• Published 2nd Jul 2012
  • 1,390 Views, 45 Comments

The Rainbow Crusade - TheRainbowDashShow

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

  • ...

Chapter 5

A roar of deafening cheering was let out as Raven Flame trotted inside Sugar Cube Corner. As requested Diamond Tiara had gotten her father to back off of Rainbow Dash and allow her to keep her job. In addition to which, in hopes to stay on Raven's good side she had also convinced her father to personally finance Raven's cute-ceañera.

Raven Flame grinned widely as she looked around the room; balloons hovered to the roof, their strings dangling down to the floor. Music emanated from the corner of the room where Vinyl Scratch had set up her station. The floor was littered with shreds of confetti and the walls were plastered with boards for games like pin the tail on the pony.

Her friends and family stood in the center of the room with smiles just as big as hers. She rushed over and met them for a hug. "Raven Flame…" A pony said quietly. Raven Flame turned around to see it was Silver Spoon holding a small paper wrapped box, "I'm sorry." She said holding out the gift.

"It's fine." Raven Flame said with a smile, "But I think you should be worried that you hurt some pony else." She said pointing to the defeated light pink filly slumped over in a corner by herself. Silver Spoon frowned and sprinted over towards Diamond Tiara and nearly lifted her with a tight hug.

"So ah guess yah weren't kidding when yah said yah could take care of all this." Applejack said patting Raven proudly.

Raven Flame blushed, "It was nothing." She said modestly, "Who wants cake?" she asked not wanting all the attention to be on her, it made her feel a little uncomfortable.

"Ah thought yah'd never ask!" Applebloom said then she charged towards the table.

"I see Rainbow Dash is late, as usual." Rarity said sounding somewhat pompous.

Raven Flame shook her head, "I asked her to take care of some things she'll be here soon."

"Who wants to play a game?" Pinkie Pie shouted.

"Ah do!" Applebloom said her mouth full of food as usual.

"I'm just going to watch, if that's alright." Fluttershy said nervously.

While the other ponies talked Raven Flame nudged Scootaloo and gestured her to follow. The two trotted into the back room of Sugar Cube Corner where they were secluded from the rest of the ponies. "What's up?" Scootaloo asked.

Raven Flame threw her hooves around Scootaloo's neck and kissed her deeply on the lips, "Just wanted to do that." She said with a smile, "We should get back to the party before any pony gets suspicious." She giggled.

"R-right." Scootaloo stuttered, her cheeks bright red. Raven Flame's surprise kisses still always managed to catch her off guard and leave her a little two of them walked back into the crowded room and absent mindedly participated in the activities that had been set out for every pony.

Twilight Sparkle poked Raven Flame in the stomach, "Want to play chess?" she asked, hovering a chess board and a bag of pieces.

Raven Flame grinned, "You're on!" They trotted over towards one of the empty tables and began to set up the board.

There was a jagged scratching noise and the music stopped when a strange two legged bluish-green thing burst in through the door, a brown stallion with an hourglass cutie mark chasing it. The two ran into the next room and the back door slammed shut. Every pony blinked for a moment, shrugged and the music resumed.

Hours passed as both Twilight and Raven Flame's chess pieces started dwindling away. They were both staring at the chess board in deep thought. "Ah!" Twilight cried out excitedly as she moved her rook, "Check!"

Raven Flame giggled and took the rook with her bishop, "Check mate!" she squeaked excitedly.

Twilight Sparkle's jaw dropped as she stared at the board, she had never lost a game before. "Best out of three?" she asked.

Raven Flame laughed, "Maybe later." She said looking around the room, most of the ponies had left and she still hadn't seen Rainbow Dash. She stood up and trotted towards Applejack who sat looking exhausted as Pinkie Pie rambled utter nonsense to her, "Have you seen Dashie?" she asked.

Applejack glanced over, "No." she said. She thought for a moment, "No ah haven't…" she said again starting to sound worried.

Raven Flame shrugged, "I'm sure she is fine. She probably took a nap." She laughed, "She went somewhere she told me she hasn't been to in awhile so I'm sure everything is fine." She said though she felt a little hurt.

