• 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 9

The once crystal blue sky was darkening , filled with obsidian storm clouds that crackled with bolts of electricity as they crunched together. The silver moon now hidden away from the thick cluster of clouds, the only natural light provided for the world now were from the flashes in the sky. Applejack dropped herself onto the dirt between the two apple trees. She ran her hoof against the inscription on the dusty polished stone.

"Applejack?" Rainbow Dash called out, illuminating the dark orchards with an awkwardly held flashlight. The earth pony didn't answer; she was too far gone inside her own thoughts. Kneeling next to pony, "Applejack, don't do this to yourself, there's nothing you can do." She said.

"Ah know…" Applejack answered back reluctantly, "Ah just…" she pulled her eyes away from the stone and wrapped herself around the Pegasus, "Ah don't want tah think Ice died for nothin' yah know?"

"She didn't." Rainbow Dash nuzzled her face against Applejack's, "She saved all our lives and in a way she also gave us Raven back." Giving her a small kiss, "Come on, it's getting late and I don't think staying outside is the best idea right now."

Applejack picked herself up off the Pegasus, "Yer probably right."

Rainbow Dash smirked, "When am I not right?" she asked sarcastically, hoping to brighten the mood.

Applejack chuckled, "Sugarcube ah could write an entire book about all the things yah've been wrong about."

Rainbow Dash winced at the bandaged gash on her leg, "You think I'll ever go more than a few months without getting hurt by some crazy pony?"

Applejack shrugged, "Just be glad that's all he did tah yah. And at least now he has no reason tah bother us anymore."

Rainbow Dash shrugged, "I'm not exactly worried about him anymore. Silver Spoon said after Diamond Tiara and Rich bolted they headed straight for the train station. Or at least that's what their butler told her."

A light rain began to dribble from the black clouds above. A few seconds later the air began to cool to the point in which their breath formed a fog in the air. The rain froze over into pelts of ice that pounded down heavily on them as they galloped back to the farm house. A crackle of lightning stabbed down at an iron rod protruding from the top of the house and the lights inside darkened.

"Every pony okay?" Applejack called out when she opened the front door.

"We're fine." Scootaloo gasped trying to pry off the suffocating tight grip of Raven Flame.

"Where's Rarity and Sweetie Belle?" Rainbow Dash asked as she looked around the dark rooms.

"They went home." Twilight answered as she lit the fireplace with her magic, "Rarity said she didn't want to stay on a musty old farm for a minute longer."

Applejack rolled her eyes, "Figures."

Rainbow Dash plopped herself onto the couch in front of the warmth of the fire. "What do we do now?"

"There isn't much we can do." Twilight answered, "It's too dark to do any real research and until the weather dies out I don't think it's safe to leave the house either."

Applejack nodded in agreement, "Ah think the best thing we can do is get some sleep right now."

"Are you ponies crazy?" Rainbow Dash protested, "We can't sleep! Who knows what she'll do to us if we let our guard down!"

"I don't think she can do anything to us right now." Raven Flame said, finally letting go of the struggling orange Pegasus, "Last time we saw her she said it took her nearly a week before she had a body."

"She's right." Applejack said, "Ah think we're safe for now."

Rainbow Dash blinked in disbelief. Trotting over towards the window she pulled aside the curtains, "Last time THIS wasn't happening only after a few hours."

"You know, she's got a point." Scootaloo said.

"Yeah I guess so." Raven Flame said, "I guess we could sleep in shifts." The room filled with silence as every pony glanced at one another. After everything that had happened they couldn't deny they were all exhausted.

"Ugh, fine!" Rainbow Dash groaned, "I'll take the first shift."

"Ah guess ah'll get the second." Applejack said afterwards, "Twilight yah can take the third." Glancing towards Scootaloo, Raven Flame and an already sleeping Applebloom, "Ah think it's best we all sleep out here for the night as well. Yah'll get some sleep, after all yer only kids."

The ponies said their good nights to one another and buried themselves beneath the blankets they had retrieved from around the house. Soon the entire room was filled with the gentle snores of the ponies as they drifted into their dreams. Rainbow Dash continued to stare blankly at the apple-carved wooden clock hanging above the mantle.

As the small hand approached what marked the halfway point of her shift, Rainbow Dash's eyes began to strain. Trying to adjust her position on the couch she hoped it would push back her need for sleep but the change in stance brought no such luck. Another hour slowly drifted by, her eyelids growing heavier with each passing second. They began to shut slowly but she shook away the temptation. Another few minutes passed and her eyes shut for a second time and she drifted off into sleep herself.

