• 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 11

Hanging her head, seemingly defeated, Twilight continued down the muddy dirt road. Her dream lingering fresh in her mind, everything Shadow Scorn had said to her, still picking at her. Everything seemed so muddled to her now, she felt lost and scared. Before, her fears had just hidden deep inside her quietly, as if the two had a silent agreement that both wouldn't disturb one another. Now that such a devastating thought had been provoked inside her, she couldn't set it aside any longer. She knew deep down, that she was potentially a threat to the entirety of Equestria.

As she proceeded onward, she found herself frozen in place at the midpoint of Ponyville, and the road that would lead her towards Trotsdale. If she kept onward in that direction she would eventually leave all of pony civilization and there would be nothing but a vast stretch of wilderness for hundreds of miles. She could make a go of it out there. She had studied dozens of books on survival in the wild. From her research she didn't perceive it as difficult for a unicorn, especially for one with such magical potential.

"No," She thought to herself. "I can't leave my friends behind… I could never just abandon them." She pried her eyes away from the turn in the road and stared hard at Ponyville. Though the comfort of the library beckoned her, she couldn't bring herself to go. Her eyes wandered around, soon spotting a clump of tall green pines that hadn't been much affected from the night's storm.

With another gander towards Ponyville, she trotted away from the dirt road. Veering herself into the midst of the small cluster of trees. The small seclusion of nature and the quiet chirping of songbirds helped clear her mind, letting her think with more clarity. She leaned against one of the trunks of a tree and shut her eyes as she poured herself into a deep thought of what she planned to do.

"As long as I have magic, I'm a danger to everypony around me," Twilight thought to herself. "I can't put every pony else's safety over my own selfish desires." She glanced at a rather large rock. It was perfect for what she would do, if she were indeed going to go through with the plan. "But there isn't even a guarantee that you have anything to worry about," Her mind added.

"I can't just give up magic. It's my life!" She told herself. "But, so are my friends," She added. "What if I hurt them?" She shuddered. "I couldn't live with myself if that happened." The unicorn let out an agitated scream as she stomped her hooves into the ground. She dropped down onto the ground, trying to calm herself as she thought things through.

"What am I going to do?" Twilight asked herself with a whimper, pulling herself back onto her hooves. She started trotting in circles she stared disheartened at the nearby boulder. With a heavy breath, she headed towards it and rested her head on the side of it. Her horn began to shine its typical glow, encasing a nearby rock that soon hovered above her horn.

Shutting her eyes tightly, she let out another irritated scream as one of her conflicting thoughts finally won over. The rock smashed down heavily, releasing a deafening crackle that burst from its point of impact. The rock split evenly in two, each piece rolling off the boulder in opposite directions. Picking her head off the boulder she sighed. "My magic is what makes me who I am," She thought to herself. "And my friends will always love me, no matter what happens."

"Friends…" The word echoed inside her head. She had left so abruptly, without any real explanation. "They might be worried about me," She thought to herself. Not wanting to concern her friends about her fleeting, she bolted herself back onto the nearby dirt road and headed back towards the archway of the apple orchard's fence. As she trotted towards the farmhouse she began to feel uncomfortable with the idea of telling them just what she had been doing.

"Should I just come out and tell them? What would they think of me?" She asked herself. "I don't want to worry them, though. They might overreact…" She added. "And that might just make things worse. Magic is who I am, they'd tell me. They might even make me feel ashamed for having considered such things." As she reached for the door of the farmhouse, she silently promised herself that she wouldn't mention anything she had been thinking of, so long as no pony asked.


"Rainbow Dash, wait!" Applejack begged as the window pane slammed shut. "Please don't go!" Her cries fell on deaf ears as the blue Pegasus vanished from sight, headed towards the direction of the lake the two had used to visit. Applejack's heart cracked and ached dully as she lay there on the bed, sobbing into her pillow. She was so confused. Everything had happened so quickly that her mind could barely piece together what was occurring.

She pressed the plush, damp pillow into her face to stifle her loudening bursts of tears. "No Applejack, I hate you," the words bounced in her head. She had never heard Rainbow Dash's tone sound so grievous, so angry. The pegasus's voice had burned at her like fire as they had been sputtered. "Why? Why are you doing this?" Applejack thought.

Deep down she felt she knew the answer though. She had tried so hard to not blame herself ever since she had recollected the last of the events she had once forgotten. But how could she not? If she hadn't been so impatient with Rainbow Dash, if she had just listened that one day, everything would have turned out so differently. If she hadn't been so stubborn and prideful and had just come out and told her blue mare how she had truly felt.