"Ah'm sorry sugarcube." Applejack said, "Why don't yah open yer presents." She said pointing her hoof at the stacks of boxes.

Raven Flame looked over at the pile, each box was rectangular in shape and the exact same height, width and length, "I don't think I need to." She chuckled, "Wait…" she remembered the silver wrapped present Silver Spoon had given to her. She picked it up off the table she had placed it on and unwrapped the paper.

Beneath the wrapping was a black box. She tipped it open and gasped quietly. She shut it, blinked a few times and opened it again. She dropped the open box to the ground and backed away from it. "Applejack…" Raven Flame said sounding frightened.

"What is it sugar cube." Applejack asked, trotting over towards the young filly. Raven Flame pointed towards the ground at the gift. Applejack looked at the wooden floor, to see something she thought she'd never see again. Beneath the black box lay a shining golden pendant with an engraving etched onto it.

Not wanting to risk even laying a hoof on the necklace, Applejack used the black box it come in to scoop it back up. Shutting the lid she and Raven Flame turned to Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon whom were still sitting in the corner. "EVERYPONY OUT!" Applejack shouted as she trotted towards the two young fillies. "Not the two of yah." She said when they rose from their seats.

"What did I do this time?" Diamond Tiara cried out.

Applejack ignored her, "Where did yah get this Silver Spoon?" she asked holding up the box.

Silver Spoon looked confused, "I found it." She said.

"Where and when?" Raven Flame cut in.

Silver Spoon looked confused, "I found it on the way home from school when I was staying in Canterlot a few months ago…" she said.

"Why did you give it to me?" Raven asked suspiciously.

Silver Spoon shrugged, "I thought you'd like it and I felt bad…" she frowned, "Do you not like it?"

Applejack pulled Raven Flame aside, "Ah don't think she knows anything." She whispered.

Raven Flame studied the gray filly and slowly nodded, "I guess you're right."

Twilight trotted back in from outside the shop, "Is everything alright girls?"

"Twilight, Raven…" Applejack turned to the confused fillies, "The two of yah, ah'm not letting yah out of mah sight till I know what the hay is going on. We're going tah the library."

Twilight could see the concern in both Applejack and Raven's faces, "What's going on you two?"

"Ah'll explain later." Applejack said, "C'mon we're leavin'." She said waving a hoof at the four.

Twilight unlocked the library door and held it open as the four walked inside. Shutting the door behind her, "Now will some pony please tell me what's going on?" she asked.

Applejack dropped the box on the table and tilted open the lid, "This." She said.

Twilight blinked, "I don't get it…"

"This Twilight," Raven Flame nudged the case she had no idea how to say this. Rainbow Dash had convinced every pony that her death was just some unknown pony had just set up an incredibly elaborate hoax. Since no pony could come up with any other explanation, they didn't bother questioning it.

Applejack shushed Raven Flame before she could say anything, "It's a long story Twi. Ah'm not gonna bore yah with the details but there is a unicorn named Shadow Scorn sealed away inside it."

Twilight scratched her head, "Applejack, have you been trying to buck all the apple trees by yourself again?" she asked looking at her as if she were delusional.

Applejack shook her head, "Look at me Twi, ah aint lying." She said staring directly into Twilight's eyes.

"Okay…" Twilight finally said and picked up the pendant, "Well if the pony is sealed away inside, then what's the big deal?"

Applejack glanced at the pendant, "Because Rainbow crushed it."

"If she is sealed inside this pendant…" Twilight's horn began to glow and dozens of books began to fly off the shelves stacking themselves in front of her, "Then she has to be mentioned in at least one of my books." She said picking up a book and flipping through it when she stopped. "Wait..."

Applejack cringed she had hoped Twilight wouldn't have pieced together the already given details, "Before yah even ask, yes Twi."

"Well what happened?" Twilight asked, "It would take some pretty powerful magic to reseal her."

A small wave of depression came over Applejack, "Ice Ember…" she said softly.

"Oh…" Twilight returned her attention back to the books; she didn't need to ask anymore to know what had happened. She finished scanning through the first book, "I think we should go ask Zecora." She said setting the book down.