Racing through the town stone streets of Ponyville, Scootaloo turned round one of the corners. As the walls cleared from her view she found herself no longer in the comforts of her hometown, but instead near a flowing river. She froze at the sight of a black unicorn walking toward her through the lush damp green grass.

"Hello, Scootaloo." Shadow Scorn said but Scootaloo blinked and said nothing. "What's the matter, don't you want to talk?" She asked. Again Scootaloo didn't answer. "Well you aren't much fun. I guess I'll have to get to the point." A yellow mare appeared holding an orange filly. "You remember this, don't you?"

"Don't..." Scootaloo said angrily.

"Don't you want to know why she did it?"

Scootaloo shook her head, "She was sick, I don't care what reasons she could have had to have done this."

"But she did it because of you."

"No, she didn't. I'm in no way responsible for what happened that day." Scootaloo answered back confidently.

Shadow Scorn sighed, "Okay, that may be true." She said with a mischievous grin, "But this is your fault."

In the blink of an eye Scootaloo found herself standing in the corner of the kitchen of Sweet Apple Acre's farmhouse. A drunken hysterical fat Pegasus stumbled in the room screaming. He staggered closer towards the table lifting the nearby barrel and tossing it at the other three ponies. Shadow Scorn chuckled, "That was your fault. As is what I'm going to show you next."

Scootaloo groaned, she had already come to terms with everything that had been shown to her so far and was starting to feel the pony had no idea what she was talking about. "Do I have too?"

Shadow Scorn was starting to grow frustrated. A blinding flash of white and the two ponies were now standing back at Ponyville Cemetery. A small orange filly trotted towards the unearthed grave and climbed down into the hole. "If you hadn't visited Raven's grave that day. None of this would be happening right now."

"I guess that's true." Scootaloo shrugged, "Then again, Ponyville would still be deserted." Letting out a quiet laugh, "I wouldn't have a marefriend. Rainbow Dash and Applejack wouldn't have a filly." she said.

Shadow Scorn stared irritably, "Well your dad is-"

"You are really bad at this..." Scootaloo interrupted, "Can't you just pester some pony else?"

Shadow Scorn planted her face into her hoof, "Fine!" she grumbled, this was not how things were supposed to have turned out. She grabbed Scootaloo and plunged her beneath a suddenly appearing pool of water, holding her beneath it as the filly flailed helplessly. Everything started to fade out from Scootaloo's sight. Letting out a loud cough her vision returned to her when she found herself laying next to Raven Flame safely inside the farmhouse.

Sitting beneath an amethyst sky, the sun blazing warmly as it slowly dropped down behind the caps of the snowy mountain. The soft lush grass clinging to her black coarse main as she pried herself away from the grassy hill. Turning around her deep blue eyes were met with a pair of soulless black eyes in front of her.

Backing away slowly, Raven Flame found the sky, the grass and sun had all dissolved away and transformed into a single room where she was now cornered. The eyes moved closer towards her, the jagged horn dripping with its red liquid that spiraled to its point. "What do you want?" Raven Flame asked as her shaking knees dropped her to the hard stone ground.

"Raven Flame the orphan." Shadow Scorn said in her chilling and grating voice, "You see the world in such a different way from every pony. Everything has to have a solution to you."

"Shut up!" Raven Flame hissed, she could already tell where this was going.

"Everything has a solution in your mind but one thing that is." Shadow Scorn smirked, "You try so hard to fit in, try to be like every pony else. But you aren't like every pony else." She said moving closer, "After what's happened to you though, you can't help but wonder how will you possibly blend into the crowd and live your life as if you were normal."

Raven's chin began to tremble, "Stop…"

"Very well." Shadow Scorn's horn began to glow and the stone walls faded into a molded cloud home. "You've always wondered why deep down you're always so afraid to fly." She pointed towards two black Pegasus huddling around a crib rocking back and forth. "Allow me to shed some light on your curiosity."

"What… what are you doing?" Raven Flame asked.

"Shh! This is my favorite part." Shadow Scorn said pressing a hoof against her lips. The hollowed out cloud began to grow colder. Without warning one of the Pegasus ripped off part of the crib and smashed it into the other and retrieved a bundle from the crib. The pony sifted away the cloud floor beneath and dropped the bundle. The bloodied Pegasus dived through after the blanketed pony. "There is the truth of it."