"Is it really mah fault?" She thought sadly to herself. Avoiding Rainbow Dash those years ago had resulted in her leading the pony straight to the spot that had taken away her dreams, and nearly her life. That day in the hospital, she signed the waiver allowing the surgeons to snip away parts of her muscle, causing permanent damage she would never recover, even if she had done it for the pony's own well-being. For all she had known, there could have been something else they could try, but she had hardly even bothered to find out if there were any alternatives.

Now she found herself wondering how the pony had stuck with her for so long. She destroyed the pony's chance of being a Wonderbolt. Then as a repayment, she went out in a moment of weakness, seeking comfort from a stranger pony, which later took advantage of her befuddled state caused by an event that her love had pleaded her not to go to in the first place. Yet through all of that, Rainbow Dash had stuck by her side, and had stopped at nothing to find her again, just to be by her side once more.

"No!" Applejack shouted, shaking her head, trying to push away her slumpish state and reinvigorate her desire to keep on. "Ah'm not letting yah get away from me, Rainbow Dash… Ah love you, and ah'll fight for you if ah have tah," She said as she pulled herself onto her hooves and clambered out the bedroom and down the steps.

"Applejack, what's going on?" Raven Flame squeaked, blocking the final few steps at the base of the stairs. "Are you okay?"

The orange pony dried her eyes with the sleeve of her foreleg, "Ah have no idea what's goin' on!" Applejack said in a near whimper as she tried to control her eyes as they began flooding once again. "There's gotta be somethin' wrong with Rainbow! She'd never do somethin' like this!"

A look of confusion spread across Raven Flame's face, "Something like what?"

"Sh-sh-she just said that she…" Applejack's legs wobbled and collapsed beneath her and she burst into another heavy set of tears. The words that Rainbow Dash had said had already worked their way back into her mind, and had overpowered her so easily. As she continued her sputtering of noises, trying to finish the sentence, she found she couldn't bring herself to repeat the words that had been uttered to her.

Raven Flame blinked and quickly wrapped herself around the crying pony. "It's okay, mom," She said, hoping the word choice would help calm Applejack as it had done before. Though she was comfortable with calling Applejack her mother, she only did so on rare occasion, in some ways she never felt it was really appropriate.

Applejack lifted her eyes towards the black filly that cradled her, and gave Raven a small smile. "Thanks sweetie," She said, then buried herself back into the pony's shoulder, squeezing her tightly. The embrace soon helped steady her outburst of tears and frantic breathing.

Scootaloo padded noisily into the room with the others. "I just saw Rainbow Dash flying away. Where's she going?"

Raven Flame shot Scootaloo an almost burning glare to silence the orange Pegasus. "I'm sure she'll be back," she assured Applejack, as she continued hugging her tightly.

There was a quiet knock on the door. Applejack leapt onto her hooves, her heart beating frantically as it hoped that Rainbow Dash had already returned. She pulled open the door and felt herself sink as the purple unicorn trotted through the doorway. "Oh, hey Twilight…" She said, shutting and locking the door.

"Sorry I ran out earlier," Twilight said apologetically. "I… I had to think some things through."

Raven Flame thought back to Scootaloo's mentioning of her dream, and then she thought about her own as well. "Twilight, what was your dream about?"

"I… I don't really want to talk about it." Twilight replied.

"Please, it's important," Raven Flame said urgently. "I need to know exactly what you are so afraid of."

Twilight stepped back, a little surprised at the filly's statement. "I'm… I'm afraid of myself."

Raven gave her a quizzical look. "But what exactly about yourself are you frightened of?"

Twilight frowned and breathed shakily. "When I was a filly, I got scared and my magic completely took over. I… I could have destroyed Canterlot that day."

A smile flashed across Raven Flame as her mind started piecing things together. "What exactly were you thinking about when you had left?"

Twilight blushed. "It was stupid."

"Please, I need to know," Raven Flame said. Trotting over to Twilight she dropped her hoof softly onto the unicorn's shoulder and gave her a comforting smile.

Twilight sat herself down and buried her face shamefully into her hooves, "I was thinking of running away or getting rid of my magic…"

"And how would you do that?" Raven Flame asked. "Get rid of your magic, I mean."

"If you break a unicorn's horn," Twilight answered softly. "They lose their power. That's the source of all their magical ability."

"Why would you even want to do that?" Scootaloo blurted out. "Magic is totally cool!"