"Who's Zecora?" Raven Flame asked.

Diamond Tiara groaned, "She's this weird Zebra who lives in the Everfree Forest."

Twilight rolled her eyes, "She isn't weird, she just has a different culture." She defended.

"I'm not supposed to go in the Everfree Forest." Silver Spoon said, "Can I go home?"

"Ah told yah, ah'm not letting the two of yah out of mah site till ah exactly what in the hay is going on." Applejack said in a firm voice.

"Go with YOU in the Everfree Forest?" Diamond Tiara whined, "I'm not going in there, not in a million sun festivals."

Raven Flame turned to her and gave her an intimidating look, "Are you sure about that?"

Diamond Tiara laughed nervously, "I mean I just LOVE the Everfree Forest, we should go right now."

Applejack chuckled and trotted towards the door, "Twi, yah lead the way, ah'm gonna make sure these two don't try tah get away."

"What are we, you're prisoners?" Diamond Tiara fumed.

"No, ah just don't trust yah." Applejack answered, "Now let's go."

The five stopped at the border of Everfree Forest, the stars were starting to show in the rose blotched sky. Silver Spoon looked nervously into the forest having never gone inside and only hearing frightening rumors of the place. Diamond Tiara took her hoof comfortingly, "It'll be fine." She said in an almost sweet and caring voice.

"Relax girls; I've gone through the forest dozens of times." Twilight said, "You have nothing to worry about."

The five of them finally started trotting tightly packed together. The melody of crickets' chirps surrounded the forest. The mossy trees shrouded their path from the sun's light, only a slowly fading pale green overcast of light dripped in. "How much further, it's getting dark and my hooves are tired." Diamond Tiara asked.

Raven Flame turned to her, "Do you ever shut up?"

"No she doesn't." Silver Spoon said suddenly.

Diamond Tiara glared at her, "Excuse me?"

"We're here!" Twilight called out as she knocked on the hut door.

"Ah, Twilight my good friend, How are you this weekend?" Zecora said as she answered the door.

"I'm fine, may we come in?" Twilight asked.

Zecora stepped aside from the doorway, "Well I must certainly say, You are most welcome to stay."

The five of them trotted inside. Diamond Tiara glanced around with disgust, "It's hideous in here." She said.

"Diamond!" Twilight scolded.

Zecora laughed, "Oh don't worry it's quite alright, to her it must be such a sight."

"Zecora, we were wondering if yah could help us." Applejack said.

Zecora raised an eyebrow, "Put my knowledge to the test, I will answer with my best."

"Uh right." Applejack said, "What do yah know about this?" she asked opening the black box to show the Zebra the pendant.

Zecora mused out loud, "A thing of pure evil I am afraid, the evil released when the trade is made."

"Yeah, we know that." Applejack said waving a hoof, "But how do we get rid of it."

Zecora frowned, "Sadly I will be of no help to you, most sorry I am but this is true."

"Wait, what was that about a trade?" Twilight asked, "What trade?"

Zecora looked at Twilight, "Whenever a pony is slain, the trade will let them rise again." She said when Raven Flame caught her eye, "Something is not right about you, something strange in those eyes of blue." She trotted away and removed a book from her shelf, "I think that it is time to leave for you, but take this book that may have a clue or two."

Twilight levitated the book from Zecora's hooves and dropped it into her saddlebag, "I guess we'll be going then."

"Be careful on your way to Ponyville, outside is most dangerous at night's chill." Zecora said waving her hoof as the ponies walked away from her.

"Well that was a waste of time." Diamond Tiara said once clear of the hut.

Twilight shook her head in disagreement, "Not quite, we got this book and she did tell us one thing."

"What's that?" Silver Spoon asked starting to enjoy the investigation she was being forced to participate in.

Twilight Sparkle pushed aside a heavy branch with her magic as they trotted, "We know that we're safe as long as no dead ponies wear it." She said. They reached the end of edge of the forest and trotted back inside the library. "Applejack, can I talk to you for a moment?"

"Sure Twi, what is it?" Applejack asked though she knew full well what she was going to be confronted about.