"Your fear of flying that you hide so well, the fear that you're parents neither loved or wanted you." Shadow Scorn said slyly, "This is where they come from. Your own mother tried to kill you while you were still just a baby."

"You're lying!" Raven Flame screamed. She soon found herself plummeting down towards the rocks below, her wings frozen and useless. As she made impact with the ground and a blink of an eye the wooden floorboards returned beneath her and she found herself awake in the midst of her friends and family inside the farm house.

Twilight fumbled a quill in her hoof as she scanned through an open book beneath the low lighting of her desk lamp inside the library. Dipping the quill's tip into the nearby jar of ink she raised it over her parchment, a single drop of red liquid splattered onto the paper. Looking up above her she hopped out of her chair and backed away at the sight of a jagged horned unicorn.

"What do you want?" Twilight asked as she backed into a bookshelf.

"I just want to have a little talk." Shadow Scorn said with what could be considered an almost pleasant smile.


"About you." Shadow Scorn grinned, "Twilight Sparkle, why do you pour yourself away into your studies?"

Twilight blinked, "Because I enjoy it?"

Shadow Scorn laughed hauntingly, "We both know that isn't the truth. You fill your head with knowledge because it gives you hope." Lifting a book she incinerated it and dusted off her ashes, "It gives you hope that one day you might find the answer."

"What answer is that?"

"You know as well as I do what that answer is." The entirety of the library faded away and the two found themselves standing far off in the distance looking over Ponyville. A beam of white light shot into the center of town and the buildings erupted in flame. "The thing you fear more than anything else in this world is yourself. So afraid you'll never learn how to control the power inside you that just waits to be let loose."

Twilight stepped back next to the mountain side she had been moved to, "That will never happen!" she said frightfully.

"But it will." Shadow Scorn said gleefully, "And let me tell you a little secret." Shadow Scorn trotted closer, "When the day comes, you won't be able to control it." She whispered. Her horn began to glow red and a nearby rock plummeted from the mountainside and crashed into Twilight Sparkle. With a gasp, Twilight opened her eyes to find herself beneath her blanket next to the crackling fire.

"Applejack." A voice whispered.

"Who's there?" Applejack called out, looking around the orchards until she spotted a crimson mane floating into the wind.

"I want to show you something, Applejack." Shadow Scorn said. The trees of the orchards vanished and the two were surrounded by tiled floors and white painted walls with a curtain partially pulled around a bed placed against the wall. The sound of a hospital heart monitor beeping monotonously echoed into Applejack's perked up ears.

Applejack trotted through the curtain to find an elder Rainbow Dash. Her mane was faded and torn, her face ragged and wrinkled from age. "Why are yah showing me this?" She asked trying to peel her eyes away from the sight.

"This is what you've done to your lover." Shadow Scorn trotted over towards the older Rainbow Dash whom couldn't seem to see the two of them, "Because of you she never could follow her dreams. She never accomplished any of her goals in life."

Applejack ran her hoof against the decrepit Rainbow Dash, "That can't be true."

Shadow Scorn nearly laughed, "You remember that night in the forest. She saved your life but in doing so she condemned herself to misery. She'll never be the pony she once was."

"That ain't true!" Applejack cried.

"Then there is the matter of you being afraid of abandoning your family like your father." The room vanished and the ponies were now stuck in a dusty field where hundreds of ponies rushed past, "But why did you really come to the rodeo? Was it really because you wanted independence, or was it a chance to run away from your responsibilities?"

Applejack found this part of whatever Shadow Scorn was doing to be rather ineffective, "Shucks, yah seem tah have got it all figured out. Why don't yah tell me?"

"First let me answer a question for you. One that's been bothering you all day."

Applejack gulped quietly, "And what would that be?"

"Ice Ember," Shadow Scorn laughed, "She did die for absolutely nothing and it's your fault."

"No she didn't."

"Back on topic though. The truth of the matter is you lie to yourself every day." Shadow Scorn said almost happily.

The statement seemed irrelevant and took Applejack by surprise, "Ah beg yer pardon?"

"You overwhelm yourself with work so you can keep your mind quiet." Shadow Scorn smiled, "You work yourself so hard that you can't think. On the days you can, you try to convince yourself Rainbow Dash's fate isn't your fault. You try to convince yourself you would never abandon those you love. But Rainbow Dash's fate is your fault and you already have abandoned them once."

"Shut up!" Applejack hissed.

