gray clouds once again.

Hearing someone come in, Rainbow Dash quickly crumpled up a Wonderbolts poster she had been looking at and dropped it behind her hooves. She then turned around as she heard the sound of the door shutting behind her.

"I said I'm fine." she muttered through clenched teeth, agitated that she was still being disturbed by the orange mare.

"Yah sure look it," Applejack said calmly. "Why won't yah talk tah me?"

"There isn't anything to talk about," Rainbow Dash hissed.

"Obviously there is," Applejack said, edging closer to the blue Pegasus. "Why are yah so angry?"

"I'm not angry!" Rainbow Dash yelled.

Applejack stopped her steps and blinked in surprise. "Yah sure about that?"

Rainbow Dash swung a hoof furiously at the wall, causing Applejack to wince in alarm. "Why won't you just leave me alone?"

"Rainbow, yer scaring me…" Applejack whimpered as she pulled herself further away from the Pegasus. Before she reached the door she spotted a crumpled up piece of paper on the floor. She squinted her eyes to see what it was.

"Is this…about the Wonderbolts?"

"Shut up!" Rainbow Dash yelled.

"Sugar cube, just talk tah me!" Applejack pleaded, attempting to defuse the anger that was steadily mounting up in the mare in front of her.

"What do you want me to say?" Rainbow Dash exclaimed, growing crosser.

"Ah want yah tah tell me the truth!"

"The truth?" Rainbow Dash asked with an almost hysterical laugh. "You want the truth?"


"The truth is I have nothing." Rainbow Dash said in a flat tone.

The response took Applejack by surprise. "W-what do you mean?"

"Look at me!" Rainbow Dash demanded, extending her wings while grabbing a tuft of her graying mane. "I'm worn out and useless. I wasted my whole life towards something I'll never have. Every day I'm getting older and all I have to show for it is scars and gray hairs."

Applejack frowned. "Yah aren't useless Rainbow."

"Aren't I?" Rainbow Dash scoffed. "I used to be one of the fastest Pegasus in Equestria! Now I'm stuck with my job as a cloud clearer. I could have been up in the Cloudiseum being cheered on by hundreds of ponies, but instead I chose to be stuck on the ground with some earth pony."

"Some earth pony?" Applejack's eyes widened. "Are yah saying yah had yer eye on somepony else?"

"That's not what I meant Applejack." Rainbow Dash said firmly.

"Well then what did yah mean?"

"I just meant…" she started with a sigh. "I don't belong here…"

"Yah mean... here, on the farm?" Applejack asked fearfully.

Rainbow Dash nodded reluctantly.

"Well, ah mean, yah could always move yer cloud home down here?" She suggested hopefully.

Rainbow Dash shook her head. "That's not enough…"

"Well what is enough?"

The Pegasus shrugged her shoulders.

"Well if yah don't know what yah want, than what in the hay is the matter?"

"What's the worse that's happened to you?" Rainbow Dash burst out suddenly, filled with anger again. "I can't even fly without hurting my wing! You on the other hoof, a little scar on the head and you're completely fine."

"Excuse me?" Applejack exclaimed, raising her voice for the first time.

The Pegasus ignored her and continued her rant. "I set aside everything I ever wanted. And I did it for you. I gave up my dreams, my youth, and more. I set aside my own happiness because of you. I used to know why I did that."

"Yer own…happiness?" Applejack asked, tears beginning to form in her eyes. She knew that Rainbow Dash had hidden away some feelings inside as she adjusted to her new life on the farm with her, but she hadn't thought the pony was unhappy.

"Yes, my happiness," Rainbow Dash snapped. "How could I be happy with everything I've had to give up for a pony like you? You never had to give up your own dreams for my sake. What have you sacrificed? Nothing!" She hissed bitterly.

"But Rainbow…" Applejack took deep breaths to steady herself. "What about Raven?"

"Raven has nothing to do with this!" Rainbow Dash barked back instantly. "She's the only good thing that's ever came out of all of this."

"Rainbow, yer really scaring me, and ah had no idea that yah were this unhappy."

Rainbow Dash pierced the orange pony with harsh and narrowed eyes. "Of course you didn't, why would you ever even bother to think I might be. You're too busy focused on yourself to ever notice."

"That's not true!" Applejack defended. "Ah always worry about yah, ah just thought yah would talk tah me if something was bothering yah."

Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow. "Oh, so now it's my fault?"

"Ah didn't say that!" Applejack's breathing became harder and harder to control and her entire body shook. "Please, just tell me what's wrong, and how ah can help tah fix it."

"I gave up everything for you," Rainbow Dash repeated. "Now I ask myself why I did that and why I still do it. You want to help? Answer me this: why? Why am I putting you first over everypony else, including myself. Why? Because I sure as hay don't know anymore."

"Because yah love me…" Applejack answered weakly.

Rainbow Dash glared at her, trying to search for that feeling, but all she could find was a fiery loathing that continued to burn brighter with each passing moment. Turning away she pushed open the large window behind her. Seconds later she flew through and hovered outside. She then turned to face the mare. "No Applejack, I loved you."

Applejack's lips quivered and the tears from her eyes began to drip rapidly. Her heart felt as if it were splintering while the words echoed through her ears. She found herself unintentionally curling into her hooves. Finally she squeaked out, "W-what do you mean?"

"I'll be around to see Raven Flame…" Rainbow Dash said almost whispering as she made up her mind.

"W-what?" Applejack blubbered. "W-why?"

Rainbow Dash stared at the silver anklet on her foreleg. Slowly, she slipped it off and held it in her hoof, "I can't do this anymore," she said, tossing the jewelry through the open window and onto the bedroom floor. Now unable to look at Applejack any longer she turned herself away from the crying mare. "I've lost everything I've ever wanted because of you… I don't love you, and how could I? No, I don't love you… I despise you."