Twilight sighed heavily, "Raven Flame did she really…" she shook her head, "Nevermind." Pulling the book from her saddlebag and read the cover, "Ghosts, Goblins and Ghoulish Figures first edition?"

"Don't yah already have that?" Applejack asked.

Twilight pulled her copy from the shelf; the two books were nearly identical except with the exception of one having far less pages, "I guess not." She flipped open both books and scanned through them simultaneously, skipping through any identical pages.

Diamond Tiara turned to Raven Flame while the two older ponies worked, "What was Zecora talking about?" she asked.

"What do you mean?" Raven Flame asked trying to avoid the topic.

"Don't play games with me, you know what I'm talking about and you knew what she was talking about too."

Raven Flame grinned and raised her hooves, "I'm a zombie pony!" she said standing on her two hind legs, "Brains…." She mumbled walking slowly towards the filly.

Diamond Tiara folded her arms, "Fine if you aren't going to tell me what she was talking about, I'll just figure it out myself."

Raven Flame laughed, "Have fun with that."

"That's her!" Applejack shouted pointing at a sketching of a unicorn.

Twilight Sparkle read the article below the image, "Oh dear…"

"What?" Applejack asked, "Go on, read it…"

Shadow Scorn

The unicorn known most commonly as Shadow Scorn has no known origin, though there have been reported sightings of the pony dating back since the 400th Summer Sun Festival. Shadow Scorn is said to feed off any negative emotions turning them into her own strength. During any reported sighting two events have always followed. The first being a drastic increase in crime rate nearby the spotting. The second even during the hottest summer days the temperature would drop drastically, even so much as to turn rain into snow. During the 618th Lunar Festival Shadow Scorn was sealed away inside an amulet by Star-Swirl the Bearded. Despite the efforts of Star-Swirl the Beared he was unable to permanently destroy the amulet. The amulet then remained heavily guarded in Canterlot's chamber of dangerous scrolls and artifacts until it was stolen during the raising of the 987th Summer Sun.

"That's all it says." Twilight Sparkle said.

Applejack blinked, "That can't be it, ah mean how in the hay do we get rid of the thing?"

Twilight shrugged, "No idea.

Applejack frustrated, smacked her face into the desk, "There ain't nothing we can do?"

Twilight frowned, "I honestly don't know, but it's getting really late and we won't think clearly if we're all exhausted. I think we should get some sleep."

"Ah guess yer right Twi" Applejack sighed, "Rainbow Dash is probably already back at home waiting anyway."

Raven Flame stopped tormenting Diamond Tiara with ghostly gestures and trotted up to Applejack, "Are we going home now?"

"Yeah Sugar Cube." Applejack said.

"I'm going to keep researching this pendant for a bit." Twilight called out, "I'll let you know if I find out anything in the morning."

"Alright, see yah tomorrow Twilight." Applejack said pushing open the door.

Raven Flame climbed up onto Applejack's back, "Onward my steed!" she commanded then let out a tired yawn.

Applejack chuckled, "We'll be home soon." Raven Flame mumbled something back to her and began to snore loudly. "Ah swear yah get more like Dashie every day." She said as she trotted down the dirt road and through the gate of Sweet Apple Acres.

Applebloom pulled the door open as Applejack trotted up, "Where've yah been all day?" she asked.

"Don't worry about it Applebloom." Applejack said, "Is Rainbow Dash back yet?"

Applebloom shook her head, "Ah haven't seen her since this morning."

Scootaloo trotted up, "Hey Applejack, where's Rainbow Dash?"

"Ah have no idea." Applejack said as she trotted up the stairs and into Raven Flame's bedroom, "Ah hope she's okay."

Scootaloo went back down the stairs leaving Applejack alone with filly that she assumed was sleeping. Raven Flame sat up, "Applejack?"

Applejack turned towards her, "Yeah sugar cube?"

Raven Flame paused, "Good night." She said lowering her head back to her pillow.

"Good night." Applejack replied and trotted back down the stairs. She sat down on the couch and stared anxiously out the window, occasionally glancing at the old clock hanging on the mantle to check the time. She began to twist her mane to try and ease her stress as the hours went on, repeatedly asking herself, "Where are yah Rainbow?"