Shadow Scorn trotted closer, "And you'll abandon them again." She whispered into her ear and then delivered a swipe into the pony's head. Applejack grabbed her throbbing skull and averted her eyes from the bright glow of the fireplace.

A black cloud surrounded Rainbow Dash which quickly faded and she found herself face to face with a black pony. Rainbow Dash grumbled, "What the hay do you want? I've got better things to do then listen to you ramble about your shiny pendant again."

"I'm not here to talk about that Rainbow Dash." Shadow Scorn said placing a hoof gently on the Pegasus's shoulder, "So, what was it like for you, killing another pony? Did you enjoy it?" she said perversely.

Rainbow Dash felt herself grow nauseous at the mention of the event, "He's not dead..." she said quietly, shaking off the hoof from her shoulder.

"But he could be!" Shadow Scorn replied, "And it would have been your fault."

"It wouldn't have been my fault..." Rainbow Dash said hollowly.

"You murdered a pony." Shadow Scorn smirked, "How could you ever live with yourself?"

"Shut up..." Rainbow Dash said with little confidence, "I didn't have a choice."

"But there is always a choice, Dashie" Shadow Scorn giggled.

"Go away..."

"Why would I do that?" Shadow Scorn mused, "So you can go back to your silly and impossible dreams of becoming a wonderbolt?"

Rainbow Dash glared at her, "I can still be a Wonderbolt..."

"Really?" Shadow Scorn scoffed and bounced the battered and scarred wing, "You think you will ever amount as much as any other Pegasus in this condition?"

"It's not that bad!" Rainbow Dash cried defensively.

"You poor thing." Shadow Scorn laughed, "So arrogant yet when the chance comes to really prove yourself you choke and hide."

"I do not!"

"You don't even realize that your loyalty is your downfall." Shadow Scorn said as she shook her head in pity, "So loyal to every pony except the one who should matter most."

Rainbow Dash glanced up at her, "And who would that be?"

"Yourself." Shadow Scorn whispered menacingly, "You've given everything you could for your friends and your family. What has it really gotten you? You've sacrificed your dreams for Applejack. Then you gave up the rest of your youth and freedom to an orphan filly."

Rainbow Dash put up a forced laugh, "I still have all those things!"

"Your dream of becoming a Wonderbolt? You couldn't even win a race against a group of no ponies." Shadow Scorn chuckled, "Fourth place? Not exactly the position the Wonderbolt's captain is looking to recruit." Shadow Scorn shook her head for a second time, "I'm going to show you what you're too afraid to ask yourself. What your life could have been like had you not told Applejack how you felt and the two of you never went into that forest."

The ground rushed away from beneath the two ponies' hooves and was replaced with soft plush cloud of the Cloudiseum stages. Four Pegasus flying through the sky at blazing speeds, one of which left behind a rainbow colored trail. "You would have made the Wonderbolts." Shadow Scorn said, "And so much more." The Cloudiseum vanished and they were now inside a large cloud mansion in a room filled with a glass showcase.

Shadow Scorn opened the showcase and pulled out one of the dozens of golden trophies, "In only a few short years after making the team you could have accomplished all of this. You would have been the youngest captain of the Wonderbolts to date."

Rainbow Dash stared at the room, her heart couldn't help but feel a desire for this place she found herself inside. Trying to ignore the craving inside her, "But I wouldn't be happy. I wouldn't have a family or the pony I love."

"The thing about love…" Shadow Scorn smirked, "Is that our heart changes its mind all the time." Just then a wooden door creaked open and both Spitfire and a duplicate of Rainbow Dash trotted inside. Their hooves joined together the two joined closer with one another and pressed their lips passionately on one another.

Rainbow Dash began to feel sick, "Stop it." She pleaded.

"You don't like the way your life could have been without Applejack?" Shadow Scorn said in a pouting voice. She stared at the saddened Pegasus, "Oh I see. Now you realize just what you could have been. You like what you're life could have been. You like it too much."

"Shut up, just get me out of here!" Rainbow Dash screamed. The black unicorn nodded and a shard of the glass showcasing flew over towards the Pegasus and stabbed into the scar of her wing. Rainbow Dash winced in pain and then it stopped. She opened her eyes and was back safe inside the farm house next to the warmth of the fireplace.

The five ponies' eyes opened simultaneously. Glancing around the room they all acknowledged each other but never spoke a word to one another. The gentle clattering of hailstones pounding on the roof was all that could be heard as they stared silently into nothingness. Though they didn't want to, their minds were unable to focus on anything else but what they had been shown and told.