"Because I can't always control it," Twilight answered back instantly. "According to Celestia, she's never seen another pony that has as much magical ability as I do… But it can just take over, and I can't stop myself. I don't know what Celestia did, but she stopped it once. What if it happened again though? What if I lose control and no pony is able to snap me out of it. Then what happens?"

The group hummed together in a harmony of disappointed groans. For a few moments there was nothing but silence. Suddenly a thought struck Raven Flame and her smile shot back and grew into a toothy grin, "She's afraid of you!" She said, almost giggling.

"Why is she afraid of her?" Scootaloo jumped in again.

Raven Flame rolled her eyes at the orange Pegasus, "Because, Twilight can beat her!"

"No!" Twilight interjected. "I can't! What if something happened… what if I lost control?"

"I still don't understand something though," Scootaloo interrupted again. "Last time she had to, uh, feed, or something, before she even had a body. How is she so strong already?"

Raven placed a hoof on her chin and thought for a moment. Soon she let out a surprised gasp as something occurred to her.

"What?" All three of the ponies asked, looking up at her simultaneously, waiting for her to explain.

Raven Flame began to pace back and forth, "Ember didn't seal her away. That wouldn't make any sense…" She bounced up excitedly, "She sealed herself away!"

"Ah don't follow," Applejack said. "Why would she do that?"

"Think about it!" Raven Flame squeaked, resuming her pacing. "Ice Ember was about to roast her. Surely that could have been enough to finish her off."

"So…" Twilight cut in, "She put herself back inside to protect herself?"

"Exactly!" Raven Flame answered with a small nod. "We don't know what happened last time she was put in there…"

Scootaloo groaned, "Are you telling me she's fine and dandy?"

Raven disregarded the question as her mind pieced a few other things together. "We need to get out of here, now!" She said with a sense of urgency and fear.

"What?" Applejack asked. "Why?"

"This is what Shadow wanted! She was trying to break us apart," Raven Flame said as she unraveled a scarf from the rack near the door. "She was trying to get Twilight out of the picture. She's coming here! We need to leave, now!"

The sound of a solo applaud of hoof-stamping resonated from the dark corner of the room. "Oh well done," Shadow Scorn said sounding pleased. "You are clever. Perhaps I didn't give you as much credit as you deserve."

"How did you get in here?" Applejack asked, not moving from her spot.

Shadow Scorn shrugged, "Someone left the backdoor unlocked."

"Oops…" Scootaloo muttered beneath her breath.

Shadow Scorn raised an eyebrow, "I didn't expect you to be here…" she said, pointing a hoof at Twilight, her voice sounded a little shaken. "I thought you'd be halfway to the middle of nowhere by now."

Twilight glared, but said nothing.

"Anyway, I'd love to chit-chat, but I'm awfully busy. I do have other ponies to visit. Rainbow Dash for starters," Shadow Scorn's horn began to glow blood red as she stepped closer. She gave Raven Flame a sickening smile as she approached, "It just wouldn't be fair if I kept our dear Dashie waiting, now would it?"

Raven Flame grabbed hold of Applejack and then Scootaloo. The three of them collapsed onto Twilight when she yanked them forwards. "Get us out of here," Raven commanded into the purple unicorn's ear.

Twilight's eyes widened, "B-but, I've never teleported this many ponies at once, before…"

Shadow Scorn let out a howl of laughter, and a single bolt of jagged ice sprang at the huddled ponies, which soon dissolved into a tiny purple barrier produced from Twilight's horn. "Are you kidding me?" Raven cried out. "We don't have time for this! Just get us the hay out of here now."

"O-okay!" Twilight's horn began to glow; a puff of purple smoke shrouded them and vanished. The disorientation the spell began to fade as quickly as it had come on. They looked around to find themselves just outside the gate of the apple orchards.

The group sprinted off back towards Ponyville when Applejack halted. "Wait, what about Rainbow Dash?" She asked concernedly and began to turn around. "She said she was goin' fer her next! What if Rainbow goes back tah the farm?"

"I'll… I'll wait for her," Twilight said reluctantly, "I'll meet you at Rarity's." With a quick wave, she ran back off towards the farm.


A gentle stream of angry tears trickled down from Rainbow Dash's magenta eyes as she slammed the window behind her. Barely audible, Applejack called out to her from behind the glass. Without a second glance, she propelled herself forward, not caring where she was going. Her mind was blinded with absolute hatred, and she couldn't think. Anywhere would do, so long as she wasn't anywhere near the farmhouse. Her entire body and mind were on autopilot, directing her to an unknown destination.

Flying onward, her hate-filled thoughts kept on rattling inside her head. All she could focus on were the things that had been taken away in her life. Her mind instantly pinned the blame on Applejack, whether rightfully placed or not. She couldn't care if the thoughts of hers were justified or not. Her heart felt smashed and her life felt empty now, everything had slipped away from her and she had nothing left inside her to keep herself going.

Looking down towards the ground, she found herself hovering above a place that resurfaced memories. Lowering herself down, she examined her surroundings. Aside from the slush that covered a great portion of the ground, the lake she and Applejack used to visit hadn't changed in the slightest. The water was still, shimmering back to her the dull gray clouds overhead. Slight movement was visible beneath her. Most likely the disturbances were caused by the frogs leaping from the murky mud bank, back into the cool, silvery waters.

Touching down on the ground softly she rested herself on the damp grass of the silver lake's shore. Rainbow Dash let out a hollow sigh as she stared at her reflection in the shimmering pool. "Why did I come here?" She asked herself, realizing she had never once come here on her own. The only times she had visited this place was with Applejack. That had stopped years back, when she had sustained her injuries.

Looking down into the calm surface of the water she was met with the image of a pony she saw before her eyes that she could scarcely recognize. Aside from the noticeable aging, her physical appearance had hardly changed. What troubled her were the deep pink eyes she stared at. They had once been so proud and alive, but now they only seemed bitter and angry. Displeased with what she saw, she ran a hoof through the water's surface forcing ripples to shatter image.

Dipping her foreleg even deeper into the cold water, she then splashed her face with the liquid, sending a jagged chill through her body. The sensation calmed her and helped her to clear her mind, allowing her to think more sensibly. Back at the farm, everything had become nothing more than a blur to her. A part inside her had pleaded for her to stop and think things through, but something had silenced her cries.

"Oh, Applejack…" She mumbled to herself. "What have I done?" Her eyes began to glisten with the growing regretful tears. She loved Applejack with all her heart. She couldn't even recollect a single moment in which she wasn't at least thinking about her sweet Applejack. But in a flurry of anger and self-disappointment, irrationality had taken over and burned the bridge down in a desperate attempt to shield herself from the thought that her failures were really her own fault.

"How could I have blamed you?" Rainbow Dash asked herself aloud. "It was never your fault. You took care of me when I could hardly even walk… multiple times." She chuckled quietly to herself as she thought back to her childhood, back when she had first met Applejack. She had injured her leg in a failed attempt to land her first ever sustained flight.

That day so many years ago, she was immobilized from the pain in her leg and the growing hunger in her belly. Applejack had found her and took her in. She had fed her and mended the injured leg. Applejack had been her longest known friend, and the one pony she had always felt safe with. Without her, she may have never even known of the Wonderbolts, as she was the pony who told her about them. No matter what happened, Applejack had always been there for her to come too, regardless of the situation.

She knew now how unfair she had been to her orange farm pony. Applejack had made her own sacrifices for Rainbow Dash, whether it had been taking time from her day to be a comforting hoof, or even helping with dangerous stunts she had often tried to perform before. With a smile, Rainbow Dash shelled out the feelings of undeserved loathing towards the pony, and allowed herself to fill once more with the joy and warmth that she had always felt when the thought of her mare popped into her mind.

Drying her eyes, Rainbow Dash pulled herself off the frigid grass. A new determination coursed through her. Narrowing her eyes, "I'll make this right, Applejack," She whispered. She extended her wings and flapped them quickly, flinging off the water droplets to dry herself off. Once sufficiently dry, she pushed herself off the ground and back towards the farm.

"Applejack…" She thought. "What do I do to fix this?" Pushing herself faster, she ignored the twinge in her wing. Everything would only get worse with every passing second, and that was something she couldn't afford. Her mind rummaged through what she would need to say to even begin making up for her rash behavior. The idea of begging for forgiveness had even struck her mind, but she had too much pride and decided to use that only as a last and desperate measurement.

She froze, hovering a few feet off the balcony of the front door. With much reluctance, she swallowed back her fear and touched down onto the wooden planks. Now the moment had arrived she found herself looking around lamely, trying to find anything to delay her from the confrontation. Shaking her head she quietly stepped forward and raised a hoof to the door. Her ears twitched slightly and tilted as they picked up the noise of clattering hoof-prints approaching from behind her.

Rainbow Dash's heart leaped, she had instantly assumed it was her beloved orange mare. "Applejack I'm so…" She froze as the smoky black unicorn approached her. "W-What are you doing here?" She asked with a quiet gulp.

"Well done!" Shadow Scorn mused. "I hadn't thought it would be that easy to manipulate you and tear you from Applejack," She chuckled. "Of course, given your stubbornness I also hadn't thought you'd come crawling back to her so soon, either."

"Shut up!" Rainbow Dash hissed, starting to flap her wings again.

"Tssk, not so fast!" Shadow Scorn said with a slight glee. A flash of light burst from her horns. Rainbow Dash let out an agonized scream as a barb of ice pierced into her wings. "That's better. We wouldn't want you flying off on me now."

Rainbow Dash tested the mobility of her wings. Lifting up her wings, she let out a quiet gasp as the blazing pain stabbed through her. "W-what do you want? Where's Applejack, and Raven?" She asked in a near whisper as her growing fear began to wash over her.

"They are fine… for now," The unicorn peered down with an almost kind expression towards cowering Pegasus. "I'm going to give you a choice," Shadow Scorn said darkly.

"A… A choice?" Rainbow Dash asked cautiously, not liking the tone of voice that had been used. "What kind of choice?"

Shadow Scorn paused and hummed quietly to herself. After a few moments she let out a screeching giggle, "Did I say I was going to give you a choice? I meant I wasn't going to give you a choice," she said as she stepped forward.

Rainbow Dash fluttered her wings uselessly, hoping to become airborne. Her wing continued to sting at her and flopped helplessly back to her side, small droplets of blood trickling off her feathers. With the use of her wings gone, she continued talking in an effort to distract the unicorn until she developed some kind of plan. "What are you talking about, why are you doing this?" She asked, trying to suppress the sense of fear that bled into her words.

"I have unfinished business with you, and I say your time is up." Shadow Scorn's horn began to emanate its usual red glow. A string of jagged ice began to grow from the tip, pointing itself at the Pegasus.

"W-wait!" Rainbow Dash said, backing up into the door. She wriggled the knob with her back hoof to find it had been locked. Her heart started to race, she began to glance around frantically, looking for any kind of escape route. She found nothing, and the unicorn was stepping closer towards her. "Don't I get any last words, or something?" she asked, stepping off to the side.

"If you do, you've got about three seconds to say them," Shadow Scorn grinned. The red glow of the horn flashed blindingly, and the spear of ice launched itself forward.

The ice impacted and the sound of its splinters parting rang through the orchard. Rainbow Dash opened her tightly shut eyes, a small purple barrier stood just inches in front of her, separating the Pegasus, and the unicorn. The barrier exploded into tiny shards and slammed into the surprised and confused Shadow Scorn.

"Come on!" Twilight shouted, a small bead of sweat trickled down her forehead as the glow vanished from her horn.

"Twilight?!" Rainbow Dash squeaked in astonishment, sprinting towards the pony, "What are you doing here? Where's Applejack and Raven Flame?"

"We don't have time, we need to go!" Twilight took hold of Rainbow Dash and a familiar purple cloud enveloped them. A sudden rush of nausea and dizziness filled them and with a blink of an eye the smoke parted, revealing the white walls of the Fashion Boutique.

Rainbow Dash peered around, the first thing her eyes locked onto were the watery green eyes of an orange pony. Her heart pounded with adrenaline, and her mind flooded with guilt "Applejack!" She said and bolted towards the pony, tackling her with a tight hug. "I'm… I'm sorry…"

Applejack smiled contently as she breathed in the scent of the blue Pegasus's soft mane and kissed the multi-colored strands gently. Despite her doubts and fears, she found herself once again reunited with the Pegasus she cherished so dearly. "Ah know yah are sugarcube…"

Rainbow Dash choked as a wave of tears spilled from her magenta eyes. She could hardly believe after all she had said and done to the poor orange pony in a short few minutes, she was still being welcomed back with open hooves. After taking a few moments to relish in her lovers grasp, she knew she needed to try and make things right. Inhaling deeply, she fought back her clenching throat.

"Applejack, I don't know what I was thinking… I don't hate-"

"Oh hush…" Applejack said, pressing her hoof onto Rainbow Dash's lips and shushed her. Once confident the Pegasus would remain silent, she removed her hoof and pressed their lips against each other and held the kiss momentarily. Finally, she broke the kiss and gave her partner a loving smile. "It's okay. Ah know yah didn't mean it. Don't yah fret none, ah'll always forgive yah, and ah'll always love yah, sugarcube."